No practice due to bad weather.

The forecast proved correct for Monday with rain starting after lunch and the practice being cancelled soon after.

A thorough check of the bike showed no defects and no loose nuts or bolts. We are going to leave the gearing and suspension settings alone until after the next test as Cameron says he never changes them after a lay off and until he has settled into going nearer to race speed.

Today (Tuesday) is totally fogged in and the chances of a run tonight are not looking good. The forecast for tomorrow is better.

The news from Goodwood is not good as Andrew Pitt has become not available so we are still not certain of who our “star” rider will be. We are working hard on Bruce Anstey and there are plans of kidnap in the air! Annie says she will help!

What is certain is that I have met our Goodwood co-rider, Dean Stimpson and his girl friend Charlett who are both really nice and both know a lot about Manx Norton’s. Dean has just won the  2017 Landsdowne Cup for period classic bikes, so is in top form.

We met Paul Butler who was the top man at Dunlop Racing for years and later for Team Rainey Yamaha. Our good mate Wayne Martin (Skippy), also ex Team Rainey was supposed to come with us as a mechanic but sadly has had to stay in Australia for a knee operation. Skippy recently came and stayed on the IoM with Paul Butler, who lives near the circuit.

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Cam Donald, Ken McIntosh and Paul Butler

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Dave Molyneux, TT Sidecar Legend and 17 times winner. The builder of lots of racing sidecars, all in his Isle of Man workshop. He has a corner named after him on the Mountain Course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fastest 350 in first practice.

Saturday was the first day of practice and it stayed fine all day. The Manx GP newcomers were away first after a delay while a BMW X5 was towed off the course. Unfortunately the tow vehicle got stuck too!

The roads are closed at 6:00pm and Cameron’s session was after 7:00pm. My suggestion was that if the bike was running well to keep going and do two laps.

We were delighted when he went flying through and came back later all smiles. The bike is running fine with all the calculated settings.

The time sheets showed we were the fastest 350 in that session, which is a good start! This may not last as most only did one lap.

The bike came back with everything looking brand new and not a drop of oil on the bike or in the breather bottles.

The only negative being a high level of vibration above 8000 rpm. The safe revs are 9000 and we have a nice wide power band so we have the option to raise the gearing to help. The worst is through the handlebars, which already have end weights.

Cameron is off to find some softer grips to help as 4 laps is very long way. I suspect the Petty frame might require a different  crankshaft balance factor as the same Summerfield 81mm bore 350 fitted in a standard Manx chassis, that Nev Bull has ridden in  NZ for the last 10 years, has no problems.

The seat sponge has been raised up more than 50mm with padding and black duct tape to give Cameron a better riding position. In the late 1960’s people were cutting the sub-frames off standard Norton’s to lower the  seat and now all the modern riders want them raised!

029Cameron tries the new seat padding.

Cameron reported the fueling (carburettion) was “up to the usual McIntosh standards” and the gearbox was really nice too. The front brake needed bedding in causing him to run wide at “The Nook” beside Governors Bridge, causing the marshals to scatter! No harm done and we are hoping for no repeat tonight.

Sunday was a quiet day with our team doing a “pub crawl” around the circuit. More coffee than alcohol was consumed but we got to the Crosby for lunch, the Raven near Ballaugh Bridge, and Creg ny Baa. All have lots of photos of TT riders and being on the circuit have their busiest days during TT Week

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Peter Bloore in the scrutineering line. The seat padding has taken on a new look.

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Bruce Anstey with one on his younger fans!

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Cameron was impressed with the size of the local onions.

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We returned to our pit and checked the fuel consumption which should give us over 2 litres spare after 4 laps, so all good there.

Peter Bloore cleaned the coating of bugs off the front and after a spanner check, the bike will be ready for tonight’s practice.

Friday. On the Isle of Man again

Here we are for the fourth time in five years on the Isle of Man and everyone is super friendly. Many of the people who were only names in Classic Racer Magazine four years ago  greet us with real warmth.

Our trip over on Emirates was great. It is the first time I have done the 17 hour direct Auckland to Dubai. It leaves in the evening and with only a 2 hour stop off in Dubai, it is the least stress for the most miles.

Cameron Donald flew in direct from Australia to the IoM and despite him being in the air for a couple of days met us with a big smile and saying how much he was looking forward to riding our new bike.

