Description
Research:

JEEP's Archives
Jeep has the copyright to some of the photographs
A D Bone has the copyright to some of the photographs
Motorcycle News
Motorcycle Magazines
On-Line encyclopedia
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.
ANDREW, DESMOND (Des) BONE and the WOOLLEY-BONE - ITOM
A few weeks before the Darley Moor September 1st 1969 meeting I got a phone call from George Ashton asking if he could ride my bike at the meeting as he had fallen out with Agrati (the Garelli importers). I said that as I already had a rider, John Foot and said that he would have to ask John.
George said he was very glad to hear me say that because it was the reason he had fallen out with Agrati.  They had let Stuart Aspin ride his bike in the Irish Grand Prix without asking him, so he had ended up saying let Stuart ride the bike, and he would go and ride another bike sourced from elsewhere.
Description
George then went on to say that my ltom was the only bike he had trouble in keeping in front of and said he had already asked John, and John had said yes he could as long as I agreed, so that is how George came to be riding my bike.
The Itom that George was speaking about.  Not Des's first bike.
So we turned up at Darley, George never having ridden the bike before. Practice went fine George was very pleased with the bike, but when he came to the start of the race for some reason it would not start (I think George had flipped the battery switch off).
Anyhow, he was last off the grid and into the first corner, but by the time he got to the hairpin he was in the lead, he had gone from last to first in half a lap unfortunately he was carrying too much speed going into the hairpin and ran onto the bank on the way out, all would have been OK but  there was a concrete post lying, part buried, in the earth bank and that put a great dent in the wheel rim. George ended up on the ground with the wheel so badly damaged he had to retire from the race and so ended our racing debut a disaster!!.
Some time later (not sure of the date but somewhere around September 1969) a meeting was arranged between Brian Woolley, George, & myself; I had known Brian since he had purchased an Itom Competition Sport Special from us in 1959, this model was very expensive at £168 (the normal comp. model was £124, this limited production machine had 1mm piston rings, and a re-ported cylinder with a modified exhaust. He competed with this bike and I accompanied him on many occasions.
Description
Itom Astor Sport Special Competition
Brian proposed that he would sponsor the building of a bike for George to ride the following year, if I would help by building the engine, he (Brian) would specify the port timings, and exhaust dimensions, and he would get Spondon Engineering to build the frame & forks.
Brian said he could provide a suitable front hub, (a large magnesium unit from a Ducati 125 racer) that he had. I would supply a rear hub (a single Campagnolio disc) & alloy rims, spokes, & build the wheels, and provide the racing Dunlop tyres. Brian also would supply (from Don Chisholm) the Itom crankcases with a six speed gearbox (They had built two a five and six speed gearbox for Bill Ivy who worked for them at the time and was racing their bikes.
I already had the five speed box in my bike, which made a big difference in using the power of the Itom engine. Brian would also supply the rear dampers from "TheWinsor Comp Shop" and he would make the wooden patterns for the front fork alloy castings. George said he knew Ron Gardner and he would supply the flat slide carburetor, so the Woolley-Bone Special was born.
For the next few months I got up at six am and worked on the engine till the shop opened at nine. When we closed at six pm I would drive over to Spondon Engineering, near Derby and work on the frame until about 10.30.  I would be helping Bob Stevenson and Stewart Tiller by chopping lengths of tube and cutting up steel to make engine plates & brackets. "You would not believe just how many parts it takes to make up a frame". The frame and swinging arm was made from Reynolds 531 tube which was strong and very light. The frame weighed in at three pounds & the swing arm with its eccentric rear wheel adjustment weighed four pounds, a very light weight frame unit.
As I have already said Brian made the patterns for the front forks, These were turned in wood and pieces glued on to make fixing lugs. These were cast in very light alloy with nikasil used to plate the contact areas and fork rams. These were all made at the Rolls Royce factory and all we had to do was assemble all the parts. Actually the dampers with all the petal reeds, and the alloy pistons were quite tricky to set up, but when assembled, worked better than any lightweight forks I had ever seen. Ray Pettit was commissioned to make the tank and seat unit in alloy.
When the bike was complete it could be picked up quite easily and held up over one's head. A very good job we were not competing at international level, or we would have had to add weights to meet the minimum requirements. We took the completed bike to Fulbeck,  a disused aerodrome in Lincolnshire, a county that is littered with wartime airfields. Brian turned up with his race prepared "Marcos" sports car & after we had run the bike to set it up, Brian suggested a drag race with his car to test the performance.
