Tuesday 16 December 2014

Race Dates 2015

Hi all

Well the season has only been over a couple of months and at long last next years dates have been released.

I've listed all the National Races in Ireland and also a few on Isle Of Man, as these are the ones I would like to do, but as always work and financies will dictate where I end up.












Hopefully I will be able to do as many as possible, but we will see.

Maybe see you at some?


Sunday 7 December 2014

Engine Work Begins

Hi all

Well after getting my bikes back it didn’t take long to start fiddling, and was only a matter of days before the engine was sat proudly on my bench.

Before removing it from the frame I did a compression test on the cylinders, as this may help determine where the missing horse power has gone.

As with the dyno, it wasn’t great news as it showed that I had between 90 and 110 psi whereas I should be getting a minimum of 100 and up to between 160 and 170 psi.

Loss of compression can be caused by two things, either the valves are not closing properly, usually due to a build up of carbon on the seats or the shims that open the valves are wrong, or the piston rings are worn.

To check which is happening at this stage I poured a small amount of oil into the cylinder, if the compression goes up it means the rings are worn as the oil acts as a sealant, if it stays the same then the valves need attention as this would not be affected by the oil.

The compression went up to 160, so this means either the rings or the bores of the cylinder have worn, I’m hoping it’s the rings. Just goes to show worn rings are usually spotted by blue smoke from the exhaust as oil is burnt with the fuel, but on mine there was no sign of blue smoke.

Still this is only theory at this stage as the engine needs to be stripped and then I can measure the rings and bore to see which is worn. 

This one I call engine on the bench.

It didn't take long to strip the engine, far too much practice, sadly.

The bores showed signs of wear so I have choosen to use another set of barrels which I had as spares. I also measured all the bearings on the crank and con rods, and ordered new ones.

I've also bought a new cylinder head which has been tuned, so await that with baited breath to see if it is any good.   

With the head off I checked to see if any of the vavles were leaking. I did this by putting a small amount of parafin down each valve and left it over night. When I checked the next day I could see the head was wet meaning the valves were not seating correctly.

From this I can see that I need to grind the vavles to fit the face they sit in, this is called lapping the valves in. I will also check to see if the springs are still strong enough to close the valves properly, this is simply done by measuring them.

So now I'm just waiting on bits to be delivered, and postie is quite busy at this time of year, so am having to wait longer which is really frustrating as I am so keen to see if I've improved my engine at all.

I'll give you an update just as soon as I have a progress report.


Wednesday 3 December 2014

Hi all

Sorry for the delay in an update, but decided a couple of months off from fiddling with bikes was in order. Still, bikes are now back home and my first job was to get the bikes put on a dyno to see what power they are currently putting out.

For this I went to Double Take Motorcycles in Southampton.

Double Take is run by twins, Nick and Chris Sansome, who I’ve known since before I started racing. In fact it was Nick who showed me his ZXR400 so that I knew what I was getting into.

The plan is to see what the bikes power is now and then after Winter fiddling, hopefully it will have gone up.

The Supertwin seems to be running well, the best Nick has seen in fact, and is putting out a healthy 76hp. Not quite as much as I’d hoped by still good.

The results for the 400 were less favourable. A standard ZXR puts out about 64hp and mine, which has a race exhaust, has slightly upped compression and runs a total loss ignition, was putting out 54hp.

The fuelling was described by Nick as ‘shocking’ as it was running very lean.

So the plan is now to check the compression of the engine, then strip her down and give her a good check over and try to locate the missing ponies, I have been told that most will return when the fuelling is sorted, which will happen when I fit a ram air box during the rebuild.

Nick also managed to shed some light on the misfire of the SV, as he told me that the routing of the wire from the quickshifter to the power commander maybe close to an HT lead as it can pick up interference from such a cable, which will cause the quickshifter to cut the engine, so fingers crossed this is the case.

I know this should be bad news about the 400, but am looking at it that it’s not me getting slower and it’s the bike, which is fixable, so all good.

I will keep you all up to date as to how the rebuild goes over the coming months, and hopefully have a better dyno printout. 

I've also received some pictures from Skerries and Killalane, from Jack Chambers, thanks for these Jack.


 Speak soon


Check out Double Take at www.doubletakemotorcycles.co.uk

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Killalane Report

Well after my trip to The Clasic TT it was off to Ireland for Killalane, one of my favourite circuits.

Weather was due to be good all weekend, which was just as well as we had to sit in the paddock for 7 hours before my practice sessions started. When I say started, I had 3 one after the other. Not sure why it was arranged like this as most of the guys in the three classes race in all 3 so why not spread them about?

First off was the 400. How different it was to riding the 888 a couple of weeks before. I only had to think about a corner and I was laid over, it was so light.

My racing at The Classic did me good as felt a lot more confident on corners which wasn’t keen on at Killalane before, which felt really good, and on my 400 knocked 3 seconds a lap off last years times.

Next up was the SV. Since I last rode her I replaced the throttle with a quicker action one. To start with I didn’t get on with it as it didn’t seem to shut off very well, I thought it was just me to start with so forced myself to shut the throttle rather than let it shut.

Practice went well on the SV and rode around one guy on a corner, only to then miss my braking point which caused me to run straight on.  

I rode round to the holding area after the second practice for a quick splash of petrol, only to be told that it had been delayed until 10am the next day, which was a blessing as wanted to change the gearing on the SV before I went out again.

