Bike of the month August 2018

Having something like BOTM on Oldskool is a big deal. It carries a certain weight, which makes OSS stand out from all the other websites and facebookpages that scatter the internet and, to me anyway, just water things down. Good bikes are good bikes, but having to visit 10+ websites and filter through the bolt-on brigade to find a few bikes worth reading about, gets old really quick. We’re different, we know it, others know it, and it will only get better.

One could argue that choosing BOTM for the next month, should be for a newly finished project, largely built on the forum, with its own thread and many, MANY pictures. However, due to the sheer amount of bikes being built over the years, sometimes a bike more than worthy of being chosen as BOTM has to wait for a bit.


This bike is such an installment. Its owner/builder Arttu has been a OSS-household name for many years. While many of us modernise our bikes with newer suspension, wheels and brakes, Arttu takes it up a notch. You see, the bike you see here is basically a rolling test bed for all sorts of EFI-trickery, which really shouldn’t have any place on one of our air- or oilcooled motors. Now, he didn’t just get it to work properly on his turbo EFE-powered EZ, he now helps many others out to convert their bikes to fuel injection as well.


I personally have been up close with 2 projects Arttu has been involved with and I can tell you the quality is beyond what you’d expect from a factory, let alone someone working from a little shed in Finland. It’s all pretty impressive and with the build reaching a next stage, it will only get better.


Arttu, congratulations on BOTM for August 2018.

Read about the project here

Discuss here

Reggie’s Roadtrip 3/3

Out with a bang

There’s a certain sense of achievement when you get to test the bike you built in your shed with your own hands, to the absolute limit and finding it’s performing faultlessly. I always said that going to the IOM and using your bike there would be a test of your own technicall prowess, but the fast bits you do there last maybe a few minutes. In the time in Scotland, I had done hours at great speed and nothing fell off, broke or blew itself up; well happy, I was.

When we came to Perth, that’s where the fun ended and we came back down to reality. Some motorwaymiles, a stop for fuel and having waved Deeds goodbye, Katanamangler and I went onwards, following the M90 back home. En route, I clocked a few signs for Knockhill Raceway, and thought it’d be a good idea to see if anything was on when we got home. Parked the bikes up, said hello to everyone at home and opened my laptop; Knockhill Bikefest Rewind festival; “Enjoy the sights and sounds of all the iconic bikes on show at the Rewind festival with 3 special track sessions for classic bikes.”  Well shit, we missed that..

Sitting there thinking about what I was going to do next and where to travel, I carried on trawling the internet for ideas and on of my digital stops was the Cadwell Park website. Since I was to be there for fridaynight, I thought it’d be good to know what was on the days before the Classic Trackdays event. What I found was another trackday on that friday, and it was cheap too. It was open to all bikes, but the 105Db limit was in place, so I thought it’d be rude not to get this day in as well. I would be sharing the track with modern machinery, but with groups seprating the Valentino Rossi’s from the Lloyd Christmas’, I guessed I should be fine. That was another blank day in the diary filled. 3 days thrashing Cadwell as a last hurrah to my 3 weeks away from it al; best go out with a bang, I thought.

To keep things simple (and cheap), I spent the next day at the Manglers, going into the city by bus. Got rained on that monday, which had been the first proper rain in all my time away from home. I’ve been very lucky in  that respect, the good weather seemed to follow me around. I spent the day actually coding the ccs for OSS in a Starbucks, I got very in touch with my inner hipster. Wandered around a bit more and saw the weather turn from shit to glorious. It’s nice when that happens, but when you left the house wearing kevlar pants, a hoody and a windbreaker jacket to keep the weather at bay, you get warm..

I had gotten in touch with Viz if it’d be ok to crash their place for a day or 2 and catch up with them after my time away. As you’d expect after reading about the way this trip has gone up to now, I was told to “turn up whenever you like, stay as long as you like and do whatever, and when nobody’s in, there-and-there is the key” Another 2 days filled, so that was the plan sorted.

I set off southwards through the Scottish Borders, making a point of staying away from the motorway. The place was nearly as amazing as the Highlands where we had just been, with one very distinct difference; speedcameras. During the 4 days in the north, we hadn’t come across a single one, let alone a policecar, yet in the Borders, they were friggin’ everywhere. Now, in my van, I’m hardly fast, the thing won’t go much over 70 on a good day. However, I could see me not going back here on the bike, because there wasn’t really a point, knowing the Highlands were only a good 2 hours drive where you could have all the fun in the world, and actually getting away with it. Also noteworthy; the amount of Scottish flags on one side of the border, and English on the other. I guess it’s a local thing..

Driving downward to Peterborough, I was going to swing by Wescooley19, of SF Services fame, to drop off a frame I owned, but that had been sitting in Katanamangler’s shed for over 2 years. I had no use/room for it and he wanted to have it; it beats scrapping. I was met with the biggest cup of tea in my life and he took me to the best chipshop in the region. Being served another huge Fish & Chips, I didn’t get to finish it, sorry Si. It really was proper good though. Back in the workshop the most we spoke about was me going to the Bikeshed , the bikes that were there and the whole scene around it, all the while not mentioning skinny jeans. You see, there are some people that actually make their wages building these things. I don’t like the brownseat brigade and their blatant overuse of the Caferacer-handle, but if it keeps my friends in business, there has to be some good in it, right?

Backing into the drive at Viz and Minx for the second time in I’d been in the UK, I wasn’t wecomed. No, I got a cup of tea, was told to put my beer in the fridge and given 20 quid for food; I wasn’t just made welcome, it felt like I lived there. My hosts would be gone for the night and I was left to look after the cats, make myself comfortable and most of all, “don’t burn the place down” I can tell you it’s a pretty strange feeling to be in someones house for mere hours and feeling exactly in place, even the cats acknowledged me. Looking for order-in food, I ended up with worlds most expensive pizza, again. Nice food but 20 quid for pizza, damn..

The wednesday, Viz suggested to take me to FBM Turbosystems, the go-to guy in the UK to have a turbo stuck on your bike of choice and get your boostfix. Topping up the oil in the EF and having charged the battery after me leaving the ignition on (…), we were set to go for the 30 mile run to Oakham. When we arrived, I found myself in the OSS equivalent of a candystore; there was unobtanium EVERYWHERE. Dave made us coffee and let me wander through the shop without worry and answered every question I asked. Also very cool was the fact that whatever came through the speakers, was exactly what I play on the radio in everyday life. I have a pretty obscure taste in music, so I thought that was nice. Also very nice was seeing the near-finished funnybike Dave has been building for a while. The engineering going on in this machine is next-level and very impressive, I can’t wait to see it used in anger.

