C.T. Ashby on his Zenith, Brooklands 1925. Zenith motorcycles held more over-100mph lap times at the Brooklands track than any other make, and the competition machines were personally supervised by Freddie Barnes, owner of Zenith. The bike is stripped down to the essentials, with a big pillow strapped to the tank for rider comfort on the notoriously bumpy Brooklands bowl. The crucial components; big 1000cc JAP OHV engine, Harley-Davidson forks with an Andre bump damper, ‘square’ ML magneto at the front of the engine, two big fishtail mufflers poking beyond the rear wheel, 21″ wheels front and rear, and a dummy rim rear brake. Ashby, always a practical rider, is wearing a turtleneck sweater under his collarless leathers, and what looks like a kidney belt to help with the pounding he must have received while doing 110mph. I owned a similar machine – Super Kim – which I’ll show in a future post.

C.T. Ashby was a professional racer in an era dominated by amateurs. His racing Zenith is a very special machine. [The Vintagent Archive]