|The FIS (Poland)|
The idea to build the first Polish engine for a speedway motorbike came about in a town called Rzeszow, the brain child of two proffesional mechanics namely Tadeusz Fedki and Romuald Izewski. In August 1952 Stalowcy lost heavily (14:36) to Wlokniarzem Czestochowa, part of the reason for the defeat was the unsuitability of the bikes used for speedway racing.
Even so the partnership did not make any moves until 1953 and 1954. For nearly six months both constructors tried to put together the neccessary materials, performed technical trials, planned and obtained the neccessary parts.
Finally, after overcoming all the obstacles, the first engine was built, the name being born out of the initials "F" for Fedki, "I" for Izewski and "S" for "Stalowcy" their team.
On 30th April, 1954 the engine was fitted into a frame after which historic trials were carried out on the track at Rzeszow. The trials were started by T.Fedki, who took the bike tentatively round the first lap of the track, the suddenly opened the throttle and sailed around the track for a few laps on full power. A small group of gathered observers could not hide their delight, the engine was faultless.
In the following concluding trials, the FIS engine was fitted to an Excelsior bike frame, and carried out on the "Ogniwa Rzeszow" track by E.Nazimek. The results exceeded expectations. Nazimek concluded that the power of the engine at the start was excellent, the bike accelerated quickly into the straights, and he could not fault it, adding it performed like the original JAP.
When the first official trials were
announced at the Rzeszow Motorcycle Speedway Club, Edward Kupczynski, the
runner-up in the Polish National Speedway Championships offered to test
the bike, before a first Division encounter between Sparta Wroclaw and
This trial was very pleasing. Kupczynski riding the FIS set a new track record at Rzwszow and the machine built by the local technicians was accepted by all speedway riders in Poland. The machine could reach 50km and gave nothing away to the original JAP, which until the arrival of the FIS had been the choice of the top Speedway riders.
On a sadder note, E.Nazimek died in a tragic racing accident on July 12th,
1959 at Rzeszow Stal. After his footrest broke off, he lost control and
struck the wall, but it was as he was getting to his feet that another
rider, Stanislaw Kaizer was unable to avoid him and hit him at full speed.
His funeral took place on 14th July 1959 in an emotional event with a procession
of FIS's, taxis and aeroplanes dropping wreathes and his grave was was
then covered with thousands of wreathes and bunches of flowers, such was
Apart from supplying us with the above account, Richard Snodin also sent us the pictures (Above and Below) of his FIS which he believes is one of only six FIS machines in the UK.
This particular machine is unique
in that the frame is copper plated and the engine is of the type with "hairpin" valve springs.
Some images are missing from this page. I'd be very grateful if anyone can supply replacements and/or higher resolution images.
Minor edits to text September 2017.
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