Sunday morning dawned glorious, so was a bit confused as to what the delay was for our practice session to start.

Turns out that the fire brigade decided to test a hydrant next to the circuit, spraying water all over the corner. Race officials decided they couldn’t put anything on it, so let it dry out naturally, and we would just have to be careful on this flat out kink. Not sure who the brains were that decided to do this test just before roads close and must have been an annoyance to the club who have to have roads open by a certain time, and the 30 minute delay didn’t help.

Practice went well but still couldn’t get on with the new throttle. When I looked the throttle rubber had settled on the tube and was now rubbing against the brake protector. I loosed the protector and throttle wasn’t sticking, so a cheap and easy fix.

I was out on the 400 first and had a good dice with Yvonne and Davy Black until I messed up a couple of corners and lost the tow, which allowed them to pull away from me.

Next up was Supertwin, and gave John McCann stick as he’d qualified 3rd on the grid, and wasn’t sure if he’d still talk to the little people, like me who started 12th?

I got a good start and, overtook a few and was soon on Johns tail. I could see where John was quicker and where I was likely to be able to overtake him.

Around the back of the circuit is a section which looks bad every time you approach it, but when you know it, it’s pretty much flat out. I could see this would be my best bet to get passed John.

I got a good drive out of the last corner in this section and eased past John on the brakes, which felt good.

I then passed, and was repassed by another guy on the last lap, but sadly I couldn’t get passed before the finish flag was shown.

Still I was happy to see that I had finished 9th, so a good race.

I later spoke to John who said he’d lost his mojo and just wasn’t in to the race, which was a shame.

Still we had one race left together, so hoped it would return for him.

John was again ahead of me on the grid but I soon found myself behind him and another guy, and what a race we had.

We were all of the same ability, so were going into corners 3 abreast at some points and as the race went on the defensive lines became more extreme going into corners, so that no one could sneak up the inside.

I could see John had his mojo back and he got quicker each lap through the back section, which like most of the circuit is one line only. I think all three of us had a turn at leading our group at some stage, so made for a great battle, and was a great race to end my season on.

So that’s another season done and dusted for me. I can’t believe how quick this year has gone, can’t believe it was 5 months ago that I first rode my SV.

Have to say I’ve had a great time, with some great racing and meeting new friends, sad times too with the loss of Noel at Tandragee.

I have started to look at what I want to do next year and at the moment I will try and get more power out of the SV and 400, so there will still be updates as to how I’m doing with that.

Now I’m back home I hope to get some pictures from Classic TT up on the site, do apologise but haven’t been around to sort this yet.

I’d like to thank all those that have helped during the year. Special thanks go to Stafford and Liz for lending me the Ducati for The Classic TT and to Steve who has been a great help as always, wouldn’t be able to do it without him.

So until next time, many thanks for reading and your continued interest and support.


Sunday 14 September 2014

Classic TT Photo's

Hi all

Sorry it's taken a while but here are some pictures from Classic TT

Ready in pit lane.

Ready for the off

Off we go

3 Laps later
The spoils

Hopefully I will have some more photo's soon, and hope you enjoy these.


Wednesday 27 August 2014

Tuesday Race Day

Awoke Tuesday to a beautiful day,so racing went ahead as planned.
We weren't out until nearly 3 pm so a lazy start to the day,which gave the nerves plenty of time to kick in.
Before I knew it,it was time to get into my leathers & head out to the start line.
Felt really strange walking the bike down to start line after a 14 year gap and lots of thoughts of what happened on that occasion.
Still no time to dwell as I get the tap on the shoulder and I'm off down Bray Hill.
You have to attack from the off otherwise you'd over think it.
Down to Quarter Bridge & Braddan Bridge then just sit back & enjoy.
And enjoy I did as the bike went perfectly,which after all the hard work over the practice week was so good.
As I'd only done 5 laps in practice I just took it as a 3 lap practice session.
Within the first few miles I caught sight of the guy that had started 10 seconds ahead of me,so had to catch him. This I did as we came out if Glen Helen and then overtook him on the next straight.
The bike was a lot heavier than I'm used to riding so had to adapt my style,but by the time I came in for my pit stop at the end of lap two I was glad of a rest and a drink.
My pit stop went like clockwork and was out before I knew it.
The third lap felt really good and wanted to do a fourth as I was feeling more and more confident,this was shown in my lap time which was my fastest of the race with an average of just over 97mph.
I was nearly in tears as I crossed the line as I felt I'd finally ut the ghost of 14 years ago behind me.
Naturally it was smiles all round when I got back to the pits.
Later that evening I attended the presentation evening and received my finishers plaque from John McGuinness,which was such a great feeling.
I hope over the next week to sort through the pictures and post them up,sorry there hasn't been any but has been quite hectic.
Not much of a rest as off to Killalane in just over a week.
Before I go I'd just like to thank all those that helped out,but especially to Stafford and Liz for the bike and Steve for all his help over here.
So until next time,take it easy
Cheers Stuart
PS Plans are already being drawn up for next year,all being well.

Monday 25 August 2014

Monday Races

Sadly the racing today was cancelled today due to bad weather.
So it is now due to take place on Tuesday as forecast is far better.

As always,fingers crossed.
The good news is that there will be shown on ITV 4 Wednesday evening.