Description
This picture is of one of the six W-B frames made by Spondon Engineering.  The frame was unfortunately lost in a fire but the picture gives aan idea of the geometry. Small modifications have been made to accomodate other engines and attachments, including different rear-sets, but the base is as produced.
I got in the car with Brian and the flag dropped and off we went and much to Brian's surprise (and mine) the bike left the car standing. It was not until we reached over 80mph that the car was able to catch up and it was just over 90mph when we had to brake before the end of the runway.
Description
Full of confidence we entered the bike for our first meeting at Cadwell Park (this must have been well into the 1970 season), but the day was to turn into a disaster.  In the first race George had gear selection problems and retired.  In the second race the big end flew to pieces, no doubt due to the engine being over revved when George had missed a gear in the previous race. The power band was between 11,000 & 16,000rpm, but it probably went a lot over that if the gear was missed also we had no external flywheel.
When George retired for the second time, his father came over and commented that he thought the bike would never be any good. On hearing this my wife let rip at him with a string of adjectives that could be heard in a barrack room and would probably been better left here, however that was the last time Mr. Ashton Snr. came to a race meeting; George having sided with Jill and saying it was about time someone told the old man were to go. Also Jill and George knew very well the amount of effort I had put into building the bike.
As you can see George could certainly speak his mind when necessary and he was critical of Brian for apart from putting his hand in his pocket and making the wooden patterns for the front forks and also designing the exhaust,  he had on only a few occasions turned up to do any work but he had been in a suit and tie and stood around and watched us do the work (he was however a very talented guy). It was just that, never getting his hands dirty got to both of us.
The following week Brian came over to our shop with a Kreidler con rod & bigend bearing, the rollers in the bearing being larger in diameter than the Itom rollers. This would mean that the bearing cage would rotate at a lower speed reducing the centrifugal force on the alloy cage of the bearing and in turn reducing the chance of it seizing. Also it's design seemed to allow more oil from the mixture to access the small end.
Description
The Kreidler Conrod.
Page 2
Ian Monahan a tool maker friend working in a factory near to our shop, made me a crank pin to fit the ltom flywheels with the centre part stepped up to take the Kreidler bearing. I had to re-balance the crankshaft first and then I was able to rebuild the engine using the  Kreidler parts Brian had supplied.
The Kreidler rod was shorter than the Itom so the cylinder hight had to be reduced by turning back the cylinder base to maintain the port timings and compression ratio; also the bronze bush small end Kreidler bearing was replaced with a steel bush Ian Monahan had made to take the Itom small end roller bearing.
So after a test run it was back to Cadwell Park for the next meeting, this time all went well, and George won, the Itom just flew! Back at the workshop the following week the engine was dismantled and checked, everything was fine with no sign of excessive heat in the bearings etc.  After a discussion about the oil seals and in an effort to save any load effect on the engine, Ian Monahan made me a pair of steel ring type oil seals to a design I gave him, to replace the rubber ones and reduce the friction. The other modification I attempted was to the dykes piston ring.
As is normal with the Itom cylinders the exhaust port was bridged in the centre, and because it gets so hot it’s difficult to lubricate and it damages the piston ring. So to try and cure the problem I turned a piece of old cylinder out to a diameter about 0.5 mm larger than the cylinder bore and inserted a piston ring, heated it up to cherry red heat (a dull red ) and then let it gently cool.
I then assembled the ring on the piston (we only used the one ring), and rebuilt the engine. I found on completion that in turning engine slowly there was little or no compression (surprise surprise), but when spinning it faster there was, the ring being blown out by pressure on its L section.
On testing these modifications I found that they had transformed the bikes performance having reduced the engines internal friction. The piston ring was no longer damaged by the port bridge and we did not have to changed it for about a year of racing.  This approach to the piston ring sizing had to be applied to all pistong rings we used in this engine.
The next race for us was at Snetterton and George won without trouble, lapping the entire field coming into second place. Arthur Lawn was ahead on the Honda CR110 and George passed him just after they crossed the finishing line, both going flat out. (There is a small cine film of the race, which Des told me is very boring as George goes by and then 20 seconds later the field come past, then a gap, and George goes by, and then after about 20 seconds after the rest of the field.  If the webmaster is able to locate this it will be added to the page).
This was a 6 lap race and this sequence goes on lap after lap until George is coming through the field and by the finish line he was following Arthur Lawn up to the chequered flag. His average speed was 67.83 mph & fastest lap 69.29mph.
