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

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

caliper repair kits ordered, [from a very rude man with no idea of customer service at all, 'can i place an order please', 'yes, what part numbers do you want', 'sorry, i have no idea, i want two caliper repair kit's for an r65' 'ok, but this is the last time you can order without the part numbers', 'tell you what mate, leave it, i'll go elsewhere' 'no need to be like that sir', what a tosser, anyway, home and calipers stripped, old seals out, pistons cleaned up and waiting for the new seal's, steve mqueen was right, 'everything else is just waiting'

Monday, 27 February 2012



discs mounted with 'coned' off stainless socket-heads and nyloc's, tyres on, lovely, sticky race rubber, medium compound front and rear and the wheel's are in, the front rim is an akront 'w' section flanged beauty and looks the business with the stainless spokes, the rear? well, let's just say i might have to shell out and get a matching rim/spoke combo for that too, at last we have a rolling chassis, tonight it's just a simple matter of bleeding up the front brakes, or rather it should have been, after a couple of hour's dicking about trying to bleed the brakes i finally admit defeat, i know what the problem is, the caliper's are over thirty years old, the pads were worn down near to the limit when i bought the bike, to make room for the new pads i gently pushed the pistons back and i reckon the old seals have cried enough, bollock's, that's me on the phone ordering a couple of caliper repair kit's tomorrow then, serves me right, i shouldn't try to cut corner's i suppose......

Sunday, 26 February 2012


 lovely little single cylinder wide case ducati spotted in the entrance hall of the auction room at race retro, anyone know what the tank is? dangerous is a font of all knowledge when it comes to the ducati meccanica racing singles having made a good fist of racing one to a very high standard in the early sixties and he had never seen this before, what's more exciting is that everyones favourite dress wearing, sheep-bothering and bearded welshman, the former #42 now #24, top mz racer, [this next bit to be shouted like that american bloke who announces the boxers at the big fights], 'misssssttter desssssssss daviesssssssssssss' has actually bought one and it's currently residing under a blanket in his shed, a quick phone call from des and it's booked in for the loveless 'treatment', des being des then say's, 'when you've done it you can get dangerous to parade it or you can race it if you want boyo....'

Saturday, 25 February 2012

not a loveless 'skeleton in the cupboard' post i'm afraid, this is one from my cd collection, me, barse, jake, chris w and chris staton saw them on the 'grey britain' tour, the old bell hotel in saddlergate, derby, post match, on the piss from dinnertime, recipe for disaster i suppose, we got beat, [again],   pure, angry, punk rock, shame then that their label thought that it was a good move to censor the 'olde english' word 'fuck' in the video, what the fuck?, why would you want to do that then? stick's and stones............'misery? fucking loves me and i love her too......................'

 ron haslam's formula one honda racer, from a time long, long ago, i can remember going to the tt and seeing ron, alex george and 'yer maun' joey dunlop wrestling these huge beast's, massive horsepower, skinny tyres and mechanical anti-dive, bloody hell, we've come a long way, today everything is electronically controlled, abs brakes, traction control, computer's reading and adjusting everything from throttle opening's to suspension setting's, not taking anything away from the modern day racer's, but, you have to wonder, are they just along for the ride? respect due to the old-school

 one of the more interesting characters i met at the race retro show was a bloke who made tiny models of famous racer's, the majority were grand prix racing cars, but, what caught my eye were the two bike racing models, over a hundred parts in each model, mike hailwood on the work's honda four racer and chris vincent and his passenger on the racing sidecar outfit, my photo's don't really do the models justice, i had to use the macro setting to take them, but what's really impressive is that they are both one inch long, check that measurement out on a ruler, what i couldn't get my head around was the that the guy had studied the genuine hailwood racer at the show and noted that he hadn't put the silver pin stripe on the fuel tank and that the racer's top yoke was black not natural aluminium like on the real bike, he told me he couldn't wait to get home and add the detail, fuck me, i thought i was a bit obsessive until i met him.......
this is a strange one for sure, the associates classic 'party fears two' a track you either loved or hated, guess which camp i'm in, post-punk greatness from the scottish band indeed, the lead singer billy mackenzie's amazing voice coupled with the odd fairground / icecream van hook of the music, billy sadly committed suicide in 1997, a result of his fight with depression, don't let that detract from the brilliance of the track though, [click last photo to hear the track]


