Saturday, October 6, 2012

Photo Credit

I've been taking liberties. Some of the photos I've shown were kindly sent to me by Sebastien at and I haven't credited him.

His website is here :

Thank you Seb.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Forgive me Father for I have sinned

When I'm eating cat food as a pensioner I'll be able to look back on 2012 as the turning point.

Good Friday at Spa

Pictures tell a thousand words, or something like that. In light of the fact I'm feeling pretty useless at blogging right now here are pictures. Lots of them.

How does a grown man become a blogger ??

Anyway......... here goes:

The track. A slight improvement over Willow Springs. They even have toilet paper.

Speaking of the Lav: 

"I'm Qualified and I'm Ancient"........

I'd like to say we were studying the track layout but we were probably looking at the lunch menu.

Oh those English.......

What a team.

One of Rick's qualifying sessions. He was 12th quickest in the rain. He did a rain dance as he's super fast in the wet. Good work. Too bad the dance didn't work for later in the weekend.

Here's Jordy our Team Manager testing all systems.

Those spotlights: what was I thinking?? They came in handy though when the main light blew a fuse in night qualifying. 

Trackday Guzzis.

The least powerful and the loudest. I may have to change that. Well, the power part at least.

Pit lane

Team Marlin our neighbors, actually that's neighbours. They are English. In case you hadn't noticed.

 More English neighbours. Fast!!. The organizers group teams by nationality.

Team Glam and Phase One. More Brits. 

Crazy Harry, left, and Big Boy Nigel. My errrr Pit Crew. We actually had really good, fast fuel stops. Not that you would know it looking at these two.

My brother Mark. Again attending claiming to be team fixer but more likely looking for baked goods. He's a soft touch too. Jordy talked him into buying him a hotdog the size of a small babys arm. Good work Jordy.

Oh those English.

Rick looks lovingly at the bike

Rick is probably cursing that it stopped raining.

More neighbours. 3 engines and 12 hours later there were still problems.

Rain. What me worry ??

Here's Ralph and his GS. The GS suffered a bent valve in qualifying. Nigel hustled up a Kawasaki from a Dutch friend for Ralph and Gary to finish qualifying. The Dutch friend took 2 seconds to decide whether to let a stranger use his bike. Doesn't get better than that !!

Vince, left and Nigel. They are only friends honest. 

It looks good but didn't finish. Might be time for a Guzzi.

Here Rick warms his hands on 200W.

Friday was great. We qualified 50 something out of 70. Rick learnt the track and the bike had no major issues. When I'm more in the mood I'll add more detail.

Next up. Race Day.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Part 2

Having arrived in Belguim the plan was to pick up the bikes on the Wednesday before the race so we could get to the track that night and Rick could then do the track-day on the Thursday.  Unfortunately the shipping agent didn't co-ordinate with the warehouse where the bike was waiting and long story short I wasn't able to pick up the bike until late Thursday afternoon and arrived at the track at 6pm Thursday.

This wasn't a total disaster as Rick was able to sign up for the Superbike trackday that ran concurrently with the event so in theory he could have multiple sessions throughout the weekend in addition to the mandated 4hr qualifying sessions on Friday afternoon and evening.

Before any of this could happen we had to 'tech' which involves having race officials make sure the bike and gear is race ready and safe thus earning a 'tech' sticker allowing access onto the track. Easy!! The bike was in the same form as last year and would pass no problem. What I hadn't counted on was them insisting that the rear brake work. The nerve!!

"I never use it" I protested. That didn't work so off I sloped back to my garage to fix it. Bugger!! It had never really worked even when I wanted it to so now I had to finally fix it. Rick and I tried shims (ok I'm lying, coins) to place between the master cylinder piston and the actuating arm to give more leverage. Still no joy. Bugger again. Now I was really sweating as I knew a master cylinder rebuild was in order. Who the hell has a stock Guzzi Brembo rear master cylinder rebuild kit at 7pm on a Thursday night in the middle of Belguim??


Thank God I had put the rebuild kit in amongst my spares. I'd had it kicking around for years and even remembered looking at it before I left thinking...... "well you never know"!!!

Disaster and major embarrassment averted we quickly had it installed and bled the system. Off we went again and we passed with flying colors. I think I saw a glint in the tech guy's eye when looking at the Guzzi but that may just have been my imagination......

Back to the pits we got settled in and organised gear, set the bike up further and visited with friends from last year. I wish I could remember more but there is such sensory overload that it's hard to recall every detail. I do know there's no better place to be. Good people, great bikes, a sense of adventure all set in the most amazing surroundings.......


Team Taurus. They came 3rd.


 A right sight

Losing my head

 My break-dancing skills

Next chapter: Friday qualifying.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The dog ate my homework, belated Spa 2012 report

Due to the fact that this year's report will undoubtedly become an opus of Shakespearean proportions I'll be breaking it up into 3 or 4 sections. Chapters even !!

Last year saw Chris and myself achieve 18th place on our first attempt. As it was also the first time we had ever seen the track we were pretty impressed with ourselves. This endurance thing is pretty easy right..........

This year's preparations started in January and involved some totally unnecessary changes that were designed to do nothing more than give me something (else) to do: 

Lower frame rail deletion

Bormi transmission mounts. They are rather nice.

Suzuki '86 GSXR wheel flirtation. Deemed unsuitable due to lack of rear wheel offset.

Staintune headers and crossover flirtation. To be continued.

Tart's handbag.

Twin plugging. This was worth doing. 20% better mileage than last year and 4 more hp.

Here Rick and I prep the bike a month before shipping. Why use work benches when knees and cold concrete work just as well??

Ready for shipping shod with spare Borranis.

Off we go:

My riding partner this year was my good friend Rick and we would again be joined by Ralph and Gary riding Ralph's GS 1000 Suzuki. Ralph was hoping to finish this year as last year he blew up his clutch an hour and a half into the race. 

Our plan was to to do as well as last year, ride sensibly, be humble and maybe, just maybe we might win it.......

To be continued.... in Belguim.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Amplifiers and Headless Horsemen

Spa Report 2012

Coming soon. Photos have been gathered and pencils sharpened. In the meantime here's a teaser shot.