Triumph Adventurer TR5T

Over the course of 2014 team MDR have been slowly restoring a November 1972 manufactured Triumph TR5T Adventurer or Trophy Trail to give it both factory names. Not only do the two different names given to it by Triumph hint at a bit of a split personality, but the fact that the bike was a very capable off roader wrapped in acres of vulnerable chrome plated steel components, confirms that this model was a design compromise. The need to use up standard Triumph components where ever possible and comply with stringent US legislation lead to design feaux pars the huge Rear light fitted to all other Triumphs at the time also being foisted onto the poor old TR5T. If you look at Triumph publicity at the time the photographer will often ‘cut off’ the back of the bike including the rear light in an effort to make the bike look better.

Still enough bitching, for anyone who has ever ridden an Adventurer will know that for trundling around local A and B roads there is nothing lighter, comfier or more maneuverable. That together with 12 volt electrics, indicators and an easy to start engine makes this an ideal practical and versatile classic for today’s rider.

Mick Harrhy’s Triumph Bonneville T120V

First registered on the 1st of October 1974, this bike is not only one of the last proper 650’s built by Meriden (ie long stroke, long rod). As well as being one of the few 5 speed gearbox fitted 650’s it is also one of the lock-in bikes that were completed either before or during the lengthy Meriden workers blockade. Only being released months after completion to raise some cash for the fledgling co-operative.

This bike was released to Jack Butler and Co. Motorcycle specialists of Clarendon Avenue, Leamington Spa, 19 year old Michael Anthony Harrhy bought it on the 19th of October for an on the road price of £799.30p, but did get a £280 trade in for his old Honda. working as a building labourer Mick had to take out a hire purchase agreement costing him just under £26 a week for 36 months.

It’s life it seems was the fairly usual story of slow evolution to a more laid back custom look with the large UK tank being swapped for the smaller US one, high rise US bars and extended foot controls to push your feet forward and make it less pleasant to ride at speed.

It looks from the bike’s paperwork that it was taken off the road for a rebuild at the end of 1991, totally dismantled and stored in Mick’s flat.

Unfortunately Mick died at the end of 2013 without ever realising his dream of getting his old Triumph running again. Mick’s daughter Rachael Lovell was very keen to keep the bike together and have it rebuilt rather than broken for spares, which could so easily have been the case.

On the 1st of May 2014 I took a trip up to Leamington Spa where the bike was filling Rachael’s Mum’s spare bedroom, spread out in numerous boxes covering the floor.

Mick had made a great start on the rebuild numerous items had been re-chromed, the wheels had been rebuilt and fitted with new tyres, Engine and frame numbers matched the log book. The only major items missing was the entire exhaust system, which wasn’t really a problem as replacements are easily available and the originals would most likely not have been good enough for my planned rebuild quality. On a plus side there were four petrol tanks with the bike, two UK and two US. One of the UK tanks was obviously the original as it still had the purple paint on it that matched Rachael’s photos of the bike from when brand new.

A price was agreed, a promise to rebuild the bike was given and Mick Harrhy’s Triumph changed hands for the first time in it’s 40 year life. As if this change was angering the Gods we loaded the Bonnie into the back of my estate car in torrential rain, that started as loading commenced and ended just as suddenly as the last bits were squeezed into my car.

Once back at MDR headquarters the bike was laid out in the now bright sunshine and an inventory of missing bits completed. Despite being a very rare 650, most parts are freely available as they are common to the early 750 Bonnies, so whole bikes are regularly parted out and sold for spares on ebay. Taking advantage of this I was able to purchase replacements for the modified rear mudguard, extended footrests, and vibration shattered battery box.

Having a couple of photos of the bike that were obviously taken when it was brand new is great, it gives me a good guide to how the rebuild will go. My plan is to return the bike back to as near factory specification as possible, whilst retaining as much of the original bike as possible.

Over the next few weeks / months I will detail progress up to completion.

Rachael if you’re reading this, apologies for the slow start on this project, but keep watching!

Donington……..