 friday, and it's me and dangerous off to stoneleigh for our annual day out at race retro, not really a bike show, more classic racing, rally and sportscars but with a few bikes tagged on, it's a good day out, but, as last post, our last visit i reckon, it's twenty-five quid to get in for a start, cup of tea? [maxpax, not a proper brew, £1.80 a pop], you have to park a long way from the show on a muddy field and try and find your way to whichever of the various buildings that constitutes the show, scant signage to point you in the right direction and the agriculture centre where the show is held is a big site, no brochure or show guide to inform you what's going on, times or stand information, very poor for the hard-earned that you have to shell out, anyway, moan over, once inside the amount of racing machinery is amazing, the engineering stands displaying parts of the highest quality and the prices to match are genuinely eye watering, all that said, there's a good little autojumble tucked away in one of the big, draughty sheds at the rear of the show and we picked up yet another big bag of stainless fasteners and some stainless and aluminium stock for the projects, the bike theme this year was the honda racers, everything from john mcguiness's tt winning fireblade to a genuine mike hailwood four cylinder machine and a stunning george beale honda six replica, [with a stunning three hundred thousand pound pricetag] a good day out, but, if your thinking of paying a visit, take your boots, a compass and lot's and lot's of green folding..........

Friday, 24 February 2012


 can you smell that? that's the smell of money that is, race retro don't want the proletariat at their at their show, they are more interested in attracting the more discerning gentleman, the man of leisure, the man with money to spend on a [admittedly, beautiful hand-beaten aluminium racing car body, how many hour's work by a skilled tradesman] can't knock the skill,  but,  me think's, this is the last time i patronise this particular show.....

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

i had a big row with my boss today, without boring you with all the details i was basically disputing bonus payments to the white collar and clerical staff who sit in our work's main office, drinking coffee, talking about last night's tv and updating their 'facebook' pages, i had an e-mail from our head office informing me that my team and i were to receive a £250 bonus payment, hurrah! only to have it withdrawn thirty minutes later and explained away as 'an administration error'  so, we were not going to receive the bonus after all, boo-hiss, what made it worse was that the office were to be able to keep their share of the hard-earned bonus, nice, so, you can assume the atmosphere was rather bereft of the usual light hearted banter between the two camps and instead replaced with scowl's and the english archers from the shop floor and smirks and flashes of their wallets from the office wankers in return, after a rather heated 'discussion' with the govenor he just refused to listen to my thought's on the unfair, unjust and devisive bonus payment and said i should 'grow up', grow up?, as i walked the dogs in the steady drizzle i got to thinking about the term 'grow-up', my boss is only interested in making money, gross profit and monthly sales charts are plastered on his office wall, he studies the markets and hunts down sales leads, profit is his church, he doesn't care who he treads on or put's down to achieve his aim, 'greed is good' to quote the micheal douglas character in 'wall street', my boss's idea of fun is a round of golf on a regional sales day, rubbing shoulders with grey men in grey farrah slacks wearing grey pringle sweaters, he holidays in scarborough or tenby, towing the family caravan behind his grey ford mondeo, 'got to watch the penny's' he tells us on a regular basis, the bloke's that tight sometimes i reckon he only breathes in, 'grow up' where does that leave me then?, he doesn't know what the buzz of a tattoo gun feels like, or following his local football team, what it's like to win a big title in a karate competition or race a motorbike, he doesn't know about emerging from an all-nighter into the cold spring air and stealing a bottle of milk from a milk float, or dancing to rave tunes with hells angels by the faded glory of the kent seaside, he doesn't know what it's like to drive down the strip in vegas, walk over the hoover dam or stand on the golden gate bridge in san francisco with his family, he hasn't hit a bush with a stick in death valley and been chased by spiders, spent two day's underground in the largest cave system in britain, he hasn't been on the biggest, fastest rollercoaster in the world, arms up in the air, he hasn't taken his son on a boozy, riotous scooter rally and let him build bonfires out of old pallets, taken his daughter to her first punk gig or know the feeling when a perfectly aimed snowball hit's a workmate clean on the bonce, he hasn't fell off a skateboard and ended up with skinned knees, elbows and chin showing the kid's 'how it's done' he wouldn't appreciate the smut and blasphemy, the fart's, the belly laughs, tears streaming down your face, holding onto your insides to stop them dropping out through fear on the startline, the tears and the beers, the pain, the joy, friendship and good times, maybe he's right and i should 'grow up' naah, fuck that, i'll leave that for the grown-up's.......

