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George Patchett, and his passenger LV Thomas sliding to a win in the 1927 Welsh TT sidecar race on their Brough-Superior outfit. They had to pit with a punctured sidecar tyre, but Patchett saved time by ripping off the old tyre with his bare hands
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© Bauer 2008 ISSN 0142-8906 Bauer Automotive Registered Office: 21 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DY
Big picture photo courtesy of Lynn Hughes. Inset by Hugo Wilson
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OCTOBER 2008 Classic Bike
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> NEWS, REVIEWS AND EVENTS <
BIG PICTURE 1927 WELSH TT
SIDEWAYS ON SAND
endine Sands, a smooth seven-mile-long beach on the South Wales coast was once famous as a venue for motorcycle racing and speed record attempts. The first bike races were held on the sands in 1905 and in the mid-Twenties car drivers Malcolm Campbell and Parry Thomas tried for the World Land Speed Record at Pendine. Thomas was killed here in 1927 as he attempted to claim the record. In the early 1920s 40,000 people went to watch what had by then become the Welsh TT, “more than went to see the Rugby internationals at Cardiff and Swansea” says Pendine historian Lynn Hughes. “Lord knows how they all got there, it’s ten miles to the nearest railway.” Racing ended in 1955. “There was minimal crowd protection,” explains Hughes. “You’d have a dozen bikes travelling at 120mph. It became too dangerous.” Record breaking attempts continued until the midSixties. George Brown and Reg Dearden had trials at Pendine, and Bob Berry made attempts on the record riding an old Brough and then his OEC Jap special. Brough-Superior was always closely associated with Pendine. “The Welsh TT was open to all classes” points out Hughes. “The 1000cc Broughs couldn’t race at the Isle of Man so Pendine was important.” “George Brough loved the place,” says Howard Wilcox of the Brough-Superior Owners Club. “He did a lot of racing here, he named the racing SS100 model a Pendine and it was even the name of his house in Nottingham. Along with Brooklands, Clouds Hill (Lawrence of Arabia’s home in Wiltshire) and Nottingham, Pendine is one of the mythical places in Brough history. When we were planning the rally (to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary) this was somewhere we had to include.” On 13 August, 14 club members rode their bikes onto the sand to commemorate the achievements of Brough riders like George Patchett, Tommy Spann and Freddie Dixon. Health and safety bureaucracy might have limited their speed, but as the bikes took to the sands the sense of history was palpable. ■ Pendine Races by Lynn Hughes. Gomer Press £25.00. ISBN 1 85902 830 6 Contact: www.gomer.co.uk
13 August 2008. Some of the 14 Broughs on the sand
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> NEWS, REVIEWS aNd EVENTS < 16-30 AUGUST MANX GRAND PRIX Isle of Man
the Manx GP is the greatest celebration of classic bikes in the world. For two weeks in August the roads of Mona’s Isle are taken over by old and vintage bikes, in their thousands. An astonishing 72 bikes and riders entered this year’s Senior classic race – Gary Johnson’s spinetinglingly loud MV 500 making the best sound in a symphony of mechanical music. the Junior/ Lightweight classic was even bigger – everything from AJS 7rs, Honda K4s, Aermacchis, Greeves and Suzuki t20s made up the 85-strong entry. there are many high points at the Manx, but for me the standout event is the VMcc meet at castletown. It’s where I saw my ‘bike of the week’ – a well-worn Velocette thruxton that drew more interest than the gleaming Goldies around it. I’ll be back next year for another feast of metal, noise, fantastic bikes and people. JIM MOORE
RACE RESULTS ClassiC senior 1 Ryan Farquhar, Paton bIc 500, .................................102.385mph 2 Alan Oversby, Norton Manx 500, ...........................101.863mph 3 Allan Brew, Seeley G50 500, ...........................................99.367mph ClassiC Junior 1 Roy Richardson, Honda Drixton 350, .....................99.814mph 2 Paul Coward, Honda K4 350, .........................................98.136mph 3 Ryan Farquhar, Honda Drixton 350, ........................97.873mph lightweight ClassiC 1 Ewan Hamilton, Suzuki t20 250, .................................91.675mph 2 Peter Symes, Suzuki t20 250, ..........................................91.453mph 3 Jonathan Cutts, Suzuki t20 250, ..................................90.695mph
1 Three Paton 500s started the Senior Classic. Two retired after one lap. Only Ryan Farquhar’s finished. He won the race 2 Classic practice in the evening sun at Kate’s Cottage 3 It looks like Hailwood’s Honda-six, but it is in fact a heavily modified 400/Four 4 Diverse loyalties on display at Castletown 5 Most polished tank on the Island? Give that man a gold star… 6 1954 works Daytona Shooting Star with restorer, Don Bradley 7 The weather was up and down at the Manx, but at the Castletown meet the sun shone 8 Barbour and beer towels, Manx GP essentials
CLASSIC BIKE NIGHT
Well done if you bought a raffle ticket at CB’s Classic Bike Night at the mist-shrouded Cregny-Baa. The event raised a fantastic £570 for the Manx air ambulance. Next year Classic Bike Night will be bigger and better. There’ll be more details nearer the time.
