THE MONTESA STORY

THE MONTESA STORY

THE MONTESA STORY
Despite having ridden Montesas for a couple of years, and done quite well on them, but that
really wasn’t that much of a surprise having previously been on a Greeves with the magic
banana forks. I remember the steel being soft and the paintwork awful, weak rear shocks,
bendable axels and swinging arm bolts falling out in the middle of Blackwater during the Scottish.
I also recall stories of a piston being fitted backwards at the factory and the bike went 10 times
better so they fitted them that way from then on.
After building 20+ Yamahas I stupidly thought it would be fun to try my hand at some of the other vintage/twinshocks so e-bay is given the once over and a 76 Rathmell replica was found and
purchased….. now the fun begins!!

It arrives in a crate which would have done credit to a cabinet maker and by the time I have
undone 50-60 3” woodscrews the beast is finally free. The handlebars are unbelievable, about 3”
wider than usual, flat and varying taper. Jokingly called Montesa “super akront” they would have
looked good on a Texas Longhorn.

Ooops!  Something I didn’t notice in the e-bay photos, the front wheel has been fitted the wrong
way round as the brake anchor stay has been sheared off the left fork leg. Some shade tree
mechanic now has it arse backwards and connected to the speedo bracket on the right leg!! The
rest of the machine appears all there, but we will see.

Dismantling begins, and everything is difficult! The exhaust is like one of those Arabic puzzle rings
and every which way you go it lodges in something and then after you have given up in disgust it
slips out by itself and falls on the floor!

  The plastic airbox has several stress cracks in it so that’s heading for the bin and now lets look
at the rear end….. wheel bearings shot, sprocket hooked, chain knackered…. The list continues.
Up front one leg has the brake stanchion broken off, needs a new cable and there are these awful
gaiter things that just cover up all the oily mess from the shot seals. Needless to say the fender
has long since had it and the back one can be converted if I keep the lower half.
Spend a while searching the floor for the exhaust gasket only to dimly remember Montesas don’t
bother with gaskets but rely on coke to eventually cement everything together. Off with the head,
No gasket here either! And now try and remove the barrel. Try various tools and discover it’s an
allen bolt. Try the 6 nothing! Try the 8 nothing! It is in fact a 7 and of course that does not come
with any known allen set that I have ever used. Not only is it a 7 but a long shank to boot! I think
the Spanish did it deliberately in revenge for us sinking their Armada …. And then they have
another random allen, the 4 and ½, so you may as well get that while you are out shopping.

  A trip to South West Montesa to see Jed Bates and I have most of what I will need. Two new
fork legs, new fenders a couple of lever blades, oil seals, cables, points and condensers that
monties eat like candy and  a new front engine sprocket.
Send the cases for the extreme makeover and then freshen up the paintwork. This one is going
into the Purple/Black/Chrome finish with a silver head and pipe.

Wheels next and they polish up well so out with the rear wheel bearings, not forgetting that
Montesa throw a tiny circlip in just to spoil your day. One bearing almost drops out but it’s
partner refuses to budge, so using the bigger hammer out it comes, well the balls and the inner
race do….. CRAP! This is a lot of extra work with power tools various but finally the cheap Spanish
steel gives in.

Time for the engine sprocket and after removing all the cover plates and guides discover that this
beauty is on a tapered shaft with a woodruff key. Puller after puller is tried but I’m getting
nowhere so eventually Mister Makita is brought into play and I delicately cut through the sprocket
and crack it open like a tough brazil nut. The new sprocket from Talon does not have a woodruff
key, just a press fit on the tapered shaft. Well they have been making sprockets for comp bikes
for years so I guess they know what they are doing.

Parts back from chroming so the rebuild begins. Engine all done, the ridiculous slotted head case
bolts all replaced with allens, some arm wrestling with the exhaust and things are looking good.
New bars, throttle and levers and as always new cables and we are nearly ready for the test
firing. New tires, fenders and chain but now I can’t tighten up one of the chain guards over the
engine sprocket. Is the nut stripped? Is it the threaded bit on the engine? Did I hit it with the
Makita? All good questions, and all WRONG. As part of Montesas quest to find the most annoying
and worthless piece of engineering this one really takes the biscuit! The thread that I’m trying
to put the nut on is NOT a stud, it has not stripped in the alloy…… it is in fact a 12 INCH long bolt
that starts life on the clutch side so that case has to come off again and then tightening up can
continue!

It’s done! It Runs! And It’s Sold.

The man who buys it brings me another ONE!!!

TONY DOWN   Si Habla Espan……….

Don’t forget those October articles if you havn’t read them.

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RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY 2

RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY 2

RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY 2

(Don’t Cry for me Argentina)

 A fairly primitive place that was the field hospital during the conflict, the Sheep Slaughterhouse,
had long been abandoned when it was discovered that all the sheep had lung worm and were
not fit for human consumption. A tour of this half demolished building  was soon over and with all
meetings and discussions complete it was time to set off to my next port of call at the San Carlos
Memorial and then onto the night stop at Kelly’s garden where the  Chinook helicopters were
based.
About 50-60 miles or riding round the bay to the East side of San Carlos where our first marine
landings had been and then they walked all the way to Stanley (yumping).
I actually get to the far side without incident, but boy was it muddy and hard going?

 I pause here to add a couple of photos that have just come to light (I knew they were here
somewhere). The Game is AIR DEFENCE, and here is the No1 tool of the day, the Mighty F4
Phantom equipped with 8 missiles, the 6 barrel Gatlin gun and a 200 mile Pulse Doppler radar.
Normally we would refuel from either Victor Tankers or the newer VC10’s or Lockheed Tristars.
In the Falklands, the runway could not take these giants and the faithful C130 Hercules was
converted to take over the role. So here we see a Falklands F4 refueling from the C130 and
imagine it without the hose if you are the bad guy and we are right behind you!


Our next picture is of one of our uninvited friends from Argentina, inside our 200 mile zone and
somewhat reluctant to leave until we gave him the close aboard maneuver, followed by full
reheat from 30 feet ahead into a sudden pull-up.

Very close aboard and still pushing his luck.

Back to the main story and now as I bounce through all the muddy dips and hollows I come
into something close to civilization. Geese everywhere, of course, but a level strip of  gravel,
a few houses, with white picket fences, a few animals and the British Flag flying high over the
Memorial. In due respect I park PE, and walk through the mown grass area and amongst the few
headstones of fallen colleagues. I had lost several close friends from HMS ARK ROYAL during the
conflict and was pleased that I could visit their memorial in person.

Respects having been paid I’m getting thirsty so complete the rest of the run into Kelly’s Garden
and at the intersection of a criss cross of tracks there is a road sign pointing the way to many
things that made me laugh amidst all this adversity. London 8053 miles>
Officers’ Mess>        Lafonia train Spotters Club>

Follow the mud trail to the Officers’ Mess and cannot believe my eyes! I have no sooner stopped
and I’m taking my helmet off when a Corporal arrives in white monkey jacket, gold chevrons, and
immaculate blue pressed trousers. (The rest of the world down here is in motley camo kit)
“Good evening…. Will Sir be taking afternoon tea?”

