Sunday, 26 April 2015

KMR in da Hoose

The Supersport build is in good hands and progressing on schedule. Maxton finished re-valving and setting up the forks and the made-to-order GP10 shock last week. Loads of parts have been ordered and most have been delivered. John Trigger will start the engine work this coming week :-)

I have been away for work a lot in the last few weeks. Super-grateful to have some work... but does make the TT prep more challenging. Last weekend I was home for a few hours and took the opportunity to pick-up the Lightweight bike. A KMR Kawasaki - it's a proper piece of kit. I only had time to collect it and then spend 45 minutes oogling it in the garage. Next weekend the TT prep for this week bike starts.

The KMR is built by Ryan Farquhar - who has won more Irish Road races than even Joey Dunlop. A true gent and great guy... this is the 12th KMR to come form his fabled workshop. It was the bike Jeremy McWilliams rode at the NW200 in 2013. Last year it was piloted to a brilliant 4th place by my friend Warren Verwey at the ManxGP. Warren did a fastest lap of 110mph... on a little 650 twin - that's cookin!

Warren at the ManxGP 2014 - 4th place on only his second visit to the Isle

Over the autumn, as my TT plans were coming together, I was going to build a Kawasaki ER-6 TT bike. I spent about 2 hours with this bike in Cotober... fairings off and took loads of photos and measurements. I wanted to understand what makes a KMR one of the best Lightweight bikes out there. It's a proper bike... built for the roads by someone who knows.

There is no way I could have built a bike as good. It would have cost me more and I would have ended up with something that still needed to be developed. This bike a fit for purpose... and it's ready to go. Thanks for your patience Warren :-)

Just a few days prep in the garage and she'll be ready to roll down Bray Hill. Man, I can't wait to hold this baby flat out down Glencrutchery there!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Duke Caf

A damn fine Ducati cafe racer... love the backyard photography too... makes it real.

Thanks Cafe Racer Culture for the link.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Triumph Build Starts

A few weeks ago I picked up what is to become the TT Supersport bike. A 2014 Triumph Daytona 675R road bike from Jack Lilley's in Ashford.

The guys at Jack Lilley gave me an old, dented tank with the bike... I took it down to my friend Steve at MTS Classics and got to work modifying it for more capacity....

Steve's magic blaster cleans in seconds!

I went back a few days later - Steve had smoothed out the kinked dent on the corner of the tank. No bodyfiller needed - a master craftsman!

He's also tack welded to tank bottom in place for a fitting...

Neil, Andy and Steve - preparing his twin-engined classic slideycar for racing on the weekend... to give it a test run in the yard! 

The Triumph was owned by a London wanker (...I mean banker) and had the whole Triumph aftermarket catalog thrown at it. The Satnav holder kept on hitting my helmet when I was tucked in and the heated grips were so fat my hands ached after 10 minutes.

Most of it tat and bling. Crap that doesn't enhance the looks or make it go faster. What a waste of cash. Easy come, easy go I guess.

I started stripping it down last week - this is neat... a few bolts  and wiring clips and the whole nose piece comes off. I like.

There is so much to do to the bike to turn it into a TT racer... it took me two evenings just taking things off... still got a long way to go...

... a few kilograms of stuff. Most of it crap.

Fairings and bigger pieces.

On Friday evening I dropped the bike off with John Trigger at JT Engine Developments. He's going to help with the build while I am away for work... and he's also going to breathe some magic on the engine. We spent 3 hours going over everything on the bike. JT is meticulous - I think it's in good hands :-)

Here's a 675R build he's almost finished... a work of art!

I've been sourcing the long list of go-fast parts for the last two weeks... John is sourcing a whole lot too. This is the longest wait for the build... and also where the highest risk is - people and suppliers letting one down. I sure as heck hope it all comes together!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hanging Out with Jim

This week I'm in San Francisco for work... a great opportunity to hang out with my friend Jim Rice and do some trail riding with him at Hollister Hills on Sunday.

Up early... but not too early. Jim prepping the bikes...

Out on the trails with John and Jim... both are mega trails riders.
Hollister Hills is just miles and miles of trails some fast, some single track, some wide, some steep, some jumps... all huge fun.

Brian, Frank Jim and John. Awesome riding with these guys.

Franks classic Maico scrambler

Awesome Californian weather :-)

Suburbs of Hollister

Brian, Jim and I went for a Mexican after... :-)

This is a 'new' fire engine. Only in the US of A!

I haven;t ridden a dirt bike in more than 2 and half years... holy crap... I'm feeling it now! All good conditioning for the TT.

What an awesome weekend... hanging out with friends... riding bikes and talking bollocks... about bikes. Thanks Jim!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Teamwear Proofs

Here are the proofs of the SpeedTherapy teamwear...

