Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
500 KTI Works Racer I Stanley Woods -1937
Designed by its rider
Velocette, a success with 350cc racing, moved up into the 500 class in 1934. That first year, Walter Rush won the 500 Ulster GP mainly because most of his rivals retired! Velocette's first 500 was no match for Norton's works machines. To boost its chances for success, Velocette recruited Stanley Woods, after his 1935 victory in the Lightweight and Senior Isle of Man TTs with 250 and 500 Moto Guzzis. Woods, who had seen the 350 Velocette at that same event and recognized its potential, joined Velocette in 1936.
Woods had very precise ideas on motorcycle design and had a marked influence on Velocette's technicians. After racing with a transitional machine in 1936, a completely new works 500 was designed in 1937 and only underwent minor modifications until the 1939 season was cut short by the start of WWII.
Beaten by Seconds
The frame, derived from the 350 KTT's, was fitted with swing arm rear suspension and tested in 1937. Partly conceived by Woods, the suspension was oil-damped; pressurized air functioned as the springing medium. The engine was the 350cc unit enlarged from
74x81mm to 81x96mm. Sadly, the 500 KTT Works Racer never achieved the success of the Norton. Though Woods did win the Junior TT in 1938 and 1939 he was a brilliant second in the Senior TT in 1937 and 1938 Â– beaten both times by just a few seconds.
Engine: 495cc (81x96mm) air-cooled single cylinder four-stroke; magneto ignition
Power Rating: 40 hp @ 6500 rpm
Valves: shaft-driven overhead-camshaft; 2 valves; hairpin valve springs
Fuel System: 31 mm Amal RN racing carburetor
Transmission: Velocene 4-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: Webb girder forks (front); swing arm with oleopneumatic spring/dampers (rear)
Brakes: special full-hub dmm (front & rear)
Wheels: 3.00x21 inch (front); 3.25/ 3.50x19 inch (rear)
Weight: 337 lb
Maximum Speed: 120 mph
This 500 Velocette had the distinctive feature of oleopneumatic rear suspension at a time when many machines still had rigid frames .