YES YOUR MAJESTY

YES YOUR MAJESTY

YES YOUR MAJESTY

Being a Loyalist and having worn the hat badge and had “her” commission for 30 years in the
Royal Air Force I decided to build my own as the originals (bikes that is) are about as rare as
rocking horse ****!  Where to begin? Well, good old Google provides the site and an engine kit
is found in the UK. The kit comprises the two inner engine cases, suitably bored out to accept the
bigger liner for the 320 piston. A spacer, various gaskets, the mighty piston and rebored and lined
barrel and a head from a 76/77 motor. All I have to do is get a donor engine ( I have plenty of them)
split the cases and fit everything in the Majesty box.

Up north in Dolores CO, where we have small RV Park called Cozy Comfort, there is a motorcycle
graveyard which I had always promised myself to look round, but had never been there as we were
always transiting through, up or down, on our way to Telluride. So on a summer weekend when we
are up there I venture into the scrapyard. Machines in various stages of decay and dissassembly.
Walking through the rows I stumble on what I recognize as a 74 TY250A, and after pulling it out
consult the boychild as to how much he wants for it. “Make me an offer” he says….. “$50.00” says I
and he whips out his cell phone like John Wayne and rings his Boss.

After 30 seconds of describing the said “bag o’crap” he annouces that the Boss wants $30.00!!!
Well they sure drive a hard bargain in these parts!

Back home the “purchase” is unloaded and under the 3 color cammo paint (yes, it’s been used
in the woods by a hunter) lurks a lot of very usable parts. 4 cans of paint remover later a half
decent collection of wheels, forks, frame and the bottom half of an engine emerge from the wreck.

Everything is made ready, and all the parts for chroming and polishing are sent off for their beauty
treatment. All the other essentials are collected including the Sammy Miller tank and seat unit and
rearset and down pegs. A note here, (if you use the Sammy set they bolt directly onto the swinging
arm bolt and if you have a CAT model there are studs in the lower frame rail for the bolts. Another
way to do it is to use a continuous bolt and go all the way through with a nut on each side) The
BJ conversion means that “shade tree” had better be good at drilling and tapping as they fit directly
where the old pegs once were. Next cables, carb and reeds,  some falcon rear shocks, and a complete
lightweight WES exhaust  all from BJ Racing. Tires, chain, filter and other bits from Cycle Gear
(goods news here if you are a MSF Instructor). Get some new Magura levers, throttle and bars and
now all I need to do is true up the wheels, mount the tires and get the motor prepped before the
chrome work comes back.

The donor engine is split and I’m ready to begin when…………. wait for it………. Doof the lab, comes
crashing into the workshop with stick in mouth and jumps up just as I’m in the process of sliding
the transmission out of it’s housing
………. front feet firmly on my elbow …… and now….. whoooooosh the cogs, wheels and shafts are
scattered to the four winds! 2 hours later with a tray full of gearbox looking things and a collection
of other unknowns from previous drops and springing circlips, reassembly is attempted…… however
mensa is not helping, so a printout from the commuter is brought over to sort out the mess! Another
poke in the eye with a sharp stick…… and so desperate measures, split another engine and use that
as a template.

Finally by evening the crank and gearbox are now in the Majesty casings and are cemented
together.The following day I consult my rebuild litterature and read those awful words as I scroll
down ……REMEMBER….and of course I hadn’t so the cases are split again and the longer clutch
pushrod put in it’s home. More glueing and time for a beer! The following day time to mount the
remaining bits including clutch and kickstart shaft. Well the amused reader will no doubt have
guessed, Yes, the kickstart spring hascome off internally and now we split the cases for the last
time, but by now I’m getting good at this and somewhat of an expert, even if its not from choice.

All ready, and the chrome will be here on Friday so allocate the weekend to “building the majesty”
Name of the game will be have everything prepared and then allow 12 hours to build, and
photograph the machine from scratch.
Saturday morning and all the parts are laid out on the floor like a jig-saw puzzle and at 10 a.m.
building begins with the object of having it complete by Sunday lunchtime.

DID IT!

So the 320 Majesty takes her debut, and oh, yes the big motor complete with a 290 main jet in
the Mikuni does well. The power is a little excessive for modern day nadgery type trials but it’s still
a lot of fun and something different. One day a Godden frame maybe?

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

RESHAPING A BULLET

RESHAPING A BULLET

THE ROYAL ENFIELD

So another new project begins! Madness and insanity set in during August 2006 maybe as
the clock ticked over 60 and I’m looking for something to fit the Premier Heavyweight Class. Lo,
a 1960 Don Morley Royal Enfield factory 350 Bullet is found in trials trim and it had competed in
the 2005 pre 65 Scottish.  So it is duly secured via E-Bay and then the fun begins trying to
understand Wee Willie. Wee Willie lives (assumption!) in deepest Scotland, way up there on the
Atlantic coast where no man fears to tread. You may remember that Hadrian said “this is it” and
built a wall there to keep them out! The SSDT never goes that far North and as far as I know in
those polar regions its sleigh and reindeer only.

However Willie will build a crate out of some washed up driftwood from their latest pirate wreck
and Allied, the shippers, will actually pick it up at his house/croft? Now for the first piece of lunacy,
the crate has to be made out of “certified wood” acceptable to Homeland Security. Second choice,
pay another $200 and have it sprayed with Ossama juice to prevent terrorist termites! It duly
arrives in Houston and is here a day later.

  First impressions; Stunned disbelief …. Someone rode this in the 2005 Scottish? The handlebars
are connected to the rear of the top yoke by two bolts that cannot exert enough pressure to
keep them tight and that is borne out by the 2 self tapping screws going through the clamp into
the bars. Man it’s long and heavy! Well having found suitable oils for the old girl it’s time to fire
her up and this she does and the motor actually sounds pretty good despite the horrendous high
gears. Clearly this is going to be a Major Project that will take engineering skills and ingenuity
which I may or may not possess.
  The advice of Barry from Premier is sought once more along with Brian Crawford for his machining
know how. After all the laughing I start dismantling the beast having bought all the Whitworth
spanners that I thought I would need. Much research takes place viewing every Enfield that I could
find in anything close to modern day trials trim. Needless to say the best of the bunch was Peter
Guant’s (no surprises there!) but to come close to his machine is way outside my capabilities. His
has a shortened rod and barrel and the motor is way off the ground and looks very compact.
I think Peter is losing it … to go to all that trouble and then paint it Orange?? I’m much more
sensible and will paint mine Purple, well no surprises there. More research, and now I find
Spartan engineering in the UK who make the yokes and stem and a whole load of other goodies.
A big order is placed with them in February and I’m still waiting in the middle of June …. I know I
said I wasn’t in a hurry but this is trying my patience. The big problem was the wheel which
nobody could seem to be able to lace but now I’m told it’s done! So, new yokes, front wheel, new
victor style tank, primary 16 tooth, bash plate and 340mm Betor gas shocks. Of course there will
be new Renthals in either red or gold, Magura front lever, and a new goodie from
“Works Connection” which is a ball bearing clutch lever with a decompresor incorporated. Lots of
Purple tubing and even a purple plug wire.

  With much struggling 309 lbs of Britain’s finest is hauled on to a platform to begin disassembly.
Wheels, bars and tank all off and now realistically there’s not much left, but how does this
engine fit in here? Front bolts are easy, all 5 of them but only one actually joins the frame to the
engine plates. Down the back there must be others. Undo the first cross bolt and there is a
“CLANG” as a tube falls out and lands on the floor. Very interesting but it doesn’t actually go
through the motor? Undo the next one and same result “CLANG” as another tube hits the floor,
oh well. Now there is one bolt left with a nut on each end but no room to extract it??? Further
investigation reveals a cut in the frame so it can be moved in the vertical when undone. Take the
nuts off and then discover that there is a groove in the gearbox so this is a saddle bolt and
nothing else. All the other ironmongery, bolts and tubes were presumably from the original
center stand.

  Double hernia later 120 lb engine is on the bench and the frame is on the floor. The name of
the game is to somehow lose 3” off the wheel base and get another 3” of ground clearance.
What we need to do is split the frame at the seat tube area and make it similar to the Tiger Cub.
Weld in a substantial down tube to bolt onto the back of the gearbox and then hang the
modified swinging arm from there inside the primary case and gearbox. With that neatly tucked
away the rear down tube will follow the curvature of the chain case and look pretty neat while
losing a couple of inches. Up front reset the steering head to modern angles and bend the top
tube to accommodate the raising of the Titanic engine. Cut the forward down tube and machine
some new engine plates.

  Meanwhile a Yam back wheel is prepped and a huge sprocket ordered from BJ Racing.
Much polishing of the engine and cutting the fin edges and then time to replace everything with
purple tubing and the plug wire. Nice idea! Take off the “plastic” diamond off the Lucas magneto
and try and take out the plug wire. However, 45 year old bakeolite does not respond and now
we have a pile of shattered fragments. From the memory banks I dimly recall this crap called
“bakeolite” it was used in nearly all electrical things and was made out of coal dust and was
forever breaking!! Glumsville sets in but then find a man in the UK who specializes in Lucas Mags
and after telling him that there are no numbers on the mag, just a green label that says “Lucas
Racing Magneto” he says he knows the one and yes he has the part and will put one in the
afternoon post… YIPEE!

Back to the motor and see the oil pipes are made of Copper? Hmmm? Remembering my old drill
instructor from officer training it’s time to apply his cryptic line of “if it’s Brass or Copper it shines!”
he was referring to the urinal at the time but the pipes came up a treat.

Well now it’s mid June and we are nearly ready for reassembly prior to Chroming. Barry needs
the yokes to check final rake and trail and with the new shocks we should be able to see the
final wheelbase. Then fabricate a seat or adapt one from the junk pile and cover with purple
leather. The brake is going on the right to tie in with the Yam back wheel and somewhere we
will need a stand anchor. The new footrests should fit nicely at the 22” point and then its bash
plate time to protect this monstrous engine. Finally cut off all the rear tubes and position a
cross rail for the rear fender. Should be able to angle the rear shocks for improved grip and
looks. (IT’S ALL IN THE MIND’S EYE!)

Monday 18 June, frustration is setting in as I want to get going but either it’s not here, not
finished or not ready! GRRRR! Barry says he is finishing up today, seeing is believing, and the
Spartan order was supposed to have left last Tuesday via Parcel Force so that could be here
today? … wishful thinking boy, handlebars coming soon. Then when I have it all here a
preassembly run to see if it all fits, then paint the frame, put the engine back in and wait for
the chroming and polishing (2-3 weeks)

 August16 and still not finished! But, we have not been slacking over the last 2 months and
progress has been made, albeit, remarkably slowly. The frame was finally finished and pre
assembly began after 2 sets of painting attempts in different shades of purple. Eventually the
color was found that matched everything and was close to what I had envisaged. Line up the
parts but, that swinging arm looks a bit funny? Yes, the strengthening gusset had warped it
and back it goes for some straightening. Purchase some heat shrink (in purple of course) and
redo all 5 cables. Fit the new yokes and newly machined spacers and the forks are in and
ready for the new wheel which is the same weight as the old one with the big hub. The new
wheel nearly fits!  …. But the brake arm hangs too low so back in with the old wheel and
maybe use this one on the Cub? The engine has come up a bit and now the new tank won’t
fit so polish the old one like crazy and fit the new decals. This one works well as it has a
recessed area underneath to accommodate the rockers. Redo the pushrod cover in purple and
then fit all 5 purple covered wires. Nice idea but the nipples all need a little adjusting to fit the
new controls but finally they are all in place and look very neat. The reshaped saddle is treated
to 3 mouse pads and glued together before the final covering of purple leather.
 And now we wait! The rest is in for chroming and should be available early next week. I made
a new pivot for the rear brake so that mister Yamahas back wheel (7lbs lighter) will fit so all
that remains is the back end build and fit the chrome Indian RE fender.