So a quick wash and brush up and follow the sign to Ante-Room which I thought was a joke but
on pushing the door open I’m gob smacked to find it is just like a “real” officers’ mess, big leather
chairs, fully carpeted, roaring fire and newspapers on the table!!! As I warm the proverbial in front
of the fire I can’t help but think I’m a bit scruffy in my sweaty green outfit and stockinged feet.

The Cpl reappears with a silver tea service, complete with tea pot, hot water, sugar bowl and
tongs and fresh milk. While I make my first cup and sit by the fire he is back again with a plate of
toasted teacakes dripping with butter! REAL BUTTER, I haven’t seen butter in 3 months as we
have been working with some axel grease made by Castrol.
The teacakes are superb, as was the tea, but I did notice the inscription on the silver “King’s
Own Borderers” but elected to let it go without comment. The same Cpl returns and says he has
laid out some clean clothes for me and found a pair of slippers but he can’t guarantee the size.
After a long soak it felt really good to slip into some relaxing clean clothes no matter who they
belonged to.
The bar was hilarious and the stories these pirates were telling were quite unbelievable unless
you were there to see what they had “liberated”. A fantastic evening ensued ( what I can
remember of it) including a magnificent meal with salad bar, something else WE hadn’t seen in
3 months.
Back to the bar and more stories in answer to some obvious questions of “where did this and
where did that come from?” It would seem that many underslung loads had mysteriously
vanished as they had to be cut loose when engine malfunctions occurred, and then somehow
got washed ashore and the helicopter crews were lucky to be able to salvage them….. hence
the entire Regimental Silver of the King’s Own Borderers and all the officers’ mess furniture
en-route somewhere else….. PIRATES!

The following morning the Cpl wakes me with a cup of tea and brings in my uniform all washed
and pressed and even washed my Wellington boots and helmet! We may all have ideas about
“gays” in the military and at the time I don’t think we even knew the word, but on reflection if
he was, and I’m not saying either way it was a little like “Queer eye for the straight guy”

He then informs me that the helicopter Squadron has taken pity on me after all last nights fun
and thinks they should take me and my bike back to Stanley after breakfast there was a storm
coming in.

Laying in bed between nice crisp sheets and drinking a cup of tea it occurred to me that this
wasn’t such a bad idea after all and I kindly accepted their offer.

Squadron Leader Tony Down RAF

The Last of the Falkland Memoirs

I wonder what ever became of her “PE 1”

Don’t forget the October articles if you haven’t read them yet

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  • 12/17/2007 5:01 PM Donald Young wrote:
    Tony,
    Love the stories of the Falklands and Mount (un)Pleasant certainly did not look like that last time I was there. I had trips in 1989 and 1991, I work for the Met Office and someone had obviously known of your exploits because they had banned anyone from going anywhere off road on bikes by the time I got there. The small “club” at MPA had some rather naff MZ roadbikes and a couple of old hacked PE Suzuki’s. Somehow don’t think yours was still there, these still had the lovely yellow paintwork. The Islands are an offroaders heaven and for any trials/enduro rider posted down there Combined forces bosses should have someting available.

    love the Scottish stories as well, heard many similar from my father over the years John Moffat and many others.

    Great site, i’ll look in again
    Reply to this

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RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY1

RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY1

RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH THE EPILOGUE DAY1

(Don’t Cry for me Argentina) 

Occasionally some of the more adventurous individuals on base would ask me if I would take
them on rides to some of the more famous sites, Bluff Cove and Twin Sisters being the most
popular.

Somewhere on the Twin Sisters

 Twin Sisters, the two mountains overlooking Stanley was still a very dangerous area as it had
been heavily booby-trapped by the Argies before their final surrender but none the less offered
a pretty good ride if you knew what you were doing. Bluff Cove on the other hand was a fun
place to get to but not for the inexperienced rider and on several trips I ended up riding other
bikes out of gullies and through rock runs until the less able could continue.

 Bluff Cove was where our gunners had come ashore with their heavy artillery and then beaten
the crap out of the opposition with their 105mm howitzers. A strange thing about the Falklands
granite is that it is fairly bright whitish grey with black flecks but when you roll the rocks over it
is bright pink on the underside from the peat. The none too bright opposition had rolled the rocks
over around their gun emplacements and looking up the mountains and ridges you didn’t have
to be a rocket scientist to work out where they were. The purpose of “our” mission was to
discover where the British guns had been and recover the fired brass. So once in the most
probable areas take a pole and poke about in the peat until the metallic clink is heard. Next find
the cuts in the peat and roll back the sod like carpet. Sure enough if you were in the right spot
you could find about 12 fired cases which had been pushed into the bog forming a hydraulic lock
and a firm footing for the gun’s wheels. Carrying them back was something else and I usually
ended as the pack mule as others were having enough problems just trying to ride the bike out.

Towards the end of my tour I thought it would be good for moral if I did a round the Island ride
visiting as many of our installations that I could get to. My Boss thinks it is a brilliant idea and
while I’m gone would I report back on what the ground is like at the new proposed airfield to be
built and called Mount Pleasant.

The first leg of my mission is to get to Goose Green, the site of one of the most famous battles.
Distance wise it looks like about 80 miles but depending on conditions this might be pushing it
for fuel. Full tanks, what ever maps were available, the radio and a few personal items are in the
rucksack and the fanny pack is full of tools and of course a couple of spare tubes and a pump.
 The weather is good by Stanley standards and I’m off on the familiar first part of my route to
where I normally turn off for the climb up Mt Kent but today just continue on the track which
takes me through some of the bleakest territory I have ever seen. The designated area for the
new airfield comes up and I find it strange that anyone would call this place Pleasant?
Unpleasant maybe, and I believe that is what it is nicknamed today.

The Site of An Airfield to Come….. I think?

 The track gets pretty rough with deep water filled holes but I’m getting close to the coast so it
ought to get easier soon. As I come down a cliff path (sheep) I can see something on the beach
in the inlet and when I get closer I can identify it as a penguin flat on it’s belly.

Stop the Steed and out with the camera and start crawling across the sand to see how close I
can get. The slow crawl doesn’t upset the bird at all and I’m within about 4 feet of it when it
stands up giving some great photo ops. It preens itself, flutters it’s eyes and poses like a
professional model, stupid bird! Well enoughs enough, so I stand up and as I do this bird follows
my amazing growth from flat on the ground to 6 feet tall and with it’s head in a near vertical
position falls flat on it’s back!

 Back in the saddle but not for long as screaming down the beach on the hard sand I come to an
inlet and this time it’s not hard but changes to QUICKSAND!  Bike into the bars, rear wheel in the
air, and yours truly some 5 feet ahead of PE flat on my back. A crocodile swim back to the safety
of the bars, then over the bike to the hard sand behind and after a lot of digging the Can-am
comes free.

 This is not Daytona! So back up the cliff and find the track and hopefully this will take me where
I want to go ….. it does so here I am at Goose Green which is little more than a farm but now
with a military presence. This portion has taken a lot longer than expected as it’s now 1430 and
it’s taken me 7 ½ hours to cover about 80 miles. Stay or push on?
Leaving Goose Green and the thousands of Upland Geese that are everywhere I’m on a farm
track but it is very rutted and filled with deep water and the footrests keep clouting the edges
of the ruts so I elect to climb out at the next opportunity. Hum! This is better, it’s dry and now
just navigate through this tussock grass, a bit like Camel Grass on the Paris-Dakar. A quick
glance ahead to pick a path up to the next ridge when BANG! I hit something solid so  after I
recover I look back over my shoulder and see 6 soldiers emerging from the grass with grass,
branches and other foliage all over them and one poor soul clutching his helmet! Appears I have
just ridden over a Platoon of the “King’s Own Borderers” who are stationed at Goose Green and
must have taken cover when they heard me coming? The camo sure worked, I hope his Helmet
did!

