Apr 232017

The Bristol Italian Moto Festival never fails to bring out some interesting exotica, and this year was no exception. One of my favourites was an ultimate cafe racer, the Bimoto Tesi 2D. A Ducati Vee twin engined bizarre looking machine that had the crowds puzzling over which end was which. It’s alledged to be very nimble due to it’s hub centre steering and light weight. A valuable machine from the mid ’90s that is supposed to be a joy to ride.

An interesting classic, this little 250 overhead cam Parilla from the early ’60s is very rare. Apparently only a handful were imported and only two are known to exist today, both owners living near Bristol.

And this shiny little number is just very pretty in a most Italian way, with it’s cam drive visible through a little window on the head.

Feb 052017

Some interesting bits and pieces from the Bristol Classic Bike Show at the Bath & West Showgrounds, Shepton Mallet.

I passed my test on a borrowed Bridgestone 90, owned a Suzuki 500 Gamma and have raced 100cc Karts in the 70’s, so rotary disk valve engines hold special memories for me. The Kawasaki A1 250 Samurai (c1967) was one of the best early examples of these engine in a production motorcycle.

It still looks quite modern and, at 31 BHP, it’s powerfull for a 250.

This Raleigh three wheeler was an absolute gem, mostly because of the owners account of his restoration.

Believed to be one of only 3 on the road it has a Raleigh made V twin engine that the owner tracked down after looking for one for over 20 years. It had spent time in a ditch and a junk yard before being rebuilt.

I love a cutaway, so this fully functional cutaway of a Vincent engine was a delight. Surely it was made as an exhibit and somebody hasn’t actually taken a hacksaw to an extremely valuable Vincent engine?

This is also a Vincent, but a very small one – a Vincent no shadow?

A Maseratti this time. A stunning 50cc racer.

A neat “Slippery Sam” replica.

Excelsior made 2 stroke engines for a variety of application from Berkeley three wheelers to this little moped.

Little REX moped was a front wheel, direct drive machine.

Jul 312016

Classic and Pre ’65 Scramble this weekend was dominated by the Irish contingent on JAP bikes that sounded lovely. This shot of John Griffiths was typical of the huge lead one or other of them had in most races they entered.

These two were just so fast on their Yamaha XS650 (taken out to 840) powered outfits.


Some were very pretty.

Some were real engineering works of art.

The carpark contained some gems as well, like this Enfield Metisse.

Jul 232016

A pretty good turn out of Yamaha XS650s at this years DirtQuake. This one was very pretty, and the owner obviously wanted to keep it that way, because it was ridden carefully.
Others were a bit more rough and ready but had some interesting mods, including the hydraulic clutch and oil cooler on this one.
One stood out as doing well in the races, aided by the uprated forks and hand build frame, which made it a lot lighter than the standard lump.

Jul 202016

What a fabulous celebration of motorcycling and just having fun on and off bikes the DirtQuake is. Even the bands were good and the rockabilly style of The Fuzillis on Saturday night fitted in with the vibe perfectly. The wall of death was also a sight to see and the kids pedal bike run around the track was a laugh, particularly the little tot on the push along bike.

It would appear that beards and tats are pretty much mandatory amongst the younger contingent.

I’m prepared to waffle on about the benefits of Norton Roadholder forks etc with the other old boys that I meet at most motorcycle events. However, it’s great to see some youthful exuberance and the desire to just get on and gas it on a slippery track. The average age of motorcyclists has increased year on year, but this sort of event injects so much energy into our sport to keep it alive and helps to reverse that trend. It’s pretty inclusive though, as some older riders were doing well amongst the young bloods.
Just a shame that Carl Fogarty and Guy Martin were racing in different classes, because everyone would have like to see that face-off. Guy’s Harley was just pipped to the post this year when beaten by an old BSA A65.

Jun 192016

I had to post some pictures of these little bad boys for interest sake, even though they are liquid cooled and not even bikes. They were racing at the Supermoto bike meeting I recently went to at Pembrey in Wales and are know as Superlites. Using a snowmobile twin cylinder Bombarder Rotax two stroke engine they go like hell. They use a belt drive transmission to give constantly variable drive ratio similar to an old Daf car. Great to see two strokes out on a circuit again, even though some of the cars have Honda Fireblade engines as an alternative.