Brough Superior - Leaping Lena
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Brough Superior D2-492-76-05
Photo ou archives : M. Woollett

Capacity : 1000
Model : Leaping Lena
Production : 1931 - 1932
Category : (R) Racing- Record


1000cc JAP "Leaping Lena" - 1932

The wizards of Oz

In 1931, four Australian motorcycle enthusiasts who lived and worked in England pooled their resources to construct a machine capable of taking the solo and sidecar speed records.

Speed on Ice

At that time, these records were held by the English rider Joe Wright (Zenith-JAP), with a solo speed of 151 mph and the Swede Edward Magner, who had achieved 114 mph with his Royal Enfield-JAP outfit on a frozen lake.

The Gang of Four

Alan Bruce headed the Australian team. He also built the bike and rode it during the sidecar record attempt. His assistants were Arthur Simcock (a talented rider who worked for Shell), Phil Irving (who designed the fairing and would later work for Vincent-HRD) and mechanic Keith Horton. With J.A. Prestwich's backing, the machine christened "Leaping Lena" was transported to Tat in Hungary in 1931, but the motor was wrecked during a solo attempt by Simcock and the team returned to England without having broken any records. After a year of development, the team returned to Tat in 1932, but Simcock again damaged the engine, this time during a record attempt in Austria. Bruce rebuilt the V-twin in London. In April, despite a strong side wind, Bruce finally set a sidecar record of 124 mph in Vienna, becoming the first man to exceed 200 km/h with a sidecar. As the regulations dictated, Bruce carried 144 lb of ballast in the sidecar to represent the weight of a passenger.


Engine: 996cc (80x99mm) air-cooled V-twin; magneto ignition; chain-driven supercharger

Power Rating: 100 hp @ 6000 rpm

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: Sturmey-Archer 3-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: friction-damped bottom-link forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (rear)

Wheels: Dunlop Special 2.75x18 inch tires (front & rear)

Weight: 430 lb (solo); 590 lb (with sidecar and ballast)

Maximum Speed: 160 mph (solo); 131 mph (with sidecar)

The Australian team (left to right) Horton, Bruce, Irving and Simcock with "Leaping Lena" and (inset) Simcock wearing a helmet streamlined to match the fully-faired bike.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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François-Marie Dumas

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