Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Shinya Kimura

A wonderful clip about a master craftsman, Shinya Kimura:

Thanks Sideblog for the link!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Incredible Machine

A link to a vid of an incredible machine from Anthony of the Co-Built blog:

Thursday, 24 June 2010

NCR Sweet Dukes

It's not often MCN (MotorCycleNews - the UK's biggest bike publication) has anything interesting in it... but spotted a small collection of waaaaaay sick bikes on their website:

Mike Hailwood TT
A tribute to Mike The Bike's TT comeback in 1978. 130bhp, 136kg and the most delectable titanium/carbon parts.

 New Blue

 A tribute to the 1977 Daytona superbike race-winning 750SS, the Sport 1000 is tuned to 110bhp, weighing just 145kg.

One-Shot Millona

Based on a Ducati 1000SS, the tuned 100bhp air-cooled engine only has to move 145kg of honed track bike.

Of course... being MCN, they will have a full article (with two pages of pics) written on the increased cubic capacity of the new GIXER's overflow bottle... but just half a sentence on each of these beauties that they found online.

The bikes are from NCR in Bolgna who have brought out the super exclusive Desmosedici based M16 special... a piece of unobtanium. But the beasts above... buildable.

I want to build one of these!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

News from Africa - Lesotho Off-road

Latest installment from my brother Igor's South African National Off-road campaign:

Did a little off-road race in the ice capped peaks of Lesotho this past weekend...awesome ride. We were told that the pits were blanketed in snow on Tuesday, and well conditions had hardly changed by time we did the time trial on Fri, no snow but I did see an eskimo.

Come Sat morn, and it was bitter to say the least, some said -6. Anyway, we donned double layers and an enduro jacket and headed into the mountains and things went rather well in the beginning. Early on the sun was at a very acute angle into our faces which made for real difficultly in reading of markers, but I fortunately had a G.P.S. to refer to which helped ALOT!. (couldn't get it to work the day before so had a bit of luck there) Could see a lot of riders wrong-slotting and overshooting early on, and left a lot of them behind purely because I could navigate better.

Then I hit the first big climb...crap!! 30 degree angle, in shadow, loose rocks slick with frost on top of black ice. Manage to work the 450 up to a point, lost momentum on the frozen cobble stone surface, come to a halt and slide back down and fall. Shit ! Neva fallen like this in an off- road race. Pick the bike up, all to the amusement of the half dozen or so locals that were watching the action and try to pull off again, make about 30cm of ground, slid back and fall ova again...crap! Up again, push bike up to a point with more traction and on we go...

Shit very tired now. get to within a stones throw away from the second DSP and have to come down over big rocks, turn and go over a frozen stream....aaaahh crap!, down again, this is NOT off-road !!

Get to Nic at DSP gasping for air...cracked on and made it to half way. Got more fuel and food and was desperately trying to cope with the fear of the ice climb coming up, thought that if I battled so much on the first lap( and I was probably only the 8th or 10th rider to go through there on the first lap) it was going to be utter bedlam by the time I got there again, but knew I could rely on my second wind to get me through.

But alas, most made it up ok, I was just making a meal of it for some reason (probably giving the big 4 stroke to much gas). Rolled straight into it for the second time and hung up half way, fortunately had cash ( in the form of coins duct-taped to the back of my front fork) which I invested in some of the local man power who pushed me up to the same traction rich point as before and on I went, knackered, but knew my second wind was imminent.

All the dozen or so frozen streams we crossed in the morning were still solid by the time we got there later in the day but you learn how to cope with them pretty quickly so no more trouble there. took the rest of the lap slow and steady waiting for that second wind, got to the finish exhausted but relieved and satisfied....aaaah the second wind arrived, pity it came out my arse!

Definitely one of the more technical off-road races in the calendar, more like an enduro with an average speed of around 30 kph whereas normally we would be doing around 65 kph, but a wicked ride nonetheless, result 10th in senior class.
Thanks to Nic for all the support and banter...

Monday, 21 June 2010

2010 TT Mountain Course Licence

After the palavah of getting my TT Mountain Course Licance last year I was relieved to receive my licence for this year.

Ferry - booked
Accomodation - booked
Race entries - accepted
Licence - granted
Senior bike - not ridden it in 10 months, modified since and untested
Ultralightweight bike - never ridden it

Test/track day - BOOKED!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Amman Valley Vid

Managed to get one vid at Amman Valley... after about 2 mins you can't see squat - about as much as I could see through my goggles! So... just listen to the sound of struggle...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Erzberg Hero Pics

I just got some hero pics from Erzberg Prologue Day 1:

Day 2:

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Flattrack Numberboards

Some number boards from Amman Valley

I was No.45 last year... took No.40 this year... my first race No. This board's been through the mill.

