top of page




March 2000




Having sent off the December 99 issue for copying and posting just before Christmas, I thought it would be possible to hibernate through the winter until next April.  Waking from a deep sleep during the AGM last weekend, I heard Herman say that the next Hillclimber was due by the end of February so that all you can have a copy of the finalised event list.  Most important, he said, was that you should get your entries in to Paul Jeffery by the closing date for our season opener at Hartland Quay on Sunday 19 March.  So there!


…. which reminds me of my first impressions of Hartland when I competed there for the first time last March.  What an amazing place.  With the wonderful seascape and the hill rising dramatically from the shoreline, it must be the most ‘atmospheric’ hill we ride.  It’s a shame that the final 25 yards are so bumpy. The Morgan was bucking all over the place, so it must be really hairy on these quick bikes and sidecars.  The antics of the Mog’s rear suspension made me realise what poor damping I was getting from the pair of converted Spridget lever arm units which have been on the Mog for the past 20 years so.  With gratefully-received help from friend Max, we fitted a set of pre-war Armstrong lever arms on new mounts and the whole plot is far more stable now.


Ring, ring.  It’s Herman.  Change of plans.  The event list will now be sent out with the membership forms so there’s no rush to produce The Hillclimber. Relax.


Oh dear.  Jim Rolt’s address on the event list has changed.  Urgent panic to get The Hillclimber out to you asap.  Here it is.  All the best for a fast but safe 2000.



Important – change of date


Please note the new date for Bryn Bach Park.  This event will now take place on 25 June, not 29 July.  As a result it will no longer clash with Barbon.



Even More Important – change of address


Please note that the correct address for Jim Rolt, secretary of the meeting for Loton Park meetings (except the Classic) is

190 Broad Street



Worcs B61 8NQ



Current Records


Enclosed with this issue of The Hillclimber you will find what I believe are the current records.  If anybody has any queries they can contact me on 01203 313509.


Robin Sims



Age Concern Racing


Ref. young Jim Rolt’s application to join the Age Concern Works Team.


We would like to point out that there are very rigid (well, fairly rigid) criteria to become eligible for this polished team.  For example,

1                     Do you dye your hair grey like what we do?

2                     Do you need to wear reading glasses to sign on?

3                     Do you need to ask directions from the start line marshal?

4                     Do you feel that on the long climbs such as Wiscombe, Gurston Down and so on, a toilet is required half way?

5                     When you visit the doctor’s for a medical, does he say “drop your trousers and I will check your”  OW!!

6                     Bikes must be black and gold or black and silver.

7                     Are you the holder of a valid pension book?

8                     Do you remember Ted Heath’s band, Lita Roza and Alma Cogan?


We are not associated with Sad Git Racing (Hillclimber October 99), lurid leathers and stinkwheels!  But we do approve of some of their aims, e.g. cocoa and bird watching.  However, Mike Shorter does show some promise if he does sell the YZ and rides his Triumph.


The present members of the team are –

Team Captain: Alan Morgan (70 yrs)

Team Tactician: Dave Carter (68-69 yrs).  Not sure of his exact age as he is Down Under among the Dunderdongs spending his 75p pension rise on Emu Oil.

YTS lad: Roy Venard (only 67 yrs)


Best wishes to you all and se you at the top,


Roy  Venard



Terry’s Toys


Tony has asked me to pen him a few paragraphs on my current projects.  Last year I swapped my restored 1922 BAS Flat Tanker for a 1960s Triton – 750 Morgo Triumph T10 motor in a Wideline Featherbed frame, loads of alloy and stainless, Lyta tank, etc. – tasty or what?  It’s a bit quicker than the BSA and I don’t get trouble with grounding footrests anymore.


My 1956 AJS trials outfit was completed last year and, after a few outings with Reg as ballast, the main bearings gave trouble and it is now in pieces.  The 1939 Matchless Model X (990cc V twin) is nearly complete, awaiting recon magneto and fitting of sidecar.  High hopes of hillclimbing the beast, but the loan of Martin’s Commando Wasp has taken a grip on my 3-wheel fantasies. And on that front we are ditching the trials tyres, stiffening up the suspension, fitting twin carbs and reading up on my copy of ‘Hints and Tips on Sidecar Driving’.


Finally, I am in the throes of restoring a 1936 BSA 500 Empire Star which hopefully will be taking us on a 2,000 mile trip around the British Isles and Ireland – more of that later.