 Another ridge, another load of nothing and then as I crest one more I’m looking down on San
Carlos water, time to stop and drink it in and imagine how horrifying it must have been.

 Gazing round the hillside I find what I’m looking for in the shape of missile batteries which are
Ground to Air Rapier missiles controlled by the Army. Find one of their foxholes and after locating
the entry announce who I am and accept their hospitality of a nice hot cup of tea.

 I can now see where I need to get to and this is not going to be easy (but where’s the fun in
that?) its getting dark and I still have about 20 miles to go. Eventually with the pathetic
headlamp just illuminating rocks as you hit them I stumble into the old Sheep Slaughter House
beside the water at San Carlos. Quite a trip and now time for some serious drinking!

The Sheep Slaughter House SAN CARLOS

To ride across a mine filled Island wearing a Green Crash Helmet and full Cabbage kit (camo)
on a black/olive bike, with no roads, or maps, with just a line of sight VHF radio for emergency
… how bright is that?

Another Chapter from the Annals of Stupidity

Squadron Leader Tony Down RAF

If you liked these stories there are plenty more in the October Archives.

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RIDING A CAM-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH, MOUNT KENT THE FIRST ASCENT

RIDING A CAM-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH, MOUNT KENT THE FIRST ASCENT

RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH, MOUNT KENT THE FIRST ASCENT

The New Ops Block with PE at the Ready

One of the biggest problems at Stanley was that, unlike normal flying, we had NO Diversions
and with the totally unpredictable Antarctica weather this made launching and recovering the
Phantoms problematic. With the runway shorter than normal we had 5 cables across it and every
landing was into the cable just like an aircraft carrier. Having landed into the cable it then had to
be reset for the next aircraft to make an approach.

 I end up planning an Air Defense Exercise which will utilize most of our resources and train our
Fighter Controllers, but with the aforementioned problems a “flow plan” for landing times had to
organized with suitable “plan B’s” and sufficient tankers airborne to refuel the fighters in case
things went pear shaped.

Mount Kent on a Good Day

 Hours of planning and I get the go ahead. The Fighter Controllers are up on the top of Mount
Kent, the highest point in the Falklands, with their huge far seeing radars and a complete Camp
has been established up there in less than ideal conditions as wind speeds of over 110 mph
were not uncommon. We also had another Radar Station at San Carlos where we came ashore
to retake the Islands during the first part of the Campaign.

 Needless to say the Controllers need to be briefed on the upcoming Exercise and so I’m given
the task of briefing them (Well it was my exercise wasn’t it?) Mount Kent is inaccessible to
anything other a helicopter (on a good day) and the Artic Snow Cat which was an all terrain
tracked vehicle that had a driver and seating for 5. So I ring up the Boss of Mount Kent and tell
him I’m coming up to brief them and obviously will need some accommodation. He asks what
time and how I’m arriving as its too windy for a chopper to land. I tell him I’m going to ride PE 1
up there.
“You are doing WHAT?…. are you f****** MAD!”   “ NO WAY!”

  So the following morning with a few items in the rucksack, some tools and a new tube I set off
into the unknown with a map and a VHF hand held radio. Down through the town and out
through some farmers fields and along a fairly decent track by Falklands standards. A bit like the
Mamore road in Scotland. Well the plan is to follow the Snow Cat tracks up the mountain and
they should be easy enough to follow as it’s a tracked vehicle chopping its way through peat bog
and rock runs of granite. I come across the turn off my cart track and I can see the black smears
of the tracks leading up the hill.

Just Follow the Tracks

Another Rock Run and the Track Below

I need to be a little cautious as the entire Island is covered in land mines so better stay as close
as I can to these tracks without trying to ride in them as the Snow Cat has ripped the peat to
shreds and when you do that water flows in underneath and you have a big surprise if you cut
through the last strands of grass and disappear up to the bars.

  Onward and upward through miles of peat, a few rivers to cross and giant rock runs to navigate
through. Years of riding the Scottish pays off and finally I come round the last corner about 300
feet below the summit only to be presented with an enormous jumble of rocks all the way to the
top. I feel like Sir Edmund Hillary on the final ascent!  Well nothing for it I need to walk this one,
so in good old trials style I walk the last section and try and find a line. It can be done, albeit with
a “3” but I’m here.

THE FIRST MOTORCYCLE ASCENT OF MOUNT KENT!!

 Subsequently I rode up to Mt Kent about 8 times and only ever had to walk the Final Rock Run
once in a howling blizzard. The run back was always a lot easier apart from the day after the
blizzard when it suddenly went to a Warm Front, melted all the snow and drizzled all day. I left
in thick cloud, scrabbled my way down the rock run, tracking the faithful Dunlop tire tracks until I
came out of the cloud and could find PE1. However it didn’t end there as all the snow was now
run off and the little river I had crossed the day before when it was 4 inches deep was now
raging white water!
Nothing for it, there is no other way so kill the motor and standing upstream of the bike by the
engine gently push PE in deeper and deeper until the water is now breaking round my bum and
filling up boots and everything else. Finally at the far bank we now have another problem the
bank is shoulder height and I’m knackered and running out of ideas.

As things weigh less under water I lift the front end up until I can lodge the handlebar over the
lip of the bank and then stumble and splosh my way to the back wheel. Some frantic lifting and
having got the thing in gear I manage to get my hands and shoulder under the back tire and
literally end up chucking the entire bike onto the bank using the handlebar as a pivot.
MAN v WILD Bear Grylls, you better believe it?

 Now I have to get out and strip off in the middle of nowhere, boots empty, socks and shirt
squeezed out time to get going before hypothermia sets in. Amazingly PE bursts into life
(Truly amazing bike!) and home I go.

 The second time I made the summit the Fighter Controllers had made me my own personal
parking slot  “ Motorcycles Only” with a red line through a picture of the Snow Cat, I wonder
where that is now?

Taken From the Annals of Stupidity
Squadron Leader Tony Down RAF   without Sherpa Tenzing Norgay

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RIDING THE CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH ANOTHER CAN-AM

RIDING THE CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH ANOTHER CAN-AM

RIDING THE CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH

THE TRILOGY PAR DEUX ANOTHER CAN-AM

 So now with transport, and having a lot of fun going to and fro from work its time to explore
other things. A haircut!

I duly tell everyone where I’m going and set off to Stanley town. Its been snowing again and
as there are NO roads in the Falklands apart from one side street in town and a bit of tarmac
from Sir Rex Hunt’s place running along the seafront to the Port, snow doesn’t really become a
hazard and just highlights the muddy track.

 Off the base and about 5 miles to Stanley so time for some fun in the mud, well this all new but
just follow the track and then oh, oh! What’s this? A hump back wooden bridge with the middle
missing so, turn round go back about 100 yards, line her and let her rip!

