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

 

 

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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

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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

There’s racing and then there’s road racing.

It’s fair to say that all competitive motorcycle racing relies on both a riders skill and their bravery. The ability to suspend one’s natural aversion to real and present danger and to focus only on the task in hand, are essential.

Pushing your machine and your body to the very limit of their capability and beyond is the difference between competing and just turning up.

Despite a life long love of all things two wheeled it took me a long time to get round to witnessing my first proper road race close up.  It was the 2016 Isle of Man TT , arguably the Daddy of all road races. It’s an experience that changed my perspective on motorcycle racing for ever.

There I was sat on a grass verge, aside a quiet country road lined with trees and a stone wall on the other side. The tarmac was close enough to touch. The sun was shining and the birds were singing in the trees and hedgerows around me. An otherwise perfectly normal and perfectly sublime summer’s day in the country.  Then, all of a sudden; Boom! With a sudden explosion of noise, adrenalin and jaw dropping speed, Michael Dunlop had just passed mere feet from my face on his way to a 133mph average speed lap record.

I sat for a moment suspended in absolute disbelief at what I had just witnessed, with only a slight whiff of burnt fully synth in the air to bear witness to the fact that something had happened . Had that really just happened? My hand was trembling slightly as my mind replayed the scene over again and over again: A guy on a bike? At that speed? On this road? I kept picturing the suspension bottoming and the whole bike squirming in protest. He was on the very limit!

I had seen many track races over the years with bikes and riders on the very limit but that’s not what was blowing my mind here. The thing that I couldn’t reconcile was the context in which I had witnessed this riding style. Balls out riding on a normal country road. A country road I had ridden myself the previous day.

I spent the next week on the Island trying to get my head around how a road racer is possibly able to suspend their state of fear. On a race track you have gravel traps and large run off areas, but here there was nowhere to go. My own fear for their safety mixed with my fascination for what they where doing and how on earth they were able to do it. I couldn’t understand it yet but I knew I was already hooked.

I’ve since come to better understand, after speaking to a lot of people including some road racers, that what sets road racers apart is that they don’t see things like we do. The phrase ” being in the zone” is used to describe focus around a lot of menial activities these days but for the road racer, I think,  it describes perfectly the mind set that is required. The ability to achieve a state of sublime concentration that enables remarkable performance, while suspending all other distractions or concerns. I get it now but my utter respect and admiration for road racers remains undiminished. They know the risks and yet every year, talented road racers put their skills to the ultimate test and sadly some pay the very highest price in the pursuit of their craft.

In late 2016 oldskoolsuzuki launched the Winged Hammers race team. Not really a team more of a really cool badge and a dedicated board on our forum. The idea was that if any of our members were competitively racing, in any discipline, on an oldskoolsuzuki machine, we wanted to create a OSS race team livery for their bikes. The Winged Hammers were born.

We quickly had track racers, drag racers, straight liners, world wheelie championship competitors and land speed record holders displaying the OSS race team livery on their bikes, but for me, the proudest moment of all was when the Winged Hammer emblem appeared on race bikes at the 2017 Classic TT on the Isle of Man.

Not long after the 2017 Classic TT I asked our two TT Winged Hammer teams to give me an account of their 2017 TT campaign and here they are, in their own words. Our very first Classic TT Winged Hammer was Geoff Martin.

Geoff Martin

First of all there have been some low points to 2017 We lost Gavin Lupton after a crash at the Dundrod 150 just before the classic TT. Gavin had tried Dean’s water-cooled GSXR 750 at Oulton a few weeks before the Dundrod 150 and was very enthusiastic about riding it at the TT. Unfortunately it was not to be. Gavin later succumbed to his injuries while we were at the classic TT.

We decided to take the bike anyway and it was agreed that Gavin’s team mate Dan Hegarty should ride it as a tribute to Gavin and he did him proud finishing 12th with a fastest lap of just over 120mph.

Bellow are two pictures at Oulton of the bike and Gavin riding the bike.

This picture is at the IOM with Dan Hegarty on the bike at Greeba Castle.

My bike, the blue/white one,  was ridden again by my Good friend from Ireland Dennis Booth. Dennis had a good fortnight finishing 20th winning another silver rep on my bike and not quite beating his best lap of last year of over 115mph but still not bad for a 53 year old . Both bikes ran well without any real problems. Dennis is looking forward to next year already.

