The Bill Mor­ris 6-speeder

Old Bike Australasia - - WALSH BANTAM -

Dirt Track star Ray Cur­tis rode the 6-speed Bill Mor­ris Ban­tam at Bathurst and ex­plains the ins and outs of that ma­chine. “To ex­plain the op­er­a­tion of this set up will be equally as dif­fi­cult as it was to ride.

“On the right side of the bike was the nor­mal gear lever mounted in re­verse. On the left (drive side) there was as nor­mal the rear brake pedal, but be­hind this brake pedal was an­other lever which was con­trolled by the heel of your left foot. Com­ing from the clutch han­dle there were two ca­bles; one went to the clutch in the nor­mal man­ner, the other went to the heel-con­trolled lever be­hind the foot brake. At­tached to this lever was a metal plate, quad­rant shaped, with a rod that at­tached to a lever that con­trolled Bill’s mech­a­nism in­side the drive side crank­case. A metal plate the same shape was fixed to the frame. This plate had a springload­ed pin which was con­trolled by the sec­ond cable from the clutch, so we have two quad­rant shaped plates that slide past each other. One has a pin that when the clutch is let out the lever (heel con­trolled) is held in that po­si­tion un­til the clutch lever is ac­ti­vated again.

“So, it goes like this. You’re on the start line in low gear. You push. It starts and you throw your leg over, stretch it out then change to sec­ond in the nor­mal man­ner, but with the clutch ‘in’ you se­lect sec­ond on the right hand side and at the same time you push the lever at the rear of the foot brake down. On re­leas­ing the clutch you are in sec­ond but you are ac­tu­ally in ‘low sec­ond’. Now you stretch it out in sec­ond then ‘flick the clutch,’ the pin comes out and you are in ‘high sec­ond’. To change to third you re­peat the pro­ce­dure i/e change to third on the right, push the left foot lever down and you are in ‘low third’, stretch it out, flick the clutch you’re in top gear. Go­ing down the ‘Esses’ for in­stance, there was no need to use the left foot pro­ce­dure, as with­out ac­ti­vat­ing the ‘Low Range Lever’ the Bike was rid­den in the nor­mal man­ner. Bill’s Ban­tam was timed at 96 MPH through the trap on Con­rod Straight.”

Bill Mor­ris on the 6-speed Ban­tam Mt Druitt, 1954.

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