Ray Petty gained fame in road
racing circles as a leading tuner, especially
of the Manx Norton engine. He had more successes
with it that any other independant and was
best known for dettling Derek Minter's singles
to win five British Championships between
1962 and 1966.
The Farnborough-based engineer
was also associated with other top riders
and prepared a Norton that took Percy May
to the 1971 500cc British Championship,
the last to be won by a single-cylinder
Petty ventured into frame
design and began marketing chassis kits
in 1971. Fabricated in lightweight T45 tube
by welding specialist Colin Dixon, Petty's
low-slung, quick-steering frame was intended
to keep the Manx competitive on short circuits.
A road version was also made to house the
750cc Norton Commando engine.
Of elecen race frames made,
one supplied to the West Midlands based
Bee Bee Brothers equipe was the most successful.
Fitted with a 500cc Manx engine it was ridden
by Malcolm Lucas, who kept the Norton name
alive on British circuits through the Seventies,
winning races and championships.
The red and silver machine
is the fomrer Bee Bee Petty Manx with frame
number 7. Iw as acquired in the late eighties
by classic racer Adrian Sellars, who also
obtained frame number 8 to build the green
and silver 350cc Petty Norton. The smaller
machine has Petty's special front fork with
fabricated top yokes.
Ray Petty died in 1987, when
his Manx service was taken over and greatly
expanded by Derbyshire firm Summerfield
Engineering. More recently another company,
Whire Rose Racing, used frame Number 7 as
a pattern for a near-replica of the Petty
Manx frame. Its widespread success in classic
racing is a tribute to the original Petty
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