The Past and Present of BSA Gold Star Racing

| 8/16/2011 10:41:07 AM

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bsa gold star racing 1 
Red Caldwell loads his BSA Gold Star
at Sacramento, Calif., 1960.

BSA Gold Star racing then
Red Caldwell made a name for himself racing Gold Stars in Northern California. “I got my pro license and bought my first Gold Star in 1956. In 1958, I bought another one. I was racing at Vallejo, the Sacramento Mile and Belmont,” he says.

Like most racers of the era, Red did most of his own wrenching. “I raised the compression and put in better cams. There was a guy in Southern California who made cams, and Harold Ball in Sacramento was the local dealer. He had a knack for getting the most out of whatever motorcycle he was working on. He helped me, and did the machine work, but I did all the engine work myself.

“I always liked the single cylinder and the low-end torque. It was a fun motorcycle to ride. I had the most fun riding Belmont. It had a figure-eight TT, quarter mile, with an underpass. You didn’t have to have a lot of horsepower. I rode Catalina in 1956, 1957 and 1958 — the last year. I rode Big Bear three different years.

“My main competition was Dick Dorresteyn, a fast Triumph rider. I only beat him once. It was happenstance. I rode to the edge on a corner and got enough horsepower to get past him,” Red remembers. “It was a great experience and a great motorcycle, although it was underpowered for my six-foot four-inch frame — especially on longer tracks.”

Here's some vintage footage of BSA Gold Star racing from 1957 featuring dirt track racer Louis Kramer:


8/18/2011 10:19:51 PM

this is seriously cool stuff! thanks guys!