21 May HONDA’S 12 HOUR 50cc ENDURANCE RECORD
Late in 1968 the South African Honda distributors brought three standard 49cc Fury Honda four-stroke singles to Killarney in an attempt to set a new 12 Hour Endurance Record for 50cc motorcycles.
The Fury was no moped; it had a single overhead camshaft engine that delivered 5.2 horsepower at a screaming 10 200 revs and 3.7Nm at 8500rpm, driving the rear wheel via a four-speed gearbox. Top speed was about 85km/h, depending on who you were talking to.
The successful record attempt was supervised by the Automobile Association of South Africa and the results make interesting reading even now.
The three machines completed 1651.38 miles (2642.21km, 809 laps of Killarney) between them in 12 hours. Their average speed was 45.87 miles per hour (73.39km/h), which means they must have been flat out almost all the way round the circuit, making their average fuel consumption of 100.06 miles per gallon (4.45 litres/100km) all the more remarkable.
The lead machine completed 560 miles (896km, 274 laps) in 12 hours, a record that will probably never be broken, and which Honda proudly publicised with a full-page advertisement in the March 1969 issue of S.A. Motor Cyclist, reproduced below.