Problems! No cigar this time.

The first race on Saturday was in glorious sunshine and everything was looking good for the 1:30 pm start. With our 6th place qualifying we were far enough forward on the grid to be in contention.

Bruce rode first and got away well but  soon dropped back with the bike slowing up. He came in as soon as the pit opened and Dean soon found the same problem, but worse.

The gears were not changing properly with top gear not engaging at all because the left hand gear linkage started to break!

Dean did a great job of getting the bike home by eventually changing gear by hand and kicking the remote linkage with his foot.

It you don’t finish the race it makes the next day a waste of time, with the combined times.

The problems were a binding front brake, on both sides. The water from the practice sessions was enough to get into the brake pivots and stop the brake returning.

The gearbox problem was strange as we checked it out in the pits and it changed gears perfectly. We fitted the spare right hand (standard Manx) gear linkage and (wrongly) assumed the problem was the failing linkage. The gearbox oil was changed and looked OK.

We worked on the bike until late and Dean and Charlotte stipped the brake and lubed the pivots, while James Bloore and I swapped over the gear change and brake levers.

We were reasonably confident the problems were fixed and on Sunday we would be on the pace.

The weather held up until after our race before lunch. Dean got a really good start, and was up to 4th and happy. But once he got on the fast sections the gearbox would not change gear. Dean said the pedal would jam and it was too dangerous to continue, so he returned to the pits.

When we checked it on the stand it had all six gears so the problem is only occurring at high speed. I will try and strip the gearbox before I go back to NZ.

It is frustrating that it did not show up in NZ when Cameron Donald rode the bike at the Pukekohe Festival, and Bruce Anstey didn’t get a chance to show his true form.


He made comment it took two attempts to get a result at the Isle of Man, so maybe we will see him again next year.

I felt really sorry for our team as we all tried really hard to get a result and after all the rain and the sea of mud in the car parks it was a bit of an ordeal.

It started to rain on the far side of the circuit early in the Sunday race, which caught out Glen English who slid off Fred Walmsley’s G50.

The 3 cylinder MV of Michael and William Dunlop expired  in a cloud of smoke during the first race , and both Fred Walmsley’s G50 Matchless’s had falls, so we were not alone in our disappointments.

The race was won by Jeremy McWilliams and Duncan Fitchett (our rider from last year) riding a 500 Manx prepared by Andy Savage, and our other rider from last year, Sam Clews did the fastest lap on the Manx he shared with his dad.

Gary Johnson and Mick Grant had a good ride, being elevated to 3rd after the Dunlop’s, riding a borrowed Manx Norton, copped a 10 second penalty for changing riders outside the “pit window”.

Back home soon.




Some of the Goodwood “characters”


Charlotte and Debbie adding some colour to the holding area.



The Gary Johnson / Mick Grant 3 cylinder MV


Our Isle of Man helper Ian Wardrope from Scotland, with owner Señor Fulch



Dick Linton in a happy mood. He just has an upside-down smile.


A very nice BMW Rennsport RS54 ridden by Maria Costello and 1939 TT winner Georg Miers grandson.


Ouch! Mike Hose/ Mainwaring-Scott G50


Former Suzuki Grand Prix boss Gary Taylor, Kiwi GP rider Stu Avant and Bruce Anstey.


Jan and Peter McMillan, who do such a great job of organising  the Eastern Creek Barry Sheene meeting, and Goodwood regular Alan Cathcart

Wet, wet, and wetter

We got through qualifying OK with 6th position. The weather was atrocious!

Bruce went out first and was fast from the start. The brake was really viscous when cold at low speed but came right when riding. I went back to the pit to get the front stand and tools which is about a kilometre walk! We took the wheel out in the holding area to try and get some of the grab out of it. Dean’s girlfriend Charlotte was a big help, and clearly knew what she was doing. We got out a lap late.

The rain was constant and toward the end of the session got heavier. When the bikes were stopping for the rider change the water trapped in the flanged rims must have been about half a litre and came out like a waterfall.

Dean took over and matched Bruce’s times so we were happy. Sixth place on the Le Mans start is OK.


The car-park has turned to a sea of mud, and it really was not a lot of fun.

Race day today has taken a turn for the better with high cloud. Off we go!


Debbie, Charlotte and Dean, when it wasn’t raining!


Bruce, with his special leathers from the Isle of Man, 2013 and 2014


Debbie and Charlotte in pit lane, hiding from the rain.



Ready for Goodwood

We spent yesterday afternoon in Wallingford, near Oxford packing the van and preparing for Goodwood.

The bike looks great and the motor is running strong.

My efforts to persuade Bruce Anstey to ride were worth the effort and combined with Dean Stimpson we have a strong team.

We are the best organised we have yet been with a good bike, good toolkit and now everything in plastic boxes, with lids. The plastic boxes proved essential, as when it rained in the Isle of Man all my cardboard boxes got wet bottoms after water ran through the tent in the night.

The work space at Goodwood is very cramped in the “period” corrugated iron  “lean-to”.