Cheers Stuart

Sunday 24 August 2014

For Noel

I found out that this morning that I have qualified for the Classic TT Formula 1 race,which is great news, and will be setting off at number 56.

The only question mark is the weather, which isn't look great at the moment, but we will just have to hope that the forecasters are wrong.  

Hopefully I will have good news to report when we speak next.

If you are over and see me give me a wave, can't promise I will wave back though.


Saturday 23 August 2014

Saturday Practice

Hi all
No holiday lay in for me today as up early and off to practice,to make the situation worse I was woken by hail on the window.
Initially we had an hour & a half,but due to weather this was cut before we started,shame as we could've done 3 or 4 laps.
Some parts of the course were still wet but did start to dry.
Start of the second lap & heavens opened,so was a very ginger ride round these parts,hoping somewhere would be dry.
Luckily it wasn't long before I got to the dry section.
It was on lap two that the rev counter needle started doing its own thing until it just dropped off,which made me laugh.
Still rest of the bike was superb, and a pleasure to ride.
Laps were getting there,with another 91 average,which was good considering the conditions.
We then managed to get another practice lap this afternoon and felt like I was attacking corners better. Rather than braking & dropping a couple of gears I would just go down one and drive through them.
Sadly the lap ended with confusion over flag signals so slowed right down,still I managed a 93 average,again moving in the right direction.
Tomorrow is a day of checking bike,including repairing the rev counter and seeing if I have a race on Monday.
I will keep you updated,so until then.
Cheers Stuart

Friday 22 August 2014

Friday Practice

Hi all
Practice went well this evening as we finally managed two laps,first with an average of 91 & second of 86mph,both of which I'm happy with.
Second was slower as bike cut out just after Kirk Michael. I pulled into garage,went to turn off main switch & found it already off.
Switched it back on & she burst into life,so off I went. Turns out the dash moving coupled with turning bars meant switch was knocked,cutting power.
Was so happy to have completed two laps and was met with a very happy Stafford,Liz and Steve when I got back to pits.
Upon our return to base we had a look over the bike and found nothing wrong,we also shortened the switch so it doesn't catch anymore.
Tomorrow is an early start for some more practice,so fingers crossed for that.
Will let you know how we get on,all being well.
Cheers Stuart

Thursday 21 August 2014

No practice for me today sadly,as could've done with the circuit time.
We spent the day checking the bike over for the problem from last night,which we had narrowed down to an electrical one. Yes I know it's the oldest excuse in racing terms,but was honestly electrical.
Nothing appeared to be wrong,until Stafford found a wire which was looser than expected on the fuel pump. If it was this it would explain the symptoms we suffered.
So fingers crossed that was the root of our problem.
We also had to repair the beautiful belly pan,which I have been grinding away whilst enjoying myself.
So we now have Friday & Saturday to qualify.
Lets hope we have two good runs to get the required laps in.
Hopefully next time I write I will have some good news for you.
Wish me luck.
Cheers Stuart

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Wednesday Practice

Today we spent the day replacing the clutch with the one from the SS which was our run around. Stafford also put a generator from a road bike to help charge the battery as a race version didn't seem to be man enough for the job.
A short test ride showed the clutch to be working properly so it was off to the paddock.
I actually felt nervous today as felt we would be able to get a couple if laps in.
I had a good start and although not as fast as I'd like, but I felt happy I knew where I was going and speed would come.
Sadly shortly after Ballacrye,18 miles out, Emily went onto one cylinder, and then none. So I spent the practice watching,but at least further out than the last couple of nights,so progress has been made.
The van arrived to give me a lift home but bike started so rode back to see if problem raised it's head again,sadly no.
So tomorrow we will see if there is a loose connection somewhere.
There is no practice for F1 tomorrow so hope to help out marshalling.
Friday is out next practice so fingers crossed for a lap or two then.
Cheers Stuart

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Tuesday Practice

Just back at our temporary base for our stay after another disappointing practice.
We spent the day changing the clutch,but it became apparent that what we had was not the correct item,so we fitted another.
Sadly this one gave up just after Bray Hill on the first lap.
We have found what is wrong with it,thanks Louigi Moto, so tomorrow we remove the one out of the Ducati we brought over as a run around,and then fingers crossed for tomorrow.
These things are all part of racing,so we won't give up.
Hopefully I will have better news for you all tomorrow.

Monday 18 August 2014

Monday Practice

Bike once again passed scruitineering with flying colours and a 'nice bike' comment from scruitineer.
After a long wait I was finally at the beginning of the queue and was given the tap to go,so set off down Bray Hill.
It felt very strange to be back,and to know I could use both sides of the road.
After getting my head around this I settled into it and overtook a guy down Bray Hill.
Coming out of Quarter Bridge I noticed the clutch slipping.
Thought I would nurse her round for one lap but by Union Mills realised this wouldn't happen so pulled in.
I phoned Stafford and gave him the bad news,had really hoped all was going to be well after the time and effort he'd put into building the bike.
Luckily a very kind gent gave me a lift back to the paddock.
So tomorrow we will have a look at the bike and sort it for tomorrow evening.
Until then.
Cheers Stuart

Saturday 16 August 2014

Saturday Practice

Hi all

Weather played ball today and stayed dry.

Sadly practice was called off at the last minute due to a lack of marshals,so only the newcomers got out for two sighting laps.
On the plus side the bike sailed through scruitineering,which is good after the work Stafford put into her.

