The trusty Yam in it’s infancy with Fred sporting those Betor shocks,
what looks like a Ty80 tank, home made bash plate and the original
Yam front wheel

Fred Martinson from Wyoming, Master Trialsmaster of the Mosteller Cup and the Casper 3 Day
Spectacular, has been tinkling and fettling his much beloved and faithful Yamaha and as another
devotee to the marque I’m quite impressed with some of the mods even though I haven’t, as yet, had a
ride on the beast.

I first met Fred at the old Perris Trialsland on my first year on the Ahrma circuit. Fred and traveling
companion Bob Strohman had made it down from Wyoming while Brenda and I had come over from
Phoenix. Fred had his Yamaha in the back of his covered pick up and used a tiny wheel between the
forks for the transit runs and then replaced it with a Suzuki front wheel at the venue…. never quite
understood why but I expect that Fred found the braking action better. The Suzuki front wheel is much
like the Ossa set up and requires a lug to be alloy welded on the fork leg and Fred has done this quite
neatly while removing the top lug for the original Yamaha brake anchor.

One of the first mods, the added fork lug to take the Suzuki front wheel

Over the years I’ve noticed several improvements with footrest position and a few other neat items and
more recently the special billet yokes from Brian Crawford and the fat bars. Last time I saw Fred in
action the frame had been lengthened and the head angle steepened.

First attempts at the “back and down” pegs, functional but not pretty!

Modified top yoke to take fat bars and Gas Gas clamps

Oooooooh! now we are talking “bling” with the custom yokes and stem
from Brian Crawford…… beautiful!

Since then Fred has been riding the Tiger Cub on the circuit but back at the ranch the Yam has had
some other work done with a bigger motor from BJ Racing, I believe, and some swappsies from a later
model Yam to further improve the development. The front part of the frame is a TY250A, but now
sporting a 77 model swinging arm as with the footrest repositioning it is somewhat difficult to get the A
model stand to work correctly as it is on the frame and not on the swinging arm of the later models.
Fred has re welded his footrest hangers (much neater) and used some wide Gas Gas pegs and
removed the original stand bracket hence the need for the 77 swinging arm.

The Mark II footrest hangers with the wide pegs

Fred has added about 1.375 inches to the top tube, cut out the cross brace tubing that held the
somewhat worthless toolbox, steepened up the head angle but with the increased frame length not
reducing the original wheelbase and then added some strengthening side plates where the top coil
can now be bolted on.

A test run with the lengthened frame at Donner 2008

An all new WES system replaces the first attempt with a Miller mid section for the exhaust and Fred has
gone for the same system I use with the UNI podded air filter. On mine I drill out the air box rivets and
then retain the lower mudguard system which is one of the Yams best features. Fred uses the BJ inlet
softener but although I’ve tried them I can’t say that I’ve noticed any difference to the performance. Fred
has used some longer Betor gas shocks at the back while I used shorter Showa units on the angled
shock positions like the Majesty set up and here I can notice a big improvement. Now if you are using
angled shocks you will need the very neat, and cheap Majesty chain guard to prevent fouling.

Shorter Showa rear units on the angled mounts with the neat Majesty
Chainguard on my No1 Yam

Early mods to the exhaust , front brace and 1 piece tank & seat unit

The complete remodel

Now for those that like to use that “clutch” thing (and of course I don’t) Fred has gone for a longer arm
and offset the fulcrum point for that softer pull. If you are going to use that clutch thingey then this is the
way to go along with a Moose or Works Connection needle roller bearing clutch lever. Do NOT be
tempted to remove clutch springs as some of the “Shade Trees” out there are doing….. it will eventually
warp the plates…… but of course it’s your motor! Fred is still using the 77 bash plate but I think the flat
BJ one might be better for a guaranteed cable pull ?

Some easy to vizulise changes on the clutch system

The original motor has been “breathed” on by Bob Ginder and now sports a 290 pot, electronic ignition
and a del orto which I look forward to testing (the other one was getting a bit clanky!) A 77 flywheel cover
narrows the engine and Fred has also machined the clutch housing on the other side to slim things
down there and also redesigned the brake pedal.

Not sure what the baby weighs in at but the original was around 209 lbs so with pieces of the frame
missing, the lightweight yokes, stem and exhaust my guess would be about 190 ???

So there it is, a lot of work and a lot of fun to get that “edge”…… but that’s Trials!

Better speak to Fred as to what it cost….. my lips are sealed.


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  • 11/9/2009 6:20 PM Fred Martinson wrote:
    For people information, I had bought
    the bike as a basket case in about 1999
    or so, so been tinkering with it for about 8 years, not much change the last couple of years.
    Bought a cub this past January, and now the modification cycle starts anew,
    modified footpegs, Dellorto carb, new
    yokes, modified frame, got to get the brake pedal on the right side.

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“I’m Back !”

From April to October the sleepy town of Dolores has its influx of the reverse snowbirds who come out
of Arizona and other southern climes to get out of the heat and enjoy the constant 80’s of the Colorado
summer. As these people are long term tourists of the retired variety then it will naturally follow that
parties will be the order of the day and once the party organizer “Lucille” arrives the duty list, with dates,
is drawn up and the NPL (National Party League) is set.

The format for these venues is fairly simple and cheap as all you provide are your own drinkies and a
communal dish for all and sundry. The host may provide a few games with poker, pool, horse shoes,
darts and heaven help us the dreaded Karaoke! The host may also provide a “Dish of the Day” to
which all the other goodies are added.

With parties usually set for the weekends the geriatric pool competitions switch to Wednesday
afternoon and believe me these are fiercely contested affairs with no quarter asked or given. So its
pool on Wednesdays, don’t be late!, and parties at the weekend.

The ladies discuss tactics

My coach tells me  “when you are 6 balls up never bank the Black!”

The Party season opened in April with Lloyd having an open house affair on a Saturday which stopped
the Hollywood dead in its tracks as all and sundry descended on the Lloyd abode. A bit chilly maybe
but horseshoes went on all afternoon and a fair bit of grilling wafted over all.

The season opener at Lloyd’s

Next up was Bob Hanson’s “all town fish fry” which started on a nice warm Saturday afternoon which
then got exceedingly windy and then poured down with rain at which point everyone ran for their cars
and went home. When we got back we were so cold we lit the fire!

