1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 41381 Engine no. 2256

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Lot 536
1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 41381 Engine no. 2256

Sold for £ 10,350 (US$ 12,863) inc. premium
1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 41381
Engine no. 2256
Formed by the acquisition in 1894 of the Rudge Cycle Company Ltd by the Pugh family’s Whitworth Cycle Company, Rudge-Whitworth built its first motorcycle in 1910 and is best remembered for its pioneering use of four-valve cylinder heads. Rudge Whitworth’s first four-valve production motorcycle appeared in 1924, and the company persevered with the layout until manufacture ceased at the outbreak of WW2. The motorcycling public’s response to this new four-valve, four-speed model was enthusiastic, and by the end of 1924 twice as many machines had been produced as in 1923. The full potential of Rudge’s four-valves-per-cylinder design was slow to emerge, but in 1928 Graham Walker’s works 500 became the first motorcycle to win a road race - the Ulster Grand Prix - at an average speed in excess of 80mph, a feat which led to the introduction of the legendary ‘Ulster’ sports model. Early engines deployed parallel valves in a pent-roof combustion chamber, but then in 1930 a trio of 350s appeared at the Isle of Man with radially disposed valves. This new arrangement emphatically demonstrated its superiority when the Rudge team of Tyrell Smith, Ernie Nott and Graham Walker finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Junior TT. Nott, Walker, Smith and Wal Handley were entered on 500s in the Senior race, Handley finishing 1st at a record speed of 74.24mph with Walker 2nd, Smith 6th and Nott 7th, winning for Rudge the coveted Team Prize. Not surprisingly, the Rudge Ulster was the machine to own in 1930. Several different valve arrangements were tried across a variety of 250cc, 350cc and 500cc four-valve models as the range developed throughout the next decade. Sadly, the marque did not re-emerge after WW2.

This racing Ulster has parallel valves in a pent-roof combustion chamber, an arrangement typical of the early models. The machine was purchased ten years ago by the vendor from an elderly gentleman (since deceased) in Germany. Completely restored there between 2001 and 2006 using many new parts, the Rudge successfully completed three laps of the Hockenheim track in 2007 and is said to run very well, although still in need of fine-tuning.
1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 41381 Engine no. 2256
1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 41381 Engine no. 2256
1930 Rudge 499cc Ulster Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 41381 Engine no. 2256
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