Vincent Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Super Nero

The Super Nero was a supercharged 1,000cc sprint motorcycle built in 1963 by George Brown.

George Brown began his motor cycling career on a Raleigh - appropriate, given his Nottingham birthplace - and his competitive spirit soon turned him to trials and grass tracking. A meeting Philip Vincent of the Vincent-HRD Company in Stevenage led to a job in their experimental shop in 1934. Naturally, he spent as much time as possible testing the products at the highest possible speeds.

The supercharged Super Nero was the natural successor to Nero, George Brown's legendary Vincent twin sprint record breaker. Nero had broken virtually every National course record and set a World record for a standing kilometer at 108.73mph, but after ten years was at the end of its development. The Nero was originally constructed from a written-off road-going Vincent wreck, fitted with telescopic front forks and twin shock rear suspension to suit George's preference. The new Super Nero was much more radical and featured a huge supercharger capable of supplying a 1500cc engine.

George, and his brother Cliff, built a lightweight tubular frame to make the machine longer and lower. This was to reduce the tendency for the power to lift the front wheel, a tendency from which Nero suffered. To save weight, front forks from a 70cc Honda stepthru were fitted and the spare space in the gear box used as an oil tank. Super Nero was soon breaking the solo and sidecar records set by Nero. George, now completely committed to sprinting, his road racing career ended by serious crashes which had scarred him for life, went faster and faster. A big bore 1300cc engine was built along with a spare engine so that he could contest more classes at the same event, and at Greenham Common airfield the Super Nero took seven World and National standing start mile and flying kilometre records.

In the flying start kilometre runs, the 1000cc machine was faster than the 1300cc with 158.238 mph against 149.732mph. George had a secret ambition to be the first British rider to top 200mph on British soil, over a measured distance. He had already been clocked on Super Nero over a finish line at Elvington Speed Meeting at 236mph. The problem was there was nowhere in the country where Super Nero could be safely extended to its limit and various attempts on aerodromes were often ruined by bad weather.

There was another, almost ridiculous, problem. The FIM, the international body governing record attempts, has an arbitrary age limit for riders of 55. At 55, George complained bitterly to the FIM that he was perfectly fit, probably fitter that many riders who were younger. He was allowed to go for National records and might soon be going faster than world records. He had made his point and in 1968 the ban was lifted. George celebrated by setting a new National and World record for the flying kilometre with a two way mean average of 182mph. Super Nero's rear tyre was worn down to the canvas after those runs.

His last chance of going for that elusive 200mph was ruined by gusts of wind which blew him 10ft off course, but with a sidecar attached Super Nero set new World and National records for the flying half mile of 128.234mph. That same year, 1970, he had his first heart attack and his sprint days were over, but he had seen his son, Tony, show that he could handle Super Nero by setting a National flying quarter record at 146.7mph. George refused many tempting offers for Super Nero, but did once say "I expect it will end up in a museum". George died five days after his 67th birthday.

Some time later a new machine appeared: Extra Nero.

Source: Graces Guide

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