Terry Martin



Bristol Classic Bike Show


This year’s show took place on the 12/13th February.  In previous years we have tried to show examples of some of the diverse types of machine that can be used in Hill Climbs.  This time we used fewer bikes and put the emphasis on Pip Moseley’s impressive "Battle" Ducati which we elevated to a suitable height using Geoff Sims’ bike stand.  Also on the stand were Pete Isaac's "Barcelona 24 Hours" Velo and my "For Sale" Yamaha TZR 680 (well, there have to be some perks to the job).  Geoff's video collection played all weekend and loads of leaflets handed out.  So a few more people should now have a better idea of what Hill Climbing is all about.  Thanks to Geoff, Doreen, Pete and Pip and everybody who put time in on the stand or came to watch themselves on the video.


Doug   Parnell





Dear Tony


I thought I’d drop you a line after reading the Dec 99 issue of The Hillclimber.


I’m also a member of the VMCC and have recently found myself on the committee of the VMCC Sprint Section.  I’d just like to let you know credit should in fact go to the Northamptonshire Section of the VMCC for organising the Castle Ashby “Bent Sprint” (their words, not mine!) back in September and not, unfortunately, the VMCC Sprint Section.


I’d also like to express my thanks to ‘those more experienced riders who held back their entries’ for last May’s Shelsley as reported in the December Hillclimber, which allowed myself and many other ‘less experienced’ our first taste of the infamous venue.  A very much appreciated and sporty gesture!


Readers may be interested in some provisional dates for the diary:

Brooklands.  London Douglas Motorcycle Club – Sun 23 April

Goodwood Festival of Speed – 23 to 25 June

Brighton Speed Trials – Sat 9 September

Goodwood Circuit Revival – 15 to 17 September

Brooklands.  Dudley Gahagan Memorial Sprint – Sat 7 October


Incidentally, I’m dropping a line to Peter Isaac requesting some literature handouts as I plan to take my hillclimb bike to the Brooklands Motorsport Day scheduled for Sat 19 February.


Best wishes,


Tony Madgwick





As an official, spectator and competitor, it’s amazing the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm which can be gained from our sport, seeing the different ways people attack the problems of transport to the meetings, costs, mechanical faults on the day and interpretation of the rules of engagement commonly known as the ACU handbook which, if you are a full licence holder you should be the proud owner of.  If, however, you use only day licences you may never have seen one.  In which case it would be a good idea to talk to someone with regard to the rules and save a lot of hassle at the start of the day for booth you and the officials.  One of the good points of hillclimbing has been not too much red tape.  But, like all other sports, it seems to be increasing in order to survive outside pressures!  So the idea is to make it no harder than it needs to be for all of us.


Just a few points noted from last season, looking at hillclimbing from the various angles –

With environmental issues being strong please bring an old piece of carpet to put under the bike, especially if there are known leaks or a repair is being carried out.

Numbers – all machines must have three number plates of the correct colour for the class and numbers near to the size stated in the handbook.  This is important for meetings where the timekeepers or commentators may not know you.  (Racing numbers must be removed or taped over if the machine is ridden on public roads, e.g. to and from the meeting.)

Could sidecar crews remove the bodywork when they are next in line to reach the scrutineer, as this can save a lot of time.

Anyone with long hair (no chance for me) must have it tied back and tucked into their leathers during racing as, in the event of a prang, you don’t want it getting caught in the chain.  Could this mean the return of the hairnet?

Please mark the stroke clearly on the engine or nearest bodywork to enable the official noise test to be carried out.

Don’t forget to bring your fire extinguishers.

Make sure boots and leathers overlap to cover ankles as they are rather fragile (I know!).

As most of you know, at the end of 2000 the ACU approval stamp will change on the helmets.  Should you need to buy a new helmet, please bear this in mind.  Recently there has been some confusion in the types of material used, so I have included a recent memo from the ACU Newsletter.


Well, that’s more than enough from me and I haven’t even fallen off!  So, wishing you a good and incident-free season for 2000-02-10


Dave Wills



Winter Tip


What do hillclimbers do in the winter?  Five friends and I have just had an

excellent weekend with John & Brenda Luckett at Lower Wembsworthy Farm

(01237 441611) which is about three miles from Hartland.  They have about 20

acres of woodland and streams where you can ride your trials bike for as long

as you want, serve an outstanding breakfast and go out of their way to make

sure you have an enjoyable stay all for £15 a night bed & breakfast.  Well

worth a visit (if you have a trials bike) or worth considering if there are

"no rooms at the inn" for hillclimb weekend.


Mike Shorter






For Sale

Yamaha TZR 680.  XT600 engine with Yoshimura conversion, twin Amals, Joy cam,, Marvic wheels.  Light and quick.  Give John Staden a hard time for about £2000.

Doug Parnell.  Tel. 01454 260679 (Glos.)