If you know some of us through Facebook, you might know about the tree Havoc goes to, to take pictures of his bikes. PaulM and Kid Kearsley had both found it before, but apparently both had forgotten where it actually was. I wanted to go there with the van and take a few pics as sort of a suprise to Havoc, but that meant finding it in some way. What followed was a long night of scrolling through pics on Facebook and narrowing the search down on Google Maps. Discussing back and forth with both the Kid and Paul, and later with Minx, Viz, Jelly and Katanamangler, we managed to find it.

It was now thursday and all I had to do that day was turn up at Cadwell for the 3 days on track that would start the day after. The tree was very much out of the way, but I had all day anyway, so I just went. Finding it in real life was still a bit difficult, because from the direction I was coming, it was hidden behind all the other trees. Still, with the modern satnav and a few pics to go by, I managed to find it and made it into a proper landmark.

With that done, I pointed the van in the general direction of Louth and got underway. When I eventually turned up, the paddock was completely empty. I was early; that’s new.. Setting up my awning in a force 8 gale was someting of a mission, but I ended up getting it sussed and in a good 2 hours, my little cloth pitbox was all set. I got the EFE out of the van as well and shot down the A153 to Louth to get something to eat. Having been in the saddle of the bike for days, at speeds we shouldn’t really mention, I went straight into attackmode. Now, I don’t know if anyone local is reading this, but that bit of road is good fun, I tell you. I eventuall managed to find a random kebabshop and got myself fed. For whatever reason, I was bloody tired, even having only done the best part of a 100 miles today. It was to be the first night on my own, after 18 days of being amongst friends. It was to be the first test to see if all this time away had actually fixed me.

The next morning I hobbled out of the van and got the Banana out of the awning. I was met by more than a few raised eyebrows from my fellow visitors, as the bike was the oldest there, by quite a margin. Guys using brand new superbikes and 600’s, and me, with my 28 year old, rattling yellow weathervane affectionatly know as The Banana.

Some call Cadwell Park the mini-Nurburgring and for good reason. There’s tight sections between trees, fast sweeping and completely blind bends, and The Mountain, where you can get both wheels of the floor,  if you have a bit more talent than me. The first day was organised by No Limit Trackdays and was as you’d expect your average trackday to go; some red flags, some good sessions, it was over before I knew It. I managed to get 7 sessions in, which is pretty good going and upped my speed quite a bit, ready for the next 2 days when I would be met with likeminded people of equal skill.

Early evening, I was joined by YoshiJohnny and 370 Steve, who both would be out on track the day after as well and soon we had our own little OSS-territory. In the following hours the paddock went from a modern racemeeting, to a more nostalgic feel and one where I feel a lot more connected to. The atmosphere changed from competitive to a lot more relaxed and I was even nice to people on Hondas. I met with a lot of friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time, most near a year ago at Spa, and met with Robert, one of the organisers, to find out if I really would be out both days.

The next 2 days then went on to consist of miles and miles on a racetrack, getting higher wheelies over the mountain every lap and turning into Coppice faster everytime than the time before, it was everything I had hoped it’d be. I got faster as the weekend went on and from having others dissapear in the distance to getting to keep up and actually outrun them in later sessions. It’s not a race, they always say at the briefing during trackdays, but that’s only really for the guy that doesn’t win.

Saturdaynight we managed to fend off some horrible weather, missing us by as little as a mile, but we didn’t manage to get the bbq going due to the wind. After trying for what seemed like forever, YoshiJohnny suggested to throw in the bbq-towel and get food in the Cadwell Clubhouse. We then got up to speed with whatever was going on at home in both of our lives and that had me firmly back on the ground after days of keeping myself busy with all sort of random things, be it bikes, visiting a tree, all sorts, as long as I had something to do.

As the sunday got underway, we were met by more visiting friends; Minx and Viz turned up for their long awaited ride, GSXRSam, GSHub, MeanBean49 (thanks for the chassis advice) and many more, I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone, it’s not intentional. As we worked out way through the day, time to start packing up came and the far away thought of it all ending and having to go home slowly turned into a reality. I had 450 miles to go and wouldn’t be leaving until after 5pm, so I had to cancel the dinner I was supposed to have at Zedhead’s place. It would just mean getting home at even sillier o’ clock and it was bad enough as it was.

Having said goodbye to YoshiJohnny and 370Steve, I made my way back down to Dover and I was thinking about how I was going to get all that I had just experienced, into a frontpage article of our website and I basically came up blank. I had thought about starting to write it while still on the trip but hadn’t done so, because I didn’t want to start looking back while I was still fully immersed in the experience. Now that that moment had passed, I needed to figure something out to actually get it into writing and share with you how special all this had actually been.

All of what I had done over the last weeks, has been possible because of people I met through OldskoolSuzuki.info. I’ve said it many times when explaining to others outside of my bikingworld what OSS actually is and means and more often than not, I call it a place away from the internet, on the internet. It’s hard to understand when you’re only used to the daily Facebook-, Twitter- and Intagram-feeds, all powered by advertising and algorhythms, having a computer decide what you see and who you interact with, that there actually are places different from that. No advertising and no behind the scenes cleverness keeping track of all you do. It’s almost oldschool in itself, and we’re very proud and also very protective of that (rtfr)

I can’t begin to explain to you what these 3 weeks have meant for me and how it managed to get my thoughts directed away from something very heavy and bad, if only for a short time. Every minute enjoyed is a minute no-one can take away from you. When I got home, reality set in and I found myself in the same place as before I left. I had hoped to get better, but I didn’t. It is what it is, the 24 days on the road will not soon be forgotten. When I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, a picture of me was hanging up on the wall..

 

 

A BIG thank you to all that have welcomed me in their homes, got me fed, made me tea, offered me a place to sleep and listened to my life’s stories; you have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you Mark, Sarah & Viz, Paul, 2 Step & Yenko, Tom & Suzanne, Kev & Jess + Jack and extended family, Dave and the missus, John & Jo, Kwool, Jon,  Darren, Ash, Gary, Katanamangler & Leigh and the girls, Andrew, Deeds, Simon, Dave, YoshiJohnny, Brian, Steve, Rob and Darrin, Rob Bean, Nolan, Chris, Grumpy Gary and Jelle & Pep for the picture.

It’s been emotional…

/Reggie

 

 

Discuss here

Reggie’s Roadtrip 2/3

Traa dy liooar

The next day Kid and Miss Kid turned up and I turned into their surrogate child. They were supposed to have a little time together from home, yet they completely went out of their collective way to make me feel well and let me be part of their little holiday. It was great; I didn’t have to think about where to go, what to drink and eat, and what time tea was, because it was all decided for me. One thing that I did need to do is lead the way pretty much everywhere, because appartenlty I’m the best informed foreigner when the Manx roads are considered. We were on what we called “Island Time”and took everything as and when, no rush; Traa dy liooar.

Miss Kid hadn’t been out on the bike much before TT and with me clearing the track and the Kid keeping an eye on the other end, we gave her a crashcourse in real-world roadriding and she went from tippy-toeing the first day to having me to speed up through the Cronck-y-Voddy section within a week. We also got her to sign on for the Ramsey Sprint and she ended up getting third in class and fastest woman of the day. We’ll leave the bit where she was the sole lady entered out, it makes for a better story..

