Saturday, 30 March 2013


Within re-capture distance of Full Sutton Prison. Had my longest ride ever on the horse scarer this morning, if i had to have just one bike this would be it (but with a lot of spares).

Friday, 29 March 2013


 Good Friday goodness.

Full screen and no peeping through fingers.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Just got this 1100 Slabside in today plus over 100 750/1100 oil boiler parts currently listed in my eBay shop. Happy, shiny Easter !


Parts, lots of. Browse my eBay over the freezing easter to buy what you need. Bike is complete and on the button, mechanically spot on just needs painting

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


"So, The end of 1980 I was disappointed with the unreliability, and to be honest the blown CB72 was hardly the lightest thing in town....the quick guys in the smaller classes were using modified Greeves MX stuff. Time for a rethink, and to dig deep in the pocket.
A brand spanking new 'last years model' YZ250G was spotted at Bavins Motorcycles in Diss. The hunt for a Yamaha MX was brought about by reading an article in a magazine about a new single cylinder road race class. This class was being dominated by modified YZ250E models. The best were modifid by a chap called Andy Barr. A call to Andy resulted in him modifing my G model to a similar spec. This involved alterations mainly to the steering head angle. I then sourced my own RD front end to compliment the mods.
This was from an RD400E. The rear suspension we modified ourselves by fabricating a bracket to alter the mount point and thus reducing the movement. Michelin race tyres were also fitted along with another homemade seat and reworked footrests and levers.
1981 season - after learning how to ride the bike a few good results were achieved. I was knocking on the door, final placing in the 250cc championship -runner up...... I just needed more power, or experience ? (the Michelin tyres were soon dumped in favour of Dunlop KR124s which I used from that day).
Before the 1982 season started the motor was stripped and the barrel taken to Terry Beckett tuning. He also supplied a modified expansion chamber end....This was a lot shorter than the original and exited just behind the leg...
Man ! that bike flew now........but it was difficult to ride, far too we recut the expansion chamber and re-attached the original end cone and silencer.
Oh, we were talking. I guess it was pushing out about 45BHP.
The 1982 season for me was superb, I had good opposition from a guy called Barry Gartside who rode a Stephens tuned X7 and we were breaking records nearly every meeting. I finished the season as 250cc champion and O/All champion too. I was well pleased.
1983 and 1984 seasons also resulted in class championships..
The motor did have a tendency to seize in the early days and it was thanks to a tip from Lee Bros in Sowerby Bridge that resulted in a cure. 'Castrol R is the best oil you can get don't be using this pre-mixing 2 stroke stuff' was the tip. Sure enough, it worked although I always had my hand on the clutch on long straights......!
The pressure at the top is far greater than the pressure getting there...and being beaten after so long would have been hard to swallow. Like a boxer you need to know when your time is up. Starting a family for me was a good point. So, I retired. Occasional local outings for a couple of years but no championship chasing. I was done !"

Pictures of top corner Gurston Down, the cattle grid leap at Withycombe farm in Somerset and Baitings Dam.

But we're not finished yet, in 2007 at the age of 50 Ian made a comeback. Read about it soon.


If you just have to look at food and put on weight or are a person with a glandular problem i can no longer keep you in vogue, sorry.
All big boy sizes of T shirts now sold out. S/M/L only. Get 'em while you can, the more you have the warmer you will be. Hit the pic in the margin to buy.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Monday, 25 March 2013


"So, the quest was for power !
At that time one of the great drag/sprint racers was Mick Hand. He knew how to get a CB72 going. His bike - Little David was a giant killer. Now, I'll admit his engine internals were not of Honda manufacture, and way beyond our own shed building standard but thats something we could have a bash at......Read a couple of library books and we were Google searching in 1979..
I managed to source a Rootes type blower of around 300cc. German manufacture and am to this day unsure of its originality. Modificatons to an old CB72 frame resulted in the blower sat behind the engine and drive being possible from the alternator side via V belt. It was all a tight squeeze and the intake manifold had a torcherous bend. An SU carb from a mini provided the carburation and stuck out at ankle level on the left side.... No float chamber on this one, the fuel fed direct into the main jet and flow was controlled by home turned needles......The inlet chamber was fabricated from a grease gun body with a blow off valve at one end. This was adjustable by means of tightening an old valve spring to form a tighter seal..
Unfortunately pictures are almost non existant....Riding not photography was our focus......shame really but attached is one during its build. The other is last bend at Gurston Down gunning for the finish.
As I said previously the blower drive was via V belt.....different pulleys were turned from wood (cheap) to experiment with blower speed. The V belt drive was the achilles heal of the whole project. Many times during runs would the belt grow to such size due to r.p.m that it would just fly off the pulleys despite a massive tensioning roller.
Additional methanol was carried in a reworked seat that had a tank moulded into the hump.
So, what did it achieve......?
Firstly it taught me reliability was the key to success. Travelling half way across the country to breakdown is not a good idea.
Secondly and possibly more important (although I wasn't aware at the time) . The bike was being campained at a time when the ACU tried to ban turbos and superchargers...It is due to it's presence that superchargers are allowed in motorcycle hillclimbing today. The NSA committee stood by me and the bike and overturned the ban. I believe turbos were banned.
So there you have it Peter.....The smell of the Castrol R, the burning of methanol, experimenting and making parts from scrap. Happy days but.....
Both Dad and myself knew we had run our course with making do and mend. He'd wait up half the night for me to return from racing in Cornwall only to learn I'd broken down.....blower belt again....Sorry Dad....
If I was going to succeed I needed power....but I also needed reliability too............."

