ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS MILLIKEN 2007

ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS MILLIKEN 2007

MILLIKEN 2007

  Rossi gives birth on the bed sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. and Brenda with all her surgical
equipment is woken by the soft mews of newborn all fresh and clean after copious washing from
Mum. Single puppy same color as Dad and as she was due on the trip, she now rejoices as Milliken
or Millie for short.

 Thursday arrives and we slip from our former glory and leave one and a half hours late, but at
least we are on the way. Stop at Winslow for RV things and the bus is taking on water at only 2
gallons a minute and that’s not right! Because we are late we slip through Albuquerque after rush
hour so things are relatively pleasant apart from the gale force winds. The winds have been taking
their toll on the Starship and the driver’s deflector shield keeps rotating causing much annoyance
and a lot of stopping for Brenda to adjust. Finally, in a fit of peek a Rothmans packet is jammed in
it and secured by America’s finest tape, looks real good on a $625,000 coach! Very soon it
becomes clear that Trinidad is out of the question and Las Vegas (NM) is looking like the place to
stop. Tired, thirsty and hungry we arrive in LV bouncing off curbs, yes the helmsman has had
enough!

 Friday back on the road with 375 to go and its all plain sailing and we arrive in good time to get
a first class slot on the upper level. A bit cold and miserable with a chilly wind and the forecast of
rain YIPEE! Brenda spots some bushes and shoots off to get a handful of blooms and bugs for
the bus. Doof the Lab thinks it’s marvelous as she gets some free range running in the pit area.

 Meet up with Evelyn and soon after set off to find the section builders. The Steed seems to be
running well and I’ve changed to my favorite Renthalls and gone back to a slow action throttle to
try and prevent these feet up FIVES! However the fork oil seals are leaking and although I have
a spare set elect to leave well alone just in case a simple job turns into a pre trial nightmare.
Have a look at junior Glitzmobile, and as expected the awful noise was main bearings and you
can lift the flywheel up and down about ½  an inch. Something else to fix when we get back.
Find everybody down below the farm laying out in the mudhole which looks and smells nasty!

 Friday night and time for a few beers, diner courtesy of Evelyn and that’s fine by me as its
starting to rain so more stories of yesteryear a film and so to bed. It’s a 3 p.m. start so plenty
of time to do nothing which is fine by me, especially as we are hemmed in by these motor cross
people who seem to swarm like bees!

What do they know that I don’t? Section1

 Start time comes and we are starting conventionally at no 1. This has a lazy turn then gently
along a bank before a straight 3 foot drop to a 180 turn and back up the bank, turn again
Wittington, and back down the bank to the exit. It looked like the bank would crumble away with
multiple attacks but it didn’t happen. A 2 on the first go, then a clean, and a very long dab on the
last attempt. No 2 where I had seen the mud on Friday should be a favorite for me. First attempt
results in a dab on the exit, loop 2 takes a 2 with one in the deep mud and another on the exit.

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! Section 2

The last lap sees Mike take on the pit of goo before me and he grinds to a stop in the stinky
slime. I gun it through the mud and she responds like a rocket with a wheelie (under control of
course) up the bank, drop back in and really try for the clean, wiggling and powering through,
and exit at high speed landing on observer’s lunch box, but he said he didn’t mind as the clean
was worth watching, and though I say so myself it really was a shit hot ride!!

Hugh on the Box of Pipes Section 3

Fred lines up Section 4

 No 3 seems to be another of these tight turn box affairs and I can’t get the first turn so 3 dabs
here. 4 is a series of log crossings and I take this in my stride for 3 easy cleans. 5 has us turning
round Christmas trees by the fence then drop down the hill for a tight uphill turn to the exit. Very
consistent with this one and 3 more zeros on the card. No 6 has a few hazards but right speed
and throttle control do the trick for 3 more cleans.