PE handles well and I’m over the hazard and on my way. As I land I see another Can-am coming
the other way with a rider (I use the word advisedly) flailing around in the mud with both feet
and looking like the proverbial “sack of spuds”

 As I flash past him in the opposite direction I give him a cheery wave and think no more of it.
Into town and eventually locate the red and white pole of the barber’s shop and can’t help but
think was it worth coming all this way to put the Union Jack back up?

The Barber’s shop and the Infamous double Yellow Line

 The barber is just finishing and reaching for his mirror when the door bursts open and in comes
Neanderthal Man, covered in mud all over his camo uniform.
 “Whoooo’s F****** Motorcycle is that parked outside?”
 “ I guess you are referring to mine” I said as I slipped the gown off exposing my shoulder braids.
 “Can I have a word Sir”
Out we go dressed for the cold and standing by my machine in the piled up snow Neanderthal
drags out his notebook and of course by now I recognize him as A Corporal in the Military Police
“You are parked on a double yellow line”
“ How am I supposed to know that?”
“Your machine does not have license plates and a UK tax exempt disc”
“ It might have escaped your notice Cpl but we are not in the UK and as there are NO roads I
don’t think The Road Traffic Act applies?”
“You WAS Exceeeeeding the Garrison speed limit”
“What Garrison is this you speak of?”
“I’m going to have to report this to my Superiors, and YUUUUU, have to get that bike fixed and
behave like an Ossifer and ride sitting down”
“Best you do, good day”

A ride round this awful town looking at the shacks that people live in. Muck and squalor in every
direction and the colors of the houses leave you wondering what on earth they are like inside.
Whatever color paint came in on the supply ship then on the house it goes! Black, Red, Pale Blue,
Peach, Pink, Yellow, Green and any combination of all of the above… GHASTLY!

Every color in the Rainbow!

 Time for some more fun and out of town I go cranking her up through the gears and enjoying the
power from the Bombardier engine. As I come over a crest there is none other than Cpl Rossner
of the Military Police once again coming the other way, once more we pass and I nod knowingly
and then over my shoulder see Neanderthal trying to turn round and follow me.

 Back in my Ops room, which is newly carpeted and we only let people in without boots I’m
studying an upcoming exercise when one my assistants says there’s a Policeman who wants to
see you!
He won’t take his boots off, so we don’t let him in!

 The following day my Wing Commander invites me into his office and tells me he has a fax from
some 1st Lieutenant in Garrison HQ and he will read it to me.
Neither of us can keep a straight face as the fax rumbles on about how the “Accused was seen
STOODING on the Footrests” and that the Wing Commander is to instruct the Squadron Leader
to stop STOODING and sit down!

The Wing Commander replies that he thanks Cpl Rossner for his diligent application of the Road
Traffic Act but as Squadron Leader Down has ridden many long distance off road competitions
including 8 Scottish Six Days and 2 ISDT”s for the Military he is applying many years experience to
fully controlling a motorcycle in off road conditions that exist here in the Falkland Islands and is
indeed willing to offer some lessons to the Military Police so that they too can maintain control on
these less than perfect and challenging surfaces.

My Boss in the Falklands, Chris Coville, now a 4 Star, presenting me with my 2000 Hours F4 Patch

  By now the Falklands has 5000 British troops protecting 1800 inhabitants and the cost is sky
rocketing for a Principle! All drinking water was sent down in a Supertanker and it was so big that
it was moored in the outer harbor and they tell me had enough water on board for 98 years,
don’t ask how you calculate that. Another supertanker was berthed alongside with all our
aviation fuel and then several “food ships” with provisions for the 5000. Always nice when you
ate through another level as with good old military efficiency we had 5 feet of Broccoli in the hold
to get through before we got to Peas! Same deal on the meat……pork, pork, pork, and more pork
….. then BEEF!

 So here we are on a Crap awful pair of Islands with inhabitants who all interbreed from 14
onwards and none of them with a double figure IQ!  No roads, no papers, no radio or TV, no
animals without lungworm, no trees (too windy) just bullet hard granite and peat bog, with some
tussock grass thrown in. Our Argentinean friends have mined the entire coastline, and now so
have we, in case they come back, and all for what? It might have been an idea to say to the
populace,

“ Look here’s an idea, how’s about we give every manjack of you $2,000,000.00 and we will fly
you anywhere in the world you want to go and then that’s IT!”

 Every day at 1200 there was the daily explosion from the quarry and you had better be facing
that way when it went off as you could see the blast before the shock wave and noise got to
you. 100 tons of explosive daily to get rocks for the engineers to try and build roads, but by
dayfall it had disappeared in the peat. The Rock Crushers that came down from the UK could not
get through this granite and I expect they are still laying there amongst all the other debris. So
the big BANG theory every day at 1200 and then nightly entertainment as the “Rock Hopper
Penguins” came ashore and found one of “ours” or one of “theirs” and went to the big
Antarctica in the sky.

Squadron Leader Tony Down (Still STOODING on the Footrests) RAF

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STANLEY I PRESUME ? RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH

STANLEY I PRESUME ? RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH

STANLEY I PRESUME ? RIDING A CAN-AM TO THE END OF THE EARTH


A TRILOGY


It was Saturday April the 1st and 64 Squadron were beginning to emerge on the balcony of
our transit accommodation in Cyprus where we were on APC which, for those not in the military
is Air-to-Air Gunnery from the mighty F4 Phantom using our 6 barrel Gatlin gun which fires 6000
rounds/minute of 20mm shells. Pretty impressive huh? You’d better believe it! 100 rounds/second
.. you don’t have to hit anything just saw through it. “Go Ahead PUNK, Make my day!”

Anyhooo I digress again, maybe some flying bedtime stories as we get nearer to Christmas. So
as bleary eyed members of this elite fighting force gather to discuss last night and life in general
the radio comes on with:

“This is the BBC World Service, here is the news, The Falklands have been invaded and the Foreign
Secretary, Lord Carrington, has resigned. A large force of Argentinean troops, supported by aircraft
have invaded………………..”
At that point the Sirens suddenly went off “BASE ALERT…. BASE ALERT …. BASE ALERT  …… ALL
PERSONNEL REPORT TO THEIR PLACE OF DUTY”
We are looking at each other and wondering what the f*** is going on?  Is this April Fools? Over!
Transpires the Falklands have been invaded and Carrington did resign, but the BASE ALERT was
a practice and we were not involved. Several hours later we find out where the Falklands are.
Maggie Thatcher issues strong discourse to the “Junta” and tells them there is a 200 mile
Falkland Protection Zone in force and any Argentinean Warship sailing in the zone will be sunk.
Nice idea, except our nearest nuclear sub was in Gibraltar some 7000 miles away. However plans
are made for WAR. QE 2 is converted into a troop ship with a heli deck and the RAF sits and waits.
Not much we can do on the fighter side as the runway at Stanley is only 4500 feet and we
usually take off on 9000. But to show willing 2 Squadrons are deployed to Ascension Island on
the equator, the mind boggles! One of our trusty Vulcan Bombers is eventually dispatched to fly
from the UK all the way to the Falklands and bomb Stanley airfield. God knows how many air to
air refueling brackets that took and the bombing was successful cratering the runway.
The sub makes good speed and arrives in the zone with a glowing reactor and immediately sinks
their only Battleship “The General Belgrano” Shortly after that the might of Navy sea power
arrives and we retake the Islands with about 300 lost lives and about 12 ships sunk by the Argie
Air Force with iron bombs and exocet missiles.
However the British flag flies once more and after our engineers have laid 6000 feet of matting
to make a runway our Phantoms deploy to the end of the earth, and yes it is flat, and you can
fall off the edge!

