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Apart from a few snippets, like it had a six-speed gearbox (when it actually had only five), the carburettor was a 22mm Jikov with a Dell’Orto float chamber (which he already knew), that was all they were prepared to tell him. Their reticence was probably due to pressure from the ‘powers that were’ in Prague who seemed resentful that he had the bike at all. But for Terry’s efforts the JAWA would have gone for scrap.
High-tech, low tech from this Czech
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Peter Dobson tracks down another unusual little racing 50. This JAWA/TATRAN is something of an engineering enigma with ‘spiritually uplifting’ points and other areas of pure bodgery.
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DISPITE their impressive off-road record, JAWA do not have a reputation for fine engineering. Nevertheless, Terry Larner’s 50cc JAWA racer is exquisite, a credit to the Czechoslovakian firm.
Formed in 1929, Jawa started racing in the early thirties with bikes designed by Englishman George Patchett, Brooklands rider/tuner of McEvoy JAP vee- twins. George went on to even greater things when he returned to Britain upon outbreak of War and designed the Sterling sub-machine gun! Jawa were taken over by the state in 1945 and returned to racing two years later with un-supercharged and supercharged dohc twins.
Terry Larner sits astride his 50cc JAWA racer, he collected it from Czechoslovakia strapped to the roof of his car.
The 50cc racers were introduced in 1964. There were three (perhaps four at the most), all built by Povazske Strojirny Np Povaz ska Bysterica, the unpronounceable subsidiary responsible for all of Jawa’s ultra-lightweight bikes and mopeds. All were slightly different, suggesting they were made for individual riders. Purely works machines, when raced in Czechoslovakia they were known as ‘Tatrans’ in red and white or blue and white. All colours were present on the tank and frame of Terry Larner’s JAWA/TATRAN.
Produced from an article in Classic Racer                    with additions and errata, where the page has generated discussion and allowed valuable information to be added, My thanks to Lukáš Hromádka for some of the background. (by Jeep).
Terry is dedicated to preserving ANYTHING to do with 50cc racing and he heard about the Jawas in 1977, by which time they had been sold to private owners. He arranged to buy one through a man in Prague, collecting it from Harold Merkel, the German 250cc road race champion, at his motorcycle shop in Bayreuth near the Czechoslovak border.
The little racer was strapped to the roof of the car for the journey home — a risky business for Terry and his two companions with a gale blowing, pouring rain and NATO manoeuvres going on all around them. Unlit tanks and lorries thrashed past them along the autobahn in clouds of spray and, just to add to the excitement, the bike came loose and nearly fell off the roof!
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Mind you, the JAWA was already a depressing mess as somebody had crashed it in a comprehensive way. 
Terry wrote to the Czech embassy in London asking for details of the bike. There was no reply and he finally lost patience and complained to the Czech government. One year later came a friendly letter from the embassy stating that the JAWA had ‘won a number of national races and achieved some good results in International events in Austria, Yugoslavia and the GDR’.
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The JAWA badged  Tatran 50 is both low and light. Seat height is 26.5 inches; weight 110lbs. (Lexmond Museum)
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The massive six-plate clutch would do justice to a good 250
He discovered that the disc-valve engine has a bore and stroke of 40 x 39.6mm and a compression ratio of 14.5:1, the factory claiming 10bhp at 13,500rpm which gave the JAWA a top speed of 90mph
That equates with the power/performance ratio of other racing 50s. Certainly the massive six-plate clutch, with its complex built-in shock absorber would have no trouble with that sort of output. Terry says it would do justice to a good 250!
He also says the engine was a tool room job that must have cost a fortune to produce. “All the bits that matter are spiritually uplifting to an engineer,” he enthuses, but in the crash the forks had hit the crankcase and separated the vertically split halves, buckling the mating faces, breaking off a crankcase fin and wrecking the distributor.
The restoration was a lengthy, bloodstained business, only recently completed. “I had to ‘fight it’ all of the way.” The crank cases were warmed and straightened out beneath a powerful press — a very ‘dodgy’operation. Then he machined the faces, taking five to seven thou off both. That meant relocating all the spigots and shortening the crank shaft and the gearbox shafts to fit the narrowed space. Incredibly, the engine is a runner, but after all the modifications and total lack of spares Terry has no plans to race the bike.
