Its been a bit frantic this year with the trials and tribulations of building and rebuilding racing engines. The early disaster of Mallory (see 'Whats new' May 2007) where i smashed my crankcase, provoked by having a piston touching the head, seems a long way back now... but as a result of it, the years racing development of my new 'iron engine', was substantially on the back foot.
After further work to get a new case ready for Oulton park on the 12th May, and increasing the clearances in the head, i still had a little bit of contact. Rogers bike also suffered from similar clearance
problems at Anglesey whilst Paul Dobbs was aboard, which neccessitated
repairs, and so we both really had to pull the stops out to get
everything sorted to get anything out the season at all...and so it was... all breakages and stripdowns...until the Beezumph meeting on the 17th and 18th August.
Finally we got to have some fun.
Beezumph 17th / 18th August
V.M.C.C. Cadwell 19th August
The Beezumph is a great event, a very friendly atmosphere and a wide variety of machines. This was a big meeting for us. Cadwell is by far the family favourite, and with the VMCC event on the Sunday, we both had a lot to look forward to.
Also, it was a significant weekend for a couple of other reasons; that it was the first race meeting that Roger had entered since he broke his shoulder at Lydden the year before and it was also to be the realisation of a lifetimes ambition for both of us.
Ever since I was given the bones of his old racer when i was 14 years old, we had always looked forward to racing two Scotts together. This weekend was to finally achieve that goal!
He also took the 'MM', a little Italian long distance racer he had last ridden at Cadwell twenty five years before!
With the two Scotts out on the track, Roger was a little reluctant to ride alongside (he says because he didn't want to provoke me into falling off trying to beat him!) but there we were, The original racer he dismantled over thirty years before, and the evolved machine that embodied all the lessons he learned from it.
At one point i was riding his and he was riding mine. We were going down the back straight and i realised that i couldn't really do much to catch him up. True, his is lighter has four gears and accelerates faster and in truth handles better (especially on the bumps) but there we were, almost nothing between us. The time and expense of engines smashed, re-built and re-smashed on the altar of development is forgotten as an important part of our history is played out. Things this satisfying neither come easily nor quickly.
Truly a great weekend.
Before we knew what was happenning, the final meeting of the year had come around; V.M.C.C. Cadwell, on the 29th and 31st September. Paul Dobbs had re-emerged from his island actvities to ride Rogers bike, and i had made a few adjustments to the fuel system on mine.
Rogers bike is perhaps a little down on power from last year since he had to move away from lightweight die-cast silk pistons after his cylinder was damaged by the acid etching process at the platers, where it was to have its bores re-chromed. New pistons were turned from castings to solve this problem, but either the extra weight of the heavier sand castings in combination with possibly a slightly reduced compression ratio has changed its characteristics a little. All this might be of little significance with the probable benefits of the new exhaust he plans for next year.
As for mine, I had barely even begun the process of sorting out the jetting of the twin carbs and getting the ignition timing finalised. I had also realised that the very close box i was using was a significant problem with the clutch start, as so much clutch slipping was required for such a high first gear.
There was no more time however, and so off we went to the last Cadwell of the year.
Wth the short and twisty woodland circuit on the Saturday and the full circuit on the Sunday, there was a lot to look forward to. Paul put on a brilliant show on both my fathers Scott and a beautiful 350 Aermacchi (which he would wheelie halfway from the mountain to hall bends it seemed!) Despite his best efforts he was mostly held to brilliantly fought seconds against the substantially more powerful Dope breathing Norton of Ian Bain, himself a great rider.
The best i managed was a fifth, but i was happy with this considering the gearbox situation meant that i was basically half the main straight behind even before i began! Certainly, the missing gear is the big difference in possibility between Rogers bike and mine, but with careful choice of ratios, i can minimise that.
An interesting balance was struck in the last moments of the final vintage race, when Ian Bain, who had been sponsored by fellow rider Mike Farral for the 2007 season was just about to clinch the title with a close fought win over Paul Dobbs, and Mike himself. In the closing stages, his leathers burst open, and the Marshalls seeing this 'black flagged' him. Although he, (perhaps understandably although inadvisedly) ignored this, he was therefore disqualified, and Mike took the title.
So thrills,spills and excitment right through to the end and although we have some work to get things better for next season, we are both in a much better position than at the beginning.
Now.. about that gearbox..
There will be further updates soon about some of the work we've been doing.. but for now thats it!