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My Last Bike?

My last bike – how many times have I said that?

I said it to my son at the TT on the Isle of Man in 1993 or was it ’94 after he had cut enough plaster off his damaged wrist to wheelie my precious new model BMW1100GS off a Ramsey campsite and give me a nervous couple of hours waiting for his return from what I thought would be a five minute ride into town.

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Not my James – the wee bugger cleared off and did a fast lap of the whole TT circuit. When I remonstrated ‘mildly’with him on his return – saying amongst other things that this was probably my last bike his casual reply was – ‘ well I didn’t expect you would give me another shot of it’.

Too Right!

So – that ‘Last Bike’ toured Spain and Portugal several times before being pensioned off when I decided to startup a Rider Training enterprise down in Shropshire. Then there were five Yamaha 125s after that – a 600 Bandit – a GPZ 600 – a GP 750 – a BMW 1100R – and a Mick Andrews replica 250 Yamaha based Majesty Trials —

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There were at least three rider friendly – off/on road Yamaha XT 600s. Two mean off-road Honda 600 Rs and a very pretty Yamaha 375 Virago —

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A too-small (at the time) Yamaha Serow —

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and a 1200 Bandit – seen here in Brittany disguised as a sheep. The bare seat was a pain in the jaccsy over a distance!

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Five XJR1300s – this one with the ijit embarrassing his friends in Spain was favourite and featured in many a mad foray during it’s years with the Owner’s Club and reached Dubrovnik amongst other faraway places —

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A very nice old BMW R100GS I imported from the States after an aborted ride from Bar Harbor Maine to Alaska via Oregon due to hospital trauma. A bit agricultural compared to Jap bikes – I didn’t keep her long after she arrived back in the UK at Thames Port. She does look nice amongst my roses.

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Ahh – America – how could I forget the whole Ducati Racing Equipe I bought from the late David Jeffrey family. The 956 Corsa was raced for me at the Daytona 200 in 1995 by an up and coming Neil Hodgson who would go on to become World Superbike Champion on a works Ducati a few years later.

Well – what did you spend your divorce settlement on? At least I got more than a few free airmiles out of it and I did get every penny of my outlay back when I sold the job-lot to the Irish division of Scania Trucks within weeks of coming back into the country.

I don’t have a photo of the Ducati but I do happen to have a painting of the 500cc Roc Yamaha raced by Neil in GP’s worldwide that same year. We did the Australian – Malaysian – Japanese and Spanish 500 Grand Prix’s together with some success. The spots in the colour scheme were considered bad luck and the acne was ditched for the remaining European rounds —

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On and on the list goes — and that’s only since 1994. In my lifetime I reckon I’ve owned and ridden over a hundred bikes which brings me nicely to my current stable consisting of —

The smallest – my Honda 125 MSX which will go for her first MOT on Monday —

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The biggest – the mighty V4 engined Honda Pan European ST1100 – still a lovely ride if a bit of a heavy handful to balance  on our small ferry crossing over Cuan Sound on a rough day. Tiedown straps are only for oil tankers and cissies around here —

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The tallest – my trusty Yamaha Tenere 660Z – should come complete with stepladder —

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The easiest to ride – my sweet Honda CRF250 Rally – especially now that I have lowered the gearing making it easier to keep the smooth little motor in it’s sweet spot —

The dirtiest – looked fresh enough the day I bought her but underneath those plastics lurked thirty years of grime —

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My current ride for all reasons – our hardy – non complaining 650cc Suzuki V-strom —

The toughest? My 1994 all-alloy Raleigh Maxim Hybrid.

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Together we did the Dairi-Pak Challenge event over some of the toughest mountain roads in Wales and came through it alive if a bit sore behind and red in the face. I still have that bike but there are times I wish she had an electric motor in her.

So what about this ‘last bike’ thing? Well have you seen the latest 125cc Scrambler version of the Honda Monkey Bike – dial it up and have a look –  –  –  –  – 

Now that could be my last bike – pity I’m ot ready for her yet 🙂

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Posted by on January 4, 2019 in Motorcycling

 

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Turn a Kawasaki Versys ER6 into a TT Racer

My Kawasaki Racer Posts from over three years ago are proving to be enduringly popular – so – it’s time to bring ’em forward and link them
together to make things easier for those who are interested.