Sadly as we now all know Dan Hegarty himself  tragically lost his life in November racing in Macau Grand Prix. Dan was well known to many at OSS as he had hosted our 2016 dyno day. R.I.P Dan and Gavin.

Our second Classic TT winged Hammer in 2017 went to Billy Bennet. Here’s billy’s TT story.

Billy Bennet

My friend Forest Dunn who does the Irish road racing circuit as well as the TT messaged me about 6 weeks before the classic saying he had an entry and was looking for a bike.  I had done some spannering for him before and I had my 750 slabbie track bike that had lain idle since Donington in May.

The bike had been originally hastily put together for Donington so we sent it to Stuart Young in Scotland. Stuart Young got to work refreshing the engine and getting the paint sorted and I had to sort out getting the front end to resemble something eligible!

We managed to get everything done just in time for practice week. The bike went on the dyno in the morning and was on the IOM ready for practise that evening!

 

When I turned up half way through practise week with my luggage full of spares, Forest had already had teething problems with a slipping clutch, the bike dropping to three cylinders, and the carbs needing further tweaks.  My first day there we spent all day on the bike before practise we realised the HT leads were old and perished so put a set of Dyna coils on and  that sorted the spark, we scrounged new frictions and steels from a friend in the paddock and serviced the master and slave cylinder for the clutch(prior to my arrival forest had ditched the cable conversion and borrowed a master from the generous Mark Stokes at Funky Monk Racing.  Forest had also put fully synth oil in it! I think that’s what caused Initial clutch slip)

We took the bike for a sneaky road test and everything seemed to be OK. However on Thursday night’s practice the clutch started slipping and on the second lap the bike cut out at the bungalow. Forest did however do a 108 average on the first lap from a standing start! We were buzzing about that and forest came in saying the bike was handling like a dream.  It seems the bike cut out because he caught the choke lever with his knee slider Velcro.

Well come race day we’d put two washers behind each clutch spring-no more slip.  We’d had a crack in the exhaust welded up, changed settings on the carbs, welded up the airbox space in the tank to help fuel starvation issues and had generally been working flat out to make the bike race ready.  On Tuesday we came 30th overall and 12th in our class, with a best lap of 110.8. I think this was a massive massive achievement all things considered. The rider was happy and I was happy.

As the bike owner and mechanic it was overwhelmingly stressful sometimes. You worry about the rider who is your best mate, you worry about your bike coming back in one piece, you worry that your bike prep is absolutely spot on and you want to do a good job. Then there are late nights, the expense, the worry of sleeping in a van with the fuel cans and spare tyres. These are all  forgotten every time you see that average speed go up and your rider come back in with a smile on his face.

The enjoyment of seeing those things and watching the live timing make it all worth it. Nothing beats seeing an old oil boiler built on a budget being mercilessly thrashed round the mountain circuit like it was meant to do, almost brings a tear to my eye!!! Haha

At OSS we are immensely proud of all of our Winged Hammers. They fly the oldskoolsuzuki flag on behalf of us all. They do the things that many of us can only dream of doing.  That said, there are few that would deny that the road racer is a very special bread of racer and  seeing our Winged Hammer emblem at the Classic TT is my personal highlight of 2017.

May 2018 bring all of our Winged Hammers the success that they deserve. Go Winged Hammers!

Members discuss this here.

If you are interested in becoming  a member of the team contact Katanamangler, after registering on our forum.

 

The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten

At the beginning of August oldskoolsuzuki took a stand at the VJMC show at Donington. I decided I would go down for the weekend and hang around drinking beer and looking at bikes.

As the weekend progressed and my bike ogling and beer drinking continued I began to reflect upon how much my personal opinion on what constitutes a desirable bike has changed over the last 25 years.

Looking back to when I was in my 20s  my opinion was driven almost entirely by 1. Aesthetics and 2. Affordability. If I liked the way a bike looked and it was affordable, I would buy it. Even in my 30s little had changed when I bought a tatty 1982 Suzuki Katana for £500. From the age of 13 when I first set eyes on the Katana’s crazy German/Japanese design,  I had wanted one.

Although my work on the Katana started out with a largely aesthetic goal in mind, I was quickly drawn into a very different mindset. My journey led me me beyond aesthetics alone, into the world of functional performance parts that, to the untrained eye, often looked awkward or even aesthetically out of place. If you knew their significance, however, they took on a functional beauty all of their own.