Section 5 and a lot of “BODY ENGLISH”

 But, here it comes, 7 lucky for some, but not for me! A difficult section but one that I should have
done right every time. Up and down a bank, back up and turn into a ditch then a tight right hander,
recover on a narrow path, then an uphill tight left hander and from there simply follow the markers
to the exit. First attempt all is well until entering the ditch, my weight is too far forward and the
front wheel clips a root and goes backwards underneath me as the power comes on and I dive
head first into the ditch with the bike on top of me! Expert?  Regaining composure, I then ride the
rest flawlessly, so no problems in the mind for round 2. Second try and with the weight correct I’m
through the ditch but on the uphill right as I move forward I inadvertently apply the back brake
for another excellent 5! Well this becoming a disaster zone. Loop 3 and I take a silly dab but at
least I’m through this horror.

Wolfy getting dizzy on the Slalom of Section 8

 Section 8 seems somewhat pointless with a long series of turns up a hill that was little more
than a beginners outing, but after getting dizzy there was a sting in the tail finish turning uphill
in the loose. However 3 more cleans are on the scorecard and it’s on to the last section No 9.
Uphill start, turn downhill under braking then uphill turning on a loose, but grippy adverse. Lose
1 on the first loop but clean thereafter. Overall a memorable trial for the disasters on 7 and the
excellent rides on section 2 and 5. I must lay out some flat box turns which I’m losing points on
every time.

Ed Wins! 6 more to go!

 The long run home goes without incident! New incentive BEAT MIKE!!!

Tony Down

Brenda took those Trials Photos!

Don’t Forget ME I’M MILLIKEN or MILLIE to you!…. and I’m Cute

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ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS COTOPAXI 2007

ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS COTOPAXI 2007

ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS-COTOPAXI 2007
  Well the decision was made back in Jan when AHRMA and the local CAT could not get their act
together, so here we go head first into 3 Championships. This is going to take a lot of driving and
should be a lot of fun providing I don’t take things too seriously.
So with the 2007 Steed of the Tiger Cub we set off for rounds 1 & 2 at Cotopaxi . Steed is now
sporting the B50 forks, Yam front wheel and the Del Orto Carb, only problem seems to be getting
used to slow speed recovery and pull away on the 4 Stroke compared to the “come again” bite of
2 Stroke reed valve Yam. WE PERSIST!

  Thursday we are out of the gate on time (we are getting better at this) and off up I17 and onto
I40 at Flag. Arrive at Albuquerque in afternoon rush hour (brilliant) but we are soon through
there and on our way to Trinidad for the first night stop. This leaves a short hop on Friday to the
ranch in Cotopaxi. On the road again after a Walmart stop for eggs and batteries (strange choice
for breakfast?) anyhoo now time to drain the tanks replenish the Starship with water, fuel, and
dilithium crystals. All done, and now the saunter down the Arkansas River watching fly fishers
trying their luck and amazingly we did see one fisherman with dinner in his hands.

 Into Cotopaxi and turn over the river and proceed up the hill to the Ranch entrance. Now we try
section 1 and the co-pilot is flipping her lid as the track suddenly becomes tricky! An uphill left on
full lock into a full right which has to be taken right to the edge (a bit like Devil’s Staircase in the
Scottish)… round we go onward and upward. Road narrows but Mr Zulu follows the Captains
commands and we “Make It So!” Only problem comes on the downhill right hander where Starship
Enterprise is 6 feet longer than the curve will allow and so the trailer wheel slips over the edge
and Warp Power is selected to continue the turn dragging the underbelly down the track. Over
the top and here we are in the parking area which is delightful with snow topped mountains all
around. Ed and Evelyn have selected a space for us and we slip into it and the Starship
commences leveling and all is well.

THE VIEW FROM THE START

  A little lunch and off to help with the laying out which seems to have been well thought out and
now only requires taping and direction cards. Wow, an awful lot of thought and work! Of course
this simple task is now made increasingly difficult with the arrival of yet more so called helpers
who seem to be spending more time riding the sections than actually doing anything useful apart
from trying to change the sections to suit individuals preferred lines? I’m surprised Ed kept his
cool under some VERY trying circumstances. Amazing how time flies and now with the time change
it’s almost 7 pm.

R.I.P.

