BSA .  Brian Martin,

And the "Works" BSA C15T's.

 

 

Photo Credit Maxwell King. scan from Trials Riding.

 

This Is Brian riding the Prototype BSA C15 "Star" in the 1958 Southern Experts trial in which he won, this clinched the deal with BSA management and the C15 T "Star" was put into production at the end of the year.

 

 

 

Max King on the BSA Trials “Star”.

 

Turning to the BSA “Star” the proving of this model, was placed in the capable hands of Brian Martin. Who towards the end of 1958 achieved his first major success with the prototype by winning the Southern Experts Trial.

Within a short space of time the other members of the BSA trials team were equipped with similar models, and the results obtained since there introduction has indicated what a successful future this little machines must have.

So impressed was I with the enthusiasm with which a trials version of this “250”had been developed that I felt that I would like to experience at first hand how the machine handled, and what it’s performance was like in the hands of an average rider.

Thanks to ready co-operation of the BSA Development and Competition department, I was given an early opportunity of putting a production model to the test. And my overhaul impressions could not have been better.

It is a most workmanlike trials motorcycle, and has far as I could see a faithful reproduction of the prototype.

True a steel tank was fitted instead of the alloy one used on the prototype that Brian Martin rode, and there could have been other slight differences, but to all pretence and purposes this was the real thing.

Every thing felt just right, the low slung wide handlebars, minimum of controls and the rests moved well back, and made really sturdy, the cranked “U” shaped kick start neatly tucked in and the trim high- level exhaust, with cut down silencer, and the stout steel crank-case shield.

The modified C15 frame was strong but not cumbersome, and able to take a 4” rear tyre with adequate clearance. The wheelbase and overhaul width of the machine were quite moderate.

Doubts were expressed about the adequacy of ground clearance,(7 1/2") but must be admitted that even on a course as rugged as the Exmoor I had no bother at all.

Steering lock was excellent and the front forks in keeping with BSA Tradition.

It had been doubtful whether a small four-stroke engine would “Hang-on” at low revs, or produce that sudden boost of power, which at times is essential.

Actually it did both and I could not praise it to highly.

Starting did call for a “Knack’, but it was not difficult and the Lucas direct ignition was faultless.

I see a great future for the lightweight four-stroke trials motorcycle.

 

Max King 1960.

 

Photo Credit Deryk Wylde ORR-e.

Here is Max riding that very bike, YOE388,after riding the bike for a while even Max fitted Bantam hubs and an Alloy tank.

 


This machine owned by Ted Freeman.

 

Here is a good example of the modifications done to the "Work's" C15T's.

Firstly the Alloy "LYTA" fuel tank renoundly known has the "Loaf" tank.

The fitment of BSA Bantam  hubs some were fitted with the earlier C12.

And an exhaust system that now runs inside the rear subframe tube.

Longer Rear shocks were fitted this altering the head angle by 2 degrees and making it steeper. the subframe was lowered by 2" and a new front fitting was a tube braised through the seat tube. 

The works boys used the 40/5094 fork yokes, that were only fitted to the first half of the production run, they also used a 21" front wheel, were has the production bikes had 20" fitted because of issues with wheel clearance and the front down tube when the forks were fully compressed.

A spacer to reduce fork movement on the works forks cured this however this cut the fork movement down to 4 1/2" from the 5" on the standard bike.

BSA management getting there own way again. insisting every thing must be as comes off of the production line.

Ted's bike is also fitted with the valanced alloy rims that most of the works bikes eventually got fitted with.

 

 

***

Here you can see most of these modifications by 1962 on Jeff Smith's  bike in that years SSDT.

Although the subframe still seems to be standard C15T but note the "Dogleg" kickstart fitted. And tank dented for that extra bit of lock.

 

 

***

Here Jeff showing off the mods better in this shot. Both again Credit to Deryk Wylde offroad archive.

Brother in law "Drapes" John Draper was also mounted on a similar machine with the high rear subframe, and being not that big in stature surely this machine would have been a disadvantage? May be not ? if it was a job footing perhaps this helped John keep his feet on the pegs? 

I am joking, for "Drapes" lived with his machine from before dawn to after dusk most days of the year. and the "Works" BSA was used to ferry the empty and full milk churns from the farm to the collection milk stand on the roadside most days. Dedication I think they used to call it. and making use of a tool that helps the daily grind.

 

Photo Courtesy Offroad Archive.

***

 

Note from this shot that the handlebars have got higher, more like today's. 

Was John setting the trend? or was it a lot easier to carry the churns with these bars?

 

 

Here is a nice shot from Deryk again of John's near neighbour and fellow farmer.

Also a very good trials rider,  but it is in the name, Dave Langston proving the"Works" C15T did have adequate steering capabilities.

 

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.

This is Arthur Lampkin riding in the Scottish six days trial  of 1963, Arthur went on to win the event that year on his works C15T BSA this bike still uses the swan-necked frame as well, but has a Victor tank fitted.

 

Another rider to do very well on a Works BSA C15 was Bryan Povey.

He rode for BSA early on in his trials career on a Gold Star, but then left and went to James and Greeves before eventually returning to BSA to ride a C15.

Again showing his superb "Body Lean" style that I tried to copy in my trials career,

My NOBAC mates used to say look his doing a "Povey" again.

 

Tony Davis, Jim Sandiford. John Harris, 1962 Scottish C15T.

