Name: Ian Ager 
Birth date:  23 April 1940
Birth Place:  
Date of Death :  Not Yet
Place of Death :  Not Yet
Nationality: English 
Gender: Male
This part of the page follows the Question and Answer session with Jeep for the RFEC Magazine "Small Torque".

1. When did you first become interested in racing 50’s?

In 1959, a BSA Gold Star fitted with a Triumph T100, 500cc engine with a twin carb, splayed head, T100C. E3134 camshafts, the ultimate street racer was purchased, this being my third motorcycle after a 125cc Norman in trials trim and a 350cc BSA B31.

This is where my downfall starts, living only some 8/10 miles from BrandsHatch most weekends during the summer were spent watching motorcycle racing. I soon found out that on Wednesdays and Saturdays there was an open practice with alternating 20-minute sessions between cars and bikes. All this for the princely sum of 15/- (75p) per half day, or25/- (£1.25) for all day, it was just a case of turning up, paying your money, tape up the headlight glass and off you go on the track.

It was whilst trying to emulate the likes of the” King of Brands”Derek Minter that “IT” first came to my attention by overtaking me on the inside of nearly every corner of the track and it was only on the straights that I could reap my revenge, with the grunt of some 40+BHP against the 5 BHP from the ITOM.

Being passed whilst riding the 500 TRIBSA by a 50cc was so demoralising that something had to be done!!. After chatting to the owner of the ITOM 50 in the pits, I talked him into a ride on a “what you bend you mend” basis and that was it, after 20 minutes I just had to have one of these flyers.
Dick Chalaye informed me that it was one of the first batch of 6 they had ever sold, The model came fitted with leading link forks, 180 degree front mudguard, and 20x 1.3/4 inch tyres. The engine, standard 3speed hand change unit gear box, comp barrel fitted with the small size cylinder head, 16mm Dellorto carb, and the piston was the thick ring competition type with a contoured head.

With the 20 inch wheels it was a case of lining the bike up for the corner and go for it without moving a muscle, if you had to change your coarse for any reason, it would promptly spit you off, onto the green stuff, I know I learnt the hard way!!. Being a 57 model it was not as quick as the latest 1960 mark 5 models. How did I set about resolving the speed problem, see what I did here.
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2. When and from whom did you acquire your first Racing 50?

In the later part of 1959 I purchased an ITOM Competition from a chap called Les Howard who must have weighed about 11 stone plus and had raced it a couple of times in the year without much success. As it was his only form of transport, for 5 days a week it was used for work and then on the Sunday race day it was ridden to Brands Hatch some 20 miles, lights, mudguards and exhaust removed etc, cow-horn megga fitted, raced, rebuilt and then ridden home.