The race that never happened……..Due to complications with my shoulder, the cause of which we will draw a discrete veil over…….the stainless steel plate in my shoulder got bent. So on Doctor’s orders I didn’t go to Donington.

6T on bench

 

6T magneto removed

 

 

 

Instead having been told to lift nothing heavier than a cup of tea (or can of beer) for three weeks, I concentrated or re-commissioning a beautiful 1953 sprung hub Thunderbird,

6T Ansty

see the restoration blog for details.

Pembrey. Three weeks since surgery!

Friday morning dawned bright and there were plenty of fellow CRMC competitors camped around us. A couple of days earlier I had had the staples removed from my shoulder, so with Tracey’s help squeezed into my leathers. A process not without pain, but once in them I was comfortable enough.

Mike Dollittle CRMC Triumph

We fired up the North without incident and I wobbled out onto the track………problem number one…the Sarrinen style clip-ons were terrible, and would need changing….problem number two there was a huge misfire at anything approaching a big throttle opening…….worse though was the throttle wasn’t shutting off in braking zones and around corners……I did two laps shutting down the engine by thumbing the handle bar mounted kill switch on the approach to every corner!

Back in the paddock Tony Hayward did all the physical bits of changing the clip-ons, whilst I took the petrol tank off to investigate the misfire and throttle sticking. With the petrol tank off my problem was obvious and shed new light on the cause of the crash back at Cadwell, something that had been troubling me ever since landing in a heap on the Old Hairpin tarmac.

Racing Triumph Trident

Sticking out of the bellmouth for the centre carb was a three inch long strip of black duck tape….!

This duck tape had originally been used to stick a bit of foam rubber to the underside of the North’s petrol tank to stop it rubbing against the frame…….suddenly all the pieces of the jigsaw started to fall into place. A month earlier, at Cadwell, the bike had got really hot in the holding area before going out for first practice, once on the track it had misfired badly every time I opened the throttle, then on my third lap the rear wheel had spun up and high sided me off before I even got to the apex of the corner. Clearly the duck tape had been sucked into the throat of the carb sufficiently  far to cause the big misfire but also far enough to prevent the slide from closing!

Why cant I have hair like that

With the bike sorted the tank went on and I pulled out from the pit lane onto the track where seconds later as I exited Spitfire the engine spluttered and stopped……bugger! I had forgotten to open the fuel taps after refitting the tank….what a schoolboy error to make….still at least my crash helmet hid my blushes as I pushed the North back to the paddock.

With the petrol on and bike fired up it was out onto the track again……….many laps later I came off the track at the end of that groups session and it was clear to all onlookers, from my smile that everything was going okay with the shoulder.

Rob North Triumph Dollittle

As the day went on I was getting steadily faster and more confident………then some plank on a big green Kawasaki dived under my front wheel just as I was exiting Spitfire into the long fast left hander. It was only thanks to me lifting up my bike and running onto the grass that we avoided a collision. As I gently chugged around the outside of the bend on the grass, the air inside my crash hat was thick with obscenities. Back at the paddock I was quite shaken up by this and really very cross, thinking about the consequences should we have collided. I set off to locate the plank…..he assured me it hadn’t been him….until I pointed out that his was the only Kawasaki fitting the description of the ‘Offenders’ bike. At this point apologies were offered and accepted, the following two days racing would see me on track competing against the same bike/rider though I’m pleased to say I stayed in front of him and never had any further issues with him.

Chapman bikes

Saturday and Sunday race days were stinking hot, both riders and bikes needed to be kept out of the sun. Riders needed regular mopping with ice cold flannels. I finished every race well and most importantly heeded Team Principals orders to bring the bike home shiny side up. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of every race, but I have two over-riding memories of the weekend.

Team Chapman

For the 750 races we were sharing the track with the Yamaha FZ600 production class, these bikes are cheap and cheerful to race, as it’s a production class modifications are strictly limited and therefore the racing is close and intense. The riders too are a breed apart, many of them being young (unlike Tony Hayward), fearless and talented (like Tony), in fact its true to say that they are a bit like the RD350 production racers from the early 80’s………..total nut case headbangers!

