Beasley Earles Velocette - A Breif History
Douglas St Julian Beasley was a talented engineer from Coventry. Between 1951 and 1958 he built 11 Velocette specials for the 250cc class. The engines used KTT crankcases, barrels and heads heavily modified to give a bore and stroke of 68 and 68.5mm respectively. The engines were numbered as prefix DB (for Doug Beasley) the year of manufacture (51=1951) and the sequence of build (1, 2, 3...) Hence DB 512 is the second special built in 1951. The frames were also constructed by Doug Beasley and slight variations occured over time. These were of steal tubing with a single large diameter humped top tube and duplex tubes passing under the engine and gearbox before rising to a straight tube across the front of the seat. The majority of Beasleys were fitted with Velocette telescopic forks with the lower legs reversed so that the wheel spindle was behind rather than in front of the fork centre line. However, DB 511 was fitted with Norton Roadholder forks and the second was fitted with Earles' forks. Hubs were standard Velocette KTT conical hubs.
DB512 first made an appearance in 1952. It was featured in an article in Motor Cycling May 22nd (1) which states that the forks were of steel construction. The bike was photographed at the lightweight TT weigh-in and these are attached (2, 3). Some of the detail of the forks can be seen. The bike was raced in the Lightweight TT but DNF. Subsequently Doug Beasley sold the bike to Fron Purslow (a motorcycle dealer and racer from Shrewsbury) and he entered it in the 1953 TT. Some photographs from 1953 are available but the detail is less (4). It is apparent, however, that the forks have been modified and the braced upper tubes now appear to be in aluminium alloy with the swinging arm remaining steel. It is also apprent that the rear dampers have been changed to propietary units and the top mou ting for these have been lowered. The only other record I have of the bike is a photograph, published in Mick Walker's Velocette: The Racing Story which shows the bike in 1955 taken at Brough. The bike now apears to be owned by EW Tinkler. It appears the forks have been modified further with split alloy tubes forming the upper braced structure with the swingarm arm still in steel.
The bike must have subsequently moved north to Scotland as it was purchased here by an Australian enthusiast called Ken Lucas. By now the Earles forks had been replaced with Velocette telescopic forks with reversed legs as per subsequent Beasleys. Other modifications had occured including "reshaping" the petrol tank, replacing the front hub with a Triumph hub and replacing the bolt-up rear sub frame with a welded up version. The seat was also replaced.
Mike purchased the bike from Ken Lucas in 2008 and shipped it to the UK. The research on the bike took place after its identity as the Earles Beasley was irrefutably established. Mike visited Ken Lucas in 2009 on a trip to Australia and he was unaware of the Beasley's original condition or history.
It seems appropriate to attempt to restore the bike to its original condition which requires the remanufacture of Earles forks it is after all the Earles Beasley. In conjunction with David Davis (a retired motorcycle engineer from Wroughton, Wiltshire) a full scale profile drawing of the forks has been made, scaling from the 1952 photographs. A bottom yoke has been obtained (from Velocette teles) and a replica top yoke in aluminium alloy has also been obtained. The two main curved tubes have been bent as per drawing. There is also a replica front KTT hub to replace the Triumph hub.
Unfortunately, due to ill health David Davis could not continue with the project so Mike is seeking assistance elsewhere.
Originally, David was going to return the rear frame to its bolt-up form but this is of secondary importance and may be unwise - later Beasleys from 1953 had welded up rear sub frames presumably because this improved the handling.
Metal Malarkey Engineering was asked to fabricate a replica set of the forks as requested.