Next practice is due for Monday,so fingers crossed for then.

Cheers Stuart
Classic TT Day One

Hi everyone,
Having arrived safe on The Island on Thursday,it was off for exciting paperwork type stuff yesterday.
With all my leathers etc checked,briefings attended and a huge amount of waiting in ques, I'm ok to practice.
Still waiting in ques did mean I caught up with some mates,so not all bad.
Each rider has also been given some energy drinks,a big change from how it was last time I raced here.
After paperwork completed I went for a lap in the van, just to see if makers which I've used in the past were still there. Some have changed so a worthwhile trip.
Main thing of the day was seeing the bike all together,and boy does she look mint,and can't wait to ride her.
As I write this,weather permitting I will in first practice this evening,just a few hours away.
All being well I will update you with that tomorrow.
Speak soon
Cheers Stuart

Thursday 7 August 2014

Classic TT

Hi all.
Well the Classic TT / Manx is nearly upon us and as some of you may have already seen,marshals are urgently needed.
So if you are going over then please sign on,even if it's for just one session,as it will help enormously.
I have talked several friends into giving it a go over the last couple of years and all have thoroughly enjoyed it,and have signed up for more.
So if you can,then please do as no marshals,means no racing.
Cheers Stuart

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Southern 100 On TV

Hi all

Just to let you know that this years Southern 100 highlights are on Eurosport, this Sunday at 18:00 hrs.

Sadly I won't be watching as with only two weeks until Classic TT,things are quite hectic.

Speak soon

Cheers Stuart

Monday 21 July 2014

Sammy Millers Italain Race Bike Day

Hi all

Yesterday I went to Sammy Millers museum in New Milton as he had an Italian Race Bike day,at which Stafford had managed to get an area to display the 888 he has been building for my race at Classic TT.

Sadly at this stage she is not running yet as the wiring loom is taking longer than expected.

Still as you can see she is looking mighty fine.

For those of you who are following Staffords build blog, you will know the amount of effort that has gone into building her, but think you will agree it has all been very worthwhile?

I'd like to thank all those that took the time to come, say hello and chat about what we hope to do, and also thank you for your words of encouragement.

After a great week at Southern 100, a couple of weeks ago I was fired up for The Classic, and now having seen how good the bike is, am even more so, and can't wait to load her into the van for the trip to The Island.

I hope to be able to give a brief update on a daily basis whilst we are there, but please forgive me if this doesn't happen.

Whilst I remember, Channel 4 are showing highlights of Armoy road races in early August, so check tv guides for further deatils.

Until next time.


Monday 14 July 2014

Race Updates

Hi all

Apologies for delay in updates only I haven't had access to a PC to update the site.

Anyhow, back now so here we go.


Arrived safe and sound at Joe and Mary's B&B only to be told that the weather had been glourious, but it wasn't going to last.

Friday we woke to dry roads so maybe they were wrong? We headed off to the paddock to set up and get the bikes ready, which didn't take long so was a fairly relaxed affair.

Bikes were passed as good to race so just waited for practice to start, which it did shortly after the rain arrived.

I went out to practice on the 400 and decided to fit a wet front tyre at the last minute and made my way to the holding area. By the time I arrived the rain had arrived in ernest, so we were told that it would be 5 controlled laps on any bike, and that would be qualifying.

I headed back to the van to get the Supertwin, as Steve had been busy fitting wets front and rear, and thought it would be better than chancing it on the 400.

Not much was to be learnt from the 5 laps, but was a good refresher. It also showed that road circuits change as the hedges grow, thus changing the view of the circuit.

5 laps done and we loaded the van up for tomorrow, and hopefully better weather.

We awoke to much better day so racing was to be done in the dry, and not the hailstones that were predicted.

Sadly I only got to race in two races as grid persitions were taken from championship standings, and as I'd scored no points in Supertwin race, was left out.

Still I got a race in 400 and Junior Support races.

It was the 400 race first, and with it came the rain. Luckily we had enough time to fit wet tyres front and rear so was all set. Apart from the fact that the organisers held the race up to allow for tyre changes, which meant that by the time we got out the track was nearly dry again.

Still we had two warm up laps to see where was wet and where was dry, most of which was the latter, which wasn't fun on wet tyres.

I got a reasonable start but on the third corner I missed my braking point due to sticking brakes, so by the time I'd turned the bike round the rest had long gone. Coupled with that and not the best tyres to be on, I pulled in.

Still, the sun came out for the Supertwin race, so all was good.

Again I got a good start and overtook John McCann away from the line. I was also makimng progress on the guy in front and spent all the race trying to get close enough to make a move on him. One lap he made a mistake coming out of the hairpin, but due to lack of practice I didn't have the correct gearing to take advantage of this, so he managed to pull away again.

On the penultimate lap, a bike sneaked passed me at the hairpin, and my worst fear was confirmed, it was John.

I gained enough at the end of the start finish straight, which meant I could've gone underneath him at the first corner. But when all's said and done, it wasn't worth the chance of causing one, or both of us to come off, so backed off.

I know some who read this will be shaking their heads at reading this, but road racing is different than short circuits, you don't have the luxury of acres of run off if you don't make a corner, and the sport has lost more than enough people already this year.

I was pleased with my progress and felt more comfortable with the Supertwin each time I went out, so it was then onto Isle Of Man for The Southern 100.