Spot the classic racer

 

The fastest FZ’s were faster than me on my old Triumph dinosaur, but I did have a grandstand view of some of their antics….one guy on a yellow/green FZ got pushed wide onto the grass on the exact same corner that I had visited the day before. Unlike me he kept the throttle open, kept the bike leant right over with nothing but green stuff for grip, and went around the whole corner on the grass. In don’t think he even lost a place, brave or crazy….you decide!?!

Triumph beats Yamaha CRMC

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRMC race Triumph

The other great memory was from the unlimited races where for race after race I was caught in a full on tussle with the rider of a big BMW boxer twin, I’m not sure how big the engine is, but at least 1000cc and most likely more. It is a physically wide bike to try to pass on the corners and has huge horsepower  meaning every time I did get under him and passed in the corners, our positions would only stay that way until the end of the start finish straight, were repeatedly I was out powered by the Beemster. A little frustrating but still great fun.

CRMC Triumph v BMW

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob North Triple CRMC

At the end of the weekend we headed home in high spirits….the shoulder had held up well and speaking to Cormac Conroy, who had also suffered the same injury at Cadwell but declined to be screwed back together by an Irish Doctor, it was clear he was in a lot of pain whereas I was pain free….roll on Donington!

Pembrey Preparations.

Through necessity I was forced to leave preparing the bike till the last minute. Basically I didn’t have sufficient strength in my arms and shoulder to undo and do up fasteners.

Bike damage after Cadwell 006

With the help of Jonts and TPT I got the damaged bits stripped from the bike and fixed the spare parts that I normally take to races as back-ups to the bike.

Bike damage after Cadwell 002

 

Bike damage after Cadwell 007

 

 

 

The damage to the fairing was repaired via Mark Coombes of WASP engineering and the whole lot was back together with a couple of days to spare.

Bike damage after Cadwell 005Unfortunately the spare pair of Clip-ons were very odd, pointing downwards at a very steep angle rather reminiscent of Jarno Sarrinens’ Yamaha. They looked horrible, fouled the fairing and felt uncomfortable sitting on the bike…..I ordered some new ones which arrived the day we left for Pembrey, without time to fit them, I would take them up as back-ups.

Even though the right hand footrest never hit anything in the crash, it was bent down and back by about 30 degrees. This was just the power of the high side crash pushing up on my foot, that had bent the 6mm dural footrest hanger!

I hadn’t started the bike since the crash but there didn’t seem to be any logical reason why I should suffer any dramas there. As we drove to Pembrey it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually clambered into my leathers since the crash…..oh well we had a vast array of pain killers in the Motorhome so I was sure all would be okay. Pembrey isn’t a very big braking circuit although I was rather fearful of the big stop at the end of the start finish straight into the very slow Spitfire right hander. If I was to have a problem, it was likely to be here!

Even my crash hat needed changing, although the impact hadn’t been huge, it didn’t seem a good idea to re-use the old one. So off to Fowlers in Bristol to collect another new Arai!

Crash hat damage

Breaking News

Our return journey gave Team Principal Tracey a baptism of fire driving the motorhome and trailer the 260 miles home. She had briefly driven the motorhome before but never with the trailer attached and never with a winging whining passenger who cried out in pain with every bump.

Once home it was into a deep bath before spending the afternoon in A and E, in a waiting room full of worried looking parents, whilst their supposedly ill children charged around making a lot of noise and mess.

A and  E 002

By the time I got to see a Doctor my shoulder had swollen up so much that it was impossible to see the jagged end of the bone poking under the skin. When I told the Doc that I was 100% certain that the bone was broken he looked sceptical until the X-ray came back, at which point he spent several minutes showing the x-ray to all the other staff, whilst explaining that that was a properly broken collar bone. I was put on an ECG machine and we were all surprised when it was confirmed to TPT and I that I do in fact have a heart!

