another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Saturday, 27 February 2010


saturday night, i-pod on shuffle.

saturday night at race headquarters, filing cabinet i nicked from work to store my tools in.

me, on my chop, photo's from american-v feature, i was happy back then, me on the sporty, barse on the shovel, building bikes for fun, totally illegal, no speedo, no indicators, not even a fucking stand, bit of wood stuffed in jacket pocket and wedged under footpeg, we got passed by the law on the way to the shires show, they just looked at us like we were shit, they didn't want the paperwork, we caned onto the campsite, superstylin', i ripped all the fins off my regulator, clip-on's on the sporty, sky high apes on the shovel.

saltfighter sporty.

my chop in american -v magazine, april/may 2008.


it's not just me then, des, #42, one week before the season opens at brands...........

Friday, 26 February 2010



cal.



classic racer, i reckon it's the best motorcycle magazine available, been up to worksop in the week to pick up 62 copies off a bloke who was selling them on e-bay, they are immaculate, all the stickers, posters and supplements included, felt sorry for him, he was 'downsizing', moving to a bungalow and his mr's said he had to get rid of his collection as they wouldn't have room in the new house, got chatting to him and he raced a 500 triumph back in the day, really nice bloke, he had loads of stories to tell but all i wanted to do was get home, it was snowing heavily, i was tired and i felt guilty that i didn't take up his offer of a brew, wasted opportunity, i'm a twat me, could have learnt a lot.

i really thought that i would make the brands hatch meeting in early march, perhaps snetterton at the end of march but realistically we are looking at pembrey, may bank holiday as the first race, i seriously underestimated the amount of funds, brain-power and time needed to build a racer, shake it down and make the necessary adjustments just to get it to run, never mind be competitive, instead of feeling sorry for myself and waiting for the powder-coating to come back so we could get a rolling chassis i decided to crack on with some of the job's which still need doing, junk the oil pump cover, bribe sue at works husband to raid the scrap bin for carbon-fibre off-cuts and make a new cover and.......


chop the ignition cover to make it into something a bit more presentable, the original, [ok it's not the original, it's got holes drilled in it and the cover has already been cut back and chamfered, i'm only human, i sometimes forget to take 'work in progress' shots if i get sucked into the project, sorry], heavy and ugly, [ and that's just the rider], needs some therapy, [and that's just the rider too], lets think about how we can make it lighter and better looking, [note to rider, diet, exercise, get my teeth whitened, sunbed, sharp suit, fuck me, i'm george michael].

cut the back of the ignition cover/gearbox sprocket cover back to the webbing which provides the weather protection to the ignition unit, clean up on the miller and dress with a file and wet and dry to finish, note chamfered cover.

the standard cover needs chamfering to allow greater ground clearance, cut the cover back to 21 degrees and re-weld, clean up with some wet and dry and fly cut the distorted 'mz' casting off the cover.

the hacked cover bolted up over the pvl ignition, going to cut a circle of carbon-fibre out and araldite it onto the cover to hide the cuts, the carbon gearbox sprocket cover needs drilling and a little more shaping to finish, might mill some slots across it too, it weighs a few grammes so no weight saving, just looks flash.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


"the triumphs and the harleys were pretty well matched in '67 but 1968 was the year that harley davidson raised their game, triumph rider gary nixon was less than pleased, we were running 135mph and the harleys were running 150, i told them they needed to put a mirror on the fuckers so i could see which side they were going by me"

"what people need to know is that if ever there was a motorcycle racer who was fearless, it was cal rayborn, he always had that great smile, but cal rayborn was a different breed of cat"




cal rayborn, picked up a copy of classic racer magazine on the way home from the match, [got beat one-nil by swansea, bad tempered game, both teams reduced to ten men, swansea played a good game, frustrated the rams into making rash challenges and getting cards, poor officials, ref made a rod for his own back, dishing out cards rather than talking to the players, twat,], me and jack had a pint while waiting for the bus and i started reading the rayborn story, legend.

early start this morning, i was up at the darley moor circuit for my c.t.c [competitor training course], arrived around 0830hours, darley moor is a god-forsaken place even in summer, today it was freezing, about thirty of us huddled in what i can best describe as a barn, two little propane heaters did nothing to warm the vast space, cup of tea and two biscuits and down to business, multi choice question paper at the end, got my c.t.c certificate signed off, got to post it to bemsee for stamping, they send it off to the acu and licence should follow soon.

