The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818

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Lot 49
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle

Sold for £ 50,600 (US$ 62,724) inc. premium
The ex-Harry Lamacraft
1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. SF19
Engine no. KTT 818
• One of only 49 made pre-WW2
• Raced in the 1939 Isle of Man TT races
• Matching frame and engine

When the FIM instigated the first World Championship in 1949 the British Velocette factory was well placed to contend the 350cc class, being able to field a well-developed design that had already proved its worth in the late 1930s. This was the Mark VIII KTT, a direct descendent of the 1929 Mark I, the world's first true over-the-counter production racer. Traditionally, advances pioneered on the works bikes would appear later on the KTT, and it was at the 1938 Motor Cycle Show that the Mark VIII version was first seen, the major advance on the preceding Mark VII being a new frame with swinging-arm rear suspension, an innovation enjoyed by the factory riders since 1936. In almost all other respects the Mark VIII was as the Mark VII, boasting the latter's massively finned single-overhead-camshaft all-alloy engine and separate four-speed gearbox. At a time when most of the opposition was still using rigid frames or the plunger-suspended type, Velocette's swinging fork with its Dowty Oleomatic air-sprung struts conferred a distinct advantage, despite the inevitable increase in weight.

Riding works bikes to (broadly) Mark VIII pattern, Stanley Woods had won the Isle of Man Junior TT in 1938 and 1939, ending Norton's seven-year run of success in the category, and in the immediately post-war era Wood's mantle would be taken up by Freddie Frith. When Freddie Frith retired from racing at the end of the 1949 season it was as World Champion in the 350cc class, having won every one of the six rounds, though in most cases courtesy of a special works twin-cam engine.

In 1950, Bob Foster's three victories would be good enough to bring the World Championship back to the Hall Green factory for a second time. Although the works bikes differed considerably in detail from the over-the-counter Mark VIII, the latter nevertheless provided the privateer with a competitive mount at the highest level, as evidenced by Les Graham's victory aboard a 'customer' example at the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix.

Factory records show that this matching-numbers Mark VIII was invoiced to Stevens (Velocette agent L Stevens) in London on 24th April 1939 for 'Mr Lamacraft'. The latter was Harry Lamacraft, who is pictured with this KTT in 'The Keig Collection Volume 2'. The caption is as follows: 'Whether it was in September – his first race was in the 1931 MGP – or in June's Junior or Senior, it was never anything else but Velocette for Harry Lamacraft... Principally a BMCRC Brooklands boy, he usually earned replicas in the Island.' Taken in 1939, Keig's photograph might well be the last of Harry Lamacraft in leathers, for he was one of the RAF's wartime casualties. In the 1939 TT races he finished in 19th in the Junior, 16th in the Senior, and 12th in the Lightweight TT, riding an Excelsior in the latter event.

The machine also comes with a quantity of period photographs and a letter of authentication from marque authority Ivan Rhodes, which reveals that it was owned subsequently in Belgium by Noel La Haye.

Only 49 Mark VIIIs were constructed prior to WW2 and a further 189 up to the end of production in 1950. Today the incomparably handsome Mark VIII KTT is one of the most sought after of all British racing motorcycles.

Footnotes

  • 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 ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
The ex-Harry Lamacraft, 1939 Velocette 348cc KTT Mark VIII Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SF19 Engine no. KTT 818
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