Sir Rex Hunt’s car with Flag. Yes, it is a London Taxi

About 3 months later I arrive as No 3 in charge. What does this mean, 36 hours on duty, 12 off,
36 on, 12 off. Arrive after a miserable 14 hour flight in a C130 Hercules, and by the time it takes
to get out of the aircraft we are in a blizzard. Duty arrival party with free booze provided by HM
Customs. Unusual? Never been given anything by Customs but this is all the illegal confiscated
alcohol they have stocked up. “Rot Gut Supreme” and I watch the liquid eat the center out of an
orange ring in my punch and then start to melt the glue down the cup! Imagine that! Some time
later and a few more of these rocket fuel concoctions I am talking to the Station Commander
when I take another swig and continue the backward momentum thereby falling on the floor.
A really impressive start!

6 a.m. and in the pitch dark and cold of another Antarctic blizzard I’m outside the “Coastel”, our
accommodation ship, searching in the gloom for anybody I know who will drive me to Ops. About
30 of the military’s worst Landrovers slowly set off across the boondocks at the speed limit of
5 mph. In truth you couldn’t go much faster as it’s all rocks and peat bog.
Briefings over I’m fairly clear that as transport is at a premium the only time I get a vehicle is
when my 2 immediate superiors don’t want it….. huuuum, we will see about that ….so in the bitter
cold I trudge down to the MT section and see what I need to do.

First thing I notice is 12 Can-Am dispatch rider enduro bikes, which  I had seen before at Earl’s
Court in London when they wanted the Army, RAF and Marines to have an indoor arena trial on
enduro bikes!!!

“Who’s bikes are those” I enquire

“They are all U/S and nobody knows anything about them…. We have a big box of spares but we
haven’t got any motorcycle trained mechanics”

“Well wrong again Flight Sergeant, your looking at him!”

So now armed with a bunch of these I commence the building of one, which…. Let the record
show… will hereafter be called “PE1”.

(Ed note, some of you may remember Suzuki produced a fairly vicious little 250 which was the
PE, which stood for Pure Enduro), but mine has the designation of PUBLIC ENEMY NO 1, all will
be revealed in a later episode.

The bike is quickly fettled up to scratch and my helmet and boots arrive from the UK.
By now after intensive testing I can now do the 1. 2 miles from Ops to the Coastel in around 2
minutes despite the speed limit. As I often explain to the RAF police as the “Man” who makes
the “Decision” and gives the “fire control orders” you had better believe I can make it to Ops
in 2 minutes or your arse just might be history when the bombs fall and we haven’t got a
fighter airborne”
“Yes Sir, keep up the good work”
“Thank you Corporal”

 Squadron Leader Tony Down RAF

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SOME YOU WIN SOME YOU DON’T THE 1975 ISDT

SOME YOU WIN SOME YOU DON’T THE 1975 ISDT

SOME YOU WIN, SOME YOU DON’T  THE 1975 ISDT

 It’s 1975 and the Royal Air Force Team is now armed with the 125cc Swedish Monark which had
the 6 speed Sachs GS motor…… what a machine!! A 125 that thought it was a 250 or better. Yes,
Sweden’s answer to the KTM.

 The event is being run in the I.O.M. so we take the ferry and make the crossing in relatively calm
seas. Standard B & B accommodation on the sea front and now become the lunatic fringe of
society doing wheelies and paddock racing up and down the promenade. A couple of nothing days
to get familiar with the areas we might be getting into and …… I wonder what the TT Course is like?

 So Ted Thompson, who is riding for the British Vase Team, and myself set off to explore with him
on the Fire Engine Jawa and me on the tiny Monark. Very soon as we leave town the “horns” are
pushing through the helmet and all hell breaks loose with WFO riding on that “Magical Course”.
First impressions are that you need a computer type brain to remember 39 miles of this! Man
these roads are as rough as cart tracks, utility services, manholes, white lines, cats eyes, curbs
sidewalks) and all the other fun of a public road, and in many places just an unforgiving flint wall!

Well that was fun with speeds up to about 95, can’t imagine what it’s like averaging 130 round
here…… INSANITY!

 For those not in the know the ISDT has 3 speed schedules of wet 21-23, average 23-25, and
dry 25-28 which the organizers will set on a daily basis. The daily runs for the first 5 days will
normally be about 180 miles with about 10 check points along the route each day and you can
arrive as early as you like but you cannot punch your card until the clock ticks over to your minute.
You can be up to 3 mins late checking in to allow for the bedlam at the time clock. Additionally
there are “special tests” which on this event was 1 lap of the motor cross circuit up on Douglas
Head. So to get a Gold Medal you must complete the entire 6 days on time and stay within a
set % of the Class Leader for your engine size. Perhaps this is the easiest as the Day 1 Leader
seldom makes it to Day 6! Might be something to do with 30 min motos rather than 6 x 8 hours
of riding! If you fall off the Gold standard and slip to Silver then you can lose up to 25 mins on
time before dropping to the lowly Bronze. However once you are 60 mins adrift you are OUT!

Monday morning and bright eyed and bushy tailed we line up 4 abreast and take the start 1
group every minute. No idea of where you are going just follow the signs and hope nothing is
coming the other way. Bear in mind this part of the UK so…  Left side please!

 One of my group is a West German Trophy rider so he must be good so try and use him as the
“yardstick”. Good plan but he dawdles along at 40 on the public highway and then goes at the
speed of heat in the rough, oh well, I’ll do it my way and set off as though my life depended on it.
The tortoise and hare game goes on all day.

 As various checks come and go reports of misadventures are coming in and support crews are
beginning to fill the mind with horror stories that don’t sound too good whatever nationality you
are. 12 o’clock and 2 dead! And Martin Lampkin retired with a broken collar bone?? SH**!

 Apparently some continental crashed head on into a cement truck within 5 miles of the start and
pulled the wrong way when he saw it. The other was a Canadian who was riding along a disused
railway where the tracks and sleepers (ties) were up but the gravel was still there with ridges
every 30 inches or so. I found the best way was to go faster and just kiss the ripples. He had got
into a “tank slapper”  a bit like a “flat spin” in the F4 fighter, NO KNOWN RECOVERY! And he had
been high-sided and landed on his head before flipping over. Unfortunately he was wearing false
teeth and they had lodged in his throat blocking off the airway with his tongue.

 The rest of the day seemed Ok and I got round Douglas Head as sensibly as I could.
Day 2 and some sad faces but the show goes on and at some stage I manage to bend the forks
but kept the wheel round….. very odd! Arrangements are made to make repairs and along some
country lane with a high flint wall there lurks a RAF landrover and a lot of tools. I’m duly ushered
through the farmer’s gate and the brake cable is disconnected and the forks and wheel are gone
and in no time I’m peeking out of the gateway and scuttling on my way.

