Ex-Joe Potts, Alistair King, Joe Dunphy
1961 Norton 350cc Manx Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 97315
This 350cc Manx was campaigned during the 1960s at both national and international level by Joe Dunphy, one of the most talented motorcycle racers of his generation. His name is closely linked with that of legendary tuner Francis Beart, on whose green-and-silver Nortons he won the Manx Grand Prix Senior race in 1962 and finished 2nd in the 1965 Senior TT, beaten only by Mike Hailwood on the works MV. While Beart provided bikes for the Manx GP and Isle of Man TT, for the rest of the season Joe relied on his own machinery, the Norton offered here being one of two the other a '500' purchased from Scottish tuner Joe Potts for the 1962 season. Bob MacIntyre had ridden the 500 while the 350 had been Alistair King's. Interviewed for Classic Bike magazine (April 1994 edition, copy available) Joe recalled: 'They were both good bikes and I did well that year with several wins and lots of second and third places at Mallory, Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Crystal Palace.'
Joe Dunphy had been born in London of Irish parents hence his trademark shamrock helmet emblem - and got his first experience of motorcycle racing aboard a Triumph Tiger 110 road bike. Switching to a more suitable mount a Manx Norton he first revealed his potential by running 2nd in the Manx GP Newcomers' Race before the Norton's engine seized. His association with Francis Beart began with an offer of bikes for the 1962 Manx Grand Prix, and following Joe's win he was entered in the TT in 1963. Joe then asked Beart to prepare the two ex-Potts Nortons for his short-circuit campaign. 'He never told you what he did to his bikes,' he told Classic Bike. 'But they were great to ride. They were also oil-tight. Like most Manx Nortons mine chucked oil everywhere but they were just as quick as his, maybe quicker. Francis tuned his bikes for reliability, not speed.'
Nothing if not adaptable, Dunphy also raced a Greeves Silverstone at the United States Grand Prix at Daytona in 1964, finishing 5th, and won the BMCRC's 1,000 kilometres production motorcycle race at Oulton Park later that year on Tom Kirby's AJS G12 CSR, teamed with Paddy Driver. Invited to compete in Europe on the strength of his TT 2nd place to Hailwood, Joe raced his Nortons at the Austrian, Czechoslovakian, West German and East German Grands Prix in 1966. The following year he rode this 350 Manx at the Czechoslovakian, East German and Ulster rounds of the World Championship, with a best finish of 8th at Dundrod. By this time disillusioned with the racing scene, he retired at the season's end, going on to run a brake relining service and then a successful car spares business.
The current owner purchased the ex-Dunphy 350 Manx in 2004 from a classic car garage in Dorset that was selling it on behalf of a Mr Sparrow. A letter on file from Joe Dunphy to the current vendor states that he had sold the machine to one Terry Sparrow in 1967, at which time it was fitted with a Fontana front brake (see photograph). The initials 'J D' are stamped on numerous engine, gearbox and chassis components. Since acquisition the Manx has been used at the VMCC's 'Festival of 1000 Bikes' but has not been ridden since 2012, though it has been started occasionally since then. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry photographs and the aforementioned magazine and letter.
Manx Nortons are not exactly uncommon, but examples like this one with Grand Prix history in the hands of top-flight privateers and Joe Dunphy was one of the very best are rare indeed and justifiably prized by serious collectors.
- We are only able to see the beginning and end of the frame number (11M9___5). The Engine number is 10M97315.