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Fast Lady, Malcom Attrill


passenger0_0

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks David. From my investigations, and contrary to popular myth, there were at least five Vincent outfits built and raced by Malcolm Attrill that were all called "The Fast Lady". In chronological order, there seem to have been two big-wheel sitter outfits that are still being used on the road in England, a big wheel kneeler and mine (shown below) which features a 16" front wheel and 10" mini wheels on the side and rear. Images of both of these kneeler outfits can be found in the BMS book "The First Vincent Scene". The last Vincent outfit I can find that was built by Malcolm has 13" wheels all around. (see last image)

Images attached include us leaving the start line at Pukekohe Raceway after being give a one lap handicap in a five lap race. Being the passenger, I preferred to move my weight forward so Ian the driver could get the clutch fully engaged as soon as possible as the close ratio box had a high first gear. I transferred my weight to keep the revs around 5,000 -6,000 rpm. We used to have fires within the clutch housing and the Australian V3 clutch took a real hiding. Sometimes we shattered clutch plates too but this wheel-spin trick solved all of that. Around this time we had 73 rear wheel hp from Black Lightning cams, 12:1 pistons, methanol and Castrol R (just for Vibrac).

Fast Lady Pukekohe 2004.jpg
We had no real mechanical reliability issues after fitting a Terry Prince Crank and we could underpass many of the outfits using small front wheels who tended to drift wide on fast (+120 mph) corners.

Here's the image of Len Stevens beside the same Fast Lady outfit at a Curbrough sprint event sometime in the early 1970's.

Len Stevens Curbrough.jpg

Below is an image of Malcolm Attrill and passenger (Michael Coomber?) racing a later version featuring 13" wheels.

MALCOLM_ATTRILL_MICHAEL_COOMBER_1977_copy.jpg

I purchased my version of The Fast Lady from Ann Guy in 2001 in England and as you can imagine enjoyed the many pleasures of racing a Vincent engine in competition. Yes we broke the original crank-pin, seized the engine and had many other upsets too but there were many good time too, such as when we simply out-powered a much hyped 920 cc Norton outfit that was built without cost constraints. The pleasure of entering a hairpin corner and sliding through at mind popping speed, pulling so much G-force before the engine exploded in power to pull us clear will remain with me forever. For several seasons we were the top sidecar team to beat but unfortunately in 2008 we aquaplaned at around 100 mph in 3rd gear, we spun and I got thrown out to hit the steel barrier before being crushed by the outfit. Luckily I protected the outfit from any serious damage but this did cause me some issues.

The outfit now is being raced back in England by Ged Abraham who won the Avon trophy in his first year as a novice rider. I am immensely proud of his achievement and particularly satisfied that this version of The Fast Lady is still racing as Malcolm intended, many years after she was first created.
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
David,

Thank you for that great piece of history. I knew there were many "Fast Ladies" but 5 is more than I thought. Anyone who has raced knows that you are never done upgrading the bike, there is always more to do. You should be proud.

David
 

passenger0_0

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks for your kind words David.
I need to also add that out of all the different solo and sidecar marques I've raced, the best support I've had has been when racing Vincent-HRDs. When I first got The Fast Lady, David Bowen kindly donated many Black Lightning and other engine parts through his network and many contacts. Later, David became one of my official pit crew members and was there on the day to help scrape me off the track. Although we're only custodians of our machines, I believe our enthusiasm for the brand is our common bond.

Below is an image of my young daughter playing on her favourite garage ornament.



P1260103.JPG

Here's another early image of The Fast Lady when owned and raced by Len Stevens.

Fastlady_Len Stevens_3.jpg

The last incarnation of The Fast Lady before my incident. It's amazing what money can do!

The Fast Lady_2.jpg

Finally the end of my last ride as passenger.

Pukekohe 2008_1.jpg

The Fast Lady as purchased by Len Stevens in the early 1970's.
Attrill Vincent.jpg

Below is an image of the Daynes Fast Lady which was a big wheel kneeler built before mine. Interesting to note that sidecar racers always have the biggest smiles.
Daynes Fast Lady.jpg

Nick Cutmore riding the Fast Lady at the Brighton sprints sometime in the late 1980's
Fast Lady at Brighton.JPG

Me relaxing on the job!
Pukekohe Crash 120208.jpg
 

Dell Savill

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
The outfit with the number 42 still attached is the one that I bought from Malcom in the seventys, each outfit that Malcom built had different shaped wheel arch fuel tank etc. I have posted on face book on several occasions photos of this chassis with the half imp engine which I was building at the time. I would like to know who is the present owner. Dell Savill.
 

