Speedway bikes are the very definition of purpose-built. They’re brakeless, single-gear machines with weird proportions, designed to do one factor—go round a mud monitor at angles that defy physics. However, like all racing bikes, they’ve advanced through the years.
Early speedway racers would merely modify current ‘common’ bikes to carry out as greatest they might. It was solely by the late Nineteen Fifties that legends like Alf Hagon had begin fabricating speedway-specific chassis. And in the present day’s race bikes positive don’t appear like they did again then.
This explicit instance is a Nineteen Seventies Godden GR500, immaculately restored and ever-so-slightly modded by Grzegorz Korczak, and his group at Unikat Motorworks in Poland. Again in 1969, Don Godden bagged the world long-track championship aboard a Hagon-framed bike with a JAP engine. By the 70s, he’d fashioned Godden Engineering—first constructing his personal frames, then, ultimately, engines and full bikes.
The Godden GR500 was an entire package deal, that includes a 493.8 cc single cylinder mill, good for 64 horses. It was inbuilt an period when the engines have been mounted upright within the body—in contrast to on in the present day’s machines, the place the engines are pitched ahead. [There’s a great Godden GR500 history lesson here.]
The concept for this restomod undertaking was born on a tennis court docket, of all locations. Grzegorz met the consumer, Zbyszek, at a tennis match, the place the 2 instantly began speaking about bikes (and obtained so excited that different gamers needed to shush them).
Zbyszek really manages a speedway race group—and his spouse, Betty Rose, is so passionate concerning the sport, that she has a speedway tattoo on her forearm. “When it turned out that Betty Rose’s birthday was arising, we shook fingers on an unprecedented joint undertaking,” says Grzegorz.
After somewhat looking Unikat discovered the GR500; “a cult basic,” as Grzegorz places it. The concept was to revive it, but additionally add some distinctive particulars. Unikat’s motto is “one among one,” in spite of everything.
The GR500’s engine was wholesome on the within, however filthy on the surface. So the primary job was to scrub every thing up. Unikat glass-blasted the engine and carb, and polished all of the aluminum bits, together with the engine’s mounting plates. The first drive’s been uncovered, and a handcrafted velocity stack sits beneath the seat.
Subsequent, Unikat had the body, rear triangle and entrance forks handled to a contemporary coat of powder. A powerful variety of authentic elements are nonetheless in play, however they’ve been restored to better-than-new situation. Look carefully, and also you’ll spot the stamped Godden badge on the steering neck, and a Godden brand etched into the oil cap (the GR500 carries its oil within the high tube of its body).
Unikat tore the wheels aside, polished the hubs and rims, then re-laced them with chrome steel spokes and nipples. The tires, internal tubes, chain and sprockets are all contemporary. Speedway fans will even word that the rear wheel cowl that race bikes of this period usually put on, is gone.
The gas tank and fenders are additionally authentic elements. Unikat stripped the paint off the fiberglass fenders, then painstakingly smoothed out any inconsistencies earlier than repainting them.
The tank was somewhat beat up—however for Unikat, that simply added to the bike’s appeal. In order that they merely cleaned it up and clear coated it to maintain its private historical past intact. A milled fuel cap with Unikat’s brand etched into it provides a neat contact.
Up entrance, the handlebars are clamped by new risers, and put on a Magura clutch lever and handmade leather-based grips. Additional again, Unikat recovered the seat in leather-based, and propped it up on new mounting plates. The exhaust is customized, fabricated from chrome steel.
This GR500 additionally wears new cables and hoses, and each final nut and bolt has been glass-blasted and freshly galvanized.
Completed in white with crimson accents, and adorned with the proprietor’s title and date of start, this GR500 restomod seems simply pretty much as good parked as it might flying round a mud monitor sideways. We will’t consider a greater birthday current.