Friday, 31 July 2009

BAMF Build 03

I got the BAMF back from Geoff on Wednesday night. We've decided to stick with the existing exhaust system for now. Not enough time to build a proper system. No worries... got the rear subframe, front subframe and header pipe repaired too. Was going to go down the field for a bit of evening m'crossing, but the weather was minging and couldn't be arsed to spend an hour cleaning muck off the bike in the dark and only get home after midnight with a box full of muddy gear on a school night. Might get out this weekend - need to get fit!

Worked on the BAMF till 12:30 last night. It was a mission, but I think I got the front subframe sorted now. Needed to modify the headstock a bit more. New undetray fitted, rear subframe and wiring sorted too. Got the tank fitted and found the new top yolks snag it... a lot. Going to have to cut the yolks up some more - I guess it's more weight saving!

Found the clocks had water in them from trailering the beast in foul weather - need to sort that. The driver side windscreen wiper of the Chevy flew off half-way home on the M40 - it was pissin' down and I couldn't see jack. Drove the rest of the journey leaning over to the passenger side to see out. Srange to drive a left-hooker from the right side. Spent some time sorting that last night too.

Bad news about the custom rear disc I have to have made up. I ordered it 3 weeks ago, the monkeys never put the order through. They recon another 3 weeks... I'm going to be on a ferry to the Isle on Man in 3 weeks. Doh!

I'll get some pics of progress soon. I want to have the BAMF running by the end of this weekend.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Lucca - Classic Bike Heaven!

Been away for a week... not great timing with all the Manx GP preparations and bike building still to so... but it was booked and paid for months ago.

Visited the town of Lucca in Tuscany where my Grandmother is from. An olde worlde merchant and banking town. No traffic in the town centre except for bicycles. All the locals pedal around on these brilliant bikes. Helena and I hired some bikes and I got some snaps:

I loved the old rust covered ones...

Gotta have a basket for that shopping...

They even had a bicycle shrine!

Couldn't resist this Piaggio.

The streets are littered with these old-time pedalers...

Poli was one of the marques favoured by the locals...

I was admiring this old Raleigh when the owner appeared. We exchanged words and I managed to sign 'cool bike' to the guy. He goes across the street, unlocks a door and ushers me in. It's dark and dingy. He starts whispering and ushers me to the back of a large room with a huge marble table in the middle of it, asking me to mind the cute littel puppy dog on the way. It smelled pretty funky in there. He shows me two more way cool classic bikes in teh next room that he's quite proud of. They were cool.

My eyes adjust to the darkness and I leave through the large room again... only then could I see that the walls were lined with shelves. On the shelves were coffins! There must have been at least a dozen of them. Differnet woods and furnishings. Outside again I bid my classic bike appreciator farewell and see the sign above the door. White lettering on black with crosses and coffins. The undertaker.

And I thought the funky smell in there was the puppy-poo!

Tabacchi - the place where you buy stamps in Italy.

A swanky afair this one - gleaming cream paintwork, matching leather seat and paniers.

Lucca - it was a very cool place just to just pedal around, drink coffee and eat great Tuscan food for a few days!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Chevy Returns

It's a good day! The Chevy is finally fixed (a parts fiasco meant 2 1/2 weeks without her) and MOT'd... I get her back today!
I missed the old gal.

Oh - I also got an extension on my current work contract - it'll take me up to the Manx GP departure date! This is going to make the preparations very tight for time... but you've got to make hay while the sun shines!

TT Mountain Course Licence Accepted!

Just heard form the ACU... they've accepted my late races and issued my TT Mountain Course Licence!


Great timing because I need to shell out 450 quid today for the ferry crossing... yes, 450 sheets for a 2 hour sailing to the IOM and back. The Steam-Racket ferries have a monopoly and are the most expensive and worst ferries in the world!

