Words: Tim Britton Pics: Gary Chapman
BSA’s chassis is okay but Cheney went further.
There is little doubt BSA were riding high in 1966 as their top man Jeff Smith – along with Brian Martin – had patiently developed the unit single engine into a world championship winning item… Smith lifted the 500cc MX world crown in 1964… and then did it again in 1965! The future for the scrambles world looked rosy.
There were, of course, those pesky two strokes causing upset and supposedly they were much lighter than the four strokes… however BSA themselves were tackling this in their own inimitable style with fancy metals and ultra lightweight machines for the works bikes that would never be offered to the public.
There were people like Eric Cheney, a former top MXer who was now producing frame kits and reworking engines, which gave the private owner a chance to do well and, even better, his four stroke machines were on a par weight-wise with the two strokes.
Eric achieved this with some pretty special components he’d developed himself, some of them appearing on John Banks’ official factory Beezer late in 1968 ready for the coming season.
This weight reduction is a knock-on effect, the lighter the machine the lighter the materials it can be made from. Yes, there is a point when this stops, but the idea can be seen.
The BSA pictured here is owned by Peter Griffith and older readers will probably remember his journalist brother, the late John Griffith, who penned so many fascinating features in MotorCycling.
Peter said: “My first scramble was the Wild and Wooley when I was 16. Our John had arranged a bike for me and it was a pretty potent thing for a 16-year-old.” The only sport he’s ever done has been MX… “except I did one trial once, couldn’t get on with the feet-up stuff,” he smiled as the rest of the Northampton club members ribbed him slightly.
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