Peggy from Texas had a couple of thrashes during the season in her lovely hill top home with the
confusing 9′ pool table! Peggy’s Brownies won the “Best in Brownie” competition and Brenda’s
“Deviled Eggs” vanished as soon as the saran wrap was removed. In the baked bean division the
judges decided Lyn’s “Sugar and everything” dish was a clear winner. A lot of excellent dishes to tempt
the sweet tooth members with some outstanding Rum cake and blueberry shortcakes from Pat and a
yummy cool whip thingey with mandarins and peaches from Darlene.

Peggy and Tom try for some vintage music

Brenda sizes up the tricky 9 foot table

Summer wound on with Lucille’s 2nd “Wake” at the Columbine in Mancos and for the second year
running Brenda walked away with the mixed pairs Pool Trophy. Meanwhile Lucille had been busy
grilling Brats in beer and loads of sauerkraut to compliment the offering.

Party Queen Lucille with 2 Time Champ Brenda

Another memorable affair was the selected clientèle only “Surf & Turf” cooked by Tommy at courtesy
of Pete and Pat’s luxury home. The downside to this one was the dreaded Karaoke which as many of
you know “I don’t sing” so once again Richard lll was saddled up and graced the floors with Lyn
becoming near word perfect by the end.

Hosts, Pete and Pat , ready for the “Surf & Turf”

Some of the surf

Tommy the cook takes a well earned break

The dreaded Karaoke

We had my “Birthday bash” with the smoker doing brisket and ribs and a generous gift of Crawdads
from a local fisherman who dropped a couple of baited traps in Pruitt Lake and hauled up about 100
lbs of the little beauties which we all enjoyed. For my part the “Obscene” Margarita glass ventured out
claiming another victim by days end and grumpy Lucille switched to my “mix” and she was going full
song until way past bedtime!

A trap full of Crawdads from the overnight soak

Crawdads, the Colorado Lobster

Full swing in the Shade Garden

The wind down and my Obscene Margarita glass

Grumpy switches to the Margarita mix and parties all night!

Bob Hanson had his “selected only” fish fry for friends where the weather cooperated at last and we
enjoyed more fish.Our local country band played all afternoon and Vicky arrived fresh from the “ER” after
going for a midnight walk on her second floor deck. Only problem here is although they have french
windows leading from the bedroom to the deck…. their deck is NOT yet built!!!  More fish a couple of
weeks later at Craig’s with a whole load of Texas caught delights from sea and lake alike.

……and the band played on at Bob’s fish fry

“Sleepless in Dolores” Vicky returns from her night time walk!

Winnie had to postpone her event but came good late in the season with a Sunday “Soupfest” all
topped off with the very dangerous rum cake!

Now the outside parties are done, the Saturday pool competitions have just started, and soon it will be
time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas thrashes to begin.


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  • 11/7/2009 10:50 AM Jeff Cunningham wrote:
    Hi Tony, my name is Jeff, I’m from Ohio. The reason I am on here is because I suddenly found an interest in vintage trials bikes. Searching the web I discovered your page. By the way, I really respect your dedication to vintage trials,and really enjoy reading your stories of past and present.
    Now a little about me, I’m 41 yrs old union carpenter, married, two daughters, raced dirt cars for the last 8 yrs but as a kid at 5 started on a z50 then at 15 I got a cr250 and raced a few motocross races and really enjoyed the competition. The last few years I have raced a few ahrma vintage motocross events mid Ohio, gatorback, diamond dons, on a kx400 and am almost done with a pursang #135. I kinda like the old Spanish bul so I have a question and right off hand don’t know anybody associated with vintage trials. Theres a bultaco sherpa #199a on ebay and its ending today I know I should not have waited till now to ask but is this bike legal in any events in ahrma? In their web page I can’t find the rules. Anyway thats the question I wanted to ask? Also feel free to give any expert advise to a beginner it will be much appreciated as I have absolutely zero experience with trials or the bikes. All for now Tony. Again since finding your web page I love stopping by everyday to see whet you’ve updated and learning about vintage trials & the bikes that we love.
    Thanks you for your time.

    Jeff Cunningham in Ohio
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  • 11/10/2009 5:25 AM web development wrote:

    looks like alot of fun!

    Thanks for bringing this up
    Reply to this

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October 27 and its getting cold! Time for some more of that Mountain Man stuff so the last of the logs
are suitably split and stacked. The duty fire is lit, and lo, the flames start to burn “Blue”, now according
to Granny and many other Old Wives tales “when the flames burn blue then yee shall have snow”

No surprise then as I sit typing this we have 3″ of nice wet snow on the ground and the forecast of
another 3-5 inches to fall today. My furry friends are looking forward to a lot of snuffing and nosing in the
white stuff so now time to drag out the Spyder jacket and the Merrell snow booties.

The first snow of the season in the shade garden

Time to get up in the loft, put away the trials kit, and get down all the sheepskins and heavy duty snow
gear, then time to get the gazebo canopy off before that rips to shreds and put away all the cushions
from the seating area in the shade garden. When this lot melts, it will time to plant some spring bulbs
and then wait for the daffs and crocus to pop up in the spring. Good thing I got the last lawn mowing
done, the leaves will be left to blow on someone else’s property and I’ll pick up whats left in April. This
morning brought back a lot of memories of pheasant shooting in the snow with wild arsed Labradors.

A late flush right under your feet !

Just coming into the last hunting season and with this cold snap maybe the Elks will come down out
of the high country and should at least be easier to track with snow on the ground. From what I’ve seen
the hunters seem to have done better this year with most filling their tags.

Well its melted, then snowed again and now we are melting once more although we might get another
dose tonight when the temperatures fall but its a wet snow so it will melt quickly and then be the slushy
mess everywhere for a couple of days and should all be gone by the weekend.

No snow overnight just down to 14F this morning so its crisp and crunchy and the forecast is to make
freezing point as a high during the day. We were pretty lucky looking at the pictures from Golden Co
where they got 28 inches and its still snowing and trucks and cars are all over the medians due to
persistent stupidity behind the wheel.

The Pool season is starting up again and Brenda wants to distinguish herself this year and not be the
token female so maybe we will have to get her some practice equipment and if nothing else it will
relieve the winter boredom. Like everything else in life there are some bargains to be had as people
try and sell off assets for whatever they can get. We have our eye on one of these on Craig’s List so
maybe a quick look see coming soon. Its a bar machine so at least it will be the same size we play on
in the competitions so no excuses if it doesn’t produce the results.