  Start time and quite a good turn out so off we go in small groups for a standard buddy check.
Section 1 has split for 1 & 2 riders up around a path and then down a ledge to a turn. The 2 line is
actually harder! I get through here for a dab but then take another at the exit, no clean card
today. Brenda is competing today but the baby Yam is gutless and just won’t pull if it comes off
the boil. Very upsetting but she struggles on for a few sections before doing the wise thing and
calling it quits.
Section 2 has a tricky turn and then a rock pile to cross before a turning descent to the ends card.
A touch of nerves and 3 single dabs for an unimpressive ride on something I should have cleaned.
We end up at section 5 by mistake but ride it anyway. Now this should have been a gimmee but
for no reason at all I struggle and take a 2! So far my less than stellar performance is becoming
annoying and some one needs a talking to. Eventually find No 3 and this one looks tricky as well
but finally Sage and Steed get the proverbial together for a good and satisfying clean. No 4 has
some twisting uphill turns after a rock step start and I creep through for an unneeded dab, yes
we CAN do this one. 6 is one of those sections that I don’t much care for and another dab is in
the books. 7 & 8 are more to my liking and now things are going a little better and the enjoyment
factor is creeping in. So 9 on the first loop which should have been 3!
Loop 2 and find a better line on Section 1 and sail through for a dab up by the exit. A much more
thoughtful ride on 2 scores a clean and another good clean on 3. Same old dab on Section 4 but
ride 5 the way I should have done the first time. 6 takes the planned dab and clean on 7 and 8.
That’s better 3 dabs for a total of 3. Back at the start I see Mike Bucholtz is through 2 loops on
ZERO! Now that’s some ride!
Loop 3 and I see superstar take a crunching 5 on the opener and then I sail through for a perfect
clean. Well he is human after all and trials is a funny game so never give up. I take a safety dab
on 2 but should have ridden it for the clean. Clean 3 again and at last clean 4 and it feels good.
Please don’t ask what happened on 5 because I might throw up, down the hill squirt across the
rocks and up the hill, a little closer than desired to the tape so close the throttle and then try
again only to get the CHUFF and the motor dies 2 feet from the ends card, man am I sick? Still in
shock the planned dab goes out the window on 6 and an awful 3 dabber is on the card. I should
have been round this loop on 1 but I’m on 9. Mike also had another 5 so his loop was 10.
  Was it possible? Maybe, I cleaned everything except 6 so could have been round for 3, but there
again Mike cleaned laps 1 and 2 so could have ended with a Zero.

DAY 2

Day 2 and a whole new set of sections which of course I had seen on Friday when we were
setting up. Again it’s buddy checking which I enjoy as being more sociable it can be a lot of fun
and sometimes a little more lenient on the beginners “good try”. Our group changes as some
people come and go but of the constant trio it’s Hugh, Ed and myself with guest appearance from
others racing on or who have lost their starting group.

Ed on Section 1

Section 1 has its major problem with an adverse turn uphill from soft dirt into a loose rubble mix.
3 good cleans here and Ed does well riding a mix of 2 and 3 lines. Section 2 is a nice
straightforward uphill around the tree and down a gulley to the exit. No problems here and on
to No 3. An uphill turn to the right and along a rock and bush filled track, over a fallen tree and
then turn right to the winding downhill. 3 more cleans, although problems for several riders and
by the second loop the fallen tree had gone?

A Determined Hugh on 4, The Halfpipe

Ready for another 180? Section 4

Over to the half pipe of section 4 and just a series of 180’s, no 360’s, 540’s or backward flips
and 3 more cleans. The contentious Section 5 has had all sorts of changes and much discussion
about the severity of the 1 and 2 lines. 2 different lines on the “2” after the first split, either turn
tight back down the hill for an easier approach to the second hill, or an easier turn at the split
but a tighter turn at the bottom to line up on the uphill. I choose the latter and it works well for
3 more zeros.

