Curtis Racing Frames > England to Canada early 1970's

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Curtis Vincent Special raced by Stuart Howe in the early 1970's

The Curtis Vincent Special was noticed by many people at the race tracks we visited. I received orders to build a number of replicas. These three photos show one of those frames being used by Stuart Howe of Leicester, England, in the early 70's. I had left England for Canada by then, but I understand from Stuart that he raced his Curtis Vincent Special up to the mid 80's with great success. Thanks to Stuart for the pics of a wet Silverstone in 1972. He was very fast in the wet!

Curtis Vincent Special racing in England in the early 1970's

Worthy of note here:
Stuart Howe used to work for Vincent sidecar racing specialist Peter Russell of Leicester UK in the '60's and early '70's. Stuart did a lot of the engine preparation and on his bike here, he's using a Dunstall front fork/dual disc brake assembly with the calipers built into the fork legs. Notice how small diameter the disc rotors are.

Curtis Vincent Special Racing

I came to Toronto in early 1971 and worked in the aluminum extrusion design area for Alcan. I had friends in Vancouver, so after building a Norton Dominator / Commando special from pieces, I found myself in Vancouver by late summer, having crossed the country on this motorcycle. I took a job with the Fred Deeley organization at their retail store at 606 East Broadway, Vancouver. The store sold Harley Davidson, BSA, Triumph, Yamaha and some others, and was run by Trevor Deeley.

1970's road racing in the Vancouver area
Photo courtesy of W. Thom Tyre

I was involved in the service and parts department, and shortly after joining Deeley's, I found a tough looking BSA Spitfire Mark II in one of the back rooms. It turned out to be a bike that Trevor had purchased in the Isle of Man in 1968 or 69. I was told it was Ray Pickrell's works BSA 650 Twin Production TT racer. It certainly was trick.

I asked Trevor if I could rebuild this bike to race in local events at the club level. It started out with original BSA brakes but to compete with the 500 Suzuki 2-strokes I converted it to use Yamaha TR 350 wheels and brakes, front and rear.

BSA 650 Twin Production TT racer Photo curtesy of W. Thom Tyre

The Fred Deeley Retail store had a paint shop, and 'Joe the painter' always came up with a fancy paint jobs for the bike and my helmets. At that time Trevor Deeley was running Fred Deeley Yamaha Canada Ltd., and Joe painted all the race bikes – he was very good.

BSA 650 Twin, painted by Joe the painter from Fred Deeley Yamaha

Photo curtesy of W. Thom Tyre

These pictures were taken at Westwood race track, which used to be located in Coquitlam just outside Vancouver. It was a fabulous track used by both motorcycles and race cars. To make another track, we just reversed the direction of travel! It's now a housing estate.

BSA 650 Twin Production racer

Photo curtesy of W. Thom Tyre

Trevor Deeley allowed me to race the BSA twin at some western USA tracks e.g. Seattle Washington & Portland Oregon, and as far east as Edmonton. It was quite competitive. During this time I was still keenly aware of new motorcycle design happenings in Europe and UK, and decided to build my own Seeley replica using a Norton engine.

Denis Curtis assembling Seeley replica in 1972
This photo shows me assembling the Replica Seeley MKIII Norton in my friends' basement workshop in 1972.

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Curtis Racing Frames; a sticker from 1970's

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