Southern 100

This is one of my most favourite meetings of the year, being both exceptionally well run and on a great circuit.

This event is getting more and more popular each year. Even arriving for first practice on Monday evening, spectators are lining the circuit hours before the action starts.

Luckily the spectators were bathed in clear blue skies, which fortuneately hung around all week.

During the pre race inspection the official spotted what appeared to be a crack on the top yoke. We looked as much as we could but we couldn't be sure if this was the case, or just a blemish, so we marked the ends of it just to make sure it didn't get any worse, which luckily it didn't.

Practice on both bikes went well and I felt like I was racing the circuit and not just riding it, even on the Supertwin, which obviously hadn't been there before.

The next day we got the yoke welded by a chap in Ramsey, thanks Boal Engineering.

During the week you get three practice sessions and two races in each class.

Initially I was disappointed by my times on the 400, but Dave Clarke, who I've raced with on many occasions, noticed that the 400 was down on speed, so some attention needed over the Winter. Still I had some good races on the 400 and am happy with the corner speed I was carrying. Dave reckoned I pulled 4 or 5 yards at Church Bends alone, so just imagine what I could do with a few more horses in the engine?

As  I said it was my first time on the Supertwin and was pleased that I felt confident on her from the off and my times dropped each time I went out on her.

Dave was also racing a Supertwin, so it was a good yard stick to see how I was doing on this one as we are fairly evenly matched.

In both races I got the better of Dave from the line and expected to see him overtake me at some stage during both races. Luckily this didn't happen, so it was two wins apiece for both of us.

I was pleased to see that I finished 19th out of 24 in the Supertwin, which when you consider I was racing Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin and Davy Morgan amongst others I think I did well.

So a very enjoyable meeting with a lot of positives.

With the Southern over I move onto The Classic TT in August. I did manage to do a few laps of the Mountain Circuit, sadly only in my van, but it's still practice.

I am looking forward to this and can't wait to try Staffords bike.

I hope to take a laptop with me so I will be able to keep you up to date with goings on whilst there.

But thats 4 weeks away and am sure will be updating before then.


Sunday 8 June 2014

Hi all

Well bit of bad news in that my entry for the Supertwin race at The Manx has been declined, due to the large numbers entered.

Still positives can be drawn, like in most situations, in that I will only have one bike to concentrate on, and having not raced there for 14 years it will take a while to get back into the swing of it, so not all bad.

The biggest positive is that I did get an entry for the Ducati, which is out of the two the one I really wanted to race, and having only one bike I can give it my full attention, which it deserves after all the efforts that Stafford has put into, not only building the bike, but more importantly giving me the chance to ride it for him.

It's very apt that Stafford offered me the chance to race his bike for him as this year is the 20th anniversary of my first ever visit to The Isle Of Man, for the 1994 TT, where I watched Simon Beck racing a 888, never could I have dreamt that one day I would also be racing such an iconic machine on the best circuit in the world.

I remember standing at Ramsey hairpin watching the racing and realised that this is what I wanted to do. It really was a life changing moment for me as upon my return I started working towards racing, something which has been a massive part of my life ever since.

So now the TT has finished it's less than 10 weeks until the Mountain Circuit is next closed, then it will be my turn.

Stafford is not keen on me reminding him of the timescale we have, but I have been visting him on a regular basis to do more than just eat his food.

I get sent home with my homework, usually this is stuff to be turned on my lathe, to do before next weekend.

The bike is coming on leaps and bounds, check the blog for progress, and am so looking forward to riding it the 10 weeks can't go fast enough.

It's not all spanner twirling for me as am watching on board footage of the circuit. My favourite is Michael Dunlop's lap below.

I can't say I will be quite as fast as Michael is but is so good to watch.

Hope you enjoy the video and apart from getting ready for The Classic I have Skerries and The Southern 100 to look forward to at the beginning of July.

So until next time, take care.


Sunday 11 May 2014

Classic TT

Other big news this week, I found out on my return from Tandragee, that my entry has been accepted for the Classic TT in August.

I am only a reserve rider at this stage, which means I still get to practice, and if enough riders don't make the start line come race day, I will be racing.

This means that Stafford will be working some long hours to get the Ducati ready.

I've not yet heard if I have an entry on my Supertwin, so fingers crossed for June when I should find out.

Keep an eye on Staffords blog Celeres Racing to see the progress with the build.

Tandragee Race Report

Hi all

After getting back into racing at Cookstown and still enjoying it, I was off to Tandragee.

I really enjoyed the Tandragee circuit last year and was looking forward to racing there again, I have to say it was of my favourite circuits on the calender.

We arrived mid day on Friday and set up quickly. We even had time to make a brake protector for the 400 as mine had not yet arrived. I could've made one during the week but we hung on until the postman had come before we left, also I'd hoped we could've just swapped the one from the Supertwin to the 400, but when I saw how someone else had made one, set about making my own out of a bit of aluminium tube I had in my box of bits, pays never to throw anything away.

With both bikes scruitineered it was off to practice.

Tandragee is a very fast circuit so went for a small rear sprocket on both which increases top speed but lowers acceleration, should've remembered this at Cookstown!

The first run out was on my Supertwin. Am really enjoying riding this bike, it's such a fun bike to ride. Nimble, fast and now with some new brake pads, stops a treat too.

