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RG 500 Gamma


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#1 GeoffK

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:38

Hi all,
I raced one of these fab bikes in 87, managed to win the brc 500 production champ, anyone else ? I remember a guy called Zan Marsailles (something like that) was quick on one the year before.
Bob Farnham did the engine, it would hold a gsxr 1100 down the back straight at snett.
amazing bike, my plan was to make a F1 bike with the engine and a mk 8 rg race chassis for the following year, remember mark phillips had a bike like that for what was bsb at the time.
Big crash at silverstone ended that (and nearly everything...)

any other gamma happy memories?

Edited by GeoffK, 21 January 2013 - 21:43.


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#2 Paul Collins

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:44

Hi all,
I raced one of these fab bikes in 87, managed to win the brc 500 production champ, anyone else ? I remember a guy called Zan Marsailles (something like that) was quick on one the year before.
Bob Farnham did the engine, it would hold a gsxr 1100 down the back straight at snett.


I ran the honda equivalent in 88/89 an NS400R turned into a full 500 by Terry Shepherd, I often did battle with a couple of hot RG Gamma's, Stuart Lowes (father of Sam & Alex) had one, and another guy called Dave Christie had a really nice one in full F1 trim, we were all pretty much identical down the straights but my Honda seemed to have the edge on handling.

#3 GeoffK

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:49

I ran the honda equivalent in 88/89 an NS400R turned into a full 500 by Terry Shepherd, I often did battle with a couple of hot RG Gamma's, Stuart Lowes (father of Sam & Alex) had one, and another guy called Dave Christie had a really nice one in full F1 trim, we were all pretty much identical down the straights but my Honda seemed to have the edge on handling.

Hi Paul,
yes now you remind me I met Alex and he told me his dad raced one (i worked for wfr car race team at the time).
the stock rg chassis with the 16" front wheel was a real handicap, had to run a road pirelli phantom rear tyre on the front to get the rollling radius up, did the whole season on one front tyre........

#4 Paul Collins

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:55

Hi Paul,
yes now you remind me I met Alex and he told me his dad raced one (i worked for wfr car race team at the time).
the stock rg chassis with the 16" front wheel was a real handicap, had to run a road pirelli phantom rear tyre on the front to get the rollling radius up, did the whole season on one front tyre........


And from what I remember the standard swingarm wouldnt allow room for much of a rear tyre either, I just used to sit behind Stuart at Cadwell until his back tyre started crying enough around places like Chris Curve after a couple of laps and then nip past, I was lucky the Honda could run a reasonable size rear around a 160 from memory.

I've still got the Honda, I bought it back and restored it about 8 years ago, i'll dig out a pic and post it up.

Edited by Paul Collins, 21 January 2013 - 21:56.


#5 GeoffK

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:01

And from what I remember the standard swingarm wouldnt allow room for much of a rear tyre either, I just used to sit behind Stuart at Cadwell until his back tyre started crying enough around places like Chris Curve after a couple of laps and then nip past, I was lucky the Honda could run a reasonable size rear around a 160 from memory.

I've still got the Honda, I bought it back and restored it about 8 years ago, i'll dig out a pic and post it up.

yes absolutly right, if fact i dont remember much 'on track' stuff now 26 years later, but...there was a BIG slide round chris curves jut where the marshals post was, thats stayed with me!!
would love to see the bike, I'll do the same.


#6 Paul Collins

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:13

yes absolutly right, if fact i dont remember much 'on track' stuff now 26 years later, but...there was a BIG slide round chris curves jut where the marshals post was, thats stayed with me!!
would love to see the bike, I'll do the same.


Here she is, restored to her former glory, hopefully it will be out for the parade lap at this years Manx Grand Prix.

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#7 fil2.8

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:19

Here she is, restored to her former glory, hopefully it will be out for the parade lap at this years Manx Grand Prix.

Posted Image



yes , think I know that one , Paul  ;) , looking better now though :wave:

#8 Paul Collins

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:35

yes , think I know that one , Paul ;) , looking better now though :wave:


Same base colour as when I bought it from Tony, back in 88 I literally just took off his sponsors names with T Cut and had mine put on by the local signwriter, when I bought it back it was a horrible yellow colour but I found a close match for the pearlescent silver again and then tracked down the same signwriter and got him out of retirement to reproduce the writing again from my old photo's, I also had the NGK & Shell stickers re-made by someone.

I'm hoping I can bribe Mick with a few pints of Okells to create one of his see through photo jobbies if he's over at the MGP this year........speaking of which as I look out of my window down Glencrutchery road tonight we have an inch of snow covering the road and racing seems so far away!!

#9 exclubracer

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:37

Here she is, restored to her former glory, hopefully it will be out for the parade lap at this years Manx Grand Prix.

Posted Image

Yes, I remember it in it's original guise too, Paul. :up:

I had a Shepherd 500 kit on my road NS, bought from a skint ex-racer in Belgium, had early cbr600 wheels on mine so I could put reasonable rubber on it, I was never happy with the 16" standard front wheel, always seemed like it was ready to chuck me up the road when making reasonable progress. Kept the standard Rothmans paintjob as well, a real wolf in sheeps clothing. :up:

The quickest Gamma I remember was Darren Dixon's Padgett bike, which I suspect had more RG race internals than most but the last year of the old F1 championships (88?) he did all the big diesels in fine style at Donington.

#10 Paul Collins

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 22:47

Yes, I remember it in it's original guise too, Paul. :up:

I had a Shepherd 500 kit on my road NS, bought from a skint ex-racer in Belgium, had early cbr600 wheels on mine so I could put reasonable rubber on it, I was never happy with the 16" standard front wheel, always seemed like it was ready to chuck me up the road when making reasonable progress. Kept the standard Rothmans paintjob as well, a real wolf in sheeps clothing. :up:

The quickest Gamma I remember was Darren Dixon's Padgett bike, which I suspect had more RG race internals than most but the last year of the old F1 championships (88?) he did all the big diesels in fine style at Donington.


