Charlie Bruce

Having helped set up the ‘Bellshill Beehive’ collective of motorcycle racers and tuners in Glasgow in the late Forties, Charlie Bruce’s talents were proving vital for the success of other Scottish racers. Ben Waters explains how this relationship became a two-way street…

Aside from being the effective team manager for the riders racing with Joe Potts’ machinery, the second role Charlie helped the Potts team with was mathematics.

It was Charlie Bruce who would help develop the cam profiles for the special Potts engines.

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He would spend hours with his Chambers log tables, plotting the profiles for the master cams in order to extract more power from the special engines.

Tucked in tight behind the fairing, Charlie takes on Oulton Park on April 18, 1960.

Some of the cams that Charlie developed included high lift and alternative duration components. Such was the time that Charlie spent developing cams, Bob McIntyre gave him the nickname ‘Professor Chambers’ (after the four-figure Chambers log tables used) and Bob even went so far as to make Charlie a special medal made from welding rods, with a Scottish thistle in the middle, and presented it to him to congratulate Charlie after he had developed one specific cam profile!

It was also Charlie Bruce who helped Alex Crummie make the mini-duplex frame for Bob and Joe’s new 250cc Manx Norton for the 1956 season.

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They also equipped this machine with Earles type forks which Charlie had also been using on his old MOV for numerous years.

The Potts 250cc went on to become one of the most successful British racing machines of all time – for example, in 1956 it won the 250cc British Championship and got the results of 14 wins, four seconds and a third out of 20 major National/International races.

Read more and view more images in the April 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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