 The freshly chromed rear end is back! Now the fun begins with making it all come together and
then seeing if it is rideable and competitive? Well the frame pieces go on with not too much
problem but lining up the wheel with the slightly offset swinging arm is a little more serious.
First change the spacers to line up the sprockets and then file a bit off the left side tube to allow
the sprocket nuts to rotate freely. The nicely chromed Yamaha brake cable is just a little short
so that gets replaced with the spare Sammy Miller Triumph one.

 The rechromed exhaust fits but the silencer needs a small modification but “shade tree” soon
has that fixed after yet another trip to ACE for more bolts! Now for the chain tensioner which
has its own problems. he original Scottish home made effort mounted on the gearbox won’t
work with the shortened frame! The new spare universal one won’t fit either and finally I hit on
the idea of a Yam one mounted on the old rear brake pivot. A lot of filing and offsetting nearly
has it but the chain just touches the bolt ****! Well let’s reverse it and get the Makita in action
and grind off some of this surplus steel… just think of the weight saving?

 Several hours later and trying to keep my work periods to a minimum it all fits and actually
works! On a personal note I’m suffering from a sore neck which has a trapped nerve to the
Cerebellum causing severe “fall down” dizziness and yesterday it was so bad that I became
disorientated and actually threw up… Mummy! This is not good!!!

 Now it’s time for the rear mudguard which looks like it will fit after its cut to go around the
silencer. Yes after a few hours of cutting and Makitaing the poorly chromed Indian Enfield part
is on. Tank and seat are easy but it looks a bit short at 50 and ½ inches wheelbase and nearly
12 inches ground clearance. Just need to make a bash plate to fit and maybe find some sort
of stand as its way up there! Pretty yes? Functional? Who knows? It scaled in at 273 and the
standard for the year was 309.

 It wouldn’t start pre Casper so the project was abandoned before mega frustration set in.
Back from the weekend and after cleaning carb and changing plug wires, just in case. Check
decompressor is freeing correctly and try again…. Nothing! Well now its time to change the
carb for a flange mounting Mikuni which is lurking on the Ossa. There is barely enough room
but amazingly it will fit and the mounting holes actually line up. Some dismantling of the frame
but eventually it’s in and after sorting out fuel lines it fires up and runs. Some rejetting and it
seems pretty good all things considered.
 First Riding Impressions!
1. Bloody Heavy!
2. Bit Short!
3. Bit Tall!
4. Bloody Heavy
5. Gearing OK
6. Smooth response for a 47 year old

Future requirements: maybe bend the front tubes again, maybe drop the forks an inch?
She’s away for her bash plate and I tried a flatter pair of Hebo bars which has lowered the
front a little but its still like being in the penthouse. Maybe swing the rear shocks forward and
that will lower the rear, increase the wheelbase and put the steering angle out a couple of
degrees?

Back from Barry (on time!) with the new bash plate….. WOW what a lovely job. Now back to
ACE for some more bolts to finish off the plate and move the rear shocks forward which should
make it lower at the rear, increase the wheelbase and also make it look more modern.

TONY DOWN

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 11/6/2007 2:34 PM Jose wrote:
    Tony:
    You are a man with A LOT of time on his hands. We met at Cotopaxi. I was the bloke searching for a corkscrew. Brenda saved the day.
    The amount of work that went into your RE would have been sufficient to raise the Titanic. Looks beautiful. Would love to see it (and you) in action. I don’t want to see your long-distance phone bill to the British Isles.
    I didn’t finish out the year very well, having sustained a weird collarbone injury(people took pictures) at Rick Field’s non-scored Trials Day. I actually got hurt LAYING IT OUT. A new record.
    Thank you again for all the patient advice at Cotopaxi, and please always feel welcome in Colorado. You absolutely must make it to Steamboat.
    Best regards, Jose.
    Reply to this
  • 2/26/2014 7:55 PM dan moriarty wrote:
    beautiful !!!!
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

THE OSSAMAHA

THE OSSAMAHA

THE OSSAMAHA


THE OSSAMAHA STORY(HEINZ 57)

Having built 30 Yams and an assortment of Hondas, Montesas and Ossas over the last
3-4 years it was time to do a Monty Python, “and now for something completely different”,
but what?

About June 2006 there was an ad for a Villiers DMW frame in the UK E-bay trials section,
so enquires were made and yes, the guy would ship it if I won. About mid August the black
painted frame arrived. The top tube is the fuel tank, single box section down tube to the
under rails with a mesh bash plate like the early Bultacos. At the back end some Hagon
shocks mounted well forward on a box section swinging arm. First obvious thing is the fuel
tap is mounted half way along the tube so the fuel in the back can never get out! Oh well,
let’s see if a Yam engine will fit in here. If I cut out the down tube, weld in some Yam tubes
.. cut out that footrest bit etc, etc, and eventually a plan of action comes together. An Ossa
front end, forks, wheel and yokes, (have to make a new stem to go through the Brit
bearings) shift the fuel cock to the back, must have a runner for the throttle cable to go
through, need a bracket for the top coil, rewire the motor for the ignition wire to come up
the front of the frame instead of the back widen the rear shock mountings for the Yam chain
run and we might be close.

Suitable bits are hacked of an old Yam frame, the old cases from the engine that was used
as the 320 Majesty donor engine are screwed together and the alloy bash plate to act as
a template for the layout of the other engine hanger mounts. Welding has not been a skill
of mine so professional help was brought in and phase 1 started.

So it comes back and the initial build begins. The pre-prepared engine is offered and after
minor adjustments (as Father said “Don’t force it, get a BIGGER Hammer!”) it fits. The fuel
cock is well out the way of the new (BJ) Mikuni and the much modified Yam exhaust slips
through the frame and because it’s a foot shorter and inside the frame rails doesn’t
require a heat shield.

The front end looks about right and because there isn’t a fuel tank the lock is virtually
limitless. Sounds like everything is going very well at this stage? NOT SO FAST newbie!

The swinging arm pivot point is too high and needs to come down ¾ of an inch, the arm
itself needs to be shorter by about 2 inches. Take it all to pieces again and go and get the
garden hose. Try and fill the tank but it leaks like a vegetable colander and we have water
everywhere.

Back to the welder for some easy repairs we hope. 2 weeks later the frame comes back
and still leaks like sieve but I’m reliably assured “Kreem” will fix it. Back to second assembly,
or in this case not as I can’t get the engine in or the bash plate to line up, and after a lot
of measuring it seems the frame has contracted about half an inch under all the heat
treatment. Moral of the story leave the bash plate on! Once more into the heat and some
serious heat bending of those down tubes to get the motor back in. For those not in the
know it looks like it was designed that way. (Reader say nothing, or I will be forced to eat
you).

Well it now looks good but the fork angle is a bit steep, and will the fender hit the exhaust
under hard braking or a downhill drop off? The new pegs are welded on along with the
Yam rear brake mounting and it’s ready to send off for plating.

While it is away the graphics are made, YAMOSSA or OSSAMAHA? I’m counseled that
OSSAMAHA might be construed as something that should have bin ladin after it but I reply
that BIN might have been appropriate as it crossed my mind when all the water was
pouring out of it and could easily have ended up there!

The plating shop tells me they are having problems with all the original nickel that was on
the frame and that it will need to go through again, but eventually it emerges in all its
gleaming beauty.

Now a weekend of cake making as the tank is prepped and readied for the Kreem. It’s
one thing to follow the manufacturer’s instructions of “roll the liquid around until it sets”
and that may be OK if you are just dealing with a 2 gallon tank but twirling an entire
motorcycle frame around like a cheerleader becomes a bit tiring after the first hour ..and
still the Kreem refuses to set. 3 hours later some of this stuff is beginning to stick but my
arms are sore and I keep smacking myself about with the down tubes as the Superbowl
cheerleading continues. Time for a beer!

Sunday and the liquid is getting stiffer, and so are my arms. Eventually call it quits and tip
out the last bit of the goop. Building begins, engine fits without Daddy’s hammer, and
super shiny exhaust bolts into place. Fit the new BJ bash plate and then the Ossa front
end, some Miller stays and an alloy front mudguard. The seat has been recovered to go
with the purple/gold color scheme and the Hagon shocks finish off the rear end of the
frame. Fit the rear alloy guard and now time for a little improvisation to stop muck coming
forward from the back wheel. Rubbermaid dish drainer cut to size to go around that top
tube and then sprayed purple. A new universal chain tensioner is on and a retaining
bracket for the spring is fitted on the back on the motor. 3 days of bending a purple truck
mudflap have given the right shape to slip over the swinging arm and now acts as a
protector where the chain will run. Up front with all the purple cased electrics the kill
switch wire runs straight up the inside of the new steering stem and is very neat.

Engine wise the motor was rebored, new points, the BJ carb, reeds and spacer fitted.
Some clown had fitted the clutch incorrectly so the inner basket was locked up solid so
on with a spare and while we are in here some new plates and springs. Dump the pump
and makes a flat cover for a change.

Now for the Will it? Won’t it? It takes on fuel and believe it or not it DOESN”T LEAK!!!
3 prods and the 32 year old motor bursts into life. Now can I ride it? With all this lock
what will happen? Will it go straight on with the wheel at 90 degrees? If it is leaned into
the turn will the wheel go forwards or backwards? Well none of the above it just does
what you ask! Want some more turn? Turn DEM BARS! If you slip the clutch you can do
a full 180 degrees and the rear wheel just casters on the spot like an ice skater doing a
sit spin. None of this bunny hopping for me! The new BJ reed spacer makes the crocodile
TY250A motor a lot less snappy and it’s a joy to ride. A bit of fiddling with the Ossa front
springs, old ones were grannyish and a bit saggy so some multirates were tried but
finally I settled on the replacement ones from Keith Lynas and these keep the front up
and so far haven’t caused any problems with the fender clouting the exhaust and all the
memories of the 1975 Scottish when I shortened the frame by 2 inches on Rannoch
Moor trying too hard to get into the British team for the 75 ISDT.

It has its first outing this weekend at the Arizona Trials season opener… more news as
it breaks.

Tony Down

P.S. Another one of these DMW frames (Dawson Motor Works) came up on e-bay just recently.

Here are the Ref Nos for those that are interested.

Item 8077368568

120074885399

P.P.S The next project is a 1960 Don Morley Royal Enfield 350 Bullet Trials. 5″ ground clearance,
55 inch wheelbase!

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 9/7/2009 12:52 PM Dan wrote:
    Gorgeous bike. Very well done. If you ever get bored with her and want to ship it to Colorado I would love to take it off your hands.
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

Nowhere to Hide-Nowhere to Ride

Nowhere to Hide-Nowhere to Ride

NOWHERE TO HIDE NOWHERE TO RIDE

NOWHERE TO HIDE-NOWHERE TO RIDE

Hello,
My name is CAGIVA and I am Italian by birth and my parents are MV Agusta and Husqvana. My
birthday is difficult to find, some say it was 1979 although most people say I’m more likely to be
1980 or even later but I appear to be an illegal immigrant with no papers whatsoever. My
problem, with advancing years is that nobody wants me and I have nowhere to ride. I have a
brother in Albuquerque who is fostered by Jim Cain but he has the same problem and cannot
get any exercise in AHRMA events, so on behalf of the 2 of us I send you my letter and hope
you may be able to help.
I came with all the right credentials, Twin Shocks, Drum Brakes and a huge air cooled motor.
My present foster family found me on e-bay, fell in love with me, and as an act of complete
insanity adopted me for $182.50. The previous foster parents could not bring me out of the
Mountain Hideaway so my new family took the luxury RV up the mountain behind Colorado
Springs and collected me from Mountain Man “Vern”
Now Vern once lived in civilization in Phoenix and states he is a MMI mechanic, but between you
and me I don’t think he went to very many of the classes! Despite Vern’s claims I was an
abused child suffering frayed cables, broken levers, a bashed and leaking tank bunged up with
bondo and duck tape, and if that wasn’t enough I had been ridden through wet cement which
had dried on my cases and bash plate. If you were a Dentist you would have put my wheels in
braces as Vern didn’t have a spoke key and as each spoke snapped he bent them round the
next one for support! So with 8 broken spokes in my back wheel I had a bit of a crooked smile.