The weather, the racing and the atmosphere on the Island were all very good, but I did have a funny feeling during the entire time I was there; something wasn’t right. It was as if everybody on the road had left his/her sense of self preservation at home, because there were some (actually quite a lot) UTTER dickheads out, and as mentioned before; the Mountain was shut more often than it was open. The three of us got on the Mountain to have it ticked off and when I came down at the Creg and stopped for the others to get there, there was zero traffic behind me, nothing.

I parked up and waited, checked my phone and waited some more. Worried now.. Strolled up to the policeofficer there and asked if there had been an accident; “Yes mate” My heart sank. “Do you know what bike it was?” “It was a Suzuki sportsbike, mate”, said the copper.  Ok, that didn’t make it much better, as both were on Suzuki sportsbikes. “Right, were they red or blue?” “No mate, yellow”, he said. That was a bit of a relief; any accident on the TT course is bad, and you’ll feel bad about it, but it’s better when you know it’s not one of your friends.

After a few more minutes I got a message from the Kid; he was stopped at Brandywell and turned the other way. A guy on a Thou had come in too hot very close in front of him and Brandywell is a slight left, and then a tight left which you can’t really see, so if you don’t know, you’ll get yourself into trouble, as this man obviously did. He was fine in the end; few busted bones, busted ego and his bike ready for the scrapper.

Miss Kid was stopped at the Bungalow, and this meant they would come off the side of Snaefell on completely different places. We agreed to meet in the paddock and get something to eat. Knowing your way around in a busy place like this can help you get away from the endless queues, loud people and antisocial seagulls; cue The Bowling Green. Only the locals know about it, so it’s a bit like a tranquil hideout for us “from Across”. Good coffee, tea and food; if you’re ever over, make a point of going there.

The rest of the week was spent watching some sensational practicesessions, sad moments with Dan (and Adam) coming off and Steve’s accident that followed it, but yet more recordbreaking racing that followed in the days after. It’s the way the TT works, and I can’t really explain it. Outside of racing, the Wheelies and myself sat in the sun, went go-karting (I won), ate icecream, visited a few proper landmarks and talked, a lot. With me having my head not really straight, my company made sure I was able to vent all that I wanted to get off my chest, without me feeling like I was just there, ruining the vibe.

Having suggested a little meeting on our forum, I found myself in Peel the last night I was on the IOM, meeting up with a bunch of fellow OSS’ers for some good food and taking shit, and by chance, a 3rd EFE turned up; total photomoment. Gave the guy riding it a bunch of stickers and suggested he’d sign up. Not sure if he did, I’d need to check. Stories were shared and bikes were categorically picked apart, right up until the food was served; then everyone went quiet.

A good, but for myself a bit premature end to the TT; I never missed Senior Raceday in the time that I’ve been coming, so it when I was packing my gear the next day, it all felt a bit unfinished. Still, the prospect of going up North and getting to see new things, was a very good one, so I just got on with the job. Said goodbye to Jo and shot of down Poortown Road for the last time. The roads round Peel are “our” roads. There’s few that are faster there than those that visit John and Jo over TT down Poortown Road, the A1 out of St John’s and the Peel Coast Road and it’s all the more funny that I pass people on a bike that most don’t really know what it is, and with a foreign plate. It freaks them out.

Met up with my fellow sailors and home we went. Packed the van back up, went to Davecara to pick up some bits, blag some pizza and tea and after a few hours, I was on my merry way to Scotland. When driving passed the turnoff to Dumfries, I had a few happy memories from sitting in the Roundhouse all those years ago. Those that know, know. I ended up at the Manglers residence a bit late, but Leigh still managed to get me fed and watered before shooting off to bed herself. Midnight chili is the best chili, even when you’re sober.

The next day we got the bikes out, loaded up and got going up from Edinburgh to Crieff to meet up with Kraptanaman who would lead the way up from there. Since we overshot the road into his shop, we just stood on the side of the road like a few lost tourists until our guide for the day turned up. Just the 60 or so miles, half of which was motorway, from Manglers to there, had already made a big impression on me; Scotland is just verything different from what I’m used to. Round mine, everything is flat and dead-straight, bends don’t really exist, we just have 90 degree corners for the most part. The Scottish motorway had been more of a laugh than my usual sunday blast has been for years.

From Crieff we went toward the Green Welly stop, on the edge of Glencoe. We filled up and I was asked if I was ready for it. I didn’t really knew what that meant, so I basically just said “Yes”. For this holiday, I had turned into a Yes-man; I ate stuff that I’d never eaten before, went to places I never went to and I was pretty much up for anything. Good thing nobody asked me to go bungeejumping..

Pulling out of the petrolstation, we were off and a few miles down the road we were on a steady climb out of a very long (and pretty shit) left hand bend; I did this road 3 or 4 times in the next few days, and I couldn’t get it right, for whatever reason. After climbing to the top, you find yourself in the Glencoe Pass and it’s downright breathtaking. Problem was, our average speed was hardly fit to happily be taking in the scenery, so I just got my head down trying to keep up with the 2 locals showing me the way. This trip was supposed to be about the riding and the Scottish roads, so I’d just leave the touristy bit for some time later.

Up from Glencoe, through Fort Bill and up to the A87 next to Loch Cluanie is where Kraptanaman left us to turn back home himself. We said our thankyous and goodbyes and Katanamangler and myself carried on further up the road heading for Skye only to turn right a few miles before it, to make the climb to our first stop for the night at The Wee Campsite in Lochcarron. Tent put up and midgiespray sprayed, we strolled into town. Well, I say town, It’s basically a lakeside road with bunch of B&B’s next to it, with a pub, a cafe and a tiny grocerystore, that was really it.

We ended up on the outside terrace of the cafe being served the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten, and even my fellow traveller was impressed, so it really must’ve been good. after food we went for a wander down the road and naturally we ended up in the pub, who’d ‘ve thought? I went for my go-to drink for this trip; Shandy. I can’t drink for shit; if you’re out on the piss with me, I’m a cheap guy to have around. For your 3 pints, I might do 1. The Kid got me introduced to it and it completely sorted the issue, because all of a sudden, I could actually keep up, and not have to worry about a massive hangover the next day. Favorite new thing, really.

The next day we left packing up a bit later to get ourself up and over the Applecross Road. It had been mentioned by Deeds, who we were supposed to meet later that day, as a must-do while you’re there. He hadn’t really mentioned why to Katanamangler; insanely fast road, mindblowing views, sheer impressiveness, it could’ve been any. When we scaled the mountain and got to the top, one thing was very clear, it wasn’t because it was a insanely fast road. The roadsuface to the top was below average, at best and with all the cyclists making their way to the summit, we’d hardly get out of 2nd gear.