For sale

Honda CR500 (1990) hillclimb bike.  Tuned, ready to race with spares (my 1999 bike with with a few later parts courtesy of Ian Fry!)   £1,700 or serious offers.

Ian Southerton.  Tel. 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).




Also for sale

Yamaha YZ293 (approx. 1992) hillclimb bike.  Ready to race with spares.  £1,100 ono.

Ian Southerton.  Tel. 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).




For sale
Yamaha YZ490 in ready to race condition (the tyres are crap

though).  Just too fast for this ageing soft southern pussy. £400 NO OFFERS .

Ask Jamie Mitchell if you want to know how good it is.

Mike Shorter.  Tel.  01305 784606 (Weymouth)




    Suppose a name and phone number may be a good idea.





Tel Ian Southerton on 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).




July 2000




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)





Desperation is setting in.  It’s misfiring badly and engine revs are surging without any obvious reason.  It’ll only run properly on full choke.  Only one thing for it – have to pull it apart again.  Fuel flow seems OK, so let’s look at the carb.  Ah, there’s the problem, a lump of congealed dirt in the main jet.  Clean it out, reassemble and start it up.  It’s firing evenly and revving up easily now, so I can get on and cut the rest of the lawn.  The Honda mower is normally pretty reliable and this is the only trouble I’ve had with it in about 15 years.  Now, if only the Matchless on the front of the Morgan was that easy to sort out…

About a fortnight ago I was almost suicidal.  Very little to go in the Hillclimber and months since the last issue, but you all rallied round.  Still nothing much in the way of technical articles, although thanks to all the contributors for the event reports, snippets and other info.  You’re going to have to put up with some blurb on the Morgan, which continues to provide a great deal of fun this year, although the methanol consumption is GINORMOUS.  Cathy is taking some time out for her A-levels, just completed, so my old mate Ken Edwards is in the hot seat.  We’re having a busy time, as where possible Ken also enters his lovely 350cc Triumph Tiger 80.  So after his run, he hops into the Mog as we bump start for the three-wheelers.  We’re going quicker than last year (which means that Jason can’t quite catch us up during the run, altho’ it was still pretty close at Prescott!).  It would be nice to get on even terms with Dick & Vera’s Buckland, but Dick seems to be going quicker and quicker each year.  Also he’s got a secret weapon …… he’s barking mad, so Ken and I stand no chance.

Have fun and keep it on the black stuff,


A Blast from the Past

In this issue you should find a copy of part of “The Hill Record” for 1976 produced by Ed Luton for what was, then, the hillclimb section of the NSA.  Hope they copy sufficiently well.  If they are not enclosed, it’s simply because we couldn’t produce a good enough copy.  This archive material arrived by a circuitous route, but thanks go to -

Jamie Mitchell

Prescott - 6 & 7 May 2000

Arrived late afternoon – surprising how good the camping field was after the amount of rain we’ve had this spring.  Last year it was an absolute quagmire in places.

Looking around the motorcycle paddock one wondered what year it was – a Manx Norton, 7R AJS, Ariel Arrow, two Velocettes, Triumph Tiger Cub, 5T Triumph, T80 Triumph and a TriBSA!

Unfortunately the noise meter man was there and one rider fell foul of the testing.  After scouring rubbish bins, said rider found a drinks can (empty) and did a quick mod!  Next day noise man arrived, bike was started, revved up and BANG! – mod was blown off like a rocket into space.  There didn’t seem to be any medics around so presumably no one was injured.  Maybe it’s still in orbit?  Anyway, the bike eventually satisfied the examiner.

Several riders had their first Prescott ride and thoroughly enjoyed the event; it does help when it’s such glorious weather, of course.  Thankfully the thunderstorms missed that part of the country.

The fact that several members took turns on the start line was very much appreciated by the Bugatti Owners’ Club, the organisers.  We are well looked after by Max in having three practice runs.

Prescott awards – 1st Glyn Poole, 2nd Jon and Sandra Staden, 3rd Jon and Vicki Weight.