Friday, 19 February 2010


my dog-tag turned up today, quite a sobering moment when i realised i could actually die doing this.


bottle on left, putoline tech 2 castor racing oil, seventeen quid a throw, glass on right, mcguigan estate australian shiraz, £4.69 from sainsbury's.

i know, i know, iv'e been bitching about the swingarm but check out the photo, you can see the left hand shock is a fucking mile out, dangerous took the 'new' swinger up to kev's today for powdercoating, we are looking at two-weeks turnaround for the coating, that's another setback there is always something to do but it's really frustrating not to have a rolling chassis yet.

pipe on left is standard header pipe for the 250cc mz, pipe on the right is the earlier 250mz header pipe, which do you think offers the best performance?

not much to look at i admit but a crucial part of the racer project, this is the expansion chamber, the class rules state that the exhaust header pipe and the first diffuser cone have to be standard, we have cheated a little by using the header pipe from the earlier ts250 model which is a better shape for performance and also to allow us to tuck the exhaust under the engine so that it exits on the left rather than the right as on a standard machine, the reason?, most tracks are predominantly right handers so we gain ground clearance, two stroke tuning is a black art, i have lost hours researching on the interweb, what i have determined is that we are basically bolloxed using the small diameter header pipe and the small chamber diameter, compression ratio, ignition timing and the temperature of the spent exhaust gases combined with the port duration, [we are using a piston ported engine, no reeds], effect the performance, we really need a tapered header pipe when you look at the tuning models available but the rules state you have to use a standard item, which, on inspection looks like it has no taper at all, dead frustrating really, like i said before, slap a mikuni 42mm carb on and go for a tapered header and fat belly chamber and they would really move.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


amazing photo of the honda rc115 50cc racer crankshaft, rods and pistons sitting in someone's hand! beautiful, nine-speed gearbox, four valve per cylinder, twin cylinders, made in 1965.

aermacchi, bubble visor, rigger-boots, no gloves.

the swing-arm saga rolls on, got the replacement swinger from burwins, instead of using the mounting 'cups' for the bottom shock mounting the 'new' arm uses a lot beefier mounting, the wheel adjuster plates are drilled and tapped 10mm instead of the feeble, out of line shock mountings on our arm, you can see from this photo that the 'cup' is welded on off-centre' of the swinging arm compared to this........

left-hand shock mounting on left of swingarm, welded on 10mm out of true, [centre of swingarm]

compare the 'new' swingarm, [fitted to the frame, top], with the skinny little thing, [bottom, offset mountings throwing the shocks out], just need to get the beefy, new arm powdercoated and the new bushes fitted and we should be good to go, the tubing on the new arm is inch and a quarter diameter compared to three-quarters of an inch on the old arm, check out the box section near the swing-arm pivot with the little tube on the original, should be a lot better especially when the shocks are actually in line.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


got my vinyl collection out today, you know that thing, when you open up the boxes and that slightly musty, old, vinyl-record-cardboard-sleeve-sensation hit's you, looking through the records bought back loads of memories, i used to live for it, all-nighters, all-dayers, searching through second hand shops the length and breadth of england for that elusive gem, more often than not it ended in disapointment, every now and then you would find something special, still got all my records, never part with them, easier to listen to them on disc or i-pod now, phil hinds, dommo, elaine, jasmine, hector, vanessa, soul sam, manship, jeanette, jen, julie, all the cleo's crew, bri gresham, clive, jane goodall, [rip], dennis mcdonald, st ives, samantha's, palais nottingham, tiff's sheffield. peterboro' wirrina stadium, keep on keepin' on.................................................................


everybody loves apehangers, hardtail frame, no front brake, apes, proper dangerous, think the motor's an aftermarket s+s panhead?, no clutch lever on the bars, must be running a foot-clutch, cool, my e-mail has been hacked, if you have sent me mail i'm sorry, i can't open them, please send me any messages again, hopefully i have it sorted.

rams fans at ipswich town, last game of the season, we are officially the worst team in the premiership, we don't give a fuck, dcfc forever, forever dcfc, the red dogs lost again today, that wanker davis is bitching because they only had ten million pounds to spend and he is getting his excuses in already, his days at derby were numbered when we won the play off final at wembley against the baggies, 'how do you feel billy', 'ok. but i wish i had done it with preston' can't beat us away, can't beat us away, your nottingham forest can't beat us away.

so, fifth round of the fa cup, we drew birmingham city, currently eight in the premiership, derby were all over them for most of the tie, we scored first, they equalised and won the tie deep into injury time, for long periods of the match you had to remind yourself that we are a league below, respect to the team today, we outplayed them for the majority of the game, they had two chances and scored with both of them, really enjoyed it today even if we lost, derby played really well and it's no disgrace to go out to a team in the premiership, i hope birmingham go all the way now, good luck to them, they are often in the shadow of their rivals villa, they haven't got the support that we enjoy and the board bottled it, pulled out and went to west ham instead, they are due a bit of good fortune.