As this is the first year I've ridden this bike I have no times to compare it to from last year, but by the end of the day I'd done a 4:01, which was just one second slower than I'd done in the race last year on my 600.

There were a few places that I realised I could go faster during practice, so tried on the next lap and it worked, which means I'm still moving in the right direction.

400 practice was next and tried some new lines on this one too which also worked. I realised I was to high geared on the 400 as the guy I usually race with was just pulling out on me as we left corners, so thought if I'm with him in the race it would be better to out accelerate him as this is where he was quicker than me.

Like most road circuits, once you get in front it is quite difficult to get passed someone as the roads are so narrow, especially as I seem a lot quicker in corners than those around me.

Practice finished with a lap of 4:11 on the 400. This was 2 seconds a lap slower than last year, but felt that I had made progress with some of my lines and also had a better idea of gearing.

We were promised rain for Sunday, so the organisers wanted to get things moving before the rain set in.

I was in the second race on the Supertwin.

I got a good start and overtook a couple of people off the line. I then set my sights on John McCann, who I'd raced with at Cookstown.

One of my new lines lined him up nicely and managed to get passed on the first lap. On the second lap I was overtaken but as far as I recall no one else did. Apart from John that is.

On the last corner I missed a gear and John came passed me. I chased him down but the race was red flagged half way round so didn't get him back. There were a few places on the second half of the lap that I may have got passed but we'll never know.

Due to the race being red flagged the result is taken from the previous lap, so technically I finished before him.

John is a really nice guy and I enjoy racing with him and am sure, all being well, we will have a few battles over the season.

The other positive from this race was that I'd done a fastest lap of 3:56, 4 seconds quicker than on my 600, so the fastest I'd ever been round the circuit.

After Noel's tragic accident I wasn't sure if I wanted to go out in the 400 race. Steve understood why and said I should go out, and if my head wasn't in it, pull in.So with heavy heart I set off.

On the warm up lap I passed the point of Noel's accident and he was in my thoughts.

I was third on the grid in my group and when the lights went out I got a good start. Despite one guy jumping the start, I lead the group by the end of the first lap.

On the second lap Yvonne came passed me and I then thought that with her brakes she will beat me. This was totally the wrong way to think about things and talked myself out of trying to pass her.

Come the end of the race I had done a lap of 4:04, 5 seconds faster than last year, so another improvement.

Despite the events at Tandragee I did come away with a lot of positives, apart from the faster lap times.

I've proven to myself that I still have the drive to get passed the person in front and also the racecraft to do that. I also can see where I am slow and can see where I can improve this, and the ability to do so.

This year I am also racing with others, not just riding around on my own, getting faster and not being lapped.

So all in all I am enjoying my racing and can't wait until Skerries in July, seems an age away but am sure it will be here soon enough.


Saturday 3 May 2014


Sadly this weekends racing was marred by the death of Noel Murphy,who lost his life whilst racing at Tandragee today.

I only met Noel as he had a Supertwin for sale last year. I subsequently bought the bike and saw him next last weekend whilst racing at Cookstown, and again yesterday after practice.

Today before racing started I had a problem with my clutch.

We tried all sorts to fix it but with no success. Whilst I was signing on Steve went and asked Noel if he'd ever experienced the same problem.

Upon my return Noel and his mechanic, Lorcan, had stripped it apart and found the problem.

Noel finished off as he had to go and get his bike ready for the same race as mine.

It was during this race that he lost his life.

My sympathies and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this terrible time.

Rest in peace, Noel.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Supertwin & Cookstown Update

Hi all

I arrived in Northern Ireland mid day on Thursday and headed straight for the shed to finish building the Supertwin in readiness for Cookstown the following day.

I only had a few jobs to do but each took 3 times longer than they should.

This was the first time I saw the freshly painted fairings, and it was worth the wait as they looked class.

I fitted the front sub frame,no problems with airport security this trip, and then set about fitting the tank.

Sadly a clip had broken off the petrol pipe attached to the tank so it was a quick trip to TAS again who as always were only too happy to help,thanks guys.

With the tank fitted it was onto the fairings. All was going well until we tried fitting the belly pan. Luckily Steve and Adrian were on hand to assist and between them they ground bits off, made brackets and got it fitted.

Once all together she looks mint as you can see.

I did manage to secure a quick test ride on a private road,which gave me a quick taste of how she felt.

I'm so pleased with how she turned out, it was worth all the work I think.

Cookstown 100

I'd hoped to have dropped the van off in the paddock Thursday evening but as everything took longer than expected to on Thursday we had to abort this plan and drive there Friday morning.

We found one of the last few spaces and set up home.

I was nervous about scruitineering as the 400 hadn't been run since Scarborough last year and the 650 had been finished just hours before.

Still both passed and so it was to practice.

I'd realised that up until now I'd had the 650 running, and I'd sat on it, but not at the same time, so really was in at the deep end.

Still all went well and the bike felt really good. My fastest lap was a 1.55, which didn't set the world alight but I was happy enough.

It was then off to race in Junior Support. I had a great dice and just lost out on the last lap.

I finished up with a best lap time of 1.53, so was heading in the right direction.

After the race it was back to practice on the 400. It felt odd,but good to be back on the 400. It was
good as I remembered places I was using as reference points last year, which helped when I got back on the Supertwin as I'd been concentrating on the bike rather than the circuit.

After practice we returned home and waited with baited breath as weather reports for Saturday varied wildly.