I listened to a vocal complaint from a fellow motorcycle mechanic about how bad it was, and I agreed with him, but pointed out the mechanic I met who looked after a five million pound Alfa Romeo Pre-war GP car was very envious that we had a back wall to our pits as he worked under an open carport with the rain running down his neck!

We arrive on Thursday to set up, and there should be Live Streaming of the qualifying on Friday and the “Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy” races on Saturday and Sunday.


Not as fast as we hoped

Sorry for the slow report. We were a day late because of weather and had to pack up and get to the ferry in the afternoon. Arrival in UK after midnight rather disrupts things!

The race day weather was fine and we had a noon start scheduled. This turned into a 12:10 start after delays getting marshals. Monday was a bank holiday and a lot of marshals had to leave the Island to go back to work.

Everything was perfect, and according to plan with the bike prepped and ready to race on Saturday afternoon, so we were optimistic of a good finish.

The 350cc “Junior TT” race has become one for modified Honda K4 350cc twins. The singles are disappearing from the grids as the Honda have taken over.

What was a real blow to us was the race was shortened to 3 laps, and this really destroyed any chance of a podium for a single, which can go the race without a fuel stop.

Our race battle was really with Fred Walmsley’s AJS 7R which was ridden by NZ based Chris Swallow, who was starting one place ahead of us as number 7.

The first lap was good with Cam just over half a second ahead of Chris but on lap 2 the bike developed a misfire and lost a 1000 revs. As he came past the pits I could hear it drop the occasional shot.


At the finish, Chris Swallow was 7th and the first Single Cylinder home and  we were 12th, second single home.

After doing 8 laps without any real problems and always being ahead of Chris in practice, it was both a mystery and a disappointment for this to show up during the race.

The bike finished the race in perfect condition with no oil in the bottles and no leaks, and did everything well bar the performance loss.

Cameron Donald was obviously disappointed but he, as always put 100% into his riding and even when the bike was slow, he never gave up. I appologised to him for not getting it right but he would have none of it, saying we could not have done more.

Peter Bloore, the owner of the bike was pleased we got a finish and is keen to find out what caused our misfire. My suspicions are we may have a condenser problem, but we could also have been a jetting problem, as it is a nightmare, plug reading after the return to the pits as you have come from the highest altitude. We have no one to compare notes with on jetting as we have a different (Amal GP) card to almost everyone else. After 8 laps trouble free I think electrical is more likely.

Ask any of the 53 starters and the 46 finishers and they will all have similar stories. Fred Walmsley, who’s bikes have won more races than most has brought his Seeley G50 Matchless (that Cam rode the first year, against Bruce Anstey) here 5 times without a finish!

Bruce Anstey rode the V4 Yamaha to second place in the Classic Superbike TT with a new record lap of 127.496mph!

Cameron did a lot of media stuff this week so we should see him on the Classic TT report due to show on TV4 tonight. With a bit of luck we should see it in NZ too.

We had a great time on the Isle of Man and were looked after by our hosts Gary and Helen Allen who have become real friends and treat us like family. All the organisers were really good to us too.

Our little team of Peter Bloore and his son James were helped by Ian Wardrop from Scotland who knows a thing or two about Nortons. Debbie and here friend from schooldays were always on hand to help too, so it all worked really well.

Off to Goodwood next!

Race sheets for Saturdays Senior Classic

Here is the link to the Senior Classic TT race results, lap by lap.

Click to access Bennetts%20Senior%20Lap%20by%20Lap-2.pdf

Neville Wooderson was really happy to have finally got his 100 mph lap with a standard framed Gold Star with Chris Swallow riding to 10th place. If fact he got a 100.919 race average. Dave Morley helped prepare the motor so they should all be very pleased with their Kiwi effort.

Jamie Cowton, riding Dave Kenah’s Manx was unlucky to retire at the pits at the end of the 3rd lap with a broken off footrest, when he was lying 7th.

The star of the race was Jamie Coward riding the wheels off Ted Woof’s Summerfield 92 bore Manx with a standard Featherbed frame  to an incredible 110.057 third lap. His second lap was the first ever 110 mph lap by a single. In 2014 we did 108.1 so he was just amazing.

I spoke to Ted Woof after the race to congratulate him on doing what I thought was impossible! He claimed it was all down to the rider but clearly he has done a great job preparing the whole bike.

The Sunday Festval at Jurby was packed out as usual. We took the 1950 Works to display, but were too late to parade it.


Kevin Grant gave Cameron Donald a ride on the Britten but now, sadly we both have something in common; we have both had a Britten stop underneath us with expensive noises. After its recent rebuild the blue Britten sounds like it may have dropped a valve.

Bob Robbin’s yellow Britten was running but has some problems they expected to fix.


Bob Robbins brought his Britten from the USA for Stephen Briggs to ride.

Rod Ianucchi has his Redman/Hailwood Honda 6 cylinder 350 running and TT television commentator Steve Plater is due to do a demonstration lap tomorrow.


Dave Roper and Rob Iannuchi brought the 1966 Honda 6 cylinder out for a run.

