OLD NEWSLETTERS 3
Newsletter of The National Hill Climb Association Ltd
Edited by Tony Quinn, 3 Chard Close, Nailsea, Bristol, BS48 4QA
Tel. 01275 854789 (7pm-10pm weekdays, any time at weekends)
Club Web Site: www.nhca.co.uk
My notes for this issue’s editorial are – ‘say something about Loton Park, first time there, lovely hill, coming off at the sharp left hander after Triangle, pleased at not having to write the report – thanks go to Reg Davies.’ Then ‘thanks to John Woods for no less than three reports and a small ad.’ I’m not taking the blame for the ad, or the photo.
Well, as I write this we’re almost all the way through the season now, but with some of our very own events coming up. I expect that our premier event at Wiscombe will have taken place by the time that you read this. I hope the weather will be better than the drizzle that has continued to fall from the sky as I was typing this.
Many thanks to those of you who made helpful suggestions as to the cause of the misfiring on the supercharged Matchless. Unfortunately, I had a nasty at Mallory Park in July and blew a big hole in the top of a piston.
Altho’ I was a bit suspect of the mixture strength, it doesn’t look as if the piston melted. The holed piston looks as if someone has knocked the centre out of it with a hammer. The retailer said that he thought it looked like the result of detonation, but my engineer friend (who did all the work on the bottom end) felt that the piston just wasn’t strong enough.
Anyway, with only six days between Mallory Park and the Vintage Loton Hillclimb on 22 July, there was little option but to swap engines back to my 1100cc twin carb engine. With holidays intervening I didn’t have time to get replacement pistons (which have now arrived), so there’s no chance of getting the blown engine back on the front for Wiscombe. Never mind, let’s hope that the weather’s good.
Right, that’s about it for now
Please note that the date for the AGM is 20 January 2001 …. Gosh, doesn’t that see a long time away! The venue will be the same, The Prince of Wales on the A38 near Dursley, Glos. More details to follow in the next Hillclimber.
I regret not being able to attend many meetings this year, but there’s been plenty to keep me occupied ‘behind the scenes’ through the season.
The committee is currently discussing the format for 2001. There’s no doubt it is going to be necessary to make some changes to our administration and look for some willing members to come forward and fill some important slots. We have always relied heavily on a small nucleus of people to keep us running smoothly and going forward hopefully in the right direction.
As I pointed out at the last AGM, this has been taken for granted by the great majority of members. This doesn’t continue indefinitely. Key people like Herman, Jo and Jess want a rest and have other interests to pursue. We owe them an enormous amount – they owe us nothing.
There is likely to be a more event organising/membership position created, probably the responsibility of an existing experienced committee/event secretary. This will inevitably mean vacancies for a couple of events, Wiscombe and Loton particularly, together with a management committee post.
So, come on, it’s your club, let’s have some volunteers and proposals (in writing at least 28 days before the AGM which will be on 20 January 2001). If we fail to encourage more members to be actively involved, then the NHCA and hillclimbs could deteriorate.
Following a rather lengthy lapse on my part, compounded by previous ACU lethargy, it has been necessary to update all our course licences. Due to pressure from the ACU insurers (Bradstock Insurance Brokers) this required some hasty action on my part to ensure we didn’t lose the end-of-season meetings. Some desperate map making and a meet was arranged with Eddie Nelson (ACU Speed Events committee member). This involved a very enjoyable day off work, and chauffeur to Eddie around the West Country, stopping off at Withycombe, Fairoak Farm and Manor Farm to inspect the courses. Everything went well, Eddie gave his seal of approval and proved to be a very interesting and sensible official. Wonderful comment on driving down the hill at Withycombe, “Is this really the course?”
All this course licence upgrading regrettably means additional costs. This is quite expensive, approximately £60 to £70 per course – upgraded each year at a similar amount. I will be discussing this with the ACU, as it adds a substantial amount to meeting costs, particularly the one meeting a year venues.
As pat of encouraging you, the members to become involved, there are seminars being organised by the ACU which we ought to participate in. The most appropriate is Sprint, Drag and Hill Climb Clerks of the course Seminar on Sunday 26 November. Anyone who is interested, please get in touch with any committee member.
By the time you read this we will have had our annual Wiscombe meeting on 17 September. What did you all feel about this … the first spectator charged at Wiscombe? Did this cause any problems to you o people who were charged admittance on the day? Did it cause any problems in attracting marshals?
We will see what profit was made for the club. This will be something for discussion at the AGM.
Would you believe it?? The only event I would be able to take part in this year and it was cancelled! Worse still, I was the secretary. What happened? A sorry tale of confusion and disinformation, I'm afraid.
This year we have a new contact with the Hagley Car Club. After many years of peaceful co-operation and understanding with their Competition Secretary, we were put onto a new system. I received a letter in May stating that our entry list for the August event would be required by 17th July. I rang the man concerned and pointed out that our event list had gone out with a closing date of July 23rd, and understood that it would be OK to let him have the list sometime in the following week. I have had a busy year, working away from home and without a mobile phone, and arrived home after a lengthy foray on 23rd of July intending to sort and send our entries. I was met by a letter from Hagley Car Club stating that as they had not heard from me and having been unable to reach me by phone that they had filled up the remainder of the August programme with cars and would be unable to accept any motor cycle entries.