Dell Savill

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Pics of the outfit appear on google see viejas glorias 2016 , a show which we attended in Mas Palomas Gran Canaria. no. 42 intact. Dell.
 

Len Matthews

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks for your kind words David.
I need to also add that out of all the different solo and sidecar marques I've raced, the best support I've had has been when racing Vincent-HRDs. When I first got The Fast Lady, David Bowen kindly donated many Black Lightning and other engine parts through his network and many contacts. Later, David became one of my official pit crew members and was there on the day to help scrape me off the track. Although we're only custodians of our machines, I believe our enthusiasm for the brand is our common bond.

Below is an image of my young daughter playing on her favourite garage ornament.



View attachment 12442

Here's another early image of The Fast Lady when owned and raced by Len Stevens.

View attachment 12444

The last incarnation of The Fast Lady before my incident. It's amazing what money can do!

View attachment 12445

Finally the end of my last ride as passenger.

View attachment 12446

The Fast Lady as purchased by Len Stevens in the early 1970's.
View attachment 12448

Below is an image of the Daynes Fast Lady which was a big wheel kneeler built before mine. Interesting to note that sidecar racers always have the biggest smiles.
View attachment 12447

Nick Cutmore riding the Fast Lady at the Brighton sprints sometime in the late 1980's
View attachment 12449

Me relaxing on the job!
View attachment 12450
David,you might like to know that the late John Hutchinson's outfit is up for auction which surprises me as I thought the family wanted to keep it.Wonderful selection of photos btw.
 

passenger0_0

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Len. Let's hope the history of this significant Fast Lady outfit stays with this sidecar and that the buyer is a hard-driving sidecar enthusiast, just like all the other previous owners.
Sadly I'm not currently in a position to bid at this auction as John's Fast Lady is the perfect road outfit in my eyes.
 

chankly bore

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
In 1971 or so I had my Comet parked outside a repair shop I worked at. An English girl working at a nearby Caltex service station saw it and came over. We got talking and she said she'd just come out from England. Her name was Denise, or Denny for memory. Malcolm Attrill had apparently given her a chair on the "Fast Lady". I'll never forget her delightful turn of phrase when describing the speed- "NINETY KNICKER-WETTING MILES AN HOUR!"
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Interesting David's comments about the "Starts" and how to shift your weight forward to unload the rear wheel and allow it to spin up, almost like a "Human clutch"..........I too learnt to do the same on our Honda 750/4 powered outfit. If you did not do this it would simply bog down and the starts were always hopeless. Against another Triumph powered outfit, he could always beat us to the first corner no matter what we did, the Triumph's low down torque so different to the Honda. I gave up "swinging" on the Honda after our spectacular crash in 2015. The rider who David know's, bought a Rapide off him back in about 2007 will probably get his wish to race a Vincent powered outfit soon, as a good friend of his has just bought one that he has been chasing for years. I am in the process of rebuilding the 1200 cc twin engine for it at present..........My guess is the difference in torque from the relatively stock Honda 750/4 will pale by comparison to the Vincent, the rider is no beginner to handling a racing outfit, so I'm sure it will be difficult to remove the smile from his face............. Good times ahead................. Thanks for the great photo's.
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Big Sid talked about using the spinning rear tire as a "clutch" while drag racing on a solo.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Ray Elgars advice to me at my first VOC sprint on my twin at Duxford (1 kilometer) was:
"stand on tip toe, give it some stick,drop the clutch and let the racing seat collect you as it comes by"
Well it worked:eek: but I went a bit off course and for a hundred yards I smashed all the white plastic lampshades arranged between the two lanes, it was a real snow storm!
 

Cyborg

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Did Malcolm live in Sussex north of Brighton around 1969-70? Crawley maybe?
 

Nulli Secundus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
As Norman says, yes. I remember visiting him with my father at Pease Pottage in the 1970s.
 

Cyborg

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
During that time, I was living in Lewes. My older brother was heading out to visit a fellow who raced a Vincent outfit, so decided to tag along. He was in search off some bits for a C Rapide that he had purchased from Conways. I remember them exchanging pleasantries about a Scintilla magneto and handling it like it was a Faberge egg. The fellow who owned the racing outfit mentioned he was looking for a monkey. I asked if I could apply for the job, but he said he was looking for someone a little taller. Very polite of him to put it that way.
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Latterly Malcom and his wife lived in a small holding with a veritable menagerie of animals. I remember a rather small pot bellied pig and a rather large goat with impressive neck tassels. There were lot of other creatures which I don't remember now. If you visited them there then you would remember their set up. On one occasion I was there and John Renwick turned up for a chat so information was flowing one way or another between them.
 

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