1967 BSA A50R
Frame no. ED 256
Engine no. ED 260
In an attempt to increase sales during 1967, the BSA competition department built five very special A50 'R' models specifically to compete in the USA, at Daytona and West Coast events. These were 'factory jobs', with many differences from a standard A50 'Star' twin, and were raced by American legends such as Dick Mann, Don Vesco, Don Emde, Jody Nicholas, Eddie Wirth, etc.
This machine, Chassis # ED256, Engine #ED260 (with 'ED' denoting the Experimental Department at BSA of course), was originally raced in 1967 at Daytona by Dan Haaby. It was ridden in AMA, AFM, and ACA races in 1967 and 1968 by Don Vesco, and was in Vesco's possession from April 1967 to January 2000. According to Don Vesco, this A50R "was ridden by Ron Pierce at Daytona in 1968, but [he] was sidelined after practice due to mechanical problems...[It] was ridden by Jody Nicholas as a 650cc in 1969, [and] was undefeated during that year in AFM/ACA road races. [It was] converted to a dirt tracker [in 1970] and ridden at Ascot by Wayne Hosaka. [The] bike was retired and in storage until restoration in 1998. This bike has won races at Riverside, Willow Springs, Carlsbad, Orange County, and Ascot [race tracks]."
Former BSA race shop employee and factory race team rider Graham Sanders states of this machine, "ED260 was ...one of the motors I put together and bench tested [at BSA]. All the main castings were stamped No.8. Test Bench figures are as follows: 1 3/16" GP carbs: 5750(rpm)- 40.2bhp...6750rpm 48.84bhp...8250rpm -52.92bhp." BSA race shop employee Jeff Smith has confirmed building frame #ED256 in the BSA race department, from lightweight Reynolds tubing.
Don Emde writes of this A50R, "The bike was an ex-factory BSA A50 twin previously raced by motorsports legend and longtime friend, the late Don Vesco. And he later sponsored two other legends, Jody Nicholas and Ralph White on it at road races held at Carlsbad Raceway. I had just started with club roadracing in the mid-1960s and that was when I first remembered hearing about these factory prepared 500cc A50 twins, and it was great to watch them race. In the years to follow, I made it onto the factory BSA racing team, but by then BSA was racing a 750cc triple which I rode. But as a BSA man I always appreciated where the A50 twin fit into the lineage of the brand and I was excited to have the chance to step back in time and experience what the A50 was like to ride. I recall in 2009 that before the parade [at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Mid-Ohio, 2009], the AMA allowed me to take a few laps around the race course, and I was very pleasantly surprised with the power and light feel of the bike in the turns. It quickly became apparent to me why Vesco and Nicholas had the success they did back in the 1960s."
This historic and rare BSA A50R is the last BSA to win an AMA road race, at Bryar Motorsports Park (Loudon), on August 11, 1985, and represents an exceptional opportunity to own what is perhaps the most important BSA twin-cylinder racer of the 1960s.