Annoying? Well, gutted, really. My fault, I suppose, for not confirming our telephone conversation in writing. Disappointing, though, to be so cruelly cut off on the assumption that we were not bothered, or interested in the event. My sincere apologies to all who were hoping to ride. It was, of course, a glorious weekend as the fates would have it. Because of this chaotic situation, which was partly due to me not being on hand to sort out problems as they arose, I think we should find a new secretary for the event next year, - I cannot be sure how much I will be at home in the foreseeable future, having just finished my busiest August ever... Robin? Are you there?
Loton Park – 22 July 2000
(Positive Points at Loton)
With less than twenty-four hours to go to the Vintage/Classic Loton meeting, the excitement of the last few days was turning to apprehension. Would the Arrow perform well this time? After some very much appreciated help and advice from Dave Wills I had patiently set up the points and ignition timing to perfection but, with nowhere to test it, would it be OK?
After a cloudy start to the day the sun began to shine through and hopes of a dry, warm day were high. Warming up for the start the engine sounded crisp. Off the start line I knew immediately that things were no better, still misfiring at high revs. Back in the paddock - points are OK, so check battery and wiring. Next run still the same. I decided to forego lunch and check the ignition coils and wiring. This isn’t as easy as it sounds as the coils are inside the Arrow’s box section frame. At first I didn’t believe what I found. The coils were wired negative terminal to CB points and the battery is positive earth. I changed the wiring on the coils still doubting my basic error. The next two runs were a mixture of joy and embarrassment as the engine revved cleanly to levels unknown before.
With my day ending on a high, others were not so lucky. John Lee had a gearbox bearing fail on his Tiger Cub, and Ken Edwards’ Tiger 80 suffered severe engine vibration from a suspected main bearing problem.
The 250 class was won easily by Dave Dunk on his Honda RS.
In the 350 class Doug Parnell beat Chris Chapman’s old record on his first timed run, only for Andrew Bennett to better this on his second run on the 7R and take the class win.
Herman won the 500 class even though he too was suffering crankshaft problems with the JAP.
The 750 and 1300 classes are combined at this meeting with John Woods taking the overall win in outstanding style. All his runs were below his own record of last year (60.12 secs) with a best of 58.46. Guy Ursell was second in the class and best of the 750s on his BSA A10.
In the 3-wheeler class it was Dick and Vera who took top spot from Grant and Pam in the battle of the B3s.
At the end of a good day’s sport it was time to take a leisurely drive home. Maybe I should rebuild the BSA for next year. It would be good to run in the 350 class again. Maybe I could give Doug and the Ducati some extra competition. Oh, almost forgot, I must thank Doug for all his words of encouragement over the years with the Ariel (most unprintable). Just shows how he appreciates good machinery.
Curborough – 30 July 2000
Surprisingly, with the amount of cock-ups made in 14 years of hillclimbing, I find myself writing my first write-up – so here goes. I’ll start with Curborough where my trusted passenger, the famous Jason Reeves (who should be writing this, by the way) decided in all his wisdom he would get a better hold by jamming his testicles between wheel and wheel arch rather than the traditional hand held method (ooh missies). This proved to be rather unsuccessful much to the amusement of the crowd, but thankfully nobody hurt and Glyn Poole putting that record a bit further out of reach with a 32.98.
On to the top 10 run-off. Glyn won on 33.08 with me on 33.17 and Jon Staden miles behind on 33.18 (sorry, Jon!). Paul Jeffery next with Jason Reeves in fifth, obviously steady away over the kerbs so not to disturb his swollen bits (hee-hee-hee-chuckle, chuckle).
Baitings Dam – 6 August 2000
While the pen’s out I might as well do a report on Baitings, as no-one else ever seems to (Fred, Simon, Jason, Dad take note).
Firstly, thanks to the Vintage lads for putting up such a display of sliding, wheelying, tank slapping and who knows what else – which made just about everyone else look tame!
I’ll start with Glyn (sandbagger) Poole who came all the way up the M1 to grab some points in the absence of Paul Jeffery, thinking he was going to struggle against me (don’t think so, somehow!) on my aged (1985) CR 500 Honda. But, as Glyn puts it, his bike doesn’t suit tight tracks, as it’s a bit peaky and he goes on the grass on the inside of the hairpins he’s going that slow, so what a surprise when he produces a 26.66 seconds (fastest ever 2-wheeler) – hence the sandbagger bit, leaving me on a slow 27.7 for second … mmm.
On to the 1300s and a good scrap between me on the old Wessie and Dave Rowlandson on his brilliant 1500cc nitrous turbo sapphire (seems like it anyway!), with me coming out tops (just) on 27.3 and with a giant start line wheely on the second run with made Mr Rowlandson (next one up) laugh immensely.
To the unlimited where Jon Staden missed out on the outright record by 2 hundredths – hard luck, Jon. Maybe next time!
Anyway, enough Northern bibbling for now.
Shelsley Walsh – 12 & 13 August 2000
To start off – this is not hillclimbing, it is mountaineering! But armed with my ideal hillclimbing tool, (350cc Manx Norton frame with excessively powered 920 Weslake engine fitted) who said that, could it be some of the Reeves family? I was quietly confident (NOT) after seeing the hill.