Post Cadwell 009_edited-1

Thanks to the wonders of TPT’s day job, and the fact that one of her perks is BUPA cover for the whole family, On the Friday after my crash I presented myself to the local private hospital where I was immediately anesthetised and had the three remaining bits of bone screwed back together and the small loose chunk removed. The whole bone was then kept nice and straight by a strip of stainless steel fastened with six screws into the bone. I was then stapled back together and returned to my private room.

My recollection was seeing TPT and my son Jonts for a couple of minutes that evening before going off to sleep.

The reality was TPT and Jonts sat with me for about four hours whilst I slipped in and out of consciousness, thanks to the after effects of the general anesthetic and the large dose of morphine I was given for the pain. My conversation involved occasional utterances of nonsense such as asking for some “air cooled sandwiches?!?”

The following day I was released from hospital and whisked home by TPT.

Shoulder staples

On the next Monday TPT drove me to Ipswich to see Brian Simpson who had been recommended to me by several of the paddock for his magic like healing powers, not least amongst these was Chris Chapman who had gone to see him after his previous years monster smash and resultant broken collar bone at Snetterton, but had been fit enough to race the following month at Silverstone.

At Brian Simpson’s I was given three rounds of treatment each comprising about 20 minutes of magnetic pulse therapy followed by a similar timed exposure to high energy laser. I wont bore you with the full details of how this works….but to me it sounded good and there are plenty of motorcycle racers out there who swear by it. The basic idea is that the treatment accelerates bone growth and the setting up of new blood vessels to the damaged bone, all of which is supposed to shorten recovery time.

As we drove back from Ipswich TPT kept asking how my shoulder felt…..all I could say was that it felt as if I had been microwaved or slow cooked from the inside. A not unpleasant tingling on the inside, and my whole shoulder felt hot.

Once back I was straight back to work, although unable to do much of a useful nature I was able to drink large quantities of tea and offer moral support to my colleagues, whilst showing off my monster bruise and zip-like row of staples on my shoulder, to anyone foolish enough to show an interest.

Shoulder 'zip'

Of course the big question was……..Do I race at Pembrey? One month after the crash and three weeks after surgery? Brian Simpson had advised that as long as I felt up to it there was no clinical reason why I couldn’t.

After listening to advice from all quarters including several racer friends (no chance that any of them would be biased!) a plan was hatched……….Enter for the races with the option of cancelling at the last minute, at the risk of suffering a financial penalty. But also book the track day on the Friday immediately prior to the races, and use this as an opportunity to get up to speed and get my confidence back.

Perfect plan……..what could possibly go wrong?

 

Short Break at Cadwell !

Like a well-oiled machine, everything went smoothly.  TPT was scooped up at the services at junction 21a on the M1. We got to Cadwell safely and in good weather, Chris and Jane Chapman had saved us a prime location in the paddock near the old helicopter landing pad. I signed on and got the bike scrutineered while TPT started assembling the awning. Once we finished setting up the camp, all that was needed was noise testing in the morning. We ate and drank like a king and queen, before retiring to bed early. The forecast for Saturday was a bit changeable but with fingers crossed, we should get some reasonable weather over the weekend.

Heavy rain fell overnight. On getting up we had bright sunshine, but by 8:30 it was pouring with rain as I took the North for noise testing……..It sailed through and was promptly parked back inside the trailer, out of the rain.

First timed practice was at 9am. Although the rain had just stopped the circuit was completely flooded with standing water everywhere and loads of spray being thrown up by the bikes in front. The North was clearly unhappy with this and showed it by misfiring for the first two laps. On lap three the third cylinder chimed back in and things started to look up. There was still no dry line and the tyres would have been very cold as we tip-toed around the track.

A43C0252 copy

Two laps into timed practice and still no dry line………just have to keep tip-toeing around!

I was just starting to wonder if  I would ever be able to use any throttle, when……..exiting the old hair pin, with minimal throttle the rear wheel spun up, sliding to the left and causing me to shut the throttle. Unfortunately this is a cocktail of actions that almost always leads to a vicious high-side……and that is exactly what happened……My last memory was looking down onto the bike from a great height and noticing that I was still hanging on with my left hand, before shutting my eyes and hoping the landing wouldn’t hurt too much!