1              Pete Robson          50.27

2              Michael Giles        51.88

3              Dave Dunk            57.25


1              Brian Wills            50.90

2              Andrew Bennett   54.51

3              Doug Parnell         54.52


1              Glyn Poole             47.42

2              Adrian Sellars       59.04

3              Richard Cobb        63.13


1              Gerald Spiers         49.54

2              Dave Wills            51.74

3              Alan Jolly              53.67


1              Vince Cheeseman                                 58.09

3-wheelers 2wd

1              Jon & Sandra Staden                                           48.54

2              Jon Warren & Vicki Weight                               49.27

3-wheelers 1wd

1              Patrick & Paul Keates          52.45

2              Harry & Carol Foster           54.61

3              Dick & Vera Buckland         56.69

Geoff Sims

Rich Mixture


Ken’s back on his Tiger 80 having re-acquired it from Pete John, but it’s throwing out lots of smoke and picking up poorly out of the corners.  The smoke’s black, not blue … although Ken’s language should be, but he’s a polite sort of chap.  It looks like it’s a mixture problem, not over-oiling.  The Triumph is fitted with an Amal TT, an alloy-bodied one, and not the brass-bodied version that Ken had in his earlier ownership.  Drop the needle – the TT has seven notches just to keep tinkering owners happy.  No change.  More cutaway on the slide, nary a change, still sooty.  Must be pilot air/fuel mixture.


Team Age Concern know that TT carbs are different in this respect from the Type 6, 29, Monobloc and Concentric ranges.  The screw on the side of a TT is a fuel bleed, not an air bleed.  The usual setting for petrol is only half a turn out from fully screwed in.  Ken knows this and, on checking, the pilot air screw is set about right.  However, the needle that forms part of the screw and regulates the fuel bleed doesn’t seem to be going far enough into the pilot jet, even on full inward adjustment.


The brass TTs have a different-looking pilot air screw.  Visually it has a smaller knurled ‘nut’.  Experimenting showed that when the pilot air screw and holder from the brass TT carb are tried in the later alloy carb, the fuel flow control needle sits deeper into the side of the body.  Hence it sits deeper into the pilot jet itself and, hey presto, perfect pilot air mixture, no black smoke and better pick up.


So, problem solved, but what was the cause?  Was the pilot jet hole in the casting drilled out by a previous enthusiastic owner, maybe for methanol?  But that shouldn’t be necessary, as the TT runs well on ‘meth’ with the screw out a few turns.  Or perhaps the earlier alloy-bodied versions used the same pilot adjustment screw assembly?  Do our more knowledgeable members have any ideas?


[Acknowledgements to David Childs for providing a copy of Amal’s tuning leaflet.]


Grease Monkey

Wiscombe Park – 13 May 2000

Friday Dinner Time – I still haven’t told the boss that I want the Saturday off.  Come coffee time, I thought I’d better spit it out and sh*t was I in trouble by the time I’d taken my first sip of coffee.  Saturday is our busiest day, being a bike shop.

Having had one hundred and one things to smooth over before I set off to Wiscombe, I found myself arriving at Honiton at 11:30pm – not what I had planned. And having to sleep with a Hayabusa in the van with its alarm in service mode tweeting every 30 seconds does not aid a good night’s sleep.

Morning broke to a damp sheep poo laden track, but being a true Cornish boy, it didn’t fear me until I saw Geoff Hodges had cut his beard and hair; I knew then I was in trouble!

Walking around the pits in the morning, there were the same friendly and familiar faces as usual.  First practice rolled up; everyone up to the top of the hill safely (I think) and second practice was much of a muchness.

First timed run and the sun started to dry the track apart from that last corner where traction was minimal, but it was good fun for wheel-spinning over the line.

Paul Jeffery’s new ABS system was slightly too effective coming into Martini.  Curly’s diff on the trike gave up the ghost, which is not what Curly wanted before Loton the next day.  But Curly being Curly went to the breakers, got a gearbox out of a Golf, stripped it down, robbed the diff and made it to Loton – what a boy!

Jamie, naturally, looked as fluent as always.  Pete Short kicked in the 750 class.  The 500 record stayed safe for another year, which pleased Grenville.

Basically, to sum the day up, it was a nice event, with nice people at a nice venue.  Thanks to everyone who is involved with the organisation of NHCA events.

P.S. Any more for a track day, contact Gerald Spiers on 01288 355162 (9am-5pm)



1              Mark Short            50.00

2              Tim Clarke             50.41

3              Dave Dunk            51.57


1              Robin Sims            46.54

2              Damian Witney    47.44

3              Brian Wills            47.98


1              Jamie Mitchell       42.64

2              Paul Jeffery           43.00

3              Glyn Poole             43.65


1              Peter Short            43.16

2              Gerald Spiers         44.37

3              Peter Browne        45.40


1              Mark French         44.44

2              Doug Parnell         46.88

3              Vince Cheeseman                                 52.42

3-wheelers 2wd

None made a timed run

3-wheelers 1wd

1              Patrick & Paul Keates                                          47.60

2              Dick & Vera Buckland                                         53.83

3              Tony Quinn & Ken Edwards                             56.85


Top Ten

1              Jamie Mitchell       42.21

2              Peter Short            42.89

3              Glynn Poole          43.50

Gerald   Spiers

Wiscombe Tailpiece

The organisers of Wiscombe Park have asked that if anyone wishes to camp the night before a meeting, could they please do so in the top paddock and not in the main competitors’ paddock as in previous years.  Also, when arriving before the meeting can you please approach via the hill as the back lane is getting very rough.