Friday, 12 February 2010



choose life, choose debt, choose no family time, choose no fucking money, choose debt, choose sleepless nights, choose headaches, choose stress, choose long nights in the shed, choose lockwire, choose loctite, choose second hand sweaty leathers, choose dog-tags, choose paddock stands, choose duct tape, i chose racing, these are the cylinder head and barrel fins i cut off the engine, as they fell onto the bench they seemed to be saying something to me.............

looking at the motor, we really need to lose some more weight off it, it still weighs a ton...........................

so, i cut the fins down on the barrels and head.

me and barse have been mates for nearly 20 years now, we have had some tears and a whole lot of laughs along the way, too many tales to tell here, from the rides down to the kent custom bike shows, numerous rallies and mag runs across the country and the legendary gigs, [uk subs, prodigy, gallows, underworld etc. etc to name a few], hot, sweaty, beer soaked laugh out loud moments and quite walking along the river lost in our own thoughts strolls, breakdowns, pissing rain, broken clutch cables, oil-leaks, fights, building bikes, sharing parts, sharing food, sharing tents, snow in may, j-cloths on the back of our necks to stop sunburn, arguments, dancing at raves like maniacs, sunsets and way too many sunrises, abk, loveless, first time we met he was wearing this t-shirt, big-up mate.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


cedar rapids.

the rams, we beat league leaders newcastle united 3-nil on tuesday night, we ran them ragged and gave them the heaviest defeat of the season, we play birmingham city at our place on saturday, stand by.

51-51 was my number, [with apologies to the mighty toots and the maytals, '54-46 was my number'], dangerous is away sunning himself in tenerife while i'm holding the fort, don't know where the week has gone, jack is on night's so i'm giving him a lift to work every night, when i get back it's nearly 9pm so not a lot of time to get stuck into the project, got a couple of hours every night then in for a bite, shower and bed, at least the nights are drawing out now so hope to get out on one of the bikes as soon as i can, think i was a little optimistic about getting the racer up and running for the start of the season, we built both the ducati's last winter, no problem, so thought i could get this bloody mz done, tested and ready to race in no-time, big mistake, had some good news though, motors tv are screening every round from april so you should, [keep your fingers crossed], be able to see me, 1- falling off in a comedy stylee, 2- getting lapped by the leaders at least twice, 3- the bike skittling ten riders as i miss my breaking point or 4- the dodgy tank bursting at the seams, the petrol hitting the hot engine and exploding sending me into orbit. remember. keep your eyes open for number 51- that's me that is.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


some you win, some you lose, all revved up about getting the engine back from the tuner's, lets get it bolted into the frame and go racing, bolt rear shocks in and stand back to admire, bollocks, the left hand shock is leaning in by 10mm at the swingarm end, measure, measure, measure, no way around it, must have been a friday afternoon job, the bottom shock mounting has been welded 10mm off centre, i've already fitted the new swing-arm bushes, the arm has been powder coated, double-bastard, need a new swing-arm [ later models are a lot beefier], or cut mounting off, re-weld and powdercoat the original, no way around it, got to do it or it will handle like shit.

that's better, thrown those ugly engine mounting plates in the bin like uncle abner loveless said and got a pair of burwins modified ones instead, they are beefy buggers for sure, the one on the right is the drive side which should stop the tuned motor twisting in the frame.

one thousand, four hundred pounds worth of race tuned mz engine, lot of money?, not when you break it down, 50 hours of labour, machining, measuring, checking, parts, carriage, barrels shortened and ported, port floor built up and re-shaped, wiseco racing piston, crank rebuild, close ratio gearbox, new selectors, pvl racing ignition, hand made expansion chamber, lightened clutch assembly, serious bit of kit, standard 13bhp, this baby 30 to 33bhp.


