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Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Pictures, stories and history of Laverda's racing in Australia

Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby XBCoupeJota » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:16 am

Dennis Skinner’s DPA Laverda

This story comes from an Australian Motorcycle Magazine I can't identify from the copy I have ... looking at the type font it's probably Two Wheels 1976-77?

AUSTRALIA’S
QUICKEST CHAIR


The DPA-Laverda was the outfit no one really thought would work. It was a completely new design with innovations which made it by far the most sophisticated in Australia.

And it works.
dpa laverda.jpg
World's best sidecar

The DPA was designed by John Bennet, who started Headmod in Melbourne several years ago, and powered by a near stock 1000cc Laverda engine. DPA is the name of the new venture Detail Products of Australia, owned by Bennet. The only changes from standard on the Laverda were bigger inlet valves and facing the cam.

And with that, the radical chair swept the hotter than hot gaggle of Kawasaki and Honda Fours all bored to 1000 to 1200cc.

The Project began when John Bennet told Dennis that he could build him a sidecar which would be impossible to beat. Bennet had worked Dennis’s Honda Four outfit to the limit. The frame simply would not take anymore engine stress and the cost of new mods to the bike were prohibitive. So Bennet began the design of the outfit which cleaned up the series with only Bob Levy as serious competition.

Now Skinner is eagerly awaiting a hotter factory-prepared racing engine wangled out of Laverda Spa by Stanco Motorcycles, the Australian distributor of Laverda. John Black of Stanco has helped Dennis with free spares and has been instrumental in gaining the small factory support for him with the new engine and special hot parts.

tbc...
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby XBCoupeJota » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:46 am

The original engine for the DPA came from one of the standard 1000cc Laverda's in stock at Stanco's Elizabeth Street shop. The bike was one of the first three shipped to Australia and was complete with drum front brakes. Stanco dismantled the bike to give Dennis the engine. The parts were used later in a crash repair job.

John Black almost immediately began to help Dennis with spares and after the sidecar's early success went to the Italian factory for a new engine and hot high compression pistons and high lift cams. The new motor didn't arrive until August last year which meant no development could take place on the motor, because there was no spare in case the mods failed to work out. So a stock standard engine was used for nearly the entire season.

John Black believes the new hot bits will help Dennis stay ahead of his competition: "My conuterpart in England, Roger Slater get's his 1000s from the factory already assembled with hot pistons and cams and without exhausts. But then, they have much less stringent noise laws in England".

“Slater's bikes will do 225 km/h off the floor.”

Already Laverdas are beginning to carve a name for themselves in local production races. John Black believes that riders will begin to play around with the big Laverda triples as they become more available. “Experimental work can only take place when a rider has a spare motor he can use when his best may be still in bits,” he said.

One of the best features of the DPA-Laverda is still the incredible frame which is believed to be one of the most advanced in the world. South Australian Alex Campbell who raced a 700 Yammy into seventh place at the Isle of Man Sidecar TT told Dennis there were no bikes which were as good as Dennis's.

He attributes some of his success with the standard Laverda to the fact that he has not been running a stressed engine. At 80 – 90 horses there is still miles of room left for development. Dennis thinks 120 horses would not be too much to ask, as the frame is also way understressed, leaving room for more hot goodies. Dennis said that he and John Bennett had decided on the Laverda engine because of the strength of the motor. “Take one look at this crankshaft and you will know what I am talking about” he said, lifting the heavy shaft. “It's like a truck shaft.”
DPA Laverda sml.jpg
Early day's, the DPA Laverda drew a lot of comment when it
first appeared on the circuits because of it's radical frame and
fairing. Skinners ability was the final ingredient for success.

The shaft might be strong enough to drive a truck but it is far removed from a truck component in this fine metal work. The front wheel is connected to the frame by a wish-bone link affair made from box section 18-20 gauge sheet steel. There is no headstock, but a new steering device which eliminates any wind-up. Very little steering is necessary on the unit. Power is the main factor and steering is mainly for correction.