Dave Wills


If riders have any grievances or complaints at a meeting where we share with a car club will they please talk to the NHCA or ACU steward and not to the organising car club or RAC steward.

Dave Wills


Please remember the scrutineering is for your safety and if any faults are found please attend to them as advised.  Failure to do so can risk exclusion from the meeting.

Dave Wills


Prescott – 3 & 4 June 2000 or

‘Getting it up – fast!’


After many years of indifferent performance in most branches of motor cycle sport, I joined the NHCA to sample hill climbing, particularly at Prescott, since the hill is only 25 miles from my front door.  The other added attractions of getting home in time for tea and leaving at a civilised time in the morning after a decent breakfast, always assuming that you’ve stayed upright (or nearly), and the motorcycle doesn’t demand too much delving into the tool box.


I’ve had two goes now (7th May and 4th June) in varying conditions on an original 500 Manx.  Designed, very successfully in its day, to conquer the Isle of Man T.T. circuit which also has a hill, it’s called Snaefell.  The difference between the two climbs being that the former is several miles allowing the rider the luxury of admiring the views, whereas Prescott Hill has wonderful views but most of the time they are behind you when you’ve obeyed the green light and you wait for the red mist to appear.  For some of us, what was red is now a pale pink!


Even a slow walk up the hill (is there any other pace?) told me that a Manx was not really designed for a short unforgiving excursion, changing into second gear when most were in fourth proved the ultimate test of a Bob Newby clutch – it passed.  Over the two meetings I managed to get it up twice under a minute, which caused me considerable elation.  However, this performance pales into insignificance when compared with the hillclimb specialists, riding a varied selection of machines from ancient to modern.  Riding styles certainly took the eye.  Us more mature competitors did not indulge in the start line gymnastics such as sudden stops and tyre burning, which seemed to me to be an expensive pastime.  After the ‘green’ these combatants displayed a very determined riding style.  Jaws jutting, boots arriving at the bends before the front wheel, power sliding and other eye-catching hernia-provoking habits.  Mind you, all this seemed to work when viewing the times, which leads me to another subject.  I was introduced to ‘split times’ which, on enquiry, turned out to mean that you get another timing point somewhere on the hill for even more intense analysis.  Prior to this gem, I had merely glanced at my watch, which I found just as reliable.


Some competitors when removing helmets disclosed grey, greying or rinsed locks (these were on the more maturing machines).  Others with full heads and natural colours were on the modern machines, some of which can only be described as tall bikes with short gearing and with more suspension than Pamela Anderson’s bra straps.


How nice to have a paddock announcer who says please and thank you, rather than some I have sampled with such statements as “Unless we get another six marshals up here in the next ten minutes and if you riders don’t get your bikes up to the scrutineer even quicker, there ain’t no racing – do I need to repeat myself?  Have you got it?  Get your arses into gear, then!”  All at 6:45am on a Sunday morning, when attending church is foremost in the mind.


Was it enjoyable?  Without doubt – yes.  I’d like another go sometime.  The weather was generally kind.  There were the usual paddock wanderers with beards and pipes, which made me feel at home.  Alyson looks after our many needs and Doug oils the relationship with the officials (not any officious ones, I noted) and what’s more, log-standing records were broken and I got my picture in the programme.  What more can  one ask for other than ‘Getting it up, Fast’.

Adrian  Sellars



250 – Peter Short                  49.23

350 – Robin Sims  50.32

500 – Glyn Poole                  46.83       New record

750 – Gerald Spiers              48.90       New record

1300 – John Woods             48.78       New record

3-wheelers 2WD -                Jason Reeve/John Woods 47.35

3-wheelers 1WD                   Patrick & Paul Keates                          51.40

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down, or

This little piggy fitted a blower


Back in the 1930s supercharging was all the rage, probably because of the great gain it gave to car engines that had inlet tracts like Spaghetti Junction.  I’m told by a rich friend that a Type 35 Bugatti engine has something like 15 bends ’twixt carb and inlet valve.