the top three fins on the head have been removed, they weigh a kilogramme each, the rubber mountings are daf lorry parts to damp out vibration and lower the engine in the frame to give a better c.o.g., the tiny brass tube drilled into the float bowl on the carb is for a breather to stop fuel cavitation, the original drain from the float bowl will exit into the frame catch tank but if fuel reaches it then the carb will lose atmospheric pressure and not breathe correctly causing poor carburation hence the modified breathers.

the carburettor has been bored out to 33mm, this is the maximum you can go to without weakening the casting, theres a whole lot of work in the carb, the baffle shoulder needs shaping to give a good air flow, the fuel passages need massaging and the cross drillings need to be worked, the carb is very primitive but the regs state that this is what you have to use, shame really, a nice big hsr 42mm mikuni would give loads more power.

the barrels have been shortened which means that the carb manifold has to be re-angled to clear the crankcases, the fins on the back of the motor have been trimmed back to give some space to machine the rear of the barrel to mount the carb.

this is the pvl racing ignition, £170's worth of electrickery, the kit is basically a magneto, the rotor and stator forming the generator and a high-output coil supplying the big fat sparks needed for performance, the pvl system is used extensively in classic bike racing.

Saturday, 6 February 2010





got a phone call off steve cannon on friday afternoon, 'your engines ready mate', i'm walking the dogs at the time, not long finished my shift and got that friday feeling, the weekend is here, i'm trying to take in all the details that he's giving me, 'close ratio 4th and 5th gear', 'detent arm's been replaced', number three selecter's shagged', we arrange for me to pick the motor up saturday morning, i'm up at 6am, restless night, dogs walked by 8am, quick shower, breakfast and dangerous is at the door, the 100mile trip to sunny grimsby flies by as we talk about all the jobs still to do, next thing i know we are pulling up at steves, we walk up the yard to his workshop, there are bikes and bits everywhere, i can't take it all in, i'm scribbling notes down about jetting, how to set the ignition timing, pre-mix oil to petrol ratio's, dave's in the yard sitting on steve's racer that's leaning against the fence bouncing the forks up and down and making two-stroke-in-the-powerband-noises and asking me to take a picture of 'how the ignition coil is mounted' and 'the wires to the kill switch', my brain is fried, we load up the engine and expansion chamber, steve donates a set of part-worn slicks he has in his stash and we are on the road back, we don't talk, quick stop at tesco for a tuna sandwich meal-deal that we eat as we drive, there's no water in the washer bottle and it's getting dark.

motorcycle racer.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


life, it gets in the way of motorcycle projects, i want to be in the shed but mrs b wants her jobs doing, we went to ikea to get a new storage unit for the computers, i-pods, cd's, my magazines, dvd's and all the other stuff, it's like shaun of the dead in there, all these people buying the same tea-lights, pictures, rugs and even the same house plants, weird, tell me, in 30 years time will people still be looking at these pieces of furniture as a classic?, no, because they will be in a landfill site somewher e with the rest of the 'snoord', 'blankan', or 'rattus', i hate ikea.

barse nipped a little job up in the week, that's his sporty front end leaning against the radiator on the right, he's gone for my tip about fitting a brembo caliper to improve his brakes and managed to score a pair of ducati treble nines off e-bay for £60, [bastard], needed to make a mounting bracket up for the fork leg, i already had the steel pattern made up for the calipers i fitted to my bike so dave knocked one up in a couple of hours out of a nice piece of dural, barse shamed us in to having a bit of a clean up, both dangerous and i are pretty methodical but when we are building we tend to go our own ways and leave the shed in a right mess, sometimes we don't even talk, head down doing our own thing, sometimes we have full blown rows triggered by the most petty thing, the other night he came in and put 5-live on the radio when i was trying to catch up with the archers on radio four, we almost came to blows, i kid you not.

it's all about measuring, adjusting, measuring re-adjusting and measuring, this front-end has been in and out more times than a fat bloke at greggs, dropped the forks through the yokes by 40mm to establish a bench mark for the steering, the clip-on's sit another 40mm below the yoke, don't know if the bars will hit the tank yet until we fit it, the 6mm bolts in the clip-on's are longer than stock, [the bushes are tapped], but i prefer to leave a longer bolt so i can 'belt and braces' it with a nylock nut, don't want it coming loose on the track, had to go with a set of renthal grey grips, no reason, they just look faster than black ones.