Geoff Cain on No.45 

 Ben Park's creative No.57 made from his photographic flash reflector and duct-tape - lovin' it!

Anthony Brown's No.47

My favourite - Jacopo Monti's pimped-out holed-snake-skin look

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Erzberg Vids - Helmetcam

Got my helmetcam sorted for Erzberg... and made a vid of my first Prologue run (also recorded the second, but the battery ran flat and I lost the vid - dumb-ass recorder!).

Part 1:

Part 2:

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Erzberg Harescramble

The Austrians love their bikes

More great scenery on the way to Eisenerz

2 miles from Erzberg

06 June 2010, 12:32
At the finish of Erzberg 2010. 5 minutes ago there was an announcement that the leader is about 20 minutes away. I think they said it was Taddy - the favourite trying to make it 4 in a row!

Factory KTM riders: Kurt Caselli, the american favorite in his short-sleeves and Daryll Curtis of South Africa

Ex Trials World Champ: Dougie Lampkin. He collapsed from heat exhaustion while in second place in last year's race... and while lying on the side of the course was knocked unconscious by a rock kicked up by Graham Jarvis who was passing him. He looked pretty focused before the race!

Brit team: FatCat lead by Dougie Lampkin

I heard the name Jaham Garvis announced too... but I think they meant one of the Brits: Graham Jarvis. They started teh race about an hour and a half ago. A spectacle!

'The 500' line up under the Iron Giant

The crowd is starting to gather around te enduro-cross course they will finish on.

Yeah, I didn't qualify. the fastest 500 were fast! I don't know where I was placed in my second run... apparently there was an alcohol fuelled scrummage last night in the paddock when the times came out. There were a few fragments of results sheets, but only 'the 500' were up and intact. Only 1 of my Brit neighbors made teh cut in position 431. well done Chris Bursell!


This was the second set of climbs after the start... the hill-climbs from Thursday!

The first big descent after the start

Just heard another announcement: the leader is expected in 30 minutes. Guess the last section is tougher than they thought.

It's 32 degrees in the shade, so it's gotta be tough out there!

Those riders should have all fitted cheap Taiwanese tyres!

This was the guy in last place about 200 yards form the start... almost crashing back down to the start...

... and then crashing 50 yards later! The kind of thing I would have done... IF I had qualified

The winner! Taddy Blazusiak - 4 times in a row!

Second place and on the podium for the fourth time - Semi-pro Andreas Lettenbichler on his BMW 450

Third place Dougie Lampkin on his Beta 400 - there were only 15 finishers this year... 5 of them Brits!

My Erzberg Lessons Learned:
- Use cheap Taiwanese tyres for hill-climbs and at Erzberg
- Train to get bike-fit = ride, ride, ride
- These things are more fun when you do them with your mates

More stunning Austrian scenery on the drive home

It's been quite a fantastic experience... one I'd love to do again!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Erzberg Pics Added

I've got around to downloading my Erzberg pics and have added some to the Day 1 & 2 Prologue posts below...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Erzberg Prologue - Day 2

Up with the sparrows and to Erzberg for Day 2 of the Prologue - last chance to qualify for the Harescramble. Clear, sunny day. Woke with a cracking headache... feeling tired, shit and forearms/arms and shoulders already stiff and sore.

More surface area on the knobs to get traction in the soft sand 

Started at about 11:00. The course had dried up a bit. Still a few big water holes but I got through them ok. I definitely felt fatser through the first sections. But the long, fast sections were full of holes and rocks. Bumpy as fuck! The bike was bucking a weaving all over the place. I just held on and pretty soon the burning feeling in my forearms came back.

My Brit neighbors - Shane, Shane's dad, Ian and Chris (who qualified)

As the pain came... so my speed dropped. Flat-out 6th gear sections became flat-out 5th gear sections. I was just fighting the bars, fighting the pain.

It was great fun, but wasn't enjoying it as much as Friday's Prologue. I think my body was just tired and a bit worn out from not enough sleep, travel and the baptism on Friday. I pushed on but was slow through the turns and not flat-out on the flat-out bits. Braking early or just rolling the throttle to try slow down and give my arms some rest. Not the way to get a good time.

Taddy (white cap) in the KTM garage

I crossed the finish with no mistakes - I was going too slow to make any!

Another awesomly pretty trail ride back to the paddock... with a few excursions along the way. :-)

I got back to the hill-climb 'Rocket Ride' of Thursday. Pointed the four-fiddy at it and let her rip in second gear. She just climbed all the way up - no problem! Ha! Then the next one... alll the way up! The final hill was barricaded.