A huge Formula One grand prix four-spot disc is used to stop the front Dunlop racing slick. The front brake is activated by the left foot. The back brake is activated by the right hand and clutch by the left hand. Dennis finds that individual brake control is necessary and he has been able to get more control by using the left foot to control the front brake.

tbc...
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby ceejay » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:12 pm

Fantasic stuff ........This outfit still has a lap record at Bathurst for a 1000cc engine.........wot colour is it ...
Orange is life...
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby XBCoupeJota » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:20 am

The rest of the frame is made from 18 to 20 core moly tubing and the whole ring is integral including the sidecar – unlike conventional outfits in which the sidecar is an attachment. Consequently, the sidecar doesn't move anywhere near the amount normal outfits allow. There is also little nose dive under braking or lift at power. The suspension is relatively soft. In fact Dennis has not spun the outfit out or had any bingles apart from tearing the fiberglass fairing while being towed after breaking the chain. “I have spun it sideways but it didn't seem to want to spin any further and it just came back straight,” says Dennis.

IMG_2561_sml.jpg
Because of the fairing the DPA Laverda looks a lot bigger than
it's competitors. The fairing pays off on fast circuits like
Surfers Paradise.

Dennis has well and truly paid his dues. He won the title twice (previously on his Honda) and has scores of State titles to his name. He is also a former dirt track National Champion. Now at 32, with sidecar passenger of eight years' standing, Bob Curnow, 31, the pair are finely tuned combination. They do little practice together, leaving that to official sessions and racing. Most of the problems are sorted out in the old fashioned seat-of-the-pants tradition.

Dennis doesn't like dyno-tuning much and prefers to adjust his machine to how it feels. He says he can fine-tune his outfit by knowing just how he wants it set up. Whatever, his bike has started a sophisticated side-car business in Australia which in itself is a breakthrough.

To prove a point, at least two bikes have now got the centre hub steering, and others are working on the other DPA innovations. Stanco's John Black is all smiles as Laverda, still a small-volume bike here, is on the map well and truly in road racing.
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby XBCoupeJota » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:28 am

ceejay wrote:Fantasic stuff ........This outfit still has a lap record at Bathurst for a 1000cc engine.........wot colour is it ...


CJ I have one colour photo of the outfit.

IMG_2533_sml.jpg
First in the Senior event and now clear leaders of the National
Championship series. Victorians Dennis Skinner / Bob Curnow
had the win handed to them when Bob Levy/Mal Byrne crashed
at XL and hassled the Laverda to the flag ahead of a fast-closing
Steve Bayliss/Graeme McGregor.
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby ceejay » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:00 am

"BLUE" it all a bit Mediterranean A...
Orange is life...
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby redax5 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:57 am

I actually have an ex Dennis Skinner engine at home in the workshop, has a hole in the cases from a broken conrod.
Imagine it is the special factory engine mentioned as it has engine number DS1 stamped on it.

Red
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby 981vlad » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:03 am

It ran a duplex final drive chain and always won unless the chain broke. Awesome to see and hear. The blue was a lighter shade than in the photo.

vlad.
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby XBCoupeJota » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Hey Vlad,

if you have any info on results, races you can re-call, photo's etc can you update them on this thread. Hearing from people who have first hand recollection of these machines racing is also what we want to capture as part of un-covering the Australian Laverda Racing history.

Hey Red,

any photo's of that engine especially the number stamped on the case would be brilliant. Do you have the full engine or just the cases. I guess the head would have been worked some!

Cheers Crispin
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Re: Australia's Quickest Chair - DPA Laverda

Postby redax5 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:50 pm

okay, took some time, but found a photo of the engine in question
has been stamped 1000* DJS 1*
supposedly stamped at the factory and supplied free of charge

I only have the bare cases, nothing else
engine case is repairable, only has a small hole, nothing too serious
Attachments
Engine number.jpg
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