Two brave Morganeers of the period supercharged their V-twins.  One was Henry Laird who was employed in 1931 at Michael A McEvoy Ltd, the engineering firm that produced the McEvoy motorcycle.  This had been hard hit by the depression.  McEvoy turned his hand to development and tuning which involved, with Laurence Pomeroy a venture to manufacture and promote the German Zoller supercharger under licence.  Throughout the ’30s Laird used a Type 4 Zoller on both his competition Morgans.  These were ‘Yellow’, a two-speed water-cooled JAP model used for International Trials and ‘Red’ his racer, a two-speed Super Aero, later converted by the Morgan works to a three-speed transmission.  Laird simply transferred the blown water-cooled engine from Yellow, but later the supercharger blew a special long-stroked air-cooled competition JAP engine.  Laird’s contemporaneous records showed that he ran at a static CR of about 6:1 with a boost of 12lbs or so above atmospheric pressure.  Judging from period photos the Type 4 Zoller seems to displace about 750cc, so it must have been turning at well over engine speed, perhaps 1.5 times.  It was amazing that it held together, but hold together it did.


Laird competed successfully in trials, including timed hill climbs, and also track racing at Brooklands and road racing at Donington.  In between times he had a shot at record-breaking and took the standing kilo and standing mile World Records for Threewheelers in October 1935.


The other Morgan owner who tried supercharging was Joe Huxham who raced a three-speed Sports model Morgan fitted with an air-cooled Matchless engine, type MX2, as fitted to my Morgan.  Huxham, photos of whom usually feature a mug of beer in his hand, was a Morgan dealer and a bit of a practical joker. He had tried his hand at racing at Brooklands where he met and became friends with Laird.  Laird persuaded Huxham to fit a supercharger, but all Huxham succeeded in doing - at Brooklands anyway - was to burn holes in his pistons or stick them to the sides of the cylinders!  Like Laird, Huxham was an all-rounder who ran his Mog in just about every sort of competition he could including competing against sidecars in grass track events.  Looking through contemporary photos and reading the excellent research carried out by club historians, one can only conclude that these guys spent a lot of time in the garage between meetings as their machines turned out differently from event to event!


As some of you will know, I ran my Matchless Morgan supercharged in 1980s, competing at Prescott, Wiscombe, Cricket St Thomas and others.  The main problem at the time was the blower drive.  I made the mistake of using a toothed belt, which caused havoc with the pulley fixings due to the uneven firing of the V-twin.  We even had special alloy bronze crankcases (a la Henry Laird who used some special cases made by the famous JAP tuner ‘Barry’ Baragwanath).  The other problem was that the additional power caused the internal flywheels to move out of line, which was ‘rectified’ by welding the crankpin to the flywheels.  Even the welds gave way from time to time!  Using Laird’s settings as a guide we ran with a CR of between 5.5:1 to 6.5:1 and a theoretical boost of 13lbs above atmospheric pressure.  To keep things cool and therefore reliable, we ran on straight methanol and it was lots of fun.  The weight penalty is in the order of an additional 56lbs – or a sack of potatoes – but the breadth of power is awesome.


Returning to hill climbs in 1998 I ran the Morgan in its road trim, the blower having been long removed.  For the road a CR of 6.5:1 was fine.  I had sorted out the flywheel assembly by junking the wheels and shafts and starting again with some new steel wheels made by John Holleran, a superb specialist in Morgan parts.  The CR was raised to just under 9:1 and, with a few other mods, it started to go a bit better.  It was tempting to go ‘blown’ again, but the bronze-cased engine now had standard sized mainshafts and I didn’t want to damage an otherwise reliable engine.


I was lucky to buy another set of the special strong cases we had made in the 70s, not bronze unfortunately, but cast in good quality alloy and this formed the basis for a new engine.  I was aiming for just under 1300cc and, although the Matchless con rods are exceptionally strong, they are 60-odd years old.  Friends suggested that Harley Davidson rods be considered.  They are forked and plain with centres not that different from the MX2, so I searched the Internet for Harley tuning specialists and contacted S&S who are well-known in this field.  S&S of Wisconsin were both helpful and professional in their approach, particularly bearing in mind that, from their point of view, I was at best a one-off customer.  They always replied to my emails within 24 hours and advised me as to what rod assembly to use.  When I enquired about pistons, specifying the approximate CR, they did not try to fob me off with something unsuitable, but explained that they had nothing to suit.  How refreshing.  Matt’s Engineering at Abercynon supplied the S&S rods and advised using Keith Black Racing pistons from a 3½” bore Harley.  Both the rods and pistons arrived within a week of ordering (and just before Christmas), so we were on the way.  All the bits and pieces, together with some ideas, were delivered to my good friend Dave Andrews who runs a specialist engineering business near Shaftesbury to do all the clever stuff.


