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

Saturday, 30 August 2014

classic tt / manx gp [part two]











the ferry berth's in douglas and spews it's cargo of bikes, riders, vans and foot passengers onto the wet, greasy, dockside in a cacophony of noise, unburnt hydro-carbon's and slipping clutches, there's only one destination, the grandstand on the glen cruthery road, ten minutes after disembarking and negotiating the pock marked, rough as a badgers arse road  and tramlines of douglas sea front, we are parked up on the tennis court at the back of nobles park, i'm buzzing, the sound of racing motorcycles being warmed up prior to evening practice in the spiritual home of road racing, does it ever get any better than this? i think not, the bmw's, pre-war, 'kompressor' bikes, i'm struck with the similarity between them and the 2014 tt winning bike of michael dunlop, 60 years seperate them and yet there's a purity that you only get from a racing motorcycle, nothing glam, black, white and blue and made to go as fast as possible around this unforgiving thirty seven point seven three, three mile course, we watch practice from the grandstand, eat ice cream and revel in being back on the island, a quick ride down south to castletown, past the start and finish line of the southern hundred / billown road race circuit, i resist the urge to get a couple of laps in and instead ride into port erin to catch up with rosemary, our landlady, shower, shave and a couple of pint's in the railway, hello, hello, it's good to be back.........

Friday, 29 August 2014

classic tt / manx gp [part one]






well, where do i start? the early morning ride over the derbyshire / staffordshire hill's? standing in the kitchen as carol kirkwood tells us 'you will be really unlucky to get a shower today' as the rain lashes down and i change my black visor for a clear one on my arai, within ten miles after setting off i'm getting the creeping, damp, crotch feeling as the rain wick's up my leather jeans and heads directly to 'little tim' dangerous is a yard off my rear wheel as normal and the ducati's are struggling to behave as we tip-toe our way through to ashbourne and the long, boring run through to leek, the road is great, it's the combination of 'fifty' limit, speed camera's and nose-to-tail truck's that make it a frustrating ride, into leek and a great run at the twisty's past rudyard lake, yep, that's better, onto the motorway and an accident slows our progress again, filtering through three lanes of stationary bank holiday traffic, three cars parked up on the central reservation as they swap details, out the other side and the planned stop at mcdonald's for a coffee is scrapped as we get lost in liverpool and just make the ferry in time, bikes lashed against the rail, we make our way upstairs to rendevous with chalky and sweary mick, get a plate of scrambled egg and toast, java and settle down for the three hour trip to the island.............

Thursday, 21 August 2014

ducati track bike project











so, i'm idly flicking through the ducati forum and i click on the classified ads, bollocks, there's a 750ss 'fueli' for sale, 16000 miles, no service history and eight previous owners, it's only thirty miles away and i try and justify owning another bike to mrs b, i go with the intention of poking it with a stick and convincing myself i really don't need another ducati, forty minutes later and after a look around i'm the proud owner of a rather tatty ducati, there's no account for taste and no offence to the previous owner, but, red and gold anodised screws, red braided brake hoses and more stickers than a sticker factory sticking things on every available surface isn't how we roll in holbrook. on a more positive note, the engine starts easily from cold, [i checked to see if it was warm] the motor sounds sweet and has 16000 miles backed up by a sheaf of old m.o.t's that confirm the mileage, it has ducati performance aluminium cans and aftermarket clip-on's that have a certain something, a brand new rear brembo caliper, decent bridgestone tyres and is taxed and motted, the rear shock is fucked, confirmed on my ride home, the front forks are harsh and need work, but, it steers straight, take your hands off the bars and it tracks a true as an arrow, the motor is nice, no searching or stuttering and pulls from low revs thanks to the fuel-injection, as soon as i get home dangerous starts to rip the decals off the bike while i make a brew, ten minutes later and we see why the p.o. had stuck them on, the decals underneath are on the piss, oh dear, racer off the bench and an hour spent going through the new purchase reveals a few horrors, the oil cooler is a 916 item, mounted upside down off the horn bracket instead of the correct bracket, various electrical components are hanging loose, no fixing screws, not even a tie-wrap to secure them, the engine cases have been wafted over with a tin of halfords wheel silver paint, directly over the flaking original case paint, grease, shit and a liberal dose of over-spray all over the chain, frame and exhaust, deep joy,  fairings certainly hide a multitude of sin's, ain't that the truth! i drain the oil, thick, black, tarry, smelly old shit that's only fit for mixing with creosote to paint the fence spews out, the best is the rear caliper, 'have you slackened the allen-bolts off dangerous?' 'no, why?' they are finger tight, the threads stripped through over-tightening, no problem, i can helicoil them, what really pissed me off is the fact that the p.o. 'forgot' to mention a potentially life threatening bodge in order to sell his bike, i will never, ever ride a bike home again, i never have done before, i've always collected them on a trailer or in a van, but, circumstances this time made me take a chance, i was lucky, i wasn't hanging about on the ride home, for what i paid for the bike i don't expect concourse condition, but, to bodge brakes? no offence to the previous owner but, yeah, i take offence that a bodge like this might have caused me serious injury or death! mate, you are a fucking wanker! anyway, the plan is to build a nice little track-day tool, move the beemer on and pay some bills off, i'm off to the classic tt / manx g.p. tomorrow with dangerous, chalky and sweary mick, the forecast for the sailing isn't good and i'm the worst sailor in the world, i'm feeling sick already......