Got the back-end of the loom sorted last night... rear subframe (that needs repairing), undertray, CPU and other bits. Found out that the last time I rode the beast and crashed her at Cadwell I mullered the clutch master cylinder. Replaced that and fitted the rear brake. Still loads to do. Will take her down to Geoff tonight for the exhaust... also going to get a bit of summer evening riding in down at the farm. Need to work on that fitness!

The hole on my arm is still oozing stuff and I'm feeling all the bruises and bumps from Tuesday nights 'mishap'. Hacking around the field on the four-fiddy will be good and loosen the ol body up a bit.

I am happy... :-)

Thanks to all who've given encouragement and kind words.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Got home from work today and pulled the bikes out the garage to make some space around the BAMF so I can get the wiring harness on.

Took out the Gas-Gas trials machine and started her up... got to keep the fluids fluid you know. Puttered around my house a bit... just losening her up... one thing led to another... I did a few wheelies... puttered a bit more.. a few more wheelies... hit the curb... and launched it and myself down the road.


First time I've crashed a m'bike on tar without wearing protective gear. I was wearing only jeans and tee-shirt and only doing about 5mph. Managed to get some nice road rash... ripped a 5p size piece of flesh out my bionic arm (I got a gory pic but felt it not in the best taste). Bashes and bruises all over. Wrenched my newly healed wrist too. Lucky I didn't land on my head. All this just arsing around... man, that's stoooooopid!

Feel like such a Dumb-ass!

Anyway... cleaned the wounds with surgical spirits, which burns like a mutha-fucka - but then the initial agony and screams subside and it's theres a nice, stangely massochistic afterburn. Not too unpleasant. Scrubbing the dirt and muck out and cutting a chunk of flesh that was hanging off with scissors wasn't so nice though.

Mike arrived minutes after dressing the wound, had a larf at my idiocy and gave me a much needed hand with the harness and rewiring the ignition. Got it all in place and connected up in no time at all (this would have taken me 3 nights work by myself), and then cranked the engine over! She's almost alive!

Mike brought the newly-repainted tank over too. It's gorgeous! A fantastic job by a perfectionist that knocks the spots off my usual Halfords aerosol jobs.

Next step is to get her to Geoff for the exhaust.

Flattrackin' at Buxton

I sent my results off to the ACU yesterday. There ain't much more I can do other than blackmail or bribe members of the TT Mountain Course Licence Committee. Blackmail is cheaper.

After finishing the race on Sunday, I headed up the road to Buxton where the next round of the ShorttrackUK flattrackin' was in full swing.

It was a bit weird being at a race meeting and not racing. But took the opportunity have a chin-wag with the flattrack folks and take some pics and vids.

Richard May leading a Thunderbike heat into turn 1.

Here's a vid of the Thunderbikes final (I think):

This is turn 1 of a Shorttrack semi-final...

Pete Boast (#54) and Rusty Hodgson (#49) coming together in the first corner mayhem...

Boastie having a little lie-down under his bike. The race was stopped. It took a few minutes for Pete to come around... thankfully he was ok.

So he changes his lid, gets back on the bike...
...and wins the restart. Legend!

Here's a vid of the Shorttrack final:

And now into the paddock for some of the coolest race bikes around...

I'm not too good at what bike is what... but I'll try. This is 'cool' bike.

Post-race larfs... no idea what the bike is...

#31 - a Woods Rotax?

Steve Hillary's awesome sounding Harley XR750.

Sideburn Gary's cool Woods Rotax (#13) and the funky 'Flatliner' (#3)

I love this one, #82 - a Kawasaki ERsomething.

The racing was great and some of teh riders make it look so easy to go flat-out and sling a bike sideways. Well... it ain't.

It wet my appetite for flattrackin' again... so after the Manx we'll have a look at returning to the clay.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Three in the Bag

Yesterday I was up at 04h30 to be at the Darley Moor circuit by 08h00. I was entered, paid, scrootered and signed on by 08h45. Of course it's only then I get the race schedule... with practice starting at 10h00. Yep... road-racing... hurry up and wait.

Out for practice. I qualify last.