The result is an engine that hasn’t blown up yet – the most important feature.  Although it needs quite a bit of sorting, it has put up significantly better times compared with the well-developed, but now normally-aspirated, bronze-cased engine (Prescott 60.75secs, down to 57.90secs; Bryn Bach Park 38.88secs, reduced to 37.46secs).  It’s quicker already than the 1980s blown version; Ken and I improved by just over ½ second at Prescott over the best ‘blown’ time in ’86 without a passenger.


Now, it’s your turn to help.  What’s causing it to cut out completely at about 4,500 revs in either gear when it should be running up to 5,750?   I think it’s a carb/fuel problem rather than a magneto issue, although all my Morgan friends say I should throw away the magneto and run a coil-driven set-up!  If it’s fuel, it’s a puzzle.  Acting on plenty of helpful advice from members at Prescott, Ken made a lovely bell-mouth (which unfortunately we had to mask as the carb faces forward).  It improved the low-speed pick-up, but it still missed/cut out at higher revs.  The float bowls flow fuel into the carb at the rate of one pint each per 20 to 25 seconds.  Is it enough?  It was in the 80s when running the blower at a slightly higher speed.  The plugs look grey, but not nicely methanol rich as Harry Foster said they should.  Does anyone know about SU carbs?  Has anybody some ideas?  Answers, please, by any media.




Gurston Down - 10/11 June 2000


“What’s that, oh no, it can’t be, we’ve just come to bed.  You turn it off …  it’s your turn … it’s on your side … it’s always on my side … you make the tea then, I’ll let the dogs out … ok.  The bargain is struck and I get the better deal, hitting the snooze button to relax back into slumber for the next eight minutes.


Our local event, Gurston Down.


Arriving on site, we didn’t know whether to expect to see 10th armoured tank division carrying out manoeuvres in an effort to re-create May’s conditions or quite what, but needless to say things had improved immensely and there was no danger of being struck by a passing trailer floating away on a torrent of mud.


It was great to see a full entry (suits you sir) with 34 eager beavers (saucy minx) straining at the leash, to go at it hammer and tong (my word).  With all the classes well represented it was going to be an interesting couple of days (weather permitting) with local derby’s and head to heads throughout the programme not to mention a massive entry for the trike class (3).


We managed three practice runs on Saturday of which the 2nd was most memorable for us, putting the right hand rear wheel on the grass through hollow, after going through the trap at our best speed of 96 mph, inducing what I thought was a gentle slide, you know, a bit of a moment.


At the top of the hill:


Sandra: “------g hell I thought we were off”


Jon: “What?”


Sandra: “You ------g w----r, you didn’t even back off”.


Jon: “Which bit?”


Sandra: “Hollow you ------g p---k”


Not only had I upset the missus, but little did I know that Alfie was planning revenge for even daring to discuss castration in his presence, and shutting him in the van every weekend with a mummy’s girl who can’t even chase sticks!


With the day’s racing over with, time for discussion on the finer points of hillclimb meetings, transport to the pub.  Anyone who has seen Jaws and heard the music which accompanies imminent death, well everyone in the paddock could hear it loud and clear with the exception of Paul Jeffery and myself, as the hunter moved in on it’s prey with stealth and speed.  “Wallop”, two fully grown men performing cartwheels with the grace and elegance of Bernard Manning and Tubby Brown at the fat lads Olympics.  I must take this opportunity to thank Mark Short for not attempting to reset my dislocated shoulder as requested, due to it not being dislocated in the first place.  All I can say is if Curly rode his trike like he drives his Granada, he’d win every time (I’m sure he was doing it on purpose).  Anyway, all was not lost, we still made the pub and set about the healing process with all the other pained souls.


Sunday came and we were blessed with good weather and track conditions.  Everyone was well up for it.  Pete Robson flying on his 250, 95mph over the finish, Gerald and Dave in the 750’s with little between them, Terry taking his TL over the line at 103mph (I would have liked to have marshalled on the finish line), but it was Glyn yet again who was to have that ride, the one we all look for in our own way, outright hill record 33.24/104mph over the finish, with some fancy footwork in between …

well done son.

Jon  Staden

Gurston Gurgle



1. Do not tinker with your machine.

2. Do not walk the course, use a skateboard.

3. To assist in breaking current record - have your dog knock you over, Curly, transport you to A & E department of Salisbury Hospital, and back to the    nearest trackside hostelry.'



Robin Sims has provided us with the latest update - see the enclosures with this Hillclimber - and we have a report on the Road Legal Championship.

One For The Road!


As some of you may have noticed I have taken on the mantle of 'Road Legal' secretary.  It was probably the little things like, “is this machine road legal?” Or, “are those road tyres?” that gave me away.  After much enlightening discussion with previous secretaries I decided to run things similar to last year: i.e. road based, no 'racing tyres'.  This year a greater number of road legal rounds have been included to give a larger choice.  However because the April Baitings Dam and Porthkerris meetings were cancelled, the overall championship has been reduced from eleven rounds to ten.