 A little later I’m careering down some leafy track dodging whippy branches and staring at the
little circle of daylight at the end of this long lane when, all of a sudden there is an awful phuuuttt
phuuuuuttt, noise and of course you instinctively back off and look to see what has gone wrong
expecting head bolts, gaskets, exhausts or plugs to have come loose….. well its an old trick, in the
flash of an eye an individual is past me, and yes, a couple of squirts of the decompressor is all it
takes to rattle (in this case me) the opposition.

 Right then! By now I’ve noted that my “new friend” is from Ireland thanks to helmet color
recognition and I chase after him as we rocket down the hill to the bowl of light.
He is about 50 yards ahead of me and about the same distance to daylight when all of a sudden
the hole of light closes off as the Manx Rack & pinion Railway train pull across the opening!
GERBaaanG!! Irish meets train and gets his front wheel lodged amongst the trains wheels.
I pass him pointing at my right shoulder where the little pink badge has a single upright digit.
(see photo)


“This Ones For You”

 Later we repeat the wheel and fork game and onto the finish without further problems or any
loss of time.

Day 3, a lot more of the same and then it starts, roaring along on a grassy track the motor
suddenly stops. Out with the plug, new one in check for sparks, ZERO! Change leads to other coil,
NOTHING! Well F***! Nothing I can do here as its Motoplat solid state ignition. Push Sweden’s
finest up hill and down dale until I get to a decent downhill to the road. Freewheeling downhill
with about 20 feet to go to the gate I pop her into gear and guess what?  ……… Yes, it fires right
up and on we go again. But a couple of miles later same deal No Sparks!

 A 10 minute wait with the plug out and wait until it sparks again. Sitting by the road watching
Gold slip to Silver and then Silver to Bronze it appears to me that the new Motoplat system is not
all that it should be. Seems that this red lump is melting under the intense heat and shorting out.
Then as it cools and the plastic hardens up and all is well.

Well that was the way it was and during the course of the afternoon all the bikes suffered the
same fate. Normally we let riders fettle their own bikes but on this occasion it was decided to
send the bikes back to the importer who fitted new ignition systems to all three and all from the
same bad batch. Some you win, Some you don’t!

TONY DOWN  No 157 1975 ISDT

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  • 1/19/2008 2:03 AM Chris Leighfield wrote:
    Hi Tony,
    My last visit to IoM was to the 1971 ISDT. Ted Thompson was in the RAF team that year. He had a very swollen tendon in one of his wrists and had pain killing injections the whole week.
    The engine in your bikes was the same as we had in the Sprite trials bikes in 1970. You are quite right, they went like a bat out of hell!

    Regards,

    Chris
    Reply to this

    1. 8/2/2009 1:55 AM dennis jones wrote:
      Hi,My name is Dennis Jones i used to travel to national trials in the 60s with Chris is he still about.
      Reply to this
    2. 11/16/2009 10:16 AM Ray Battersby wrote:
      Hi Chris,

      Your mention of 1971 reminds me that it wasn’t too long after that year that you emigrated to Aussie. I remember you wearing a Longbridge white coat. I was in engine designs and you were development. You were always too lanky for the Mr Average coats.

      Nice to see you’re still involved with motorcycles. I went to Suzuki in 1976 and stayed with them for 14 years.

      Ray Battersby
      A-Series/H-J-K-Series design Teams
      Reply to this

  • 7/5/2010 3:21 AM Dot Jones wrote:
    I was a travelling marshall at the 1975 event and took some Super 8 cine film which I have now on DVD. I am trying to make a video and need some still photos to pad out the short bits of film. Is it possible for me use yours? Also do you know aanyone else with pics?many thanks Dot
    Reply to this

    1. 5/17/2012 1:48 PM Adrian Walls wrote:
      Hi Dot, long time no see just wondering if now the film is on dvd you have loaded any of it into Youtube or similar. I have an interest in an ISDT archive site and we would love to provide a link to your video
      Reply to this
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JUST FOR HER

JUST FOR HER

JUST FOR HER
Father Christmas, Father Christmas, can I, can I, I really want one, I, really, really do.
Brenda started off for a day of personal motorcycling instruction at TEAM Arizona, where, had she
been riding on the course, I would have given her a license there and then.

However, while trying to ride a 77 TY250D up a path the bike jumped up and bit her falling on her
thigh and with those massive “bear trap” footrests  giving her a scar for life that looks like she
has been attacked by “JAWS”

 So, progressing backwards she starts riding one of my TY175’s but this one bites too!!

It was a nasty little dose of stuck throttle caused by some other “Shade Tree” having used
silicon instead of proper gaskets in the inlet tract! No matter how many times I cleaned
everything with brands various soap and water and even goof off. All to no avail as every time
the engine got hot a residue of this bloody silicon would somehow come out of the motor and as
the throttle was closed deposit a little of said substance on the leading edge of the slide. Open
up a little and the slide goes up and naturally cools whereby the silicon sets locking the slide in
the carb and we see novice hurtling towards perils various with some panic clutching, revs,
increasing, feet down, and a lot of front wheel braking….. yes, we know this ones going to end
in tears! Nothing for it get a new carb….. the smaller the bike the more expensive the carb?

Why do they ALWAYS fit the Front Mudguard Backwards?

 E Bay has the answer and a TY125 rears its head in Hawaii and I secure it for $500, and with
another $400 it arrives door to door. Not a bad machine but some clown has sprayed all the
bright alloy, spokes and rims with silver paint! Regrettably the exhaust, frame and engine have
been treated to a dose of “bed liner”! What mindless behavior is this?

YUK!

 The little beauty is duly stripped down and treated to severe bouts of paint remover when most
of the goop is removed. On stripping the engine I’m suitably impressed with how clean the
piston is and upon closer inspection the engine has not been decoked and I would imagine only
seen about 50 miles of use.

 Beautifully rebuilt in stunning Purple/Black and Chrome we have a modern marvel. An  unused
1978 TY125. A new OEM front fender goes on, some serious polishing and a Chrome tank follow
along with a purple covered seat and purple ancillary tubing. A new number plate with “Her”
name on it and a Hibiscus motif complete the deal. Oil pump gone and 40:1 and she runs as
sweet as you can imagine.

 Find a Ty175 front wheel with a chrome rim and fit that along with some more forgiving footrests
and her ladyship is happy. Only ridden twice in competition but progress continues and Brenda
is now happy on the loop performing camera duties which we can all enjoy.

But it ALWAYS Starts

TONY DOWN

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THE 1974 SCOTTISH SIX DAYS ON “DIRT DIGGER”

THE 1974 SCOTTISH SIX DAYS ON “DIRT DIGGER”

THE 1974 SCOTTISH SIX DAYS ON “DIRT DIGGER”

Sunday morning in the Cattle Market

ANOTHER SPORTING HOLIDAY IN THE HIGHLANDS

Prompted by an e-mail and memories of long ago today’s story is from tales of daring do in the
midst of the Scottish Highlands.

 Having ridden the 1970, 71 and 72 events and won the R A Castle Trophy and also the  John
Bull Trophy for the Services Team I, for one, was somewhat annoyed when my entry was
returned marked “oversubscribed” ….as it transpires that was probably no bad thing as at the
time I was riding the SM Bultaco 325 in the Hi-Boy frame. Lovely to look at but a real pig to ride!
A bit like a trials version of a Harley Davidson.