This is me on arrival in Phoenix again.

Soon I’m in pieces and going through some major surgery. My tatty plastics are in the bin along
with a mile of gummy electrical tape, cables, bars, levers, throttle, chain and sprockets. Next
part of my “extreme makeover” was a spa treatment of paint stripper to remove all traces of
cement and 25 years of grime. In truth I think this was my first bath!

Being an Italian lady I needed a boob job so the tank went off to be reshaped and painted.
My seat was beyond repair and was replaced with a TYZ unit from Japan, much slimmer and
neater and doesn’t make my **** look big!
With all the nasty matt black paint gone I’m treated to some tender polishing of yokes, forks
and engine cases. My frame and exhaust are given the Da Vinci veneer treatment of show
chrome and now I’m ready for rebuild with new Renthalls, cables, Magura levers, Miller stays
and Alloy Fenders and of course the Rubbermaid dish drainer splash guard. My worn out
sprocket is the same as the Kawasaki ZX9…… amazing! So now here I am looking lovely in
gold /purple and chrome. My wheels look good, but now I want them changed for gold ones
that are round.

I need to be ridden, please help.

CIAO

GINA LOLLOBRIGIDA (Miss)

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

The AHRMA Experience 2004-2005

The AHRMA Experience 2004-2005

THE AHRMA EXPERIENCE

So, having rebuilt the “Silk Purse”, time to try the AHRMA Experience, as it’s only down the road at
Whitman.
  Armed with all the paperwork, AHRMA membership, number plate and decals, lady friend and 2
machines we arrive in good time with 1 hour to sign in and get a little practice. Not so fast new boy!
First, an interesting discussion with the man at the gate, who wants $60.00.  I explain that I am not
here to purchase the land but he insists saying I get $40.00 refund when I leave. Lucky I had that
much on me!
 Out of car and purposeful stride to the Porta-loo when I’m hailed with “excuse me, are you riding?”
“Yes, indeed I am.”
“You had better hurry up as they starting very soon” says knowledgeable sage.
Quickly unload a bike, boots on, and money and papers in hand rush to start, time now 1130 for a
1 o’clock start! All done, ask what’s happening, riders meeting in 30 mins. Good, back to the car,
explain the deal to significant other and complete pre event routine, tires, fuel etc.
Back to the start at 1150,     ….  Not a soul! They have all left!!! What’s happening?
“Well everyone was ready so we started”
I contain my dry humor and decide that comments that AHRMA couldn’t organize a **** in a brothel
would be best left unsaid
Ride the event, a shade easy me thinks, a clean card and finish at 1.45, thinking I’m glad I haven’t
driven half way across the country for this!
Lots of talk from way back then and finally time for some lunch. “What happens next?” I ask.
“There will be a presentation of trophies at 4”
“OK”
 Back to the car, load up, clean up and at 3.45, we drive over to the start…… only to find everyone
walking back to their vehicles with awards and goodies!!
Well that’s it! This Rolex is going back and I’ll have to get the official AHRMA watch if I ride one of
these events again.
Moral of the story DO NOT EXPECT things to be on time, well it maybe somebody’s time, but
certainly not wristwatch. Imagine you had driven a 1000 miles for the “1 o’clock” start only to find
people are clearing up when you should be starting! Oh well, bear this in mind for future events.
THE NEXT ONE
  Having enjoyed Whitman so much lets take on Perris CA for a 2 day event. Make all the
arrangements and with 2 TY175’s set off on the 350 mile drive down boring old I10.
Arrive at the hotel in Perris, check in and ask the usual questions. “Where is the best bar with
a smoking patio?”
“Ain’t no bars in Perris, stranger, the law closed em’ down cos of all the fighting”
“How about a nice steak house?”
“Ain’t no steak houses in Perris”
“Are there any Taxis?”
“Don’t know, don’t get much call for taxis as yer can’t eat, smoke or drink in Perris!”
“Wonderful!”
Well with nothing to do settle in for what looks like a quiet evening.
WRONG!
The Funny Car Club is using the hotel and within the hour there is more noise than you would
believe with raucous engines, hopping hydraulic suspensions and the idle banter of the owners
The no bar scheme means “bring your own” and they have plenty……..
Very soon the swimming pool area has become the pits and as youth will have its day the
boom boxes are booming….. Why do they have to have the bass so loud?
 With the following mixture of boom-boom, beer, idiot cars, and youth … mix quickly and you
have “instant party” which as we know is going to end in tears. Some time later the police
sirens are waking up those that were asleep and eventually peace returns to Perris. The
following morning the pool area looks like downtown Baghdad (it wasn’t much better before
the party) but now the chairs and loungers are in the pool, empty bottles and broken glass
are everywhere, signs of a mini camp fire on the cool deck, various articles of clothing and a
small pool of blood from incident unknown.
Off to the start at ITS which is an ideal 40 acres of land suitable for trials and nothing else.
As you take the 12 mile drive to the start it’s like stepping back 50 years in time and you
wonder what country you are in. Most of today’s sections range from simple to ridiculously
easy but old men and old machines don’t need too much of a challenge.
A bit of practice on the “chrome” 175 and all is well. Riders meet and off we go, or not in this
case as the red/chrome glitzmobile refuses to start! Oh well use the Rothmans bike which
performs flawlessly and apart from one needed dab only lose a total of three.
 Look at the ignition and adjust points on glitz and she fires right up. Leave the bikes at the
site and back to town for night 2.
Sunday and glitz starts so all is well. Clean  no 1 and then a good 2 on section 2. Section three
seems easy until I’m told I missed a split! Oh well total for lap one, after cleaning the rest, is 7.
Lap 2, clean everything! Lap three clean through 7 sections then the engine dies under power
on a very simple uphill rise to the ends card. Not a glimmer of a spark, so switch to the other
bike (it’s allowed under AHRMA rules) and clean the last 2. Come back to the start only to find
Brenda on the Glitz which is now running!! Glitz and I are going to have a one sided discussion
in the workshop when I get you home.
Overall, a good weekend, 2 second places, 1 should have been a first! A good turnout, nice
people and well organized. Thoughts of doing future AHRMA events flash through the mind
until the map is consulted and the distances calculated.
2005

The year changes, new bikes are prepared and suddenly the “White Elephant” Safari motor
home is returned from the rental company, which has gone bust. I ended up with the motor home,
post divorce, and really never used it. Brenda suggests using it for Perris, especially as there
ain’t no bars, steak houses or taxis! Well sounds like a good idea, so let’s get her organized.
Batteries are all charged and after a bit of research a new trailer is purchased. Meanwhile inside
previous voodoos are “smudged” new linen and things and its all looking very nice inside.

Countdown to Friday departure and trailer is collected from factory in Surprize AZ on the Tuesday.
Wednesday get bolts and bits and measure and cut the floor to accept all the tie downs for 6
bikes. Thursday change the ball hitch to correct the ride height and look at the trailer wiring. A 4
flat to mate with the old style small 4 round? U-Haul has a clever little gizmo which looks like it
will work. Several locks required to ensure what’s mine stays mine!
Thursday night and it starts raining, fill up the water tank and try and start the fridge. 46,000
attempts to start the gas fired fridge and nothing. Water tanks full and bleed the air with the
pump on and at last full pressure at the faucets. Try the hot water, switch on, light on, lasts 10
seconds and then goes out! Great!! Well in matters “RV” little knowledge dangerous as despite
switching it on and off all the red light means is that it has started! However still no fridge and
no microwave. Brenda rings a RV expert who volunteers his time and in the pouring rain we are
checking circuit breakers, fuses, generators and all things electrical. Try the fridge again, nothing,
she tells him we have tried 46000 times and he says “Yes but you haven’t tried 46001” and lo
the bloody thing fires right up!! Still no power to the microwave and after exhausting the
owner’s manual and the microwave instructions we are getting nowhere until we open a
cupboard door and there is the three pin plug that someone has disconnected. Enough fun for
one evening.
Friday morning and now time for trailer lights and the simple to follow instructions which do
nothing. Eventually remove the 4 round and replace with 4 flat, connect and it all works. Off to
Safeway and $250 later the bus is fully stocked not forgetting to stop at ACE for another $150
of bar-b-q and bits. Finally at 1 we are ready to roll in the pouring rain (remember this was the
weekend Oak Flats was washed away). 50 gals of diesel and we are rolling down I10. Not too
bad until we get into California when the driving becomes near suicidal as there is a change in
the weather….it gets worse!! My windshield is misting as the heater is stuck on cold and there
is a small leak on the seal allowing water to drip in the driver’s vision as well as the sun visor
dropping down when least expected blocking all look out! The spray is awful and with full
headlights I’m having trouble seeing the side of the road. Brenda secures the flapping sun
visor with super glue and wipes misted windows to the amusement of Cadbury the lab.
Finally I can see nothing and “time out” is called somewhere in Palm Springs. Brenda decides
that the windshield needs WINDEX! So in the pouring rain here we have Brenda on a stool
cleaning the windshield!!
The next problem is how to turn a 60 foot long rig around. Finally we are back on the freeway
and now make the discovery that the fuel gauge has failed full. Never mind, on with the show,
and eventually, off the freeway en-route to the start area. It looks the same as last year, but
with more potholes and some flooded sections to add a little spice. Creeping along looking for
a hand written sign we overshoot by about 10 feet and get out in the deluge to confirm the
sighting. Yes, this is it, but now out of nowhere and in the middle of nowhere here comes a
procession of vehicles! Finally elect to go forward and try and find somewhere to turn round.
This was not the brightest idea but I’m committed so end up at a T junction with water on both
sides of the road. Out in the rain again, seems hard enough let’s go for it! With one almighty
swing the nose comes round, as does the white picket fencing, can’t stop now, keep her
coming and a cheer and a bark go up as we regain the road probably having destroyed
Billy-Bob’s front garden. An operation this size there are going to be a few losses! Back to the
hand written sign and creep up the potholed water soaked track. Come to where the track
takes an uphill to the start and decide to call it quits for the night. Up ahead I can see
someone with a trailer trying to turn round without much success. Very soon other Trials
people arrive and everyone decides to camp out until daybreak. Well at least we have a
5 star hotel on wheels!
Dawn arrives as the dog needs to go out and so, in dressing gown and slippers I survey a
bleak and drizzly Perris trials site. After breakfast, walk up the hill to see if it’s dry enough to
park the RV. Well, they have graded out all the potholes and it seems quite firm. Find the owner,
and he says it will be OK but forgets to tell me that the motor grader he had in last week got
stuck and the recovery vehicle that came to the rescue suffered the same fate!
 Up the hill we go and arrive at the gate which is the same width as the RV. Full left lock and
one mirror is through, full opposite and the front of the coach is now in “Trials Land”.
Onto the flat start area and survey the muddy ground ahead. Following Mr Bill’s instructions
we set forth and disappear up to the rims in California! Great, first 5 of the day. Never mind
they say we will get you out on Sunday when it dries out. Now time for breakfast which is
delightful with full catering of eggy bac and hot coffee. Outside the drizzle continues…..
just like the UK!
After breakfast the washing up chores but no problem with tons of hot water until we notice
the carpet is wet and there is a sound of running water? Turn off the pump but the water is
still flowing. Open a closet and find the waterfall coming down the inside of the bus from a
broken water pipe that feeds the washing machine and tumble dryer. Outside in the bowels
of the bus engine room consult with Scottie who tells me it’s not the dillithium crystals and
the transporter room is still working. At last find the isolation valve and peace returns to
Perris CA.
People start arriving and up next to us Rich Palmer pulls in then Phil Drury and son. A reasonable
turn out despite the awful conditions. So a nice MUD trial with slippery rocks and running water
.should be good! I had a great ride with only one “5” (trying too hard) and finished on 11. Rich
was having card problems and missed a few splits, I believe, but finished a clear second.
Brenda’s son, Phil, turned up later and being an electronics whiz kid soon had the TV and VCR
rewired so we could at last watch something. A good fire, a few beers, and a bar-b-q  and all
is well as we finish with hobo pies and s’mores.