Anyway, to the meeting. First day was great, dry and sunny with me, Glyn and Paul Jeffery all within ½ second of the record, which must go to one of us the next day.
My last run provided the reason for this write-up. Deciding the lads at the top and marshals were looking bored, I did them an 80mph ‘stoppi’ which continued off the end of the road through the gravel trap and down the field (hope you were all impressed, I meant to do it all along, honest!!)
On to the second day – had to be the 13th (pissing down), let’s call the bikes, here we go. Rain totally knackered it. Times were rumoured to be taking that long that it compared to how long it took Glyn to get chicken pie in the Bridge on Saturday night, but I think it was a win for Paul Jeffery 36-odd, Mark French up there (welcome back). Think Jason just pipped me for fifth by a tenth, but who cares mate? Just remember Curborough. I’m sure many will, especially Simon Blenkin and me.
Bye for now,
'Dropping Off' At Shelsley
OK, it's not falling off (thank goodness) but still seemed a good enough reason for writing this.
Arrived at the hallowed hill in an early morning mist, which soon cleared to an absolutely gorgeous day on the Saturday for practice. Walked the hill, which I was told was steep, they weren't joking, surely they could get a lottery grant for a cable car? Last time I encountered anything like that it had snow on the top of it; (don't forget I'm from Suffolk!). Had a chance to watch the cars blasting off from the start before our first practice which all went well. Took Andy's advice and took it easy (read slow). Break for dinner we're told, right back to the van, have a snack; cor this sun is marvellous, get the deck chairs out and relax. Yep you've guessed it, fell sound asleep only to be woken by the sound of raucous 4 strokes. Must be the Cooper JAPs thinks I, no problem got a good half an hour before we're on again. I wanders back to the paddock to find a void of bikes, only a lonesome BSA sitting there. Oops! Andy spots me immediately, rushes over to the start line and OK's it for me to run, and even pushes the old Beezar to the start line for me. What a bloke! Thanks Andy. We even got a third practice, which was great. Whereupon we got the chance to witness a dramatic piece of riding by John Woods, even if it was after the finish line! John thundered over the line at 100mph with what looked like the front brake locked on, off the tarmac, onto the concrete, onto the gravel and out of sight onto the grass followed by a gang of orange overalls. How on earth he managed to keep hold of that - impressive.
Sunday, race day. Weather looking unsettled. Yep you've guessed it, just before we're due on the rain starts. Then does it get slippery! Following Andrew Bennett on his Norton - he's even slipping pushing it! Gunned the Beezar off the line, felt the back end breaking away; right sensible head on and just get it to the top. Doesn't deter some people though. Paul Jeffrey managing a 36.61, nice one Paul, and Alan Jolly wanting it to rain some more because he likes it! He got his wish; it chucked it down for our second run and the man to watch at the finish line yet again - John Woods off the end of the track this time taking out a traffic cone on the way. I think he just wanted the girls to sit on his bike again!
Any way, a cracking weekend, I enjoyed every minute of it and thanks again Andy.
Withycombe Farm and the Westpoint Whoopsie
(by a rather embarrassed Tigger.)
Well let's start at the beginning, I’ve not raced for a few months ‘cos I’ve been working too hard. So before Withycombe I checked both bikes over well. I changed a few bits and tightened and adjusted so all would be well. A totally pointless exercise it turned out to be.
Well Hedgehog and I set off for the wilds of Exmoor on Friday night, and managed to take so long to get there that I only managed three pints in the pub! We were then treated to a wonderful lightning display, which went on for several hours almost continuously! I’ve never seen it like this before – it was almost tropical, but with no rain and no noise. Well the Saturday dawned bright and sunny (did it hell, but it wasn’t too bad) and Hedgehog went off to the Westpoint Centre near Exeter where she was doing the journalist bit for BSH. So I got on with some racing. Well firstly the gear linkage on the Tricati came loose, then the seat unit came loose. The YZ was great until the exhaust fell off, and then the steering damper broke off. These are not excuses for being slow - that's just me! … unlike Pete Short who was really going for it! Alan Jolly decided to part from his bike, as did Pip Mosely (twice on the same run!) and one of the guys on the 125s decided to break a throttle cable – and then was very glad that he had a 125 when he had to push it up the hill. Jon and Sandra finished the day off in great style with a wonderful 360 degree spin on the Trike, and then managed to get the Trike stuck between the Buckland and Guy’s van! A good day in all as no-one was hurting when we’d finished! (I’ll elucidate on that soon)
Well, on the Sunday there was a sprint at the Westpoint, and Mark French had been asked to bring along a few people to liven it up. Well I’d got a press pass and now I’d got a competitors pass – and in the eventuality I drove straight through the gate without being stopped!
Now everyone knows that my YZ is out to get me, but this was a beauty. After several runs on the Tricati, I decided to let it cool down and give the YZ a go. A few test runs up and down the slip road, all’s OK line up for the start – wind it on, and pull a wheelie of course, but as I drop the throttle to keep the wheel down, it keeps coming up, and up, and up until I decide it’s time to get off and run away! This leaves the YZ screaming its guts out upside down on the track! It could only be done with a big crowd couldn’t it?