So, my view of what constituted a desirable bike had gradually distorted. What makes a desirable bike for me, these days, hinges almost entirely on the sum of it’s parts rather than the whole. More accurately, form now follows function.

Where once I would stand back from a bike to take in it’s lines and evaluate it’s stance and other wanky bullshit of that nature, I’m now more likely to be found crawling around underneath it, taking in every bolt, bracket and component. If it has the right parts and it has been well put together, to me,  the engineered, functional simplicity, that some might find ugly, becomes a thing of great beauty.

We now live in the world of Facebook Instagram and Twitter and there are more shared opinions about what is right and what is wrong than ever before.  My opinion is just one more of the many opinions shared and although I represent a unique type of anorak, I live happily with the knowledge that I am not alone and I have a place to go, away from the internet, to indulge my world view.

I still remember when OSS spent a few agonising years on Facebook while the forum was up on the ramp. The problem with most of the open and untethered internet is that literally anyone can pitch up and offer his or her opinion on content and knowing what they are talking about is purely optional. I remember on the old Facebook page someone had posted up a picture of a really nice EFE fitted with a turbo. It’s fair to say that a more brutal looking engine and assembly of purposeful plumbing, would have been hard to find. While most of us were liking it and fawning over it, one learned chap commented, with great authority, that he didn’t think the oversized frame tubing looked very good and that it ruined the lines of the bike. Somebody quickly corrected him on the fact that this was actually the feed from the turbo to the plenum and not the frame tube. “I still don’t like it” he replied ” it looks out of place and ruins the lines of the bike”.

Every time I see an overpriced CX500 cafe racer with a brown leather seat, bathing in the glow of an Instagram filter, I am reminded that there are many who will never see beyond style alone. Each to their own. Fashions come and fashions go but quality never goes out of style.

A walk around any race paddock and you quickly realise that these guys have always believed that function dictates form.

 

We built oldskoolsuzuki.info so that we would not be alone in our lust for expensive components, trick engineering and the love of admiring the work of  those that are able assemble said parts to form unique performance motorcycles. Looking around our stand at Donington, I was reminded that we did the right thing.

Quote of the weekend at Donington goes to a passer by on our stand, who after taking a long and careful look around the bikes on the stand, turned with a smile and said “you guys are fucking mental!” Naturally, we took that as a compliment.

So here is to continuing to beg, borrow and engineer  the very best parts we can, safe in the knowledge that the quality always remains long after the price is forgotten.

Members discuss this article here

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

Old Kool Suzukis- Quality never goes out of style

This gallery contains 120 photos.

I don’t know what it is about 80s and 90s Suzukis that makes them so special, I only know that they are. As it turns out, many other people feel the same way. From the 6th to the 8th of May Rob and Darin of Classic Bike Track Days delivered a very unique event at Donington Park. For the first time ever they combined 3 things: A bike show for club stands A full weekend of classic bike track days A 4 hour classic endurance race open to international race teams Ambitious, yes. Inspired, definitely. Successful, absolutely! There was something … Continue reading

ENDURANCE LEGENDS at DONINGTON PARK 6-7TH MAY 2017

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Last year we said that all real world OSS events would be held around other larger bike focused events. Last year we had 2 big get togethers. The first one was at the Classic Bike Trackday weekend event at Cadwell and the second was at the VJMC  classic bike festival at Donington Park. Both events were a great success and proved to tick all the boxes by providing an opportunity to meet and socialise, while surrounded by OSS bikes on our stand and on the track.

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Yesterday I spoke to Rob from Classic Bike Trackdays and we agreed that OSS would have a stand at the Endurance Legends weekend at Donington Park on the 6th and 7th of May next year.

I can’t fully describe how much fun this weekend is going to be and I am confident it is going to be our best event to date. For those of you not aware Suzuki themselves have provided significant input and funding into the event. Some of you may also be aware that they are funding and supplying the parts to build a Katana endurance race bike that will compete in the 4 hour endurance race that weekend. Previous bike of the month winners Phase one will be there to keep them honest and of course there will be a host of other teams and bikes competing. I also heard a rumour that there will also be one of Suzuki’s original GSXR-750 endurance race bikes taking part.

If that is not enough we have block booked 10 trackday slots for those that want to do more than spectate.The trackday is run by Classic Bike Trackdays. These guys know how to run a trackday event. The Cadwell event last year ran like clockwork.  The trackday slots are made up of six sessions split across the 2 days and they will take place in between the endurance race rounds…no pressure then. The best thing is that this is a no noise limit event. I’ll say that again for those of us who have already permanently damaged our hearing; THIS IS A NO NOISE LIMIT EVENT! No need to cross your fingers at scrutineering or raid the loft insulation the night before.