Out for race 1 that was scheduled for 11h00 or something... started at about 12:15. Guess it's not a ThundersportGB event then. As we line up after the warm-up lap it starts to rain. "Yeeeeha!" I yell in my helmet. I see the body-language of all the racers in front of me stiffen up. Game on!

I make a good start on the wet track and slice between riders... barreling into the space in front of me in the first corners. I leap from 22nd on the grid to about mid-pack in the space of 100 yards. I pick off a few more places till we get to the hairpin. Two bikes go down and a rider is unconscious in the middle of the track. I carefully pick my way through the debris and hoon off down the straight where I see the red flags. Only 5 bikes were in front of me! I curse the riders that caused the red flag and laugh to myself at the same time. Man, I loooove racing in the wet!

We wait 20 minutes for the restart by which time the rain shower has passed over and the track is almost dry. I make a good start and get a few places up in the shortened 6 lap race. But as the riders' confidence return on the dry track I get picked off. The wee monster is no match for 75 plus horsepower MiniTwins and Supersport 400s.

I finish 15th of 18. Three in the bag!

I don't want to risk personal or machanical injury in the second race so collect the results sheet, pack up and leave for a bit of spectating at the ShorttrackUK meeting held at Buxton - it's just 35 minutes away.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Two In the Bag

Racing at Snetterton today to get another qualifying 'meeting'.

Up at 04h30, out the door at 05h00. In the van I read the final instructions for the first time. There is a comprehensive schedule - the first time I've seen one in final instructions. My Qualifying is at 11h35. Blimey... that gives me 6 1/2 hours to drive to Snetterton, scrootineering, sign-on and to kit-up. Plenty time. I go back inside and get another hours shut-eye on the sofa.

An easy drive, scroot, sign-on and kit-up. Out on track at 11h35.

This is the first time I have raced with Thundersport GB. Thundersport GB was started 3 years ago by Dave and Bernadette Stewart. They used to run the show at Bemsee when I raced there in 2004 & 2005. They ran a tight ship and haven't raced at a club that was as well organised. The day's events followed the schedule to the minute - it was brilliant! No need to rush to the circuit and then find out you have a 2 hour wait before getting on the track. There is a nice vibe in the paddock and grids are a lot fuller than the New Era and Derby Phoenix meetings I have done this year... and everything runs like clockwork.

Anyways... to the action. Best lap in qualifying was 1:29.5. Don't know how that stacks up with other Desmo Due times, but I just took it easy - getting used to the bike. I had forgotten to change the gearing so ran out of revs two-thirds down the back straight. I had to feather the trottle so the engine wouldn't blow up!

There is a bit of aftermath happening on my scar from the wrist surgery. My body is pushing some internal stitches out. Last night I dug out two bits of foreign matter. The cuff of my leathers dug in and agravated this wound. It was pretty sore and messy after qualifying. I got the doctor at the circuit medical centre to sort it out.

I start the race at 14h20 sharp. Last on the grid. Racing out of class can sometimes not be much fun. Like at Oulton, they just left me behind. No worries... it's the finish that's important. After 2 laps my wrist is starting to hurt around Coram Corner - a very long, fast right hander. I usually love it, but today it hurts like fuck!

Hanging off the bike on the right-side for so long means holding damn tight with the left hand with the body across to the right side. Like with the trials bikes last week, the sideways movement is a killer on my new bionic wrist. I went slower and slower as it started to hurt more and hurt around Riches corner too (another right-hander).

I finished the race and my wrist was killing. I took some Ibuprofen after but it still swelled up. I took a nap as my next race was at 17h20.

When I woke my wrist was not good. As Colin Edwards said: "If you ain't riding at 110%, you're just wearing out the machinery.". With the wrong gearing, I was concerned for the health of the wee Monster for another 10 laps. Rain was on the way and I didn't feel up to racing, then driving 3 1/2 hours across country to sleep on the floor of a filthy hired van in a wet Darley Moor paddock. I thought of the steak in the fridge a hot shower and my clean, dry bed. I drove home.