Now, to the results so far.  After eight rounds Dave Wills has 'howled' off into a commanding lead with six lst s in six visits scooping 36pts on that indecently quick CBR600.  In second slot can be found Peter Fisher on the Nordwest thudding away on 23pts.  Third placed Dick & Vera's Buckland B3 squeals in with 15pts ahead of a quickening Richard Bowker on his CBR600 with 14pts.  A pleasure to see and hear another Ducati on the hills, Michael Giles on his 750ss booming to 8pts and 5th place.  In 6th is Alan Jolly with 5pts thanks to Jenny's GPZ 500.


Well that will do for now.  Thanks to Robin & Alan for the help and advice.  If I have missed anyone out I am sure I will be told.


Keep it clean


Looking over Dave Dunk’s shoulder at Bryn Bach Park, he seemed to be in trouble.  There he was, bending over the Amal carb.  We’d all heard him earlier on the 250 Honda, blasting or rather coughing, up and down the warm-up area.  Incidentally, he says it’s a single, but it’s got two exhausts, so that can’t be right…. Maybe they fitted a spare at the works.  Very odd.


Where were we?  Oh yes, there he is bending over the Amal, dropping the needle a notch.  So, what’s the matter, Dave?  And he shows me a spark plug that looks like a coal mine.  Bit on the rich side, eh?  Offering some free advice as all good bystanders do, Dave takes it all very patiently.  Yes, he’s been through the ignition, changed the coil, then changed the ‘black box’ …..whatever that is.  No, he says, there should be nothing wrong with the carb; it’s set up just as before for this engine.  No, the main jet hasn’t become unscrewed, thank you very much.  He’s already checked that.  So there he is, dropping the needle a notch, knowing in his heart that this really isn’t the problem, but hoping for the best.


“When you’ve found out what’s wrong, can you please give us a technical article for the Hillclimber, Dave?”  Mutter, mutter, OK.


Heard on the grapevine later when he had sorted it out that the culprit was a very dirty air filter causing an upset in the air:fuel ratio and you can guess the rest.  Moral of the story – keep it clean.  Never mind, Dave, your secret is safe with us.






For Sale

Yamaha TZR 680.  XT600 engine with Yoshimura conversion, twin Amals, Joy cam,, Marvic wheels.  Light and quick.  Give John Staden a hard time for about £2000.

Doug Parnell.  Tel. 01454 260679 (Glos.)



For sale

Honda CR500 (1990) hillclimb bike.  Tuned, ready to race with spares (my 1999 bike with a few later parts courtesy of Ian Fry!)   £1,700 or serious offers.

Ian Southerton.  Tel. 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).



Also for sale

Yamaha YZ293 (approx. 1992) hillclimb bike.  Ready to race with spares.  £1,100 ono.

Ian Southerton.  Tel. 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).



Also for sale

Super-Moto CR/KX (bike no. 778).  1997 Honda CR250 beam frame & running gear,

Kawasaki KX500 engine tuned & bored to 520cc.  3.50" front rim and 4.50" rear rim.  Fireblade disc & calliper, Brembo master cylinder.  Sold with 500cc barrel & head (also tuned).  Spare set of bodywork.  Spare exhaust.  Spare tyres etc.  This bike has a proof of year of manufacture document with it, so could be registered & used on the road!  £2850.00 o.n.o.

Ian Southerton.  Tel. 07801 722646 or 0121 246 2947 (Birmingham).




For sale
Yamaha YZ490 in ready to race condition (the tyres are crap though).  Just too fast for this ageing soft southern pussy. £400 NO OFFERS .

Ask Jamie Mitchell if you want to know how good it is.

Mike Shorter.  Tel.  01305 784606 (Weymouth)




Next Hillclimber

This depends on you of course.  The problem with an irregular newsletter like the Hillclimber is that, without clear cut publication dates, no-one really knows when to send in contributions.  So, let’s have a go at setting a deadline.

I would like to get an issue out in early September, which means a cut-off date for contributions by the end of August, altho’ I will take email contributions up to 3rd September.  Let’s give that a go.  Then we can have an end-of season issue at Christmas to go with the turkey and stuffing, vegibake or whatever is your fancy.

Suggestions for the sort of thing you would like to see in the Hillclimber would be gratefully received, as it’s difficult to know if it’s pleasing you all of the time, some of the time or none of the time.  Even if the latter is the case, thank’s for paying your subscription, it all helps with the admin costs.



bottom of page