It turned out in the end that the top of the carb had come unscrewed and as I whacked the throttle open the top of the carb came off leaving no slide in the carb and full throttle! To cap it off of course the nice man from http://www.bikersweb.co.uk managed to get it on film.
The Web Page
To those of you who don’t know – or for that matter don’t care! – the NHCA has a web page, you know, one of those computery things with pretty pictures.
The page is written by me, Tigger, and if you have any comments, or if you want to be answered civilly wonderful suggestions for additions to the page I’ll gladly listen! I’d like some descriptions of the hills I haven’t done yet as well, like Barbon, Curborough etc.
At the present the page has an introduction to the sport with basic guidelines, a set of scrutineering rules, and other odds and ends of information and contacts. Of more interest to you dear reader is the online list of racing numbers, bikes, championship results, and results! These are kept up to date courtesy of our splendid records officer, Robin, unlike when I was doing them and they were many years behind!
We have a number of addresses but if you click on http://www.nhca.co.uk you’ll get there. For those of you “In the know” the server behind it changes when I get bored – but that’s all transparent to the user.
So for loads of interesting stuff and interesting and compromising pictures – go visit your web page!
· Home page (Introduction)
· The Hills
· This Years Calendar
· People and Bikes (Pictures)
· A Members Story (Who’s ? You’ll have to find out !)
· Riders, Bikes & Nos
· Championship Placings
· Preparation Guidelines
· Guest Book
· Links (To other interesting stuff and to the sites for some of the hills we ride)
Tigger (alias Nigel Glover)
Tigger is the much maligned Regalia officer – well not really maligned, I just like the smell of burning martyrs !
We have T shirts, Sweatshirts, Mugs, Plates, Stickers and Umbrellas. All emblazoned with a superb NHCA logo – So be proud of your affiliations ! Show the world you really are mad enough to throw a bike up a hill.
Prices are :
Postal orders can be accommodated if you ring me on 01305 821521 and I’ll think up a number for the postage! Otherwise just catch me at a hill.
Setting a date for contributions has really helped the production of this issue. For the next Hillclimber, can you please send contributions to me by 15 November 2000. This will enable you to receive a copy before Christmas and will include full championship results, I hope.
KTM 350, lowered suspension, good Avon race tyres. Some spares, competitive in the right hands. Ugly, but fully functional and ready to race - bargain at only £625. Tel. Mike on 01626 774384
Moto Guzzi Mille GT, 14,000 miles from new. 1 owner, F reg. Nice big shaft drive v-twin, perfect for touring. Did 560 miles in one day on it , with no problems when I did use it. Stainless steel exhausts, K&N's, electronic ignition. Krauser panniers and
rack. VGC. £2000 ono, possibly px for big single.
Jerry Siddle DERA Boscombe Down ext 3909. email@example.com or contact Tigger
Sidecar passengering manual (preferably step-by-step instructions). Please contact Jason Reeves – Up North somewhere.
Newsletter of The National Hill Climb Association Ltd
Edited by Tony Quinn, 3 Chard Close, Nailsea, Bristol, BS48 4QA
Tel. 01275 854789 (7pm-10pm weekdays, any time at weekends)
Now that the season is over and the engines have gone cold, we are facing the usual horrors of winter a little early this year. To any members who have been flooded in the last month, you have my sympathy. I recall that in 1968 or thereabouts when the River Trym in Bristol overflowed, my mother’s house had nearly two feet of water in the ground floor. My Tiger 100, which was parked in the back lane was completely submerged. Let’s hope that by the time you read this, the floods of late 2000 are just a memory.
Many thanks, yet again, to all of you who kindly sent in contributions for the Hillclimber, particularly Tigger who has excelled himself. This begs the question, what do you want from this esteemed organ? I will be more than pleased to receive your suggestions, from the oldest lag to the newest member. If it’s OK as it stands we’ll continue along the same lines, but I’m conscious that it worthwhile to try out new things. If it doesn’t work out, we can always revert.
May all NHCA members and families have a very enjoyable Christmas and a fast, but safe New Year,
Wadebridge – 15 & 16 April 2000 (a belated report with many apologies from the Editor for omitting it from earlier issues)
When I remembered I was the first to fall off at Wadebridge and that I would have to write this report, I thought about using the amnesia I had suffered as an excuse to not have to do it. Unfortunately, I was sussed out before getting chance, so here I go!
This was my first trip to Wadebridge, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Ian Fry and I turned up teatime, pitched the tents and disappeared up the pub. Saturday morning was cold but dry and I checked the bikes over, putting fuel in and checking tyre pressures etc. In no time the event was under way and I uneventfully ran all 3 bikes through practice. After dinner came the timed runs. Of these, I remember Ian taking photos and me shouting “Arse!” At him as I sped past.
Next thing I remember was waking up in hospital, lying in bed with Ian grinning at me. I believe this was about 7 pm. The previous few hours were a complete mystery (just like the mystery machine out of Scooby Doo!) Ian kept asking me questions which I mostly got wrong. I remember him asking me what colour my road bike was, my reply was “red & white…. Why didn’t I buy a blue one?” which seems to be a standing joke around the paddock, but is wearing a bit thin now. Get the hint everyone?
