Rick Ferguson´s BSA B50 Racer

Rick Ferguson´s BSA B50 Racer.
Raleigh, NC USA

I raced the race bike for several seasons, but I finally gave up racing about 1994. It was an excellent race bike (more capable than its pilot). Great handling. Reminded me of a smaller, lighter bevel drive Ducati. Very stable and good traction. The motor was built by Ted Hubbard, an ex-BSA race mechanic who now lives in North Carolina.

It used a B50 MX cam, a long Carrillo rod, oversize titanium valves and ported head with Amal Mk II. I used total loss points ignition. It was a very manageable motor, not finicky at all; it could have benefited from a 5-speed gearbox. In fact Ted built one for his own B50 racer by sawing off the gearbox portion of the crankcase and welding on a 5-speed box from a Triumph! Extra breathers were added, with all being routed to the primary case as a plenum. External oil feeds were added, as was a spin-on filter kit intended for a Harley Sportster.

You will see I used the standard forks, but replaced the top triple clamp with another bottom one (with a stem pinch bolt added) so the fork tubes could then be moved up and down in the clamps to adjust the handling. This was my idea and I haven't seen it done anywhere else - worked a treat and easy to do (you need to replace the tapered fork tubes with straight ones). I also used the older style twin leading shoe brake which is much better than the conical hub. 18" rims.

In the rear we had a custom fabricated swing arm with arms from an aftermarket racing swingarm grafted to the stock pivot tube. Thus resulted in being able to adjust the axle position at the wheel and also at the swing arm pivot, so quite a variation in effective length was possible. The rear wheel is a spool flat track hub with quick-change sprockets; this is important, because with the stock hub one is limited in choice of gearing and the bike can't be properly geared for a high-speed track. The rear brake is an old Triumph drum with the sprocket turned off, bolted to the spool hub.

The frame is stock B50SS (except swing arm described above and fork mods), and the tank is from a European Triumph T140. The seat is a custom fabrication. As with the other bike, all of these modifications were rather easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and effective. An ideal clubmans racer.

Rick Ferguson

Updated 14:02 2003-11-25
© Rickard Nebrér