BSA History

The Birmingham Small Arms Company was founded in 1861 by fourteen gunsmiths in the Gun Quarter of Birmingham. They had supplied weapons to the British army during the Crimean War (1853-1856), but the British army had now set up state-owned companies with American machines for mass production. The blacksmiths in Birmingham then decided to join together to form the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association.

BSA B44-serie

In 1960, manufacturer Brian Martin had already built a 250cc dirt bike by taking a BSA C15 from the production line and converting it. It was a success: Arthur Lampkin came second in the European Championship in 1961 and Jeff Smith came second in the World Championship in 1962. Martin then enlarged the 350cc engine of the BSA B40 (which was also derived from the C15) to 421 cc, creating a dirt bike for the 500cc class. With this machine, Jeff Smith became world champion in 1964 and 1965. Until then, the BSA DBD34GS Gold Star Scrambler could be used by private riders as a dirt bike, but that was an old-fashioned block, still with a pre-unit gearbox, while the C15/ B40 gearbox was integrated into the block. Furthermore, the Gold Star went out of production in 1963. This meant that off-road and cross riders only had the 500cc twin-cylinder A50W Wasp, which was suitable for the American Desert Races, but much too heavy for motocross.

B44 Victor GP

In 1966 the B44 Victor GP appeared, initially only for factory drivers, but later also for "normal" customers. She had the bore of the B40 (79 mm), but the stroke was extended to 90 mm, bringing the displacement to 441.2 cc. The oil for the dry sump lubrication system was carried in the frame. That was a semi-double cradle frame with a single front tube that split in two just in front of the engine. The frame was made of Reynolds 531 tubing and a lot of magnesium was also used, including for the crankcase. At only 116 kg she was considerably lighter than the old Gold Star. Cylinder and cylinder head were made of aluminum and the cylinder already had a hard chrome-plated cylinder liner. The machine was used by Jeff Smith, Vic Eastwood, John Banks, Dave Nicoll, Keith Hickman, Jerry Scott, Arthur Lampkin and John Burton, among others, but went out of production in 1967, when the four-stroke engines in motocross were snowed under by the two-strokes. from CZ.

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