Sunday evening was the Legend’s dinner with guests interviewed on stage including Bruce Anstey and John McGuinness


Charlie Williams inter viewing  500cc Senior Winner Josh Brookes and 250cc winner Bruce Anstey


John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop on stage. John’s leg brace is clearly visible, helping grow the bone at a rate of 1 mm per day







Wet and foggy.

We were all ready to race this morning but with a lot of cloud the race was delayed for one hour. Then it started to rain around the circuit so all racing today was cancelled.

We will be racing tomorrow at 12:00 AM but because the programme has to be condensed we will have a 3 lap race instead of 4 laps.

This is a major blow for our chances of a top result as the multi cylinder bikes will now go without their fuel stop. Bugger! There is nothing easy about getting a result at the Isle of Man!

Tomorrows forecast is for fine conditions. We are on the ferry tomorrow evening.



Ready to race

The 350 is ready for tomorrow morning. We tried raising the gearing for the last practice and have ended up lowering it again. New tyres are scrubbed in and the wheelbase lengthened to where Cam liked it best.

We have done seven laps without incident and are as ready as we can ever be!

Yesterday afternoon Cam led the parade away on the 1950 Works Norton and was away at speed. The clutch made a big cloud of dust off the line and I was sure it would be all bad, but it was never a problem and came back working fine.

Cam was doing work for the TV production due to screen here later next week, and they equipped him with a microphone which they claimed would let him talk at over 100 mph.

Cam wore a Geoff Duke Replica 1950 “pudding basin” helmet supplied by Davida Helmets. He says the noise from the 6 inch megaphone was incredible, even with ear plugs.

Cam will be writing the story of the lap for magazines and he pressed on right from the start to a good speed. Like Bruce Anstey two years ago, Cam reported that despite being the first “Featherbed” it really didn’t need too much to be changed if it was going to be raced and it felt right at home on the Isle of Man circuit.

Michael Dunlop rode a “Bob McIntyre Replica 500 Gilera” with full dustbin fairing and achieved an over 100 mph lap from a standing start, to commemorate the first 100 mph lap 60 years before.

The 500 Senior TT was won by Australian Josh Brookes riding the Paton that John McGuinness has ridden for the last 3 years.

Off to bed for an early start tomorrow.







We were intending to do last nights practice to try higher gearing, but our new 18 tooth gearbox sprocket from the UK agents for Bruce Verdon’s gearboxes, was delivered to the house in the morning when no one was here to sign, and spent the entire day doing a tour of the island.

All attempts to rendezvous with the van were rejected and we had to wait until after 6 pm to get it!

As it turned out our practice was stopped following a crash so we didn’t miss out anyway.

We fitted our new tyres from Avon and checked everything over. Cam is happy to race “as is”.

There is a practice today before the Senior Classic TT so we are OK and Cam gets to lead the parade later in the afternoon on the 1950 “Works”. We will fit a nice new ribbed Avon F2 race compound front tyre today to the “Works” as it is a bit worn after Bruce Anstey last rode it here in 2015.


We have a new confirmed rider for Goodwood after the series of top rider “almost coming” was like a soap opera.

It was my first choice, and winner of last week’s Ulster GP, Bruce Anstey!!!

Bruce Anstey and Dean Stimpson; Dream Team!

Now, off to the pits!




Better still!

Cameron Donald is riding really well and did 97.4 mph tonight from a standing start. He was the third fastest 350 cc bike overall! The bike pulled 124 mph on Sulby speed trap, up 4 mph on last night.

The bike is pretty much sorted for the race. We may try raising the gearing again tomorrow just to see the effect.

We are trying to keep the mileage to a minimum as we don’t know the component life of a 350.

Kevin Grant and Bob Robbins are here with the two Brittens for Bruce Anstey and Stephen Briggs to ride in the parade lap.




Ian Wardrop from Scotland, Peter Bloore (owner) from near Oxford and Garry Allan our IoM host for the last 3 visits


Mrs Sheila Poole, who lives on the Isle of Man. She prepares this 350 Manx for her husband Edward to ride. Sheila ordered two Manx frames off me a couple of years ago, which she said she was delighted with. I sent them by NZ Post and they arrived without any problems. She told me she left them unpainted because she liked looking at the bronze welds.


Another New Zealand bike. This one is a 500cc Manx owned by Dave Kennah and ridden this year by young UK rider James Cowton. It has been ridden by Chris Swallow in previous years. It too has one of our featherbed frames which we made about twenty years ago.


Regular visitor to New Zealand Horst  Saiger and winner of the NZ Suzuki Superbike Series is over here from Leichenstein to race this 500cc  Egli Vincent.


Neville Wooderson’s  500cc BSA Gold Star, which Chris Swallow is riding in the Senior Classic TT. Neville, now in his eighties, rode BSA’s and a Matchless G45 on the IoM in the early 1950’s and is back again looking for that elusive 100 mph lap. My great friend Dave Morley (owner of a McIntosh Suzuki and a McIntosh Manx) stepped in to help Neville get the bike ready for the IoM.


You can’t buy tickets for this view. Only the correct passes will get owners and crew into the holding pits before practice.