Ewan Cameron recreates the supercharged “Pope Brooklands” SS100 Special…
Eighty-two years ago this weekend, racer Noel Pope set an outright motorcycle lap record of 124.51 mph at the legendary Brooklands circuit. Opened in 1907, Brooklands was the world’s first banked motor racing circuit and one of Britain’s first airfields. It would go on to become a major aircraft manufacturing center, producing the Vickers Wellington and Hawker Hurricane among others. Today, it’s known as the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, and the old track forms part of the Brooklands Museum.
The son of an artist, Noel Pope was a talented sculptor, painter, and motorcycle racer who competed at Brooklands in the 1930s as well as the Isle of Man TT, where he found some success racing Velocette and Norton Motorcycles.
In 1939, he mounted a chain-driven centric supercharger to a Brough Superior SS100 and made his historic solo lap around the 2.75-mile Brooklands circuit, setting an average speed record that would never be beaten before the circuit’s close.
The incredible machine you see here was built by master craftsman and Brough specialist Ewan Cameron, owner of Cameron Engineering & Motorsport Ltd., who sought to recreate Pope’s original supercharged Brough special.
“Incorporating many original Brough parts, this stunning machine is a formidable re-creation: running on 105-octane fuel and lubricated by Castrol R, it delivers the same power, noise and smell as the original did 80 years ago.” —Bonhams
Ewan says his earliest childhood memory was sitting on the fuel tank of his father’s 1926 Brough Superior SS100 racer, and he many times returned to the section in RH Clark’s book The Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles that recounted Noel Pope’s record-setting lap at Brooklands on July 4, 1939.
As a teenager, Ewan began collecting the parts for his reproduction of this historic machine, purchasing a set of Brooklands Can silencers when he was just 17. Since then, he’s been assembling the collection of period-correct parts for the build.
Parts include a rare Sturmey Archer three-speed super heavyweight racing gearbox, Castle forks (repaired and re-tubed by our friend Jake Robbins, builder of this Norton / JAP V-twin Special we recently featured), and a 1000cc JAP 8/80 V-twin racing engine from a Trimax Formula Two car commissioned by the enigmatic Alvin “Spike” Rhiando — arguably the first monocoque race car!
“This 1938 engine is an early version of the ultimate racing JAP, complete with correct early-specification rocker boxes; rebuilt, pressed-up crankshaft; racing con-rods and pistons; BTH magnetos; and a total-loss Pilgrim oil pump. Running on 105-octane race fuel and lubricated by Castrol R oil, the engine is fed by a pre-war Centric 260 vane-type supercharger, taken from the Farley-JAP Shelsley special racing car.” —Bonhams
The rest of the bike uses period-correct Brough Superior parts, including the throttle, rear hub, foot brake, and SS80 fuel tank. The NOS headstock was obtained from Brough Superior’s previous owner, and Ewan says the bike is in perfect mechanical shape — he’s even ridden it to the pub!
We have to give credit to our friends at Silodrome for first featuring this machine, which inspired us to learn more and feature it ourselves. Tomorrow, exactly 82 years after Pope’s original supercharged SS100 set that record-setting lap, this bike will roll across the Bonhams auction block. If the price guide of $160,000 – $230,000 is in your range, you can visit the Bonhams listing here and register to bid!
WOW! That’s all I’ve got, I’m absolutely speechless.
Love the photos. Fascinating. All those years ago! With those tyres and brakes!
A very impressive feat on a bike like that love that bike