A43C0349 copy

Check out my right foot position in relation to my right shoulder. I’m too old for Xtream Yoga, all least I now know why my leg hurts so much!

About a nano second after landing I realised my weekend was over, I knew immediately that I had broken my left collar bone and as I tried to get up and limp away from the track it seemed likely that I had broken my right thigh as well. The concerned sounding marshal asked me if I could walk to the ambulance, I considered it unlikely but said I’d try. With my right leg giving way every step, it took quite some effort to get there but we managed in the end.

Cadwell 2013 T 013 copy

Ouch that really hurt……….

The qualifying session was red flagged and I guess to the annoyance of everyone, times were set for the whole weekend’s racing on those two completed laps, not that it affected me any……..the only track time I was going to get was in the ambulance being whisked away to the on track medical facility.

Once transferred from the ambulance, I begged the Doctor not to cut my leathers off….having cost £600 about ten years ago, I certainly couldn’t afford to replace them. I told him that it didn’t matter how loud I screamed, I wanted the leathers pulled off NOT cut off. No-one needed an x-ray machine to diagnose my broken collar bone, with half of it very obviously poking outwards under my skin. Doc took my blood pressure which was sky high….not really a surprise as I was already wondering how to explain this one away to Team Principal Tracey. With that I heard a familiar laugh outside the room. TPT had seen the aftermath of my accident and had already collected comfy zip up clothing for me…..How good is she?……How lucky am I?…….TPT’s first question…..”You didn’t cut his leathers off did you?” Great minds think alike! Lou had also come down with TPT to see if she could help. Her reward for such kindness was getting to carry my sweaty, smelly leathers back to the paddock….Thank you and I’m sorry Lou! Doc checked my crash hat which was heavily grazed on the left hand side with a big impact mark at the back. The visor had been ripped off. it looked like a scrapper. After rechecking my blood pressure and finding it coming down I was discharged into the tender mercies of Team Principal.Tracey.

Back at the paddock, Gavin was great, collecting my bike from the scrutineering bay. (Where it had been impounded for the coroner’s attention had my accident been more serious). Gav was able to push the North away. A quick inspection showed a couple of holes in the fairing lower, a nice round hole punched in the new screen, bent footrests and rear brake lever and bent drive side clip on and a broken clutch lever. All easily fixed if only I had two working arms. All the damage was caused to the drive side where the bike had impacted the track, except the right hand footrest which had been bent back at about 30 degrees. The footrest hangers are 6mm dural and strong enough to take my full weight without bending, so a big force had obviously been fed through the footrest. Something had obviously hit it hard, in order to bend it, and from the pain in my right leg I speculated that my right thigh was the offending item!

The rest of the day was spent scouring the paddock for every type of legal painkiller, and watching and photo-ing the track action. It’s amazing how sedate the on track action looks compared to how frantic I know it to be on the track. I saw GB-H push Billy onto the grass at the bottom of the mountain and Malc Sampson run out of brakes on his Katana at the same spot, all good fun!?!

After a night of broken and painful sleep, TPT was up early striking camp and not looking forward to her first drive in the Motorhome whilst towing the trailer. Still it was only 260 miles home….what could go wrong? Luckily nothing. After a perfectly smooth drive we got home just after midday on Sunday, in time to spend the afternoon in accident and emergency. The Doc there was well impressed with my collarbone x-ray, showing it smashed into four pieces…..oh dear!

139999

Restoration Project

collarbone fixed

Rebuild completed

 

I have since heard that in the last race of Sunday, Cormac Conroy had a massively fast high-side crash at Charlie’s 1, and has also smashed his collarbone, all the best wishes to you, get well soon fella!