There were quite a few rally bikes competing in the Prologue - mostly old-skool

On Friday night I chatted with the brits I'm camped next to. He had fiited a cheap 45 Euro Taiwanese tyre with huge, chunky knobs and tried the hill-climb again. He said it was "like cheating". I had one of those Taiwanese wonders on a MX rim in my van and had fitted it Saturday morning. Yes... it was like cheating.

The Austrian Hummer club had fun all weekend long with drives out into the mine

I rode down teh hill-climbs then went for an even bigger hill on the other side of the quarry... the first big climb of the Harscramble. There was a group of about 50 riders just watching and only about 10 attempting this monster. Brimming with confidence I let the old gal rip up that hill. Up, up, up... to the top! It was easier than the hill-climb hills! Forget about F.I.M. approved tyres, cheap Taiwanese tyres are fuckin' A!

Bikes hammered along the Prologue course non-stop the whole day

I knew I wasn't fast enough to qaualify in the top 500... so I just rode around climbing-hills and doing skids. Until I ran out of juice. Forgot that I'd only put enough in the tank for the Prologue, the return and a bit extra. A fellow Austrian competitor had camped only 100 yards from where I stopped and kindly gave me a liter or so to get back to the van.

Hot and dry - the Erzberg dust-bowl

The Chevy wasn't too happy about it...

A fun day's riding, but a bit disappiointed with my lack-lustre performance. I didn't attack the course enough... my fitness failed me.

More Austrian scenery on my commute

Friday, 4 June 2010

Erzberg Prologue - Day 1

It was raining when I got to Erzberg - had been raining all night. Mud and water everywhere.

I put some risers on the bars (thanks Igor) as the replacements for the bars I bent in Scotland didn't have enough rise on them. Checked the gas and gave everything a once over. Good to go!

The Prologue is a 13km time trial up the mine access roads. The fastest 500 qualify for the main event on Sunday, the 4 hour Harescramble - this is my objective. My race number is 320 out of about 1800... and we get to do the prologue roughly by race number. Prologue started at 09h00 with the pros and factory riders (all low numbers) blasting off into the puddles.

All's quiet early on Prologue Day 1 

The rain had stopped at about 08h00 so it was looking better by the time I was in the gathering area at about 10h00. I only started at 11h00... hurry up and wait. The plan was to make a good clean run. Not push it too much as I'd never seen the course before and had no idea what to expect.

I rode up onto the start platform. 1st gear... wait for the green light and go! Down the ramp and acelerate hard, up through the gears, looking for the first turn. Here? No... further... whooooah. Hold-up there boy! I brake hard, nearly missing the turn and the bike stalls (we're not allowed to run engines in the 1 hour wait for our turn... she was a bit cold). A bit of nerves there... but only a few seconds lost as I fire her up and gas out of the turn.

There were a few lady riders out there too - 5 or 6 of them beat me!

Fast, wide roads but bumpy as fuck. Sections of cricket-ball sized rocks and some deep pools. I'm slower than I know I should be as I find my feet around the loose, slippery, rocky turns. But pretty soon I get into the flatout-anchors-hairpin bend-flatout nature of the course. It's not all straightforward or well marked.

I get passed early on, but hold onto the passing rider. I always go quicker when chasing... which is not great becasue it means there needs to be someone to chase!

I come around a left hairpin and am a bit eager on the gas in teh wet conditions. The rear comes around and I'm off. Bollocks. 3 riders grouped together pass me as pick the bike up and blast after them. I catch another slower rider. Think I'm at the finish when I not only half way there and slither, slip, slide and fly up the mountain. It's hard work and at speed the bike is bucking and shaking it's head over the rough surface and rocks. I try keep her flat-out. Not so easy!

After about 10 minutes my forearms begin to ache from the extreme workout they're getting. This is where my lack of bike-time tells. 3 minutes later and my forearms are burning. I try relax, but as soon as I do, the bike gets so out of shape and want's to have me off. I have to just grit my teeth and hang on. My speed drops off as I fight the pain. My forearms just aren't working as they should.

Bejeesus my arms hurt! But blasting up the mountain is just oh so much fuckin fun!

A bit of damage from the Rocket Ride the day before

I reach the top without seeing any other riders en-route. Geez! That was fun!

I join the group of about 30 other riders, barely have a few minutes to let the pain in my forearms subside and the guides start up thier engines to take us back. I've done hardly any trail riding, but the route around the back of the mountain is just spectacular. I just soak it all in. Mountains, forest, waterfalls... beautiful! I also get to see just how frikking high we are. We've climbed about 700 metres from the start. Were in the clouds!


Don't think my time was that good because by 12h00 the sun was shinning and everything was drying up. The guys starting later in the day will easily be faster. No worries... we have another run tomorrow.

My daily commute to Erzberg (town of Eisenerz) was pretty

I helmet-cammed my run. I'll get it up on YouTube as soon as I have time to.