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MAIN Peter Norman’s Guzzi Le Mans in Nigel Billingsley’s workshop INSET As found, the Guzzi in an Essex lock-up
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Words Peter Norman Photography Simon Hipperson
FINDING MY TEENAGE DREAM As a Seventies teenager, Peter Norman lusted after a Moto Guzzi Le Mans. Three decades later he found the bike of his dreams, rotting in an Essex lock-up. But after a year-long restoration the reality matches the expectationâ€Ś
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aving been confused by the Honda and underwhelmed by the Suzuki, I’m hoping for better things from the Kawasaki. This is a proper Eighties sports bike – one of Kawasaki’s fantastic air-cooled GPz models, but on steroids. And having just witnessed it demolish the Suzuki in a straight line it looks as if its reputation as the best of the factory turbos is justified. I had a preconception of what I thought the 750T would be: long, wide, heavy and, very probably, a handful. But that’s not how it feels at all. The bars aren’t as widely spaced as I imagined, the stretch to the controls isn’t really a stretch at all – in fact, it’s very comfortable for my 5ft 11in frame – and the whole bike is more compact than I expected. It’s really manageable too, and by far the best handler of the trio. Fast bends, slow turns, long sweepers, it doesn’t mind what I throw at it. Predictable, sure-footed handling is just a bonus though. What this bike is really about is performance. And lots of it. Believe the hype, this is the best factory turbo. By a mile. I suspected it’d be a hoot, having watched Tucs bomb ahead on it, but it’s not until the turbocharger spins up to maximum boost that I realise quite what a hysterical piece of kit it is. The boost pull is like the CX500… times two. On every straight I pin the thing to the stop and feel the rush. It’s like being in a plane at take off. The off-boost acceleration is the charge up the runway, when the wheels are still on the ground then… whoosh, the boost kicks in and it streaks forward with such force and smoothness it’s as if we’ve taken off. The rear squats and the forks lift in their sliders as boost increases. It’s incredible. Sweeping bends and boost – a different take on Malaga
What’s really impressive about the Zed though, is its controllability. Rather than launch a half-baked lash-up, Kawasaki perfected the 750T’s fuel-injection and turbo setting and in doing so created the fastest, hardest hitting, yet easiest to use factory turbo of the lot. I can feed in the boost mid-corner, in readiness for the next straight, without fear that all that punch will overload the rear tyre. Try that on the CX and its softly set chassis will buck and weave as it struggles to transmit those impeller induced ponies through the shaftdrive. Dave’s Zed is a great example; with just 15,000 miles to its name it still feels taut and fresh. The other two bikes are also tidy, but they would benefit from a morning in the workshop – both need a front brake strip to spruce up stopping performance, and the XN needs a new actuator, so the 750T is king by a huge margin. Sadly it was launched too late to reverse the fortunes of factory turbos. In the midEighties the performance of normally aspirated bikes made a big leap, and there was no future for expensive and complex turbo models. But a quarter of a century has done nothing to diminish the fascination of these bikes. Were I in the market for a factory turbo I just know I’d end up with the Kawasaki. It’s a shame that turbos fell out of fashion so quickly, because the Zed really is an effective tool, and true to its brief in that it’s a 750 delivering 1100 performance. That’s a thought worth getting your head around. If you’ve never ridden a turbo, you really should. They’re hilarious. And you couldn’t do better than to start with a Z750.
WHAT TO lOOK FOR
n SMoke: thrashed/worn motors will smoke. It’s also a sign of a tired turbo, and they’re not cheap to replace. n FReSh oil: dirty/old oil will shorten crank and turbo life. n SuSPenSion linkaGeS: Uni-Trak monoshock linkages need periodic greasing. n injeCToR DuST CoveRS: they can split and hold water, and eventually cause the injector to misfire.
WHAT ARE THEY WORTH?
