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 Random thoughts of a senile old fart

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Number of posts : 29
Registration date : 2008-05-09

PostSubject: Random thoughts of a senile old fart   Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:05 am

Random thoughts of a senile old fart ... unconnected and of no particular interest other than to those that can remember that far back in time ....

Hi all ... amazing that after all these years some people still haven't grown out of oily motorbikes and grovelling on a dusty dirty ground .... thank goodness!! It was lovely to see so many past warriors still enjoying their sport when I went to a vintage meet ... and I thought I was past it !!!!! Half of the riders could barely walk ... but went pretty bloody quick on their bikes

..!! It has started me thinking .... which at my age is unwise!!!

Respected members .....

John Bass, even when I started in 1970 was a respected member of the club, and was later to become it's youngest chairman ... his sterling service in the face of adversity throughout his time as chairman belied
his young age. Even at 15 John had been racing for the best part of eight years before he tried to overtake me at Lydden (fool!) when he was a 6 year old senior bantam rider, without even a fairing to hide his
diminuative frame behind. The unsprung rear end barely troubled by the slim and burgoning youthfulness of master Bass. (now, according to John's figures the above is true, however if you have any doubts as
to the truth of his achievements please check his personals in his who's who ....

However, it may be John's untimely desertion from these shores that ultimately will force his old love of speed and re awakenend desire to hit the ground running, forcing his return to do battle once again before
he reaches a youthful thirty years ... and once again we will chase one another in a game of controlled agression and desire for that greatest prize .. to be better than ...him!!

To be respected members ...

Does the young Scutt look as youthful as our John, more hair certainly .. but ... he seems to be as good as his dad ... well, perhaps not, at least in my biased eyes .. good stuff mate well done..

On the road ....

Like John's youthful success I have achieved the distingtion of throwing a VFR 750 at a wall a few years ago and unlike John I didn't bounce too well .. but hey! resurrected I've had said VFR 750 for a few years now so I can remember what to do ...mirror signal manouvre .. screw it .. er sorry occiffer ... I wonder if there is a decent TZ knocking around .... preferably one that won't explode like mine did TWICE in the 1976 and 1978 Manx.

Sad losses ....

I have to say that when I contacted Ted a few years ago I was shocked to hear of the loss of Niffy and Wobbleyman. Niffy spent some time showing me the correct line round the IOM, several times each year I
was there... his memory and good nature was so much appreciated, not withstanding his utter dedication to IOM racing's what he lived for, he once confided. Thanks mate.

Proud to have met ...

Wobbleyman, aka Colin Aldridge, was a bloke who enjoyed his bikes, and loved it when others did too. I remember when he disappeared over the wall at the Gooseneck in the IOM. I had seen him ahead and targetted him as it were to chase .... as I was approaching the corner, he reappeared grinning as usual whilst marshalls and spectators struggled to clear the road .... I think it was then that he decided perhaps the IOM wasn't for him ... I remember his support and help when my engine blew in 78 Manx ... thanks Colin ... He even got me an interview with his firm .. he was their top salesman .. I was f... useless and I declined the offer before they didn't make me one!!!

His dedication to his sport, and the Eastern Centre (ahem ...easily the best, with more talented and prettier riders and dolly's than all the other centres ...!) and I can still see his robust frame trying to hide behind his bantam fairing .... I remember too asking who this delightful young lady was that was with him, ever a master of understatement, he replied that (Clare) was a friend who liked motorcycle racing! Thanks Clare,

thanks Colin ...

Getting the grey matter functioning ..

I do try to remember my past but the old tin box ain't too good at it now, not that it ever was really. Oh, another wobbly quote, he suggested that I should stick a map of the IOM circuit on my tz's tank so I knew where to go .. oh and by the way, "don't forget to turn right at the bottom of the hill". Picture this, IOM Manx, we are all at Mylchreests to pick up our bikes for race day, (they were stored overnight by the organisers) Colin was there, Niffy, Bill Lawrence .. cloudy sky ... I was a bit apprehensive about rain ... enter at speed the course opening car into the road ... soaking wet .. now I don't like the rain ... bikes aint no fun on rock hard tyres in the wet .... Colin knows my er worries ... turns to me and shouts "Hey Keif, it's bloody raining on the circuit, look at the course car .... Oh b ....s as my heart stopped and started and stopped and and oh bother ... aint got no waterproofs either. I think it was my white, nay ashen face that made Colin laugh ... It's all right Keif .. he's just stuck it through the car wash ... Oh THANKS Colin and f..... you too!!!

