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.

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!