He was originally going to also ride Sydney based anaesthetist Luis Gallur’s 500cc Egli Vincent which he rode the year before in the Senior Classic TT. Sadly Luis had to pull out of the trip, which leaves us with Cameron’s full attention. With the limited practice sessions available and the weather often causing problems this is to our great advantage.

It is always nice to have everything brand new but in this case the limited testing is the biggest worry. With a standard Manx Norton we have benchmark settings we can use but in this case all the settings have to be sorted out by testing because the bike is a lot lighter and things like fuel consumption are totally unknown.

The pits have been improved this year with sealed access roads and we are now directly behind the grand stand, the beer tent and food areas.

We are in tent number 3 and 4 and right next to New Zealand latest “favourite son” Grant Dalton. I have not seen Grant since his America’s Cup win and he was obviously still buzzing from his “dream come true”. He is riding in the Manx GP races on moderns and has left his Crosby Replica XR69 Suzuki in NZ this time.

On the other side we have the Padgett’s team and Bruce Anstey. Clive Padgett treats Bruce like family and they were still buzzing from Bruce’s win a the Ulster GP on the special V4 RCV-213 Honda GP Replica that Bruce rode in the TT until it broke down. You can never underestimate how fast Bruce can go and he is looking really fit and injury free.

For this meeting Padgett’s have again supplied Bruce with a Yamaha GP 250 and the mighty YZR 500 V4 two-stroke, similar to the one Kevin McGee rode in NZ recently.

Chris Swallow is here riding Kerikeri based, Glynn Robinson’s Ducati 750, Neville Wooderson’s BSA Gold Star 500  and Fred Walmsley’s AJS 7R 350. Dave Kenah has brought his 500 Manx back over for another try with UK rider Jamie Cowton on board.

The trip up from Peter Bloore’s base in Wallingford, near Oxford, was worrying when the motorway signs were warning of a 90 minute delay on the M6. Pete was ahead of us in the van and had been stationary for thirty minutes so Pete’s son James, back at base, was giving us traffic updates from his computer.

We considered exiting the M6 but James could tell us we were too late because all the roads were grid-locked with people doing that already. We stopped/started for about 45 minutes watching on the Navman our ETA to the ferry getting closer and closer to final check-in.

Finally we started to move and could see no reason for the hold up. Back up to the normal cruising speed of 80 MPH we made good time to Haysham and arrived with an hour to spare.

We have been lucky to stay with the same people on the IoM in a really nice, big house in Onchan, only about 2 miles from the pits. Gary and Helen have become our good friends. Gary has a modern Norton and a Triumph T160 so “speaks the language” He is on night shift this week at the power station (which supplies power to the UK) so has been helping us lots.

The pits are all set up and the 350 and the 1950 “Works” are all set to run, so we are eagerly awaiting first practice on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something new, plus some unfinished business. The 2017 Isle of Man Junior Classic TT and The Goodwood Revival

August 2017

Peter Bloore, owner of the 1950 “Works” Norton and a pair of Goodwood spec Manx Norton’s, which we have built in NZ, couldn’t resist Jerry Summerfield’s offer of a kitset 1970 spec Petty 350cc Manx Norton.

Earlier in the year a box arrived at McIntosh Racing in NZ, with a Ray Petty replica frame kit and Summerfield “81 Bore” ultra-short stroke Manx motor.

The Technical Rules for the Isle of Man Classic TT allows 4-stroke bikes made up to 1972, to run in the GP1 Classes and this includes using the later style Seeley chassis and period disc brakes. The Ray Petty designed frame is from the same early 1970’s period and is an up-dated Featherbed but most importantly uses period AP Lockeed disc brakes and the bike is a lot lighter than a standard spec Manx.

A lot of work was done at McIntosh Racing by Pete Welch and myself, to turn a bunch of parts into a (hopefully) competitive racing motorcycle. Almost 100 dyno runs on Bret Robert’s dyno were completed before a nice, smooth, power band was achieved.

The bike will now run from 1000 rpm to 9000 rpm without any hesitation. Some people might think that is impossible with an original Amal GP Carb bored out to 40mm and an original Lucas 2MTT racing magneto!

Changes to exhaust, inlet, compression ratio, ignition and jetting all produced as many questions as answers, and our experience with 500cc Manx Norton’s was a little help but didn’t provide any of the settings!

350cc Petty Manx Norton to be riden by Cameron Donald in the Classic TT. Owned by Peter Bloore and prepared in New Zealand by McIntosh Racing.

