Why I’ll never forget Ray’s wonderful R60-framed BMW R100RS/GP outfit

Mick Payne reflects on the late Ray Doran’s cleverly modified BMW/Watsonian GP Sport combination.

Last month, our editor Pete gave a tantalising glimpse of the sadly deceased Ray Doran’s lovely BMW outfit, and this got me thinking.

Many years ago, I wrote a regular sidecar feature for Motorcycle Sport magazine and was lucky enough to test many varied combos, from Villiers-powered lightweights up to Blackbird and Hayabusa behemoths, but even then the one I liked more than any of the rest (and time hasn’t blunted that emotion) was Ray’s cleverly modified BMW/Watsonian GP Sport that would always have taken pride of place in my garage.

Ray and his gorgeous outfit, will always be remembered wherever sidecar enthusiasts meet.

Back in September 1995, I met up with Ray at Jim D’Arcy’s Charnwood Classic Restorations in Leicestershire, where he explained that he felt his R60 BMW needed a rewire.

While it was apart, an R100RS engine and gearbox were sourced from a breaker, and I was told that, because of BMW’s reluctance to recommend their later frames for sidecar use, this was a fairly common conversion.

The engine is mated to an R90 bevel box secured to the R60 swing arm via a short length of R90 arm. The cycle sits on 15-inch rims, then shod with Firestone 125 section car radials.

Ray had his work cut out convincing his wheel-builder that the very short spokes required to lace the Grimeca four-leading shoe into the alloy rim were a good idea.

Read more in the May 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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