20/05/2013 – Post – Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650 Racer:

Back in the early nineties I turned my road going Yamaha TDM 850 into a race bike and competed against Ducati 851’s and suchlike in the National Battle of the Twins series as well as in Open Class racing .

tdm-850First off I got busy with the grindette and cut off all the bits that I would have no use for on the track – including the bottom bit of the protruding flywheel cover which had a habit of grounding out on the tarmac when things got serious. The flywheel had already been machined 20mm slimmer to let her hit top revs easier so it wasn’t much of a problem to weld in a chamferred blanking plate to seal the casing.

All extraneous lugs and part of the sub-frame fell victim to my grindette and this brutality was covered with some FZR 600 race fibreglass I had leftover from another project. The tank cover only fitted after I got really serious with the fuel tank and reduced it’s volume by 50% – not a problem for short circuit racing. The nose fairing was stolen from another of my race bikes – a Honda VFR 400 NC30.

Lightweight Marchesini wheels – 17 ins front and rear instead of the std 18/17 fitments were from a 250cc GP bike – rear shock was changed to a fully adjustable unit from Eamon Clear and the fork legs were slipped up through the yokes to give her better cornering attitude. Exhaust was home made by a backstreet artist in metal from Bannockburn and proved almost impossible to baffle properly. One enormous wad of wire wool that got me through scrutineering for an International Twins race against the French at Donnington on the Day of the Champions shot out when at full bore under Dunlop Bridge releasing a few more ponies from the suffering motor.

Great days 🙂

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Thanks to the ‘Green Meannie’ brigade for their patience – I am getting to your bike now 🙂

Bringing things up to date almost twenty years later and mainly thanks to a certain Ryan Farquhar something similar is happening with the tame-looking Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650 twin.

Here she is in standard trim —

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I happened to take a turn round by the race shop when I was over that way today gathering seashells (don’t ask ) and there was one of those Kawasaki 650’s being prepared for a twins race at Cadwell this coming weekend —

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She is sporting an after-market shock and a smart Arrow GP style exhaust and I suspect there will more trick bits to these upside-downies than a couple of Maxton stickers —

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Very tidy —

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and with Joey sitting there in the background keeping an eye on things what can possibly go wrong —

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I hope to take my Tenere over that way towards the end of the week and if I time it right I could get a pic of the Versys with her bodywork fitted before she goes in the truck. Very tidy!

A quick edit and we have the ER6 Supertwin resplendent in her new bodywork after her racing debut at Cadwell Park —

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She is looking good and slimmer than a slim thing —

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c’est magnifique —

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Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650

12/02/2014 – Post – Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

I have put one Kawasaki Post on my blog prior to this one and it get’s so many hits I feel obliged to give you ‘Green Meanie’ chaps another.

It said it in the Belfast Newsletter so it must be true – Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor have teamed up and are both to make a comeback at the 2014 Isle of Man TT riding Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin machines. I even managed to pirate a pic of the likely lads with one of the very smart little twins as built by Ryan here on the left —

Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor

Tis a thing of beauty and I understand that Manx Gas and Brian McGrath of SGS International have provided the sponsorship to get the boys back on the Isle of Man roads. No doubt there will be a shakedown run out at the North West 200 prior to the TT if the team can find the necessary backing for it too.

Former Honda TT Legends rider Keith stepped away from racing in 2011 due to a shoulder injury so a low key run out on the Supertwin should be a nice way to re-live old times without having the pressure of riding for a top team on large capacity machinery.

Keith in his heyday on Honda TT Legends machinery —

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Ryan retired in 2012 after the death of his uncle in the Manx Grand Prix that year while riding a Farqhar Supertwin Kawasaki so it hasn’t been an easy decision for Ryan to make a return to the roads.

Ryan ‘giving it some air’ at the Mid Antrim 150 on the day he scored a perfect hat-rick of wins —

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But – like many before him Ryan has found that building race bikes as he has done for the past year is a seven day week job and the margins don’t always equate to a good living whereas the returns for one race entry while his name is still up there in lights can pay the bills for a month or two.

Let’s wish them both well and a safe return to the Manx roads.

!

Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2016 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling

 

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