But, when we did finally make it to the top and took in the place the way you’re supposed to, fuck me, it’s impressive. I have no idea how high up we were and how far our view reached, but I just stood there for a few minutes. I’m a sucker for stuff like this, but for whatever reason, the trip being about what it was and my mind in the place where it was, it all landed a bit harder than normal, so to speak.

We made our way back down, stopping at virtually every bend to take yet more pictures because every 50 yards or so, the place looked totally different. Back at the tent, packed up and off to Kyle of Lochalsh for breakfast. This too was amazing, 3 out of 3 meals in Scotland and they were all superb. The next 3 days, this continued, I’m happy to report. After breakfast, we nipped over the Skyebridge for me to be able to say I’d been on the Isle of Skye, and turned back at the roundabout on the other side. The day would consist of riding back to the Green Welly Stop where we would be meeting up with Deeds, or Captain Progress, as I would get to know him.


Doing about 170 miles in a day after you’ve done 300+ the day before, messes with your rhythm a bit and we made a point of stopping more often than we normally would, because otherwise we would end up at our destination 4 hours early. This day would prove to be a bit more about taking in the sights I hadn’t had time for the day before racing the other way, so I was suprised by loads of things that I totally missed earlier; complete castles and Lochs hadn’t reached my occipital lobe at all so even though I had ridden down this road only yesterday, it was as if I’d never been there.

Back where we properly started the day before, we made out way to our cabin for the night, to be greeted by the most aggressive midgies I’d ever experienced. After Deeds had turned up and we had had dinner (proper Scottish, haggis and all) we got back to the cabin but the little creatures were in such numbers that sitting outside was no option. We went inside, got the map out and started planning out next day, all the while enjoying my next shandy.

It was decided that we’d go through Glencoe again, but this time all the way up to Inverness, cross the bridge to Ullapool and come back round to Inverness the other way, after which we’d find a place for the night a bit further east; no midgies. Within minutes I found myself doing speeds up from even the first day with Kraptanaman. Remember, I’m on a utterly unfit bike for touring, loaded up with gear for a weeks worth of living out of a bag, and no real clue of where I’m going. I need to keep up. This is where the “Cpt Progress” moniker Deeds has, comes from; making progress. I think we averaged an easy 85mph to Inverness and the next bit to Ullapool was even more mad. All on closed private roads officer.

On the run upto Ullapool, we came across about 12 dutch H%nda Goldwings doing 30mph; I think we were doing 130 coming up to the back of them, so when we overtook them, it could’ve suprised them a little bit. A day of fast roadriding when you’re in the zone, it doesn’t really matter how many miles you do, because you get so shut off of anything from the outside and it will be just you and the bit of road you can see, everything after of before is irrelevant. We managed to clock up 308 miles that day, and the EFE and Katana didn’t skip a beat. They did use a bit of oil though, but we’ll forgive ’em for that.

We found a place to stay in Kinloss, another cabin. In hindsight, if we would’ve taken a cabin for the first night as well, we’d have been a lot lighter packed, but that’s something for next time. Fire was made and shandies were drunk (by myself) and we found the place perfect to do an OSS do there, so that might be a good one for the future. While discussing the day to come, Deeds mentioned something about a road going from very fast, to slow, complicated and technical in seconds. I didn’t really process this as I continued to play with my phone and be generaly distracted by whatever thoughts were running through my head at the time.

The following morning I was last to wake up and be moderately productive. This was my final day out in Scotland, so I really wasn’t in a hurry to get going. Starting early meant ending early and I basically didn’t want it to end. Deeds and Katanamangler were ready to go when I was still brushing my teeth; must be the puberty-thing I have yet to shake. When I was finally ready to go, I’d wasted (or won, depending how you look at it) another hour. I hadn’t made a plan yet what to do when we came back to where we started, so I just dragged it out as long as I possibly could.

From Kinloss, we turned off through Forres and straight into the Cairngorms National Park and through the Glenshee pass. Fucking Skilifts! Pardon me for my ignorance, but I really didn’t know Scotland had skislopes, I thought that was a thing just for the Alps. This bit was also the part of road Deeds had been talking about; I realised this after having overtaken Katanamangler at 145 miles an hour down a straight, to be greeted by what only can be called a public Supermoto track not half a mile further down the road. (A83 Old Millitary Road, go there, it’s awesome) I was screaming inside my helmet, looking at Deeds dissapearing in the distance and myself and Katanamangler scratching pegs and knees to get round a few of the bends, on our old bronto-bikes and having the best time doing so.

Continued in next article here

Discuss here

Reggie’s Roadtrip 1/3

  1. Whichever way you throw me, I will stand

This may well turn into the most personal post you’ll ever find on OSS, up to now and likely for a long time after. Those that know me, know I can get a bit intense. Here’s some options; you’re intrigued and will carry on reading, you’re not bothered and are only here for the pics or you’ll feel awkward and click through to the next article. It’s all good, I’ll continue regardless.

You see, a while ago when I was thinking about this piece, it was going to be about my annual pilgrimage to the TT and I wondered how I was going to put it into words, without repeating myself and getting stuck in age-old cliches. Then life happened and the trip turned into something totally different.There’s more to life than just playing around with outdated Suzuki motorbikes and getting them to work in the modern world. Over the years I’ve found myself meeting others OSS members through our shared interest in the dinos of choice, yet over time, usually within minutes of meeting someone you’ve spoken to on the forum before, you’ll be discussing work, relationships, the place you live and just life in general.

It’s funny how that works; you’ll travel a good 400+ miles (or much more for some) to meet people in a field/mountain/pub to discuss bikes, and when that’s out of the way, you really get to know the person sitting opposite of you, on a totally different level. For me personally, through OSS, this has created more than a few true friendships, even if these people live more than a 1000mls away , in different countries and speak a different language.

When you want to go to the TT, you best book quick. So quick even, that you really want to book for next year, BEFORE that years TT has actually even started. Our booking had been done as such and we’d have a casual 2 weeks away from the usual hectics of life, to have a fresh start into summer. It’s been a annual thing for me for years and I actually was planning for this to be my last one, to do something else next year.

Due to a cock-up of monumental size of my own, I ended up having to go by myself. That posed a bit of a problem, because I’m hardly my best on my own, to put it mildly. I feed of energy of others; by myself, I just end up doing the headless chicken. A change of plan was in order, but since my head wasn’t right, this proved to be a bit of an issue.

At best a week before I was to actually travel to the UK, a plan was hatched and I booked the ferry from Dunkirk to Dover. That was it; I HAD to go. The TT to most people remotely into bikes is bucketlist-material, but to me, it’s quite “normal”, so yes, the thought of not going at all had crossed my mind. Two and a half weeks, by myself on an island turned up to 11 wasn’t something I thought I was ready for. Cue OSS-made friendships.

