(CORRECTED CAPTION) Peter Molkenthin points his production class Lambretta skywards  going over the mountain.
(CORRECTED CAPTION) Peter Molkenthin points his production class Lambretta skywards going over the mountain.

 

The BSSO took a brave step this year, releasing the latest developments in classic scooter tuning technology onto the racetrack as engines for Lambretta push towards 50hp.

 

However, at the other end of the scale, this second year of the LCGB Production Class (using RB20 smallblock Lambrettas and Malossi-powered Vespas) has had a bigger impact, swelling the numbers on the track to the biggest grids ever seen by the BSSO.

 

Darren Conneely - Group 4 and 6 and Overall BSSO Champion
Darren Conneely – Group 4 and 6 and Overall BSSO Champion

 

2017 – the great leap forward

 

2016 was a turning point in British scooter racing. The arrival of the Casa Lambretta team with their SS200 smallblock and SS225 large block racing scooters and talented young riders pushed the sport to a new level of professionalism. In the end the Group 6 championship was won by Luca Zani on a fan-cooled Casa Performance SS200 engine based on a 150 casing; but this was by no means a certainty from that start.

 

What the arrival of the Italian team did was redouble the efforts of the British teams and riders, and it was Chalkie White’s Replay who made the biggest leap forward, reaping the rewards of their efforts in supporting Darren Conneely in 2017. This year he campaigned and won both Group 4 (silhouette ‘standards’ to 201cc) and Group 6 (specials up to 260cc) groups.

 

Chalkie of Replay - awarded constructor of the year with young prodigy Taylor Sturgess
Chalkie of Replay – awarded constructor of the year with young prodigy Taylor Sturgess

 

This year Darren’s excellent riding combined with Chalkie’s ever growing expertise has meant that Darren Conneely has been a clear leader in terms of lap times in both classes. His Group 6 machine follows the contrary logic of using a small-block Lambretta engine casing in a class that is up to 260cc. Darren’s class-winning motor is based on Tino Sacchi’s Super Imola kit; which is the small-block version of the Super Monza.

 

Replay have combined this motor with a streamlined, fully-faired special chassis with drops and rearsets to improve both aerodynamics and weight bias on the tyres.

 

Following Darren for second place overall in Group 6 is newcoming youngster Taylor Sturgess; also on a fully-faired Lambretta supported by Replay scooters and Lambretta.it.

 

DSC - the team to beat in Production Class. Justin Price (left) is this year's champion.
DSC – the team to beat in Production Class. Justin Price (left) is this year’s champion.

 

Production Class – the new king

 

It’s safe to say, now at the end of the second year, that the LCGB-sponsored Production Class has been a revelation. It has bought more new racers into the scene than any other innovation, lured by the chance of competing on a level playing field using a pre-defined set of components. For Lambretta these comprise the AF RB20 barrel and a specially developed Franspeed exhaust for this year aimed at improving power and ground clearance. For Vespa the specs are both Malossi-based with so far only one Largeframe (Mad Dog McKenzie) and one smallframe (Dave Delaney on an SS90) taking part.

 

Of course the playing field in racing will never be truly level. With teams allowed to adjust gasket heights, jetting, ignition timing and gearing there’s still a lot of room to find more performance within the rules.

 

The other issue is that this popular class is now packed with previous champions; of which four rode for Darlington Scooter Club’s DSC team, as well as Stuart Day and Bob West. The reality is that there are now plenty of people to have a fair battle with in Production class right through the field, but if you want to win races or even a championship then you still need to be a bloody good rider on a well-put-together scooter.

 

Production class offers close racing throughout the field
Production class offers close racing throughout the field

VIDEO: taste of a production class race - onboard with Justin Price

 

One of my favourite stories from Production Class this year concerns Cumbrian rider Dave Marsden who proved conclusively that these are still basically road engines by riding his RB20 race motor to Italy for the Euro-Lambretta in Adria and then racing the same engine for the rest of the season.

 

While Team DSC have had it mostly their own way this year with Stephen Graves running closest to eventual class champion Justin Price, there are other names to watch out for. Racing returnee Graham Tatton is very fast, as are Jeremy Steel, Chris Cook and Shaun Fairhead.

 

There are even threats appearing from the Vespa side. Stewart McKenzie won a race at Cadwell earlier this year, which is a miracle most thought they’d never see from a Large frame Vespa. There was some talk about Vespas being herded into their own Production Class for next season but as Mad Dog pointed out, that would be a real shame in terms of variety.

 

It’s already clear that the Vespa large-frame specification is close enough to compete. Another tweak to the rules to give the smallframe Vespas more power in this class could really add some spice to the recipe of this successful formula.

 

Mad Dog McKenzie - a previous race winner on his production class PX.
Mad Dog McKenzie – a previous race winner on his production class PX.
Luca Zani goes for lift-off
Luca Zani goes for lift-off

 

Open Class – Unlimited brings out the big guns

 

This is the inaugural year for a category that permits the use of both the new engine casings coming from Tino Sacchi, Casa Performance, Gran Turismo, Quattrini etc, but also the new barrel kits that do not use the traditional cylinder stud spacing.