The ‘upside down’ forks, frame and rear suspension units were made specially for the racing 50s — there was nothing available to bolt on in Czecho, partly due to a lack of western currency. The forks had come off second best in their collision with the engine and Terry had to make new yokes in Dural and a set of stanchions in high tensile steel. The sliders and the dampers are the originals.
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Much work was needed on the tubular frame, the correct geometry finally being restored by putting an iron bar through the head tube and applying plenty of heat. “It would have been much quicker to have made a new one!” said Terry. The swinging arm showed signs of having had a set of lugs hacked off and was probably constructed in the JAWA race shop from spare tubing.
The 18 inch wheels were standard items from production lightweights, shod with narrow tyres (2.00 front, 2.25 rear) running at surprisingly low pressures — around 17 and 21lbs respectively with the average sized ‘jockey’.
The smashed alloy rims had to be replaced but they were useless anyway. They had been drilled oversize and washers placed beneath the spoke heads to crudely re-align the wheels. This was probably the work of the same unsympathetic soul who’d raced the bike with the engine unsupported by the cylinder head mounting bracket! Terry used a photo of another works bike to make a bracket.
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The melted front brake back plate with its cast-in pattern was easily replaced by anew one off the shelf. By all accounts the brakes were very good despite their humble origins, but, then, they weren’t unduly stressed by the little 110lb machine.
Czech engineer Tichy (who at the time was developing new racing two stroke twins and fours) had a hand in the design of the 50 and Terry reckons the JAWA and its sisters were either mobile test beds for the larger units or prototypes for the more sophisticated 50cc racers which appeared later. These had similar power units in twin loop cradle frames and wheels with magnesium brake drums.
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The 1966 front brake was a standard item for the JAWA lightweight road bikes. As the 50cc race bike developed throughout the European continent it was decided to move to more lightweight, stronger metals and the example opposite is of the 1971 magnesium variety. A move to disc brakes came later. (JEEP)
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The following pictures are taken from the article in Classic Racer. 
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Photographs of the "Larner 1966 JAWA" at the Lexmond Museam taken by Göran Kähler
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A very good restoration of a mid 1960s TATRAN 50cc racing machine.  This has the aircooled engine similar to the Terry Larner model but with 6 speed gearbox. The small hump behind the gear change arm shows the difference. The frame is of a different construction showing, for example, a modified top tube design. 
The factory of Povaszke Bystrica, well known for their supplying of the JAWA 50 lightweight motorcycles and MANET scooters, is engaged in the production and development of machines up to 250cc cylinder capacity. This picture shows their road racing model of the 50cc and 75cc classes without enclosure bearing the name TATRAN. TATRAN, which is their brand name, will also be the name of their 125cc standard scooter.
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A Gallery of JAWA - TATRAN racers through the development and racing period. Also included are models made by private individuals for their own enjoyment of racing.
  1965 TATRAN
1965 Tatran
1965 TATRAN
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1965 TATRAN-2
1965 Tatran-2
1965 TATRAN-2
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Works production 1968 Water-cooled, dry-clutch, rotary-valve Tatran road racer with its reverse-cylinder.
1968 Tatran Road Racer
Works production 1968 Water-cooled, dry-clutch, rotary-valve Tatran road racer with its reverse-cylinder.
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Works production 1968 Water-cooled TATRAN at the Lexmond Museum Holland
1969 Works Production Model
Works production 1968 Water-cooled TATRAN at the Lexmond Museum Holland
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A 1967 TATRAN, with Disc Brakes parked at the race track
A-Tatran 67
A 1967 TATRAN, with Disc Brakes parked at the race track
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The same TATRAN at the Lexmond Museum, Holland
A-Tatran2-With Disc Brakes Lexmond
The same TATRAN at the Lexmond Museum, Holland
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better shot of the 1967 TATRAN showing the engine.
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better shot of the 1967 TATRAN showing the engine.
