Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
250cc Scrambler -1960
Arrival of the featherweight
Just after WWII, scrambling was the most popular form of motorcycle sport in Great Britain. The machines were initially big 500s derived from road-going models, such as the FN of Belgium's Rene Baeten or the Manx Norton ridden by Les Archer. .
More Difficult Circuits
To cut the speed of scramblers, the circuits were progressively made more difficult. This forced the marques to create more manageable machines and is why lightweight bikes powered by two-stroke engines appeared.
From TT to Telstar
Fitted, for the most part, with the robust 250cc Villiers 32A two-stroke, the pioneers were the products of small British manufacturers such as Greeves, Dot and Cotton. Suitably tuned, this engine - originally designed as a touring unit - fitted in a featherweight frame, rapidly enabled these light machines to get the better of the big, heavy 500cc four-strokes. The little factory, founded in Gloucester in 1920 by
Willoughby Cotton, never produced more than 20 motorcycles a month. Yet, it created an enviable reputation thanks to its patented lightweight frame made from straight tubes. In 1923, Irish rider Stanley Woods won the Junior TT with a works Cotton equipped with a 350cc Blackbume engine. Closed during WWII, the factory reopened under new management in the 1950s. It concentrated on trials and scrambler contests before returning to road-racing with a speed machine powered by a Villiers Starmaker engine called the Telstar - with which Bill Ivy, Peter lnchley and Derek Minter achieved success.
Engine: 246cc (66x72mm) air-cooled Villiers Starmaker single-cylinder; flywheel magneto ignition
Power Rating: 18 hp @ 6000 rpm
Fuel System: Amal carburetor
Transmission: 4-speed, chain fmal drive
Suspension: Armstrong leading-link forks (front); swing arm (rear)
Brakes: drum (front & rear)
Wheels: 3.00x21 inch (front); 3.50x19 inch (rear)
Weight: 245 lb
This Cotton 250 is identical to the machine ridden by Bryan Goss, top gun of the Cotton works scrambler team.