Friday, 20 November 2015

I Killed the Chevy

Before we set-off for the TT in May, the Chev-Dawg was loaded to the ceiling and had two race bikes strapped down on the trailer. I stroked her dash and said “Just one more trip baby. Get us there and back.” She did just that. But a few weeks after returning from the TT, she  started giving problems. I spent many a weekend working on her… but it was just one thing after another. It was as if she was giving up.

Chev-Dawg's introduction to motosickle racing: Darley Moor 2007

She broke down twice on me and left me stranded – I got recovered at great inconvenience. I spent many hours working on her and had spent quite a bit of moolah in parts. She had an upcoming MOT (road worthy test) and I knew it would come with a big bill as the front steering bits were worn-out. I thought I had got all her problems (except the front steering…) sorted. I drove her around for a few weeks until one night, I was just outside Heathrow on the way home when the oil pressure gauge drops to zero.

Working on cars... you've got to lye in the dirt... at funny angles... siezed bolts are the norm and they're dirty bastards.

 I fuckin' HATEworking on cars.

I pull over. I could smell oil. I pop the hood. In the darkness, I could see the right side of the engine gleaming with oil. Fuck. A major leak somewhere. I had a look around and weighed up my options. 1) Spend the next 6 hours getting recovered and have an oil-dripping mess on my driveway for me to fix. 2) Have her recovered to a garage that can fix her and hand me a big bill. 3) try get her home and straight onto eBay.

Overloaded, she got us, the bikes and a shit-load of gear to the Isle of Man and back for 7 campaigns. This was 2012

If she didn’t make it home, I was no worse off than now. Still had to be recovered. I was pretty pissed-off with her - on her previous break-down I vowed it would be the last time she left me stranded. So, I started her up and pointed her north for the 70 mile trip home and gave her beans!

ManxGP & Classic TT 2013. Two bikes on the trailer...

...and a Ducati 888 stuffed in the back!

10 miles into the trip the engine started knocking… I just put my foot down to try make the 60 miles for home go quicker. Surprisingly, she kept on going… 10 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles. She was going down with a fight.

14 miles from home and the engine knocking get louder and louder. Then 'Clunk'... I freewheel her onto the M1 hard-shoulder.

I’ve killed the Chevy.

ManxGP and Classic TT 2014

I go through the whole farcical process of getting recovered for the third time: A tow guy arrives in an hour to get me off the motorway. It’s considered a dangerous place so they are twice as quick as normal… still takes an hour though. He drags me to the nearest service station… who haven’t done a car service in more than 20 years… they only offer  shit food and gas. At least the coffee is good. Another wait for the mobile service guy to arrive… have a poke around and tell me it’s fucked. No shit Dood. Another wait for a flat-bed truck to take me and the Chevy carcass the remaining  10 miles home.

TT 2015 - the Boerewors Bros Epic TT Adventure!

This whole process take 6 hours and after laying some planks and old sheets under the dripping Dawg I’m in bed at 04h00. Up again at 06h00 to hitch a lift with my neighbour to the station to get to work. Yay. It takes me the week to recover the lack of sleep.

The next weekend I take all my crap out of her… take some pics and she’s on a 5 day eBay auction. A week later a guy with a flat-bed arrives to take her away.

Dirttrackin' too. Transport...

...pits, accomodation, storage... she did it all!

 I have fond memories and she was solid n good… till near the end. She had a number of niggles… 20 years driving and 170 000 miles does that. She’d done a lot of hard work hauling bikes and gear around the country’s race tracks. Some may say abused – I say worked. I loved the old girl and she’d served well but I’d just lost the appetite to keep her going. She was just getting old and I was tired of being let down. Reliability is key... without reliability... you have nothing.

I'm sorry it had to end this way...

I took the advice I have been given over the last few years by friends and family and it was time to move on.

Goodbye Chev-Dawg – you’re the best damn car I’ve ever had.

The 4.3l Vortec V6 was a gem... 200bhp she could haul anything all day long.

Chevy Astro tintop - knackered engine... one careful owner... a snip at fourhundredbucks.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


I’ve been meaning to do this post for a few months now…

Part of getting to and competing in the TT earlier this year was the Indiegogofundraising campaign. 50% of all donations that weren’t for tyres, caps or tee-shirts was given to help others in need of financial assistance through the Kiva micro-lending site. The campaign raised £340 whichworked out to $450 in loans. This is where the loans went:

The Kiva micro-lending system is not perfect. But I believe it helps people that are less well off than most of us and that are normally excluded from financial systems work their way out of poverty, be able to provide for their families and add value to their communities. Hand-outs through charity is a short-term solution and does little to help the millions of people around the world break out of the cycle of poverty. You also have very little idea of where your money goes with these big organizations.

These micro loans help the disadvantaged help themselves. Sign-up and you can lend as little as $25. All the loan repayments from Armando, Aurora and Caesar will be continuously re-lent to help others – so your donations will keep giving

Thank you for your generosity :-)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Go Fast!

Over the years racing, I have got many “Be careful”s before swinging my leg over a bike and heading out onto a track. Being careful goes without saying on a race track. The primary objective is to NOT get it wrong, to NOT fall off and NOT get hurt. Especially around one of the most unforgiving tracks in the world - the TT Mountain Course. Although I have a strong sense of self preservation, I am out there on track to push to the limit. To the limits of the machine and to my own limits. This is what the competition brings out. This is why we race. It’s quite a personal thing.

TT Legend - Dave Jefferies

As a result, I will always give encouragement and say to fellow competitors before a race “ Have a good one”… and if I wasn’t out there with them on track I’d normally add: “Go fast!”. This is what we are trying to do out there… have a good one and go fast.

