Fiction or Fact...

This so called BSA C15T is said to be an ex works machine built in the Competition Shop at BSA and ridden by both Brian Martin and Jeff Smith.. Was it?

 We see if we can find out the truth...

05/10/2021...

Yesterdays news gets more intriguing now I have done a bit more delving... on what is said to be a "Works" BSA... The bike was last sold by Bonhams in 2016 at Stafford...

 

And here is the write up...

1975 BSA 250cc C15T Trials Special
Registration no. KOE 68P
Frame no. CDF 29
Engine no. CDE 42

BSA's 250 trials model, which first appeared in 1959, became one of Britain's most successful trials machines, although the C15Ts that did the winning were often usually modified from standard. KOE is no exception.

Originally registered as BSA 250 it was ridden by both Brian Martin and Jeff Smith. According to an accompanying letter from Brian Martin (July 1998) to Roy Jordan the then owner, and himself a respected Midland Centre competitor, the BSA registration number was transferred to another machine. The same letter confirms the bike is fitted with an experimental Bantam frame, and that the motor is effectively a C25... Other "BSA Comp Shop" improvements include a staggered fin cylinder barrel, B50 fuel tank, narrower primary chain case, and a pair of neatly tapered hubs. It was in 2000 that Roy sold the machine to Peter Taft, who sadly died in late 2015. Peter and younger brother Paul, always astride BSAs, were top level national scramblers in the 1950s. While it is known Peter rode it just once in a Bonanza Trial, it is believed he did not subsequently ride it competitively. Dry-stored for a dozen plus years, and in a visibly fair condition, it will clearly require re-commissioning before further use. A fit-for-purpose ex 'works' machine; part of trials history!

A foot Note: by the auctioneers says... That they could not find the Frame or engine number to confirm the above...

Saleroom notices

  • We are unable to locate both the Frame and Engine Numbers.

But The bike today claiming to be five years older 1970... Clearly has the engine number stamped onto the crankcases...

There is more... Needs a page of it's own I think...

We are hoping to get a reply from Jeff Smith, who can say Yey, or Ney...

04/10/2021...

Need more information on this bike that is said to be the last bike to wear the BSA 250 plates and built by Brian Martin and Jeff Smith...

 Is it true?

 

 

We know it was a prototype Bantam frame used...

 

 

Was it one of these BSA  frames that was converted...?

This shot was taken at "Umberslade Hall" where the last of the BSA's were designed both Mike Mills, and Mike (Bonkey) Bowers, worked here... This is Mike Bowers bike..

I think that the frame for the C25 engined bike could have been one of these, but if it was, who built it, that is the question...

We know that Mike Mills built the frame for the last BSA trials bike that Dave Langston rode, but we don't know where that frame was built, was that pieced together in the BSA Comp shop...

  

 

Photo Courtesy "Jake Bee."..

 

This is the Dave Langston bike with the frame built by Mike Mills...

Now in the Edward Freeman collection...

If you look, the bottom fork yoke has simular drillings... to the bike in question above...

Also behind from the same collection, is the ex Brian Martin BSA 250 and wearing the plates as this was the last bike that we know Brian Martin was riding...And his works bike... And more so still wore the BSA 250 registration number...

So back to the plot, how do we find out if this machine is what it is said to be... I have several irons in the fire so Watch this Space...

 

 

 

Here is one of my New BSA C25 crankcase halves with no engine number stamped onto it...

 

 

Here is the one from the Ex works bike...

~~~~~~~

Right, I have spent the most of today looking into this subject, and thinking I was getting No where, I started to think in my head that the bike in question, must have been put together at Slumberglade Hall...

 But it would have had to be built before 1972 when the facility was closed...

 So I kept reading, and then some transcript from Brad Jones's book "From The Inside" a look into Umberglade Hall... good reading with stuff that someone else has told me who worked with Mike Mills...

 Anyway, just about thinking of my tea... and thought I would just look at the Facebook page for "From The Inside", and getting to the bottom of the page "Bingo"...

There is a chap sat on a bike with a Mead and Tomkinson sweat shirt on, and that bike has the same colour B50 tank, the barrel, and head, are carved just like the two fifty bike in question...But with two extra fins..

I will not put the photo on until I have permision to use it. But you can take a look on that Facebook page, just click onto the Photos and you will see the bike I mean...

 Good story getting better...

So if the bike was put together at Umberslade prototype workshop, did it then get transfered to Amoury road when the Umberslade facility closed in 1972?

I think we can rule out the bike being built by Brian Martin's team, but whether they then took over the bike as just another ride, is unclear...

 You would think if either Brian or Jeff Smith rode the bike, there would be at least one or two photos recording that fact...

I have asked Deryk Wylde and he says the bike is too pretty to be a works bike, and would they fit those orrible brakes to a trials bike... 

No photos then Deryk...

Just been reading a bit on the CCM history page, and it says when the BSA Comp shop closed in 1971 Alan Clews and Brian Martin drove down to Birmingham and managed to come away with six GP frames and other parts all for £750...

In 1973 Alan Clews asked Fred Stoneham (Interspan) if he could design a simple ignition system that would work... Fred came up with that...

This needed no moving parts...

If you look on Jeff Smiths 1968 GP bike it has the same chaincase as the "bike in question", were BSA using a no moving parts (apart from the points) ignition system then...Or was it just a total loss system using a fully charged battery?

This would be alright for one race on a GP bike, but fitted to a trials bike that in National trials were still doing seventy miles of road work per trial, plus the sections in between, so a total loss ignition system would seem foolish...

And more so did the "Bike in question" have this fitted, or Interspan?

 

 

Back to the auctioneers write up about the bike in 2016...

Reading through it and being picky... Should the line

Originally registered as BSA 250 it was ridden by both Brian Martin and Jeff Smith.... Have an"a" added before BSA 250...

 

And the line

the BSA registration number was * transferred to another machine...

Was the word "still" where I have put the star tippexed out...

 

 

Looking at the modification to the "Fourstud" forkcaps making it now two, I just can't believe that this was done by anyone at Umberslade or by Brian Martin... This is a weak point of the forks with even four studs, and the caps if cast which they would have been then, just crack across the centre of the wheel spindle... This mod, if you can call it that must have been done by one of the later owners...But why?

One other thing I noticed on the bike was that the swinging arm had been sawn apart and rewelded just before the wheel plate was this to shorten or lengthen the arm?

 

 

OK, OK, Perhaps the fork mod to two studs was done by BSA, for some reason, and not to get into that Scottish trial as Wrighty was the  first one to win that trial, on four stud forks, and they were four-stud and a long time after the "Works" bikes had all been disbanded...This photo is from the "Bantam Trials Saga" page if you look...

 

Just a snippet of History:

Jeff Smith came back from competing in a series in America as a special guest for the Northern Experts trial in 1970, he then competed the next day in the trial, but pressing on lost a lot of marks, but said he had realy enjoyed the trial...

 He was now riding a 175 BSA Bantam.. I have the photo...

Jeff retired from competative sport in January 1972...

Michael Martin left BSA in 1971 to start making the Mickmar engines...

BSA Competition Shop closed in 1971...

 

 

This the photo of Jeff riding the same Bantam in 1970, photo from Nick Draper... On "Bantam trials Saga" page...

 

More intrigue Later...