The Valley Cougar coin operated model

New on Craig’s list another nice looking table but so far we are having trouble getting the current owner
to divulge the measurements!

Brenda likes the color better on this one

Now just to add to the fun the main water line heat tape has failed on the RV so an exciting afternoon
fooling around in iced water trying thaw it out and fit a new one before the tenant returns from his
labors. By 1630 I have the rather unpleasant job completed and once more the fire is lit ……. but this
time its not burning Blue !


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I used to enjoy this when I was at school

The run, not the runs, not running either, another sport I never much cared for apart from cross country
running through the woods and splashing through puddles……. no doubt why I enjoyed Trials so much
….. I digress once more, but anyway “The Run” is now in full swing as our local Salmon leave the
sanctuary of McPhee Reservoir and make their way back up the Dolores River to spawn.

The Kokanee salmon on their “Run”

How the hell do they do it and why? One of the many secrets of life we may never understand but they
are doing it once again. Colorado Wildlife helps the process by catching the lucky or unlucky fish as
they come upstream and harvest eggs and sperm and then nurture them through the winter and
release the fingerlings back into the river next March.

“Who wants a fish ?”

The local paper says that there will be a “fish giveaway” at the local park so I naively went along to get
my free fish on production of my fishing license. Hmmmm! seems all 40 of us would be free loaders
are not getting a fish but its 35 each!!! Yes, they have over 1200+ in their bucket and of course left to
nature all of these would die after the spawning process so we are doing a double harvest on nature’s
bounty by preserving the species and having some fine dining to boot!

1200+ Kokanee up for grabs

It seems these fish run up the river to mile marker 16 where, if they are not caught or eaten by
predators, they spawn then flop about until death arrives. Next month we are allowed to go “Snagging”
whereby you cast a triple hook across the pools and then drag back until you connect with one and
then haul it sideways to the shore. Pretty barbaric but thats life up here in the Mountains!

I thought they would be this size!

I don’t have the full “SP” on these salmon as yet but I’m sure it will make some interesting reading
when the snow arrives. I was expecting some goodly fish in the 6-8 lb bracket but these are all pretty
small by my idea of spawning fish and were only about 2-3 years old and 14 inches long. Not quite
the same as the giant sockeyes turning red and thrashing around in 2 inches of Alaska’s streams.

Here comes supper

November 15th is the start of the snagging season, but as the Wildlife people are already catching
them I wonder how long this “run” goes on for. I took a walk over to the river yesterday expecting to
see some red fish battling their way through the mini waterfalls in the shallows…….. not even a sign
of any activity!


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Graham Foster’s beautiful AJS …… just sold on ebay for ……..???

Didn’t even make reserve last time………. SOLD for $12500 !

3 Times on ebay and not even CLOSE !

Maybe next time ?

Of course everyone wants a bargain but it would seem that some people’s understanding of what it
costs to obtain, rebuild and compete on a Vintage machine are way off. Let me put it this way, many of
the machines I saw at this year’s Pre 65 Scottish would not see a lot of change from $20,000 if you were
to try and build one to a similar specification. However, if we are not talking, rare or exotic machines but
more along a 70’s twinshock that is going to be partially restored to riding condition, rather than
museum quality then I’ll list some of the essential costs to put the “barn find” in a ridable state.

You may have already decided which machine is “right for you” either because you rode them way
back when, or perhaps its a desire to have a go on something different, or there just happens to be one
available “at the right price”. So for whatever the reason I’ll list the most popular and give my opinions on,
what it will cost to restore, and what updates or modifications will be required to keep it in good “trials”

The most popular bikes on the Ahrma circuit in Modern Classic are the Yamaha, followed by the
Bultaco Sherpa, and then in about equal numbers Ossa, the Honda TL125, the RL Suzuki and the
Kawasaki. For whatever reason the Montesa doesn’t seem to feature very much although there are a
few around.

Realistically any of these machines can be bought for as little as $500 or as much as $1500 in various
states of repair. Things to look for in the photos, if you are buying on ebay, are, is it all there? what is the
general condition? what tires does it currently have on? The list goes on and on, and in most cases, not
wishing to be rude, the spelling and grammar of the ad may also give some clues as to what to expect.
……..”strong runner”, “starts first kick”, “I have the seals/bearings/gasket etc etc” “A few minor dents”
“selling on behalf of a friend”

A Rotten Cotton, ripe for restoration at $900

Having rebuilt over 30 Yamahas here is a list of what I usually look for in the photos after the general

Any tell tale darkness around the fork wipers?
Is the front wheel in the correct way round?
More often than not the front fender is on backwards if its an OEM one!
If aftermarket SM stays are fitted these are usually on backwards!
Bashplate ?
Chain guard?
Exhaust system?
Oil pump still fitted?
Was it ever washed?

Now I’m usually buying to restore and ride, and I DO have a fair amount of experience in rebuilding
machines so I’m well aware of what is going to be involved and what its going to take to get it back to a
competitive state. All the chrome and polishing on my bikes is purely cosmetic and doesn’t have any
difference on the performance other than to look pretty and give that “pride of ownership”, although
turning up with a shiny bike does piss off the opposition and can be valued at about 5 marks per event.
The other factor is that mud and goo usually slides off polished alloy and chrome while others are
collecting more and more mud on all that doesn’t glitter!

On arrival your new toy may or not be better than the pictures and a few checks of some standard items
will most likely reveal the machines history and maintenance or lack of.  If it came with MX knobblies on
then most likely its been used by kids or a trail rider. A quick look at the connecting link on the chain can
reveal the worst nightmares if it has been fitted backwards then heaven help us as to what else has
been fitted incorrectly and bodged!! The rear sprocket can also be hooked to death and up front the
engine sprocket has most likely moved up to either 14 or 15 teeth. A quick check of wheel bearings,
assuming the swinging arm bolt is tight and same up the front. Now a hard press on the brakes and
here if they lock on then maybe the wheels have never been out and therefore the brake cams are
covered in mud and rust. A quick look at the shifter and kicker to see if the bolts are tight and whether
“Shade Tree” has welded them on the shafts!!!