Cheers Colin ... for the many many lovely memories ... if only I could remember them!!

Good times ...

Remember passing Roger Abbott at the IOM in mid air, after climbing the hill before the Highlander, using his last years barrels and pipes I'd bought from him!! Oh that was sweet I can tell you!! I was so jealous of his extensive sponsorship!!!

Learning about ....

I've had the good fortune to have learnt so much, met many many lovely people, and enjoyed some brilliant races on bantams, TZ's, LC's, a Norton Commando ("you breaka ma bike, I breaka your e'd" the engineer friend said as I rode away) ... a Ducati, a wonderful CR110 Honda (that left me and everyone else deaf!). I could not have ridden the TZ half so well without the bantam experience , developing and learning developing and learning. It's something alas the modern racer will probably never experience. Even committee work taught me so much about human nature, jealousy, self interest, and the dedication of a hard core of people in an era of the BRC when we were probably the biggest and best non territorial racing club in the UK that looked after it's members and had a strict formula for machines aimed at cheaper racing. (No racing is ever cheap). Notably Mary Stiles, Mick Scutt, Jane Andrew, and others I can't remember the names of. Thanks guys, for teaching me about people.

Your time is done ...let the young take over ...

I once had a young lad come into my shop around 1988 ish and said he'd heard I was rich and I would want to give him money when he'd told me how good he was on a bike. Wrong on both counts! He asked me to sponsor him with a new (racing) bike. He knew he could beat the blokes he had seen at Snetterton he told me earnestly ... he'd never raced a bike nor been on a circuit ... and his moped had been tuned to do at least 70 mph .... I jest you not ... he was very serious ... Oh to be so young and full of (self) confidence!!!

I've been lucky and had a part in several careers of young lads (well they seemed young at the time!) including George Dziedzic, currently a works Suzuki Moto GP race engineer who has been with John Hopkins, Loris Capirossi, young Kenny Roberts, Joey Dunlop, Sete Giberwotsit, in fact anybody who'se been anybody!! He was a handy 350 TZ racer as well ... although we're trying to meet his schedule with Suzuki is pretty full, I've seen him on telly and he is somewhat er .. full of figure now .. despite several London marathons ... My lasting memory is of him in 1978 at Mylcreests garage on the evening of the race holding my helmet ... his arm in plaster from a race accident! ...and a photo of my bantam exiting paddock bend at Lydden ...on its side with a sliding George bouncing very nicely after it ...... "Er sorry Keef ....!"

The MG man ....

The ubiquutis Ted Smith, him of the hat and demeaner, together with a profound love of the sport and a desire to help others where he can .. and will no doubt strive to win another race soon ....!!
(sorry Ted!) Ted got me my first (and only!) big sponsor, together with a clever and very helpfull suspension specialist who supplied me (and Suzuki Barry Sheene, Parish etc.) with air suspension units, which
gave a similar amount of rear wheel movement as a cantilever at the time. Went down to their shop one day to pick up some modified units for the IOM and when I arrived a works 500 Suzuki there was and a certain Steve Parish discussing Barry's requirements ...mmm oh to be rich .. He (Ted) also lent me his van for the IOM so I could take three bikes, the family and my mechanic without any hassle. And cooked his battery on the way home when the vans alternator went wobbly .. I swear that after 200 miles you still couldn't pick up the battery it was so hot .. and it stunk like a box full of rotten eggs!!! Sorry Ted!!

My hero's ...

Mick Scutt one of the fastest and neatest riders I had and have ever seen, a thinker and tuner, probably the best, would have been a very very successful rider had he wanted but as far as I could see he just
wanted to see what would happen if he did this or that ..Tom Miller, undoubtably the best honest and practical engineer I've ever met, and I was fortunate that Tom rejected a TZ crank I was offered by a well
known sponsor in the IOM to replace mine .. at a price of course ... I still remember Tom's summary .. "I wouldn't put that in my bike" he said. I didn't and the well known sponsor put it in what was to be the race
leaders bike .. it was fine till lap two....
Mike Hailwood .. he turned up in 1977 ostensibly to film the Manx but was really having a run round on a TZ750 ... for his comeback a year later ... I was at the start of a
practice and he was behind me on the start line ... I pushed off and got stuck in expecting him to scoot past about ten seconds later... he didn't .. I was halfway down the cronk-y-voddy when he flew by with a royal wave of the hand .. wow!! Who's got the film!! He came up to me in the paddock tent afterwards and told me I wasn't going bad ... wow!! he was lying of course as I'm sure he barely broke into a sweat following me... but hey .. what a memory!!