Day 2, and another good set of sections, the best being No 4 a twisting uphill climb from an
adverse camber start and No7 an in and out of water followed by a steep climb after the ditch
with a little twist sting in the tail. Lose a single dab on lap 1 and follow with a clean lap on
lap 2. Section 7 should be interesting on the last lap and sure enough it has turned into a real
swamp. Rich and I were the only cleans on lap 2 and we both try and find a suitable line for the
last attempt. Rich attacks first and throws the little Yam up the bank for a good three. As I think
we are on level pegging I must get nothing worse than a 3 as the last sections haven’t been a
problem for either of us. The line is good and I clear the ditch but it rears up and some clutch
and footwork are required to get under control, not pretty but, a threes, a three! Clean the
rest for a total of 4 for the day and expect to be tied with Rich but somewhere he has lost
another dab.

Load up, clean up, and now the fun begins! How to get a 60 foot long rig out of the mud, so
planks, ramps, more wood and rocks arrive. Much discussion as to which way to go but neither
work well and I get the impression we are going in deeper. After 1 hour of futile attempts we
are getting nowhere and eventually 30 people decide backwards is the only way. Off with the
trailer and with support under the leveling jacks the wheels come to the surface and planks
and ladders can be placed under the wheels. Hook up a Dodge dually and this time we
“git r dun”. Finally get the beast turned round and back down the hill and put on the trailer.
At last we are on our way home, pleased with the results and lots of new RV knowledge and
a list of RV things to do.

JEFFERSON

Where? That’s Jefferson Texas to you, very close to the Louisiana border. The RV is sent off
for some major work and comes back with nearly all the bells and whistles working. Sheldon
is borrowing a bike from Jed Bates and I’m hauling it in the big trailer. The mission is duly
planned with a night stop in Pecos Texas at about the 600 mile mark, and a day off in Jefferson
before the 1250 mile drive home. All would have been fine had I not saved a dying individual
in Harold’s who choked and passed out on the bar. I gave him the Heimlich and he started
coughing and breathing again. For my trouble I contracted his awful dose of bronchitis and
pneumonia and by the Monday of the week we were leaving I could only walk a few steps
before running out of breath. Up every night coughing and little or no sleep was taking its
toll so time to see the Doctor who prescribes major antibiotics rather than “drink heavily”.
By now I’m drowning in my own body fluids and somewhat in fear of my own mortality.
Wednesday and away by 0730, drive the 650 to Pecos over roads of dubious quality
(thanks Janet!) what do they spend our TAG money on? Another sleepless night and I’m feeling
seriously unwell. Thursday and the roads are more pleasant as we wend our way through
Texas and finally arrive at Diamond Don’s. Buy another piece of AHRMA land for $105 and that’s
just to get in! Get the briefing from lady redneck “y’all mind the snakes and check yer’selves fer
ticks and watch the mossies”

Set off down the track to the appointed RV slot but get stopped by a beer swilling cowboy on
a golf cart who turns out to be none other than the host of the event who clearly had been
taking my other Doctor’s advice and been drinking heavily!

Don and I survey where he wants me to park, which is not the slot I had originally been given,
but when the owner says “I want you here” you do what the man says, and once again he
tells me they will pull me out when we want to leave.

Parked, first beer in hand, when there is a knock on the door. “You are parked in Terry’s slot”
“Sorry Diamond Don said park here”
10 minutes later, another knock on the door, “you are parked in my slot!”
“Sorry Diamond Don said park here”
“Abuse, abuse, whine, bitch moan”
Now the irate guy wraps his Winnebago right round the front of the luxury RV.
Diamond Don arrives…… Terry departs with full power and a doughnut in the mud!
My, my, these motorcross people are a bit touchy!
Another 10 minutes goes by and another knock on the door to be told “Storms rolling in, better
baton down for the night”……. And so to bed.
Manage to get to sleep at about 3 a.m. but at 6 a.m.  BRINNNG, BRINNNG, BRINNNG the early
morning alarm from some nasty noisy motorcrosser……guess who??

Dog walked, breakfast over, see if I can summon up the strength to unload the bikes. Each
one feels as heavy as a Harley and its all I can do to lift it onto its stand. Watch some of the
cross country stuff and see a Monark, like I rode in the ISDT, wander round, but very slowly,
ask what time the trial will start but get the impression few people are interested in trials.
More mooching round, and eventually discover the AHRMA clock is running approx 1 hour late.
Finally, some time after 2 we are divided into fairly large groups and told its buddy check……
this will take forever with groups of nine!

Eventually find the first section, and maybe I don’t realize just how ill I am but I’m thinking
these sections are pretty difficult. I commit all the errors imaginable, miss the split, clean the
hardest line, stall the motor, and even managed to fall off twice! Well I did clean all of the
sections but I just couldn’t put a decent lap together and lost a hatful of marks. When I
finished in the near dark I told Brenda my score and she thought I was joking and asked if it
was April Fools?

So with the worst score I can ever remember we trudged over to the freebee evening with lots
of free food and beer.

Saturday I could now only walk 20 paces without having to stop but the call for more antibiotics
meant a trip on the train into downtown Jefferson. Drugs in hand, and the command VETO on
shopping, a bar was duly found and a few beers and a memorable po-boy demolished.
Very soon it’s Sunday morning and time to leave, but once again AHRMA has me in its clutches
and the RV refuses to move. An hour later Diamond Don arrives with mini bulldozer, hitches up
and pulls 20 tons of RV back onto firm ground. DD stops the practice session, lowers the rope
and we cross the track to freedom with much blowing of the “Titanic” horn. 2 days later we
are back in Cave Creek. 1 week later I unload the bikes!!

Tony Down and faithful supporter Brenda

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

A Silk Purse From A Sow’s Ear

A Silk Purse From A Sow’s Ear

A SILK PURSE FROM A SOW’S EAR

The Yamaha collection continues to breed and at the last check there were 16 in the workshop!
Very soon some of them will return from whence they came and delight the bidders on E-Bay.
In the meantime anyone is welcome to come and view what must be the largest selection of
vintage and twin shock TY’s in the USA.
After a few years riding modern machines, the mind thinks that it might be fun to try and find a
vintage bike and rebuild it and compete. My first choice was a Triumph Trials Cub…. But the cost
was as high as a new Montesa!! So after looking through lots of ads the choice soon became,
either, the old Bultacos, Ossas, Montesas or the Yam. Knowing how soft Spanish steels were,
it soon got whittled down toYamaha, especially since I had the first one in the UK. My 1974
TY 250A was flown from Japan for me to ride in the ‘74 Scottish Six Days. It arrived at the Officers’
Mess at 11 at night with two mechanics assembling it in the back of a transporter. The only
problem was the frame which had not had the down tubes from the rear suspension welded
…. Robotic welding error!
So the first of 16 is found in Nov 2002, and one month later, with shipping costs more than the
bike, it arrives at Hard Rock Trials. When I go to pick it up “they” look at me as though I have
lost it and gone completely mad. Well as I can’t even push it, I am almost agreeing with them
and I haven’t even got it home yet.
The $300.00 delight is unloaded and carried to the back patio where the doctor makes the first
examination. The rear wheel does not rotate! Some clown has the chain link on backwards, the
bars are bent, the bash plate is missing, along with the seat and rear fender; and a fin is
missing off the head. The forks, side covers and tank look as though it has been dragged
through a Holbrook section by a tractor! Now add a birds nest in the air cleaner, various leaves
and twigs all nicely glued on with some Cow ****……No matter, we CAN rebuild it, we have the
technology but we don’t have the parts!
The disassembly begins with tons of WD40, but despite best efforts some screws break off for
even more fun! Now the rear wheel spindle refuses to move so using father’s motto of
“don’t force it, get a bigger hammer”, we give it the BIG wellie! That does nothing other than
ram the nut on the threads. Well time for the saw, and out comes the wheel and on removing
the brake hub we have a collection of bits or alloy which were once the brake shoes. More work
with the hammer and dead spindle and bearings are out. Up front the cables are so bad that
major surgery is required with wire cutters. Soon I have more of the bike in the trash can than
I do in the workshop. ….. Time for a list!   Tires, tubes, fork seals, bearings, fenders, Miller tank
and seat unit, rear shocks, rear axel, carb, bars, bash plate, levers, end muffler, cables and a
kill switch.  OK, so where am I going to find that lot?
Somewhere on Indian School Road there just happened to be a dead Yam lurking behind a trailer
under piles of other dubious wrecks. No engine, but nearly all the other bits are there! WOW
this is like Christmas!!!  I take my new “wreck” home to join the other, order some parts from
Mike, forgot the chain, but he did have a new original front fender and tires, tubes, and cables.
Seals are on his shopping list with tank and seat unit. Now with 2 wrecks the jig saw puzzle
unravels. This one has a reasonable back wheel and new sprocket. Take out the wheel and
discover brand new brake shoes! Remove dirty rear shocks to find they are actually bright
chrome Showa units!!  Up front a closer look reveals alloy Renthals…Yippee! But the front fork
legs are in the wrong side!! Never mind… more new brake shoes!
Decision time, let’s chrome everything. So a collection of rusty metal is dropped off at the
plating shop. Parts are ordered from the UK, Speed and Sport, and Mike has the others in hand.
 Several weeks later the chrome Glitzmobile emerges from the plating shop and home it comes
to take up residence in the lounge (one of the benefits of not being married!) While the bike has
been away, a bash plate was located in the UK, the engine has been de-cowed inside and out,
parts have been polished and the barrel painted yellow with all the edges of the fins cut back
to bright alloy. The original carb was worthless but the Christmas tree one was workable…..
Assembly begins!
19 big ball bearings in the lower head race, 22 diddy ones in the top. So far so good, time to fit
the rear Showa’s…… why won’t these fit???   …. OH, OH! Looks like “someone” forgot to remove
the steel eyelets from the old suspenders…. And yes they are now nicely chromed on!!

A spare Carpenter’s wood chisel will do (my father would have lynched me if he had seen
this!)….. Hours later with bent and worthless chisel the new suspies are on and it’s looking
good. The Virgin bash plate from a ‘77 era TY is unwrapped and fitted with the new stainless
Allen bolts, yes a trip to Copper State is always needed for all the replacement Metric nuts and
bolts, and unless you buy stainless they are reasonably priced.

