Real Classic



May I correct the Cacciatore article in Rc199?sicily was invaded on the 1O'hjuly 1943. It was my dad's 30thbirthd­ay as he was parachuted into the south east corner of the island. Next stop Italy, then a nice 'holiday' at Arnhem. Lovely.

When he was 7 years old, dad chased a ball into West Street, Dunstable, was hit by a Douggie and scarred for life. Although he spent years as a sidecar passenger to and from work, he was anti motorcycle. When I wanted a nice harmless Lambretta he relented and signed the papers.what a great machine thrashed everywhere and all year and utterly reliable, though the feeble 6V lights were a pain. Literally, when I crashed at night.

Istarted road racing in 1968.When it started, my 1960 Velocette Venom was quick. But that clutch! I bought an as new green 1969 Commando Fastback, DEV 83G, and raced it from 1970 to

'73 . For my first meeting I rode it the 100 miles to Snetterton and did four races. At least four races every possible weekend, as well as doing 200 miles per week to work all year. It did 37,000 miles before the drive side main needed replacing.

To me, Woolwich built = good; Andover = bad. My engine never had any go faster bits at all, but it was just as quick as many a 'tuned' one. I lightened all the valvegear so it was safe to over 7600rpm I usually rewed it to 7500. I could never afford any special parts and never even had a Norvil head steady to stop the weaving back end I modified the standard tin one .I had to use secondhand parts, even tyres. The standard distributo­r was rubbish as the points bounced at high revs, causing a loss of 400rpm. I used a K2F magneto on the authority of John Hudson at Norton total cure.

Dad eventually came to some meetings and the cheeky sod said,'you need a faster bike!'one with more ground clearance would have helped.

I did a little green lining on it too, but the Kr76tyre on the front was a hindrance. I was once stuck for an hour in a mudhole caused by horses...

I had to retire the Commando at 107,000 miles as it was completely knackered and I had no money to rebuild it. Marriage, two children and a mortgage does that to a bloke, you know. The way I used the Commando reminded me of the inter war yearswhen multi usage was common. I am only now buying parts for the rebuild. A really great bike, with a busy past same as Dad!

David Woods

That Commando sounds entirely amazing . Do you have any photos? Frank W

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