Shocks ? usually Yamaha rear shocks go on working without much problem unless they have been
abused, up front a quick compression of the forks will show if the seals are shot. What state are the
levers in? and the throttle. Most likely they, like the cables, grips, and handlebars are all toast. Time to
look at the exhaust system and because of the Yamaha shape it may well have been dropped in the
rocks and have some serious dents in the lower front pipe. At the rear the support bracket is usually
parting company between the bonded rubber, and if it hasn’t failed it will! However you can drill through
the assembly and fit a bolt to save literally $100.

Tank and seat? If it is a 74 model then the tank is steel, and most likely doesn’t look pretty externally as
they dent easily. Inside? may well be full of rust and unusable. Seat no doubt has rips and gouges but
can be recovered if need be.

Finally does it spark? maybe not but an easy fix. Surprisingly a lot of Yam ignition systems are very
reliable and don’t cause the grief that other manufacturers have but check the lower wiring harness on
top of the engine and see if it is hard and brittle. What state is the carb in ? and is it still running
autolube? How about the carb to cleaner boot? more often as hard as a rock.

Hows this for a goodie! Off ebay today another classic “barn find” with all the NO,NO’s I had previously
mentioned, the frame has been repainted but “Shade Tree” didn’t notice how the front end went
together and then fitted the fork legs in the wrong side so the front wheel and fender are now all arse
backwards!! Looks like Shade tree couldn’t get a spark and couldn’t get the flywheel off either? The
bashplate is missing along with the rear exhaust pipe and the seat is NOT connected to anything. The
“spare” engine has the flywheel nut off but I guess he doesn’t have the puller and its got the boy racer
15 tooth sprocket!!!

Front end “Arse Backwards” !!!

Nut off, I guess no puller, and the 15 T sprocket

So now with our ever growing list of parts required lets put it all on the calculator and see what it adds
up to ? and at this stage we haven’t even had the motor out to see what, if anything, is needed there.


Tires                                          Best choice IRC tubed type or Michelin                                     230-265
Tubes                                                                                                                                                    26
Rim Locks                                                                                                                                            39

Sprockets                                 Rear 53T front change to 12T                                                        94
Chain                                                                                                                                                     38

Flywheel Puller                        Different for every bike                                                                     21

Handlebars                              Renthal 5 to 6 inch lift                                                                      90

Cables                                      Either OEM or aftermarket                                                             100

Throttle                                      Domino fast or slow                                                                         28

Levers                                        If buying new                                                                                     50-100
Blades only                                                                                        20

Chain Tensioner block                                                                                                                        10

Air Filter                                                                                                                                                   15

Plug points and condenser                                                                                                                48

Kill switch                                                                                                                                               18

Fork oil seals                                                                                                                                         15

Grips                                                                                                                                                        15

TOTAL                                                                                                         $807.00

Now this total is just to get her up and running with “Essential” parts that you MUST have! .
…. now we need to add on the desirable parts to smarten the old girl up and maybe throw in
some restoration in the engine department.


New fenders                     Plastic                                                                          60.00
Alloy                                                                           250.00

Fender Stay                                                                                                         73.00

Bash Plate                       Alloy (BJ)                                                                    120.00

Carb                                Mikuni VM26                                                                160.00

TOTAL                                                                                                          $413.00


Tank and seat unit                                                                                               500.00

WES Exhaust system                                                                                         465.00

Rear set pegs                                                                                                     170.00

Rear shocks                    Betor                                                                           255.00
Falcon                                                                         340.00

Front Number Plate                                                                                              20.00

Folding shifter                                                                                                      35.00

Rebore, piston, etc                                                                                             250.00

Mains bearings and seals                                                                                   100.00

Chroming/polishing                                                                                             800.00

TOTAL                                                                                                      $1770.00

GRAND TOTAL     807 + 413 + 1770           =   $2990 + Cost of bike!

Of course I have not included the cost of your labor, maybe a little welding on the frame for the
common lugs, namely rear engine support, rear exhaust bracket and rear fender mount, and what
we can call shop supplies with oils, nuts and bolts, petrol piping etc.

So there we have it…….. or you could buy ONE OF MINE!

Its for SALE

TONY  DOWN                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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  • 10/26/2009 11:12 AM Dave Rhodes wrote:
    Great article Tony – And you are so right about the perceived value of vintage bikes by Joe Average.
    Reply to this
  • 10/26/2009 9:50 PM Steveo wrote:
    It’s obviously nothing to put a few thousand into a vintage machine,though a good thing we don’t charge for our skills and love for our machines!It’s always a good challenge to enter modern competitions on a vintage machine,if there’s one thing better than a win,it’s doing it on an vintage machine,really gets the lads attention!
    Reply to this
  • 11/23/2009 11:15 AM Dan wrote:
    Hi Tony,
    I’m 55 y.o and just decided to get into trials riding. I have riden dirt bikes in the past as a young man but have not had a bike in years. I am looking for a vintage trials bike and am drooling after looking at yours.
    I’m sure it is out of my price range and I dont think I deserve something that nice just yet anyway, but am curious.
    Just found your webpage and am enjoying it greatly. I have subscribed myself and my two boys in hopes of getting them interested in trials.
    Dan Sutherland
    Reply to this
  • 8/13/2012 3:56 PM Nathan wrote:
    G`day Tony, I love what you`re doing with these bikes. We have recantly aquired both `74 & `77 TY250`s and have given them a work over to get them up and running. They have a few things missing or in bad condition that we would like to replace ie, bash plate, seat, rear mudguard, muffler, etc. However, here in Australia parts are pretty thin on the ground and aftermarket suppliers don`t list most parts for TY`s. Could you offer a contact / contacts for suppliers in USA, as you seem to be able to access a large variety of parts. We are trying to get a Classic Trials club up & running in our area which we are hoping will bring a lot of these old bikes out of sheds and saved from becoming landfill. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Nathan
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  • 9/2/2013 11:45 AM james langford wrote:
    I have a 1974 ty250, and I’m interested in restoration. Mostly what I need is cosmetic. This list is new on bike. tires, electronic ignition, carb, petcock, throttle, cables, grips. I can send pictures to get an idea of cost. Thank you for great pictures and stories. I’ve read most all, and some several times. Thanks again, jim
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  • 12/10/2013 11:15 PM Roy Rice wrote:
    Could you please give details on your method of polishing the engine cases, triple trees, etc. Your bikea are truly beautiful and I would like to try polishing the cases on my sad new TY250A.