Next up some tire wrestling! …… Stand back …..  Removing a 30 year old 4-ply Dunlop from its
resting place is not easy, but there’s only going to be one winner here! Security bolts undone
and pushed free, the battle enters phase two with much use of an extra 30 years of weight to
walk that bead down into the rim well, and after tirades of abuse and profuse sweating the
worthless rubber is free of the rim. More sweating and bulging arm muscles, wires break, bits
of rubber fall off and bit by bit Dunlop waves the white flag and surrenders. A few hours of wire
brushing and the wheel looks like it might take another tire. Of course it would be a good idea
to see if it is anywhere close to being round! Light tapping with a chrome wrench on the
spokes gives us the concerto by DID with “ding-ding” and “dung” and using the “every 6”
principle light tightening of every spoke begins until the entire orchestra is in tune. Don’t
forget to file off the excess on those spokes unless you want a puncture. Now with some
fine emery cloth to bring back every spoke to showroom finish……yes this really is a labor of
love!
The motor had all the initial work done while the frame was away, except we have no real idea
if it will work, but at least it’s clean and polished. The piston and bore looked average and the
250 never seemed to need the re-boring that the 175’s suffer from. The flywheel side did not
look quite so rosy! A tangled ugly mass of copper wire and rust lurked beneath the encrusted
flywheel …..  This does not look good! The old oil pump is removed and a blanking plate made
to cover the hole. Blank off all the other holes and at least that side is finished. Remember to
fit another blanking screw in the oil inlet at the base of the cylinder on this model. The later
models have the oil inlet on the side of the carb.
Back up front the forks have had new seals and the hardest part of this operation was
separating the top and bottom. Another visit to Hard Rock to use their hammer air tool follows.
Removing the circlip on the TY is easy and doesn’t require 2 hours on your hands and knees
trying to find “it” when it suddenly flies off the end of the pliers and pings off something
metallic in the workshop. To remove the old seal, use a tire spoon (it has the right curvature
to give max upward pressure and the width of the handle will not damage the alloy on the
leg top.) Then use the old seal on top of the new one and gently tap in with a soft hammer.
Forks all back together and with 150cc’s per leg, time to put them in the new chrome yokes.
On with that new front fender and she is looking real pretty!
With the wheels and spokes all polished it’s time for the new IRC tires, well, these have a
direction of rotation marked on them! The original rim tapes have been discarded and have
been replaced with electrical tape which is generally better because it sticks to the spoke
nipples and stops them coming undone and it also allows the security bolts to move more
freely when tire changing. So, a few squirts in the new tube, and on goes the new tire. Boy,
are these new tires a joy to fit? And with a little washing up liquid the fitting line pops right up
first time!! Tighten up the security bolts and throw away that worthless collar for the valve stem.
Reason, if the tire creeps on acceleration or deceleration then if it’s still there then it may rip the
valve out of the tube. (Everybody learning something?)
In goes the front wheel and by now I have discovered under that gray paint there lives polished
alloy, so pretty, pretty at the front, and all those horrid little split pins have been discarded in
favor of self locking nuts. The new brake cable is fitted, but beware here as there is a
difference, between the ‘74’s and later models. The ‘74 has a 6mm adjuster and the later ones
are 8mm. The best and cheapest option is the OEM Yamaha part that comes complete with the
adjuster and also the lever shroud, the Venhill cable has neither!
The engine slips back into it’s new chrome frame, and with those scrap yard Renthals nicely
polished, the clutch cable is mounted in the new Domino levers supplied by Mike. Front wheel
in and brake connected. Wow!  This is coming on nicely. Time for some sparks. On goes the top
coil and connect up a test wire. Kick, kick. Nothing! Not even a glimmer. Well, no surprises here.
Fortunately I have another system which I found on E-bay so no problemee, off with old and on
with the new, and blue flashes light up the lounge and delight the shade tree mechanic. Can’t
find a 250 air boot hose to the air cleaner so cut and graft a 175 system to do the job. Now
the carb is another problem! But it will work eventually after many visits to the high pressure
air line. Sparks and fuel, what more could a man desire? The chain guard gets the paint
remover treatment to expose more polished alloy and with a new chain tensioner block
(amazingly the modern Montesa and Beta chain block has the same size holes and all that is
required is to trim one side and the top and it fits perfectly). Footrests have been acquired
from Sammy Miller but I decide to have Mike weld them to the original ones and then have
them chromed. A rear fender by Maiier is found and cut to shape for the frame. Well that’s
nearly it! Put on a new front sprocket and cut the new chain and it’s almost time. On goes
the tank and seat unit and with a well modified throttle cable the test firing is about to
commence.
3 kicks and it spits back delightfully. YIPEE!!! And on kick 4, a 30 year old motor bursts into life.
Try first gear and the projectile hurtles across the patio as the clutch plates are stuck! Drain
the oil and replace with Dextron. 3 hours of hot running at Alto pit while checking and, joy of
joys, the clutch works perfectly.
A couple of rides reveal teething problems and the ignition system is rewired to better than
original. New reeds are fitted (they are not cheap!) and new carb with smaller jets purchased.
The original air system is discarded and the old fender box removed which requires replacing
all the rivets to keep the “proverbial” out and on goes the Uni filter.
  Well, Glitsmobile didn’t disgrace itself with only one second place in 8 rides, and it sold 3
weeks ago on E-Bay at it’s “buy it now” price of $3200.00!!!!
 So now I must build another for 2005.
Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

More From The SSDT

More From The SSDT

MORE FROM THE SCOTTISH SIX DAYS

     1970 was, as some of you will remember, my baptism of fire in the SSDT, and now the year is
1975. 2 years on the Montesa and then a switch to Bultaco for the 72 event, but 1973 was a
non-starter as it was massively oversubscribed and we, the Royal Air Force, did not get all our
team entered and therefore withdrew with much protesting!
In 1973 I had swapped from the 250 Bult to a Sammy Miller 350 version which I could not ride for
love nor money. 1974 was the Yamaha year and then on somebody’s suggestion we found
ourselves mounted on the MAR Ossa.
The Ossa is a very strange beast, the design and layout is similar to the Yamaha, but no
surprises here as they were designed by the same man who just happens to have finished in the
top 3 every time he rode the Scottish. The Ossa is very agricultural in both appearance and
function and could easily have been made by John Deere. A massive engine with a flywheel akin
to a road-roller and forks the size of tree trunks! No instability here my friend, you didn’t get to
loft the front end very often as it wasn’t necessary, you just rode at the rock, the engine would
hit it fair and square and you rode through the gap where the rock used to be. If you could stall
the engine then there must be something wrong with the bike as it was like the Energizer Bunny.
Easy starting was a forte but beware stopping on a steep muddy climb and trying to slide
backwards against the clutch as if the engine even sniffed a rotation, in any direction, it would
fire right up with some amusing consequences if you were an observer, and some less than
entertaining results if you were aboard when you suddenly found yourself rocketing down the
hill in REVERSE!
So the first week in May arrives and once again the Cattle Market in Edinburgh is full of trials
bikes and support vehicles. The Royal Air Force is fielding 2 teams, all Ossa mounted, and our
support vehicles are working as the official Ossa factory trucks and responsible for over 30 riders.
My number is 116 and the Monday is a glorious day with brilliant sunshine, and no wind or
clouds. The morning run presents no problems and then it’s “Edramucky” as the first stop in the
afternoon. Remembering this from last year, when it was new, the passing of time and about
400 riders has made the first 2 sections a little easier, 3and 4 are something else!
Another group comes and goes and a little more roadwork on the big comfy tractor seat, and
then waving at the official it’s onto Rannoch Moor for 30 miles of bottomless bog. Well surprise,
surprise, the snow is still in the mountains and this is relatively dry so the pace quickens and
as we are up for consideration for that ISDT place in September may as well get some practice in.

Faster and faster and this is real fun  and up ahead I can see the big black smear that indicates
where the path stops at the ravine edge and usually its so muddy you have to wend your way
down through the gorse, heather and rocks to the valley below before coming up the other side
and rejoining the path. By now, you, the reader, can see what’s coming……..  Boy I wish I had
all those years ago!

The decision is JUMP so as its dry and I’m motoring this is going to be easy, wait for it……. Here
it comes…….. Down 1.. Hold it…….. NOW! pull back on the bars and a big handful….
******** ****!#@ $%…… a screaming from the engine reveals cruel fate with an unexpected
NEUTRAL and with decreasing speed and NO upward trajectory  the Tractor and I hurtle into
space enjoying the effects of gravity and the impact to come!
The Ravine is crossed in zero time, but as the dilithium crystals are not providing WARP speed
the impact occurs about 3 feet below the edge and despite braced arms my Evil Knievel jump
ends in tears! I can remember seeing the rock wall and feeling the handlebars crack me just
above the knees. I can only assume I closed my eyes because from that point on all that is in
the memory banks is being flipped and tossed around like a rag doll until finally coming to a
rest flat on my back and feet first down the track. I lay there for what seemed an eternity until
I could think clearly. First impression was that it was very dark and therefore I had died and
gone to heaven, or at least as I couldn’t see anything or feel anything maybe I was in transit,
either up or down!
I believe I am still breathing so death is ruled out, but why can’t I see anything?? And after
all it was a brilliant sunny day just a moment ago. Maybe I’m paralyzed? Perhaps I broke my
back? Let’s check, well I can wiggle my toes, and yes the fingers move. So far so good but why
can’t I see? Try to move an arm, good! Check the head area. Right hand moves over face to
find the peak is no longer on the helmet and the lens is missing out of the new Uvex ski
goggles. There is also something warm and tacky!  But, why oh why can’t I see? Further
investigation reveals, and as memory returns, I am wearing my Aircrew Sunglasses, which
have been rammed so far back around my face that they are physically holding my eyelids shut!

Ripping the sunglasses out of the helmet brings a whole new light on the subject and a
welcome sense of relief that I can see England’s green and pleasant land once more.

However this is Scotland and right now things don’t look quite so pleasant. Feeling somewhat
stupid I trudge back to the edge of the ravine collecting bits from the yard sale en-route.
Cigarettes, pieces of helmet, plug spanner and other tools that had made the crossing.
Some 12 feet down and resting on its side the trusty Ossa is still in one piece. I gingerly
scramble down the cliff expecting the worst and trying to think how this is going to sound
to the rest of the team. First things to note are a massive dent in the rear of the front alloy
fender where it had struck the exhaust pipe Wow! Then there is a small problem with the front
wheel which now has a 6 inch flat in the rim and I can see the tube inside the tire, Ouch!
Returning the handlebars to a riding position everything else seems to work. The forks are not
bent and still go up and down. Oh well, let’s give it a go, it fires right up and I stumble down
the gorge to the valley below. The handling on the upward path leaves a lot to be desired but
allowing for the crash maybe I’m over sensitive.
Back on the high ground I gingerly set off, but no matter what I do I seem to find every hidden
rock in the heather that Scotland has to offer. The bucking, yes that’s BUCKING, bronco by
Ossa continues to pivot around the front wheel spindle and the big comfy seat keeps slapping
me so hard I’m beginning to wince. I know this may be some peoples “bag” but it certainly
isn’t mine! Down hills are frightening, as when the forks compress the exhaust jams in the front
fender and locks the steering. Up hills are OK, and tight turns are amazing!
Finally onto that track and now we know where we are, 3 miles down to the main Inverness to
Fort William road and the finish of day 1. A couple of nasty moments when too much braking
locks up the steering again and fences and perilous drops get too close for my liking.
Ah ha! The A9 Road, well what can go wrong here? Should be plain sailing now, so set an easy
45mph and reflect on how a seemingly intelligent RAF Officer who flies fighters can be so
******* stupid!   During the self disciplined Court Marshall there comes a rattling and grinding
noise and the smell of burning rubber. I am drawn from the court room to investigate and see
the front fender wobbling from side to side and before I can slow the invisible blur disappears
through 180 degrees and strikes the road before leaping into the air and nearly decapitating
yours truly.
Limp into Fort William once more, and with plenty of time to spare, go to the Ossa service
vehicle. When the laughing had subsided and the photographers had had their fill I managed
to wash the dried blood off and inspect the facial damage. Several large cuts on the beak
where I had used my nose as an industrial plough and some cuts around the eyes where the
glasses had been, apart from that fine! The bike however was another story and while I
refitted another new mudguard one of the Ossa mechanics who had been looking at the
wreck for some time, produced a tape measure and announced to all and sundry that this
was the shortest Ossa ever as I had knocked 2.0, something inches off the wheel base!
The rest of the week was a real challenge and as you can’t change the frame I was forced to
drag the beasty round the Scottish Highlands to less than spectacular rides. There were
moments of brilliance on the tight uphill turns of Ben Callich, Devil’s Staircase, and
Lieter Bo Fionn, other than that there was a lot of centipede threes and clanging fives as the
front wheel got stuck in rocks. However I made it to the end and this was the last Scottish
that started and finished in Edinburgh and the effort was worthwhile as the Royal Air Force
once again won the John Bull Trophy.
Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

So You Want To Ride ISDT?

