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