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> NEWS, REVIEWS aNd EVENTS < 7 june seventies day south ace Cafe


An underpass-flooding downpour early in the day didn’t stop people blasting along the North Circular and rolling in to the Ace. And the sun shone on some righteous metalflake. The big guns were there (Kawasaki 1000s, Suzuki 750s, laverdas, Guzzis) and the not so big (an MZ with original first aid kit, gleaming Fizzies, a Suzuki GP100 and a BSA Beaver). Here’s a taste of the day… 1. Chris Webb (far left) – his MZ Trophy (“I call it Atrophy”) is at the far end of a line of bikes beginning with Clive Smither’s just-restored Suzuki 750 in Candy lavender. It came from Michigan, 4½ years ago. He’s working on a red Kawasaki H1 now. 2. Paul Miles’s 1972 MV Agusta. 3. Guzzi California. Despite the ‘N’ reg it’s a 1975 bike. Front disc is rare,

and as owner lee Mallett says, “It lets you drive a bit harder”. 4. Martin lewis and his 1977 BMW R60. He was over from France. 5. Early arrival john Banks began his journey from the Wye Valley in pouring rain. T-shirt is fresh on. 6. Kawasaki Z1000 with the stripes of a Z1B. It’s owner? Guy Martin. “No, if I was him I’d be at the TT.”

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being caught by later starters on faster bikes. But, even at Bantam running in speeds, I catch up with the 65cc Guzzi (he gets ahead again when I take a wrong turn). The 100cc Laverda is way ahead. The Giro is a regularity run for classic bikes. Competitors navigate the route with a road book (the way is marked with arrows too) and try to keep to a schedule. It’s pretty relaxed, provided you don’t break down. The special tests provide the riding challenge. These usually involve riding short distances in an allocated time, measured to the 100th of a second. Coming in over (or under) the allocated time earns penalties and the winner is the rider with the least added time. Final positions can be separated by less than a second. Knife edge stuff, given that there’s a new Alfa Romeo for the winner. There are about 50 entries in the Historic Revival class for pre-1958 bikes of up to 175cc. These are the bikes ridden when the giro was a race, before racing on public roads was stopped in Italy in 1957. The Taglioni Memorial, and Touring Supersport classes are for more recent larger-capacity classics, and there’s a non-competitive Tourist class for modern machines. The total entry was about 100 bikes, fewer than when I last rode the event in 2005. It’s an unwritten rule that, especially in the smaller class, the bikes should be Italian. But ‘Moto Giro eligible’ is often used to plump up the price tag on Italian commuter

bikes, so I’m here with the Bantam to prove that a budget British commuter will do just as well. Our entry was inspired by Richard Miller, who rode a Bantam in the 2005 and 2006 Giros. After a couple of hours a group of Italian riders who’ve picked up a Police escort catch up with me. The Bantam isn’t about to disintegrate so I up the pace and latch onto their coat tails. We’re about to get a glorious reminder of what makes the Giro special. And Italian. It also proves that the uneven running is restricted to the mid-range; the bike works better when it’s thrashed. Our Police escort guides us through the city of Frera. Oncoming traffic is waved to the side of the road, blue lights flash and red lights are ignored. The Italian public, faced with the sight of a bunch of loonies riding dangerously on old bikes don’t shake their fists or tut their disapproval, they rise from their café chairs and applaud. After 50 miles we arrive in Francolini. By now I’d decided that the Bantam might make it. Well, at least as far as Trevisio (the last stop on day one). I drop the needle in the carburettor by one notch to weaken the fuel mix in the mid-range. South west of Padova are the first significant hills. I’m caught by Eric and Christian Clarke (the American brothers whose Triumph Bonnevilles were featured in CB in Feb ’08). This is their third Giro, and they’ve rented a pair of Ducati singles.

Christian is riding the same 1958 125 Sport I rode on the Giro in 2005. Riding with him provides a nice comparison with the Bantam. On the level the bikes are evenly matched, though possibly the Ducati is faster. Hill climbing in top gear we’re level pegging, but the extra gear in the Ducati’s box is a real advantage. I shift from a droning top gear to a screaming second as Christian pops into third and romps away. Going downhill shows how woeful the brakes are. I’d been worried about the 5 x 5/8 inch (yes, just 16mm wide) drum brakes before we left. They work, but not at all well. And the next two days will take us into the Dolomites. So I’m on a bike that doesn’t go up hills, and can’t be slowed on the way down them, crossing one of the highest mountain ranges in Europe. Good plan. When we make it to the hotel that night we’ve done over 300 kilometers. The Bantam appears to be losing gearbox oil, the grease packed rear suspension is unpacking but, since the carburettor adjustment, it hasn’t missed a beat. Feeling more relaxed, I start taking notice of the other competitors. Rob Dixon’s 100cc ohv Laverda single is a jewel. Based on a standard road model, but extensively re-worked with assistance from Piero Laverda it’s a replica of the works racers ridden in the Giro when it was still a race. Spaniard Gabriel Bauza is riding a Bultaco and has brought along an Ossa for his Italian friend Emerson Gattafoni. Former drag racer

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sohc carburettors will sort them out. And you don’t have to take the carbs off…

Words & Photography Neil Murray


3 This is the spring clip. It actually holds the main jet in place, and its springy ends bear against the inside of the float bowl. Although it’s nothing to do with the float system, just remove it and place it safely to one side.

Carefully remove the float bowl – the spring clip will probably try and make a bid for freedom.


6 Now you’ve exposed the float valve in place. Note the small clip, held in by a cross-head screw, that holds it in position.

…and remove the float assembly.


10 By now, you should have these components all removed: float bowl, main jet clip, float assembly, float valve and body.

Then take out the valve body itself. It’s just a push fit in the carb body. The O-ring can clearly be seen.

13 Make absolutely certain that the main jet clip is correctly located before replacing the float bowl (the clip has a locating notch which lines up with a lug), and carefully tighten down the float bowl screws. You can see the gap between bowl and body in this final picture: you will definitely feel resistance as you tighten the screws. If the float bowl relocates flush before you tighten the screws, or if you feel absolutely no resistance from the spring at all, then the clip has become displaced. And that’s it. Leave it for half an hour for the gasket sealer to set, and then away you go.

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