A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


The 1962 Spanish & French 50cc G.P's. 

By Dave and Mike Simmonds

For The Racing 50 Motorcycle Club. Pictures and tables by Jeep.

As you probably, already  know we entered the above-mentioned meetings; we had previously realised that we had very little chance of being placed, but the start money offered was good and we wanted to get a first hand impression of the performance of the works supported 50s. ‘ WOW’ some performance. As a result of our little expedition there emerged three important lessons: 

1. Transport. Make sure your transport is in 100% mechanical condition; especially check your rear springs. This was our reason for not reaching Barcelona in time; after travelling 500 miles during the night the rear springs gave up the ghost just as a gloomy dawn broke, and needless to say we remained gloomy for the next few days as we waited helplessly for the new springs to arrive.  

2. Insurance. If anyone is thinking of attending any of the continental meetings, make sure you have your own personal accident insurance with you. These continental organisers have a nasty habit of changing their regulations. at the last moment. It stated in the regulations for the French that the organisers would supply insurance for practice and racing, but when we arrived in Barcelona the final instruction for the French were awaiting us, and to our dismay they stated that no insurance would be available at the circuit and it would be pointless for us to turn up without our own insurance documents. Fortunately the quick thinking of my mother and the timely assistance of Mr. Leary sorted this problem cut. 

3. Machines. Make sure your 50 has at least 7 speeds tucked away in the gearbox. 

The Spanish G.P. 

Although we arrived in Barcelona on Sunday we just missed the last practice session and were refused a start in the race, so we had to be content with just watching the race. 

The MZ, Ducsons and a Kreidler were none starters, no reason given. If the preparation of the bikes had anything to do with the winning of the races, all the works machines should have won because the care taken over the preparation was well worth seeing. 

Now to the race proper; Gedlich & Anscheidt (Kreidlers) made terrific starts with Busquets (Derbi) on their tail, Messrs; Taveri, Robb, Takahashi & Phillis were some 100 yards astern. After a few laps Gedlich dropped back and the tussle between the Kreidler & Derbi began, there was never more than a few bikes lengths in it, then on lap 9 the Derbi took the lead but Busquets was suffering from cramp and Anscheidt regained the lead and went on to win by a few yards, Taveri on the leading Honda was never more than 100 yards behind but could not close the gap; i.e. the Honda was just not fast enough, the same applied to the Suzuki’s, the Tomos had serious engine bothers.  

The French G.P. 

Clermont Ferrand is in my opinion the perfect circuit, it has everything s-bends galore, fast bends, hairpins which needed bottom gear on the W.C.S. and with our lack of gears we were at a very serious disadvantage. 

The Honda’s, fitted with new piston & Barrels were fastest in practice, Taveri & Takahashi being the riders, the Kreidlers were next fastest, then the Suzuki’s then the Tomos. 

I (David) got a good start from the third row of the grid on the Tohatsu and was in 9th or 10th position for the first half of the race dicing with a Suzuki and a Tomos, I could hold them on the swervery and pull ahead a little, but as soon as we reached the hills they pulled ahead.

Then on the 6th lap my clutch started to slip and I gradually lost ground eventually finishing in 12th position with Mike steaming (not literally) up behind me on the line, he was riding the W.C.S- ITOM. 

Now a few notes on the machines.

Kreidler.  Undoubtedly the fastest 50 at present, but because they are so low they have a very long wheelbase and the road holding is not all it might be their two top riders dropping their machines on the first lap in a trance. I followed several of these machines through some of the slower corners and the riders seemed very reluctant to “ear-ole” them.

Honda.   They are slower than the Kreidler at present but I don’t think this will be for long

Tomos.   This is a completely new machine, nothing like they raced so successfully last year, they had piston & gearbox trouble in Spain & France.

Derbi.   This machine put up a very good performance in Spain, but I think a lot of this was due to the very good riding of Busquets on a circuit that he knew inside out, This bike looks fairly orthodox and has a 5 speed gearbox.

ITOM.   I believe a good ITOM with a 6 or 7 speed gearbox would be up with any of the above-mentioned machines. Any offers-???

Well members that’s just a few notes on the first of the G.P’s for 50cc want to hear more?, why not come along to the 'Corner House' after the TT, there will be plenty to discuss then. (Picture: Simmonds WCS 50cc Itom)

Dave and Mike Simmonds 1962

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