We would be traveling to the UK with the van, bikes and gear in the back, all the way to Liverpool, saving us from endless boring motorwaymiles, squaring tyres and the usual breakdowns. We were going to leave the van on the drive of at Miss Kid’s house, leaving us a good half hour away from the Royal Albert Dock from which the Steampacket sails. We’d meet the Kid and Miss Kid on the Island a few days later and it was all supposed to be a perfect little holiday.

Part of this plan stayed firmly into place; I would still leave the van on the drive and would still meet the Wheely-fam on the island. I would be a few days early in the UK, so I needed a stop-over along the way.  I didn’t want to just take up time of others and just basically “sit there”, because that was my MO at the time (and still, but that’s another story) Also, with them [Wheelie fam] leaving the Island earlier than what I was supposed to, I just went and changed my sailing to be the same as theirs, leaving me with yet more time to kill in mainland UK.

Because I would be one or two days early, I contacted Viz with the question if I could surf their couch and I was greeted with a very welcoming answer; “turn up whenever you like, stay as long as you like and do whatever”.

First stopover sorted and having decided to stay a night at the Kid’s as well, it was suggested that I’d bring my 1127L motor with blown gearbox that had been sitting in my shed for many years; “Yeah, we’ll just fix that while you’re here” Cool, that’s what the van’s for.

With having about a week to spare after TT, I contacted Katanamangler, to see if he had any ideas; “Yeah, I’ll just take a few days off work and we’ll do that run of Scotland we’ve been discussing since 2008”. Ok, so that meant a good bit of the days coming back had been filled as well, not a bad outlook really.

My return to mainland Europe was to be the tuesday, 2 1/2 weeks after coming across but while trawling the forum, which I hadn’t really visited in a while due to the personal stuff that was going on, I noticed the annual Cadwell weekend of our friends at Classic Bike Trackdays was on. The choice to take another 2 days off work, stretching the holiday a bit and possibly getting a trackday in while I was over, sounded like something to good not to do.

So, in days I went from not going away at all, to 3 weeks away, visiting good friends and many, MANY miles on the bike, in the van and possibly even on the most lairy racetrack I know (possibly, because it was looking to be fully booked, but I basically just chanced it; “turn up, it’ll be fine”)

With the van stuffed with gear for these 3 weeks, including 2 bikes, wheels with wets for the Banana, 2 engines; one of my own and one that Quist sold to Duckndive, 2 tents and loads more, I set off in the dead of night. I turned up in Dunkirk 2 and a half hours early, but the good people of DFDS just waved me through onto a earlier boat. They didn’t even charging me more, even if I had booked the sailing as a “large car” instead of a van. I’m Dutch and thus, tight; we can’t help it.

A quick text after coming off the boat in Dover to Gpz1100_Convert and tea was sorted for the early morning. I hadn’t seen him in a while and he probably didn’t know all of what was going on in my life at that time, but I ended up breaking down in his kitchen. Sorry about that…

We sat in the back garden, drinking tea, listening to Rammstein and having a truly eyeopening conversation, something that was to be a bit of a theme for the 3 weeks that I was about to head in to. After saying my goodbyes and thanking him for the tea, I rolled onto the M20 to get myself to Minx and Viz’ place. I had noticed on the good old Internet that ” The Bikeshed” was on in London, and I thought about visiting. I’m by no means a fan of the current caferacer-fad that is moving it’s way through our bikebuilding world and this is probably the nicest way I could put that into words.

I knew there would be a few nice bikes that I wanted to see and since I was close, I chose to go anyway, just to have it ticked off and not be left wondering if I had missed anything. The run into London and especially the multistory carpark with a LWB, leftwheel drive van is something that I won’t quickly forget.Was it worth it? Fuck no, but at least I knew. The Racefit Kat and Sticky’s bike were cool though..

After spending the grand total of 20 minutes inside the Tobacco Dock, ogling at perfectly trimmed beards and brown seats, I found myself back in the van with a good few miles to go, straight into rushhour traffic in central London with a van with a foreign plate and the steeringwheel on the wrong side; try it, it’s fun. It was supposed to take 2 hours, I think it turned into 4.

Backing into the drive at Fair Winds, I found Viz and PaulM working away on the famed turbo ET. I hadn’t seen it in its latest guise, so that was a cool suprise. Having had Viz fix it, Paul suggested I’d do a little testrun. Oh, ok..

Before, I had only ridden Kid Kearsley’s Turbo during a few paradelaps at Donington last year, this would be my first time out on a proper road, using the FBM demo that was converting the entire OSS world into strapping a blowdryer on the front of their motors, chasing boost, power and BOV fluttering. I now can fully understand why and I too want a turbo. I have wanted to turbo my EFE for a while, but now I was properly sure of it.

Paul’s ET rides as you’d expect the average well-sorted oiler would, grunty from lowdown, but this time with a bit extra. “The hand of God pushing you along”, that’s exactly what it felt like. I’m not sure who mentioned it like that, either Viz, Paul or Havoc (who I visited the next day on the way to the Kid), but it really explains what it feels like. Aside from that, the bike felt suprisingly light compared to my EFE, while they’re pretty much built from the same bits with the same general idea behind it. More headscratching for me..

Minx was away from home, visiting our Mekka (which you’ll read about in a separate piece later) so Viz and myself had the most expensive pizza ever for dinner, talked a bunch about life and had a fine evening all round. I was shown the grounds, introduced to the cats and was told; “This is your house now, do as you please.” It’s pretty special if you think about it. After a good night’s sleep; tea, toast and more general chit-chat, I again packed my toothbrush and set off westwards.

Stoping over at Havoc’s along the way, it took me about 6 hours to do a 4 hour drive; all the time in the world. After getting the strangest looks from pub-goers driving into the street where the Kid lives; I don’t think these people see many red-turned-pink foreign vans drive down this little road, I walked straight into the workshop, finding the Kid and Davecara with Dave’s freshly built EFE spitting oil from “somewhere”. With Dave joining us on the IOM in a few days and his little shakedown not going to plan, it was all hands on deck to get it sorted.

What this meant was; me pointing stuff out, Kid asking Dave why he did that and Dave apologising for his wrongdoing. The trouble ended up getting sussed; I should be a workshopmamager. After this, we pulled my 1127 out of the van and got stuck right in. I saved this engine after binning the original, pristine bike (twice) and selling the rolling chassis back to Jon Tober, who I bought it of a few years prior. “It’s a bit fast” he told me when I bought it, freshly recovered from writing off my 750K. I managed to catch up with Jon over at the IOM a few days later. Two fellow countyman traveling 500 miles to a place in the middle of the Irish sea to meet up; a bit extreme maybe.

I had it dynoed a few weeks after and it ended up making 160bhp at the wheel. We rung up the original owner to find out what was done to it and he told us he had just chucked a load of money at his tuner in the early 90’s, but never asked what he had done to it. With me now in the Kid’s workshop, I was hoping to find headwork, hip cams, forged pistons and maybe even fancy conrods. We found nothing, not even the thought-to-be blownup gearbox..

