A Story by Dick Herzberg about his BSA A75 Rocket 3 Production Racer
I purchased the bike from Cusworths in Doncaster, trading my TriBSA which I had built from parts. I will give you a run down on the successes, I would have considered this bike to be the most successful of the Rocket 3s, on the picture further down you can see the A Bennett & Son sticker on the Rocket which is just taking the bottom of the Mountain during a National Proddy Race which we won (more later) they had offered to sponsor me after winning the Formula 5 Production & 1000cc(on my Ex Factory Ex Bob Heath A65/70) Club Championships.
Race Preparation I always tried to set the yearly program of races when the MCN used to release the Race Dates at the beginning of the year, the race coverage then used to fill the pages with the Glossies taking care of the tests, now all we have is pages full of Bullshit on how long the wheel will stay in the air which actually loses forward motion (don’t just believe me ask Einstein). I had started to prepare the Rocket 3 all through the winter which stopped me getting to the pub as often therefore improving my fitness. I used to rent a small workshop which was cold and I once found a large grey rat coiled up dead in the primary chaincases which proves I am a fairly good shot with a 2 lb hammer. I had decided to find some more power and reduce weight for the coming season and had the cams hard chromed and ground to my own design, I never smoked so was handicapped by not having the back of a fag packet to do the calculations but I got their in the end. The clutch was fitted with the mini cooper spring and drilled profusely, so much so, when the engine was first started I built the revs up slowly expecting the clutch to explode (probably being the first clutch on the Moon), I am a reasonable engineer so everything stayed together. I learnt the art of lightening on stripping the Ex Works BSA twin I had bought from Bob Heath, I think that’s why thy called one of their models Lightning after Bob’s exploits with the drill, when removing the throttle and rubber from the clipons they looked like a piece of shinny cheese. I had been contacted by letter from Brian Bennett, the son in the Triumph Dealer A Bennett & Son of Atherstone, after my local newspaper the Rotherham Advertiser had run an article after winning Club Production and 1000cc Championships. Brian’s sister still lives in Rotherham and sent the advertiser on a regular basis (I never got chance to thank her and like the fool I am probably used the back of the letter for some calculations)
I didn’t meet Arthur, Brian’s farther much as he was away starting a Bike Insurance CO, would that be the current sponsor of the British Superbikes I wonder? I couldn’t wait to find a telephone box that morning of the letter to confirm my appreciation of the offer of sponsorship on their Ex Factory Trident and the Rob North Triumph 3. Consequently the race on my Rocket 3 was to be the last, if you look closely at the photo taken at the bottom of the mountain A Bennett and Son are on the fairing, the same ones which were on the Bennett Triumph Proddy which was burned at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham (more on this later) The Race It was a Production Race at a National meeting at Cadwell Park, a pleasant change really as we were normally restricted to club meetings, some one must have begun to realise that the class sold motorcycles. There were some handy people in the race including Neil Tuxworth and a very fast man on a 500 3 cylinder Kawasaki, Tom Pemberton. The race positions were I think sorted by the organisers and for some reason I was as far back as Barn Corner and Neil was on the front row with his electric start Honda, I new a good start was now essential to win. The flag dropped and I heard all the electric starts winding up, I kicked the lever hoping for a first time start, this happened and I got the foot rest down so quick that the kick start did not have time to return, consequently I ran the full race with the starter in this position. The race went well, by lap five of twelve (I think, if I knew the name of the disease I would tell you) my father on the start line was telling me to slow down as I was well in front, the bike was flying and I felt fine at that pace so carried on to win. I really enjoyed picking up the prize money which was ?50 pounds, a couple of them went on beers to celebrate. Do you know anyone who would give me a ride on a Rob North at Besumph whilst I get my own built?
I am actually looking for this bike, EDT 13J and my Ex Bob Heath Factory A70 if you could please put the word out.