Dick Mann BSA Gold Star flat tracker
When motorcycles look this good, it makes you wonder why they bothered making anything else. Just look at what's on offer. A 500cc air-cooled single. A reliable 4-speed gearbox. A tough, but reasonably lightweight frame. A single saddle. And no brakes.
Of course not. When you're a flat track racer, you don't need 'em. You simply wind up the giant steel rubber band, dump the clutch and launch. And you stop wherever and whenever you can manage to slide to a halt. That's how it works. Engine braking torque. Ordinary friction. And lots of boot leather.
▲ Dick Mann doing what he does best. No body armour. No Kevlar boots. Not even a pair of Draggin Jeans. Bet he never even used a condom. Christ, we go shopping with more protection than this.
This 500cc BSA Gold Star was one such flat tracker. It was once the property of Dick Mann; for many race fans, the greatest rider of them all.
The frame is, we're advised, a standard-issue BSA factory rigid flat-track model, c/w side-mounted oil tank. The engine, however, is pretty much blueprinted and features roller cams and lifters made by ace machinist Don Rossi. Special rocker covers were also made with removable inspection caps.
The engine sucks fuel through an Amal GP carburetor with a remote matchbox float bowl. Sparks come courtesy of a Lucas 2MTT roadrace magneto. The gearbox has a rare magnesium centre case as used on the works Daytona Beach racers.
The front hub is a spool from BSA. The rear hub is modified a Harley WR item with a dished sprocket. The fuel tank is made from "flexible" fibreglass (whatever that is) fabricated by George Curtis. Apparently, it's still pliable 50 years on.
Dick Mann, who raced professional between 1952 and 1973, kept the bike for over 20 years after he finished campaigning it. Then he sold it to vintage racing enthusiast Fred Mork who has maintained it up to the present day.
Bonhams will be selling this bike, if they can, on Thursday 8th January 2015 at Bally's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, USA. The estimate is $90,000 - $100,000 (£57,000 - £64,000). The lot number is 196.
Dick Mann, who's still in the world, will no doubt be watching with interest to see exactly how much this one changes hands for. But whatever it fetches, it's still kinda priceless, if you know what we mean.
— Girl Happy
▲ Not a hint of "bling" anywhere. Just a purpose-built, race-ready, circa-1965 500cc BSA Gold Star engine. In the hands of Dick Mann, these British singles, at one time or another, kicked dirt in just about everyone's face.
▲ Dick Mann took 24 AMA national wins, not necessarily on this bike. He twice won the Daytona 500, once astride a 750 Honda Four, and once on a BSA 750cc Triple.
▲ Looks like they stuck the wrong number on this bike. In our book, it should be number one.
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