Order yours now and support the TT campaign at SpeedTherapy TT 2015 Campaign

Monday, 6 April 2015

TT 2015 Support Needed

I've put together a crowd-funding site for the 2015 TT campaign... for a small contribution you can get your name on the bikes, Speed Therapy t-shirts and caps for Europe and the UK. 50% of all non-'perk' contributions will be lent to a worthy entrepreneur in Africa through

Hit the link, check out the site and come and be a part of the TT!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Brands Double - part II

Sunday morning was just as cold again... but with a cutting wind. After the Brands Hatch church curfew we get out for warm-up.  I did about 5 laps. I build up gradually, but the inters didn't fare as well as I'd hoped and were starting to tear on the edges of the grooves. Oh well... just have to finish one of the 18 lappers on them.

Soon I'm out for race 1... lights out and we're away. I was struggling the get the big girl off the line... the clutch was biting so I resorted to a gentle pull off and then flatten the throttle. It was kind working - I wasn't losing places off the line.  I make up a place on lap 1 and slot in behind Rob Garland again. He's running a comfortable pace... he's quick and smooth. It's a longish race and we just need to finish... so I pace my self behind Rob. There are a few places I could get by without any problem - Paddock Hill Bend and into Druids. But I just hang back... I need the finish.

I shared a garage with Richard Cunningham who did the ManxGP in 2013... yes, it was that fekking cold!

Mid-race and number 14, Ian Pattinson on his Kawasaki ZX7RR slips up my inside into Paddock Hill. No panic. I shadow him. He passes Rob the next lap... as long as I stay in touch... that's no problem. My tyres aren't feeling great and are slipping a bit. No risks. Then Ian starts to gap Rob. So I make my move. Past Rob into Paddock Hill and I make up 30 yards to get onto the back of Ian.

Getting on the gas out of Graham Hill Bend

The Kawasaki is quick. He gaps me by 30 yards down the straight... I claw it back through Paddock Hill and Druids. He gaps me again down the short back straight... I get it back through the Surtees left-right. I'm pretty comfortable behind him despite my tyres sliding around a bit. I'm starting to think: "Hey, I can win this...". So three laps from the end I decide to make my move and promptly hit false neutral going into McLeans. Shit! That wasn't in the plan.

I freewheel towards the gravel and stomp down on the gear lever. Clunk! I nail the throttle through Clearways, Braaaaaaaaaaap! Ian has gapped me by 50 yards by the time we go over the start/finish line. I got work to do... 

Had great fun on track with Rob Garland all weekend

I catch the ZX7 halfway through the last lap. I can't make a move until the final stretch where I try and slipstream past him to the line. As we sweep through Clearways, I'm inches from his back tyre... I dart out to the right and start drafting past him. We cross the line together... but on the short Brands straight, it's too little too late. He pips me by 9 hundredths of a second - half a bike-length!

Through McLeans with Ian Pattinson on my six... that corner was my achilles heel

Small consolation is that I set the fastest lap of the race on that last lap... by nearly a second! It was thrilling at the end... and although I'm 2nd... I'm totally stoked that I now have 4 out of my 4 TT Qualifying races in the bag. Jiggidy-jiggidy. Oh yeah!

The inters on a dry track, despite the cold, were totally shagged after 18 laps. They would run through to the canvas if tried another 18 laps on them. Although I have nothing really to gain in doing the last race, I'm up for it. I put the worn-out Pirelli slicks back on the bike for the last 18 lapper. Although way past their prime, they will do the distance... better the devil you know...

This is Speed Therapy

Lights out and we're off for a bit of fun. Similar pattern to the first 3 races... an ok start just rolling her off the line... by the end of lap 1 I'm leading. I'm trying to race only as fast as I need to. Tyres are worn out, moving around and already I'm being challenged for the lead. I lose the lead on lap 3 to Ian... only to get it back again a lap or two later. I'm back into second a few laps later. I decide to save what's left of my demolished types for the last few laps and shadow Ian... and maybe pressurize him into a mistake. Round and round we go... I'm sussing out his and my strengths and weaknesses around Brands Hatch... and coming up with a plan.

A tayle of two tyres... both fooked!

I have to pack the van and drive home after... and then work the next mo
Just as I decide my strategy... I do the same as the race before and hit false neutral going into McLeans. WTF? Again... just a few laps remaining and I'm 50 yards off. I get to work once more. Round druids and I get a big slide going as I hit the apex... "Whooah, boy"... then another as I exit Druids. Down into the downhill, slightly off-camber left hander called Graham Hill... as I gas it up coming out I get another big slide on. Sheeeesh! Three slide in two turns... my tires are mashed.
rning... and be it for the TT. I decide discretion is the better part of valor and back it off a notch. No use throwing it at the scenery trying to get more out of the tyres. Ian knows I was coming and had his ears pinned back. The last lap fight was not to be and we cross the line only a second apart.

The spoils of victory

I'm super happy... on worn tyres, a snatchy clutch and quick shifter problems all weekend - I still managed to come away with trophies. I had some awesome races, was always in control, raced to the conditions and my equipment... all very sensible. More importantly, I finished my TT Qualifying races. Job done!

Time to get my ass home and source a bike for the TT Supersport races... only 9 weeks to go!

Always good to get home after a weekend racing :-)