Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
3.5 hp "Old Miracle" -1912
The Wizard of Brooklands
Rider-tuner Daniel O'Donovan debuted on a Norton at Brooklands in August 1913. The next month, he broke four world records. His speeds for the 500cc flying 5 miles (71.54
mph) and standing-start 10 miles (68.08 mph) were also fast enough to beat the 750 records. His mount became known as "Old Miracle."
From Road to Record-Breaking
This machine first appeared in 1912. Jack Emerson, a Norton dealer from Hull, had ridden it the 240 miles to Brooklands from his home. He then set three 500 cc long-distance records (100 miles, 2 hours and 150 miles) in winning the 150 miles BMCRC Senior TT - and then rode home again.
Saved from the Scrap Heap
But in 1913, O'Donovan- the brother-in-law of R. T. Shelley, who had bought a Norton in 1912 - found Emerson's bike in a scrap heap, rebuilt it and tuned the engine. Within two months of his first record session, Norton launched the "Brooklands Special" at the London Show, each one guaranteed to have lapped Brooklands at over 65 mph. In April 1914, O'Donovan and his tntsty Norton once again set new flying mile and kilometer records in both 500 and 750 categories - their speed of 81.05 mph for the flying mile was the first time a 500 had officially exceeded 80 mph - and also broke the 500 and 750 sidecar records. Considering that "Old Miracle" was a side-valve single with iron piston and cylinder, direct belt drive and norear suspension, its reco,rds seem even more remarkable. No wonder O'Donovan was better known by his nickname - "Wizard!"
Engine: 490cc (79x100mm) air-cooled single cylinder four-stroke
Power Rating: 18-20 hp @ 4500 rpm
Fuel System: Binks "Mouse-Trap" carburetor
Transmission: direct-drive by leather belt
Suspension: Druid girder forks (front); rigid (rear)
Brakes: none (front); belt rim (rear)
Wheels: 26x2.5 inch wi re cli ncher (front & rear)
Weight: 201 lb
Maximum Speed: 85 mph
In its remarkable career, "Old Miracle" is known to have set no less that 112 world records, ridden by the equally legendary "Wizard" O'Donovan.