Racing, what racing?
Off to get the racing tyres refitted to the Daytona, after running in
new parts on the road.
Into May, and finally we've had some racing. The plans
to have both bikes ready in plenty of time ran foul of all manner of
and electrical problems, some of which I have not seen in all my long
years, and there is still an element of make-do-and-hope in both bikes.
Mallory Park May
was no way they were going to be fit for Pembrey at Easter, so first
outing was at Mallory Park on 2nd May. The Cub bent a valve in
practice and was out for the day, and while the Daytona felt fast it
was not as fast as most of the opposition, not with me on it at any
rate. Oh dear oh dear.
The shiny bits on the valve and piston are where they hit each other.
That's not meant to happen.
And so to the Thundersprint. Sally's road Cub having been cannibalised
for its exhaust valve, the racing Cub was back together and looking shiny,
but still had one or two worrying noises and the oil was circulating
but very sluggishly despite a new pump and much checking of oilways.
The plan had been to avoid anything experimental so close to the race,
but a Daytona spring was now fitted to hopefully keep the errant valve
under better control. It only had to survive five blasts of 440 yards
and a gentle potter round Northwich in the cavalcade between practice
and racing, not too much to ask?
On the track
The second run
Come the day and there were lots of
extra bikes in the 200cc class, a dozen this time, including the racing
Yamaha that was the usual class
winner. A much faster bike with a good rider, it duly won. The German
MZ that came so close to winning came second, and I came third. The trophies
were divided between best 125, best 175 and best 200 which worked out
as the three of us, so we all came away happy anyway.
I was principally pleased that I had gone a second faster than last year,
gearing the bike down for the occasion had worked a treat, and if I can
get the first and last bends just a bit better sorted, there is another
second to lose yet. Roll on next year. Meanwhile the engine is apart
again in search of that elusive oil pressure.
Back at the van
Beezumph at Anglesey
Two months later and we are still edging our way towards
the next race. Meanwhile there have been two chances to try the bikes
out. At the Festival of 1000 Bikes at Mallory Park the Cub had revised
gas-flowing and, following the success of trying a new valve spring
at the Thundersprint, two of the same type were due to be fitted. They
did look perilously close to being coil-bound, though, (which is bad),
and this was confirmed when a bit of the engine snapped under the strain
with three days to go. Back to the drawing board, and some rather savage
spring-shortening. Would it work now? The answer was Yes, so after
Mallory the head was off again to do a more carefully measured and
executed version of the exercise. The Daytona was also going OK but
the exhausts were blowing near the head, slowing it near the end of
the session and making it sound like a tractor. This turned out to
be the 32 year old custom-made exhaust pipe rusting through, necessitating
a fairly thorough bodge, which will hopefully hold for a while. Getting
new pipes made up is likely to prove expensive.
And so to the Beezumph Rally, this year in Anglesey
where it was expected to be wet and windy. The hurricane force winds
of Thursday night caught us all out, though, with our return to the
van from the clubhouse greeted by the site of the tent housing the
bikes and tools trying to take off, the bikes both lying on their sides.
The tent was swiftly dismantled and stuffed into the front of the van,
at least we were sleeping in the back, most people in tents were already
homeless. In the early hours of the morning the entertainment marquee
headed for the Menai Straights, with tables, chairs and PA system
scattered across the track.
The devastation after the night before!
I had leant the bikes against the van and they survived
the rest of the night - they just had to have a couple of bits straightened
and the water emptied out of the carburettors. With the weather improving
steadily through the morning the rally organisers and circuit staff
rose to the challenge and by lunchtime we were out on the track.
The Daytona no longer sounded like a tractor but was
going like a dog. A further check of the carburettors did not improve
things but a look at the timing revealed a 30 degree discrepancy! With
that sorted, the bike positively flew in the last session of the day.
The track has a terrific selection of bends, and I had started to get
the hang of some of them so was looking forward to Saturday's sessions.