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An early TARTAN 50cc Racer. Possibly 1965/66 showing drum brakes.
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An early TARTAN 50cc Racer. Possibly 1965/66 showing drum brakes.
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Emot-TATRAN in action in the European 50cc championship during 2013
Emot-Tatran In Action In European 50Cc Championship ,2013
Emot-TATRAN in action in the European 50cc championship during 2013
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An EMOT-TATRAN special (opposite) built using a factory racing engine with an Emot developed chassis.
Emot-Tatran With Factory Racing Engine And Emot Chassis
An EMOT-TATRAN special (opposite) built using a factory racing engine with an Emot developed chassis.
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A TATRAN 50cc GP Racer of 1970 vintage, developing 15 bhp at 14500 RPM. This model is using Drum Brakes and a forward facing Exhaust system. This may have a barrel that is not TATRAN.
TATRAN 50 GP
A TATRAN 50cc GP Racer of 1970 vintage, developing 15 bhp at 14500 RPM. This model is using Drum Brakes and a forward facing Exhaust system. This may have a barrel that is not TATRAN.
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A TATRAN engined racer that was developed by Josef Cermak.
Tatran By Josef Cermak
A TATRAN engined racer that was developed by Josef Cermak.
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TATRAN 50 RS (1)  Information needed)
Tatran 50 Rs
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TATRAN 50 RS (2)  Information needed)
Tatran 50 Rs-1
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TATRAN 50 RS (3)  Information needed)
Tatran 50 Rs-2
TATRAN 50 RS (3) Information needed)
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TATRAN 50 RS (4)  Information needed)
Tatran 50 Rs-3
TATRAN 50 RS (4) Information needed)
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TATRAN 50 RS (5)  Information needed)
Tatran 50 Rs-4
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A TATRAN 50cc RS at the Lexmond Museum, Holland. This was described as the 'Factory Model'
Tatran 50 Rs-Factory Version
A TATRAN 50cc RS at the Lexmond Museum, Holland. This was described as the 'Factory Model'
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The bike had obviously cart wheeled and caught fire, melting the front brake plate. Not surprisingly, the frame was bent, the exhaust pipe flattened, and the tank badly crumpled. In addition to all that, everything was totally clapped out.
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“The engine,” Terry says, “is light years in advance of the rolling chassis which is primitive in places — the footrest stays are strips of steel. But the ratchet filler cap, in contrast, is a work of art. It is interesting to speculate just how JAWA might have changed the course of postwar motorcycle racing history had the race shop not been starved of money and materials.”
The JAWA / TATRAN 50cc Racing Motorcycle. This page was first posted at the beginning of September 2018. Since its posting I have had numerous messages from people from East and West Europe pointing out missing data and some inaccuracies in the story on the ‘Larner Jawa’. I cannot change the article as written but I have made comments and additions on the fly and secondary pages. I hope that the new posting gives a fuller and more accurate read.
Comment received from Martijn Stehouwer, who lives in Deurze Holland and is the Owner of EMOT Racing: The first lines of the article about Jawa not being known for fine engineering are a bit misplaced. Jawa was in its days a big engineering name, with box loads of patents on motorcycle engineering. Even Honda paid to use Jawa patents, in fact, I think they even outsourced some developments there...(Honda's first two-strokers are full of engineering details that are common in Jawa-CZ products)
TATRAN or JAWA?  In re-researching the information contained on the page in Classic Racer, I have found that there seems to be a lot of confusion on the internet as to ‘what is what’ in the ownership and the manufacture of the bikes. From this research it appears that the Jawa concern never made a complete 50cc factory racer themselves. However, the Jawa 90cc two-stroke engine was a very popular engine which lent its self to down-sizing and good tuning and was popular with the racing fraternity for use in the building of 50cc race bikes. (See pictures in the gallery and also the Tatran page)
Whatever the badging on the motorcycle, the frame, engine and almost all other parts are the same as the three Tatran racers built by the Povazske Strojirny factory who were a supplier of parts to Jawa but not a subsidiary. The attached page gives a fuller picture of the Tatran and its development and successes. 
Piston Rings
Please click here For the TATRAN Page.
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