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.

Five laps and getting faster!


Cameron Donald had another good ride tonight in perfect conditions. He decided that one lap would be enough to test a couple of adjustments to suspension and gearing with both giving improvements.

We geared up, by reducing the rear sprocket two teeth which took the theoretical top speed from 129 to 134 mph at 9000 rpm, which is pretty damn good for a 350 Manx. Cameron said he was surprised that on a lot of the sections it pulled the same revs as before, and did 120 mph on Sulby Straight Speed Trap, which is on the flat.

On the down hill sections coming off the mountain it was still running up to 9000 rpm so we are looking at trying even higher gearing tomorrow.

Cameron’s average speed was again 95.9 mph,the same as yesterdays flying lap, but this time from a standing start! We are still the fastest single.

Fuel consumption was good, and it is still all clean in the breather bottles. We will do another lap tomorrow but are keen to keep the mileage down for the race.

Bruce Anstey unofficially broke the outright IoM  250 cc  lap record on the Honda V-twin at 118.812 mph and also topped the Superbikes the 124.888 mph with the V-4 Yamaha.

For more see;

I spoke to Grant Dalton today, and he ran wide at the Veranda when he ran out of fuel. He lost drive out of the turn and went onto the grass and fell without injury. It was near to where Conor Cummins went down the side of the mountain so he was a lucky boy!


Second practice is OK

After a very foggy morning with no wind the sun came out and burned the fog away, so practice went ahead. We were away by 7:10 pm and again Cameron went through for a second flying lap and 95.9 mph which was the fastest single.

The bike again returned with no leaks at all and we have decided to raise the gearing to try and get below the vibration period. We tried sponge handlebar grips but Cam reports they are awful to ride with and take the feel away from the bike.

We are going to double check the fuel consumption, try a different gearing  and head out today for another practice. We have now done 4 trouble free laps which is the race length.  Grant Dalton had a fall of his Classic Superbike without injury.

Weather looks OK for tonight (Wednesday).



The Classic TT Facebook page has just published this today (Wednesday)

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is sponsoring the Classic TT Vintage parade lap on Saturday 26th August.

The parade lap – The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Vintage Parade Lap – is an integral part of the four day Classic TT presented by Bennetts schedule and will feature some of the most iconic machines and marques that have long since faded from memory.

The parade will feature over a hundred bikes including established Japanese manufacturers Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha and Italian classics Ducati, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta.

British marques that will feature in the parade include Velocette, AJS, Matchless, Aermacchi, a Vincent Black Shadow, a number of BSA’s as well as a Triton – the Triumph/ Norton hybrid and the Spanish manufactured Bultaco. Among the more unusual parade bikes are a 1960 Weslake and a Rickman Metisse.

Many of the bikes are owned and will be ridden by members of the Vintage Motorcycle Club but other riders lining up include Cameron Donald who will ride a 1950s Manx Norton previously raced by Geoff Duke.

2016 Senior Classic TT podium finisher Maria Costello will appear on an R51 BMW, BMW’s post war 500 machine, while French rider Bernard Fau, who competed in Grand Prix in the 1970’s and 80’s will be riding a Yamaha TZ250.

Rob Callister, MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Tourism and Motorsport commented:

“We have a fantastic line up of bikes which are sure to interest all motorcycle fans. The machines represent a definitive history of motorcycle manufacturers and it is entirely appropriate that they will be seen at the home of motorcycle racing in the Isle of Man. We are very grateful to Steam Packet Company for their support for the Festival of Motorcycling.”

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward commented:

“We are very pleased to play a part in the successful delivery of the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling and its growing contribution to the Isle of Man’s economy. We hope that as many fans as possible line the course on Saturday and enjoy the stunning spectacle of these historic motorcycles as they appear on the TT Mountain Course.”

– Ends


Another couple of links to the Official Isle of Man website


No practice due to bad weather.

The forecast proved correct for Monday with rain starting after lunch and the practice being cancelled soon after.

A thorough check of the bike showed no defects and no loose nuts or bolts. We are going to leave the gearing and suspension settings alone until after the next test as Cameron says he never changes them after a lay off and until he has settled into going nearer to race speed.

Today (Tuesday) is totally fogged in and the chances of a run tonight are not looking good. The forecast for tomorrow is better.

The news from Goodwood is not good as Andrew Pitt has become not available so we are still not certain of who our “star” rider will be. We are working hard on Bruce Anstey and there are plans of kidnap in the air! Anny says she will help!

What is certain is that I have met our Goodwood co-rider, Dean Stimpson and his girl friend Charlotte who are both really nice and both know a lot about Manx Norton’s. Dean has just won the  2017 Landsdowne Cup for period classic bikes, so is in top form.

We met Paul Butler who was the top man at Dunlop Racing for years and later for Team Rainey Yamaha. Our good mate Wayne Martin (Skippy), also ex Team Rainey was supposed to come with us as a mechanic but sadly has had to stay in Australia for a knee operation. Skippy recently came and stayed on the IoM with Paul Butler, who lives near the circuit.


Cam Donald, Ken McIntosh and Paul Butler


Dave Molyneux, TT Sidecar Legend and 17 times winner. The builder of lots of racing sidecars, all in his Isle of Man workshop. He has a corner named after him on the Mountain Course.







Fastest 350 in first practice.

Saturday was the first day of practice and it stayed fine all day. The Manx GP newcomers were away first after a delay while a BMW X5 was towed off the course. Unfortunately the tow vehicle got stuck too!

The roads are closed at 6:00pm and Cameron’s session was after 7:00pm. My suggestion was that if the bike was running well to keep going and do two laps.

We were delighted when he went flying through and came back later all smiles. The bike is running fine with all the calculated settings.

The time sheets showed we were the fastest 350 in that session, which is a good start! This may not last as most only did one lap.

The bike came back with everything looking brand new and not a drop of oil on the bike or in the breather bottles.

The only negative being a high level of vibration above 8000 rpm. The safe revs are 9000 and we have a nice wide power band so we have the option to raise the gearing to help. The worst is through the handlebars, which already have end weights.

Cameron is off to find some softer grips to help as 4 laps is very long way. I suspect the Petty frame might require a different  crankshaft balance factor as the same Summerfield 81mm bore 350 fitted in a standard Manx chassis, that Nev Bull has ridden in  NZ for the last 10 years, has no problems.

The seat sponge has been raised up more than 50mm with padding and black duct tape to give Cameron a better riding position. In the late 1960’s people were cutting the sub-frames off standard Norton’s to lower the  seat and now all the modern riders want them raised!

029Cameron tries the new seat padding.

Cameron reported the fueling (carburettion) was “up to the usual McIntosh standards” and the gearbox was really nice too. The front brake needed bedding in causing him to run wide at “The Nook” beside Governors Bridge, causing the marshals to scatter! No harm done and we are hoping for no repeat tonight.

Sunday was a quiet day with our team doing a “pub crawl” around the circuit. More coffee than alcohol was consumed but we got to the Crosby for lunch, the Raven near Ballaugh Bridge, and Creg ny Baa. All have lots of photos of TT riders and being on the circuit have their busiest days during TT Week


Peter Bloore in the scrutineering line. The seat padding has taken on a new look.


Bruce Anstey with one on his younger fans!


Cameron was impressed with the size of the local onions.


We returned to our pit and checked the fuel consumption which should give us over 2 litres spare after 4 laps, so all good there.

Peter Bloore cleaned the coating of bugs off the front and after a spanner check, the bike will be ready for tonight’s practice.