There were several ex-GP Daytonas there to match mine
against; in the first session I was happy to go round in the company
of a Norton Rotary, then got myself ready in plenty of time to get
lined up alongside the other 500 Triumphs for the next stint. Sally
was cleaning the mud off the tyres - the paddock area had had plenty
more overnight rain - when she spotted the head of a screw embedded
in the front tread. It was holding the tyre pressure perfectly well
but whether it would always do so when under the strain of repeated
heavy braking was another matter. So it had to come out, the tyre went
down, and with no tyre companies to hand, that was it. I could perhaps
have scrounged a tube and some tyre levers from someone, but the tyre
normally runs tubeless and I wouldn't want to risk damaging the long
out of production Astralite wheel without the proper kit.
The Cub at Anglsey
The Cub stepped into the breach; I
went out with the Fast Touring group instead of the racing group to
make up for only
having 1/3 power of the Tridents which were greatly in the majority
(it is a Trident and Rocket Three rally after all); with the benefit
of a light nimble bike and race tyres I could easily pass them on the
corners but was encouraged to find myself passing some on the straights
too. But, to keep it in perspective, there is a video on YouTube of
a works Daytona out in the racing group passing the Cub as if it were
standing still. So, just possibly, the Cub may be a bit more competitive,
so long as I
Off with its
An interesting weekend. The fact that the meeting happened at all was
a triumph in itself, at the beginning of the month there were still huge
holes in the track, the speed of the repairs being possible only because
the lease has been bought by building contractors. So, instead of needing
to put work out to tender and draw up careful contracts, they just turned
up with shovels, picks and JCB's and got it sorted. Of course, there
was still safety and licensing paperwork to be filled in and approved,
with the last i dotted with less than 48 hours to go. Exciting stuff
- as was the racing.
Friday morning: out in the very first practice session, on a damp, repaired
track that had not been rubbered in for 10 months, I was suitably cautious
on the Daytona, ditto shortly afterwards on the Cub. For the third practice
session it was fully wet, which is easier to judge, so I was steadily
increasing the speed right up to when I fell off under braking, to my
surprise. I had thought that a brand new medium compound tyre would be
as good as a two year old softer compound version, but it turns out I
was wrong, and some tyre swapping was arranged later.
The Cub needed its head removing to sort an oil leak, and the Daytona
needed a replacement front brake hose fitting as well as much mud removing
- miraculously, the fairing was unbroken and other bits were not bent
enough to matter. I had taken the precaution of being half a stone overweight
so was adequately padded. But getting the brake to work properly and
getting the Cub back together took all afternoon instead of the hoped-for
hour or two, so the first two races were missed. My next races were due
on Saturday so I was able to have an early beer; the weather cleared
up in the evening, and we took a stroll round the paddock being sociable.
The weather on Saturday was much better than forecast, damp initially
but fully dry by the end of the day. Lots of people were having assorted
mechanical and electrical problems, which particularly affected the 200cc
class - of a dozen entries, only half made it to the meeting, so with
the odd falling-off and a couple of breakdowns I ended up with a win
and a third pretty much by just keeping going. The class is now run at
the back of the post-classic 125's, which are considerably faster than
all but the top one or two in our class, so there were just a couple
of us battling it out at the back. In the 500cc post-classic air cooled
class, the bikes were generally proving more robust so there was always
a good gaggle to play with, more of whom finished ahead of me than behind
most of the time. But on Sunday, the weather turned very pleasant, and
the sun shone on me both literally and metaphorically when the very fast
and posh lead bike broke down allowing me to snatch a third. That bike
aside, there is little in it between the bikes in the class, so there
should be some good battles ahead if I can keep the Daytona going. I
shall have to find time somewhere for a bit of fettling...
Air-cooled post classics at play
The Morini Riders Club annual trip to Cadwell Park was an ideal opportunity
to get the bikes sorted ready for the last race of the season at the
self same track in October. There had been a plan to also go to the penultimate
race at Snetterton in September, as Jenny had expected her Honda racer
to be delivered and it was to be her first race, but it came as a kit
of parts with a few months work due yet. And Sally is still traumatised
by memories of Snetterton from the Seventies, with the arctic wind bringing
a particular sting to the rain. Also, there was a rather fine Large Model
Aircraft display just down the road from here, with free entry by going
on the '73 Trident to add to the vehicle display, several hundred Pounds
cheaper than a weekend's racing which makes a difference in these tricky
So, testing at Cadwell. The main hope was that the Cub's new kevlar
pushrod tube seal would cure the oil leak which has plagued it with the
old squashy rubber type - hurrah, it did. Playing around with different
carburettor settings and exhausts has also produced useful data on what
doesn't work well, without yet reaching a conclusion on what is best.