A few other memories are that the thing you put on your finger for measuring your pulse looks like the back light of a Suzuki RF900 and there was something on the wall that looked like the headlamps of a Triumph Trophy!! Anyway, the accident itself as far as I can tell was the result of a highside on Ian’s CR250. The bike came off lightly with a broken brake lever and bent footrest, apparently I got back on the bike and rode it back before being examined by the paramedics. The damage to myself was concussion, whiplash, amnesia, grazed shoulder and two chipped vertebrae in my neck (this obviously never knocked any sense into me as I am back in the saddle!)
So, my excuse for riding so poorly this year has been decided! That and a slipping clutch at Wiscombe and Loton. Finally thanks to everyone who helped out and see you all September 2/3rd.
Wadebridge – 3 September 2000
As a novice I was unaware that the first person to fall off at a meeting had to write a report on the day’s events and so was unsure whether people were chuckling at my rather pathetic dismount, i.e. 40 yards from the course in nice long grass or because I would feel duty bound to write the report.
Lynn and I decided as it was the last weekend of the school holidays to take the kids away for one last break in the tin tent and found an excellent site in Polzeath. Having fought with the wind and the rain to put the awning up, Pete, Vicki and Callum turned up just as it was all finished. They then polished off my weekend’s supply of beer on the first night and then pitched for two nights without paying (which I can hardly complain about, having been a works rider all year, i.e. FOC, thanks again, Pete.
Going into the meeting I felt a bit more confident than usual partly because there had not been a month’s gap since the last meeting and partly because, by my standards, Withycombe ha gone well (only made possible by Dave Wills starting that b*****d CR for me on several occasions – just what he needed). Well, confidence can be misplaced and this was one such day. Others however did far better.
Paul Jeffery winning the 250s, the ever quickening Martin Palmer winning the 350s and Jamie and Glyn not quite able to match that man Mr Jeffery in the 500 class. The 750s were just as close with Pete Short followed by Geoff and Gerald, Pete and Gerald both setting a new class record in the Top Ten. In the 1300s Mark French was pushed all the way by the very impressive riding of Julian, who also gets the prize for the longest wheelie.
On the trikes Jon and Sandra won the Top Ten with Glyn and Jo not far off qualifying for the Top Ten. And finally the sidecar class was won by the P Keates. Stu Stobbart says he was hindered by the weight of his passenger.
It is now October 20th and the season (my first) has finished, so can I just say a quick thank-you to anyone who has started that lovely CR for me and the generous gesture made at Wiscombe by many. Lastly, a big thank-you to all those who don’t ride but without who the meetings could not take place.
The Sensible Shorty
A few Meaningless Meandering Mumbles from the Pointless Portland Peninsular - Three reports from Tigger
Manor Farm – 24 September 2000 - ‘Tigger’s Majnor Truimph (In both meanings of the word!)’
I’ve got to write this, and I didn’t fall off. Why then have I got to write it?
‘Cos I probably will never get the chance again!
I beat Mark French! … and I got into the top ten !
Having exhausted my stock of exclamation marks I’ll write a little more sensibly (just a little you understand). Yes, I actually managed to get into the top ten and to beat Mark, of course it was Manor, where else ? I don’t know what it is about Manor Farm, but I always seem to go well there, even on a rattly old Triumph.
The day started in a grey disheartening drizzle with a track that was interestingly slippery, so the times were a bit on the slow side. This of course had absolutely nothing to do with the amounts of alcohol imbibed the previous night and there was not a hangover in sight (cough, cough!). Leaving a nice long lunch break however gave the track time to dry as the sun poked sickly marmalade fingers though bottom dirty clouds, like a small boy’s trousers after sliding in the mud. Oops, sorry, started waxing lyrical there! The afternoon showered us with surprises rather than rain, as I managed to creep into the top ten (I had to say it again !), beat Mark and Andrew Bennett who’s always disgustingly fast on those old singles.
Then however came the real shock, in the top ten Geoff Hodges fell off! Yep, for the second time in living memory Geoff binned it, luckily without any damage to himself (apart from a sore bum as he found out later that week).
It was good to see Patrick and Paul Keates in the Top Ten in an outfit, a sterling attempt for a couple that are going really well, particularly as they’ve just started.
Well I had fun, and I think everyone else did after the rain slouched off to annoy someone else, and the suggestions as to how we could extend the track are interesting…
Fairoak Farm – 1 October 2000 or ‘Dancing the Fairoak Fandango’
Well that’s what it always feels like to me ! Fairoak’s a strange track in that the faster you go, the less bumpy it is.
This year has been a little quiet on the pre-race social front, The Sidmouth Arms is usually full of noisy disreputable hillclimbers, but this year there was only four of us! Maybe it’s a financial thing, with the cost of fuel these days it is difficult to afford to get there, let alone donate large wads of funds to the man behind the bar!
This Fairoak saw the first outing (to my knowledge) of Andy Brewer’s CX500. CX500 I hear you shout! Yep, strange tool it might be, but it’s the best-looking CX I’ve ever seen! Somehow Andy has made the engine look smaller, and the lines of the bike are superb. I’m really impressed. As to how it goes of course…
Well we managed to avoid helicopters and ambulances and no-one was seriously broken which is an improvement of the last couple of years!