There are some old cine films of Ians Honda at NHCA website.

Part 3 soon..


Not the worst news i've had today ! all those with bikes not ready, you have another month.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Following a comment on my blog post about Sam's hillclimb bike Ian Hainsworth from Leeds mailed me to say he would send some photos of his old hillclimbing days in the 70s. People regularly promise things like this but it is rare that anything turns up. Blimey, within an hour i had to go to t'foot of our stairs as he had scanned the photos and written part one.

"Episode 1
The year was 1978......21years old I was......thought I was going to take on the world.
After many trips to Baitings Dam (Ripponden) to spectate I just had to have a go. I mean I was so fast and skillful on the road, i was bound to win !
A friend of mine was also interested and we decided to go 50/50 on an old YDS7. We spent a few months painting and generally tidying the bike up which included having the crank rebuilt and new seals. We then entered at Baitings. Man, we were well and truly thrashed.! Not only that but we soon learnt that bike sharing is a pretty bad idea...running out of class.....causing confusion for the organisers.....etc so I decided to convert one of the CB72s that my Dad and myself had accumulated over the previous few years since I'd bought my first one when I was 17 to pass my test on.
I guess unbeknown to me at the time Dad was teaching me to how repair parts, make what you haven't got and generally learn those engineering skills that are with me today. I shall be forever grateful.
The tank we fashioned from copper cut from an old hot water cylinder, the seat we made from sheet fibre glass stiched together with wire and then resined together.....the carbs were from the 305cc CB77 and the internal jetting and needles were Amal as we were running methanol and Amal sold suitable components. Sprocket blanks were turned on the lathe to suit different tracks. The cam was reprofiled to race spec (I can't remember by whom) and high compression pistons were also fitted to suit the fuel.
I raced it in that spec for a year. I was improving......But I wasn't winning.....
I needed more power !"

 You may know Ian by his alter ego Albert Crackleport who you will find at the splendid Vintafaker blogspot. Compelling reading but keep your Yorkshire phrase book handy if you are not from these parts.

I already have part two, coming soon........

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Rob describes himself as a born again biker, but unlike most retired chaps he doesnt wobble around on a Virago or do nut and bolt restorations on classic bikes that will never get ridden. His first foray into bike building was this Thunderbird Chopper and with his long time buddy (whose name i forget) is currently building this Rickman Bonneville and a reverse head 5TA flat tracker.

 I sold this little Coventry Eagle in a very sad state a few years ago to some lads from Sheffield but they obviously saw no future in it and sold it on to Rob who built this beautiful little creation from the remains.


I bought these to shorten and use on Old Blu' but then changed my mind 'cos that's what i'm like. 110cms long, 11cms between legs. Great chrome. See my eBay sales.

Thursday, 21 March 2013


Behind every fast rider you will find skilled people building engines, fabricating parts and setting up the chassis, behind York's Sam Matthewman there is.....Sam. Invariably the class winner and often FTD at most hillclimb events, more development has gone into the old TL this winter to make it even quicker. Severe weight loss, bigger bore motor, new exhaust, new rear suspension, new bodywork the list goes on and everything done in house. Bike hillclimbing used to be mainly for the more nimble Supermotos, no way could you be competitive on a big sports bike on the narrow twisty roads but more than anyone Sam has changed all that.

He also has huge balls...

* Yorkshire Hillclimb championship kicks off at Olivers Mount Festival of Speed 4th and 5th May.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Got the old trout fired up yesterday, the the sun came out, the roads dried and the temperature soared. Did about 5 miles and nowt fell off but now its winter again. It was good though.
 Maybe next week...

Monday, 18 March 2013


All old British bikes are a fortune nowadays, not this one............

Friday, 15 March 2013


Thanks to Will for this one.
Hit the "Rockers" tag below for Rita Tushingham and the 59 Club.


 Not that often a '61 Thunderbird comes along but this week i got two. The blue and white one was bought new by Valerie from York and she and her son Rob have owned it ever since. Looks like its had a whole lot of changes over the years, the frame has been at least four different colours, but when did you last see a one owner fifty year old Triumph ? Valeries' late husband used to crew for Paul Windross also from York. On this home built twin engined bike Paul, a man with as much metal inside as underneath him, clocked a one way run of 207mph in 1973. He was unable to make the return run in time to take the record but later that year recorded an average of 187mph which was a national record, it was also fast enough for a world record but he didnt have the money required to ratify it.
 You won't have heard of him because all this took place at a windswept airfield in Yorkshire not the hallowed salt of Utah.

Going to strip the top end of the motor next week (it hasnt been run for a few years) to check the condition. I see it with a set of swept backs, goldie silencers, ace bars and a leopardskin seat cover.....
 Thats probably going to be down to the next owner though as i will be busy with this one.
Found in Abingdon by Justin i was told about it six months ago but it's taken since then to persuade Terry the owner to part with it. First on the buff log book was the London Met. In 1964 it was parked on the North Circular on a foggy winters morning waiting to catch Rita Tushingham speeding on her way down to the Ace, possibly.
 Did you ever see a custom bathtub Triumph before ? if you did and have a photo i'd like to see it.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Walters' 99 Dominator. He's owned it for 50 years and has just dragged it out with a threat to restore it. 17 years ago it transported Will and Bec to Ireland, a valve guide broke in Cork but after gallons of oil it got them back to Yorkshire on a cylinder and a bit.
 Here's hoping it still looks the same in another 50 years.