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Author Archives: Don

Yamaha TDM850 Racer

If there is one bike I wish I still had in the shed it is my 1993/94 TDM —

OK – so it doesn’t bear any resemblance to the bike I bought but after 12 happy months running on the road I took the angle grinder to her and produced what you see above.

Even the flywheel cover was chamfered in an attempt to stop it grounding during enthusiastic cornering and twenty mil shaved off the flywheel let her rev up somewhat quicker than standard and also made room for the chamfer.

The noisy exhaust was knocked together by a welder in Stirling and the expensive lightweight Italian wheels came from a race shop in London Road – Derby. The heavy chain and sprockets were also ditched in favour of race products and she ran on Pirellis.

Bodywork was from bits & pieces I had in the garage – nose fairing from a Honda VFR400 NC30 – tank cover and seat unit leftover from my Yamaha FZR600 which reminds me that I also gave the chop treatment to the fuel tank so that it would fit tidy between the frame rails.

An FZR1000 fuel pump ensured the coarsely jetted carbs got plenty of go-juice and apart from fitting a heap of lightweight bolts and braided brake lines that was about it.

In Scottish racing she had to compete in the Open Class against the 1000cc Exup’s and such like but in BoTT races down souff she was more competitive. I came up with the pink & purple colour scheme and Andy at Bike Paints did a real nice job of applying it.

Even now I think she is a great looking bike and certainly gave me a lot of fun.

Not bad for a first effort —

givit

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2020 in out and about

 

Givitsum was Born Here on First day of Spring 1942

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to return to my Place of Birth in wildest Aberdeenshire – Scotland.

Well two years ago – at Helen’s insistence we went off on the trail from our holiday base at the Grant Arms Wildlife Hotel in Granton-on Spey.

Our search took us over the Lecht by the ski slopes to Strathdon where we felt we were getting closer …

A chance encounter with a sprightly lady of 93 years young at an outlying farm helped us pinpoint the area for she remembered it well – having watched across the fields on getting home from a dance as a teenager – she had seen the old wartime wooden cottage burn down.

A chat with another helpful neighbour pin-pointed the exact spot where the one room cottage had been —

Dalherrick Croft —

for that was where I was born – now has a splendid double garage on the exact spot —

Thanks to the warmhearted Aberdeenshire country folk our search for a needle in a haystack turned out to be so much easier than we could ever have imagined.

givit – back at his birthplace – 75 years on.

Much has changed now – according to my big brother that place wasn’t much bigger than a henhouse and had grass growing up through the gaps in the shrunken floorboards. A fierce wind was piling snow up against the walls and doors and dad was off in North Africa fighting for his life and country. No wonder Mum spent her next couple of years seriously ill in an Aberdeen hospital while I was shipped around available family members.

One such place I remember was my Gran’s here at Gartly —

so it was realy moving to visit mother’s family grave —

Steady on givit – or you will have even me shedding a tear next —

givitsum

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in out and about

 

The Ducati Corsa 888 – a Blast From The Past

Yes I’ve had one of these proud fellas as well. The Italian Stallion from the early 1990’s.

Mine was the full race 956cc Corsa version. The last of the line – I bought it from Tony Jeffries. His son – the late great David Jeffries had raced it for the 1994 British Superbike series – the year before the game-changing Ducati 916 appeared on the scene.

She came with the full race pack – four or five sets of bodywork – half a dozen lightweight wheels – two motors and a whole heap of bits and pieces.

The whole package cost me the bulk of my settlement from a recent expensive divorce but it was money well spent in my opinion – at the time.

I had one meeting out of her – but it was a good one – the Daytona 200 March 1995.

The new 916 arranged for a very young Neil Hodgson was late out of the blocks – still in the factory in fact.

Not the end of the world – for Neil rode my 956 Corsa instead – finishing 5th in the Battle of the Twins and a very creditable 12th in the Daytona 200 proper – his first international race on anything bigger than a 125,

With the benefit of hindsight would I change anything?

Not a bit of it! All costs had been paid – including flights for the team – hotels – air freight for my bike and entry fee – all done and dusted by the Race Organisers.

The icing on the cake was that on returning to the UK a buyer was found for my Ducati outfit at the same price I had shelled out for it only a few short months previous. A result!