We swapped 2 gears and the selectorforks for a few fresh ones and bolted the cases back together. I was a bit miffed not having found anything remotely interesting on the inside but it was quickly estabished that this engine would be the perfect candidate to use as a turbomotor. This way I wouldn’t have to take the trusty powerscreen that currently powers the EFE to bits and risking to end up with yet another longterm project and no roadbike. That was it, off to bed.

The next morning we moved to Miss Kid’s house where my van would stay while I was over for the TT. We unloaded all I needed, stuck the van in a corner and went for breakfast at the local bikeshop-come-cafe. I had beans for the first time. Yes, really. The day was further filled with sitting in the sun and basically watching the world go by; it was a good day. That evening I was to catch the Manannan to Douglas from Liverpool, so the Kid showed me the way. I had done it before a few years ago on my own and in my memory, it was a 5, maybe 10 minute ride. It was a good half hour, at least. I must’ve been somewhere else with my thoughts.

Having been dropped off at the docks and informed about Liverpoolian biketheft, I waved the Kid goodbye, knowing we’d meet up again in 2 days, yet in a totally different world. The crossing was uneventfull and I just sat and watched people getting (rightly) excited about going to the TT. I’ve been too often, so I’m sort of used to it now.

After the short and very fast run out of Douglas, over the TT course and Poortown Road into Peel, I landed home with John and Jo, who I also met though OSS. You see, John is GSXR884’s brother. I ended up there in 2010 and have been going back ever since. A story for another day maybe.

We in the First World, go on holiday to get away from home, have a change of pace and a change of scenery. Either for fun or to get away from the stress that is real life and wind down a bit. I too had this plan; get away from it all and set your sights on something else. Within 30 minutes of being there, I found I had failed; I was home.. I’ve been coming so long, know my way around so well; I could just as easily live there as I do at home.

In the house, I know where to find food, tea, I actually know the wificode from the top of my head and I helped build the shed I was sleeping in. I had left home to try and leave it all for a minute, yet somehow I ended up in a place where I was very much at home, where I  had been before, and not just by myself.

That proved to be a bit odd because instead of being distracted by all that was around me; the Isle of Man is an impressive place in itself, let alone during the TT, I was confronted with many places I had shared with that someone before, and all the thoughts and memories that came with it.

The first day I was my own entertainment, so I just got on with it and tried to get “a lap” in. I failed, because the Mountain was shut, as usual. If you ever go to the TT, be sure you don’t get the red mist and throw yourself of the side of Snaefell. That’d mean the road will get shut again, and I again will have to turn around and come back later. The TT festival is slowly getting more notorious because of the visitors instead of the exciting and dangerous racing.

 

Continued in next article here

Discuss here

Bike of the month March 2018

There’s many reasons to start your own build, with “because I want to” coming first and “because I can” second. (If the person taking on this project actually can, is something different, but more on that some other time)

Other reasons are aplenty but there’s two that carry much more load than any other reason I can think of. One; building the dream bike of a lost friend. Two; being asked to build that dream bike, by said lost friend.

This Katana was trusted upon Pete by Dave “Swingarm” Roberts, member of old and builder of one of the very few actually cool Bandits in history. Dave was lost to a horrible disease and the Katana for which he already had most of the parts, was left to Pete to finish.

Pete took it upon himself to finish the bike to a standard we rarely see outside of OSS. With a general idea of what Dave wanted the bike to be, he set to work.

Built over the course of less than a year, the Katana was entered in the Newark Show as its first public outing this January, it promptly won a award.

The Kat turned out, arguably, better than the Yoshimura-1135R Pete posted up as the end goal for the build and it’s received praise far and wide.

A fitting tribute to a lost friend, I tip my hat to you Pete; the Katana is this month’s BOTM.

More here

 

 

 

 

Do more things that make you forget to look at your phone.

Now that it’s the end of the year, we have some time for reflection.

In the current day and age, everything is about numbers; how fast is your car, how expensive is your house, how many likes does your selfie get and how many friends do you have on Facebook?

Our OSS-world is “sort of” the same; numbers are an easy way to measure if you’re doing something right. As it is now, Facebook and other readily available social media run the world; a lot of people are just not bothered about putting in any effort at all online, because the aforementioned Facebook,Instagram or Snapchat will happily do it for you. In return means all your data is shared and sold to advertisers. This is something just about everyone just takes as a given and give it no real second thought. We do though.


Since all these We-Do-Everything-For-You platforms have come to rise, most traditional technical forums have been dwindling, and that got even worse when Photobucket thought it’d be a good idea to block all “third party hosting” (unless you were to fork over 400$/year) which meant all pics you ever used on a forum posted from Photobucket were now gone..


All this in general means many don’t bother with forums anymore; it’s just too much work. Rightly so, it is maybe a bit less straight forward than Facebook, BUT, all that You post would actually stay Yours and in the place you put it. Facebook and the pages we all frequent have one pretty big issue; useful information gets washed away in a sea of nonsense, never to be seen again, plus there’s too many “experts” that will endlessly argue over a given point without ever giving actual proof of their said expertise.

Now, since we were talking numbers, let’s make them work for us. While many forums are struggling in the face of social media, we as OSS have managed to bring over 2000 members together on a forum in 2 and a half years. Granted, these are not all active users, but 2000+ people non the less that have taken the time away from the usual internet to immerse themselves into our world. Some will stay, some will flounce, it’s been the same since day one; OSS really isn’t the most easy place for outsiders; we like people to put in some effort, not your usual play on the internet.

This is all done to “naturaly select” those that would have no place amongst us. You either bring something to the table, or you leave.

2000+ members, 10 Raceteam members (at time of writing) and growing fast, 300+ project topics with more getting started every day, OSS has proven to be a good place to hide away from the fast/short/simple that is the daily internet, to find it all a bit more in depth and (for me personally anyway) a generally more relaxing atmosphere. Just remember to read the rules.

From me to you, thank you for visiting, posting, engaging on Oldskoolsuzuki.info and helping us spread our beliefs on the internet and in real life during bike nights and the bigger events, it’s greatly appreciated. It must mean we as a team of people are doing something right and the decision of bringing back OSS as a stand-alone website has been the right one.

Let’s get 2017 behind us and go forward to 2018; more projects that are actually easily to follow and properly documented, more high profile Winged Hammer racebikes run across the globe and let us meet up somewhere along the way.

We promise to not make you want to look at your phone every 10 minutes. Just check in every once in a while, when you feel like it and share with us what you have been doing. Most importantly, do so safe in the knowledge that it will still be there when you come back and no one is going to sell your digital soul for a quick buck.

See you next year, thanks,

Rene EFE

Discuss here

NB; All bikes in this article are built, owned and maintained by the Admin team. If you like what you see and would like to know more, please join our forum and get in on all the fun. We’re a friendly bunch.

