One-off 1920s-style Brooklands racer took four years to make

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Building a bike is the dream of many motorcyclists – but making one completely from scratch, including most of the engine, frame and bodywork, is virtually unheard of.

Yet that’s exactly what this 1920s-style racer is, having been built over four years by hand.

The 'Brooklands SS500' is the labour of love of master engineer and former sprint racer Carl Wadkin-Snaith who made virtually everything other than the carbs and tyres. More impressively still, no castings were used, no CNC machinery employed and the bike was built solely in Carl’s spare time inside his workshop in Corsham, Wiltshire.

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Carl says the idea was to create a one-off in the spirit and style of racing bikes used at the historic circuit in the late '20s.

The engine is based on the crank and gearbox of a Suzuki DR750 but with a Yamaha SR500 piston. The period-style engine cases, barrel and head he designed and machined from solid.

Carl made the frame, the girder forks are a modified eBay buy, the wheels are Yamaha DT50 (front) and relaced/rimmed Honda CB250RS (rear). He also made the handlebars, all controls, tanks and even the exhaust.

Finishing touches included designing a logo which was painted onto the tanks by Carl’s daughter, and engraving 'Made in England' onto the cases and gearbox housing.

The bike’s appeared at sprint events and exhibitions and even won awards. Carl said: "It’s satisfying when enthusiasts are thrown by the bike, believing it to be a real 1920s racer! I’d love to keep the bike, but I need the space to begin a more elaborate project; a 1940 supercharged TT racer that never was."

The bike’s been valued at up to £30k but Carl’s looking for around £15k.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.