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The Autumn Stafford Sale – The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show / Offered from The Forshaw Speedway Collection, c.1970 Hagon-Cole Speedway Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 'Cole' (cast into RH crankcase)

LOT 519
Offered from The Forshaw Speedway Collection, c.1970 Hagon-Cole Speedway Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 'Cole' (cast into RH crankcase)
16 October 2022, 10:00 BST
Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground

£4,000 - £6,000

Ask about this lot

Offered from The Forshaw Speedway Collection
c.1970 Hagon-Cole Speedway Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 'Cole' (cast into RH crankcase)

• Very rare Cole engined speedway machine
• Fine example of the marque
• Considerable volume of Hagon and Cole literature offered with the lot

Alf Hagon started in grass track racing, developing his own machine with motorcycle dealer and promoter Tom Kirby from Hornchurch Essex, the Kirby Special becoming the first 'Hagon'. From about 1956 until 1964 Alf won eleven National Grass Track Championships in both the 350cc and 500cc categories. He competed in just about everything from moto cross and even the Isle of Man TT, but Alf Hagon is best known for his exploits in drag racing. Always building his own machines and starting with a relatively mild Triumph special the urge for a lot more excitement resulted with a formidable JAP V twin dragster, the engine eventually enlarged to 1,260cc and supercharged.

The gradual development of this behemoth with the minimum of a frame to connect the two wheels and the engine was the result of Alf's fanaticism to reduce weight. With a fuel mix of methanol and 45% nitro methane, in 1967 Alf became the first rider to record a sub 10 second time over a quarter mile from a standing start. The following year he went further to become the first, once again, to record over 200mph over one mile.

Soon after this he retired from all racing to concentrate on his business, Alf Hagon Products, making frames mostly for grass track but taking on any and every challenge (the frame business was later taken over by Tig Perry in the late 1980s). Alf also bought the motorcycle damper part of Girling and today Hagon Shocks manufacturer dampers for every conceivable purpose. This is accompanied with a very well-established wheel building business interest.

Hagon would build a frame for any engine as required, this included a frame for Howard Coles speedway engine. In the 1960s it was becoming difficult to acquire ESO (later Jawa) engines from behind the Iron Curtain. Howard Cole, a committed JAP man with his business in the Midlands, decided he could design an uprated version of the Prestwich engine particularly to enclose the valve gear rather like a Jawa. This would help to give the engine an easier life, importantly reducing maintenance costs. Work on the project started in 1966 and by 1970 two prototypes were ready for testing, having the same JAP dimensions as the JAP, 80mm x 99mm.

The first public appearance was at the Racing and Sporting Motor Cycle Show of that same year. In the first year of production 14 engines had been sold with the announcement that a further engine was under development with the Jawa square dimensions. By the middle of June 1972 as many as thirty engines had been sold. Howard had invested £30,000 in the project including £10,000 for tooling. He was now talking about volume production in anticipation of future demand. Unfortunately the engine failed to catch on.

The Cole engined speedway machines are now very rare. Even the engines alone are scarce. It is not known when Richard Forshaw acquired this Hagon-Cole but it is a fine example of these rare machines. There are accompanying photographs, and a considerable amount of Hagon and Cole literature including copies of articles as well as a copy of the very comprehensive Hagon Products catalogue proving that Hagon really was "the one stop shop" for grass track and speedway. The mechanical condition is not known and therefore we recommend re-commissioning and/or restoration to a greater or lesser extent.
Key not required


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