Speedway Workshop

Today in Motorcycle History

The Schneeweiss


This picture* was found in an old issue of "Bahnsport Aktuell" by Franco Oliani, and with some translation help from Bennie Ludolphy, we can shed some light on this particular motor.

The machine is a 350 cc motor built by Austrian Martin Schneeweiss in which he used many Husqvarna parts for its construction.

As you may be able to see, this bike was one of the first with a rubber band rear suspension and he used it for speedway, but mostly for longtrack racing. This bike is now on display in the Hockenheim museum.

We were extremely delighted when Soren Kj r wrote to mention that he has seen the Workshop Pages, and upon seeing the name of Martin Schneeweiss, he recalled he had seen he had seen a picture him riding this very machine.

Soren had found a picture in a book entitled "On two Wheels" which he mentions was a well chosen title, considering that the author Leif Hveem, nicknamed "Basse" was one of the most winning speedway riders for his time, although he never won the World Championship.

It is very rare indeed to obtain pictures of a machine being ridden by its maker, so this picture of Martin Schneweiss riding his lap of honour in Vienna is a most welcomed addition to the Workshop Pages.

Soren Kj?r himself has a long association with the sport, and though whilst not having ridden Speedway, he has held a Danish speedway referees license since 1982 and is a member of the board of the speedway section under the Danish Motor Union.

Whilst not in English, it is easy to see that this particular picture dates from 1938, which helps us date the era when this machine was built.

Another picture* with more information comes from Ben Ludolphy. The Schneeweiss machine shown was made in 1939 and is mounted with a Rudge 350 cc 4 Valve engine. This full radial engine is tuned by Austrian Michael Gayer and is with a home made steel cylinder and a total loss oiling system. As a matter of interest, Michael Gayer also made a special dirt track engine in 1952 (modeled after the Chater Lea) On this engine there is a camdisc for the 2 Valves.

The emblem on the Schneeweiss tank is a Panther inside a speedway track. This emblem you will find on all the Schneeweiss machines.

Ben points out that the above picture of Schneeweiss riding, is actually riding a machine called the GIGANT, and we are hoping to find out more about this particular bike. 

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