A brief flir­ta­tion with a 7R

Old Bike Australasia - - SCHIRMER 7R AJS - Story Ge­off Schirmer

The sin­gle over­head camshaft 7R AJS was known as the Boy’s Racer – a pro­duc­tion rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cle the lads could af­ford and tune. It was the main­stay of the 350cc class from its in­tro­duc­tion in 1948 to the mid 1960s.

In 1959 I bought a sec­ond-hand 1951 AJS 7R for 100 quid from Lau­rie Jamieson in South Aus­tralia. I didn’t en­quire about its pre­vi­ous his­tory. In ret­ro­spect I wish I had. Not that there was any­thing wrong with the bike. We push-started it in Lau­rie’s drive­way and it had that won­der­fully rich cammy sound, so I hap­pily handed over the fold­ing stuff and proudly drove home with a 7R in my trailer. My first race with it was at the Port Wake­field cir­cuit north of Ade­laide. Prior to this a cou­ple of mates and I took it to a long stretch of straight bi­tu­men for a fuel mix­ture test, check­ing that the plug was the right shade of grey. I lived at Ta­nunda in the Barossa Val­ley. The near­est piece of tar­mac with rel­a­tively lit­tle traf­fic was lo­cated at the foot of Ac­com­mo­da­tion Hill, head­ing from Truro to Blanch­town. This was flat mallee coun­try. We used to do the test­ing soon af­ter day-break on a Sun­day morn­ing, when there was lit­tle chance of traf­fic, and hope­fully even less chance of the cop at Truro turn­ing up, who had a wide-spread rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing par­tic­u­larly dili­gent. He did even­tu­ally ping me, but that’s an­other story. The mem­o­ries are price­less. What a plea­sure it was, on a cool pris­tine morn­ing, to take in a few lungs full of the dew-soaked aroma drift­ing in from the sur­round­ing mallee salt­bush – soon to be trumped by the even more ex­otic redo­lence of a few good sniffs of BP Rac­ing Fuel as we care­fully poured it from a 4 gal­lon drum into the 7R tank via a fun­nel. Even more price­less are the mem­o­ries of the push-start. The pat­ter of 6 or 7 quick steps and then rrrrrrrRRR­RRRMMMMMM – the air-cracking bur­ble of a 7R be­ing warmed up. Fol­lowed a few sec­onds later by a cho­rus of mag­pies and crows from the sur­round­ing bush com­plain­ing loudly about hav­ing had their sleep dis­turbed so early on a Sun­day morn­ing. And the colour of the plug? Just the right shade of grey. We went through this same rit­ual test run of the 7R be­fore each race meet­ing. There was no me­chan­i­cal rea­son for the test. We hadn’t done any­thing sig­nif­i­cant to the en­gine that might have re­quired a dif­fer­ent jet. I think we did it mainly for the sheer plea­sure of lis­ten­ing to the 7R in the Aus­tralian bush on a cold Sun­day morn­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.