My lasting memory of this years Fairoak has to be my first encounter with Curly’s bus – what a magnificent wagon(!) and what a party wagon too. It’s complete with doors that go fshhhh – and open and close – I love it(!) and the damn thing does more to the gallon than my blooming van !
Hartland Quay – 8 October 2000 – The dying days of the old season, and the genesis of a new bike !
Hartland, cold, windy, dramatic and fun. Well it lived up to its reputation again this year. The Saturday night was a real “and I don’t fancy the journey back neither!” with rain and wind making the decision to leave the track laying out until the Sunday morning. A good decision too as the Sunday was good and I just got a little damp whilst setting out the finish lights. Saturday was missing the Miss Hartland this year, but the partying carried on well after we were thrown out of the bar at 01:30.
I’ll leave the description of the racing to Dick and Vera – that’s their job as they managed to stuff the Buckland into the bank at the top of the straight- too much grip as it was the only dry run we had!
Back at Fairoak, a deal had been struck, we needed a new camshaft sprocket for Hedgehog’s Slapper and Alan Jolly had a spare engine. Well I know, but that’s the way these things work! Anyway Hartland saw the exchange take place as part of that end of season swappings of bikes and stuff that goes on and we were now the owners of most of another Rotax motor. Looking at the engine Hedgehog remarks “You know, I’ve always liked the Ducati frame and the way the old 250 handled. I’d really like to put a Rotax motor in one of those frames.” “Oh, OK”, I says, and wanders over to Doug Parnell, who’s fiddling with his 350 Ducati. “Doug, have you got a spare Ducati frame ?” to which Doug replied “yep, there’s a monoshocked narrowcase frame somewhere in the back of the shed, you can have that one” So now we have the frame and engine, and there’s a tank in the shed at home.
The following week end we pops off to France to Visit Kevin Raymond (Ex Superbikes/What bike etc. who’s editing a great new web magazine –http://www.just-bikes.co.uk Plug, plug!). Along with a van full of beer, wine and floorboards, we’ve got some bodywork, and a can for the exhaust when we return. All we need now are wheels and a front end!
Oh, and a camshaft sprocket for Hedgehog’s slapper.
Talking of which and to finish this monologue, I was heartily entertained to see Hedgehog sat on the line trying to hold the Slapper still as the clutch gave out. I think she realised that maybe this was time to give up and retire when she realised that she was sat on the line, clutch fully disengaged, doing a burnout !
Here’s to the AGM and next season – hopefully with a Rocati, or possibly Rotacky or even a Dutax – Tax Due?
Fact and figures
As well as the official NHCA web site managed by Tigger, Robin Sims provides an extremely detailed results service - www.sims703.freeserve.co.uk. Thanks go to both Robin Sims and David Childs for the end-of-year results enclosed with this Hillclimber.
From the Deep South (West) – 2000 Cornish Hillclimb Championship Results
1 P Jeffery 40pts
2 P Short 37pts
3 M Giles 27pts
1 M Palmer 41pts
2 B Wills 37pts
3 R Sims 34pts
1 P Jeffery 47pts
2 J Mitchell 47pts
3 G Poole 21pts
1 G Spiers 46pts
2 P Short 31pts
3 G Hodges 27pts
1 P Moseley 32pts
2 M French 24pts
3 D Parnell 10pts
1 P Keates 38pts
2 D Buckland 20pts
3 J Mitchell 10pts
1 J Staden 44pts
2 G Poole 18pts
3 J Warren 10pts
P Jeffery 47pts
Rumour has it that Paul Jeffery long lost uncle was at Hartland to cheer on his nephew. Yes folks, it seems that poor old Paul is related to JUDGE Jeffrey. Well, you can see the family resemblance, can’t you? After years of being best mates to the Cornish riders, Judge has jumped ship to the other side of the Tamar (we always thought that he came from their side, same mentality) and is now best mates with the North Devon crew.
Just two weeks after Hartland, Bill and I had to take the judge up to Bideford so he could spend the day reminiscing with Paul’s father, Pete, and just to prove where Paul must have forgotten about all his deliverance days with that smooth operator from Polzeath, here’s a snippet I came across from the BSSA’s November 1997 newsletter.
“ON THE UP AND UP
A lot of hard work by sprint secretary Ian Mitchell came to fruition in October when he staged a hill climb at a new venue near Hartland Point. The meeting produced some fine racing and a couple of casualties when Paul Jeffery fell off his father’s Velocette and suffered concussion and Shaun Williams dropped his Tribsa with serious mechanical consequences.”
P.S. I didn’t know that Paul was old enough to ride Velocettes in 1977.
P.P.S. When told about this new found relationship, Paul’s only comment was ‘That’s another name to add to the Christmas card list.’
‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff …’ Chapter 2
Following the piece in the July issue – and many thanks to those who sent advice – here’s an update on progress.