Section 6 is the tricky one of the day with a soft sand uphill turn fraught, with problems unless
it’s just right, before the uphill rock infested gulley. Well it catches me once out of three but I’m
well pleased with the other 2 cleans. Section7 has several choices of line and I pick a good one
for 3 more cleans. Over to 8 to complete the first loop and this section has changed from what
I saw yesterday. Now we are up and over a big imbedded rock into a tight right turn, wiggle
through a couple of trees and then turn to a log step and a gentle ride to the exit. Over the rock
OK, turn OK, power on CHUFF! 5!!!

Jim Looking GOOD on Section 8

Hugh makes the step look easy Section 8

Wolfy catches us Up. Nice with the Knees …. but that HAT has got to GO!

It took 4 more sections to get that one out of the system, had another safety dab here on the
last lap for a grand total of 7 which should have been a solitary ONE. Anyhoo, it wouldn’t have
mattered as Mike was in top form and finished on a clean card.

So 2 second places in the RM Championship with a lot more rounds to go.
The Way Home: Leaving Tucker Ranch we have the horrors of the way in, revisited!  …someone
has filled some of the holes the trailer bottom created as it got dragged round the corner and
today we have 2 trials riders with us as escorts. A lot of action in the wheelhouse, until the final
downhill turn which requires a back up and reset maneuver. Back on blacktop once more and as
the weather is nice and all the passes are open we decide to trundle over “the road less
traveled” with a planned night stop in Walmart Durango.

Over The Top Wolf Creek Pass

IT’S BIG HORNED SHEEP  HONEST!

We make good time and delight in the variety of wildlife as we come over Wolf Creek Pass.
Very soon we are tucked up at Walmart having had a great weekend and looking forward to an
easy non-stop 400 mile run across the reservation back to home… Ho F#*$%*^$ Ho!

Early morning start and Brenda gets catering to send up breakfast to the flight deck where we
are joined by Doof, Hayden and the soon to burst Rossi. Leaving Durango it’s a bit black and
overcast and as we make our way to Cortez we blunder through the odd snow flurry which of
course we think nothing of as it is Colorado.
Over the reservation we go and in the far distance there are the anvils of some vicious looking
thunderstorms which look like they are in the Flagstaff area. Approaching Church Rock as we
come over the crest and start the downhill run to Kayenta things are looking seriously nasty up
ahead and shortly after the traffic lights we are in snow which is coming down quite heavily.

On go the wipers as we slow Enterprise to less than Warp speed, and for a few wipes all is well
and then the Monaco Corporation plays it’s JOKER once more and the driver’s wiper flies off the
screen for the umpteenth time! The snow gets heavier and visibility decreases as does the
speed.

Soon the road is completely covered and the windshield is following suit….. S#$%^! This is
Arizona in late April! We grind to a halt with no knowledge of who, or if, anyone is behind us and
as Brenda, now playing Scott of the Antarctic, dresses for the blizzard the Captain searches in
vain for the Hazard Flashers. Some time later, the mystery flashers are found…. Now wouldn’t
you think something as important as Hazard Flashers should be on the truck driver’s wheel?

Brenda departs for the spacewalk and we wish her a fond farewell as she departs the airlock
and reappears to move the errant wipers to the park position and clear the screen as best she
can. Amazingly the wipers didn’t blow the fuse and with the weight of snow on them they
continue to work as we continue and drive our way out of the storm. Some 20 miles later we
emerge to blue skies and fairly clear roads and within another 10 miles it’s all back to normal
save for the astonished looks from oncoming drivers seeing a completely snow covered coach
rocketing towards them with chunks of ice flying off in all directions. Other than that,
Mrs Kennedy did you enjoy the drive?
Tony Down

Not forgetting the Trials Photographer  BRENDA (pictures for sale on her web site, more news later)

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THE TIGER CUB

THE TIGER CUB

THE TIGER CUB

My first bike was a rigid frame Post Office BSA Bantam with a 123cc engine and 3 speed box.
Bought for the princely sum of  5 GBP way back in 1960 it served as an introduction to woods
riding until I was 16 and old enough to ride on the road. Smartened up for road riding it served
me well to pass the “test” and then as 52 m.p.h was not all that I wished for it was traded in for
a 1959 Tiger Cub Bushman edition. This was similar to the Mountain Cub exported to the USA.