So You Want To Ride ISDT?

SO YOU WANT TO RIDE ISDT?
Ardent readers of my column, ref the Scottish, will be pleased to know that I shall not bore you with
exploits and tales of daring-do for 1971. However, after 2 rides and 2 finishes in the Scottish, the
Royal Air Force and others are keen on me riding in the ISDT as it was called then.
For those of you not familiar with this event it consists of every country entering 2 teams in the
competition. The top teams compete for the Trophy and the lesser teams compete for the Vase.
The Trophy teams are each countries top 6 riders with the best 4 to count while the Vase teams
are more clubman level and military and consist of 4 riders with 3 to count.
Prior to the event, normally held in September, there are a series qualifying events and special
track and test days. The first of these was always the Welsh 2 Day held in central Wales at
Llandrindrod Wells ……. So, June sees me venturing into the unknown riding a trials bike amid all
the full blown enduros and modified motorcrossers . The format of the event is identical to the
ISDT in so much that each day is about 200 miles divided up into stages of 12-20 miles in length,
and depending on conditions the organizers will set one of three speed schedules for the day….
Wet 22-25mph, Average 25-28mph, Dry 28-31mph, which obviously gives you the times between
the checks. You can arrive early at the check, BUT DON”T CHECK IN! And up to 3 minutes late
without penalty. If you are late you lose 1 mark per minute until 60 when you are excluded.
To get the “prized” Gold Medal you must not incur any time penalties or you slip to Silver and then
after 25 to the lowly Bronze. On top of that there are special tests twice a day which consist of
stretches of unknown done WFO with a flying finish. During these you must stay within 10% of the
class leaders time to stay on Gold standard. Not that that worried most people as the fastest
usually didn’t finish! ……… and if you want to win you had best be there at the end!!
That’s the basic idea but it’s not a Trial! It’s like riding the loop, only its 200 miles and you have
no idea of where you are going! Just follow the route markers … White = Straight On, Blue=Left,
Red=Right and hope you find the next check point and your support crew.
So here is my plan, Jim Sandiford {a regular British Trophy Team member} is starting 5 minutes
behind me….. Well, let’s see… I think he will come into each stage with about 10mins to spare……
so as long as I’m at LEAST half way through the stage when he overtakes me I should arrive on
time. That’s the Plan!
Jun15 1971!  Day1 …… 300 riders take the start in groups of 2 every minute.  Keep an eye on the
numbers of anyone passing you and you should be OK. All fired up and away we go, through the
town with friendly police waving you through turns and traffic lights…the roads are NOT closed to
the public and you MUST OBEY the speed limits…..Yea Right!

Initially on the highway and I’m passing people who are dawdling along at 40 then its on tracks
and woodland rides open fields and back on public highways. 5mins into the stage and I come
across 2 rabbits {less than friendly term to denote clubmen lacking ambition, speed and ability}
flash past them  and now I must be nearly half way through the stage….and no sign of Jim, Yellow
and White signs?  Well it’s the end of that stage. Next 2 stages same deal, all kinds of terrain and
when a full blown motor crosser whips by you at the speed of heat you feel a little underpowered
on a trials bike, however at the bomb hole and thick mud the trials bike purrs through while
Roger De Coster and other scramblers are stuck or legging it to get out with ropes and chains!
A few hill climbs in some muddy leafy woods through the trees sees the same as the high geared
top end machines grind to a halt or go end over backwards while pop-pop trials bike crests the
summit unaided….Maybe not such a bad decision after all.

Well like everything in life there is a surprise around every corner and I’m about to get mine!
A mountain road, no sign of Jim!  And I can see the 2 rabbits ahead and below me so start
winding on the power around the corner……. Small problemee! I’m not on the same road as the
Rabbits! There is a right hand hairpin followed by   left-hander before we get to the piece of road
they are on …ooooOOOPPS and other choice expletives the machine is leaned further and further
until knee and handlebar strike terra firma…..bike disappears over the edge and I find myself
wrapped around a snow post looking into the valley below…….Huummmm!  Well best get the bike,
amazingly still in one piece but the right handlebar is up in the air at a strange angle. No matter,
on we go past the rabbits and into the check……. Change the bars, stop shaking, and on we go
again. Now I’m crossing a farmer’s field in long lush green grass following the tractor tracks when
up ahead on this berm, I can see a large group of people….thinks must be some Press around ,
might get my picture taken for Motor Cycle News….Lets give them my best side …..here comes the
berm……. Up-up and AWAAAY!!!……..OH S***** and ****** all that can be seen is endless WATER!
 GERWHOOOSH!     Brrrrrrrrrrrrr hiiiiiish   Remove goggles, wipe eyes and face, jacket, helmet,
boots all full of water! …..look back to berm ….. people rolling around in side splitting laughter  look
back in disgust to what might have been and when the mist from hissing red hot engine clears I
find myself surrounded by other riders in the same predicament…. Sploosh, sploosh, splooosh out
to side of thigh deep lake and the old upside down bike and pump the water out the plug-hole
trick AGAIN!
Some time later old faithful fires into life and off we go again. Don’t see rabbits this time and just
make it to check on the last of the 3 min allowance. Didn’t see Jim either!
Blasting along and trying to regain some composure, heart rate returning to near normal try some
brake finding exercises which results in nothing as mud and water in drum brakes never dry out.
Oh well, take the wheels out later!
Oh good here come the “Rabbits”…… catch them on a left-hander on a  single track country road
with high sides and lots of brambles and bushes up the sides…..round we go only to be presented
with WET TAR and a road roller coming head on!!!
Rabbits scatter on the wet tar and roll around waiting to be “feathered” while yours truly takes
evasive action up the bank collecting brambles, branches, leafy twigs and a collection of wild
flowers. As the machine runs out of whoof, rider, camouflage and machine tumble sideways down
the bank striking the roof of the 1 mph road roller, bounce of this monster with sore elbow and
land astride bike on freshly graveled road, the jolt bump starts the dead engine and several rapid
downshifts later all is well. Press on and now we are going downhill and its getting steeper and
steeper and narrower and narrower……uuuummmmh, brakes would be nice!! Downshift, downshift
this does nothing except to increase rpm and horrendous ding, ding, ding, ding from screaming
engine….time to try the Sidi boots …..Gravel, sparks and nothing else!…A hairpin bend comes up
with a 5 Bar Farmers gate …. It’s getting BIGGER v quickly!!!!

Now we have all heard stories of “how I just stepped off the bike etc” ever tried it?? It’s not that
easy!! …. As the prospect of wearing a 5 Bar Gate does not appeal and choices are becoming
limited the “manoeuvre” {English spelling} is attempted and I find myself on asphalt for the
second time in my life and both on the same morning! ……as I spin and bounce along the bike is
now behind me ….But catching up! another 360 and as I come face upwards the bike clears me
like a faithful horse and I see it land on its backwheel when it bounces clear over the gate and
lands in the farmers field. As I stumble over to the Gate, questions are being asked.  So you do
this for fun? So you want to be a stuntman?  Etc, etc.

Surprise, surprise the bike is still rideable! Save for the left handlebar being near vertical…..
thinks hope we have another set at the check point because this is getting silly. Back on the
road at a slow pace I notice my left arm is numb and very cold…… peering through the holes in
the sleeve all I can see are bones! Into the check and new bars go on….Medical assistance is
on hand and push all the cloth back in the holes and 3 layers of Duct Tape and alls well.
  Lessons learnt, the rest of the day is ridden at a more subdued pace and I occasionally see
Jim!
I take the “Doctor’s” advice and drink heavily!
Day 2 comes and I have little recollection of any of it, save to say reckless overconfidence had
been dampened by a major self induced headache but I guess I finished and if JIM passed me,
as I’m sure he did, then I didn’t recognize him . The Rabbits were still there and they became
“my” yardstick….. a bit like the tortoise and the hare!
Later events, usually held at Army bases are where all the special mechanical tests were done.
Usual loop of about 5 miles but now as you circulate officials suddenly step out of bushes and
give you special instructions   “flat rear tire”, or  “ broken throttle cable” and a collection of
other fun things to do. If you want to get into the British team the time from being given the
“rear tire slip” to being back on your bike again is FOUR MINUTES!!!
Well of course an ISDT bike is a bit different with the wrench [we call them spanners] welded
onto the nut and a pull rod welded on the other side of the axel. The chain, sprocket and
brake assembly usually stay in the frame… but not always. The security bolts in the rims either
have distance pieces , so only a couple of turns release them , or self tapping screws are used
instead going sideways through the rims and directly in to the sidewall of the tire. Each rider
carries a front and rear tube in the back pockets of the good old “Barbour Jacket” and we the
“Royal Air Force” have a new trick up our sleeve with some CO2 bottles which come out of our
flying life jackets [gives about 18 lbs with one discharge] …. Of course everybody now uses
this method but WE started it back in 1971!
 Two small 6 inch tire irons and with little bites {start and finish at the valve} the cover is off …..
burst the current tube and in with the new one…… use your little pump and separate the sides
and in she goes…. No problems with rim tapes as these have been replaced with electricians
tape and also stop the spokes from coming loose. One knee on tire, little bites [about every
2 inches]   until she tightens up then walk the cover down into the welt…. Move on …push up
valve and pop the tire is back on! One squirt and its inflated …. Wheel in … kick the wrench
tight and away we go!  Sounds easy ?? try it and time yourself!!
September 71 and here I am riding for the Air Force team in the Isle of Man in my first ISDT…..
but more of that in another story
Keep your feet up
Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

 