Saturday, 9 August 2014

my little girl......






it's all instant gratification nowadays, want music? click buy, back in the day it was just so different, i can't tell you the amount of times my best mate phil and me used to spend searching out rare vinyl in far away junk shops around the country, usually tagged onto following the mighty derby county on their travels around this sceptered island, we used to get the early train, especially when travelling south, to raid the second-hand emporiums for long forgotten records, night's spent in phil's bedroom, listening to tunes, scanning the half-page of 'black-echoe's' weekly paper for the forthcoming all-nighter's and adverts for rare soul records, no instant downloads back then, you had to go to the post office, buy a 'postal order' and send off a letter, if you were lucky, a week later, a jiffy bag would arrive with your record, phil shared a bedroom with his younger brother, steven, who was a die hard heavy metal fan, the brothers shared a dansette-style, mono, record deck and often fought toe to toe for the right to play their respective tunes, we just didn't get it, why would anyone want to look like a homeless person?, straggly beard, biker jacket, [festooned with band names and badges] a cut-off 'jean jacket' fuck that, i'm wearing sta-press, harrington's, ox-blood penny loafers, fred perry's, crombie overcoats, [complete with red, button -down handkerchief in the breast pocket], later on, i'm wearing a sheepskin jacket, 'norwegians', 'karman- gear' multi -pocket bags, prince of wales check's and i still haven't got a girlfriend, [meanwhile, phil's brother, steve, is shagging his way through half the female population of derby even though he look's and smell's like a vagrant, while me and phil continue our quest for cool, but, end up sitting in his bedroom still playing our rare soul, drinking tea and kidding ourselves that we don't need women in our lives!] anyhoo, my daughter jess has decided that her old dad need's to dig out his old vinyl collection and actually play it instead of just letting it sit in the numerous boxes that i've got stashed, i sold my hi-fi equipment a long time ago, nobody want's to play records now, too much hassle, just press 'buy now' so, jess, decides to buy me a proper, old-school record player, we don't need no stinking hi-fi, we are playing old vinyl, some of it fifty years old, why do i need hi-fi? i dig out a box of old records and it all comes flooding back, the crackles and pop's as the needle hits the groove, the scent of old shelack, a thousand wasted hours at all-nighter's, the great smell of brut, waiting for train's on deserted railway stations, spunking a week's wages on a record, 'fry's' chocolate and stealing bottles of milk, thrills, pills and belly aches, talcum powder, the sunday night comedown, work on a monday and counting the hour's until the weekend so you could do it all again, so, i get a parcel, it's an old school, record player, nothing fancy, just like it used to be, proper lo-fi sound,i dig out a random box of records and i'm instantly transported back to better day's and what's really interesting is that jess has turned into a vinyl snob, dismissing the download culture and seeking out real records, my little girl........

classic bike burn-up [part two]


















just a snapshot of some of the bikes at the classic bike burn-up, sorry for the poor quality photo's, some numpty had left the camera on the macro setting and in my excitment to get pic's i didn't check the settings, twat! a quick walk around during the dinner time break revealed some real gems, big, brutal jap four's, italian exotica, [when was the last time you saw a ghezzi-brian?] pukka race two-strokes and lovely little road based specials, the red beemer was super quick out on the track, the classic race bikes, the ducati 250 and manx norton i know i've posted pictures of before, moto-martin? yep, check, have a butchers at gary inmans gixxer based special 'the black arrow', naughty, very, very naughty..........