I’m doing things backwards here. I realise that I need to give some more of the the original history of the Super squirrel and how Roger’s Flying Squirrel racer came about. As I said in the previous post, the Super Squirrel racer is really only just returning to having the potential of competitiveness that it did in the early 1970s. My dad, Roger, having found that the Scott was fast and competitive in racing was very much committed to finding the solutions to the bike’s shortcomings, namely in handling, gearbox and engine reliability.
The single down-tube frame of the Super Squirrel had broken once before at the seat post and had been re-inforced substantially. Tie bars had been created to give some tension to the lower engine and undertray (carries the gearbox on a Scott) mounts as the original lower frame ‘rails’ have to be removed to be able to race. Left in, they will dig into the track and have you off. This did leave things a bit more flexible in this frame and he resolved that therein lay some of the problem. He was sure a stiffer frame would be a great improvement.
He addressed the handling issue by having a duplex frame made by Bob Stevenson of Spondon to a similar design and geometry to the Flying Squirrel, only using lighter tubing. To be honest, he’s always said that the duplex frame he had made didn’t actually improve the handling, but it did allow a bigger carb (because you didn’t have the single down-tube in the way) and it was quite a bit lighter as it was a welded construction and not lugged.
Years later it was Paul Dobbs, the talented Kiwi rider who suggested that he thought the handling could be improved by moving the riders weight forward. My dad did this, moving the seat forward, and a big improvement was felt. In about 2010 he had the tank shortened to allow this to be more neatly contrived.
I also moved the saddle forward on the Super Squirrel when I re-built it, and swapped the ‘Brooklands’ style bars that my father favours with a set of wide straights that force your hands wider and make your body weight shift forward. The handling is far better for this, and actually I much prefer the extra leverage too.
The gearbox story is well explained in his story of the affair, here, and the pursuit of power and reliability were definitely linked, as the inevitable longstroke crank breakages inevitably took it’s toll on successive crankcases, prompting a decision to re-cast cases with better material and extra strength. Cases were redesigned to have larger transfer apertures and inlet port areas and cranks were re-designed to use the crankcase doors as an outer main bearing support to overcome the design flaw and material shortcomings of the original overhung crank.
The development of the Super Squirrel racer into the Flying Squirrel was not instantaneous though and it was largely about a substantial focus on re-engineering. In truth, that has consistently been the focus of his very successful Scott racing development work. In the process, he has developed his Scott to the point where some people even dispute that it is one. To me however, the Scott was Alfred Scott’s creation and he was a man of vision and ingenuity. He left the company that bore his name in 1915 and died in 1923. It’s impossible to look at the balance and finesse of those early shortstroke machines and imagine that he would allowed the bikes to have developed as they did, in both weight and fragility, had he stayed with the company.
To me the very spirit of the Scott is strongest in those machines where people have employed their skill and imagination to take the unique qualities of the Scott and develop them.
It is in the DNA of the marque and though I understand of course that there are those who have great enjoyment of their original machines, to me there is no Scott more a Scott than one that has been intelligently modified, and there is no Scott that can lay claim to having been been developed with more ingenuity, determination, focus and success according to its remit, than Roger Moss’s Flying Squirrel racer.