Author Topic: Crocker Speedway  (Read 2845 times)

Offline friday

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Crocker Speedway
« on: August 24, 2023, 10:44:43 PM »
resized to 24%

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2023, 10:45:17 PM »
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Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2023, 10:46:07 PM »
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Offline cardan

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2023, 12:17:27 PM »
Interesting article.

"There never was a Rudge-Crocker..." but Crocker had clearly studied the Rudge engine: the Crocker single is by no means a copy of the Rudge, but it has the same general layout, features and look.

The rise of the JAP engine for speedway/dirt track was meteoric. Through the 1930 season in England the Rudge won more-or-less everything of importance, but after the first few meets of 1931 even the top Rudge riders were fitting JAP engines to their machines. Even the very special Works Rudge engines couldn't compete. My guess would be that even the hand-built single cylinder Crockers had trouble keeping up with the "standard" DT JAP engine.

Leon

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2023, 09:43:50 PM »
A 'Rudge-Crocker' would be a Rudge frame and a Crocker engine combination = never existed.
A search on the net will show 'Rudge-Crocker' examples at the auction houses, which is where and why they exist. MONEY!

The design of the Crocker is certainly based on British engines. It made sense to take a close look at Brit bikes.   
Charles Franklin designs were based on British bikes. He died in 1932 and Indian had no one to design anything.

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2023, 09:45:29 PM »
This is from LA business directory. Fred Schunk was an employee of A H Crocker

« Last Edit: August 25, 2023, 09:47:56 PM by friday »

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2023, 09:46:21 PM »
1936 LA yellow pages. George Beerup and Fred Schunk. Both of these buildings are still standing today. Can be seen on google maps. Beerup shop is now a "Green Cross"



« Last Edit: August 25, 2023, 09:50:10 PM by friday »

Offline cardan

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2023, 07:17:39 AM »
The "dirt track" bike was a very formulaic thing: the Webb DT fork in a frame of very well prescribed geometry with a single-speed countershaft, either with or without a clutch, depending on racing regulations at the time. All this stuff was designed by Australian Alan Bruce in 1928. His racing bike was taken to England in 1929 by Melbourne Rudge Agent Tommy Rogers and presented to the Rudge factory, who used Bruce's fork, geometry and countershaft for the all-conquering 1930 DT Rudge. The fork was put into production by Webb and sold on all speedway bikes up until the 1960s, and the countershaft and geometry could be copied by anyone, so a 1931 DT JAP was just a JAP engine in someone's DT frame. Martin were big manufacturers, and if I recall correctly these were sold by Commerford's - thus the reference to Floyd Clymer importing Commerford-JAP speedway bikes. The Crocker speedway bikes either used these frames, or copies of them, so while not "Rudge" they were more-or-less 1930 Rudge pattern, as were all speedway bikes. But I don't think short-track speedway was ever really big in the US, at least not as big as it was in the UK and Australia.

I'm not sure what to make of some of the Crockers that come on the market these days...

Leon

Offline john.k

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2023, 11:18:50 AM »
The Harley Peashooter frame was also big in speedway in both Australia and the US ,and I notice an auction bike called an Indian 500 ohv speedway bike,seems to have a Peashooter frame.........of course HD also made a copy of the JAP engine (some said it was a JAP) for speedway .

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2023, 09:36:24 PM »
Victor Martin was the distributor, direct from JAP. He later took over Comerford. His Martin frame was a copy of Rudge. The Comerford had  a forged head

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2023, 09:47:45 PM »
The Crocker frame was built around the Indian engine. This same frame was used for the 1934 OHV single.
The Rudge frame was never used. That would take 2 bikes to make 1. The Rudge DT was last listed in 1933 catalog. The JAP was the king of the track.

This bike has Indian on the tank not Crocker, because it's a Crocker frame but Indian engine.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2023, 09:49:39 PM by friday »

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2023, 09:54:21 PM »
Rudge DT was listed in 1933 catalog but it is unknown if any were built. That would make them 1932.
JAP dominated the track by then.

Offline cardan

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2023, 05:09:44 AM »
Rudge DT was listed in 1933 catalog but it is unknown if any were built. That would make them 1932.

No, it wasn't. Your image is from the 1931 Rudge catalogue, which would have been produced in (say) September 1930.

Interestingly the actual bike had some big differences from the drawing: the fat front wheel never made it onto the track (regulations were changed to limit the width of the front tyre), and the gearbox shell (with no gears inside) had been replaced with a countershaft for the 1930 models.

The DT Rudge was listed in the 1932 catalogue (say Sept 1931), with exactly the same illustration as the 1931 catalogue. I bet none - zero - were built or sold. Nor was it in the 1933 catalogue, despite an incredibly potent 6-stud (if I remember correctly) engine having been designed and built to return Rudge to the top of DT racing - the JAP was too good. Rudge withdrew from racing entirely after the end of the 1932 season.

Victor Martin was the distributor, direct from JAP. He later took over Comerford. His Martin frame was a copy of Rudge. The Comerford had  a forged head
Mmm... I don't think so.

To my knowledge, JAP didn't make bikes, nor did Comerford? I think you'll find that Martin made the bikes, and Comerford sold them?

Leon
« Last Edit: August 28, 2023, 05:11:38 AM by cardan »

Offline friday

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2023, 10:05:41 PM »
The DT was last listed in the 1933 catalog with no image. The Rudge site lists the catalogs.
Victor Martin was the only dealer of JAP engines from the factory. The Comerford predates the Martin frame- Rudge copy

Offline cardan

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Re: Crocker Speedway
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2023, 04:01:25 AM »
Yes indeed - one mention in 1933 with no illustration and no specs. Worth pointing out that your "1933 DT" post has an illustration from the 1931 catalogue.

What year is your Floyd Clymer/Comerford JAP article? I see Comerford were originally called Comerford-Wallis https://cybermotorcycle.com/archives/speedwaybikes/comerford.htm so presumably the early Comerford bikes were made by Wallis, or from the Wallis design, and later Martin?

Leon
« Last Edit: August 29, 2023, 04:03:11 AM by cardan »