Saturday we woke to rain, but luckily this cleared and after Dave Hewson, TT racer, film star and
master baker, delivered some of his wonderful lemon drizzle cake, we waited for racing to start.

The 400 was the first one out and I had a great battle with Yvonne and Darren, throughout the race.

Yvonne went flying passed on the brakes but she didn't get the bike stopped in time, so ran wide. She did this on three laps and on the last lap she got the bike stopped. Later she admitted it was the last 'do or die' type manoeuvre before she had to think of another over take.

The whole race was a dice between the three of us, at one point we were three abreast around the first corner.

It was one of those races I didn't want to end. When the chequered flag came out I finished last,but it was a truly great race. Apart from a great race I found I'd gone a second quicker than I did last year, so a good improvement and hopefully a good omen for the rest of the season.

The last race of the weekend for me was the Supertwin race.

Sadly I made a mistake with my gearing and watched as the rest of the field pulled away.

On about the third lap I had waved yellows showing, so slowed. I rounded the corner to see a policeman climbing over a wall. I wondered what could have happened to cause this, I found out soon enough.

A farmer who lives on the circuit is not a great fan of racing so does all he can to disrupt the racing.

In the past he has put diesel on the road, scattered nails on the circuit and this year rolled a bale of straw in front of racers, as well as aiming his cattle feeder to throw feed at the racers, which is what I came across. It's such a regular event that police are stationed at points around his farm to catch him in the act.

I'm not going to get on my high horse about this, but basically this guy is attempting to murder with each of his actions. Ok closing roads is an inconvenience but so is getting stuck behind tractors and having to avoid mud that farmers can't be bothered to clean up outside their gates,which by the way is against the law. Get a grip mate.

Despite this I got my lap time down to 1.52, so am pleased with my progress so far.

All in all it was a grand weekends racing and am now doing a few odd jobs in preparation for Tandragee this weekend.

Fingers crossed I will continue to improve on the 650, which I do feel quite confident on, and we all have a great, safe weekend.

 So hopefully I will get an update to you as soon as I can.


Monday 31 March 2014

Big News

Hi all

I mentioned in my last post that there maybe some big news heading your way,well here it is.

Despite saying it would never happen again, I've entered The Manx Grand Prix this year.

This was all down to an offer by my good mate Stafford to race a Ducati 888 in the Classic TT in August.

So as long as my entry is accepted I will be racing the below bike, all being well.

As a lot of these things go, it all started one evening whilst in The Creek Inn, Peel, during our visit to The Manx last year.

Luckily this idea didn't disappear and was more than a drink induced dream. So after much searching, Stafford found a suitablebike for sale, albeit in Belgium.

The bike was delivered a couple of weeks ago and I finally got to see her last week. I only popped over to have a look and was told that once the pictures were taken, the bike would be stripped down as the engine was due to go to Louigi Moto the following day to be rebuilt before the race. I got home at midnight, but the bike was stripped and ready for work to begin.

Stafford has started a blog on the rebuild celeresracing.blogspot.co.uk so I'll let him tell you whats going on with that side of it.

I'm really excited to be given this opportunity and can't thank Stafford enough, it's been a dream of mine to race a Ducati on the Mountain Circuit for many years so am looking forward to racing on The Island again, but naturally quite nervous after my last trip.

I have started watching on board laps again to remind myself of where to go and what lines to be taking so hope this will help after my 14 years away from racing there.

As always my ambitions for racing there are to qualify and finish, anything else is a bonus.

I'm not counting my chickens just yet as we have to get an entry first, I'll let you know just as soon as I do.

So hope to have some good news for you soon.


Wednesday 26 March 2014

Supertwin Update

Hi all

Well another weekend working on my SV in readiness for Cookstown, which is rapidly approaching.

I'm having the wheels repainted so had to borrow some tools from the nice people at TAS Suzuki, was handy buying a Suzuki and having such a big race team just down the road.

I also tried to sort my quick shifter out as I prefer road pattern gear shift, as opposed to race shift which it is currently set up for.

I phoned HM Quickshifters for some advice and they said to return it to them so they could service it.

That was Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning they called to say they had sorted the problem and checked it all over, they then posted it back to me. So in less than 24 hours from sending it, the unit was back in the post all sorted. So many thanks to them for such a quick turn around.

My van is also back in Northern Ireland and bike is now just waiting the fairings to be painted and then we'll be ready, fingers crossed.

I hope to have a big update for you in the next few days, so stay in touch.

Until then, ride safe.


Monday 10 March 2014

Long Over Due Update

Hi all

Apologies for the delay in updating my site, pesky work has got in the way.

Anyhow, I have still been busy working on my bike, both here and in Northern Ireland.

This has lead to my usual time spent at airport security trying to explain what these various lumps of metal are.

My worst time was when Gatwick decided that I couldn't take the rear axle, despite it being let through previously. Still the nice people at Easyjet booked my bag into the hold for free, so not all bad.

Anyway back to the bike.

I've been cleaning and painting various bits so it looks like I know what I'm doing at least. There have been lots of bolts that have been replaced so will be easier to work on in future.

After stripping the loom of all un necessary wires I got home to find that you now need a rear light for adverse weather conditions, so back in went some wires.

I've also added case savers and also replaced the end can as it was well battered.