 

What Open Class has also done is provide an extra class that the automatic racers of Group 6a can run their machines in, allowing them to get lots more track time. As such, Lee Bamber is regularly running near the front on his rapid Gilera Runner, but this time the Casa Lambretta boys took every class win.

 

The Casa Lambretta Team returned to the UK for Cadwell after a disappointing Lydden Hill event in August where their new SSR250 engines failed to make an impact due to a string of melted pistons.

 

They’ve spent the intervening time trying to solve problems. Development of a new engine package from scratch is never easy. After making changes to solve fuel starvation and carb frothing problems with external fuel reservoirs and brass bellmouths respectively, they only got both scooters working perfectly for Cadwell simply by up-jetting even more. 

 

Fuschini breaking the 1:50 barrier
Fuschini breaking the 1:50 barrier

 

With 48hp on tap from the 265cc Scuderia version of the SSR250, these scooters are now at a point where the engines are significantly out-performing the Lambretta chassis, even with a central frame brace.

 

There was some great racing to watch over the course of the weekend, but the best for me was the last Group 4 and Production Class race with the Unlimited class starting as a second wave with a 20-second delay off the grid. It was like a greyhound race with only four laps for the two Lucas of the Casa Performance Team to try and catch the ‘hare’ of Darren Conneely on his Group 4 machine. Up to this race they’d won the Unlimited class in every race but hadn’t succeeded in making up the 20-second deficit to come across the line first. This time both rode neck and neck with Luca Fuschini clocking a lap of 1:49.22 to take the flag just ahead of Luca Zani and Darren Conneely.

 

Gary Peacock on the 2-stroke Scomadi prepared by Retro-Tech Racing
Gary Peacock on the 2-stroke Scomadi prepared by Retro-Tech Racing
Lee Bamber on the Fastline Gilera
Lee Bamber on the Fastline Gilera

 

Autos – Group 6a and Group 10

 

The revelation of this year has been Gilera Runner pilot Lee Bamber of NW dealership Fastline Superbikes who has been streaking out on the big capacity automatics. Close behind are Gary Peacock – on the Gilera-engined Scomadis that have been built by Dave Wilson of Retro-tech Racing – and Warren Wilkinson who tunes many of the front-running autos.

 

The slimmer, streamlined Scomadis are really little works of art and gradually being developed into something that handles well enough to give the usual Gilera Runner dominance of 6a something of a challenge.

 

In the smaller capacity Group 10 class, SLUK contributor Dave Bristow came home victorious.

 

The last race of the season proved to be a game-changer for Gary Peacock on the Scomadi. He’d eased out a massive lead over the rest of the automatic field in the last race, only to collide with a back-marker in the woodland section on the last lap leaving him with a fractured shoulder. A really shit way to end a season but thankfully Gary is now out of hospital and on the mend.

 

Ian Frankland (left) and Norrie Kerr (right) with SS90s painted by Supersprint.
Ian Frankland (left) and Norrie Kerr (right) with SS90s painted by Supersprint.

 

BSSO Scooter Racing – looking ahead

 

You can never tell what is going to happen in the closed season as scooter racing gets more like F1 with teams swapping riders and engine builders.

 

One proposal likely to be submitted is for a Scomadi production class using mildly upgraded Scomadi 200s. These would be sold to teams as a discounted package specifically for use in the series. With very strict modification rules, this has the potential to be even more of a test of rider talent than the LCGB Production Class, but whether or not it takes off will be decided at the BSSO AGM and awards ceremony later this year.

 

Scooter racing is definitely on the rise again in the UK in terms of competitor numbers and all of that helps towards the BSSO’s ambition to run scooter-only meetings once more.

 

Technical developments made for racing often filter down as useful testing to improve road products that we can buy tomorrow…

 

Sticky

 

If you want to get involved in scooter racing then check out the new British Scooter Sport Organisation website

 

 

BSSO Scooter Racing – looking ahead

 

You can never tell what is going to happen in the closed season as scooter racing gets more like F1 with teams swapping riders and engine builders.

 

One proposal likely to be submitted is for a Scomadi production class using mildly upgraded Scomadi 200s. These would be sold to teams as a discounted package specifically for use in the series. With very strict modification rules, this has the potential to be even more of a test of rider talent than the LCGB Production Class, but whether or not it takes off will be decided at the BSSO AGM and awards ceremony later this year.

 

Scooter racing is definitely on the rise again in the UK in terms of competitor numbers and all of that helps towards the BSSO’s ambition to run scooter-only meetings once more.

 

Technical developments made for racing often filter down as useful testing to improve road products that we can buy tomorrow…

 

Sticky

 

If you want to get involved in scooter racing then check out the new British Scooter Sport Organisation website

 

Darren Conneely being presented with his well-earned championship trophies by Vittorio Tessera of Casa Lambretta
Darren Conneely being presented with his well-earned championship trophies by Vittorio Tessera of Casa Lambretta

Images by Sticky 

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