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

Monday, 20 July 2015

TT Day 16 - Looking Back

A well overdue post...written shortly after we got back more than a month ago but not published. I've been hiding out. Post TT blues I guess. Here it is...

On Sunday, we packed up and loaded our gear from Bray Hill then headed over to the garage to pickup the bikes. By 08h15 we were all loaded up and at the ferry port. Soon we were boarding the Ben My Cree. 3½ hours on the ferry to Heysham and then the 5 hour drive home through traffic jams and rain. Nic was meeting a friend in London that evening so after our farewells, I dropped him at the train station en route. I arrived home after 20h00, unloaded the bikes and van and then got ready for an early start at a new job on Monday. Exciting prep like ironing a shirt. Knackered.

A look back on the 2 weeks on the Isle of Man…

Our goal was to compete in the TT. We had 3 race entries; Supersport race 1, Supersport race 2 and Lightweight. Both the Supersport and Lightweight bikes were new to me and I had only done a few shake-down sessions at Mallory on them. The Lightweight bike was all setup and good to go after my friend Warren successfully campaigned it at 2014 ManxGP. I was also used to riding VeeTwins - so it should be easy. The Triumph was a newly built bike that needed some development. This was telling during practice.… and I had never ridden a three cylinder bike before. They are different.

To compete in a TT, first one must qualify. The grids are limited to only 72 starters. With 96 Supersport entrants and 72 Lightweight entrants, we had work to do just to make the start line. There would be attrition, but we needed to be fast enough during the qualifying/practice sessions.

On the Lightweight Kawasaki, wechanged to a different tyre size. We made some changes to gearing and geometry to compensate and we got it pretty much spot-on. Just a few tweaks here and there and we were on a good pace by our second practice session – this is what you need when racing on the Isle... get up to speed quickly. We had a few issues with the clutch and an oil leak later in practice week which hurt our qualifying time in the end… but still managed to qualify in 40th place and were happy with the bike for the race.

The Superport Triumph Daytona 675 was a different story. We started at a fair pace, but the handling wasn’t good for the TT Mountain course. We improved it with every session, first changing the geometry and then the suspension settings. Unfortunately, the improvements were too small and due to one reason or another (a faulty fuel pump, incidents during sessions and short laps) our pace didn’t improve as quickly as it should have. This left us with poor qualifying times and only just scraping onto the start line in 65th place with a bike that still didn’t handle well enough to go quickly. But… we had qualified - this was the main objective. We were going racing!

For the first Supersport race we made more changes to the suspension. This time they were bigger changes than the small increments we made during practice/qualifying. The changes worked and the bike was better. It still had problems that didn’t allow me to use that beautiful silky smooth power… but it was better. This enabled us to do a 114mph average on the last lap. Just a few seconds off my personal best (set at the Manx GP 2014 on my old Aprilia).  I was also starting to get the knack of riding a three cylinder around the Isle. We finished in 51st place. Our race time 1 hour 21 minutes 2 seconds. There were quicker laps in the bike.

So, for the second Supersport race we made more changes in the same direction that we’d been going. The bike felt better than it did all fortnight… I finally felt that I could go fast on it! I could hold the power over the bumps and jumps without fear of it throwing me off. 115mph from a standing start on lap 1 and a similar time for the second lap which includes slowing down for the pit-stop. Personal bests. Another good pit-stop helped our third lap times.

Unfortunately, the clutch started slipping during the race. This cost us time on acceleration and top speed. In practice we were running consistently around 165 mph top speed through the Sulby speed trap. In the Superpsport race 2 our speeds through the trap were only in the high 150s… it doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but extrapolated over a 37.7 mile lap and it cost us a bit. Despite this, we still managed a 116mph average on the fourth and final lap. This was my target lap time for the TT . Our decent race pace brought us home in 39th place… but unfortunately…  we missed getting a replica by less than 2 seconds. 2 seconds over a 1 hour 19 minute race! We were really happy with the finish… but disappointed to be so close to that replica. Too little… too late. Shouldda, couldda, wouldda.

We needed to make amends in the Lightweight class. It was always my stronger class – a class I was used to riding in and on a proven bike despite it being new to me. We knew we were better than our 40th place qualification and got the bit between our teeth from the start flag. 110mph opening lap form the standing start… including coming in for the short pit-stop. We were on it! Our second lap had our short pit-stop added to the time so it wasn’t too fast… but that’s when the clutch started slipping again. I adjusted it on the move… but reached maximum adjustment halfway through the race. As with the Triumph, we were losing acceleration and some top-end speed. Despite this, we still managed to bring her home with a final lap of 111mph average, 25th place and earned a bronze replica. Considering the top 4 riders smashed the race record this was an awesome result.

As with all riders and teams, we had our issues to deal with. With just Nic and I working on the bikes, we were a bit stretched at times. It was hard work and we only just managed it all. It was brilliant to come away with 3 finishes from 3 entries… with a cherished replica topping off our efforts.

My Best Man Nic was an absolute champ. Neither of us have a technical/engineering/mechanical background or training and have just figured bikes out by tinkering. A photographer (Nic’s day job) and an ‘office worker’ (as Deebs put it so succinctly) doing something we are passionate about. We work so well together and I trust him working on the bikes… it was like having me times two. I could never have done it without him. THANKS CHIEF!!!!

Thank you to all those who have given so generously through Indiegogo. Your contributions have gone a long way in helping us climb this Everest. I’m now looking out for a Kiva beneficiary – I will let you know where the funding has gone. Also to all family, friends and racers that have given support and encouragement… and all the ‘likes’ on Facebook. It may be small… but every little bit helped us along the way. Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity. It's been an absolute privileged.

TT 2015 - an incredible adventure that we could never forget. It's been EPIC!