The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler

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Lot 227
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler

£ 6,500 - 8,500US$ 8,200 - 11,000
Amended
The ex-works, Ron Langston
c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
• Displayed at the Sammy Miller museum
• Paraded at the Bonanza Reunion

It was after the highly functional HT5 reached the trials market in 1956 that Ariel finally regained top status for competition machinery, a reputation they'd enjoyed throughout the 1930s. Astride the new HT5 the factory team – comprising Gordon Blakeway, Sammy Miller, and Ron Langston – became immediately successful in National Trials, with numerous outright wins and Manufacturers' Team Awards. Ariel's next priority was to produce an equally desirable scrambler; chief develop-ment engineer Clive Bennett thus constructed a handful of light weight prototype 500cc HS scramblers, plus one 350cc example, utilising a strengthened HT frame with modified head angle, a longer swinging arm, and an 18" QD rear wheel. Ariel's single cylinder competition engine had always been competitive, but had long been inhibited by the poor handling and weight of the previous twin down-tube chassis. The initial machines, fitted with bash-plates beneath the engine, tended to crack crankcases, resulting in the addition of two strengthening rails. Although not recognised as hardened scramblers Blakeway and Langston soon made a considerable impact in the Scrambles arena, with the latter occasionally beating BSA's Jeff Smith! In fact Ron's tally of results saw him selected for Britain's prestigious 1959 Motocross des Nations Team. [Later, after a brief but brilliant stint in road racing, plus 5 British Sidecar Trials Championships, he was justifiably acknowledged as Britain's best all-rounder.] Although the 350 Class was becoming ever less popular, Langston raced the smaller capacity HS on several occasions [see picture on file]. In October 2016 he recalled, "...with its GP carb and so on the 350 was a quick little bike; while dicing with Geoff Ward for the lead at the Cotswold Scramble, I accidentally had us both off!" It was also in 1959 that Ariel announced the cessation of all 4-stroke models, in favour of the visionary new Leader/Arrow 2-stroke series, albeit a sad decision for off-road competitors, given the HT and HS had shown so much promise.

Little is known of what happened to the HS3 after the closure of Ariel's Comp Shop, other than it was acquired by the vendor in Cornwall, in rebuilt condition, in 2009. The Ariel has subsequently been at Sammy Miller's Museum and was also 'paraded' at the annual Bonanza Reunion in the Cotswolds but, apart from new tyres, it has remained untouched. It was an instant starter on the occasion of our photography visit.

Offered without registration documents the file includes an in-period monochrome shot of Ron Langston racing the HS3 in a Somerton Club event. Such 'works' machines are an authentic slice of Scramble's rich history!

Saleroom notices

  • Both crankcases are stamped 139 beneath the engine. The machine is offered with a photographic printout signed by Ron Langston, stating:   "During the period of 1956-59 I rode Ariel Motorcycles for the manufacturer. There was only one 350 and the machine pictured here appears to be the one. Of course over 5o years have passed since I last rode it so I cannot be absolutely certain it is the same machine, but I do believe its is".   Accordingly, prospective bidders should satisfy themselves as to the authenticity of the machine prior to bidding.
Contacts
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
The ex-works, Ron Langston,c.1958 Ariel 350cc HS3 Scrambler
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