Martens Wildcat Gp225
Martens Wildcat Gp225
By Dave Tooley
My first introduction to really fast scooters was a bit of a quantum leap from anything I'd ridden before. My own road bike of the time was a little Lambretta Ld 125cc which could only work its way up to a paltry 55 mph on a good day on a downhill slope with a following wind.
When I first met Marten Holdway he had only just acquired his Gp200 and it already went like the proverbial sh*t off a shovel. He was then one of the first to get his barrel overbored to 225cc with a dykes piston and race ported by Les Rafferty.
To just say it was quick is an understatement. He must have owned one of the fastest Lambretta's on the road anywhere in the world. In the late 60's Les Rafferty was only just starting to market the Wildcat badged gear, and he had a fair bit of time to make a really good job of his commercial race porting.
With Marten and I together on his bike our joint weight must have been approaching 30 stone, yet we could easily see off any other scooter on the road regardless of whether it was ridden by a flyweight gnome. When riding it on my own the needle of the speedometer disappeared well off the 90 mph scale, but it was the way it got there that was so impressive. From my experience nothing on the road could out-accelerate it up to its top speed, including any motorbike of the day. (and boy did they try)
It wasn't until the Japanese started importing multi cylinder 2 stroke machines in the early 70's that anything could get near it.
I loved riding that beast. When we stayed over for the day at Dermot's house in Wickham during the summer of 69, sometimes I would have to come back to Fareham to pick something up. Marten would let me borrow his bike for the journey, and boy did I enjoy that run. God knows what speed I would attain as I sped down the hill on the run into Fareham, but it probably exceeded 100 mph because the bike would be revving its head off in top. Most exhilarating.
What a bike that was…it broke my heart to see it trashed right in front of me at the Isle of Wight Rally in 1970 when Marten came a huge cropper.