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1959 125 LCH Racer

1959 125 LCH Racer

LCH were the initials of Leonard Clifford Harfield, a gifted Hampshire-based engineer who built his own racers. This machine is the ultimate development of the LCH single on which Len Harfield challenged the might of free-spending Italian factories in international 125cc racing through the late fifties.

The sophisticated LCH engine, with gear-driven double overhead camshafts and twin plug ignition, was almost entirely manufactured by Harfield himself. Basing the unit on a 250cc Rudge crankcase he crafted the wooden patterns from which a foundry produced the other main castings of Italian appearance. Harfield machined most of the internals but fitted a Hepolite piston listed for the Italian 125cc MV Augusta and a Manx Norton oil pump. A special five-speed cluster was obtained for the separate Albion gearbox. LCH engines were noted for reliability and this unit can be safely revved to 11,000 rpm.

This ultra-lightweight frmae is based on the proven Norton layout, while the front fork is an Earles-type leading-link type. A glassfirbe fairing made by Harfield was usually fitted.

This final British-engined LCH took its creator to 16th place in the 1959 Ultra Lightweight TT, against Ducati, Honda, MV Augusta and MZ factory machines. Harfield's best TT was in 1954 when he took an earlier LCH with chain-driven camshafts to 8th in the 125cc event and was the first privateer home. After a heavy crash in 1959, Len scaled down his track activities and set up a garage business. He returned to racing as a technical official and was Chief Scrutineer at the TT for eleven years. Len Harfield died in 2002.

  • Engine - 125cc (53 x 56mm) air-cooled double overhead camshaft single, 11.5 compression ratio, 1in Amal carburettor, battery and coil twin-plug ignition.
  • Transmission - Chain primary drive, dry multiplate clutch, five-speed gearbox, chain final drive
  • Chassis - Tubular double cradle frame, leading-link front suspension, swinging arm rear suspension, drum front and rear brakes
  • Power - 18bhp @ 11,000rpm
  • Dry weight - 207lb (94kg)
  • Top Speed - 95mph