Discussion in 'AJS & Matchless' started by bwolfie, Jan 4, 2014.
http://www.way2speed.com/2012/05/1939-a ... z2pRj9nfu1
I think there are supercharged HRD racers in this, they were not very successful :
1 post, and the thread does a ninety degree turn off topic !
Single cylinders used to be notoriously difficult to supercharge - the long dwell between intake gulps played havoc with the mixture strength,
and the plenum chamber needed to be large to accomodate enough mixture for the next gulp.
(Although there were some successful supercharged singles)
Twins and multis had less problems in this respect, feeding into smaller cylinders, more often as it were.
These days, fuel injection would readily take care of the mixture problems on singles, no black magic needed.
That Ajay supercharged V4 was always my fav-o-rite prewar what-could-have-been british racing motorcycle.
The story goes that Walter Rusk 'the blonde bombshell' of prewar racing discovered that the blower, being chain driven, could be made to spin faster with a change of sprockets. So he instantly demanded 'more puff'. On the old Clady circuit in Ireland, with its 7 mile long straight, he did the first ever 100+ mph lap of any racing GP circuit - and apparently those who saw him that day say he physically manhandled the bike to stay on the track, the power being considerably in advance of the cycle parts of the day - the frame was decidely spindly for the power.
He was denied a win though - the fork links broke (some say he broke them from applying sheer strength to steer it) - apparently it was accidentally fitted with touring fork links, not the extra strength racing versions they'd had made especially. Rusk died early on RAF duty during the war, so a postwar career was sadly denied, he was apparently considered a real star in the making.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=15570593
Ajays had had a lot of trouble with cylinder head sealing with those V4s and the early air cooled versions - they didn't use enough head studs ? - even though they'd gone to water cooling to solve all the problems. So the V4 was never resurrected after the war - and the ban on supercharging effectively and eventually killed off the 2 cylinder porcupine racers. Honda remade/reinvented it as the V4 VF and VFR series, not slightly related though of course, to a runaway commercial success.
Sammy Miller has one - of the 2 ? surviving bikes, they didn't build very many - and still 'parades' it at classic race meets.
This bike would have to have a place as a contender as the best looking racing motorcycle of all time ?
Even though it was never fully developed, or really had the chance to win races.
Managed to get a ride in on Dan Smiths aircooled AJS V4 replica of the aircooled prototypes, what a smooth engine that is!
We have talked about it before, it is Dans creation based on drawings and photos of the day, also info freely given by Ivan Rhodes, owner of the supercharged racer. Even that bike is a guess as Ivan and his son had to use their imagination in the recreation of engine internals. The crank and other important items were missing.
Dans bike has a wonderfully smooth engine, but I will never go back to riding a rigid frame bike as a steady diet.
He jokes that one needs to brace themselves before riding over a Telephone Pole shadow when on the AJS!
Ivan has the supercharged Velo Roarer, a twin cylinder prewar racer
Does he also have an Ajay V4 ???
Note that the 1939 watercooled V4 racer doesn't have a rigid frame, it has some form of plunger rear suspension.
Thats a very different finale for Waler Rusk than what is mentioned with the blurb about his headstone...
Good catch Rohan, I am confusing my one of a kind/none of a kind bikes built by Dan. I woke up this am in heart afib, always makes the mind fuzzy until normal rhythm resumes.
It is the Roarer which Dan is currently building that Ivan Rhodes and his son provided some dimensions and other info for.
For the AJS V4, he was at first planning to build a replica of the supercharged racebike and contacted the Sammy Miller Museum, but got nowhere.
He then decided to do the aircooled version as there was at least a little info available on those.
The aircooled Ajay V4 was at least mentioned as going to be available as a roadbike, so there is some precedence there for Dan to work with.
Sammy's watercooled V4 is probably a $million+ motorcycle as a working only one, so there is probably no mileage for them to spend time on helping making more !
All true, but then again what must the Roarer be valued at and yet the Rhodes were happy to share details. I know Dan was pleasantly surprised.
Sammy's Museum is run as a commercial enterprise, so thungs may be different there ?
They are quite a big team too, may not have got past the receptionist ...
This must have been hard to beat ? :
Since we have bounced direction again I can actually bring it back on track from the 1939 BMW TT win via Jock West to the AJS.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituar ... -West.html
Jock West was Meiers BMW team mate in 1939 and came second in the TT. But after the war (he became a Wing Commander in the RAF) he joined AJS. And in one of the very first races after the war he rode the old AJS V4 in a race in Belgium. Probably the last time it was ridden in anger - certainly by the AJS team. He talked about this on a trip he did to the NZCMRR Festival at Pukekohe. He was about 90 something at the time and certainly looked like a tough old bugger!