1939 VE­LO­CETTE KTT MKVIII RAC­ING MO­TOR­CY­CLE

Classic Bike (UK) - - LOT STUFF -

Cho­sen by: Andy Bar­rett, mo­tor­cy­cle spe­cial­ist Sold at: The Alexan­dra Palace Sale, Septem­ber 2018 Sale price: Re­sult pend­ing.

Ve­lo­cette were well placed to con­test the 350cc class of the first FIM world cham­pi­onship in 1949. Their MKVIII KTT was a di­rect de­scen­dent of the 1929 MKI, the world’s first true over-the-counter pro­duc­tion racer. The MKVIII fea­tured a new, swingarm frame, but was other­wise as the MKVII, boast­ing the lat­ter’s mas­sively finned sin­gle-over­head-camshaft all-al­loy engine and sep­a­rate four-speed gear­box.

Rid­ing works bikes to (broadly) MKVIII pat­tern, Stan­ley Woods had won the Isle of Man Ju­nior TT in 1938 and 1939, end­ing Nor­ton’s seven-year run of suc­cess in the cat­e­gory, and in the im­me­di­ate post-war era Wood’s man­tle would be taken up by Fred­die Frith, who re­tired from rac­ing at the end of the 1949 sea­son as world cham­pion in the 350cc class.

In 1950, Bob Fos­ter brought the world cham­pi­onship back to the Hall Green fac­tory for a sec­ond time and, al­though the works bikes dif­fered con­sid­er­ably in de­tail from the over-the-counter MKVIII, the lat­ter pro­vided the pri­va­teer with a com­pet­i­tive mount at the high­est level, as ev­i­denced by Les Gra­ham’s vic­tory aboard a ‘cus­tomer’ ex­am­ple at the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix.

This match­ing-num­bers MKVIII was in­voiced to Ve­lo­cette agent L Stevens in Lon­don on April 24, 1939 for Harry La­macraft, a suc­cess­ful racer who was sadly killed dur­ing WWII. The ma­chine comes with a quan­tity of pe­riod pho­to­graphs and a let­ter of au­then­ti­ca­tion from mar­que author­ity Ivan Rhodes, which re­veals it was owned sub­se­quently in Bel­gium by Noel La Haye. Only 49 MKVIIIS were con­structed prior to WWII and a fur­ther 189 up to the end of pro­duc­tion in 1950. To­day the hand­some Mark

VIII KTT is one of the most sought af­ter of all Bri­tish rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cles.

“To me the MKVIII is one of the most beau­ti­fully de­signed ma­chines ever made. For me there are very few mo­tor­cy­cles that could ever top them. With the pe­riod up­grades by the dif­fer­ent rac­ers who have used it, whilst still keep­ing the orig­i­nal paint (other than the petrol tank), it makes for a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple.” Andy Bar­rett

RIGHT: Fuel tank of early In­dian twin gave it the ‘Camel­back’ nick­name

LEFT: KTT MKVIII was an over-the-counter racer now much sought af­ter

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