1960 mark 5 Water-cooled ITOM
This engine was built for the 1962 250 mile Chiltern Enduro to be held at Snetterton. Porting for the barrel was taken from my home worked 1957 engine with some input from the late Brian Woolley, the engine was first started up on the Friday evening before the race on the Sunday, It finished the enduro in 8th place, on the pit stops for fuel and rider changes, the water temperature was taken and was running at approx 80 degrees C. Later experiments showed that as you increased the water temp you got an increase in power etc, the water temp was set at 95 degrees, for all the races after that, back in the early 60`s there was no information available on what temperatures to run two stroke engines at.
Very quick and very unreliable, too many things to sort out at one go, should have built the frame first and sorted that out before building the engine, but the details of this can be seen here.
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1963 Mark 5 Rotary Valve, Water Cooled TSO.
Ian Ager and Frank Wildes with the ITOM at the 1962 Enduro
3. How many racing 50`s have you owned over the years (supply makes with likes and dislikes of the machine)
Answer:  1957 mark 5 Itom Competition This was supplied by “Tooleys” of Lea green, South London,
4. What memories do you have of the early racing 50`s scene etc. (plus any achievements and successes etc)
What a great set of guys they were, the comradeship, they would help you out if you were in trouble even though in doing so you would then beat them in the race, The likes of Dave Simmonds although being the "number one" would always stop and speak, The jokers of the pack, little Bill Ivy, and my old mate Vic Dedden even after 40 years meeting up with him again still had that light hearted look on life, and could keep you in stitches.
This photograph was taken at the Festival of 1000 Bikes, at Brands Hatch in 1998 and shows three good friends, Chris Walpole, Vic Dedden and Ian Ager re-living old stories of the 60s.  The bike that Vic is on was the Geoff Bedford Masitom which he rode a lot in the early days. (Editor)
Chris Walpole, Vic Dedden and Ian Ager, Brands 1998 
The late Brian Woolley who I shared many a phone call and letters with, who even in the early 60`s knew what he was doing and also the late Geoff Bedford (Steve’s dad) with his little note book where he recorded the set up 
for each race meeting i.e., jet size, and gearing, weather and any other mods he had just done, and would openly share with anyone this information.
As for the achievements and successes, winning the first race of the season at Brands Hatch in 1962, OK, the big names, Simmonds, Ivy, Mates, etc were not there, but a win is a win. Riding Brian Woolly’s Kreidler at Cadwell Park after it came back from competing in the 1962 TT where it was “looked at” by the Kreidler works team and then telling him that I would ride my own IWA Itom, as it was quicker in the race and broke the lap and race record, only to see Hugh Anderson break it a couple of months later by some 9 mph. on the works Suzuki single at 61 mph.
Dave Simmonds standing by the WCS ITOM they built.
5.  Have you been involved with any other class of racing motorcycles or competitive motorcycling?
In 1963 had a couple of races on a 125 TSS. Bultaco at Snetterton on a "what you bend you mend" basis, the Bultaco was a quick one, that Peter Preston won the 125 Brands championship on in 1962. I was given a piece of advice by Frank Sheen who had rebuilt the engine during the closed season, "when you get onto the long back straight don’t let the revs settle at one speed, just keep easing the clutch so that the revs go up by 200/300 then come down again, this will stop it from seizing up", which was a common occurrence with the early Bultaco's.
I did get involved in tuning a 125 Parilla for a group of engineering apprentices, who used it in ago-cart to compete against other engineering companies apprentices in an annual challenge match. It went well against the 125cc BSA Bantams and Villiers of the day.
The 125cc Parilla Engine 1964
6.  Who, if anyone has been the biggest influence in your racing career, or the 50 cc in general?
The likes of Derek Minter whose riding style was so smooth and unhurried,but could lap the small circuit of Brands at 56 seconds from first to last lap in the early 60's, where his competitors started at that speed but gradually slowed up as the race progressed, even in these later years he still has the style of high order at the parades he enters. And Dave Simmonds he was so professional in his approach to 50cc motor cycling that he made the rest of us look like amateurs, so nice to see him as 125cc World Champ in the 70's
7:  What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?
From Bob Latham, in the early months of 1960 after seeing me pick myself up after taking a tumble on paddock hill bend at Brands, Get rid of those 20” wheels and tyres, fit 18”x 2” and you will find it will stick on the road a bit better, get hold of a set of Girling rear suspension units to replace the spring damped Itom units, and lock up the friction dampers on the leading link front forks so they are solid, This advice certainly made the bike more rideable.
8:  What piece of advice or tuning tip if any would you like to pass on to fellow members.
With the limited power output of the 50`s what you loose on the corners you can never make up on the straights, watch the quicker guys they will have the best lines round the corners and are twice as quick along the straights as you. If the engines going well, leave well alone, always try to tune your engine to the same pitch that it was in when it was absolutely flying, just before it cried enough in a big way!!!. Why do they always go that much quicker, at that moment in time, than any other?
Old Codgers Ramblings - By Ian Ager
Whilst watching the 125cc G P from Italy on British Euro-sport television a couple of months ago, the commentator remarked as the winner, second and third place men parked there bikes in “parc ferme” that they were off to be weighed before going onto the rostrum for the prize giving. He stated that the machine and rider must weigh a minimum of 147 kg to comply with the regulations. On saying that it reminded me of an incident that took place many years ago.
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Read the Ramble here and wonder where we would be without this incident.
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The Rotary ValveTwo-Stroke Engine. by Ian Ager.
My interest in this subject came about when I was invited to a friends garage to view his collection of vintage/veteran motorcycles, one machine that caught my eye was a little 1922. 268cc Sun motorcycle which was a two-stroke with a rotary valved inlet. This led me into, who designed and built the first two-stroke engine with a rotary inlet valve.
To read the rest of this story, please click the link below.
The two-stroke that we know of today was invented by an English man by the name of Joseph Day who was born in London in 1855, in 1873/74 he trained as an engineer at the School of Practical Engineering at Crystal Palace in London. At the end of 1874 he then moved to Bath to work for Stothert and Pitt a company manufacturing large cranes for the docks and railways.
Another memory that I have was prompted by coming across a letter from a spectator at a Cadwell Park race held on the 1st July 1962. You can even break records and not know about it. 
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