Sponsors, supporters, family and friends, the 2014 Isle of Man Classic TT trip is in final countdown!
The bikes are in their crates and on their way by airfreight to the UK.
Debbie and I leave on Saturday 9th August, and will meet up on the Isle of Man with my two friends and helpers, Corrie Logan and Roy Norgrove, who are both back to help with “unfinished business”
The big effort this year is to make up for the disappointment of breaking down while in second place and provide Kiwi Bruce Anstey, (who is now the outright Lap Record holder 132.298 miles per hour, and the first ever 132 mph lap), with a Manx Norton that will finish the race.
This time we are taking two McIntosh Manx Norton’s; one for practice and one for the race.
Peter Welch, who has worked for me for 32 years, has endeavoured to get every possible detail perfect. When you think the bikes started off as a pile of uncut tube on the floor of my Panmure factory, it is not the way most IoM bike projects start out.
A number of possible factors may have contributed to the retirement last year, and every one of them have been dealt with, as far as we can tell!
The plan is that the race bike will be the same one we used last year fitted with a brand new Summerfield motor, and the practice bike has been loaned by enthusiast Nick Worthington.
Nick, who lives in Auckland, but originally from Norton’s home city of Birmingham, took delivery of his McIntosh Manx earlier in the year, and raced it at the Classic Festival at Hampton Downs. He offered the use of his bike after a request to borrow a customer’s Manx as a practice bike.
He thought having Bruce Anstey ride his bike was too good to miss and is joining “Team McIntosh” on the IoM to join in the fun.
Last years 2013 TT bike had a clean sweep at the February 2014 NZ Classic Festival after the TT engine was rebuilt, ridden by Australian TT star Cameron Donald. Sadly Cameron has broken his wrist in a dirt bike race in Australia a week ago and will not be competing on Fred Walmsley’s Seeley G50.
This is a great disappointment, as Cameron has ridden my Manx to great success in recent times, and although one of our main TT rivals, is like family to Debbie and I, and we were really looking forward to meeting Cam and Kaz’s new baby daughter Lola May, who would be making her second trip to the IoM TT at four months old!
The TT bike has been tested at the old Pukekohe circuit by my long time friend and mentor, 4 times World Champion Hugh Anderson who took me under his wing when I was a teenager and has given be encouragement and support at every opportunity. After a successful test Hugh did surprise me by pointing out that he was now 78 years old, (how time flies) and that he passed the bike as being “fit for purpose”.
The two New Zealand built 1962 specification Manxes are fitted with identical UK made Summerfield 92 bore motors and NZ made TT Industries 6 speed gearboxes.
Avon Tyres are being used again, along with Mobil 1 V-twin synthetic oil. The carburettors are newly manufactured Amal GP’s made in the UK by Burlen Fuel Systems and are an exact copy of the originals used by all the British manufacturers. The rear shocks absorbers are Works Performance from the USA.
Brett Roberts of Brett Roberts Mechanical has been really helpful in letting me run the bikes on his dyno in the evenings after work hours, and has been a great help with our preparation.
This whole trip has been made possible by the generous help and funding by a number of people both here and in the UK and I would like to take the opportunity to say a big “thank you” to these individuals and companies.
In New Zealand, Mobil NZ, Flatoutriding.co.nz (classic bike tours) and Regina Chains along with Summerfield Racing, Amal and Avon in the UK have all offered support.
Four local enthusiasts, Chris Greive, Grant O’Malley, Michael Thomson and Doug Rikard-Bell have all contributed towards the costs. In all cases they have got behind it to support Bruce Anstey and myself, because they like being part of a determined NZ challenge being run from as far away from the Isle of Man as you can get!
Lucas Palmer of Air Transport World Freight Ltd has again arranged the airfreight to UK, and the famously fast vintage Rudge racer Mike Farrell’s trucking company has offered to deliver the crates to Fred Walmsley’s in Preston. I think he is handling most of the bikes from NZ this year.
Fred has kindly offered his help on the Island again and after unpacking at Fred’s, I will drive the bikes to Heysham to sail on the Isle of Man ferry on Friday 15th.
to be continued…..