Bike of the Month December 2017


Lists, we all have them; shopping lists, to-do lists, bucket lists. Stuff you “need” to do/buy/build before a certain time.
When you then, in your waking life, don’t get the chance to tick off some of your most desired points on your list, if you’re really lucky, it sometimes happens that some of your friends will do it for you, in your honour and in your memory.

Craig Smith is such a friend. We know Craig as one of our like minded Down Under members who has made VERY good use of what Pops Yoshimura and Wes Cooley started in the old AMA championship, by using his GS as it should be. He has also always made an effort to let us in on all the fun.

This Katana project was started off with previously accumulated parts and a general idea of what the finished product should look like. Craig and a few friends went on to finish the bike that their late friend, Alan Baker, had dreamed off and had actually started building. This project has had many things in common with the OSS Knarf build. Both were documented on the old site.

Only when we got OSS  back up and running did we properly learn how the project turned out and how the story had concluded. (imho) this Katana on its own, even when you don’t know the story behind it,  is one of the best Kats out there. Revealed to friends and the world in May 2016, it’s more than what anyone could wish for as a lasting monument and a promise that they hadn’t been forgotten.

I realise this project has been finished for quite a while and Smithy hasn’t been on OSS much after it but that’s beside the point. I had this bike on my BOTM list for a long time and here it is; congratulations Craig, Alan’s Katana is Bike of the Month December 2017.

Read more here

Sisters are doing it for themselves…

In our first year since creating the oldskoolsuki’s Winged Hammer race team we’ve issued the hallowed and exclusive Winged Hammer livery to a full range of competitive racers including world record holders, Isle of Man Racers, straight-liners and drag racers. They all have one thing in common; Their weapon of choice is an old-kool-suzuki. Here’s a story from from one of the team. Go Winged Hammers!

Words of Anna; Winged Hammer, Drag Racer;

This all started in July 2015 with a day out at North Weald, where I took my old Z900 up a drag-strip for the first time ever, having owned it since 1980.

The 2016 season saw me switch to our old Suzuki Slingshot, which had been hibernating in the spare garage. Second time out on it at the Pod I was slowing down from 117mph when I locked the front end and ended up bouncing down the slow down area, writing off my helmet, brand new leathers and gloves but, happily, not the Slingshot which slid down the track on one side.  This was when I learned how wonderful the  emergency response crew and medics at Santa Pod are © And got acquainted with Bedford Hospital A&E.

Some TLC and parts replacement on the bike meant I was back at North Weald the next week just to prove to myself I could still ride it and to make sure it still ran true.  Just aimed to get up the 1/4 mile and back safely so times and top speeds were well down.

The front brake lever, bar end, exhaust and points cover took most of the damage.  Luckily we had a Vance & Hines exhaust in the shed (thanks to Kyle’s hoarding tendencies).

One of the reasons for the crash was that I couldn’t get my right foot onto the peg and use the back brake so one of the main post-crash mods was setting the footpegs back making it much easier to get my feet on them.

The first few times I rode at Santa Pod post-crash, I concentrated on just getting across the line and back to the pairing lanes safely and the rest of the 2016 season was really about getting my confidence and some consistency back.

Between the 2016 and 2017 seasons we repainted the body work, lowered the bike even more, fitted a Nitron shock, a Dyna 2000 system, 38 mm Flatslide carbs and treated it to a dyno session thanks to the wonderful chaps at Warpspeed in deepest Norfolk.  Eblag provided a second hand set of BKS leathers and  I signed up for the RWYB Challenge at Santa Pod, so in Feb 2017 I shivered and ran up the foggy track as fast as I dared. Which wasn’t very fast.

In March 2017 I did the dial-in day at Santa Pod, as the only motorcycle so want to give huge shout out and  thanks to Dave Grundy who came along to give me someone to ride against.  The bike started to misfire so didn’t do great times and headed back to Warpspeed for some trouble-shooting.  The culprit was the Dyna leads and the coil shorting out.  While we were up there we got  Stuart Crane to fit a lock-up clutch and 2-step,  so I had to get my head round yet another a new set up.   I got used to the lock-up before I attempted to use the 2-step and started with a gentle 3500rpm launch working up to its current setting of 4000rpm.  I’m still getting used to winding open the throttle,  dumping the clutch and having the front end come up (at least I think it does – no photographic evidence yet).

2017 is when I started to learn how to really ride the Slingshot and began to get near its capacity with a standard engine, gearing and swingarm set up.  In July I got my first 10sec run and in September I managed 3 PB runs in one day, finishing with a 10.8!  I like to think I have improved this season, my times bear this out as I have gone from 13 & 14 sec runs at the beginning of the season in Feb 2017 to consistent low 11s in autumn 2017.  Another recent personal achievement is being able to pull out good runs towards the end of the day, whereas I used to get tired and my times went down towards the end of the day and I started to make “D’Oh” mistakes – taking off in neutral anyone?

Last meet of 2017 (29 Oct) and I got the chance to ride our new Slingshot “Chip Shop Express”, which used to be the Warpspeed chip-shop-run bike.  Never ridden a turbo bike hard before but it felt really good and another credit to Stuart Crane’s bike-building skill.

As a paid-up science nerd, I graph my times after each session and the graph is my times on the Slingshot over 2 seasons.  The regression line tells me that I really am getting faster and more consistent (even when it doesn’t feel like it).

Next year we are hoping to run 2 Slingshots, one nitrous and the other turbo – Mr & Mrs will be going head to head!

Big shout-out to the RWYB and Drag Racing family that we are becoming part of; my fellow riders who made me welcome in the RWYB Challenge at Santa Pod; Straightliners and our Pendine Land Speed friends.  XXXXX

Especial  thanks to Chris Tombleson and Gary Hurd at Grumpy’s 1260 Performance for encouragement and advice of my early efforts on my old Kawasaki Z900 and the pink handlebar grips that will become my signature.  Gary – you said “do burn outs” – I’m getting there.

To Stuart Crane (a Top Fuel racer giving little newbie me help and advice ), Martin Hewitt (Electrical Genius) and John Wood (Dyno Wiz) and all at Warpspeed for their amazing bike building and tuning and for inviting us to be part of the experience.

So here’s to a great 2018 season from Kyle Rushby – Chief Pit Bitch and me “the Rider”.  The ‘Rents will be going Racing…..

Read more about Anna’s racing here

http://www.warpspeedracing.co.uk/
http://grumpy1260suzukispares.co.uk/
https://www.fiberman.net/

An Old School event on some Belgian ring road

With me being from The Continent, I live a bit of a different life than most of our members, as about 90% of you, are from the UK. In the UK there’s a racetrack, an abandoned airfield or a drag strip usually not more than an hour away from wherever you are, at legal speeds even.

