A number of Midget racing cars were powered by Lea-Francis engines and raced with success both in the USA and Australia, where the Speedway format of motor sport is more popular.
|Lea-Francis 1496cc, 4 Amals 118bhp or 2 SUs 125bhp
The engines for the midget racers were specially built dry sump Lea-Francis competition units, with gear-driven camshafts and raised compression. Albert Ludgate, the Chief Engineer, and Ken Rose made two trips to the USA in 1948-9 with examples of the engine, which were installed in midget racers with some success, but no breakthrough was achieved against established units such as the Offenhauser. They had a tendency to put rods through the side.
The photos appearing on this page are of legendary Australian midget racer Alf Beasley, and appear courtesy of http://www.justmidgets.homestead.com/Thebeasleys.html where further details of the Beasley family’s speedway successes in the 1950s can be found. See also LeaFlets 232, 234 and 240.
While the midget racer depicted above left bears little resemblance to any product from the Lea-Francis production line, the lower photograph reveals the distinctive outline of the Rose-designed engine.