Other works riders of note at this time  were John Harris  who worked in the development department for a while. And of coarse Scott,Dave Rowlands, Tony Davis,  and Jim Sandiford.

Photo.

 Bryan Povey,

This image scanned from ORR 94 page 14.

Photo Credit Nick Nicholls.

*******

 

By now though the "Master" had started to use much more modified machines all in the process of development.

 

***

You can see from this shot thanks Deryk again, that the frame is nothing like the production C15T frame, the steering head angle is defiantly steeper  and there is probably enough wheel clearance from the frame to use the full 5"of fork movement.

Still steel rims fitted, and by now probably "D" type engine fitted, but using the Lucas oil-pump shaft  distributor drive still.

Pat Slinn tells me that at this time Alpha and others were working on the timing side main bearing and this could have been  one of the transition engines.

 

 

***

Here is Andy Paxton riding that self same machine in the 2012 Scottish Two Day Trial,"BSA 250" that was, engine may have been a later version but the cycle parts are virtually the same. even down to the steel rims. Ted's bike again hiding in the colour shot above if you look.

To be continued with the later couple of years that the C15T ruled, in Works hands.

and including the B40 variant.

 

Now 1966 and the Scottish again, this time Alan Lampkin aboard 748 MOE was the winner. this bike now sporting the MK2 BSA trials frame, well a copy actually this one using oil in the frame the same as the scrambles bikes.

You can see this from the scan below.

Photo Scan from Motor Cycle magazine. 1966

***

Photo Courtesy Offroad Archive.

The bike Alan  is riding in the year 2000 Scottish two day trial,(above) is Arthur's  works bike which was similar. I am pleased to say the Alan now has back his "Works" C15 that he won the 1966 trial on, and is preparing it for son James to ride in the 2016 event which will be 50 years after the Machine first won.

Alan is looking for a top yoke for this machine with the part number 40-5094 on it.

If you have one of these please contact me, it is the last piece in Alan's puzzle to rebuild the machine

Hope to get a picture when the machine is finished.

 

Photos Deryk and Jack Knoops.

 

We really should add a photo of Scott on BOK228C here but I think there are enough on this site.

Unless I or Deryk find a really special one.

Just one then.

Photo "Offroad Archive". 1966 shot I think.

The more I look at the Scott Ellis last C15 frame the one the "Otters" are based on, the more I think there could have been two of these frames constructed. by Scott.  the Nickel plated frame gusseting around the head tubes look different to the original "Black" painted frame? well thats thrown the door wide open?

 

 

Photo Deryk Wylde.and "Otterman"

Does that look the same to you? so then there were two?

I do love that red Shropshire mud.

 

From 1963 there also existed a B40 343 cc version of the a C15T.

The firsts of these with some Works backing that I saw was the bike built and ridden by Oxford dealer Bill Faulkner. 

But the first official B40 was ridden by Jeff Smith said to be testing parts for the scramblers. The bike  was them mostly ridden by Tony Davis until being passed on to Jim Sandiford who was the last person to own 776 BOP.

 

Photo. Courtesy "Offroad Archive".

 

Here Tony Davis rides Yorkshire rocks. on 776 BOP.

*******

In difference to what every one believed about the B40 engined bike not being as good as the C15, It may have been a works ply to throw the public off the scent?

Well there was no production BSA B40 trials engined bikes at the time.

And BSA did not want to build them as they had a stock pile of the C15T,s.

This is what Tony Davis said about the bike 28/09/2017.

*******

Sorry Deryk, don't totally agree with your engine comments on BOP 776. It was without doubt my favourite bike & took me to many victories. It had plenty of low down grunt & found plenty of grip.

*******

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde "Offroad Archive".

Here in the 1964 Scottish is Jim Sandiford the original pilot of 776BOP?

D.O.T. works rider Eric Adcock looks on.

And don't forget Jim bought the bike later so he also must have liked the way it rode.

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde "Offroad Archive".

 

The first exponent of the B40 engined C15T as I remember again in the 1964 Scottish.

Oxfordshires Bill Faulkner. with some works backing.

and another lover of the B40 engine.

 

Photo Courtesy.OffRoad-Archives" Deryk Wylde.

Dave Rowland. Works BSA C15T. section Llwyncwtta in the 1966 British Experts. trial

 

Photo "Best trials photo Ever".

I can't find a shot of Dave Rowlands on a C15T until Deryk helps me out.

So I will just use the "Best Trials shot ever" again.

 

Just one more of the man that did most of the development work on the BSA B40.

Photo Courtesy Pat Slinn.

Here Pat Slinn riding the 440 Victor in the ISDT.Sweden 1966.

It was Pat that did most of the development work on the WD BSA B40, and it was him that juggled the gears available to get the best ratios for on and off road.

And it these gear clusters today that are most sort after. from the BSA B40GB engines..

 

 

More Later.

19/07/2017

Must add this photo of Brian Martin at the 1999 Victory trial Reunion dinner.

Brian is sandwiched between "One Dab" Gordon Jackson, and long time BSA works rider Tom Ellis. Thanks Deryk Wyld for again coming to the rescue with this shot for Brian's  sons Sixtieth Birthday celebration.

 

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.

 

More later with a story about Brians Brother Mick's "Mickmar" trial machine that he developed.

We will contiue later with more of the Works BSA's