Where else was I going to get that sort of experience – with a future World Champion at the start of his Superbike career – riding my bike in the Daytona 200.

It certainly helped me over the trauma and heartache that divorce can bring after 30 years of marriage. I could have been a sad fool and blown the lot in Vegas for I have little luck when it comes to cards.

Bikes are much safer – even if I did break my neck on one sixty years ago next Jan —

givit

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in out and about

 

A Day at the Races on the X-ADV750

Sunshine has been scarce around here since the Lockdown was lifted so we weren’t going to miss the chance of a dry ride down Glen Devon.

It’s a long time since I’ve seen any action on a race track so an invite to visit Knockhill wasn’t to be spurned on a day like this —

Certainly brings back memories and it wasn’t long before that tingling feeling in my gut came to the fore —

Especially when a bunch of riders peeled off for Duffus Dip as it was called in my day —

On a quiet day with no screaming fans it wasn’t exactly Eastern Creek or Suzuka but watching the boys and girls at play did bring a buzz to the soul —

My current Bridgestones are shot and it’s just as well the replacements I have at home for the X-ADV750 are semi off-road style Pirellis or I might have been tempted to do the odd Track Day on her —

Wait a flippin minit – unless my memory plays me false – most of the laps I raced round here were done in the pouring rain – in fact the track floods at times down by the Hairpin and these Pirellis are a dead ringer for some of the old style ‘wets’ —-

Helen! Where have you hidden that entry form?

givit

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2020 in out and about

 

Loch Earn pre- Storm Ciara

It’s quite benign here on the lochside at a point where I would meet my biker mates from various parts of the country in days gone by.  Back then we had an old 5 gallon oil drum with a few airholes punched into it for a fire – hidden in the undergrowth during the week and magically found on a Sunday. We would burn either plentiful driftwood from the shore or forage for fallen branches in the forest.

Then the jackboot wearing Rangers took over and burning local wood was ‘verbotten’ – it was to be allowed to rot where it lay where it would provide homes for insects and suchlike. Very understandable sentiments as the start of the foodchain has to be protected and nourished for the good of all.

Better make the most of it while we can Loki – the fishing season will be starting soon and this shore will be so poluted with peepul and the filth they leave behind that you wouldn’t want to walk on it. The Rangers who moved on a few harmless bikers soon lost control when the multitudes arrived.

Well I wrote that back in February and found it in my Drafts. We’ve had a three month sabbatical for the Corvid 19 Lockdown but things are getting back to what passes for summer normal and I won’t be walking Loki on these again filthy shores before next winter rains wash them clean.

givit

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2020 in out and about

 

Glen Lyon on the X-ADV750

Not sure how this is going to work as Word Press have put me on their brand new editor .. little do they know I prefer the old style editor I started on here with all those years ago.

Nope! I give up! It’s impossible to write a flowing post with this cheapskate style junk!

Word Press – put me back on the old system please — givit!

OK – I’ve had a few hours sleep and I’m ready to try again. This new system is probably not all bad – but – why try to fix sumthin that ain’t broke!

That’s right givit – have a mug of tea and a bun – you know you will feel better after that —

See! It works ok – it was probably down to our crappy broadband service being overloaded by over-hormoned teenagers on TIK TOK that I struggled with the new fangled Editor at 9 o’clock last night.

Five in the morning now – the kids have all flaked out – another cup of coffee and this new Editor will be just fine …

C’mon Helen – get your lid on and let’s go for it —

Now then – I didn’t really want to do that – blame the system givit and move on —

over the top —

and down to the gate —

No problem —

using this new Editor is as easy as riding a bike —

Apologies and thanks again Word Press — your new Editor seems to work just fine — givit

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2020 in out and about

 

Glen Quaich with H and the X-ADV750

It’s well through the month of June and I have just spotted my last Post. It’s dated 9th March and the first sentence is all about riding on a Sunday and how much better it feels than in the week. After three months of Lockdown every day has become a Sunday and days on the bike have been few and far between.

Streetfighter 1

But – there was a Sunday – the Lockdown had eased slightly – time to ride – and ride we did. By Crieff then a left to the Sma’ Glen and left again into Glen Quaich as we entered Amulree.

