In 1964 Richard
Morley was a successful racer of
125,250 and 256cc high cam Moto Parillas in International road races
throughout Europe. He started his motorcycle racing career riding a
500cc Triumph Tiger 100 at Brands Hatch in 1956. From 50cc Itom to 500cc
Moto Guzzi, he went on to ride many makes and capacities of road racing
machines on most of the UK circuits before his chance introduction to
Moto Parilla in 1963.
He still rides
today - on his old 250 works framed bike - at venues in the UK &
Europe where Classic fans can still hear the sound of a Parilla being
used as it was always meant to be on a track - hard!
Now over to RM to start the story......
- sections revised 06.01.12
The first approach by Moto
Parilla / Capriolo UK importers came in the summer of 1963, following
publication of an article in the Motorcycle News featuring a constant mesh gearbox I had designed and installed in my G50 Matchless.
Their interest was to know if I could develop my gearbox cluster with 6
and 7 speed options to fit into the 250 Parilla unit construction
crankshaft and gearbox casings.
a number of meetings with the Moto Parilla / Capriolo directors in
Croydon, South London, including a visit with them to the Moto Parilla
factory in Milan, in October 1963. I agreed to further develop my
gearbox cluster design for Moto Parilla to manufacture and install in their
motorcycles in return for the loan of 3 M.S.D.S Moto Parillas and
special components I would prepare in Milan with Moto Parillas
assistance and then enter in the “Continental
Circus" the following year. I also agreed to
help Moto Parilla / Capriolo to develop new production racers, if all
went to plan, for sale back in
RM examines a 250 engine
Arriving at Moto Parilla's Milan factory some
five months later in March 1964, with Vic Wotton my mechanic, friend
& supplier of our Ford Thames transporter. Things were not quite as we had
anticipated at Moto Parilla.There was no sign of the Ceriani forks,Oldani
front brakes or the Dellorto racing carburetors which I
understood, from my earlier visit and discussions at Parilla/Capriolo uk,
would be provided by Parilla SIL
of the above clipping
Management and staff were most welcoming
but the competition
workshop was closed, staff were working short time and one of the Moto Parilla
directors I had met in London and Milan, was
no longer with the company. There were even rumours circulating of the
company being taken over by another motorcycle manufacturer.
The competition workshop was
quickly re-opened and 2 mechanics were assigned to assist us
however the current Moto Parilla management team seemed to have lost all
interest in developing new gearbox clusters?
After consultation with the Moto Parilla / Capriolo directors back in Croydon
UK, it was agreed that we would abandon, or at least postpone, our
program to jointly develop new gearbox clusters with Moto Parilla but
continue to develop the new 125cc engine and prepare our 250 and 256 bikes
before joining the "Continental Circus" in April, as
Needing the maximum starts per meeting to
earn our living (having been offered £50 per qualified start at most
meetings), we concentrated all our efforts over our 3 week stay at Moto Parilla, to preparing the 250 and 256cc machines (the latter to be entered
in 350 and 500cc races, where permitted) and to the development of a one
off 125cc racer based on a scaled down 175 H. C Moto Parilla. The Moto Parilla
model line up in 1964 also included a 50cc single and 350cc twin but
these models were completely non starters for road racing
Had Moto Parilla developed and manufactured gearboxes based on my
constant mesh design we would have fitted 6 speed clusters in the
250 and 256 bikes and tried a 7 speed cluster in the planned 125.
As things were, we had no other practical alternative but to put Moto Parilla
5 speed clusters in the 250 & 256cc machines and latter
in the season, a six speed cluster based on a 50 cc Racer design I
had earlier developed and manufactured for Peter Lucas, into the 125.
The 125 was planned to be of a square (equal bore & stroke
configuration however the gearbox and other issues took up so much time
we had to abandon the idea and took a chance on just sleeving down the
175 to 125. Of course this gave us a very long stroke engine which in
time became known on the Circus as "Morley's Steam Engine”.
To the envy of many riders of MZ, Bultaco and other 2 stroke machines,
our Moto Parilla 4 stroke125 engine, whilst being rather heavy and down
on power, turned out to be extremely
reliable and kept going when many of them had stopped, particularly when
we were all running on fuel supplied by the East German,
Czechoslovakian, Yugoslavian and Hungarian race organisers, reputed
be well below 70 Ron!
Eventually we got the 125 together and after test runs on the
Milan/Turin motorway, at times with a Police escort, we set off for our
first race meeting at the Nurburgring, West Germany, at the end of April
to Chapter 1 - Continental Circus