Preparing for Cadwell Park

After Anglesey the North required very little, other than routine maintenance. That worn front tyre was replaced by one of Steve Smith’s finest Avon AM22’s. Clutch, carbs and brakes were all stripped and cleaned. Then with time on our hands Team MDR flew out to Italy for some high altitude fitness training. A week in the high Tuscan mountains flew by whilst the combination of high carb food (pasta) and high energy drink (Nastra Azzurro), ensured great body condition for the team rider. The only scary moment was total brake failure on the brand new convertible Peugeot hire car, whilst descending the mountain on switchback roads.

Back in Blighty, plans were made to collect TPT from the services on the M1 whilst en route to Cadwell after she had spent a few day team-building in Ross on Wye. This way Team MDR would avoid having two vehicles at Cadwell……just in case anything happened to Team Rider….then TPT would be able to do the driving back to Team HQ.

Anglesey Racing

Saturday action started with the new for 2013 timed practice. The time you set dictates your grid position for every race in that class across the whole weekend. So with the pressure well and truly on, practice has turned from an opportunity to scuff in new tyres or bed in new brake pads, into a ten minute high stakes ‘race’ against the clock.

Out on track in the Formula 750 practice, we were circulating with all of the indecently quick Grand Prix two-strokes. TZ350s are not only more powerful than my bike, they are also much lighter and take quite different lines from the big old four-stroke dinosaur I ride, so practice for me was interrupted by a string of TZs suddenly appearing under my elbow just as I tipped the big Triumph into bends. At the end of ten minutes my best time was 1:23:077 putting me 12th on the grid with a face full of two rows of two-stroke fumes in front of me. Chris Chapman had a nightmare quali, failing to set a time, after having the throttles stick open on his RPS 750 Trident. Still, at least he had been able to bring the bike home in one piece by using the kill switch for every corner! The timed practice punishment for Chris was having to start off the back of the grid for every 750 race for the whole weekend, too harsh in my book, and all due to one of the pegs that stop the throttle slide rotating in the carb, moving.

Unlimited practice saw us sharing with the post classic superbikes, mostly huge Kawasakis of up to 1250cc capacity. I’m told one of them was recently dynoed and was putting out over 150 brake horse power at the rear wheel. That’s nearly twice the power I have to play with, so no prizes for guessing that, again, I wasn’t on the front row of the grid! At 1:22:797 I grabbed myself 11th spot with Chris on his 930 North alongside me in 10th place.

Race one was a 750 race. I managed to avoid all of the TZs as they wheelied away from the line, picking up a good few places going into the first corner. As the race wore on the speed of the TZs saw a couple of them power past me at the end of the long, long high speed, right hander that leads up hill to the Radar, Rocket, Peel complex. One TZ rider tried repeatedly to get under me in the braking zone for Radar, causing me to have to run increasingly defensive lines there. At the end of the race I finished 13th on track and 5th in class with Chris behind in 17th/6th in class. The good news was the time was coming down, at 1:21:722 for my best race lap.

Race two was an unlimited tussle. Memorable for Alan Oversby riding Phil Bargh’s Rob North Trident trailing a huge cloud of white smoke on the high speed stretches of the circuit. It looked for all the world as though he was dumping loads of oil onto his exhaust and was quite off-putting for us close followers. Alan was duly black flagged, moving me up a place. At the finish I was 11th on track and 4th in class with Chris just in front. Best time was steadily improving at 1:21:390. Chatting to Phil Bargh after the race it seems the front mudguard had slipped down his fork sliders, allowing the tyre to contact his front mudguard as the speed caused the tyre carcass to grow.

Race three was more of the same I came 11th on track and 5th in class again. Best time was still improving though at 1:20:505, Chris again came in one place behind me.

Race four saw both George Hogton-Rusling (GBH) and Cormac Conroy leaving the track following low side crashes. GBH pushing hard found the limit of his grip on the banked Bookatrack corner and Cormac had his throttle stick open on the first lap at Rocket. I came in 9th overall and 3rd in class, at a slower time of 1:21:477, I guess seeing two of your competitors slide off, makes you a little more cautious?