 By now the “Superstar” has switched from Ossa and is going to debut the Yamaha in the SSDT
so worked on the principle “if it’s good enough for Mick it must be good enough for me” being a
loyal follower I ask if I can have one as well.
About a month before the Scottish Brian Leask of Husky fame tells me it is arriving at Heathrow
and they will deliver it to me at RAF Finningley just outside Doncaster. It duly arrives around bar
closing at 11 o’clock at night and I’m summoned from the bar to sign for it. Don’t know exactly
what was involved but 2 Husky mechanics have been building and prepping the beast coming up
the M1 in the transporter.
The following day it is fired up and seems pretty lively especially this new toy of “reed valve
induction”. The finish is really nice compared to its Spanish rivals but what’s with all this lighting
stuff?  First thing of note, and of course they weren’t on sale to the public yet, was that the
“robotic welder” had missed the down tubes on the rear frame so an immediate fix required here.
Next take all the lights off and put her into real trials trim.
2 or 3 local trials to shake the beast down and see what comes loose or falls off. The only thing
that fell off was yours truly when crossing an adverse tree root on a very steep downhill in the
Buxton area. Wheel slips away and I land knee first on top of the new tank which immediately
dents! After the embarrassment I stood the bike up, measured it carefully, and gave it an almighty
wellie with my knee on the other side. It actually looked good as though it was a “waisted”
design like the later Majestys.

The Top End of Edramucky

I’m 53 this year and this is the first year of the “helmet” with all the misconceptions that were
involved back then. A fairly standard Day 1 with around 150 miles to Fort William. All I can recall
was that Edramucky was getting easier, and Town Hall Brae was harder thanks to the positioning
of the cards. Overall an easy day for me and no problems with the Yamaha which would do about
80 on the road! Now that’s impressive.

 Day 2 so I’m right up front as the first 40 riders have gone to the back of the pack. Our first horror
was Callart which was 8 sections up a running river with all the boulders covered in green slime.
No traction, no cleans and an awful lot of energy wasted but at least we will be at the back
tomorrow and can have a lie in. Loch Eild Path, Blackwater, and Ghuanach Gorge complete the
26 morning sections in a 50 mile morning run to the lunch check at Spean Bridge. Well that was
horrid!

The afternoon has a relatively pleasant 75 mile run round the Highlands including the Corrieyairack
Pass where there was low cloud and snow on the ground. Also a lot of would be enduro men with
wheels out after hitting needle sharp pieces of granite at speed. The only section of the afternoon
was Laggan Locks and that is the most unpredictable section ever. Early or Late, it seems to
change, for better or worse, with the passing of every rider. As usual follow the Doctor’s advice
and “drink heavily”.

 A leisurely breakfast of “Mallaig” Kippers (hope my spellings OK) and a lot of coffee! They just
have to be the finest Kippers ever. Wednesday and still at the back so this should be a good day.

1 & 2 on the bottom of Ben Nevis

3 & 4 on Ben Nevis with a lot of “Body English”

Start at Ben Nevis and the lower sections all have a distinct line through them and are very much
to my liking. The upper ones are ‘king TOUGH!

Bradileig next for 10 sections of which I have no recall whatsoever. On to Coalasnacoan  which
I always get through well and then a pleasant afternoon on Altnafeadh and my old friend Pipeline!
Another 2 cleans and a dismal spin to a stop 5 in the upper reaches of 3. Back to FW and Town
Hall Brae again with a big spectator turnout.

 By now I’m getting used to this Jap machine and it does appear to be very well built and goes
like a rocket. The official advice is to drop the choke at speed and then ride through the splutters
until it clears. That’s fine until you forget and slow for a bend and then get that awful buuuuurrrrrr
when you open up again and the mind immediately thinks ****!

Plug? Out of fuel? Seize? Ignition?????  But onward Sir Antony the faithful steed is good and
damm these DID wheels are still round!

The Big Dab on Camp

Thursday and as always one of my favorites, just 111 miles of nice motoring be it on a trials or
road bike you are going to enjoy it. More of those Kippers , change the rear tire, and notice Mister
Yamaha’s fiberglass bashplate is coming to bits as the front eyelets are rotating in the plate and
it makes a lot of noise. 2 penny washers soon fix that. Just 8 sections this morning on the run
out to Kinlochmoidart. Camp Hill, Ravine and Bay Hill and apart from this amazing DAB  I think I
cleaned the rest. Back the other way and Devil’s Staircase, down Bay Hill, Glenuig,  Schoolhouse,
and another 4 at Camp Hill then the ride home around the Loch. FABULOUS! ….. and then more
of Ben Nevis and they seem to have got a lot more difficult or maybe distance and drinking are
taking their toll.

Is this McEwans Heavy/ Export/ Special ?

Friday and a double loop around Kinlochleven, Lieter Bo Fionn,  Martium and Cnoc a Linne  for the
morning and then Mamore, the ascent into heaven up Callich back to Sleu something and then
Town Hall Brae for the last time of the week.

On the Way Home…. Hey, there are Tools in here!

 Now its day 6 so just get it back to Edinburgh. Callart again, did we ride these before? Pipeline
again, (same result) and 8 on Achallader to realistically finish the event. After lunch it’s the 91
miles of roadwork to the old finish at Blackford Hill. With still round wheels and Yammie nicely
run-in time to stop at a gas station and borrow their hose. Duly washed and wiped down the
gleaming new boy from Japan arrives at the finish and I now have trouble convincing the officials
I HAVE RIDDEN this bike for 6 DAYS!

TONY DOWN  prompted by a memory from “BIG JOHN” John Moffat

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BUILDING THE GLITZMOBILE

 

BUILDING THE GLITZMOBILE

 BUILDING THE GLITZMOBILE

 First thing to do is find a suitable bike that will make a really good replacement. I have had my
eye on a piece of “tat” that I bought for another $300 but this one did have the unusual feature
of some extra shock mounts positioned in a Majesty look alike position.

All components are duly stripped down and along with a 175 frame I’m off to the Chrome shop
only to find it is closed! Great start to the morning. Eventually after a lot of research I find a highly
recommended establishment in the bowels of deepest Phoenix. Yes they can do it and it will be
ready mid November some 4 weeks later. Ho F****** Ho!
Around mid January they tell the frames are ready and although the work and finish was superb
I haven’t been back….. ATTITUDE! So now I have a different plating and polishing shop where the
work is just as good and things are ready on time, Kerr West Plating.

Meanwhile back in the shop work starts on the motor and ancillary pieces. It needs a rebore so
order rings, piston, pin and gaskets from Speed & Sport PA. Also get some OEM cables from them
as they come with the lever guards and all the other fittings whereas the Venhill ones do not.
Order some tank and seat units from a, S Miller in the UK and acquire the last of the front fenders
from Matt at the other Speed & Sport in CA.

Locally bars, grips and glue from Mike at Hardrock Trials in Phoenix and a major order to BJ Racing
for a new Mikuni, reeds, bashplate and sprockets. Cycle Gear for tires, chains, filters and plugs
(it pays to be a MSF Instructor).

