Thursday, 28 March 2013

Scenes from South Africa

Some great photography from one of my brother Nic's recent tilley-tours around South Africa's dirt roads on his LC4...

Sometimes I really miss South Africa.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

KTM Cafe by Nigel Petrie

Built on a KTM EXCF 250 dirt bike... damn sweet!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

King Bike Ducati Monster

Supercool Ducati Monster by King Bike.... Monsters rock!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Road Trip

Busy day yesterday... 350 mile round-trip through snowstorms... last stop was my mate Don's workshop. Perfect finish to the day having a beer, chatting bikes and reliving war stories from our days racing 'Supertwins' nearly 10 years ago :-)

First stop... Made in Italy Motorcycles to oogle over a whole lot of rare and exotic Italian porn and to chat to owner John about some racing ideas...

Manx weapon?

 Something more modern.

Super-exotic, rare and expensive.

 Just love these old Supersports.

Poise of a race machine.

Just too much to take in... including a zero miles 996R.

Next stop: pickup a low mileage engine for the Big Betty (ManxGP Senior bike). Then down to Don's in London to drop it off. She'll be up and running soon.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

IOM Dreams

Classic TT 2013 - new rules... new ideas... this space.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Snowy Snetterton

Got the Wee Monster prepped and loaded Friday night for the first round of the Ducati Sporting Club’s Desmo Due Championship at Snetterton.Last time I was at Snetterton in March it snowed and I think just about every other time I have been to Snetterton, the weather has been shite. True to form we had 15mph wind, 4 degrees and rain on Saturday.

Up with the sparrows and arrive at a rain sodden track. Scrootineering and signing-on done quickly, then loaded the bike back in the van to keep it out of the rain while I have a nap. It didn’t stop raining. Qualifying sessions were started and stopped becasue of a water-logged track. I waited around, but our session never arrived. Desmo Duo racing was eventually cancelled becasue we run on road tyres and there was just to much water around. Bugger!

I've got my best results in crap weather, so was up for it. 4 hour round trip 6 hours hiding out in the van trying to keep dry and warm is all I got from Saturday. One of the big negatives for me in road racing is all the waiting around. Crap.
Sunday's forecast was worse. They got it right this time... I got up to the circuit to find 1 inch of snow and freezing cold. At 09h15 it was annouced that the Sunday's racing was to be abandoned. Great... another 2 hour drive back home.
Pretty disappointed about it... was really keen and up for it. The plan was to have two more qualification rounds for the Manx under my belt and perhaps a trophy or two. Will have to wait till the next schduled round on 20th April at Oulton Park to try out all the improvements to the MD-Racing tuned Wee Monster and get those qualification rounds in.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Wee Monster Revived

In five days the seasons' road racin starts.

In four years I've raced the Wee Monster a few times each season, never serviced her or changed any fluids... just few sets of tyres and given her a spaking on the British short circuits. Treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen. Years of hamering and slight neglect, she was always willing and normally brought home trophies when the weather was shit.

Ally swing-arm is more than 2kg lighter, cut 'n shut exhaust and new (non binding) rear-brake master cylinder. Marginal gains...

In the dry she'd be out of her league... I'd get passed on both sides simultaneously on the straights. She was old, tired, slow and overweight. But she cost me little and gave me the most success I've had on the roads. Last June I bagged two second places on her. Ah, it was sweet... but a bit annoying knowng that if I spent a bit of cash on her gave her some of the lovin' she's earned those would have been P1s.

Wafer-thin and superlight...
Her clutch was screwed from the last couple of race meetings - that cost me 8 to 10 places off the line on those two races. She was fat... and running on the same old oil that I bought her with. I her on a diet before Christmas and then dropped her off at Mike's (MD-Racing - the only place for fast Ducatis!) for some much needed training and TLC.

Nature's spray-booth

Basic service and check-up. Valves were leaking badly, rings leaking and compression was waaaay down. Some head clean-up and valves re-seated. Clutch was poked, she was coked and just generally worn out. I put my hand deeper into my pocket and fitted a Power Commander. I stopped short of an exhaust system... she already had some pipes (standard) and double cans so didn't figure the expense was worth the gain. So we did a cut 'n shut job on the left can - just to save weight.

Onto the Dyno for a toon-up. She came back with 59bhp. Still 6 shy of the class limit... but probably around 10 up on what she had before. Happy with that :-)

I picked her up on the weekend (delayed by illness), gave her a clean, some new brakes (pads were almost on the metal and discs were 3.2mm of the 3.6mm minimum thickness), fitted my home-brew belly-pan (0.5 kg lighter!) and she's just about good to go.

Not quite the 63bhp I'd hoped for... but she is standard, old and a bit tired...

Man, I haven't been looking forward to some short-circuit racing like this for many years. Hell... it's the first time in about five years that I've signed-up to race Saturday and Sunday.
The boy is keen! :-)

Big thanks to Mike at MD Racing for the help and sponsorship :-)

Back from the shop lookin' purdy as ever!