You will recall that the blown Matchless engine is a re-incarnation of something I tried in the 1980s following in the footsteps of Henry Laird and Joe Huxham who used Zoller superchargers on their Morgans for a variety of competition purposes in the mid 1930s. If you set out to replicate such experiences, the question is where do you start? Period literature, such as Laird’s own notes and John Bolster’s excellent article in his book ‘Specials’ on a supercharged 1100cc Blackburne V-twin in the Freikaiserwagon, suggests that the correct approach for sprint and hillclimb work is a combination of low compression and high boost. On the other hand, the commercially available kits in the post-war years for small cars retained the standard CR and used a relatively low boost of, say, 5psi above atmospheric. The manufacturers were at pains to term this as ‘pressure charging’ rather than supercharging, presumably to sell the product as something that required minimal modification to fit and retained overall driveability.
So, in 1982 when I built the 1155cc version, I opted for a CR of about 6.5:1 and a boost pressure in the region of 13psi. It certainly seemed to have plenty of grunt and to rev well. However, I was rather concerned about how hot the engine felt, even running on straight methanol. Not being an engineer I have to rely on received wisdom, in this case some charts produced by Laurence Pomeroy in a 1960s tuning book by Phil Irving. These illustrated that relative heat flow was affected by two factors, high boost and low compression ratios, in other words the Laird/Fry path. Irving quotes his own set up for a Vincent twin in a Cooper chassis. He used Mk 1 Rapide cams with 77 degrees of overlap, static CR of 9:1 (no less!) and a variety of sprockets driving a small Roots type blower at or above engine speed which gave between 8-10psi. So, for my second attempt at this mysterious art form, this time with a 1296cc capacity, I thought that the blower should run a little slower at 0.83:1 instead of 0.9:1 with a higher static CR of 8:1.
Incidentally the camshaft remained the same. It is a ‘special’, having about 60 degrees of overlap instead of Matchless’s original 44 degrees, in both cases split evenly around TDC. Too little overlap and there isn’t enough time for all that lovely mixture to be pushed into the cylinder. It’s said that too much overlap, for example using proper racing cams, results in lost boost because the mixture comes in the front door and straight out of the back! Like everything to do with supercharging, there seems to be exceptions to the rule. According to an interview with the man himself in the NSA magazine several years ago, Alf Hagon said he used ‘the latest speedway profile’ and that didn’t stop him being a record holder with his Hagon-JAP. The reason may be that the loss in boost is more than compensated by the cooling effect of the mixture passing through the cylinder, thus preventing overheating. Who knows?
Although the plot clearly went better at Prescott first time out than the 1155cc version – a half-second improvement and with a passenger – the pick-up/carburation was all over the place. When, in mid-July, I was silly enough to take it to Mallory Park in an unsorted state, it was inevitable that it wouldn’t last out the day. A piston blew. At that point in the season it wasn’t clear whether all effort had been worth it.
The piston, a Harley Davidson after-market job produced by KB Silvolite in USA, had a massive hole in the crown and looked as if someone had belted it with a hammer. Everyone who looked at it said, ‘Not strong enough, mate’. There was a choice of buying a replacement with little confidence that it would be any better or sourcing something stronger with the attendant problems of changing clearances, compression plates and so on. This is where modern technology comes in useful. I contacted the manufacturers by email and provided them with a full spec. of my engine. Their technical guru emailed straight back to say that he thought that the carburettor jet (0.180”) was too small. He explained that the type of alloy used in these pistons (hypereutetic alloy, apparently!) will withstand lots more heat, but then suddenly crack up. So I took the easy way out and purchased another pair. If nothing else, Sod’s law should apply. Having a spare piston on the shelf, I will probably never need it.
In the 1980s I had used a quarter inch main jet with a thicker needle. The effective jet area was about the same as with the smaller jet and thinner needle, so I hadn’t bothered altering the carb this time around. In went the ¼” jet and needle set-up. As a ‘belt and braces’ the strongest available carb piston spring was purchased (18oz instead of 11¼ oz) to create more suction before the piston rises and therefore a richer mixture.
Unfortunately, by this time all the hill events for 2000 had been and gone. However the Morgan club still had its ¼ mile sprint at Long Marston on 29 October, yes 29 October! Cold, was it? Too right. On top of that, the forecast was for dreadful rain all weekend. Luckily there were a few dry hours during the early part of the Sunday, together with a helpful tail wind. At Long Marston in 1982 the best time with the 1155cc blown version was 16.32 seconds. Since then the place has changed quite a bit. They now call it Shakespeare County Raceway and they have all sorts of fancy lights at the start line rather like a Christmas tree.
Bump starting, which is usually pretty easy, was impossible in the bitingly cold wind. Even a squirt of ‘East Start’ didn’t do the trick and it needed a tow start behind the car. Even then, severe icing was visible on the carb-to-blower manifold indicating that the mixture was probably condensing out, followed by fluffing and stalling until I worked out that the engine required sustained revving and covering with the tonneau cover to keep it warm.
Lining up for the first run, I hadn’t a clue what to expect. Perhaps it would cut out when opening the throttle after changing gear as it did repeatedly at the Classic Prescott. No, it seems OK in that area. Instead there’s a total cutting-out at about half to three-quarters throttle, but it all chimes back in when the throttle pedal is jiggled. First run was a bit experimental, but pleasantly quick at 15.84 seconds. The second run produced a substantial improvement to 15.36 seconds. I’m quite chuffed. Slowing down at the end of the run, the ignition timing retarded badly due to a dodgy taper on the cam-to-magneto drive sprocket taper. Then it belted down with rain so the meeting was abandoned.