My only pic of the 'meeting' - on the way out of Snetterton.

Being home by 19h00 gave me a few hours to spend on the BAMF...

Last night I hooked up the radiators and the whole cooling system. I got the oil radiator and oil system installed as well.

Tonight I put on the clutch, quick-action throttle and throttle bodies. These are the standard 50mm throttle bodies. Once the bike is running, these will be replaced with some 57mm monsters I have on the shelf!

I'm wasted now and need to be up early to be at Darley by 08h00... the Darley Moor guys aren't so organised, so I need to get there then wait around a few hours. It's a 3 hour drive.

I finished the race in last place - the next guy was lapping 4 seconds a lep quicker than me! No worries, my name is on the results sheet. Another 'meeting' in the bag.

Friday, 10 July 2009


My first m'bike was a Honda VTR Firestorm (called a Superhawk in the US). It was also the first road-bike I had ridden - no such thing as starting off small and working your way up. 1000cc Vee Twin... yeah!

I liked it so much I got another one. They sound awsone too.

This is a cool concept bike built around a Firestorm motor and frame that I Oooh'd and Aaah'd about when I first saw it on the net 7 years ago. The builders (Swedes I believe) did a whole bit on the build and there were loads of photos. This is all I could find now:

It's still cool.

BAMF Build 02

The BAMF build continues...

Water pipes, sensors and coils onto the motor and frame

Swing-arm on...

Shock installed - all serviced and a softer spring in for the TT Course...

Modified yolks on... check out that beefy, modified headstock too!

Hangin' from the ceiling and ready for the forks...

Radial Ohlins Bling!
All serviced and resprung for the Isle by Mike (MD Racing) who is helping me with the Black Art of suspension setup...

Wheels on... I have to use spacers between the discs and wheels because of the radial fork/callipers. I have never removed the disc bolts from these wheels. They were stainless bolts (A2), very brittle and had loads of crystalised lock-tite holding them in - I guess the brittleness is from the years of heat tempering. I was very careful... but still managed to snap one off in the wheel. Doh! Gonna have to drill that one out...

Bars on...

Bling radial Brembo front brakes, rear subframe (soon to be modified), exhaust headers and original Titanium SP race cans and link pipe - I got this half race system off my mate Don at Southern Cross for a steal.

As seen, the link pipes from the SP race cans don't match the standard SP header downpipes. Aprilia don't sell just the headers or link pipes and want £2600 for a full SP race system!! I hope to get custom link pipes made up... the front pipe is straight-forward... the rear one looks tricky - down, along then a tight turn around.

At a little after midnight, after 6 or so hours at it... it's starting to take shape. But this is the easy part of the build...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Old SpeedTherapy Website

Added a link on the right (below the Blog Archive) to my old SpeedTherapy website that was last updated in Dec 2005. Going to point the SpeedTherapy domain to this blog so it's nice 'n neat 'n tidy.

BAMF Build 01

Great news! I picked up the BAMF motor on Tuesday evening. Now the build can begin!

All lookin' clean an shiny... it's taken 7 months to get this far!

A good looking chunk of metal... 68 kilograms

The Cosworth heads have been skimmed and had some extra porting work done.

Porn. One sick looking slipper clutch! Pity it gets covered up...

I saw an RSV4 in the flesh last week. It's beautiful. I checked out the bits Aprilia are boasting about like the adjustable swing-arm pivot, engine mountings and headstock. The BAMF's got all those!

The way these are adjusted on the RSV4 is exactly the same as on the BAMF - they are using the same stuff from 11 years ago. What they don't tell you is that you can't get the spacers that are used to do the adjustments or any information on how they would be used. It looks trick and is a great conversation point - but unless you're an engineer that unsderstands bike geometry and keen enough to get stuff made up... it's just blah, blah marketing gumpf.

