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The BRITAX Hurricane 50cc Racing Moped.
Britain's First Production 50cc Racer
Britax sold the Cucciolo (Little Pup) engine both as an attachment and as a complete machine in several formats. One was the standard cycle with pedals fitted, then a heavyweight, open cycle frame with girder forks and drum brakes fitted. This also had the pedal assembly fitted. Then there was the Scooterette: competition to the Italian scooters fast coming into the British market. This appeard to be the same thing but with a scooterish style body fitted. 
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The Scooterette was an under £lOO priced, weather protected single-seat runabout and was without doubt one of the major attractions at the Earls Court Show. 

Since then, production has gone ahead with few snags and numbers of their attractively styled little machines are now appearing in the dealer" showrooms.
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Finally, the weather protection was first rate: if a windscreen was to be used in conjunction with the extensive leg-shields and foot boards, protection would be as complete as that offered by scooters costing many pounds more.  

The success of the Scooterette pointed the way forward to satisfying the growing need for a British made 50cc racer to compete with the sleeved down machines on the track at the time.  Small engine racing (50cc) was already taking place in Italy and moving through Europe and the buzz was getting to the competitive nature of the racing motorcyclist.  they needed a machine that could compete and one that would allow them to fettle and tune the engine to get more out of it.
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The 'piece de resistance' was the Hurricane, aimed at the fledgling 50cc racing fraternity. Underneath that dustbin fairing were the same cycle parts as fitted to the standard and Scooterette models. The pedals were removed and a megaphone exhaust fitted. I'm not sure if any modifications were made to the engine bar the fitting of the megaphone exhaust. The Hurricane holds the claim of being the first production 50cc racer in the UK and a 50mph top speed was claimed.
An early racer getting down to it on a mildly tuned and lightened Ducati Cucciolo. Early fifty racers campaigned the LittlePups like this with considerable success.  This engine is wearing a very short stubby megaphone exhaust, as tuning developed the more recognisable long pipe with the horn at the rear of the bike was adopted.

The two-speed ohv pull-rod 48cc engine mounted in a standard British-made Britax frame reached an easy 40mph in standard trim.
 
Brief Specification:
Austentic valves in the Pull Rod system
Double coil valve springs
Megaphone exhaust 
Amal carb
Weight was 97 lbs. 
Top speed of 50 mph plus.

It had proven itself as a racing fifty on the continent and in 1951, for a publicity stunt, a lone model with a string of willing riders had circulated the Italian Monza race circuit at an average speed of 39.3mph for 48 hours.
By late 1953 the British motorcycle press were having a go at 'some speed' work with a 'little pup.' Tuning comprised of some minor porting work, carburettor adjustment and a tiny open megaphone exhaust well, what “respectable Single raced without one?” all fitted into a carefully run in well set-up model of the Scooterette cycle parts, now with its hotted up Cucciolo engine. 
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Wearing racing leathers and adopting a crouch familiar to all of us, any rider, regardless of skill could hit 45 - 50 mph. 

With the advent of the full Dustbin fairing the picture was set for a very competitive machine to wage war on the sleeved-down NSUs and other engines that were about in the UK at the time.
Race speeds, on the track, increased with the competition of the sleeved down NSU Fox two-strokes and now the 'race developed' Cucciolos, not just reaching 40-50 mph but lapping at 45-50+ mph. This was not far behind the slower 125s of the time. Both the motorcycle press and the watching public became impressed and pushed the idea of 50cc racing but an anti racing fifty group grew. Fortunatly and often their voice backfired helping rather than hindering the fledgling cause.
The above pictures show that there is at least one survivor (as far a research shows there was only about 20 ever made!) and it was in the Saltarelli Collection in Italy. This collection was split up and sold off by RM Auctions in Monaco but the Hurricane did not feature in the lots so who knows where it is now.  (Information needed please)
1955 50cc Britax Hurricane - 001  Part of the Saltarelli Collection. Photographed by Phil Aynsley at Senigallia, Italy in 2000.
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The following article is from the Power and Pedal magazine.
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Research:
JEEP's Archives
Motorcycle Magazines
On-Line encyclopedias
News Paper Cuttings
Scrap Books
Submissions from readers by email 

We are always looking for contributions to the web page. Please let the web master know if you have any information or pictures for them. If we have used a picture that requires permission please contact us.
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Return to Mount-up The Bikes
Errol aerodrome, Scotland on May 23rd 1955 is credited as being the first recognised 50cc race but with only three entries, all Britax Hurricanes and a winning speed of only 31.7mp.h. with Gordon Bird in the saddle, the class stood little chance of success and was dismissed at the end of the year.
Jeep, the webmaster, was corresponding with George Todd. George is well known for his motorcycle engineering skills and overall knowledge and perhaps in particular his work in developing the BSA Bantam engine for racing. He made the following comment which adds to the history of the Hurricane. "I'm still hoping to find someone who has a picture of the remarkable demonstration race that was staged during a Silverstone Saturday, or perhaps BMRC event, in which about 20 Britax racers were lined up on the starting grid. This was, I guess around 1954. I rode one of them which was fun as I wobbled around my favourite airfield circuit, along with Thruxton, and later Snetterton...  (We are trying to find more information on this and if any reader has a contribution, please email to us).
Perth and District Motor Club was first established in April 1907 (earliest record) as a car and motorcycle social club.The move to mainly motor bikes came about in late 1954/early 1955 when a group of Perth businessmen members decrede thatas it was a motor club the bikes should be excluded, but they misread the strength of the bikes membersand were promptly voted out. They then went on to form the 55 Car Club and P&DMC continued as mainly bike events with the odd car treasure hunt. Over the years the Club has run all aspects of the motorbike sport including Road Races: Meetings were held at Errol Aerodrome, Balado Gask Airfield and finally at Knockhill.

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Arnold Jones was forever pushing the 50cc racing idea and in his attempts to publicise the Ducati Cucciolo inspired Britax Hurricane managed to convince some circuits to run 50cc races.  He approached the Perth and District Motorcycle Club agreed to run a class.
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However, this was not the death of the '50' and further races took place on the English circuits in 1955 and still do. 
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George Todd on one of the Britax Hurricanes that took part at the Silverstone circuit in 1955
copyright of this photograph resides with George Todd
Arnold Jones assuming the position on the Britax Hurricane.
Britax | Hurricane | 50cc | Racer |
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