    Reply to this

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No, I’m not talking of taking your favorite picture to get a surround so that you can hang it on your “I love
Me wall” I’m talking motorcycle frames and their development on the trials scene. This article is in
response to a reader’s request for history on aftermarket frames as I remember them. In days of Yore
the frame was a basic road bike with a few bits knocked off like the center stand and the rear footrests
and then our trialing ancestors learnt a thing or two and a proper trials frame was developed into what
the manufacturers gave us in the twinshock era of the 70’s. Some were pretty good designs and
produced very rideable bikes for the majority of us while others were just a little off and needed some
tweaking to improve things further. For my money some of the best stock stuff came from Bultaco with
the 1972 250 Sherpa and the early 1971 Montesa Mk ll. Another that stands out as a perfect Clubman’s
bike of the period was the Mkll MAR Ossa 250.

Perhaps one of the best “Stock” bikes ever produced the 1972 Bultaco

A perfect “Clubman’s” trials machine the 250 Ossa MAR

Other major improvements were of course spring loaded footrests, but as we know now, usually
mounted too high up and bit too far forward. The chain tensioner instead of the guide, higher lift
handlebars and all the various aftermarket top yokes, risers and off sets.

Frames themselves were fairly standard affairs aiming for around 52-53 inch wheelbase, a strong
re-inforced headstock and top tube leading to some sort of split tubing to carry the seat and provide
mounting points for the rear shocks and swinging arm assembly. Throw on some extra lugs and all the
other ancillary bits and its about done. Up front the downtube was often a continuous loop under the
engine or it may fan out into a duplex affair. Now although all of these frames provided sufficient rigidity
anything pipe wise going under the engine also decreased the ground clearance and clearly most
aftermarket frame builders saw this as an area where a few inches could be gained or a means of
lowering the center of gravity.

Robin Rhind Tutt, of WASP 

My first “meeting” with the aftermarket frames was the Wasp which my great friend Geoff Chandler rode
for a few years before joining the Bultaco works team. At that time I was at Boscombe Down and Arthur
Headland, himself a good trials man, was a welder in station workshops and built me a couple of
wonderful trailers for my bikes. Arthur was also a welder for Robin Rhind Tutt who built the Wasp line.

My 70’s trailer welded by Arthur Headland of WASP

The next “frame” that I became familiar with was the Sammy Miller Hi-Boy which I couldn’t resist and
bought the beauty in 1973 with the rather clanky 325 Bultaco motor. I couldn’t get on with the beast as it’s
handling was not good with too much weight constantly on the front wheel …….. and as we now know all
down to the footrest position, too high, and too far forward! A beautiful frame nonetheless with the
removal of the undertubes and mesh bash plate and the single flat alloy plate in its place and all
finished in nickel or chrome.

If you buy one of these do check to see if the footrest position is good
for you ?

The 73 325 Bultaco in the Hi-Boy. Better called the “BullHarley”…. lovely to
look at and a f****** Pig to ride!

About 1975 a lot of frame builders were busy making frames for all sorts of machines to improve
several models. These included Fraser for Hondas, Gollner for Kawasaki and Ossa, and the Majestys
of John Shirt and the man Mick Andrews. Whitehawk was also around with the Yamaha marque but I
personally think the “Godden” Majesty frame was the best of the period and is still available today if you
can afford one!

The latest “Godden” Majesty frame

At about the same time the awful RL Suzuki got revamped with the Beamish frame and this bike went
very well in the Southern Centers of UK and was a winner in the hands of Graham Fowler and others
but never faired well in Scotland over the rocks where it seemed to be difficult to keep in contact with
anything! Very pretty bike but a bit “tin and tinsel” and perhaps too light in its day.

Beamish frames up the Wazoo

All “tin and tinsel” the 77 Beamish 250 Suzuki

As time moved on Seeley made some excellent frames and parts for the Honda TLR series but of
course that was the end of the twinshock era as we know it. The onset of monoshocks and the hopping
and bopping gave rise to the increased interest in old British Iron and Pre 65 machines for the older
riders who didn’t wish to try the new techniques or take on the severity of some of the new sections that
monoshocks could handle.

Sammy Miller produced all manner of parts for British bikes and the wider swinging arm for the Triumph
Cub. Faber produced the “Otter” frame for both Triumph and BSA  with oil in the downtube and these are
still available along with all Duncan MacDonalds ARMAC designed frames and parts for the Cub.

The “Otter” frame for any of the BSA C15, B40 motors

The “Otter” frame for the Cub……. which AHRMA doesn’t like

The “Armac” frame front end for the Cub

The back end of the “Armac” frame

Messers Andrews/Whitton and others rebuilt the James frame and these are currently extremely
popular on the Pre 65 circuit and it never ceases to amaze me that so many of these machines are
around today when we NEVER saw them during their years as a manufacturer, but there again they
didn’t have Norton Roadholder forks on them either.

The very popular James …. funny we NEVER saw these in the 60’s & 70’s ?

Yet another MA James

Of course you can still buy a frame for your old Brit bike and Dick Mann still produces his version of the
Pre 65 frame, remanned in Nevada and welded up to spec in Colorado. Faber and Armac are still in
business along with the Godden Majesty and some of the Mick Andrews frames can still be found.
Others can be re-manned at a price and Mark Kemp had a couple of Majestys made by the same
people who make Valentino Rossi’s race frames for Moto GP, these, like a lot of other parts for vintage
iron, are made in Unobtanium with a price to match!!!

Another Majesty frame from Valentino Rossi’s frame makers

Mark Kemp’s beautiful Majesty with Mono front forks

However, if you have a mind to you can always build your own………… and hope you get it right! My first
experiment was trying to build something “rather different” using a DMW frame from 1970 which was
originally for a Villiers 37A engine. Suitable ex Yam downtubes were welded on and  a TY 250A engine,
and an all Ossa front end were added. The results were better than hoped for and the machine
“Ossamaha” has now changed hands and was revamped with a Suzuki front end by Mike Buchholz who
went on to win this year’s Ahrma Modern Classic Expert Championship.

The “DMW” frame adapted to take the TY Engine

Engine in, bashplate on, the top tube IS the fuel tank

A gorgeous “Special” …… the “OSSAMAHA”

….and it handles superbly!

