Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
250cc Stayer Â– 1950
Running under false colors
As soon as the bicycle had been invented, cyclists began racing, with a passion that continues to this day in Europe where marathon cycle races like the Tour de France and the British Milk Race attract crowds of spectators. To encourage racing cyclists to attain higher speeds, pacing machines were used. Solo cycles came first - then there were tandems, triples, quads, quints - right up to the famed "Oriten" ten-man record-breaker preserved in the Henry Ford Museum - all moved by pedal power.
Power Succeeds Pedal
Around 1898, automobiles began to be used for pacing purposes, then motor tricycles, electrically-driven tandems and powered quads, but tandem motorcycles became the standard pacing machines. The steersperson, head down, kept the machine on course; the passenger, sitting upright, formed a human shield for the cyclist and tended the engine.
As machines became more reliable, one person could perform both functions, and "solo" pacing machines were powered by some of the biggest engines ever on a two-wheeler, gigantic V-twins or V4s from makers like Anzani or Buchet. Such monsters continued to be used in France until the 1960s. At the Saint-Etienne cycle track in France (demolished in 1956), the team of eight pacers bore the logo of the local maker "Automoto." On closer examination, they proved to be 250cc R4 Monet-Goyons re-badged for publicity purposes. These pacers were the last of the line. The prominent rearward fairing concealed a roller bar to stop the cyclist from colliding with his pacer.
Engine: 247cc (63.5x78mm) air-cooled inclined single-cylinder four-stroke
Power Rating: 9 hp @ 4000 rpm
Fuel System: carburettor
Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: girder forks (front); rigid (rear)
Brakes: drum (front & rear)
Wheels: 19 inch wire (front & rear)
Weight: 242 lb
Maximum Speed: 65 mph
Only the rear roller and the wind-cheating side panels distinguished this "Automoto" pacing machine from its production counterpart.