There’s an unwritten rule that Bike EXIF does not feature bikes shot against a garage door. But this is one of the rare cases when I’m prepared to break that rule. This Colorado-based bike is a masterpiece of minimalist race bike design, and it popped up three days ago in one of my daily must-reads, the addictive Bring A Trailer email. It’s a speedway motorcycle, from a time when the sport was absolutely huge in Europe. And it was a dangerous sport: bikes like these will hit 60mph (100kph) in less than three seconds and have no brakes or gears. (Hence the giant sprocket on the back wheel.)
This particular bike was built by Godden Engineering, set up in the 70s by European grasstrack champion Don Godden. I remember Godden being known for their engines, but this racer apparently has a 500cc Weslake 4-valve motor in a Godden frame, built somewhere between 1978 and 1982. (According to BaT, “Don Godden had sole rights to the distribution of Weslake racing engines, and it was the powerplant that dominated the sport throughout the 70s.”) Owner Charlie Bigsby says, “I don’t have much history on the machine before I got it. It was used for its intended purpose in SoCal for quite a while though: I got it as a rolling basket case, and restored/refurbished it for local British car/bike shows. It won a couple of ribbons and got its pic in the Snap-on Tools calendar in 2008.” Head over to BaT for more background, and sign up for their daily email while you’re at it.