Classic Trial - - CON­TENTS - Ar­ti­cle: Yoomee

BSA Ban­tam

At the Dirt Bike Show in Novem­ber 2013 I was placed with my stand, rep­re­sent­ing both Trial Mag­a­zine and Clas­sic Trial Mag­a­zine, next to the Poach­ers Pre-65 Clas­sic Tri­als Club stand. As with any­thing tri­als I am al­ways cu­ri­ous and spot­ted what looked to me like a BSA Ban­tam D3, which I’d had as my very first mo­tor­cy­cle. It was then that I struck up ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion with what turned out to be the ma­chine’s owner, Mick Daw­son. He is a keen en­thu­si­ast who com­petes on his BSA Ban­tam in the series and en­joys the sin­gle-lap na­ture of the events. He loves rid­ing the Ban­tam but wanted an eas­ier day, to look af­ter his ag­ing body, and so ap­proached spe­cial­ist builder Jim Pick­er­ing to see if he could help.

This Dray­ton Rigid Ban­tam, fit­ted with its replica frame, was built to re­place the tired old orig­i­nal 1950 model be­cause the frame kept crack­ing due to its ag­ing steel­work and the con­stant use in com­pe­ti­tion. With its owner be­ing the same age as the trusty ma­chine and also con­stantly tak­ing a ham­mer­ing on the body with the old D1 forks, which did not have much in the way of move­ment, it was time to get some­thing that was a bit more for­giv­ing on the front end, and so with this in mind this the Dray­ton Rigid Ban­tam was born.

Suc­cess for Mick Daw­son with this faith­ful friend had won him the North­ern Bri­tish Bike Cham­pi­onship Vin­tage Two-stroke Class and the Poach­ers Pre 65 Club Cham­pi­onship Two-stroke 50/50 route but it was time to re­tire the Ban­tam to the garage for some much needed up­dat­ing to aid the rider’s body and also ex­tend the life of the BSA.

The new Dray­ton Rigid was fit­ted with Alan Whit­ton pro­duced wheel hubs and fork yokes, and an alu­minium fuel tank was fit­ted which was com­ple­mented with a clas­sic bi­cy­cle seat ob­tained from the Hal­fords car ac­ces­sories shop! The front forks are now 35mm di­am­e­ter and fit­ted with Nor­ton replica slid­ers and fork gaiters to help with pro­tec­tion. On top of th­ese Do­minio han­dle­bars and levers are fit­ted. The 175cc en­gine’s per­for­mance has ben­e­fited from a re­build car­ried out by the Ban­tam spe­cial­ist Jim Pick­er­ing, of Dray­ton Ban­tam fame at Kid­der­min­ster.

Manx De­but

The idea was to have the en­tire ma­chine ready and re­built for the Manx In­ter­na­tional Two Day Clas­sic Trial in 2013 by Mike, but with time run­ning out he gave the project for build­ing the frame and assem­bly of the ma­chine to Pick­er­ing. He was first-class in his work and against the clock the ma­chine was ready for its first run­ning, only two weeks be­fore the event.

It all went well and it was a happy Mike Daw­son who headed to the Isle of Man with his re­built ma­chine. Con­sid­er­ing it was the first time it had been rid­den in anger the whole event went well, with Mike fin­ish­ing in 36th place rid­ing in the Club­men class and just miss­ing the ‘Best Rigid’ ma­chine award by a mere five marks.

The in­ter­est in the ‘New’ Dray­ton Rigid BSA Ban­tam has been very en­cour­ag­ing, to say the least; Jim Pick­er­ing is wait­ing to see if this brings him any new or­ders for the machines, and if it does he may well con­sider build­ing a small batch. If you are in­ter­ested in the ma­chine why not give Jim a call on: 07850 836 571.

The ma­chine has a very nice slim line to it which makes for an eas­ier pas­sage through the

haz­ards. Mike was re­ally pleased with his first out­ing on the ‘new’ ma­chine

at the Manx In­ter­na­tional Two Day Clas­sic

Trial 2013. Jim Pick­er­ing re­built the 175cc BSA en­gine There is no me­chan­i­cal joint be­tween the ex­haust front pipe and si­lencer as it’s welded at the join­ing area. As with any Pre-65 ma­chine, wheel align­ment is very im­por­tant to keep the chain run as good as pos­si­ble. Good qual­ity chain ad­justers are fit­ted with a ro­bust stop for them to butt up to. Alu­minium wheel rims are laced to the Alan Whit­ton man­u­fac­tured wheel hubs. The vul­ner­a­ble ex­haust si­lencer is up-swept to keep it out of harm’s way. You can also see the mod­ern-type footrest setup to aid rider com­fort when faced with a

long day on the ma­chine.

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