Now stay with me here as we will rebuild it with YOU as the student, just in case you want to try
this at home. Assuming in the dismantling phase you didn’t break anything, although 30 year old
bolts do have a tendency to shear, then here is what Shade Tree usually does.
Send the barrel off for rebore at Premier and while it is away fit new points and a 12 tooth
engine sprocket on the left side not forgetting to tighten up that flywheel nut and the key tab on
the sprocket! Don’t go for the 11 tooth as it is too low and the standard 13 a bit high for modern
day sections. Some of the new points come with a sort of Teflon covering so do remember to
emery it off before fitting or you will be sparkless. On the other side that dreadful oil pump must
go, 74 is different from later models. Remove offensive object and make a blanking plate to cover
the hole. The chain guard provides us with a nice bit of alloy which I cut off aft of the mounting
stay (see Hacksaw)…. Reason they have been known to get bent into the rear shock. Flatten
alloy (see Hammer) and then cut and shape (see metal cutters)
Back to the sparky side and like bomb disposal expert cut out the 2 lighting wires leaving just the
black one. Now take the black rubber grommet and holding it between thumb and forefinger
gently run a ¼ drill through it without major loss of blood or digits (see Shade Tree) Take one of
those 90 vacuum rubbers which you just happen to have and push it through the new hole in the
grommet. Now put the ignition wire through the 90 bend!

Fortunately for you here is one I made earlier and overnight I have had a small allen key
straightening it out, so offering the wire into the hole as I withdraw the key it goes through pretty
easily. Now we wait for the barrel to come back.

The ghastly airbox lower fender thing can be replaced with a bolt on K&N or UNI filter so now
remove all the pop rivets (see electric drill) and spend hours washing grime off the 30 year old
plastic. Thanks to the GREEN people here, as if it isn’t spotlessly clean the paint won’t stick to
anything! In this case for GLITZ it will be white. Now replace all the rivets or the proverbial will
come flying through the colander at the first event.
While looking at bits down the back end that rubber thing that mounts on the tailpipe has in all
probability seen better days and if you fancy keeping the tailpipe it will be as well to drill through
both metal plates and the rubber and put a bolt and self locking nut on it.
Don’t get carried away with the drill (see Shade Tree) as this little fellow always wants to leap out
of the vice just as you get through the steel and into the rubber.
Wheels next laddie! Huuuum, ever changed a tire before? NO, NO,   put the screwdriver down!
Walk the bead down after undoing the security bolt then start and finish at the valve. Remove
rim tape and bin it! Wire brush the inside of the rim and now let’s play the “Concerto of DID”
Every 6th spoke tighten up a little, using the correct spoke key, and tap like a piano tuner
expecting a nice ding, ding….. a dung indicates more work. When the entire orchestra is in
harmony time for a rim tape and using a roll of electrician’s tape (3loops) then stick down on the
spokes. Reason, stops the spokes coming undone and makes working with the security bolt a
lot easier. Fit new tires and tubes and the new rear sprocket.
With the barrel back time to repaint, in this case Red as the Baby glitz 175 looked good in red
so SUPER GLITZ is going to be the same. Now armed with various flap wheels in 60, 80 and 120
grit time to find the drill (see Shade Tree again) and cut back those fin edges to super shiny alloy.
Rebuild the top half and note that since 1974 we have moved on a bit and gudgeon pins actually
fit without freezing and heating. Don’t forget those circlips!

Not much left now, just the forks. Drain the oil and don’t end up fishing around in the bucket for
those little washers. Now separate the legs! Remove the lower allen bolt which might require the
use of the Compressor and Hammer drill….. (See Shade Tree) and now tease off the rubber.
Locate the spring wire and ensuring you partially cover the leg with a hand ease the wire out of
it’s détente. You can use a dentist’s pick of the tip of a small blade. If you are on your hands and
knees now and are still trying to locate the “ping” that the clip made when it flew off as you
didn’t follow my advise. Now for the seals, find a medium size tire spoon and place the blade
under the seal. The radius of the spoon gives the right amount of pressure and the thickness of
the handle ensures you don’t damage the alloy at the top of the leg. Now fit the new seal and
use the old one on top to ensure it goes in deep enough and evenly, and do watch that hammer
(need I say???)

Now the frames are back and first job is to get the yokes on. 19 and 22 ball bearings, No, you
haven’t lost one. Next get the engine in the frame, which you can do by lifting and struggling and
a lot of pinches and blood blisters or, you can leave the motor on the floor or bench and offer the
frame around it. Swinging arm in, maybe replace all the bits depending on wear, the parts are
cheap enough and readily available from Speed & Sport PA. Shocks on, those nice Showa units
in this case and back to the front which I usually complete fully at this stage to get some stability
on the bench. So forks in, bars and levers, really nice Maguras this time. Fit the fender and then
the wheel and brake cable. Also a good idea to fit the clutch cable at this stage as the underside
is exposed.

 Time for sparks so on with the coil and now get enough cable from the ignition side and route it
back and inside the main rear downtube. Take the black wire from the coiland join another to it
to go forward to the kill switch. New plug, remember to gap it at about 22, they often come at
about 35! And lay on the fin edges, hand crank and BINGO! Now take some Red tubing and cover
the black wire all the way back to the 90 grommet we fitted earlier. We now have a watertight
seal and a lot of protection from branches and trees.
 Fit the exhaust and do use a new gasket, don’t over tighten, and now fit the lower rear fender.
I usually now fit the carb and the new reeds and complete the throttle side with a Domino fast
action. Good for the TY but not so good on the Tiger Cub. A UNI filter completes the job in
stunning Red. DO NOT  fit the tail section of fender at this stage or Shade Tree will end up kicking
thing around the workshop. Fit the rear wheel, brake pedal, chain tensioner and kickstand and
cut and fit the new chain…. No, leave the chisel alone.. buy a chain breaker!
 Finally and we are near the end now, have a look at the mounting stud on the rear loop of the
frame and compare it to the knobbles of the tire?????  Yep it’s not central so just imagine what
a mess it would have looked if we rushed on?
 Tank and seat unit on and with the 250 you can bolt it to the frame. The 175 has to have a cable
tie around the top rail.
 Finish all the minor details with stunning red hoses and pipes, some eye catching decals and of
course the little BLACK CAT.

A few test rides reveal the jetting to be a bit off, but changing back to original sizes and it runs
like a top. This particular motor has TREMENDOUS SNAP and for whatever reason is one of the
best that I’ve ever ridden.

More testing and then fit a set of the Miller down and back footrests. These give a near perfect
position but they do tend to bend…. A strengthening gusset would help here.

Here’s a Sammy set on my Majesty

They are easy to fit directly onto the swinging arm bolt at the top and to the lower frame rail.
You do need to cut the original footrest hangers off, good work by Shade Tree with the Makita!
Note post 74 all TY250 frames have bolt holes in the lower rails. Only the CAT (dual sport) models
have them on 74’s …… so if it’s “sods law” and you have a bog standard 74 then don’t despair
and fit a threaded rod all the way through and cut and finish (see Hacksaw) with self lockers.
Another note Yamaha DO make swinging arm bolts in different lengths. Also if you use the BJ
Racing footrest conversion you had better be good at drilling and tapping (don’t ask Shade Tree!)

The angled Majesty chainguard and the Showa shocks

 So that was the GLITZ that was. Still in the stable and finally fitted with a true Majesty chain
guard. A fabulous handling bike that won 2 AZ Vintage Championships and the 2006 AHRMA
Modern Classic Int Championship.

TONY DOWN with a little help from Shade Tree

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