Raleigh 'works racing machine' - 1955
Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020
Profile of a fine cycle No 4 – 1955 Raleigh ‘works racing machine’ 25”; Frame no. RP 117 is the “works” racing machine given by The Raleigh Cycle Company to the then up and coming racing cyclist Ray Booty.
Owned by: Alexander von Tutschek
How long owned: 11 years
How was it acquired:From Ray Booty directly during the summer of 1995. Ray Booty had been this writer’s boyhood cycling hero, we both come from the same part of England and he was a well known locally. Also importantly we both ride 25” frames. When I first beat a path to Ray’s door he was using this frame as an every day “hack cycle”. I endeavoured to convince him that I really wanted it and that it was going to be put back to it’s 1956 condition.
What makes this cycle special:
Ray Booty’s dominated time trailing for a period in the mid to late 1950’s but his lasting legacy are his two exceptional 100 mile rides:-
I. The first sub-four-hour 100mile time trial: 3hours 58mins 28 secs, this was a RTTA record ..there and back again.. “Cycling” magazine presented him with a unique Gold Medal for this deed. Nobody else was to do this for another six years!
II. Breaking the straight-out 100 record in 3hrs 28mins 40secs, this was the RRA record …in one direction only. This record was to stand for 34 years
This is the actual cycle that both these records were broken on. It is a non-standard Raleigh Record Ace with road/path dropouts made specially for him by the Raleigh Cycle Co. Very few racing cycles can be tied so directly to a rider and a deed, this one has a cast-iron provenance and is instantly recognised in all the period photos.
The images show the machine equipment as it was when it broke the 4-hour 100 on fixed wheel. The second record was taken using another rear wheel fitted with a Sturmey Archer AC close ration 3- speed which is also with the machine. The only unusual equipment are the 7” Stronglite 49A (chrome-plated steel cotterless*) and the not too common chrome-plated rail oval trade-mark Brooks B17 Champion Narrow saddle. Also note the rear wheel with crudely done crossed and soldered plain gauges spokes…done by RB himself at Eriksson where he worked
Not everyone gets the opportunity to own his boyhood hero’s machine. I feel honoured to be its custodian and its most likely to be with me a long time. Ownership does bring with it disappointment, whilst it rides superbly it just never wants to take me quite as fast
*Note..I need a second pair in VGC, does anyone have a pair?