“It’s a shame that turbos fell out of fashion so quickly, the Zed really is an effective tool”
n SPECIFICATION 1984 KAWASAKI Z750 TURBO
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION Type ............................................air-cooled, 16v, dohc, ..........................................................turbocharged inline four Capacity...................................738cc Bore x stroke........................66 x 54mm Compression ratio..........7.8:1 Carburation..........................digital FI Clutch.........................................wet multiplate Gearbox ...................................5-speed CHASSIS Frame.........................................tubular steel double cradle Front suspension..............telescopic fork Rear suspension ...............monoshock Brakes front/rear.............2 x discs/1 x disc Wheels ......................................cast alloy Tyres............................................110/90 V18, 130/80 V18 DIMENSIONS Dry weight.............................513lb (233kg) Wheelbase.............................58.6in (1490mm) Seat height.............................30.7in (780mm) Fuel capacity........................3.7 gal (17L) PERFORMANCE Top speed ...............................144mph* Max power............................110bhp @ 9000rpm Fuel consumption ...........42mpg* Price new ................................£3099* *Motorcycle Mechanics, August ’84
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MAIN: the most businesslike of the big fourâ€™s turbos INSET: brake caliper. Not sure what the triangles do at full boost. Side view of the cylinder head, tucked behind Kawasakiâ€™s trim fairing
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Words Brian Crichton Photography Danny DeFazio
1976gt750A CHRIS BARSBY LeicestersHire How long have you owned it? eight years. it was one of 30 bikes that had been in a fire at a local motorcycle dealership. it was very burnt and melted. for the next 12 months i stripped it with a view to helping John Gibson (see left) with his rebuild. then male machismo kicked in with the reasoning ‘if you can strip it you can rebuild it’. three years, hundreds of hours, many hundreds of pounds, much help and advice from good friends, and it was on the road. of the 41,000 miles on the clock i have done 4500. What goes wrong? the usual electrical gremlins with 30-year-old bikes and slight carburation problems, but nothing serious. Have you modified it? it has a dresda box section swinging arm, a flyscreen and pistons that are two oversize. What should I look out for when buying? take a Kettle owner with you and listen for signs of crankshaft problems with the engine cold. check all the electrics and paperwork thoroughly. Join the Kettle club – great support, great friendship. What is it like to work on? some parts are difficult to get at and some parts are over engineered. but generally they are good to work on. You just have to have patience. i work on it and friends help when needed. crooks suzuki and slinger’s have been excellent for spares. What is it like to ride? Very comfortable and smooth. for an old bike it is surprisingly quick, but the brakes are from the 1970s, so plan ahead. it was the rolls-royce of motorcycles in its day and is not built for back lane scratching. top speed is 110-120mph and it will cruise all day at 80mph. i use shell and bP fuel, Putoline synthetic two-stroke and castrol GtX in the gearbox. What is it worth? if you want one in ready to ride condition, £4500, though there are some available at £2500. i am not selling because there is too much of me and my money in this bike.
How long have you owned it? ten years. i have ridden it over 20,000 miles and it has done 42,000 in all. i have made three trips to Holland on it and done the coast of Great britain (3500 miles). i had a new Gt750 in 1976 and just had to have another one. What goes wrong? Not much. the only problems that seem to crop up are minor electrical faults. Have you modified it? the only non-standard item is a Piper three-into-one exhaust system. What should I look out for when buying? the Gt750 has a good strong engine but you should check for oil leaking from the gearbox around the oil pump. if the crank seals have gone this job is very expensive to fix. You can get spares from various sources including Martin crooks, robinsons and the usual suzuki main dealer outlets as well as ebay. What is it like to work on? it’s an easy bike to work on. i do all my own repairs. What is it like to ride? for a 1970s bike it is very smooth and has a very good engine. it’s ideal for cruising long distances because of its comfort and smoothness. the suspension is good so long as you don’t push the bike too hard. the brakes are very good, but not in the wet. top speed is 100-105mph, cruising speed 70mph-plus, and economy about 35-40mpg. i run it on unleaded and suzuki’s own two-stroke oil. the tyres are bridgestone bt45s. What is it worth? £2500-plus. but it’s not for sale because i like it too much. it’s so much fun. i have ridden many Japanese classic bikes but will always stick with the Gt750. i love ’em.
How long have you owned it? fifteen months. i went to buy crankcases for my J model from a local Kettle club member and noticed a Gt750K under a sheet. He had lost interest in it and we struck a deal for £550. What goes wrong? When the crank seals are worn out, as on the b engine fitted to my K, oil gets pumped out of the breather on top of the crankcase and this can get on the back tyre especially if you are on a long run or going at high speed. Have you modified it? Allspeed exhausts. Apart from that no major modification. What should I look out for when buying? oil pumping from the top breather. if the crank seals have worn this can cost £400-plus to put right. so give the bike a good test ride. Make sure the exhaust system is good. they can be difficult to find and a good set can be costly, especially for early J and K models. What is it like to work on? i do as much as possible myself but i am going to get chris Applebee to do a crank rebuild and dream Machine to do a respray. the Gt is easy to work on but i have a Haynes manual to fall back on if i get stuck. i gave up on an original exhaust set – too expensive. i have bought a new set of chrome Allspeeds from Gibson exhausts instead. i will also fit new Hagon rear shocks and alloy Akront rims. When the winter rebuild is finished i plan to use it on a day-to-day basis. What is it like to ride? considering its age it’s fun to ride, with decent brakes. i will corner until the Allspeeds ground, and considering its size and weight it can handle most things thrown at it. i run it on unleaded and castrol tt two-stroke oil. i am pleased with the continental tyres on it. What is it worth? Maybe £750 because the engine isn’t good. but i won’t sell because i am working on its winter rebuild.
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Above: Graham Maughan and a V-twin engine. The business was started by his late father, Tony. The firm is now owned and managed by Graham and Steve Hayward. Left: Steve Haywardâ€™s son, Lee, setting up the firmâ€™s XYZ lathe. Right: the fresh gleam of newly cut thread
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