For us, it’s quite the opposite; from my house, the closest proper racetrack is 2 and half hours away. The fact that the track in question is the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit does quite make up for it though. Zolder is closer, but that’s not really to my liking and Assen is another hour further the other way.

Yup, Spa is my home track, so to speak and every year since 2012 I’ve been making the trek to the Biker’s Classics held there yearly the first weekend of July. It’s a festival of everything Not New on 2 wheels; super-rare superbikes of days gone by, proper GP stuff from the 60’s and 70’s, etc.

Most of these bikes are not static, not by a long way. Championship races are held, track sessions for those that want to use his/her outdated bike for what it was actually meant and there’s the obligatory parade laps which usually end up in a few ex-World champions redoing some of their old battles, just for the hell of it.

Since we’ve been coming, we’ve also been shouting; “We need to have a go” Last year, I did and this year, we were out in force. As members of OSS, our little Dutch based“race team” (with lack of a better word) called #Team Banana; 3 bikes on track, 3 bikes as support vehicles, easily the biggest plot in the paddock and full catering and management; we clearly don’t do things by half.

Anyway, this is all beside the point; the 2017 Classics will mostly and sadly be remembered for appalling weather, which has quite the effect on the whole gathering. I myself have been out on track in pretty much every session available as most chose to keep their irreplaceable bikes in their respective pit boxes and tents, as to not write them off, which is very understandable. My bike was cheap (and not very fast) and I had full-wet tyres with me, as did Leblowski, so we were safe, doing many sessions with 5 or 6 bikes on track, instead of 50.


For the public and our supporting crew, it was quite different. It was cold, wet and miserable and that doesn’t make for a good day’s watching rare bikes, either static or racing which was sad as there is so much to be seen, it boggles the mind.

Next to our own little paddock with 2 Slingshots and 2 Slabbies, there were so many bikes from our school of thought, built solely for this yearly event; if there was nothing else to be seen, we’d all still have a field day. GSXR750RK with a bigbore 1100 motor with superbike running gear? Naturally. An as-new 1100ET? Sure thing. GSX1000S Katana on track? Totally normal. This bike was also blagged from the owner for the event, with the rider having pretty much his first ride on the bike and on a racetrack; very brave. These are just a few bikes run by like minded gentlemen doing the track sessions; no racing, just fast as you like down the racetrack. No ego’s, nothing to be won, just roundy-roundy riding for fun.

Then, in the proper pit lane and it’s adjoining paddocks is where the real bikes are. If you don’t know about the CSBK championship, I suggest you get yourself informed because the bikes used are awe inspiring, as is the riding. Some Dutch guys even do quite a good job on a bunch of Slabbies. Then there’s the French/Belgian Pro-classic series of which the grid is downright comical; from weedy early 90’s 600’s though to Y2K and later litre bikes, it all makes for interesting racing, the level is pretty high.

And then the Show piece of the event; the 4 hour Classic Endurance race. Some of you that were attending the earlier gathering at Donington may have had a feel of what this all is about, but at Spa, it all goes up a notch. For starters; the flag drops at 8pm and they ride into the night finishing at midnight. Thus, in the dark, on a blinding fast racetrack with utterly awful lights on most bikes. How some of these guys keep up the speeds that they do, I will never know. It doesn’t help that I’m night blind, so I best not ever enter myself.

The grid for this race is getting bigger and better every year. Some teams have budgets so high, it’s not really an amateur effort any more, with new bikes being built every year; Bakker/Harris/Moto Martin, it’s normal (almost), as are 170+ Bhp air-cooled motors.



Like Donington, at Spa, Suzuki themselves also entered, showing the factory interest for this type of motor sport, again with the blue Katana we’ve all seen been built at the NEC, this time the riders would be Pete Boast and non other than Guy Martin, with another (privately entered but twinned) Katana entered for good measure, finishing a respectable 7th and 22nd respectively. Our very own Sweatshop Phase One, of Mark Foggy fame ended up 3rd on the podium only seconds behind the Team Taurus GSX1100 and 1 lap behind a bike of a brand we shall not speak of. All of this after nearly 4 hours racing in the dark and wet out of a field of 47 starters; not half bad.

As a spectator, to witness this all, is a bit special. It’s not an everyday thing seeing and hearing these bikes of old tear through the night and the whole paddock itself is so open, you get the feeling you’re doing something naughty going your way around, only to be welcomed to have a look around everything and from very up close, just as long as you don’t get in the way. In this day of barriers and tight security, it is truly a breath of fresh air.

In the end, for me, it was another very good meeting; I was very reluctant at first to enter again next year due to the cost and the fact that communicating with the organisers is a nightmare; it all goes away the first time you plunge down from La Source into Raidillon with the throttle WFO for 75% of the time, all the way round. It’s quite something and I can’t wait to go again. The rain may have slowed the whole show down a bit, but if that didn’t bother you, there was so much to see, do and learn, there’s few thing like it.

I urge everyone with a remote interest in these bikes and racing (which, if you made it this far, should be the case) to make the pilgrimage to this event and see it all for yourself. I cannot make any promises about the weather, but I will promise that there will be plenty things to see/hear/smell to make it worth the trip from wherever you are. And, if that doesn’t convince you; we have stroopwafels.

/EFE

Photocredit;

-Jelle Boeijinga
-Marco vd Velde
-Darren Whyte
-Nolan Freebury
-Chris Whitey
-Team Classic Suzuki
-Bikers Classics
-European Classic Series

Bike of the Month July 2017


Some of you may know of my fascination with Eighties Movies; I absolutely love them. To be honest, I’m not totally sure why myself; could be the cars, the music, the girls, anything. One thing that returns in pretty much all these films is that perseverance and doing the right thing, will alway get you on top. In the 90ish minutes most of these films take, our lead character will fight his or her way though all matter of obstacles, an epic montage for good measure, with the end of the movie wrapping up with the championship/the girl/the car/ saving the planet (remember Wargames?)


This Slabbie that Leblowski has built, reminds me of those movies. The buildthread reads as a moviescript with some things hard to be believed, yet they all really happened.


Starting on the backfoot with a heavy operation and a bike most normal people would’ve called a scrapper, Leblowski took it upon himself to get the bike built to enter in the Bikers Classics Festival at Spa Francorchamps which he had attended as a spectator many times before.


Cutting it as close as you like with having the bike first run on the Dyno only days before the event and arriving at Spa with the paint only literally just dry from application, the bike proved to be absolutely perfect. Finished to a standard most of us can only dream of and the frame so heavily modified, it may be the most extreme Slabbie in existence. You’d have to look for it though, because you really can’t tell if you just casually walk past.


Now Spa is out of the way, this bike will be used for more track outings as part of the #TeamBanana “racingteam”.

I take my hat off for Leblowski, doing this project and taking it as far as he did, I know very few people so determined to make their vision a reality.

Leblowski, your Slabbie is this months BOTM
Read the whole script here