I tried my hand at a couple of trials on the beast but in all fairness it was not a true trials cub
and was lacking in all departments other than noise!

With the passing of time I promised myself that one day I would get one! Nice idea but the cost
was quite ridiculous for anything that was even close to being competitive. When my dear Mother
passed away her meagre inheritance that I received was ploughed into the business as things
were not going too well thanks to being ripped off in divorce and further compounded by a
cheating foreman. When things improved I ordered the one in the Sammy Miller catalog and
some 4 weeks later it arrives in Houston. It sat in Houston for another week until Homeland
Security managed to get their Bin Laden scanner over the container. Having taken them a week
to do this I’m informed I have to pay the wharf dues!! No matter, it arrives and all that is
required is to oil it up and put the bars on.

A test ride round the yard brings back lots of memories, especially the “CLUNK” of the forks as
they top out during a wheelie and the kill switch throttle which stalls the motor if you open it too
quickly. Well some work to do here!

My machinist, Brian Crawford, makes me an exquisite new stem and a 1974 Yam front end goes
on the little four stroke. It handles nicely but it increases the wheel base by over an inch. Well
time to look at what everybody else is doing. Lots of Cerrianis, Betors and a few MP’s ………
eventually find a NEW set of Cerrianis and I ask Brian for some more of his magic. He is swamped
with work and his time frame does not gel with mine, so over a weekend I measure up a set of
BSA B50 forks that I just happened to have, the stem fits? Amazing! and after putting the legs in
the wrong side I have a perfectly matching brake anchor point for the Yam front Wheel. The Forks
are wider than the Yam set so the front wheel spindle isn’t quite long enough but the TY175
swinging arm bolt is perfect.

The Steed gets it’s first outing in December 2006 at the local Arizona trial and it’s performance
in the throttle/carb department leaves a lot to be desired. More consultations with all the Oracles
and its time for Mister Amal’s finest to go! First replacement is the Kehlin which after some
machining of the stem fits reasonably well and gives tremendous performance off idle but a
horrendous backfire when  dropping back to idle. Maybe the inlet tract is too short?

So fitted with the Jap carb and the Yam front end its off to Wittman for the AHRMA season opener.
It behaves reasonably well and a class win is in the bag. Now the changeover to the BSA forks
and the wheelbase is back to normal again and the front end just a little higher. While at Wittman
a few other Cubs were tested that were fitted with the Del Orto carb, and this really is a chalk and
cheese affair and now the motor is responsive and smooth and also picks up beautifully off
idle……. order one from Martyn Adams before he leaves for Australia.

Over the course of the season confidence has increased with every outing and stalling (I hope)
a thing of the past. However, despite 5 AHRMA wins and a few seconds the riding position always
felt a little off and an analysis of several “over the bars” 5’s revealed the distance from spindle to
footrests some 2 inches shorter than desired and the footrests themselves being up close to 14
inches. The mind ponders the dillema of A over T and after 4 mind bending inexplicable incidents
when I have ended up head first on the ground with hands still on the bars and feet still on the
rests! Brenda says that it looks like I’m standing too far forward and my feet are too high up and
sure enough she is right!

Yes, Yes, I know why! It’s that Sammy Miller man!! After the magnificent 1972 250 Bultaco
( probably the best trials bike ever) I switched to a 325 Miller Hi-Boy Bultaco which although it
looked wonderfull was a bike that I could not ride for love nor money. I wonder why? Could it be
design or something in that word Hi?? Well off to see my welding Guru and after a days work the
rests are 2 inches back and down and the handling, though I say so myself PERFECT. So thanks
to Brenda for her photography and noticing my stance (It pays to have a great support crew)
and Barry from Premier Motorsports for the superb welding, I now have a perfect handling cub
and will be fresh out of excuses next year!

Tony Down (without headache!)

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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

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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

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  • 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.
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  • 2/26/2014 7:55 PM dan moriarty wrote:
    beautiful !!!!
    Reply to this
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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!

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  • 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.
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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)

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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

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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

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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

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