Mick Jones .. is the air up their ok? ...

Mick Jones went out with my sister ... (the fool .. that was a near miss Mick! .. just ask her husband ... I think he's still alive) ...and then got a bike ... a bantam which I have to say may have been unwise ... I'm
sure he won't mind me reminding him his, er tuning skills were yet to be developed and 8 bhp bantams with 12 stone 6 foot 4 blokes all arms and legs won't go that fast ... ...actually, later when he had developed those skills, I wasn't too kind to him ... After a few years on a bantam he bought the Bill Lawrence Greaves (I think it was Bills and which I rode at Brands and thought was a rocket ship) then a 350 Bultaco ...(which was a bloody rocket ship ... wow that had more torque than a tractor) ... I was dead keen to try it, as the fastest thing I'd ever ridden on a track was an evil handling big Ducati and his Greeves...

That Taco was so fast, wow!!

Got to do several laps and got faster and faster ... then at Corum the roadholding became we say interesting. Got back to the pits and Mick asked what it's like "Great" I said "When you get to Corum make sure you have plenty of throttle on".

Tee Hee, did Mick come back white faced and shaking or what, having seen several of his previous lives run accross the track in front of him ..... "It's horrible" he said "it nearly threw me off at Corum" he gasped
very unsteady on his extra long legs (Has he got inbuilt stilts?) "Oh that will be the headrace bearings" I said "there's more slack in them than in Thatchers knickers!"

Sorry Mick!! anyway you didn't hitch up with my sister, you let some other poor sod take up the challenge! I saved you from a fate worse than a wobbly Bultaco ....! Remember Mick had a real feeling for silver Duct Tape ...everything was duct taped on his bike, leathers, boots, gloves ... I think it was a cunning ploy to leave all the nuts and bolts off his bike to save weight ...

Borrowing bikes ... whoops ...

Lets face it if you've borrowed a bike it's bound to happen ... I said it to John Pearce at Snetterton when his bantam, with me ... er NOT on board, joining several others fact about 8 of us .... when Pete Stiles
decided he could make up for a bad start by slipping up the inside of a pretty crowded first corner!!!

Talking of carpeetslippers ... he came past me once (or was it twice ...) in a race and I followed him? through the bombhole .. now I changed down a gear for the corner and he changed up and disappeared ....Bugger, really must sort out my gears I thought!! sensored he was fast through there!!! (and I was sooooo slow!).
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Mick Jones


Number of posts : 162
Age : 65
Localisation : South Wales
Registration date : 2006-12-05

PostSubject: Re: Random thoughts of a senile old fart   Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:14 am

Uhm keith never saved me from his sister, she said "racing or me", no contest. Keith never road the Greeves at any time but did have a few laps testing at Brands on the Bultaco, never Snetterton. I guess age has something to do with it. I was far from being an ace tuner back then but nor was Keith. I luckily got my act together in 250 production and had some very quick bikes, due to experimentation and radical ideas. Just putting the record straight.
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john bass


Number of posts : 1742
Age : 88
Localisation : Bensberg, Germany
Registration date : 2006-12-06

PostSubject: Mick Na Keith...   Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:37 am

Hi Mick and Keith...

Good to hear you are both with us. I only ever wanted to race and Wobbleyman with his great powers of peruasion got me into the Hoop & Grapes in Holborn one evening and I ended up as BRC chairman -- then a young Midlander announced that the chairman was neglecting his duties by racing too much and not devoting enough time to looking after the club and when I did scrutineering I got death threats because I found two broken frames only been held together by their fairings....

But the racing.
Occasionaly it all came together. That stupid run and bump start would cost the loss of lhalf a lap. Best example of it all coming together was at Brands. Got a really good start and was 4th behind Dave Cooms up to Druids, passed him going downhill and stayed in front until Cleraways. The whole race was like that -- passing and being passed -- and it did not feel like 4th at the finish -- more like second ...

That's what real racing is all about...

Could never understand racers competing on the IoM TT course -- I used to foul my underware at the very thought of racing there.

Niffy warned me about racing the 250 ABS (Andy Boyles Alpha Special) and I survived
its speed wobbles where most unfairly Niff  lost his life during the Manx.
Didn't seem fair.

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