Elsewhere on the site I have detailed the 1914 TT outing for a pair of FN fours, but this was not the first racing experience for FN. From Motor Cycling in April 1910 we get a glimpse of an early FN exponent, R.O. Clark.
While we see him here aboard a c1910 single cylinder, shaft drive FN, he is probably better known for his earlier outings on the 4-cylinder FN, notably in the 1908 TT, as outlined in the accompanying article:
"The Stadium" presumably refers to Brooklands, but while I can find reference to a tussle between Clark and Gibson on Saturday October 3, 1908, Peter Hartley's book Bikes at Brooklands gives the win to Gibson on the Triumph. It doesn't matter much because there is a catch. Like many Brooklands events, the race was a handicap, and both Clark and Gibson started 2 minutes 20 seconds before the backmarkers. Not surprisingly, the handicappers came in for some criticism following the event. Still, the winner's speed was 53 mph - at which pace the FN must have been really humming if it was geared anything like mine.
Clark was a founding committee member of the BMCRC, and appeared in many events at Brooklands before the first war. From the early days of the track in 1908, he rode four-cylinder FNs, then later he campaigned the single-cylinder shaft drive model. In 1911 he put 41 miles, 1454 yards into the hour on his Class A 249 cc FN single (probably a stripped version of the machine shown above), and late in 1913 he set a string of long-distance Class A1 records riding a 273 cc machine. The record speeds were around 44-45 mph for 2 - 6 hours and 100 - 250 miles: quite remarkable for such a small machine with so little racing pedigree. Not that someone wasn't taking things seriously. Production FNs at this date were 285 cc, so the record breaker - like the four-cylinder machines entered in the 1914 TT - was reduced in capacity to come in under the 275 cc Class A1 limit.