So where do we go from here? We try to keep the internal flywheels aligned for a start. On checking them after the meeting they were well out of true and that’s no good for the crankcases!
Also, I feel that the ex-industrial Lucas V-twin magneto is being asked to do too much; some of the cutting out is probably more to do with the sparks department than the fuel mixture. In any case, with an uneven firing order, it has an inherently weak spark on one cylinder. The late 30s racing JAP V-twins changed from a ‘twin’ magneto to two ‘single’ magnetos. Unfortunately, on the Matchless there isn’t enough room for two mags. I think that a change to a coil-based ignition system is the way to go. On his blown Brough, Noel Pope used two spark plugs per head and a couple of the current Morgan racers have tried this with apparent success. Now I’ve had the bronze heads modified for twin plugs…
The freezing carb-to-blower manifold is a problem. Earlier in the year I tried folding copper sheet around the exhaust pipe and the manifold in the vain hope that it would warm up the latter. I think something more sophisticated is called for. The engine is air-cooled, so I can’t simple water-jacket it. Perhaps it might be possible to lag the manifold with some copper pipe fed from the exhaust system? We’ll see.
Vintage/Post Vintage and Classic Championships
The 2000 season saw the first double winner of these championships with Andrew Bennett taking both in (to use a phrase once much favoured by the motorcycle press) ‘grand style’.
Andrew comfortably retained the Vintage/PV Championship on his 600cc Norton International, but he had a hard struggle on his father’s long-stroke 350 AJS 7R to get the better of last year’s Classic champion Doug Parnell (350cc Ducati). Andrew has the invaluable ability of being able to ‘pull something out of the bag’ if headed on the first run and had to use his talent to the full in bettering Doug.
One of the highlights of this season was Loton where both Doug and Andrew smashed the 350 classic record by over 2.5 seconds. Andrew set a new record of 64.92 secs on his second run with Doug a mere 0.2 secs behind. It is interesting that, as far as I can discover, both of these times are over 3.5 seconds quicker than the course record when I first competed there!
The numbers competing in both championships appear to have held up well, although we could always do with a few more regular competitors, particularly for the Vintage/PV. This is the fifteenth season of these championships and now is probably a good time to take stock. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please let me know or bring them up at the AGM.
On a completely different tack, I recently completed a quarter mile sprint at Smeatharpe (near Fairoak Farm). Dave Massam was secretary and tells me that the NHCA is an invited club for these events. They are good meetings to try to set up your machine. I wanted to see how much power the silencer was costing me. I did the first three runs with the silenced exhaust that I currently use for hill climbs and the remainder with the straight through pipe I previously used. Sod’s law, it went quicker with the silencer! Funny old world, ain’t it!
Honda CR250 1986. Ready to hillclimb. £500. Robin Wills, tel 01392 436880
Michelin intermediates for sale brand new. Front 12/60-17", Rear 16/65-17". These are the type used by Glyn, Paul etc. Rears £60. May be able to get fronts if enough enquiries. Tel. Ian Southerton on 0121 246 2947 or 07801 722646
Will we have enough material for an issue before the start of next season? It’s all down to you, really. No hill climb reports of course … unless any shrinking violets have put pen to paper but have been too shy to post it. If so, don’t delay, put it in an envelope today. I keep crying out for technical articles – surely some of you must lay a spanner on the bike and be able to string together a few words.
ACU ‘Clerk of the Course’ Seminar – 26/11/00
I recently attended an ACU ‘Clerk of the Course’ seminar at ACU House in Rugby with Dave “I’ll fix your ridge tiles before I go on holiday” Baker. To be honest, neither of us knew what to expect. I thought we would perhaps be lectured about track safety, where to put marshals, cones etc.
When we arrived we were mainly confronted by road racers, with a few drag and sprint people attending. Upon settling in, we were given a short lecture on different aspects of the ACU handbook. This included the various roles of stewards, timekeepers, secretaries etc. and other information such as how to act after accidents, giving fines, race regulations etc. A large number were mostly areas found in road racing but many still applied to hill climbing. (Fortunately for us, the same people are usually found at our meetings so problems are seldom encountered).
Next, we were split into small groups and given various scenarios to resolve such as ‘what if an outfit crosses the line without its passenger? Is it classed as a finish? Whose responsibility is it to resolve the problem? What if they protest? How should they protest? What is the correct thing to do? In all cases, the book was referred to for a definitive answer.
This was followed by an exam (to which we await the results!) with various questions such as ‘Where are road racing grid sizes stated? Who has the authority to stop a meeting? What is the age limit for a hill climb?’- (physical age not mental age!)
After dinner, we went through the scenarios together, learning the correct way to solve unexpected problems, yet again using the ACU handbook. Finally, we looked at the paperwork used by meeting secretaries and what was required to run an event.
To sum up, the seminar was only a brief insight into running meetings, but I would recommend all racers go, if not for the education then because you would perhaps understand the amount of work that goes into organising an event. Believe me, it’s a compliment to those that put in the effort that their work goes virtually unnoticed. There are too many names to mention, but you all know who you are. Many thanks!