Time to stop for a few pics before topping out the climb which had been made more interesting on a couple of steep – tight hairpins by my lack of faith in a clutchless bike.

Glen Quaich

No worries – the X-ADV made little of it and all I had to remember was to apply the hand-brake when parking on a slope.

Glen Quaich 15

Couldn’t have asked for a nicer spot for our first post-Lockdown ride —

Glen Quaich 7

Don

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2020 in out and about

 

A Lap from the Gods on the X-ADV750

Any day is a motorcyling day but Sundays always have that extra buzz. Yesterday was no exception. I set out mid-morning and as the polis would say ‘I proceeded in a westerly direction’ – by St Fillans and the north bank of Loch Earn.

With wet roads and temperatures between three and six degrees – feeling like minus 3 – 6 – but nae mind as the watery sun was reflecting off a few of the snow capped mountains to brighten up the day..

When I reached Lochearnhead – north looked the most favourable – so off I popped up Glen Ogle where the snow-melt waters were rushing down the hillsides in foaming white torrents. One in particular dropping hundreds of feet down the hillside and through the arches of the old railway viaduct was really spectacular.

A glimpse of Ben Lawers poking into the clouds caught my eye from the top of Glen Ogle so there was nothing else for it other than to swing right at Lix-toll and head due east for Loch Tay and Aberfeldy.

First there were the tumultuous Falls of Dochert thundering under the bridge by the hotel of the same name on the outskirts of Killin. I have never seen the waters looking so dangerous and I actually had thoughts about the wisdom of crossing the bridge with the river in the state it was.

Through Killin and down the side of Loch Tay with glimpses of a snow covered Ben Lawers in the clouds above and to the left were next on the menu. This section was made more interesting when a hot-hatch appeared from somewhere behind with the driver seeming intent on taking my rear number plate home with him. No worries – the Big Scoot has an equally big twin motor from the Honda NC750 and can show a clean pair of heels when it needs to.

Kenmore was next with hardly a soul in sight and by the time I reached Aberfeldy I was ready for food. There wasn’t much choice of cafe’s so I plumped for one in the main square.

The complicated menu didn’t endear itself to me and the prices at £4.50 for a bacon roll seemed over the top – but I WAS hungry and ready to order. That was when a group of young wimmen all screeching in what seemed to be more than animated conversation at the top of their voices wedged themselves in the open doorway and didn’t look like moving. The polis who come down on motor-cyclists with noisy after-market exhausts would have had a field day with that lot with their noise meters going off the scale!

Time to beat a hasty retreat! I grabbed my heavy jaikit n crash helmet n squeezed out past the still shrieking females into the street while I still had my hearing.

With clobber on I selected ‘Home’ setting and high-tailed it out of town on the road south by the Birks of Aberfeldy. Maybe I should have put my earplugs in and shovelled something hot into my tank for the weather turned nasty after that –  but at least there was a sort of black strip of tarmac between the roadside snowbanks.

Onwards and upwards into more weather – then down through the Sma’ Glen to Gilmerton where I hung a right for Crieff. It seemed like no time at all and I was home in Comrie – roughly on the hundred mile mark – for my first cup of tea and sarnie of the day,

Okay – so there are no photos due to the battery in my phone playing up but it does take me back to the days when I actually wrote about something instead of taking the easy way out and succumbing to the senseless modern saying – ‘One photograph is worth a thousand words.’

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2020 in Comrie, Honda X-ADV 750, Motorcycling

 

Dookin with Loki

I remember how timid I was first time I ventured into the cold waters of the River Eden in the Borders as a kid – my skinny white knees knocking as I felt for sharp stones cutting into my tender feet while the freezing waters crept up my thighs – so I can well imagine what Loki must have been going through yesterday as he braved the River Earn’s snow melt.

He’s a blue-blooded Flat Coat Retriever with a pedigree as long as your arm for goodness sake – so get in there!

Bred from Newfoundland river dogs and our own Labradors —

he even has webs between his toes and I’m sure he will swim like a fish at some point in the future —

 

Come on in Dad – it’s your turn now – the water’s lovely!

 

Loki get’s wet!

Or does he?

 

We must size it up first —

Nope – that pool looks too deep.

Loki! You look like a beached whale – but at least you got your knees wet.