More recently I took on the challenge of the Mighty Royal Enfield trying to condense the beast from 55.5
inches wheelbase and 5.5 ground clearance into something that would actually ride a modern section.
Using Beta modern day steering angles the frame was reconfigured by chopping it in two, adding a
downtube to the rear of the gearbox and chopping the swinging arm to move it inside the gearbox and
primary chaincase. It works, and with any luck it may distinquish itself in the Premier Heavyweight Class
next year…..

Cut the frame in two!

New downtube, swinging arm mount on the gearbox inside everything

Chromed rear frame and angled Betor gas shocks

Turns well with a ton of ground clearance

I also have a few more plans for the “No Excuse Cub” which might get done over the winter.

Full articles on how it was done are on the blog under;

“The Ossamaha”
“Reshaping a Bullet”


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  • 10/24/2009 7:09 PM Don Hale wrote:
    Tony – I really enjoy your articles! Keep them coming…..
    Reply to this
  • 11/25/2010 11:58 AM Jan-Erik Lie wrote:
    How wonderful to finely find a site regarding what I reply like and been searching for a long time. Im loking for a bike to create a pre65;er. Did not know if I will buy a frame and start from there or if I go for a second hand bike. How can I get in contact with Mark Kemp about the Majesty frame? They are absolutely no 1. Thanks again for the site.
    Reply to this
  • 12/22/2010 10:22 AM Chris Perry wrote:
    Very interesting site. I think I shall now twin shock my Ty Mono and make it like Mark Kemp’s majesty. Keep up the good work!
    Reply to this
  • 12/22/2010 10:25 AM Chris Perry wrote:
    Just by the by – I was in Gulf War 1 finding targets for Arty and Air to shoot at. I witnessed a Tornado fly so low over us that the wing vortexes whisked up the sand. Was that you??
    Reply to this
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Looking back, end of Day 1, Pre 65 Scottish 2009

2009 has been a very strange year on many fronts with a lot less trials to whet the appetite. Not one
CAT event the whole year and major cut backs on the AHRMA circuit due to finances. However there have
been some excellent fun events and a lot of memories as we struggle through the tapestry of life.

As the clock rolled over into New Year’s Day it was very unsure as to what the program had to offer. My
main interest was the Pre 65 Scottish Silver Jubilee but I had to accept that this just might be a “pipe
dream” and although I, and some other influencial friends had secured an entry, it might have to be
given up as the costs for this adventure across the pond would be close on $5000. January rumbled on
with yet more snow and an appraisal on the Safari Motorhome was done to see if it could be
resurrected as the mode of transport for the coming season. Howard, my RV Guru, nursed the old girl
back to life and rebuilt, or replaced all the frozen pieces which we thought had been winterized and by
the end of the month she was running, plated and tagged and ready for her first outing after 4 years in
dry dock.

February and we set off for Buckeye Arizona for the 2 Day AHRMA event which I will set up with the help
of Ed and Evelyn. An apprehensive drive across the reservation and down to Phoenix but the old girl takes
it in her stride and performs very well all things considered. A double nightstop at our old bar, Harolds
in Cave Creek, for some excellent food and a nice warm day watching the Superbowl. Another 50 miles
down the freeways and we are at Buckeye and ready to find a bunch of sections for 2 days of trials.

Having set out Buckeye for 2 years its an easy enough task especially with good friends and dedicated
helpers. The event runs as planned and even the MX riders are all accommodated amongst all their
various rides. The saga on this one still remains ongoing as some seem to think that you should ride
MANY disciplines rather than concentrate on the one you really enjoy. Having ridden all forms of
motorcycling over my career I agree that it is fun to TRY them all but eventually you must decide on which
you like best and is more suited to your skills and budget.

Buckeye Day 1

Trialsmaster Day 2

The return to the frozen north was less than fun and decidedly unpleasant battling a 60′ rig across the
reservation in the dark and blizzard conditions.

Never again!

The Silver Jubilee comes ever closer and my decision has to be made at the end of March and just
when things are looking pretty bleak a breakthrough comes and it looks like we can do it. Diamond
Don’s is sidelined again and all resources are applied to Scotland with yet more stuff going out the
door via ebay.

Day 1 of the Very Wet  2009 Pre 65

A real PIG of a bike!

With just 2 rides in 4 months and no practice due to the cold weather time to head for the homeland of
Blighty ! Even if I had not been riding the trip to the UK would still be up there after 14 years away and a
good “pint” and a Walls Pork Pie featured highly on the agenda. As for the Pre 65, well I rode it and
finished so to that end I’m happy to have been there despite the appalling conditions. I would have
preferred a different machine, or even one that had been properly prepared and tailored to my size and
style. It was true I got a real arse kicking as I wasn’t expecting the sections to be anywhere near as hard
as they were. The cross country was exactly as I remembered it from the 70’s even with all the extra
water and mud, but thats Scotland so I was ready for that but as I said the sections were difficult and
certainly 10 times harder than anything I rode back then apart from Pipeline, which was, and still is, a
great challenge to all.

All the cross country fun over Callert

The last 2 subs of Mamore Day 2

Having been suitably humbled by the severity of Scotland time to try some more Ahrma events and the
first is Milliken at the end of May. Arrive a day early along with Ed and Evelyn but the home team have
everything under control and our services are not required so some gentle ride rounds looking at all the
hazards and trying to find a practice area to find something similar. The event rides easier than it looks
and with a new found concentration I slip round for a zero card.

A different sort of Pipeline at Milliken

Still in May time to see the new venue at Turkey Rock which Ed and Evelyn have been working on for 2
years. Once again arrive a couple of days early to help out but the “Team” have it all in hand and the
sections all look pretty good. Another good ride on Day 1 for a zero card but Day 2 goes a little wonky on
the first loop picking up 2 “5’s” through my own stupidity missing a split and stalling it in the next section
while still fuming about the first. However, I did get it back together cleaning loops 2 & 3 for what could
easily have been another zero card.