It appears to be somewhere near right...
The Daytona going reasonably well
Jenny had a go on it to at least get a feel for the
200cc class and to inspire her to get cracking on the Honda build,
The only concern now is that, when all's said and done, I was still
5 seconds slower than the best time at Cadwell last year, rather
5 seconds faster which all the time and money spent was supposed
to produce. Not all of this is due to advancing old age, since times
on the Daytona
were the same as last year. And it is 1,000 revs down on the straight,
so if I can find where they have gone there is yet hope of a decent
result. If I can get the rev counter to work on the Cub, maybe
I'll find an excuse
for the poor performance on that one too, though I'm running out
ideas of how to make it go faster other than pedalling more
furiously. We shall
The Cub at Hall Bends. Note the lack of lean angle, could this
be the problem with lap times?
- The last race of the season
What a difference a day makes. Saturday
9th October at Cadwell Park, weather dry and starting a bit misty but
quite warm, getting
distinctly colder during the day. Practice completed without falling
off, a quick tighten of a bit on the Cub's carburettor as it was not
going as well as hoped, and out for the first two races, in rapid succession.
adjustment of the carburettor
Cub was still going slowly and came dead last, and the Daytona? I
wasn't allowed out in the race, the organisers had put me in the wrong
class. I was allowed a race with the faster bikes, but it was the very
last race of the day, my night vision is rubbish, and my lap times
Sunday, and at least it was
a bit warmer.
Bikes in the sunshine
After a word with the race secretary,
I could go out in the right 500cc class, but starting right
at the back. The realisation had dawned that I had the wrong main jet
in the Cub's carburettor, so there was also hope for the main event
albeit also starting right at the back, as the grid positions were
determined by the previous day's performance.
Oops! the wrong main jet
The Cub developed
a misfire in the
Sunday morning race, but it was just a minor electrical problem -
overall, it was going much better. Lap times in the morning
on the Daytona were
back to where they were meant to be, there was added excitement when
one of the Suzuki riders threw his bike down the track right in front
of me, requiring a high speed and decidedly bumpy trip across the
grassy scenery for about 100 yards. The rider was OK but the
bike was quite
bent; as his son had blown the engine on a similar bike they set
about making one good bike out of two as soon as the race finished,
at least one of them could get a ride in the afternoon.
The engine goes into the unbent bike
At this point, a chance came
along to make the weekend worthwhile. A chap looking at the
Cub - as so many do, as so many of us passed our
test on one - had one in the parade (where non-racers can take interesting
bikes round the track).
He had lost a rather specific
nut during the noise testing, and was faced with having to
go home without having his
ride. We did not have a spare, but were able to swap bits between our
two bikes, so that we could lend him the required part, and still get
out for the remaining two races, being the Classic Race of the Year
in the two classes.
Parader and son
We were getting short of petrol,
and we were given some
petrol in return, a win-win situation. It transpired that he had
his son, daughter and sundry grandchildren there to watch him
so the day was saved for three generations. And he passed
on some very useful
knowledge about Cub tuning, so all in all, a most fortuitous meeting.
Waiting to go out on the track
So finally we came to the main event.
The 200cc class is run with the 250's; there were only a few entrants
in our class but with them all
being considerably further forward on the grid I had to get past a good
half dozen of the 250's to get amongst my lot.
The 250's tend to be quite
a lot quicker on the straights, which made for an entertaining time
on the bends, having to overtake in a variety of different places
I could eventually get far enough ahead not to lose the position again
on the start/finish straight. I clawed my way up to grab third place
in my class, thus having a small but shiny trophy with Race of the
Year on it. Hurrah!
The man from the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club
handing over a trophy to the only Triumph rider in the race
The Daytona's race was similar, except
that they were bikes in my own class that I had to overtake. I got
past four of them, plus a stray 750
from the other class we were out with; two more were in sight but that
back-of-grid starting position made catching them just more than I
could manage. In the event, there were three horribly fast bikes
so 4th would have been the best place available anyway.
The main thing
is, it was fun, and I'm perhaps not as past it as I had started to
suspect. Now, can I find a way to make the bikes go faster next