Anglesea onto start finish straight

At the conclusion of the day’s racing it was time to seriously consider whether my front tyre could last another day? The right hand side was really suffering, if it rained on Sunday, I had no tread to shift any standing water. However the weather forecast was dry for Sunday so against the wishes of Team Principal, I stuck with the old tyre, kept my fingers crossed and £150 in my pocket.

Stupidly I had reminded John Davidson several days earlier that the charity bicycle race was scheduled for Anglesey and told him I had managed to borrow a very trick-looking bike from a colleague at work (thank you Martin Batchelor!). So as soon as horse power finished, pedal power took over…….now in my defense most of the competitors were young enough to be my children, or even grandchildren so finishing fifth wasn’t too bad really. First three all looked like they were in training for the Tour de France, dressed in Lycra and everything!

Anglesey Cylces & Sun 1 004

Ready for the off.

Anglesey Cylces & Sun 1 010

Oh dear, they’re all taking this far too seriously! (and they’re way too quick for me!)

Anglesey Cylces & Sun 1 047

Several hours later Team MDR cross the line completing the one lap race.

Anglesey Cylces & Sun 1 051

That hurt…..

Anglesey Cylces & Sun 1 050

….Still better put on a brave face!

 

At that evening’s prize giving I went along to represent Team MDR, and was amazed to get a gong for second place overall in the unlimited class, Chris was equally surprised to get first overall. Neither of us had worked out that with Cormac, GBH and  Alan Oversby all failing to finish one race, consistency had paid off for both of us.

Sunday dawned with good weather, so it looked like my tyre gamble might pay off? Racing started with Race 18, a 750 race. Cormac pulled off on the warm up lap, then the race was cut short by the red flag, after Tim Woolley was tagged by a Kawasaki rider that he had just overtaken into the corkscrew. the resulting crash looked bad……… Tim was seen to take his brand new crash hat off and throw it onto the ground….never a good sign. Luckily for the Kawasaki rider he looked to Tim, to be too badly hurt to warrant any Welsh words of wisdom, and the ambulance whisked him off before Tim had a chance to reconsider! I finished 10th and 3rd in class with the best time of the weekend so far at 1:20:091.

Anglesea wearing out another knee slider

Race 23 was the ‘National’ race.  On the first lap I found myself running inches behind Gordon Russell on his 1250 Kawasaki. As we exited Rocket, Gordon tapped a bit too much power on for his cold tyres to cope with. Gordon gently slid off towards the outside of the bend on his side. Luckily I was already pulling a much tighter line than him and didn’t even have to shut off the power. I came 9th on track and 5th in class again but with the fastest time of the whole weekend at 1:19:645. After the race TPT and I inspected the front tyre with growing alarm, it really had already given it’s everything and looked like it had nothing left to give. I resisted TPT’s attempts to get me to buy a new tyre for the last two races.

Race 26 last 750 of the day Graham Williams failed to finish on his massively quick NRE. I came 10th with a 3rd in class. The time of 1:20;626 showed that either I was getting reduced grip from that front tyre…..or worrying about it was slowing me.

Anglesea holding the japs back

Race 32 TPT was making it clear that if I came a cropper now, it would be entirely my fault for not changing that front tyre. Tim Woolley was adding to the pressure by urging me to stuff my bike up the inside of Chris Chapman on his 930 North. During the race I was running close behind Chris and was contemplating Tim’s words when………. over the crest after Peel, turning hard right with the throttle pinned at over 8000 revs, and climbing off the inside as much as I could…… I spun up the rear tyre causing one of those heart stopping high-side inducing slides. I was out of the saddle and already thinking about how to apologise to Team Principal, when suddenly the tank slapper subsided and I was able to crack the throttle open again. By now Chris had a few bike lengths on me, and to be fair it would have really put the dampeners on a great weekend’s racing if I was to throw the North off the track, so I settled for 11th place and 4th in class.

It was great to have Jon Taylor travel up from Salisbury on Sunday and to see the Smiths had come from Hanging Langford to see son Steve’s Avon tyres being put through their paces. All in all it was a great weekend’s racing on a great track with good weather…..I just wish we could tow Anglesey a little closer or maybe swap it for the Isle of Wight?