The last visit over saw me bleed the brakes, fit the wiring loom. Add the foot pegs that I made onto the rear sets that my Dad cleaned up for me. Again this was only for asthetics as they were a bit of a mess.

I bought a lathe a couple of years ago as always wanted to be able to turn stuff, this project has given me loads of practice making footpegs, lever ends, crash bungs and various spacers, and have to say it's been great fun.

The sub frame was stripped of some brackets and has been repainted, thanks to Adrian and Josh.

After refitting the loom it was a nervous moment to see if she ran. Luckily on the first press of the button she burst into life and ticked over quite happily.

I hope you, from  the photos below,  agree she is looking more like a bike again.

There are afew bits left to do but nothing major, then she will be ready for the faring to be fitted, which is once again being painted by Adrian, so fingers crossed she will look the business.

So there we have it, with less than 6 weeks to go until Cookstown, we are on schedule without too many late nights hopefully.

Hopefully there will be an update soon, so until then.


Thursday 30 January 2014

Tandragee Confirmed

Just a quick update to say I've had my entry for Tandragee accepted.

This was one of my favourite circuits from last year , so am happy to be going back this year, all being well.

Speak soon


Thursday 23 January 2014

Cookstown Confirmed


I've had my entry for Cookstown accepted, which is great news. Am still waiting to hear about Tandragee.

I've also heard that Mid Antrim won't be running this year. This is a real shame as I really liked the circuit.

They have cancelled due to financial reasons, so fingers crossed they will be back next year.

Speak soon


Thursday 16 January 2014

600 For Sale


As you know I am hoping to race a Supertwin this season so have decided to sell my 600 to finance my new bike.

The bike was is a 2007 model and was bought by me in 2008 and has been raced at about 15 meetings since that time.

It has a standard engine in it as I just wanted to get more track time and have something reliable. Also as I was learning the circuits I didn’t need out and out power, as the circuits are hard enough to learn at standard tune speeds.

It is fully race prepped with all the required lock wiring, toe guard, case protectors etc. It was last scruitineered at Scarborough in September but not actually raced at the meeting, so it stands as it was scruitineered.

As well as the required modifications it runs a keyless ignition system, is fitted with a race loom, power commander and Micron end can and it also has a Sprint steering damper fitted.

I change the oil and filter after every other meeting and, luckily, have never crashed it.

There is some damage to the fairing but this is only through transportation, as it’s never been down the road.

It comes with spare sprockets, both front and rear. Spare wheels with wets and discs fitted. RaceTech tyre warmers, which were bought at the beginning of 2013 and used about 6 times so are in perfect condition.

There is also a spare end can, sprocket carrier, various levers, cables and other spares.

There is no V5 with the bike, however all numbers are present, correct and have been checked at various race meetings.

The bike has been totally reliable and has only needed the tyre pressures checking and the fuel topping up at each meeting.

There are various pictures on the blog but if you would like some more pictures or more information please email me at racing@blackdub.co.uk.

Although located in Hampshire I may be able to assist in delivery if required.

Price, £3250.00

Thanks for looking


Sunday 5 January 2014

Happy New Year


Well as the title say, Happy New Year to you all and hope you all had a good festive season.

Mine wasn't all turkey and mince pies, although there was a fair amount of that as well, but as well as that there was a fair amount of work done on the Supertwin.

My hand luggage when I checked in at Gatwick looked more like a bag of bits from a breakers yard.

Luckily I had the sense to get to Gatwick early as knew that I would have to unpack at security. Sure enough I did.

The look of the security staffs face, was a picture as I kept pulling various bits of metal from my bag instead of clothes and presents which they seemed to be dealing with from other passengers.

Of all the bits I took only two spanners were confiscated. Being between 8 and 10mm I didn't think they'd be a problem as I could hardly unbolt the wings with them. Still was funny as they let me take two hacksaw blades on.

When I got to the bike the first job was to remove the excess wires from the loom.

As there were still wires for lights, horn radiator fan and various other road bike electrics which I didn't need, I set about removing them.

This is a real game of patience as you have to trace each wire and make sure if you remove it, it's not going to effect the actual running of the bike.

On top of that I wanted to remove the ignition key and run the electrics through the kill switch.

It may seem a waste of time doing all this but if you get a problem with the electrics you don't want to have wires you don't need getting in the way, and removing the ignition switch saves a fair amount of weight as well.

With this done I then set about cleaning the bike.

It took two litres of Gunk to get rid of all the oil that seemed to coat everything.

A chap on the SV owners forum said he thought the oil cooler was leaking from the pictures I posted last time.

I now think this may have been the case, especially as the cooler appears to be a second hand one. So hopefully the oil was from when that went bang and is now sorted, only time will tell.

I have to thank my helper, Joshua, for the grand job he did helping me clean the bike.

I also replaced a lot of old bolts on the bike and generally made it easier to work on.

Naturally I bought back another load of bits to work on. Luckily this time the person who x rayed my bag realised they were bike bits before I emptied the bag from what they had seen on the screen.

When I got home the postman had delivered entry forms for Cookstown and Tandragee so feels like the season is on its way. This is a great feeling apart from the fact that my bike is still in bits, but should be ready for the season, fingers crossed.

Sorry there are no pictures this time but most of the jobs were just little bits and the bike doesn't look that much different from the last time. Hopefully next time there will be some noticeable changes so will take some then.

So until next time I'll be in the garage, all the best for the New Year and speak soon