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History/Spirit Racing

History of Spirit Racing
Donington July 2023
Darley Moor July 2023
Cadwell BHR May 2023
Mallory Park April 2023
Darley Moor August 2022
Festival of 1000 Bikes
Brands Hatch 7-8th May 2022
Spirit Racing 2022
Spirit Racing 2021
Spirit Racing 2020
Cadwell September 2019
3 Sisters August 2019
MRC Track Day July 2019
Spirit Racing 2019
Spirit Racing 2018
Spirit Racing 2017
Spirit Racing 2016
Spirit Racing 2014
Spirit Racing 2013
Spirit Racing 2012
Spirit Racing 2011
Spirit Racing 2010
Spirit Racing 2009

Spirit Racing 2021

During the first part of the year we were still recovering from closing the shop in November, with just the two of us to shift everything, while still keeping up with mail order sales, no help being allowed due to the sudden return to lock-down. With the race bikes being in their usual state of uncertainty, the road bikes were given priority so that we could get some overdue visiting done as things eased up. So here is a picture of Sally’s road Morini at the annual Saltbox MCC gathering in Surrey.

In a field in Cranleigh, Surrey

We did get to the Morini Riders Club track day at Cadwell Park in June, with the Cub fitted with a GPS device to record an accurate speed. I had always assumed that it would do 85 – 90mph flat out, but it turns out that 8000 revs in top gear is only 80mph. It was touching that at the end of Park Straight, but last year at Darley Moor on the uphill straight it was struggling to get over 7000 revs – no wonder everyone was flying past! So more oomph required, but other than that it was behaving nicely apart from smoking somewhat. One side of the back tyre looked dark, with no sign of an oil leak, oily smoke perhaps? A new (higher compression) piston solved the smoking problem and should also provide more power. Following the problems last year I had thoroughly fettled the front brake, and it felt fine.

For the 500 Morini I had borrowed a fuel pump, with a view to trying that as a possible cure for the cutting out on some corners, but discussions with an expert on the subject revealed that I would enter a world of pain trying to set it up, so I settled for making the air intake arrangements more snug and fitting some new, better, floats in the carbs – although the old ones seemed fine. I also fitted a new float in the Cub, as it started playing up after Cadwell. That one was definitely knackered, and the new one solved the problem The only actual race meeting this year was at Cadwell with BHR at the end of September, a suitable way to celebrate my 70th birthday, preferably without falling off this time. Life has been made much easier by the purchase of new, much better, starter rollers, and we also have a spare battery for them. Just before we set off the van battery had gone flat – something obscure had been left on in the course of its MOT – and did not seem to recover properly when recharged. A battery place, conveniently en route to Cadwell, had a not-to-be-missed deal on a genuine YUASA battery of the correct enormous size; the original now seems fine, and the battery bought with the original starter rollers is also still fine; three good batteries suitable for both the van and the rollers is excellent for peace of mind. We can now invite people to use our rollers instead of scrounging the use of theirs.

Well, it was an interesting meeting. We set off in plenty of time, just as well as the van got progressively slower towards the end of the journey. We still got scrutineering and signing on out of the way on Friday, with just noise testing to do on Saturday morning, and I got practice sessions on both bikes. The Cub was slower than before the piston upgrade! The Morini felt OK. I looked under the bonnet of the van in company with a fellow Sprinter owner, in case anything obvious had come undone, to no avail.

Come the actual races, the Cub was at least able to dice with a couple of the slower Bantams, until the front brake disappeared again. And upon returning to the paddock, there was a lot of oil over the back tyre with still no sign of where it is coming from, so that was that for the Cub.

The Morini was out in the BEARS class, only one other rider in the 500 category, on a Laverda of very similar performance to the Morini. The rest of the grid included a few of the 1000cc BEARS, which I could sometimes keep up with on a good day, and the rest were later, faster Japanese bikes. I was woefully slow but still came 2/3 of the way down the field and just kept ahead of the 500 Laverda. In the next BEARS race I got off to a good start and looked forward to a good result, but after half a lap the bike felt unwell and started cutting out on one cylinder. Pulling out of the race and returning to the paddock to investigate I found that a freak combination of circumstances had led to fuel starvation – an extension to the fuel tank breather had come adrift, and the sticker applied in the holding area prior to the race, giving the grid position, had been put over the resulting small hole! Last race on Saturday was meant to be the Old Duffers (over 50’s) race, but with sundry delays that became one of the first races on Sunday instead.

The weather had been rather pleasant on Saturday, and was mostly good on Sunday too but started off misty, which caused further delays. The track was dry by the time I was out and I was 5 seconds a lap faster but this time the Laverda finished ahead after swapping positions a couple of times, involving some rather hairy passes. Our fastest lap times were identical. I decided that the safest option would be to get off to a good start in the next race and stay ahead, and that is the way it worked out. Our last race was the very last race of the day, the sun was just above the trees and straight in our eyes coming out of the bend leading into the main straight, I could not see the track at all just as I needed to get the throttle open. This gave Mr Laverda the chance to close up and a few bends later on the last lap he came alongside and out-accelerated me to the next bend – a good clean pass, my fault for getting a bit lackadaisical. It left us at two all, which was fair enough.

I had called the RAC mid-afternoon and by the time we had taken down the tents and loaded the bikes their man arrived. He turned out to be very knowledgeable about Tiger Cubs, as well as tracking down the split in the turbo hose that was the cause of the van problems. He had some special tape that was wound round and round, and I had come equipped with a reel of genuine Duck Tape which helped to keep it in place. The journey home was accompanied by an intermittent banshee wail as the pressured air fought its way through the repair, but not enough to cause a problem and we had a trouble-free drive back.

So, the Morini is behaving, but what the hell is going on with the Cub? I have a whole winter to find out. By way of a footnote, The Duffers Race was a handicap race so that all sorts of different bikes could compete in it. Instead of having a staggered start the handicap was applied to the results retrospectively, based on lap times in the rest of the races. My one very slow lap skewed the handicap, and I was credited with 4th place instead of 12th. If I had come any higher I would have had to fess up and return a trophy, and I will suggest that they modify the handicap system to eliminate obvious outliers.


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