The average race speed was faster than the 125cc race that day. I know the lap record of  Snetterton stands to Hugh Anderson on the works Suzuki at around 75mph, but that was without Russell's. 

How much difference that makes to the lap time I don't know, but I think we would be close, as instead of slowing to about 45mph, George would have been doing close to 100.
Description
Woolley-Bone 50cc Itom Special. Rider: George Ashton
Snetterton 13/08/1970. 2nd place.
They had to wait 2min 44secs for the third place rider.
But it's a stiff uphill pull from Russells and up the Start and Finish straighand to get back to full speed and stay in the power band after slowing for Russell's. You have to use the box to its full advantage.
George continued to race the bike through the rest of the season winning every race, but during the winter George heard that Nigel Stone had purchased a Jamathi for the 1971 season! cost £1700. (The mortgage on my three bedroom detached house was £1600).
At the 1971 first meeting, held at Darley Moor, George was very worried by Nigel and his Jamathi, George was convinced that he would not be able to compete. When it came to the race it turned out not to be a problem and George had an easy win, so we started to enter the bike as the "Jambutti" just to rub Nigel's noise in it. We had been competing for about a year, and since the early problems apart from checking the ign.timing/point gap, and changing the spark plug we had done nothing to the engine and we were still using the modified single dykes ring.
Arriving at Lydden in Kent, George won the first 50 race, and from the start was leading the second, when halfway around the first lap the con rod broke. Apparently George was just about to change from 5th to 6th gear at 16,000 rpm when the next he knew he was getting up off the ground (he said he had never known an engine stop so quickly).
Anyway the small end had come off the Kreidler con rod. The small end has two holes just at the top root of the rod to lubricate the small end needle bearing, and the whole top had snapped off through the holes. Fortunately no damage was done to the cylinder or the crankcases all we needed was a new Con Rod, a Piston and a Ring. I found that the Yamaha YG1 looked just the same as the Kreidler rod we had been using, and after measuring the components up I knew i could use them. It also meant that I could use the Yamaha YAS-1 silver plated racing bigend and the small end took the Itom needle bearing.
So Ian Monahan once again made a crank pin to fit the Itom flywheels with the centre diameter for the Yamaha big end bearing. The crankshaft was rebuilt and the engine reassembled. The bike was entered for the next meeting which was at Darley Moor.
Practice went fine we did not expect any problems, but when it came to the race it was obvious we were down on power. Frank Whiteway (Eddy Crooks TR50 Suzuki) and George were locked in battle and on the last lap they came into Paddock Corner neck & neck, George only getting half a wheel in front on the line and he only did that by hanging on to the gear he was in and over revving the engine while Frank changed gear and lost momentum.
George came into the paddock and was furious, saying that's the hardest he had ever ridden to win a race, and told me to fix it by next week. I got back to the work shop and checked the bike over and found that the Yamaha rod was 1mm = 40thou (approx.). shorter than the Kreidler. My mistake and I remembered the old saying 'measure twice - Cut once', I should have measured all aspects of the new parts in my assessment for their use. I set about shortening the cylinder taking 1mm off the base to put everything right and we went on to win every races until George decided to retire.
In fact looking back we were a fantastically successful team winning every race we started except for those three DNF's. The bike was sold to Brian Skelton of Sheffield for £750 Brian Woolley was very fair, and split the proceeds 50/50.  We were asked to make other race bikes based on our frames and with mods in keeping with what we had learned in tuning the ITOM but we had no interest in doing that and so the other frames that Spondon made from the batch of 6 were sold off by them to willing enthusiasts.
As I have previously said Brian Woolley was a very talented guy, being Managing Director of White & Smiths, a hosiery manufacturer in Shepshed, Leicestershire. He was a brilliant saxophonist (equal to his friend Aker Bilk) and could be heard playing jazz at Ronny Scots club Saturday and Sunday nights. He was a Development Engineer for Greaves Motorcycles and an archivist to the Classic Bike Magazine. He was a good friend and it was sad when he passed the final chequered flag.
Return to Page 1

Des Bone's Scrapbook
Logo
Description
Description
View
Description
View
Description
View
Darley Moor 1st September 1969 George did not finish due to crashing at the Hairpin 
Description
Description
Snetterton Race Circuit 1970
Description
View
Description
View
Description
View
Description
View
Description
Frank Whiteway 1970 TR50 Suzuki
Description
View
Description
View
Description
View
The Woolley - Bone ITOM at the Barber Household.
$SIGNUP$
$VALIDATION$
Working... Please wait