TT Legend: Joey Dunlop

Robery Dunlop
During my nine campaigns on the Isle of Man since 2005, losing fellow competitors and race buddies to the TT Mountain Course is a reality. We, as riders, all know the dangers. We’ve all been affected by the loss of fellow competitors and friends. I had often thought; What if I encouraged a mate to “Go Fast” and then they landed up going flat out on the big race track in the sky?

 Simon Andrews

Martin Finnegan
Richard Britton

As per my last post, David Taylor, an Isle of Man race buddy of mine was killed in September while competing in the Manx Grand Prix. David was a seasoned veteran of the TT Mountain Course, having competed since 1996. Due to other commitments, David wasn’t at the Manx in 2013 and 2014 but was back this year to ride the most incredible race track on the planet.

Together with other friends competing at this year’s Classic TT/Manx GP, I followed David’s progress through his online FB updates and timesheets every night of practice. He was struggling for his usual pace in the beginning of practice week through the trying conditions that all competitors on the Isle going through. Maybe he was a bit rusty after two years away. But... by the final practice he was a lot faster and getting to where he wanted to be.

On the Thursday night before the Senior race, he posted this on FaceBook:

“All prepped and ready for tomorrows Senior Manx GP. Weather forecast looks OK so fingers crossed for a good run - let the madness commence :-)”.

I hit the ‘like’ button and replied: “Have a good one Dood... GO FAST!!!”. On Friday morning before the race, David hit the ‘like’ button on my comment.

A few hours later, David crashed out of the Manx Grand Prix Senior race on the last lap at Brandywell up on the Mountain section. On Saturday evening, David passed away from his injuries.

Race face...

David sets off on his last race

David going fast!

Now it’s happened. I’ve had time to reflect.

David was out there doing what he loved. I believe that I helped in a tiny way to add to the courage needed to take on the most fearsome, dangerous and awesome race track in the world. He was going to do it anyway. When I am encouraged, I feel stronger and as a result am more confident and focussed… less likely to hesitate and make a costly error. I can only assume it is the same for everyone.

I feel fine about it.

So, to my good buddy David, and all who are out there challenging themselves and taking it to the limit on the race tracks of the world... and above: Have a good one… and Go Fast!. 

"Have a good one Dood... GO FAST!!!"

Sunday, 4 October 2015

RIP David Taylor

Nearly a month ago, I got the sad news that David Taylor had passed away from injuries sustained after he came off at Brandywell in the last lap of the Manx Grand Prix Senior race on Friday 4th September.

I had got to know David over the years competing at the Manx and on more than one occasion we were parked next to each other during the wait for the ferry across and had a good catch-up. We were similar in many ways… both worked in technology, struggled sometimes to fit our racing in around our work travel commitments, both on tight budgets and trying to get the most out of older/stock machines... I think we we just about the only two who didn;t have a van to fit the bikes in and trailered the bikes to and from the IOM. Most importantly, we shared a love for going as fast as we could on the TT Mountain Course.

Ferry crossings, paddock banter and assembly area chats - I knew David more than all the riders that I have known over the years that have lost their lives on the TT Mountain Course.

David was out there doing what he loved… stretching those cables around the most challenging race track in the world. Rest in Peace David

Friday, 2 October 2015


I've been utterley shite at posting on the blog since my return from the TT. Many reasons... a bad dose of post TT/Manx blues is one of them.

A few things have been going on... I'll try make these past events seem vaguely interesting in retrospect... some posts coming up...

Friday, 7 August 2015

Tomorrow We Race!

I've been pretty shit with blog posts since the TT. Work, the crap commute and travel to be with my wife have sucked up all my time n energy. I have managed to do a round of Dirttrackin though... it was ok. I'll post on that soon. My next race adventure is tomorrow.

Up early and a 4 hour drive to south Wales for hopefully 2 days racing at Amman Valley. It's the biggest track we race on... I love the speed on that 1/2 mile track. I've only raced there twice. In 2010 I was still a Rookie and arrived unprepared - shit weather and things didn't go great. In 2011 I was faster, but crashed my ass off. I've never made a final at Amman... despite enjoying the track.

Here's hoping I have a good weekend on the dirt to help lift me out of this shitty depressed state I've been in for the last 2 months. 'Cmon! Bring it on!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Ok, ok... enough of the TT already. Life goes on.

Last weekend, Ant and I went to Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway. It's a drag race meet for pre 80s cars and bikes. It was an awesome day out. The last time I went to drag racing I was a teenager... so it was just as I remembered it!

These funnycars were incredible. Sub 7 seconds. The Apache recorded a weekend best ET of 6.2 secs for the quarter mile. That is soooodamnfuckinfast!


A wee Fiat with a big V8

There was a whole parking lot full of hot-rods, muscle cars and other cool stuff...

Super Bad Ass!

Another bad boy

I'm a bit of a Chevy guy

An awesome P51 Mustange display to boot

Old-timer drag-bikes...

...with a few twin-engined Triumphs too.

Don't mess with these supercharged souped up campers... they'll blow 99.9% of modern cars into the weeds!

Love the old slingshots with facemasks and retro backup girls

Piet Mondrian having a go

Lots of tyre smokin action...

... and then this old girl shat herself on the start-line. Is than my con-rod?


One day I will have a pre '73 Camaro :-)

Camaro in a different guise...

Hot rod

I love the lines of the P1800 Volvo. I have this pipe-dream of giving one an engine transplant and give it some teeth... this is a bit overboard... but cool!

Beautiful Challenger 

More rods

The apple or Ant's eye... there were quite a few awesome Chevy Bel Airs there... all were kitted out with big-blocks and huge rear tyres. Subtle... you had to look hard.

More Camaro badness