Another Zero card at Turkey Rock Day 1

Day 2 at Turkey Rock

My planned rides would have been Steamboat in June and Donner for the 2 day in July, but Brenda fell
out of a guest’s RV and broke her foot quite badly and that put an end to any trialing activities. Once again
I see that the same anti-dedicated trials fraternity ran Steamboat whereby anyone who had seen a
Premier Heavyweight trials machine was going to get a zero card and indeed that was what happened
with 5 out of the 6 riders all doing just that and the tie break going on age, so perhaps it was intended as
a parade rather than a competition!

Yes, its broken!

So no rides until the end of August when there will be just enough events left to swap horses to the
Enfield and try for that Championship as well, but by now someone is bitching about my entering 2
classes at Milliken under the “dumb rule” which I had already protested about but got nowhere and only
entered that way to bring it to a head. Well it did that and I see our Trials Rules Committee, who in my
opinion need to be CHANGED, have seen the error of their ways and gone for “One event, one entry” for

With AHRMA and the AMA at loggerheads over the proverbial 4/5ths of FA a couple of events get
canceled and with missing Donner I now can’t offer a worthwhile challenge on the Enfield, especially
as Sandia gets the CNX with Jim and Sylvia pulling out of the organization. The rest of the season will
be ridden on the Cub and I now need 2 more wins from the last 5 events that I will ride.

At last trials riding begins again with the 2 Day at Cotopaxi at the end of August. Day 1 was relatively
easy and I should have had a clean card, or a single dab but I dropped a 5 while not going through my
own mental checklist. Day 2 was a different matter and I rode fairly well again just losing a dab and a
stalling 5 on the first loop. At this point my No 1 opposition informs me he is only on 6 and on his third
loop! I’m forced to ride 2 loops without error just to tie, so I’m really up against it but pull it off in what I
consider my best, but hardest ride of the year.

Hardest ride of the year, Cotopaxi Day 2

Got to clean this one for the tie break

Just in case there is any argument, or another surprise change in the rules I’ll ride the Cub for fun at
Casper. With no real pressure I had 3 very enjoyable days riding with only 2 sections catching me out
and one other that I elected to go for the planned dab on all 3 loops. Overall maybe my best ride at
Casper so a great end to the year on the Cub which I still rate as one of the best bikes I have ever put
together. Perhaps if I could afford it, it would be nice as a 230, 250 or even a 280 in the future.

Dive, Dive, Dive…… Casper Day 1

Favorite section of the year, Day 2 at Casper Section 1

So now its time to sit back and wait for the venues to come for 2010 when I would, finances permitting,
like to go for the double with the Enfield and Cub.

C’mon 2010


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  • 10/23/2009 8:50 AM Jack Knoops wrote:
    Hi Tony,
    Glad you found a use for my snap. Quality poor due to e-mail (I Hope).
    Going to the Scott tomorrow, forcast, heavy rain. Killed my camera and flash last year so will probably take no.2 kit.
    Keep up the blog, I reet enjoy it as they say up here.
    Reply to this
  • 10/26/2009 9:24 PM Steveo wrote:
    I trust Brenda’s foot is all better.looks like you managed your share of events this past year!I am curious to know if you have ever come across a supplier for 175 fork springs?Living here on an island has made it hard for me to get out to many events,this season I only rode the 3 outlaw events,one on Vancouver island,one in Summerland and the other in Stony Plain ,Alberta
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What I’d like to BE driving

Having passed everything for the CDL B now time to get it out there and see if anyone wants to use my
services. No 1 choice is driving RV’s from factories in Oregon or Indiana to their dealerships and
hopefully picking up a return run to double bank on the mileage. Well, company 1 wants you to send
them $50 as I’m retired and a copy of my driving license, birth certificate, social security and passport.
….?????  I don’t think so! More research shows this company, although providing some work is a bit of
a scam…… so the research will continue.

Our old 2001 Beaver Marquis luxury coach

Taking delivery of the 2006 Beaver

There  are a ton of jobs out there but many are low paid and not what I would like to do so the research
will continue until something challenging and worthwhile is found. It maybe the RV driving is a busted
flush but the bus driving for a tour company might be fun or even private charter. A lot of exploring of the
internet doesn’t really reveal much other than long term driving for Holland America up in Alaska which
is all summer long and doesn’t fit the lifestyle so thats out! What I really fancy is some driving to Ski
resorts out of Phoenix and up to Telluride for the weekend. I know Arrow Stagelines does this run and
I’m familiar with the route, just a matter of finding, and talking to the department that does the hiring and
firing. If none of that works perhaps a dose of snow plowing ?

A Denver tour bus in Ski Country

Maybe one of these for Montezuma County

Of course being in small town Dolores, population 800, is hardly the hub of all things driving and hardly
a boom town for any other industry either!  Jobs here are as rare as Elks in hunting season so unless
the net is spread further the chances of success are remote.

Arrow runs from Phoenix to Telluride

The search continues, the mind tells me they are out there, just a matter of getting “google” to come up
with the answers by using another set of key words to unlock the secrets of the internet as the obvious
ones lead nowhere!

All looking very gloomy, everybody wants experience, so where do you get the experience without doing
the job? Another Catch 22!


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  • 10/15/2009 6:53 PM John Bodkin wrote:
    While bored sometime ,How bout an article of your memories of custom frames.Ie Golner Fraser Beamish.And others of the day.Thanks.
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Examiner’s touch screen

With all the research done I’m committed to the 8 hour drive to Denver to try for the CDL “B”. So Monday
drive up and then be ready for one hour of instruction and free driving before taking the 3 part test. It
looks like I’ll be using a 35 foot coach fitted with air brakes so I’ll need the hour to find out where
everything is so that I can point it all out to the Examiner on the Pre Trip Inspection. Phase 2 of the test
is 3 out of 4 reversing tests, so again a little brush up on their test course and make sure I don’t hit too
many cones! Finally if I haven’t scattered the parking lot with cones on their sides I get to drive on the
road for the final portion of the test.

Collect all the necessary tools to do the inspection, pressure guage, tread depth thingey, tire kicker,
flashlight and of course the oiley rag. Now time to study the “What I’ll be looking for section” and get
that portion of the homework done.

