BSA Gold Star Daytona Special

BSA Gold Star
From David Edwards—Last time we saw a Bobby Sirkegian bike on these pages, it was a super-clean Triumph 650 dragster. Now comes his BSA Gold Star Daytona special, last raced by Sirkegian 50 years ago and the subject of a recent full restoration. The Goldie’s history in the Daytona 200 is short but sweet; it ran just three times on the Florida sand, but in each instance it was the best-finishing BSA. In 1957, shipped over from BSA’s “comp shop” and entrusted to rider Al Gunter, it set the fastest qualifying time. And then ran neck-and-neck with the factory Harley-Davidson of eventual winner Joe Leonard, before finishing second following a lengthy refueling stop. By 1958, this Gold Star was in the hands of 18-year-old Sirkegian, the AMA’s top-ranked Novice. Bobby qualified on the front row for Daytona’s Amateur 100-miler, and rode a smart race to finish in fourth place, as the first BSA. The following year Sirkegian bagged a ride on a spare factory Harley—he was now an Expert—but he was back on the Beezer for 1960. This was the last year on the sand for the Daytona 200, before it moved inland to the International Speedway. Unfortunately a suprlus pit stop killed Sirkegian’s chances of a top finish—he arrived home 17th—but he was still the first BSA, behind a slew of Harley KR750s.

BSA Gold Star
After 1960, American roadracers would get increasingly more specialized, sprouting fairings, rearsets and clip-ons. Sirkegian’s BSA, used for roadraces, TTs and, of course, Daytona, was based on a stock Gold Star. It had a slightly larger gas tank holding 5½ gallons, enough to give a 100 mile range so the 200 could be accomplished on just one pit stop. Up front, an optional full-width 190mm brake slowed the BSA from its 125-mph top speed on Daytona’s paved back straight. A set of heavy-duty Girling shocks (originally intended for sidecar use) dealt with the track’s sandy, rutted corners. The motor was largely as delivered from BSA, with S&W springs installed to combat valve float at the 7000 rpm redline. A special RRT2 close-ratio gearbox meant the engine could be kept on the boil into and out of turns. The most important addition was a special Daytona air-intake system that placed the filter near the right rear shock, where it was shielded from sand spray by the rider’s leg.

BSA Gold Star
Last raced at the Ascot TT in 1960, the Gold Star remained in Sirkegian’s garage all these years, though parts went missing and rust had its way. In 2007, he took the old bike out of mothballs and treated it to a better-than-new restoration that took three years. It’s now ready for its next competition when it hits the auction block at the big Bonhams Las Vegas sale the first week in January.

BSA Gold Star

  • Den

    Beautiful goldie, very nice to see one that is a little bit different!

  • Spats MacGee

    I love that air intake.

  • KIK

    im stealing the intake idea.

  • Skippermike

    A beautiful bike, perfectly matched to rider and race.

  • joe momma

    …it looks real in the black and white…’s too made up now….too much eye shadow, too much chrome….like concubine in church….nice bike….overdone…..

    • An Rollin

      you’re right, very pretty old one, but too much polish. How to make a museum shit from a piece of history…

  • Mule

    125mph! On sand with no fairing and flattrack bars! From a 500 single! That thing must have made some good grunt in 1960 and thats pretty impressive even for today!

  • Harry Farquhar

    Some day I will cobble an air cleaner and oil tank like that on to my XR600. My only question is how does the rather smallish seat on this Beezer leave room for the huevos gigantes needed to ride it at 125 mph?

  • Anonymous

    great bike, too bad the patina is gone i the restoration

  • Well I think it looks great, nothing wrong with the chrome and polish, you cant tell me that in 1960 this thing was rusty had bit missing and looked like shit??
    I bet when it was being raced it looked pretty much like it does now, no-one would do 125mph on sand on a bike that looks like its just been pulled out of a wreckers yard no matter how big your balls are.

  • Pampadori

    @mule – I don’t think the straight at Daytona is sand.

  • Mule

    There “Were” two straights. One was sand, then a big U-turn, then a a narrow paved asphalt straight. Then a big U-turn, then back down the sand. I think the straights were 2-3 miles long too! Not sure what year they went to the Speedway, but the cars ran on the sand as well. All the action was in the U-turns. It was a horsepower track, just as the Speedway is today.

    • Bikes raced on the beach until 1960, after that of course they moved to the Speedway as we know it now.

  • D2237

    AHHHHH nice.

  • Trelman

    Sirkegian’s racebikes were always well turned out. His dragsters were nicknamed “Pretty Boys” remember.

  • madv

    i think the intake looks goofy-its just a huge pipe with a huge grill thing? the sprocket and drum on the same side is pretty cool though.

  • KIK

    merry cristmas kids…..

  • elven

    The handgrip on the left fork tube is a nice touch… get down low on the straights. That might work on my roadbike!
    Surely a top racebike would have no patina, it would be “as new” every outing, so the shine works for me.

  • Hope the history of the bike is true as well or will we see multiple bikes with dubious history claims?