The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. JOS 6449

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Lot 143* N
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. JOS 6449

Sold for £ 10,350 (US$ 12,901) inc. premium
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,
1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. JOS 6449
At the beginning of 1963, Ivan Mauger had just returned from New Zealand to race for Newcastle in the Provincial League, and was regarded as very much a junior member of the team. In a (copy) letter on file, he states that in 1963 he only had one complete JAP machine and a spare engine. Ivan soon extended his stable, buying this 1961 Rotrax-JAP in April '63. Of this machine he says: 'I originally built this bike in January/February 1964. From the start of the 1964 British Season I had two complete JAP speedway bikes and a spare JAP engine.'

Britain's oldest and best-known supplier of proprietary engines, J A Prestwich (JAP) did not make complete speedway motorcycles, thus leaving the field open to a cottage industry of frame makers, among the foremost of which was Rotrax. Rotrax's forerunner had been founded in Southampton as a bicycle manufacturer by Bill Harvell, who had won a cycling Bronze Medal at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1945, the business was taken over and began marketing its products under the 'Rotrax' name, diversifying into the manufacture of frames for speedway motorcycles in 1952. Workshop foreman Mike Compton used Reynolds 531 manganese-molybdenum carbon-steel tubing, which was nickel-bronze brazed into lugs to produce a beautiful frame that was light but at the same time strong enough for speedway racing. The frames were chromium plated by Rotrax's neighbours, Blakes of Gosport

With demand for its proprietary engines declining, JAP was facing hard times and in 1951 sold the rights to its speedway motor to former rider, Alec Jackson. Jackson continued to build engines and sell spares for many years afterwards, and the business was subsequently taken over by George Greenwood. Combining the Rotrax frame with the Jackson-built JAP engine gave rise to the famed Rotrax-JAP.

Although it never secured Ivan a Speedway World Championship Final victory, this is one of several Rotrax-JAP machines used in the following career highlights listed below.

1963 British Provincial League Riders Championship 1st
1964 British Provincial League Riders Championship 1st
1966 British Championship 2nd
1966 British-Nordic Championship 2nd
1966 European Championship 1st
1966 World Championship 4th
1966 World Team Cup 4th
1967 British Championship 2nd
1967 World Championship 3rd
1968 British Semi-final 1st
1968 British Championship 1st
1968 British-Nordic Championship 1st

The JAP engine was tuned by Ivan's long-time mechanic, Guy Allott, and also by Mike Erskine of Southampton, who was one of the best-known (and successful) small-scale producers of speedway machines under the 'Staride' name, later doing the same thing with 500cc/1000cc racing cars, also called Staride. He later earned a reputation as one of Britain's most capable tuners of JAP racing engines.

Ivan sold the Rotrax-JAP only to repurchase the machine, which he then restored in his Gold Coast workshop in 2004/2005, the engine being rebuilt by Mike Farrell. Following completion, the machine was displayed at Ash's Speedway Museum at Bathurst in New South Wales, Australia (circa 2014).

Footnotes

  • The machine is offered with a 1966 World Speedway Championship trophy, sponsored by the Sunday Mirror; a 1966 Capstan Best Pairs tankard; racing vests from the European Final in Wembley and World Final in Gothenburg, Sweden; together with two pennants for the same year.

    As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Contacts
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. JOS 6449
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. JOS 6449
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. JOS 6449
The 1966 and 1967 Speedway World Championship Finals; 1966 European Championship-winning; 1968 British Championship-winning,, 1961 Rotrax-JAP Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. JOS 6449
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N NOVA declaration

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