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The track day slots are face value at £199 per bike and include a weekend pass for 2 for the entire weekend. The track day is already 25% booked and is filling up fast. Our 10 slots are guaranteed with places available in all three categories of novice, intermediate and advanced.  Personally, I found the novice category last year didn’t prevent me from going as fast as I wanted and when your are riding your pride and joy the last thing you want to to do is allow heroics get the better of you and end up with a gymnastic situation.

If you want to do the track day I suggest you follow the link at the bottom and state you interest quickly. We might be able to get additional booking slots if we fill our 10 quickly and you can book directly with Classic Bike Trackdays here

Trackday and bikes on the stand will also get an opportunity to go out as an OSS group for a few parade laps.

If you don’t have a bike on the stand or on the track entry for the weekend will be £30. There will be camping , live bands and so much unadulterated bike porn that you may well need to take several little lie downs throughout the course of the weekend.

Members click here to book.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood

It’s fair to say that most of us are either knocking on the door of middle age or older. When you consider the bikes we covet are 30 years old, that makes sense. So what possesses a guy, still in his 20’s, to build a 300BHP monster turbo bike based around GSXR slingshot? More to the point what possesses him to then race it on Pendine sands and compete in the international speed wheelie championships? In truth, I don’t know the answer, but whatever he’s on, I would like some too.

I have been nagging him for some months to write an account of his adventures and share them here on our front page.  I’m not bothered that he hasn’t had time up until now because I know that young people don’t always do what they’re told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment.

Here is Kev’s account of our recent dyno weekend, clearly after reading this you can see why he has little time for anything else. You can also see why his age is an advantage.

Kev Kearsley

Super busy weekend! So prior to the dyno day I had a leaky barrel that has plagued the bike since it was built, looks like someone had been a bit heavy with a pry bar at some point but never mind we can fix and make do, so with a freshly rebuilt motor sacrificing parts from my other build I had a bike without a proper set up.

Friday

Took the Friday off work to run round getting Avgas and other bits and pieces. Setup the clutch and finish all the little jobs and fitted the new motor back in.

Saturday

Saturday and I was up damn early..image.jpeg

I decided to book an early dyno session with Dan to get some data on the new setup, this meant leaving before the sun came up to be in Bingham for 08:30, even got to watch the sun rise.

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Arriving at 7:30 I had time to fit the full exhaust system and swap the fuel over to Avgas.

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Dan arrives at 08:30 and the bike is strapped in

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Poor show. 220bhp poor, the fuelling was way out and the bike then decided to have an oil leak all overs Dans shiny new dyno.

“I’ll be back”….. *gets on the blower ….”ello Davvveeeeee”…..

Mad dash over to SPR to get some jets after breakfast with @Havoc and a roadside recovery for @Paulm

First things first, oil leak, turns out on of the APE studs had stripped (that’s twice now). Dave got the glue gun out and promptly set fire to the offending stud. image.jpeg

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It was promptly replaced with a new stud and nut. Now about this time most of you would of been 3 pints in thinking about ordering a cheeky bag of roasted peanuts at the Horse & Plough. Not us, Sam Dunlop made a lovely meal and we were back on it.

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Quick jet change based on info taken from my sly dyno run early Saturday morning and it was test ride time, no leaks, great success. Still rich though, big turbo bike wailing down country back roads ain’t ideal but at that moment in time necessary.

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Loopie being Loopie found a giggle box on the shelf of many things, didn’t take five seconds to plumb that in…. Suns going down now, no headlight… Test ride…. Hello Moto… Now we are talking! It’s getting late.

Across town @vizman is probably on his third story about the good old days at sea. Not us, we’re keen driven enthusiasts hell bent on blowing shit up. Few odds and sods and buttoned up and I was ready for bed.

Sunday

Up early, fresh as a daisy and popped over to RTR motorcycles.

First run, still too rich, lean it out, again…

It was at this point I should of stopped for a butty.

Two final runs of 296bhp & 298bhp back to back!

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Proof of all the hard work by Me and Dave.  Fuelling spot on too!

So, a busy put very productive weekend! So if I didn’t stop and say hi you may understand why.

Great event, we should keep doing these events!

Kev.