The time has come so just after 11 I’m on the road for 400 miles of Colorado’s fall scenery, although as
I leave its cloudy, very windy and spitting with rain. Good thing we took the “fall pics” when we did as the
wind and nightly frost are ravaging the trees and the colors have changed quite markedly as I drive
across to Durango. A long and incident free drive despite a lot of road works, flagmen and single file
roads. Still a major improvement in a lot of areas where the eyeballs had previously been running
round their sockets like roulette balls. Out of Pagosa and up Wolf Creek Pass and thick cloud and
strong winds and as I get closer to the summit a dusting of snow everywhere and the temp has now
dropped to 37F. Over the top in light snow and pick up the 285 northbound to Denver. More passes,
more snow and rain and eventually come out of the mountains for the last 30 miles of freeway to the
night stop. Dusk driving amid the spray is not pleasant and big city driving seems to be as lunatic as
ever. At 7 I pull into the hotel and I’m ready for some food and a good night’s rest. Nice hotel and there is
even a Chinky with free delivery!

Very impressed with Brenda’s hotel selection. Huge comfortable bed, the Chinese wasn’t bad and the
coffee is halfway decent. So suitably refreshed and continental breakfast on board set off for the CDL
College of Knowledge. Only 2 miles and, Oh yes, plenty of railway tracks so we know that will feature on
the test!

In I go and sign in and get set up with an Instructor and my 1 hours worth of time on the vehicle. Out of
the building and amid all the puddles, as apparently it had rained all day yesterday, there sits my
“test” vehicle……………..

Yikes! Not quite what I was expecting

I had been expecting a pretty NEW coach a la “Tour Market” as they show in their brochure……….
however that was just an example of what you “COULD” drive if you pass the test. Lady examiner
/instructor takes me through all the Pre-Drive Inspection both inside and out of this old school bus and
it is similar to many of the vintage trucks I bought when I first started the UP-Grading company and
couldn’t afford anything new.

The One in the brochure !

Amid the puddles there are some concrete ramps where the 18 wheelers are shuffling about between
the cones with the incessant back up bleepers going full cry. Soon its time for me to fire up the steam
engine and roll round onto the pads and have a go at their “Skills Tests”. No1 is fairly simple just drive
down a straight line through 2 sets of cones and stop when through. Then reverse all the way back
through the cones. Obviously without a trailer this is fairly straight forward. Next up is the “S” turn then
reverse, which entails coming out of your “garage” do a S turn to the right then reverse into another
“garage” alongside the one you just left. Again not that difficult and despite my earlier reservations the
old girl has a pretty good lock and the power steering works well with no steering wheel hunting on full
lock. Now the final test…….. parallel park the bus in an area about 10 feet longer than the monster. Lady
examiner/instructor shows how and tells me it doesn’t have to be pretty! So it seems as long as most of
it is “in” then thats all that can be done. I have a few goes at this a find a couple of “datum” markers
which I will try and remember for the actual test.

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep

I thought that was the end of it but lady examiner is back and says we will go for a quick drive so off we
go and needless to say that railway track is in play for the first part of the preview. With this thing you
have to get round a left turn at the traffic lights, getting in the correct lane, then cancel the turn signals,
put on the flashers and stop 15′ before the tracks. Then do the left, rights and set off and when clear of
the tracks cancel the hazard warners. A bit more round the blocks driving with the heap and an
accelerator which has a 200lb spring on it !!! All done and back in the yard and park amid the cones.

Enter new examiner stage left, ……. “are you ready?” ……. and so it begins ………” whether tis nobler to
suffer etc, etc,”

Examiner explains what he wants for the Pre Drive Inspection and I get out my crib sheet and I’m
immediately told “None of that!”……. one of my books says you can use the sheet as you go round a bit
like an aircraft pre flight check list so that you DON’T forget anything but it seems Colorado want you to
do everything from memory. Now bearing in mind if you fail any portion of this 3 part test you can’t
re-take it for 3 days! He tells me we can wait or do it another day but I insist that I’m ready and let battle
commence. First up general inspection of bus…. anything obvious, then the front of the vehicle and all
its lights and what I will be looking for when they are lit up. Next up with the hood, and having memorized
lady/teach blow through, start at the block and work outwards to the wheel. So through that lot then
round the other side doing the same all the way out to the suspension, steering box and wheel and tire.
So far so good, don’t think I missed anything. His next request is the entrance way, quickly through that
and now through the passenger compartment behaving like an airline hostie showing all the
emergency exits and checking the o’head bins etc. Finally get to sit down and go through all the pre trip
checks on engine and equipment and of course the airbrakes checks which have to be correct or its an
automatic FAIL.

Congrats! you have passed the Pre Drive Inspection. 1 down 2 to go!!

C’mon Bill

Now for the Skills Tests. First one explained and I’m told drive forward through the line of cones
stopping with your bumper over 2 yellow lines which are 18 inches apart. Hmmmm! well there is a huge
fish eye mirror mounted up front so I guess I’ll use that, and by the way you have to do it in one go and
when the wheels stop thats it. Trundle through and gently stop using the big mirror. Now reverse all the
way and old faithful stays on course without any steering required. Good !

Next is the garage game and that works well now I’m getting used to the lock on this thing. The back
wall of the “garage” is removed and I’m told where to stick the bus. With the bus in the original garage
some cones are removed and other placed in various positions. Time for the “Not pretty” Parallel
parking game. This has to be completed in one single manoeuvre with no adjusting. I line up on my
datums and all seems to go well coming in through about a 30-40 cut at the box. Wait until the front
mirror shows the edge cone for the box then go on full lock and watch the cone come across the mirror
leaving the bus in that position as per lady Instructors demonstration………. PASS on the skill test.

Time for the biggee! Any screw ups on Railroad tracks or striking the curb with a wheel is an automatic
FAIL. OK, understood so off we go and sure enough the first section is the railroad crossing that I did on
the practice. Meet the classic dumbarse coming head on at the traffic lights with his left turn on but
comes straight through the intersection. Elect to go for a non stop talking commentary which seems to
impress the examiner. Lots of turns, lane changes, out on the freeway, more lane changes and back
into the round the block driving and then a simulated emergency pull off. Signal, pull over, stop, cancel
signal, flashers on, brakes on, neutral etc. Drive away, keep the wheel straight with turn signal on, pull
out, signal off and resume. Nearly over, and now back to the yard and back across the railroad one
more time then turn right at the lights………….. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

The day is done

CDL B license in hand I can now get on the road with an ETA of around 2200 at home base. A lot of
police around but traffic is fairly light and an incident free drive and not a deer or elk to be seen, but hey,
it is hunting season and they are not that stupid.


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