Memories of the Scottish…

Memories of the Scottish…


MEMORIES OF THE SCOTTISH
From time to time as I sit and gaze at the “new” vintage trials bikes that are rapidly overrunning
the house, the mind returns to those halcyon days… 8 rides… 8 finishes… the ultimate Trial… The
Scottish Six Days.
Return now with the author and let’s see it as it was…
Jokingly advertised as “A Sporting Holiday in the Highlands”… always run the first week of May,
300 riders and usually about 150-180 finishers…yes, a pretty high attrition rate… but, then it was
a “reliability trial”.
My first Scottish was the 1970, no comments on age please!  Drive 650 miles up to Edinburgh,
a few beers in the clubhouse on arrival and try and understand what whisky swilling gentleman
is saying.  “Gang awaw doon the burn laddie”, etc. and no, Scottish Whisky doesn’t have an “e” in it,
that’s only Jack Daniels.
Sunday morning, the check in, and lots of feverish activity with people putting on new tires, chains
and collecting handfuls of plugs and other goodies… Not forgetting all those stickers. Finally the
time comes and your bike is subjected to dabs of mysterious colored paint on all of its vital parts
and then your riding number is scratched into the drying fluid. Your aim, I’m told, is to somehow
get some of this paint… even if it’s only on your finger, because back in the support truck we have
every little tin of aircraft modeling paint and the support crew will spend hours color matching just
in case we need to change a marked item. Cheating? NO, this is Gamesmanship!
Monday morning, 2 riders leave every minute on the 200 mile run to Fort William.  45 miles of public
highway to the first group of sections. Spend too much time looking at this riverbed with a few
rocks in it trying to find a problem… No, there isn’t one, as these sections are traditional dating
back to the 1930’s! So, clean all those and on we go, next group easy too, and then with 100 +
miles gone we are off the roads and onto the moors in Glencoe.  8 more sections in a set of 4,
2 and 2, continuous style, with the little pink sign which says “finish of hill” at the end of the last
one and on to the lunch stop. I’m riding with last year’s winner, Bill Wilkinson, on the Greeves,
although he did call it a foooking fish pot or something like that when he got a 5 on one that I
dabbed. (Ed note: very difficult to understand what Yorkshiremen say at the best of times).
Well I’m pretty pleased because I’ve only lost 7!  Well of course this doesn’t last long as the
first BIG section after lunch is the notorious PIPELINE… And now with 8 rides under my belt I can
say I have only seen the top of it twice, once with a centipede 3, and once with a miraculous dab
and using a spectator for traction. Today park the bike, hand in the time card to the checker. 45
minutes to wait, stumble up the hill amid Trials Greats from around the world…. But mainly British
in those days! Usual questions, 2nd or 3rd?  And what about that step? My time comes, set off in
REHEAT in third and through section 1 of the 3. Looking upward through an unbelievable crowd
lined climb I hit yet another rock, get airborne and land minus chain in more rocks 2 feet from the
start of section 2! Choice expletives later, and dragging new Montesa downhill with chain broken
and jammed in everything it could find, I arrive back at the start of section 1. Well no sweat, I
have a new chain under the bash plate and I’m carrying more tools than Sears!  Forget the link,
the chain is twisted, have to take the wheel out, and now the engine cover off, not forgetting
the bash plate, and finally with bits of chain everywhere and a now worn out chain breaker
I’m ready to go again. Flat in third…. Onward and upward, through 1 again (don’t remember
any of this!) into 2 and where did all these rocks come from? Ooooops, that’s 1 lost, good
recovery, Oh, oh! there goes another (that’s a 3 in those days  feet everywhere, still in third
and running out of speed and ideas the engine dies 18 inches from “section three begins” card…
NOT NOW!  I’m not doing this again! Reverse hands on the bars, squeeze in clutch and carry the
Mother into section 3 for a well earned 5!   (Ed note: you have to get into the section or you are
disqualified.)
Physically drained and feeling pretty humble it’s off across the moors… bottomless bogs crisscrossed
with rivers (burns) and huge boulders and some smaller ones hidden in the grass. The grass
comes in 3 colors, Yellow, Green, and Lime Green and unless you know which color to ride on you
are in the proverbial S***!
Running late, find another group of sections and career through them dabbing at random, and on
across the 30 miles of nothing.  Gulooop!  In to the handlebars!!  Well now we know Lime Green
is not good! 30 minutes later having dragged bike out spoke by spoke and trying without much
luck to ride this slippery bar of soap a new noise comes into play, Woiink, Woiink, Woiink???
…What’s this?!!

Joy of joys, the left swinging arm bolt has fallen out!!  Advanced problem solving for beginners…
Let’s jam a screwdriver in the hole and use the handle as the footrest… Off we go again, and in
the fading light there in the distance is a TRACK, thank you Lord, thank you.

Now with the Track just above me only this little whitewater river to cross… Pop, pop, pop, pop…
Gerbang! The front wheel nudges a rock which rolls downstream and I ride into the hole vacated
by the rock… So near and yet so far!  As you watch your hands and handlebars slip gracefully
under the surface and hear the Buuuurrr of the engine sucking in ice cold water you wonder if
your earlier praise to the Almighty wasn’t just a shade premature?
With full boots once more the secondhand Montesa is hauled to safety and sat on it’s bars while
the water is pumped through the plughole. Eventually in the gloom of nightfall it fires into life
and finally runs. It’s dark,  I’m late, and with no brakes at speeds close to 70 mph I arrive in
Fort William for the last section “Town Hall Brae”… 2 flint walls and a cart track in the middle…
no time to look, over the sidewalk and gone… where now?   Spectators pointing, I slide into the
finish 45 minutes late, covered in mud, cut, bruised, and my new bike ready for the scrap yard…
and just think 5 more days of this to come!  Are we having fun yet?
Many, many, beers later DAY 2 comes along, 15 riders unaccounted for from yesterday, still out
on “that” moor we think, a few seized going too fast on the road sections, some who couldn’t
change a tube and one poor soul who hit a COW in Fort William high street en-route to the last
section . Sympathetic organizers have cancelled the afternoon time portion due to multiple
protests. Some non-starters this morning, either it’s too much or they are sleeping in. Into
Parc Ferme and with the 15 minutes available let’s rebuild a Montesa!
Off we go again back to Kinlochleven, and very soon we leave the relative safety of  the public
highway and we are going uphill.  Needle sharp pieces of granite everywhere and we pass
several unlucky souls with their wheels out. First group, Grey Mare’s Ridge, which isn’t too bad.
Onward and upward!  Eventually all good things come to an end and now its time to come back
down. The joys of Loch Eild Path, a steep path strewn with rubble, and 2500 feet back down to
the town again. Back up over the mountain passing Pipeline, and on to Altnafeadh which again
goes fairly well. On the road again and back to Kinlochleven again, only this time the route takes
us to the dreaded Blackwater.  Some sections up a path by a ravine, and some netting in the
trees to catch the stuck throttle men and their wayward machines. Into the Valley of Death rode
the 600! Mile after mile of that bottomless bog and no idea of where you are going or even if you
are going, as it all looks the same and as you gain the summit of any crest you get the impression
you have ridden round in a giant circle. Some hours later a track appears and then a ROAD! A
little rest at 50 mph on the way to 4 sections at the bottom of Ben Nevis, and at last a saunter
into Fort William to tackle Town Hall Brae again. Oh! That’s what it looks like in daylight and the
markers have changed. Finally it’s over and back to the finish where, scores, horror stories, and
moments of brilliance are relived for the adoring public. Now it’s time for some serious drinking!!
During the course of the evening I meet an “older lady” who has just won a fortune on the Football
Pools who insists on feeding me beers and malt beverages all night.
Day 3, the morning was an alcoholic blur, but with Loch Eild Path (15 sections) and Martium
(which I rode well) behind us, time to tackle Rannoch Moor. 1970 was not a good year as it
was a warm spring, so most of the snow had melted and was now down in the valley as run-off.
Onto the moor and past the checker recording your entry to Hell, a few miles in, a group of
“new machines”…  Yes, these are the “works Christmas trees” for anyone needing that spare.
Find our Royal Air Force Landrover, refuel, cup of coffee and away on 30 miles of the deepest,
blackest peat bog imaginable. Over crests, gazing at endless mud and water, try and find a line,
any line, that will keep you out of trouble.  The body is saying sit down, take a rest, the mind is
saying stand up you fool… hands hurt like hell, no gloves in those days! Shoulders feel like
someone has hit you with a pickaxe, passing people in up to the tank, can’t stop, more riders
out of fuel! Cooked plugs, and other disasters. Finally there is the welcome sight of the Landrover.
Arrive like the creature from the black lagoon, towel down, coffee, smoke and fuel.
Later in the bar I’m looking at my hands, black palms from the rubber, calluses the size of dimes,
and red streaks running back to the center from the crystallized blood underneath, are we still
having fun? 3 days and nearly 600 miles gone, feeling pretty sorry for myself thinking of all the
things I did wrong and just how badly I had ridden… I could have retired at that point!  Well a
few beers later, following Doctor’s advice of “drink heavily”, it’s time for the film show of previous
years’ events. Laugh!!  I thought I was going to die, watching others in all the same predicaments
I had been in!
Day 4  “The Road to the Isles”, only 110 miles today and mainly on the road, not many people or
bikes at the start as 33 are still on Rannoch, having spent the night there in some bog.  Lots of
famous sections today and in truth not that difficult, “Ravine”  “The Devil’s Staircase”, “Camp”,
and “Bay Hill”… but then day 4 is a “traditional” day and by previous standards a rest day! Returning
in daylight Town Hall Brae again! Results show my rival in the Services competition has retired so
things are looking up!
Day 5, only about 150 of us left, so nothing flashy today, no riding it like you stole it, only 2 days to
go.  First group, Laggan Locks, 8 sections in groups of 4. Nice round 12 inch boulders in a 20 foot
wide gully. Like giant ball bearings on a sheet of glass, walk the first group see the line and meet
older lady again offering yet more warm beer… breakfast of champions!  Boy your mouth sure runs
away when you are up late drinking!! Back on the bike and off we go around the first blind corner,
but the rocks have all rolled the other way so the line is on the left now… great!  Through the last
group in centipede style and, Oh No! Here she is again with another beer!  A lot of riding to the
lunch check and then Bradileig, or ‘Break a Leg’ as we called it, for 8 horrors of the rock kind. Now
back into the moors again, follow the color code and stay out of trouble, and eventually find the
Mamore Road (road? you must be joking!)  Off the so called ‘road’ and across the burn, to the
start of Callich. What have we here? 8 delights up a 2000 foot mountain along a goat track of
loose rubble with hairpin bends.

By now the body is saying I quit, you are on your own. Onward and upward once again, too difficult
to walk so lets just ride, and up we go collecting dabs and threes and maybe even a clean but 1000
miles of this is taking its toll. Pass some who have collapsed over the bars struggling for air and
others lying in the heather with little interest in the proceedings. Observers waving “come on” while
you gaze through the red mist as the sweat dribbles into your eyes. Finally the pink sign says it’s
all over, and just follow the route to the top. Up here you can see Kinlochleven way below, and
the Loch leading all the way back to Fort William. Bouncing along the ridge taking in the view, I
come upon a giant DUNLOP sign pointing 45 degrees down to the valley below. What are those
little ants? No, they are riders! Well here goes, 2nd gear, bum well back, point her straight down,
arms flexed… gerding ding ding, crap brakes, thank God for the heather. See others in peripheral
vision, some riding, some walking and some detached just rolling alongside errant machines. At last,
back on the joke Mamore road to Callart, which I seemed to ride quite well. Off the needle sharp
granite of the roman road and onto the tarmac leading the back way into Fort William. The road
has some huge dips and without even trying I’m getting airborne on some of them, but not as high
as one Southern Center rider who landed smack on the windshield of Ma & Pa Kettle, leaving an
imprint of his footrests on their roof! You have to ask yourself if you set off down a narrow country
lane in deepest Scotland and people keep flying at you head on at breakneck speeds every 20
seconds, then maybe, just maybe, you should be somewhere else? Town Hall Brae for the 4th time
of the week and back to the finish. I have a good day, so follow the Doctor’s advice!