I'm keen enough to get stuff made up and Ant who is ex-KR MotoGP frame and swing-arm designer will help me with the geometry stuff! Yep, this is going to be one BAMF!

A specialist tool - a castle nut socket made from a 19mm hex socket.

Frame on the motor... easier than motor in the frame! Check out that customised adjustable headstock!

Spent a few hours on it last night... doing the stuff that needs to be done before the frame is bolted on proper. Got the cooling system all sorted - because of the Cosworth heads, this is a little different to the standard RSV system. Will do the inside-frame electrics (once again, different to a standard RSV) tonight.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


A brilliant post on the Sideburn blog this morning:

Thanks Al McQ for the cool pic of your father and the bit about WWII bomber crews.

I had a great Uncle who was part of a bomber crew during and after D-Day. He survived against the odds but never said a word about the experience to anyone when he returned - not even to his wife.

Only a few weeks ago when I was recovering from my operation, I'd feel really down. So I'd watch realistic WWII movies (Band of Brothers episode 1 to 10). While sitting in the comfort of my living room, having just eaten a hot meal and sipping good beer, I'd see the shit that these guys went through - and people all over the world are still going through. I'd feel a whole lot better about my situation in life and the little bit of pain and discomfort I was feeling.

A reality check.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


This is uber-cool!
Thanks Sideblog for the cool pics of how the AMA pros do it and the inspiration...

I want to go sideways like that!

Monday, 6 July 2009

On Any Sunday

Had a great bikey weekend, despite the waste of time, money, effort 400 mile round-trip to Oulton Park.

(Misty sunrise in the midlands and looking chipper at 05h00...)

Finished the second race... even did a pit-stop! I could smell petrol on the start line after the warm-up lap. Then I saw some fluid spashed across the clocks during the first lap. I Slowed right down and came into the pits... it was a looong lap! Turns out the fuel cap wasn't closed properly even though it looked closed. Doh! This is good though... all part of learning the bike. Far better for something like this to happen at Oulton Park than after the pit-stop during the Manx GP race! Then the tank will be brimmed and there's a big risk of us turning into a 100mph fireball down Bray Hill!

So... we got one in the bag... two to go next weekend.

(Mike's wee Monster went well and felt good - not quite as good as my wee Monster... so we need to make a few minor changes. Or mabe it's all in my head!)

My wrist was fine - wasn't even sore... so I went up to the farm yesterday to get back on the crosser and start to get fit.

It was a glorious day. Mike and Ant were out on the trials bikes (Mike was riding his new Beta Rev3 for teh first time - it's a minter!), I took the four-fiddy crosser (KTM 450 EXC).

While Mike and Ant were playing with the trials bikes in the woods, I did laps of the track and blasted up and down the fields. It's overgrown and in most places just a single track through 2 feet of grass. It's the driest I've ever seen it, and if you keep on the foot-wide path it was fast... very fast!
(Mike's specially adapted glove over the plaster cast... held on with cable ties... factory! Behind Ant is the 'track'... so overgrown that the first few laps I could hardly find it.)

I gave the four-fiddy a canning up the fields... and scared myself. I had forgotten how fast it is and how much room you need to stop from 55 mph on dirt. A bit of faith is also needed to open her up when you can hardly see the paths... thankfully I didn't meet any 'lurkers' on teh way. I started to get her nicely sideways coming in and getting out of the 90 degree turns at the corners of the fields... man, I want to get back to flat-trackin' !

(Ant trialsing it up!)

I had a go on the trials bikes... but wrist started to hurt so got back to hooning around on the four-fiddy. One needs a lot of sideways wrist movement and also needed to work the clutch on the trials bikes, the four-fiddy has a rekluse clutch which is brilliant! Mike's scaphoid is still broken and is going to be screwed back together soon, he still had a plaster cast on. But this didn't stop him!

(The gully under this concrete pillar is about 6 feet deep!)

Fantastic weather, having a larff down the field with my mates and motorbikes and cold beer afterwrads - it was a great weekend. On any frikkin' Sunday man!