Peter Bloore, owner of the 1950 “Works” Norton and a pair of Goodwood spec Manx Norton’s, which we have built in NZ, couldn’t resist Jerry Summerfield’s offer of a kitset 1970 spec Petty 350cc Manx Norton.
Earlier in the year a box arrived at McIntosh Racing in NZ, with a Ray Petty replica frame kit and Summerfield “81 Bore” ultra-short stroke Manx motor.
The Technical Rules for the Isle of Man Classic TT allows 4-stroke bikes made up to 1972, to run in the GP1 Classes and this includes using the later style Seeley chassis and period disc brakes. The Ray Petty designed frame is from the same early 1970’s period and is an up-dated Featherbed but most importantly uses period AP Lockeed disc brakes and the bike is a lot lighter than a standard spec Manx.
A lot of work was done at McIntosh Racing by Pete Welch and myself, to turn a bunch of parts into a (hopefully) competitive racing motorcycle. Almost 100 dyno runs on Bret Robert’s dyno were completed before a nice, smooth, power band was achieved.
The bike will now run from 1000 rpm to 9000 rpm without any hesitation. Some people might think that is impossible with an original Amal GP Carb bored out to 40mm and an original Lucas 2MTT racing magneto!
Changes to exhaust, inlet, compression ratio, ignition and jetting all produced as many questions as answers, and our experience with 500cc Manx Norton’s was a little help but didn’t provide any of the settings!
Twice Isle of Man winner Cameron Donald has ridden my 92mm bore Manx Norton at three meetings in Australia and New Zealand and had overall victories in them all, as well as having ridden Fred Walmsley’s 350cc AJS 7R to an Isle of Man podium a couple of years ago.
He was an obvious choice and I always wanted to give Cameron an “Isle of Man” ride on one of our classic bikes as a “thank you” for persuading Bruce Anstey to ride my Manx and win the 500cc GP1 Class “Hailwood Trophy” in 2014. I am sure without Cam talking Bruce into it, it would never have happened!
After all the dyno work, a road test was needed, and with very little persuasion I had the most experienced Manx Norton test rider in the world. 4 x World Champion Hugh Anderson continued our long association and having ridden Manx Norton’s since 1960 and now only in his early eighties he was certainly up to the job. He reported that the “bike was showing IoM potential”.
Ken McIntosh and Hugh Anderson testing the 350cc Petty Manx before shipping to the Isle of Man Classic TT
With the bike going almost straight from the work bench to the toughest race in the world it will be a real test of our skills. I have to say that our little team has all had the same focus; to eliminate problems before they show up and the effort from everybody involved has been 100%.
Bruce Verdon from TT Industries in Nelson, NZ has produced the 6 speed gearbox, and Steve Roberts has made the polished alloy petrol tank which should be large enough for a non-stop 4 laps of the 37-3/4 mile circuit.
The bike was sent to the UK last week by our good friends at Air Transport World Freight Ltd who have done such a great job of freighting our bikes around the world for the last 10 years.
Our “unfinished business” is the 2015 Goodwood bike which was ridden by Kevin Schwantz and Rodney O’Connor and is also owned by Peter Bloore.
The bike was tested in New Zealand, but as previously reported in an earlier post, it did the unmentionable and dropped an exhaust seat out of the head in the early laps of the Saturday race. It did a lot of damage, but I must report that Summerfield’s were excellent to deal with (as always) and went out of their way to rectify the damage. Between me and my customers we have had almost 30 Summerfield engines and this is the only one to have had a serious problem.
Peter Bloore, James Bloore and Don O’Connor at Goodwood 2015, before the motor stopped!
Later, when Pete Welch was refitting the exhaust pipe back in NZ he was surprised the find the rather mangled valve seat fell out of the pipe! How it stayed in there, who knows?
Because the Goodwood classes alternate each year between pre-1953 and pre-1967 the bike was not used last year. It came back to NZ for Cameron to ride in the NZCMRR Classic Motorcycle Festival at Pukekohe, in February this year. This proved successful with Cameron winning both the 500cc Trophies and setting the fastest lap of all the 500’s. All with an 86 bore engine on Avgas and 19 inch wheels!
With Kevin Schwantz’s retirement from racing we missed the chance of having the “dream team” of Kevin and Cameron together at Goodwood and then Cameron had to make the hard call to return to Australia after the Classic TT to work on his nearly completed new house. After fire destroyed the original family homestead a few years ago it has been full-on for Cameron to get the house finished so Kaz, Lola and dad Ken can finally move in.
Cameron reported the bike was going really well so we are hoping for a good result after getting Second place last year, with pole position, fastest lap and fastest speed trap on the 1951 Long-stroke Manx.
After a few false starts we have a really top rider on board for Goodwood Revival 2017, Dean Stimpson, just last week crowned winner of the premier UK Classic Championship, “The Lansdowne Cup”. The second rider is still to be announced with a long list of possible riders who for various reasons have not been able to attend.
But first, Debbie, Peter Bloore, his son James and I are off to my fourth visit to the Isle of Man Classic TT.