The Bill Morris 6-speeder
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.