Day 6…  just a few simple sections and then the long ride back to Edinburgh to the finish. Sounds
easy?  Not if you are following the “Doctor”  At 0730 screaming team Manager arrives to find me in
the dining room, still in lounge suit, with a large glass of malt,  putting the World to right. 15 minutes
to start time! This does not look good!  Collect bike in drunken haze and do no work on bike,
confident that if it’s got this far then it will last one more day. Mustard keen spectator says my
chain is slack, so lean over saddle to check… ERROR!   Fall headlong in parking lot with bike on
top of me, can’t work out how to get up, as I’m looking through the spokes of the back wheel.
Oh God, here comes that woman again!
Try to remember how to ride, first sections Pipeline (avid readers will recall my earlier disaster)…
Here we go, Mister Floppy  bouncing off everything, but too tired and/or drunk to care!  Feet
somehow welded to the rests, through 1 into 2, bounce, bounce! Ooops, bounce again, S***!
I’m in section 3! Slowing down, too much grip from the rear wheel, the bike enters a near vertical
wheelie, and pivots at 90 degrees across the hill!  A poor soul tries to protect himself from the
menacing front wheel, which he grabs as he falls backward, so I ride over him, take a dab on
some part of his anatomy, and exit the section to a round of applause!
Over the Mountain and a few more sections, which only cost me a couple of threes and then I’m
following this rocky track ever upward, just bouncing and staring at the front wheel when I see
a PINK thing!   Oh S***!,  it says finish of hill!??  What Hill?  Brilliant!
Park the wreck, trudge back down the hill, consult knowledgeable checkers one by one, with
shaggy dog story… “Excuse me Sir, I’m number 85, have I been through your section?” “Yes”,
says one, “You are the only clean we have had. Everybody else is coming in tight on the rock
step, but you went very wide right on the edge where the big drop is”.  “What big drop?!”  I ask.
Oh, JEEESUS!  “I did WHAT?” …well, so endeth  Day 6. Now, it’s 70 miles on the road to Edinburgh,
and its mind over matter as you try to ignore all the noises from the heap… Gerding, ding ding,
woink, woink, woink as the no longer round wheel keeps hitting the swinging arm, and the fender
stays are looking pretty wonky too! 2000 nuts, bolts, and rivets loosely assembled in Spain and
tested to destruction in Scotland.
At the end the best ride of the day was Malcolm Rathmell on 3, and the Winner was Mick Andrews.
Yours truly lost only 7, thanks to sponsors “Johnny Walker” and “Mc’Ewans Lager”. So the first
Scottish and I walk away with the R.A. Castle Trophy and I’m also sent to collect the Services
Team Prize, “The John Bull Cup”.
Hope you enjoyed this story of yesteryear and if so, there are 7 others and 2 ISDTs as well.
Relish your 5 in the way it was achieved!
TONY DOWN (A.M. Down)

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 12/8/2007 6:24 PM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Ah ! Tony – I laughed so hard at this account – although I never rode Scotland I was there quite a few times as a spectator, so I recognize the sections etc, plus your nights on the town sounded very familiar. I recall meeting Mart and Malcolm in one of the pubs in 72, when they bought me a pint as I was acting as a photo journalist that year. I heard later that I got to bed before either of them.! And I do like a beer. – I was there in 92 and offered to buy Malc a pint but he said “Oh no Dave I only drink half’s now”.!!! Truly the best people and the best experience ever, at the World’s greatest Trial.
    Reply to this
  • 1/18/2008 2:24 AM Tom wrote:
    Tony,

    You have fantastic recollection and, you’ll be pleased to know, the Scottish hasn’t changed at all. The RAF put a team of 3 in last for the first time in many years. Two of us finished, with the third having his bike washed down a waterfall on open moorland and injuring his knee. It was my first time, and I have never done anything so difficult. You’ll be pleased to know that we’re entering a team again in 2008 and our riders have all been forwarded your blog as preparation. Best wishes, Tom
    Reply to this

  • 10/17/2010 4:01 AM MicroConsole wrote:
    I can see that you are an expert in this field! I am launching a website soon, and this information is very useful for me. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
    Reply to this
  • 11/2/2010 2:32 AM Fat Loss 4 Idiots wrote:
    I love reading this kind of cool stuff. More please!
    Reply to this
  • 11/2/2010 5:27 AM Manuka Honey wrote:
    I’ve had a fine time spending the last 10 minutes having a look around your blog, and it’s great.
    Reply to this
  • 11/9/2010 4:20 AM Viral Submitter Pro wrote:
    What a lovely site you have, great color scheme too.
    Reply to this
  • 11/15/2010 11:38 PM long term care insurance wrote:
    Have you considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the visitors entertained?
    Reply to this
  • 11/30/2010 11:21 AM Colon Cleansing wrote:
    I do need to confess that I get pleasure from reading your weblog, even when I do not agree with you. I guess the main thing would be to make people think. One of nowadays I’ll get around to starting a weblog. It will probably be much more for blowing off steam and less helpful than yours is though. Maintain writing and I will keep reading.
    Reply to this
  • 10/7/2011 3:49 PM Anonymous wrote:
    This is a awesome article. Thanks for the info.
    Reply to this
  • 2/11/2014 11:32 AM Chris wrote:
    Hi there, Tony,

    Hope all’s well. Always enjoy reading your tales here.

    We’re running a story on the Pre-1965 Scottish in the next issue of Octane magazine and I was wondering if you might be good enough to let us use the image on this page, please?

    I’d be grateful if you could drop me a note to let me know.

    Thanks very much,

    Chris
    Reply to this

Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

Trials Back Then

Trials Back Then

TRIALS BACK THEN

As a child I was lucky enough to be brought up in a motorcycle orientated family. Father
was Secretary of the local club and my uncle, a well known rider in all the sport’s disciplines,
was the Chairman. Uncle Tom had been a road racer, grass track rider and of course a trials
man. He owned a car/motorcycle/agricultural equipment dealership and sponsored many
riders on the famous “Arter AJS and Arter Matchless” and one of his machines was the first
to do the”100 mph lap” on a single cylinder in the Isle of Man TT races.

Trials back then had a slightly different flavor as they took place on the public highway so
you had to have a license {16 years of age!} and the machine had to be street legal. No
lights required but must be licensed and have a horn and speedometer. Indeed in those days
many people would ride to the event, compete, and then ride home. Most often there would
be a 25 mile loop with 2 laps but on the bigger trials it might be one lap of 50 miles with up to
50 sections. On the smaller club trials the loops were a lot shorter but there was always that
element of roadwork and riding down leafy lanes in the country dodging the wildlife and Granny
and Granddad out for their Sunday afternoon drive.

The make-up of events was Club, Combine {6 or 8 clubs formed a combine in one geographic
area and put on an event every second Sunday of the month},open to Center where the
country was divided up into Centers, National, and finally the “Olympics”, The Scottish Six Days.

The starts of trials were usually easy to find either at village sports grounds, Public Houses
or major motorcycle dealerships. Apart from club events you had to make a postal entry and
depending on the location of the event {Southern UK mud/chalk/sand or Northern UK
rocks/rocks/and more rocks} the first 50 entries would be balloted. Be early on the mud and
late on the rocks! So arrive in good time relative to your start number and sign in. Collect your
2 paper riding numbers, one for the bike and the other, {double sided} for your jacket belt.
Back then there were only 2 classes, Expert and Novice, and everybody rode the same line.
If it was muddy or hard frost you went like a bat out of hell to get to the front and if it was
rocky you took as much time as you dared staying just ahead of the back marker who closed
the event. Southern trials were great, as you could rush round getting to the front and then
as the sun came up and melted the frost and turned everything into an impossible quagmire it
was time to stop at a roadside pub and have a couple of beers. Keep an eye on the numbers
going by and then join in with the late runners. Now the mud has gone, the ground has dried
up and in trials parlance “it was like a main road”.

After the event you signed off and went on your way. Results, section by section were mailed
to you and if you hadn’t got them by Wednesday it was a frantic search of Motor Cycle News
to see the winners. Awards were given for Winner, Runner Up, Best Novice and then 1st Class
Awards for the first10% and then 2nd Class Awards for the next 10% of finishers. As a young
kid you pawed over the results, trial by trial, seeing your progress or otherwise, and in those
days you only get the Best Novice once and then you are automatically up-graded to Expert.
Awards were given away at that clubs annual dinner or the following year if you turned up at
their event again. A bit hap hazard but that’s the way it was. Just like clubs today, it was the
genuine friendship and camaraderie that made trials the fun sport it is, and the overriding reason
that I came back to it after a 23 year layoff.

At the end of the 1978 Scottish I returned the “Works” Suzuki and after they told me my new
bike wasn’t ready yet I explained that I didn’t want another one! For me the fun had gone out
of trials, nobody spoke, nobody laughed or drank a beer or two. People were self orientated and
trying far too hard……… What a delight when one day in 2001 I’m at Premier Motorsports in
Phoenix picking up my KTM when I spot a trials bike??? Get the information I need and go and
watch the trial at Alto Pit. Walk around, WOW! people talk, there’s laughter, people are genuinely interested and friendly. Sheldon lets me ride his new Gas Gas and I think …… yes, I could still
do this and 2 months later I’m aboard a new bike!

When I retired you could ride a trial every Saturday and every Sunday throughout the year,
all within 100 miles of your home. During the summer months when it didn’t get dark until
10 pm there would often be Friday night trials as well. Just in case you hadn’t had enough.
The post-event procedure was always the same, drive home, unload and try and wash it
before the mud set solid or froze. Monday night wash it! Tuesday night wheels out clean the
brakes and every 3rd week boil up the chain grease and remembering to use an old clothes
hanger through the last link watch it sink like Titanic into the goop, pull it out and let the
excess drip off. Wednesday polish it! And using a mix of 2 stroke and fork oil spray everything
to give it show room looks and stop it rusting. Thursday look at it! Friday…. Well that’s a drinking
night and then it’s Saturday and the cycle starts again. Every third week, turn the back tire
round and every sixth week throw the tire away and fit another free one from Mister Dunlop.
 

Yes I miss the flat out climbs in third and the axel deep mud and the rain coming down in
buckets, but trials are trials no matter what terrain you ride and the challenge is the same.
It is YOU and your machine versus the elements, conditions and the hazard or obstacle, not
YOU versus another rider, and maybe that’s the joy of trials riding and being able to laugh at
your own mistakes and applaud others brilliance.

Keep ‘em Up  

Tony Down

 

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 4/1/2008 6:57 AM Mark Cousins wrote:
    Hey Tony,
    I’ve just read ‘Trials back then’ after coming across your blog looking for TY175 info (I have 2 moneypits on the go)I’m an expat like you except I’m in Perth Australia. Was your uncle really Tom Arter? What a character, by bruv and I bought a few Ossas from him late 70’s. I remember he had an (even more) eccentric brother, Edge who dissapeared without trace occasionally! I knew Tom Jr a little better,he is still active in the Barham club but refuses to get the Ossa out of the shed. Looking back, that time when you became disillusioned was for me the best time in trials, loads of roadwork, 1 route for all, pubs on the way and great trials like the Ashford Dunlop, Mutton Lancers, Langmaid Trophy, Ron Bramley, Garden of England… The list goes on. My favorite events were those when it chucked it down, people retired all around you and what I lacked in skill and technique was made up for in just getting to the finish.. Happy days indeed. I see you are a friend of Geoff Chandler, now there is a man who knew how get the big Bulto to grip in the wet… I really think some of the old riders had real talent as opposed to some of the current breed who learn their skills spending hours bouncing around on something more resembling a pogo stick than a bike! Here’s a test, see who you can remember.. Dave Weller, Ozzie & Graham Hayward, Murray Brush, Tony Puxted, Michael Knowles, Charlie Harris, Alan Ketley, Ted Jelf, Mick Baldock, to name a few.
    Ok to the point, I have 2 175’s, one to be original and the second to be a bit of a special. The first is nearing completion (After 4 years, a divorce and a sale of a Sherco!) how do you get that lovely fin finish on your TY’s? Do you paint first then carefully cut back each fin with emery or do you mask the fins after cutting back?

    Yours, wishing for mud
    Mark Cousins – Perth Western Australia
    Reply to this

  • 11/24/2010 11:15 AM puzzle games wrote:
    I feel your remark stands as a better example than I might’ve been written myself on how NOT to
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.