Twice Isle of Man winner Cameron Donald has ridden my 92mm bore Manx Norton at three meetings in Australia and New Zealand and had overall victories in them all, as well as having ridden Fred Walmsley’s 350cc AJS 7R to an Isle of Man podium a couple of years ago.

He was an obvious choice and I always wanted to give Cameron an “Isle of Man” ride on one of our classic bikes as a “thank you” for persuading Bruce Anstey to ride my Manx and win the 500cc GP1 Class  “Hailwood Trophy” in 2014. I am sure without Cam talking Bruce into it, it would never have happened!

After all the dyno work, a road test was needed, and with very little persuasion I had the most experienced Manx Norton test rider in the world. 4 x World Champion Hugh Anderson continued our long association and having ridden Manx Norton’s since 1960 and now only in his early eighties he was certainly up to the job. He reported that the “bike was showing IoM potential”.

Hugh Anderson, 4 x World Champion and Ken McIntosh, in New Zealand, testing Peter Bloore's 350cc Petty Manx to be riden by Cameron Donald in the 2017 Classic TT

Ken McIntosh and Hugh Anderson testing the 350cc Petty Manx before shipping to the Isle of Man Classic TT

With the bike going almost straight from the work bench to the toughest race in the world it will be a real test of our skills. I have to say that our little team has all had the same focus; to eliminate problems before they show up and the effort from everybody involved has been 100%.

Bruce Verdon from TT Industries in Nelson, NZ has produced the 6 speed gearbox, and Steve Roberts has made the polished alloy petrol tank which should be large enough for a non-stop 4 laps of the 37-3/4 mile circuit.

The bike was sent  to the UK last week by our good friends at Air Transport World Freight Ltd who have done such a great job of freighting our bikes around the world for the last 10 years.

Our “unfinished business” is the 2015 Goodwood bike which was ridden by Kevin Schwantz and Rodney O’Connor and is also owned by Peter Bloore.

The bike was tested in New Zealand, but as previously reported in an earlier post, it did the unmentionable and dropped an exhaust seat out of the head in the early laps of the Saturday race. It did a lot of damage, but I must report that Summerfield’s were excellent to deal with (as always) and went out of their way to rectify the damage. Between me and my customers we have had almost 30 Summerfield engines and this is the only one to have had a serious problem.

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Peter Bloore, James Bloore and Don O’Connor at Goodwood 2015, before the motor stopped!

Later, when Pete Welch was refitting the exhaust pipe back in NZ he was surprised the find the rather mangled valve seat fell out of the pipe! How it stayed in there, who knows?

Because the Goodwood classes alternate each year between pre-1953 and pre-1967  the bike was not used last year. It came back to NZ for Cameron to ride in the NZCMRR Classic Motorcycle Festival at Pukekohe, in February this year. This proved successful with Cameron winning both the 500cc Trophies and setting the fastest lap of all the 500’s. All with an 86 bore engine on Avgas and 19 inch wheels!

With Kevin Schwantz’s retirement from racing we missed the chance of having the “dream team” of Kevin and Cameron together at Goodwood and then Cameron had to make the hard call to return to Australia after the Classic TT to work on his nearly completed new house. After fire destroyed the original family homestead a few years ago it has been full-on for Cameron to get the house finished so Kaz, Lola and dad Ken can finally move in.

Cameron reported the bike was going really well so we are hoping for a good result after getting Second place last year, with pole position, fastest lap and fastest speed trap on the 1951 Long-stroke Manx.

After a few false starts we have a really top rider on board for Goodwood Revival  2017, Dean Stimpson, just last week crowned winner of the premier UK Classic Championship, “The Lansdowne Cup”. The second rider is still to be announced with a long list of possible riders who for various reasons have not been able to attend.

But first, Debbie, Peter Bloore, his son James and I are off to my fourth visit to the Isle of Man Classic TT.

Ken McIntosh

Bad practice

Qualifying was a disaster for us for the second year running when the carburetor needle clip broke and let the needle drop down, stopping the engine. Rodney was riding so Kevin did not get a run. This happened to us at the TT practice last year, so I assume the clips are over hardened as this one was nearly new.

This has put us 18th on the grid for the Le Mans start for both races.

There is only one 30 min. practice for both riders, so no chance to make up position. Not a very good start.

Off now for the first race.

Ken