12 January 2011

weslake/godden speedway bike - cow to the slaughter

Sunday was a melancholy day.
Sadly I gave up on a potential project... the widowmaker.

80's Godden/Weslake Speedway motorcycle

A while back I had acquired this beast.
It is an amazing piece of early 80's machinery.

This clip isn't really the best race,
but it has some good closeups of pretty much the same bike,
doing the crazy chit it was designed to do.

I had gotten it not to circle track race it,
 the dream was to make  a 1/4  mile drag bike out of it.

Rake out the front end, drag bars, slick rear tire, rear disc brake...
It would have been baaad aasssss.

steep rake

Besides being overwhelmed with other projects,
the biggest problem was the bike was in original ex-racing condition.
There was some dinks and light repairs,
but it was obviously cared for as a race machine.
Bill Whiteside was the original rider, up in nor-cal somewhere.

The frame, built by GODDEN is an oil-filled, nickel plated work of purpose-built art.
I love to chop and hot rod stuff, but this one was tough to mess with.

Weslake 500cc methanol thumper

The engine is a WESLAKE 500cc with a rare 34 dellorto carburetor running methanol.
Has a 4-valve pushrod head, all race.
A perfect drag engine! Friggin 68+ hp METHANOL bike!

oil loss system

The frame is filled with oil,
it goes through that brownish hose with the filter to the oil pump,
lubes the engine, than basically dumps on the track.
In (I think) the early 80's they started requiring an oil sump to collect the used oil,
so behind that motormount plate there's a small aluminum tank.
It holds barely a race worth until it dumps out the top.

quiet muffler

You'll see the earlier bikes are basically straight piped,
but the tracks sound restrictions required quieter mufflers.
No brakes!


I had a stack of these rear gears, needed as it's a one speed.
The hub has a large quick release nut to swap them out.
Huge 5 disc clutch on that thing too.
Love that nickel frame...

jaxon racing

At least I got these shots, it really makes it a good memory for me.
A couple years older and he probably wouldn't have let me get rid of it!


So what happened.

Well this thing had been kicking around for a while now.
It had found a dark corner of the shop, by the drill presses and belt sanders.
One thing I can't stand is watching something go to shit cause I'm too preoccupied.
I'm not really a good caretaker of things I don't use,
so that's why I flip alot of stuff.
Let someone else have the responsibility.

I had put it on good old craigslist a number of times, kinda high priced.
Had some interest but usually from the UK or Australia, or local trades for surfboards and junk.
Well I posted it up again, and wouldn't you know it someone local called.

The now new owner, Mark W. knew exactly what he was looking at.
He lived near where the frames (and engine?) were now built,
by Antig near Gloucester, UK.
The best part was he has a couple motorcycles with the similar engine,
so this kinda completes his collection, or makes it worse...
He turned grey when I told him my Drag Bike idea!

adios widowmaker

Well there's got to be more to this story right?
I also realized I'm head high in projects, and they all cost.
My new years resolution, or more realization, was the need to streamline a bit.

The main personal project is that pickup (chief) behind the widowmaker bike,
it doesn't need much, just a little bit. Brake and fuel lines.

And I haven't even shown you guys this thing yet...
short term hibernation this one is.

tres huevos 40 coupe

if you are a longtime reader you might remember this piece of shit.

bmw 2002 roach

This has been on the chopping block at various times.
I like it, than hate it, than like it, repeat...
it has kicked the green 40 out on the street,
and this is taking up the garage space. Temporary permanent style.
The main issue is the transmission has bad synchros.
I can drive it as I drove a stock model A transmission for years,
but anyone that looked to buy it was a hack, so it really hurt any potential sale.
I've been studying 2002's and the best upgrade is a 4spd to 5spd overdrive swap.
So here was my first acquisition with the extra duckets.
getrag 245 - 320i bmw donor transmission

A junkyard tranny from a 320i is where it all starts.
Still a handful of parts needed but these are tough to find.
Hey everyone needs a rally car!

Wouldn't you know it, that junkyard was a couple blocks from the welding shop...


You readers know how I need these things.
(Since I'm too much of a pussy to get knuckle tattoos...)

So that speedway bike was like taking a cow to the slaughter.
Trading it in for stuff that's needed on the farm.

Well not only needed, but also whats wanted.
Since i'm a craigslist junkie, I also picked this thing up for a steal...
damn droid phones...

kenwood kr-7600 & SAE 180 equalizer

Got this from the original owner.
This was a top of the line (totl) Kenwood  or a close 2nd back in 1978,
but that's another post...

Yeah, I'm an idiot.

Thank for reading.

And thanks Mark for being the widowmakers new caretaker...



  1. Hey there - glad the old wessie has gone to a good home

  2. It's like sending the old race horse to the stud farm.
    Mark will dial that thing in and take care of it.
    I've got a lead on a better speedway donor bike,
    so there's a definite chance on a methanol dragster!

  3. thanks for the info on the bike, so rich with detail/history, and for your cheerful advocacy...best of luck to you in your projects...and in all your doings