Updated: May 10
Without any doubt in our opinion, the best all round motorcycle ever was the BSA Gold Star of the mid to late 1950s. As a pure roadster (as pictured above) it could eat up the miles with the best of whatever else was on offer and it won so many Clubman's TT races for production machines on the Isle of Man and packed the entry lists to such an extent that the organizers had to abandon the class because it had become nothing more than a publicity benefit for BSA! Off road it was the same story. Gold Stars won British Championships in both motocross and observed trials disciplines and were frequent Gold Medal winners in the International Six Days Trial endurance competition. On the other side of the Atlantic it was a winner on the mile and half-mile dirt track ovals. And on top of all that, and again in our opinion, it was one of the most eye-catching and stylish motorcycles ever produced. Take a look at the following photo selection and we feel sure you will not be able to disagree...
This was the iconic Clubman's racer version which totally dominated that class of racing
The Enduro model won many Gold Medals for riders in the International Six Days Tria
The motocross version won several British Championships and European Grand Prix races.
This version for the 'feet up' balancing action of observed trials also won British titles.
The Gold Star was also a winner on the high-speed mile and half-mile ovals that featured in the American Grand National Championship. This one was built and raced by Dick Mann and took him to the first of his titles in 1963, Dick died recently at the age of 87 and the whole world of motorcycle racing mourned at the passing of one of the sport's true stars. Like the Gold Stars he rode, Dick was a real all-rounder. He was the first rider to win in all five disciplines of Grand National competition - short track, half mile and mile ovals, TT and road racing - a feat that only three other riders have achieved since, And when not involved in Championship competition he rode motocross and observed trials just for fun!
So RIP, Dick Mann, who will always be remembered as one of motorcycle racing's greats .
One race that the Gold Star never won was the Daytona 200 Miles that was run on a combined beach and road course at the Florida resort from the late 1940s until 1962, There were several podium (top three) placings, however, including second place for Al Gunter on this racer in 1957, Note the special air filter to keep the beach sand out of the engine.
And finally, here's a look inside the Gold Star engine and gearbox. Courtesy of BSA apprentices who prepared this cutaway exhibit for a late 1950s London Motorcycle Show.