The 250 cc Rudge, known as the Stratford Rudge, has been raced and maintained by Mervyn Stratford since 1968. In the following year, 1969 Mervyn won the V.M.C.C. 250 cc championship on this machine and since then it has hardly stopped winning.
This machine remains similar to when Mervyn first raced it in 1968, although many modifications and 'updates' have taken place since which have also changed its appearance slightly. Due to the 'wear & tear' of the many racing miles covered over the years many of the cycle parts have been changed, so its probably a bit like the 'same old broom' but with ten new heads and ten new handles !!
The Stratford Rudge is of 1934 specification and has raced at most of the circuits in England, some of which are no longer in use. A point of interest is that Mervyn raced this machine at the last ever race meeting at Crystal Palace in 1972.
Over the years there have been complaints of the Stratford Rudge being 'too fast'. This culminated in an official protest being lodged at Cadwell park in 1991, by the owner of a rivals machine. The engine of the Rudge had to be stripped and measured, to check the capacity. At the following race meeting at Pembrey (Wales), an official announcement was published in the race programme. "No. 47. 250 cc Rudge - was measured at full circuit Cadwell and was found to be within vintage machine specification rules". This meeting at which the results were published was also the annual V.M.C.C - C.R.M.C challenge meeting. The previous year (1990) Mervyn won the 250cc Gold Trophy Final (for classic and vintage machines) beating CRMC championship leader Alan Beck on his 250cc Suzuki (Some 30 odd years younger than the Rudge.). Merv also won "Man of the Meeting" for his efforts. 1991 was also another double championship winning year, with Mervyn taking the 250 cc championship and also the unlimited to 1934 championship.
The Stratford-Rudge in 1970.
Year of manufacture: 1934
Engine: Fully radial four valve
Capacity: 249 cc
Stroke: 81 mm
Carburation: 1"1/4 Amal TT
Ignition: BTH magneto
B.H.P @ 8,250rpm: 27.9 at the rear wheel (1997)
Fuel: Straight Methanol
Gearbox: Four speed close ratio
Weight: 205 lbs (fuelled)
Top speed: Depends on gearing (Mallory Park 100 Mph, Billown - I.O.M. 112 Mph)
The Stratford-Rudge in 2002.
Mervyn has won the V.M.C.C 250 cc championship twenty five times between 1969 and 2018, on this same machine. (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018)
He has also won the V.M.C.C unlimited to 1934 championship eight times between 1988 and 2011.
2011 being the final running of the unlimited to 1934 championship, from 2012 it was merged with the unlimited to 1948 championship. In 2014 he contested the merged championship for the first time, taking the championship win.
In the years 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 he did the double winning both the unlimited and 250 cc championships on the same machine.
2014 VMCC-BHR 250cc to 1962 Championship - 1st2014 VMCC-BHR Unlimited to 1948 Championship - 1st
2016 VMCC-BHR 250cc to 1962 Championship - 1st2016 VMCC-BHR Unlimited to 1948 Championship - 1st
2018 VMCC-BHR 250cc to 1962 Championship - 1st2018 VMCC-BHR ACU Girder Fork Championship - 1st