Saturday, 18 February 2012



 the ritmo sereno racer, we are not worthy, quite possibly the best bike in the world ever, yes, we ripped off the footpeg's for our racer project, ok, i admit it, the engineering on this machine is unbelievable, did you notice the rear disc brake and caliper? the perfect lockwiring? footpeg/exhaust hanger bracket? cut-down timing case? drilled clutch housing? re-angled carb mounting's to give a semi-down draught/straight run to the valves? so many brilliant touches, look and learn.........



 a massive northern soul hit in the 1970's, gil scott heron's 'the bottle' was an autobiographical song about his fight with alcoholism, what always bothered me about this release was the cartoon cover, gil scott- heron and brian jackson were black, as were most of his band, why then was the picture sleeve featuring  character's, [caricatures?] of a group who looked more like huey lewis and the new's? this was the first song i heard by gil scott- heron, as i sought out more of his work i soon realised that this mid-tempo lilting song was nothing like his harder edged work and which had a massive influence on the latter day hip-hop artist's and rapper's, i was hooked straight away as soon as i heard 'the revolution will not be televised' it opened up a whole new world to me, a world of black revolutionary music, music like the last poet's, not easy listening for a young white apprentice from an unfashionable east midland's town, but, like i have said before, we were in a state of flux, the times, really were a changin'..................[click last photo to check out the tune's]

Friday, 17 February 2012


 what can i say about the u.k.sub's? so many memories, the rex cinema, gig's on london road, the scala, derby playhouse, the vic, me, barse, chris w, dommo, the yorkshire boy's, jeanette, des reddy and julie, derby punk's, skin's, and hooligan's, steve 'skelly' cut-down scooter-boy, left-wing anti- everything anarchist bastard's, animal right's, soap dodging traveller's  rave culture, 'love you mate' 'e' taking sub-culture's, i reckon i've seen this band in all of it's different guises, at least a hundred times through the year's, but, you know what?, punk's not dead and if a set of lyric's were more relevant today than then? well, make your own mind up with what's happening in the world today..........[click last photo to hear the song.....]

the ritmo sereno boxer racer, fucking hell, an old bmw twin really shouldn't rev like a two-stroke, but this? this? fucking fuck.........[with extra added bonus fuck's]....................

from 1969, the classic mel britt tune, 'she'll come running back', an absolute top ten tune for me, total soul music, this track reduces me to tear's everytime i play it, it's been emotional.........[click on last photo to hear the track] yes, i know, i spelt mel's name wrong on the cardboard sleeve but give me a break, i wrote it out over thirty year's ago, i fucking love this record me, tell me it doesn't hit you right in the heart, if it doesn't, sorry, you ain't got no soul......

Thursday, 16 February 2012



well, it would be rude not to really, after changing my race number to 'lucky' #13, the sporty wear's the number thirteen too, complete with 'line through' to keep the old bill and insurance company happy, because, as you all know, it's illegal to display 'race' numbers on a road bike, so, get out there and start peeling off all those #46 stickers off your bikes......

top photo show's the rear wheel before meeting the milling machine, in the background is the front wheel just to show how much material has been removed, second photo show's the rear brake disc mounting complete with the remains of all five of the 6mm mounting bolts snapped off almost flush with the wheel casting, deep joy, you can imagine the scene in the shed of the seventeen year old who owned the little yamaha tz50, the sprocket is donald ducked and him and his mate, who know's all about bikes are attempting to remove the old sprocket, cheapo car accessory socket, ratchet and brute strength, 'the bastard won't shift youth', 'come out the way you dozy twat, i'll give it a smack with the hammer, that'll shift it', 'fuckinellitwon'tcomeundonebastard!', 'where's that old bent forkleg, the one you bent when you wheelied it and hit the curb, put it over the ratchet, right, after three, pull......' so, a bit more work sorting this one out then, drill out the old bolt's and either helicoil back to 6mm, or, drill and tap them out to 8mm like we did on the racer, suppose you shouldn't be too harsh, we've all done it, last photo's show's the sort of corrosion caused by roadsalt, shocking really............

Monday, 13 February 2012

 monday night see's 'the shadow' sneaking into the shed, we are worked up on the boxer project, waiting for wheel's and tyres, [sorry, a touch of deja-vu there, we were in the same boat this time last year if i remember] the engine is in a big pile of bit's in frenchy's workshop, it need's sparks, i haven't ordered my carb's yet, no cables or throttle, still need to finish gear and brake linkages [but can't do that until wheel's are fitted], make exhaust up and we have less than six week's to get the racer up and running for the british historic racing test day at mallory park, no pressure there then, anyway, andy smith, the geezer who bought my mz racer wanted a spare set of wheels so he can run slicks and wet's, he got some off ebay and posted them down to us for machining, talking to a bloke i know about the wheel's and blow me if he doesn't have a pair as well, quick call to andy and he's the proud owner of another set, the rim's are italian made grimeca items, seventeen's front and rear and originally fitted to a yamaha tz50, yes, no typo there, a 50cc bike, they are more than up to the job in hand and are ripe for a little machining to take off some unsprung weight, it's a time consuming job but well worth the effort, we can knock half a kilo per wheel off them easily, once fettled and all the casting flash is filed and smoothed with the old wet and dry, a coat of powder and they look pretty good i reckon, the bottom photo is of the finished item on my old bike................