Rudge - Speedway
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Rudge D2-492-80-11
Photo ou archives : M. Woollett

Capacity : 500
Model : Speedway
Production : 1930 -
Category : (Off-Road) Speedway & other


500 Speedway - 1930

Speedway races, held on oval cinder tracks, appeared in Britain in early 1928 and enjoyed an immediate success. Within two years, speedway tracks sprang up across the country, mostly around soccer fields like those of Wembley, Stamford Bridge and Chelsea, where 80,000 fans attended a race meeting in 1929. England had never seen such rough, tough and daring motorcycle racing as this new sport from Australia.

New Market

The manufacturers responded instantly to this enthusiasm. Realizing the potential of this new market, most of the major firms quickly brought out dedicated racing models.

A Winning Formula

The first winning British machine was the Douglas flat-twin. It had the advantage of a very low center of gravity, but its in-line twin-cylinder engine forced a long wheelbase. Rudge, which dominated speed events at that time, was one of the first makers to bring out a "Special Speedway" model, in June 1928. In 1929, Rudge began to gain the upper hand to the extent that by 1930, most leading riders were Rudge-mounted. The speedway engine was of the same type, with four overhead-valves, as that used in circuit racing, but adapted to run on alcohol. The speedway tracks were so short (between 250 and 500 yards) that there was no need for a gearbox, which was replaced by a simple bevel box with a clutch. The frame was an especially lightweight unit built by Rudge, with own-make girder forks. Rudge's domination of speedway came to an end in 1931, with the appearance of JAP motorcycles, which were lighter and simpler.


Engine: 499cc (85x88mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 30 hp @ 6000 rpm

Valves: overhead; 4-valve

Fuel System: Amal alcohol carburetor

Transmission: direct-chain drive

Suspension: girder forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: none

Wheels: 21 inch (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 230 lb

The Rudge 500 was the finest speedway bike of 1930, and this restored example still competes in vintage races.

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.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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