Parrish had an F1 spec RD500 Yamaha around that time which he eventually got going better than his reverse cylinder TZ500J or 'The Slug' as he called it, I think he actually did a couple of the open races at the big internationals on the RD as he was lapping quicker on it and might have even done a GP with it.

#11 Robin127

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 23:22

Hi all,
I raced one of these fab bikes in 87, managed to win the brc 500 production champ, anyone else ? I remember a guy called Zan Marsailles (something like that) was quick on one the year before.
Bob Farnham did the engine, it would hold a gsxr 1100 down the back straight at snett.
amazing bike, my plan was to make a F1 bike with the engine and a mk 8 rg race chassis for the following year, remember mark phillips had a bike like that for what was bsb at the time.
Big crash at silverstone ended that (and nearly everything...)

any other gamma happy memories?


I remember you racing at BRC meetings on an RG500, didn't Perry Goldstein ride one at the same time?

#12 exclubracer

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 23:50

Parrish had an F1 spec RD500 Yamaha around that time which he eventually got going better than his reverse cylinder TZ500J or 'The Slug' as he called it, I think he actually did a couple of the open races at the big internationals on the RD as he was lapping quicker on it and might have even done a GP with it.

Yes Paul, Steve's mechanic Dave Johnson built the bike. If I recall correctly it was giving out good initial power readings and showing promise for development but it was found that the RD500 crankcases weren't strong enough to take the donkeys necessary for it to be competitive against the all-conquering Suzuki Gamma so the project to turn it into a (then) F1 winner was shelved and it was relegated to being a spare GP bike and to be used in British championship races, in which he used it with some success.

#13 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:26

I remember you racing at BRC meetings on an RG500, didn't Perry Goldstein ride one at the same time?

Robin, yes Perry G,was trying to remember his name, he was the only other RG, rest of em pesky YPVS RD's, Suzuki was obviously a lot quicker but RD chassis and tyre choice kept them close....were you racing at the time?

#14 burton500

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:29

I've had my Gamma since 1988. I didn't race it, as I had packed up by then - (used to do RD400 proddies). Now use it for the occasional trackday and it still goes well - next outing is the Mallory Festival of 1000 bikes.

Bob Farnham tuned and bored it out to 550, plus it's got bored carbs, and a Nova gearbox a'la the Padgetts F1 bikes.

The stingers were sourced from a batch of Suzuki leftovers from the KRJR RGV500 2000 season. Wheels, brakes, forks are from a GSXR.


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#15 Robin127

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 13:52

Robin, yes Perry G,was trying to remember his name, he was the only other RG, rest of em pesky YPVS RD's, Suzuki was obviously a lot quicker but RD chassis and tyre choice kept them close....were you racing at the time?


I was working at BRC meetings as the Clerk of Course in the late 80's however I still raced when I could, mainly at Brands with the Brands Racing Committee.


#16 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 17:54

I was working at BRC meetings as the Clerk of Course in the late 80's however I still raced when I could, mainly at Brands with the Brands Racing Committee.

Ah I see, yes I remember, it was a big year for me in many ways, I only started again just to ride the bike on a track, no such thing as track days of course, I did a year in 250 proddy in 1980, I was a good friend of Mick Downs (used to share a van) who lost his life at snett early '81. so had no ambition really to win.
Bob did a great job with the engine and it started to go well, remember the 1st round, the day after the car ferry capsize ? bloody freezing.
Was asked to partner John Trigger on his gsxr 750 in the pirelli 6 hour proddy championship, we won the class, nxt weekend at the MCC meeting at silverstone (home track, lived in towcester) I crash on oil, John runs over me, long story short, spleen out, 6 broken ribs 2 cracked vertibre, 7 days in intensive care and 4 months in hospital.
its good to make contact again Robin, very best wishes.

#17 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 17:59

Burton,
thats so good, wish I still had mine, I bet she sounds wonderful....

#18 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:08

Here she is, restored to her former glory, hopefully it will be out for the parade lap at this years Manx Grand Prix.

Posted Image

very nice mate, I only have prints of mine, tried to use the camera on the phone but need to reduce the file size.....at this point this old man comes to bit of a stop with the IT but will ask someone!!

#19 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:08

Here she is, restored to her former glory, hopefully it will be out for the parade lap at this years Manx Grand Prix.

Posted Image

very nice mate, I only have prints of mine, tried to use the camera on the phone but need to reduce the file size.....at this point this old man comes to bit of a stop with the IT but will ask someone!!

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#20 picblanc

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:27

What a great looking Gamma lovely! :love:

#21 RC162

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 19:00

Ah I see, yes I remember, it was a big year for me in many ways, I only started again just to ride the bike on a track, no such thing as track days of course, I did a year in 250 proddy in 1980, I was a good friend of Mick Downs (used to share a van) who lost his life at snett early '81. so had no ambition really to win.


Hi Geoff
I knew Micky pretty well and I am trying to put a face to your name but the years don't allow. There was a lad who I think was called Bernard Wilson who raced in the 250 proddies and came in the van with Micky as well. Do you know if he is still about and is ok ? I think he rode in a set of leathers with a different name on them.

Stuart Matthews

#22 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 20:52

Hi Geoff
I knew Micky pretty well and I am trying to put a face to your name but the years don't allow. There was a lad who I think was called Bernard Wilson who raced in the 250 proddies and came in the van with Micky as well. Do you know if he is still about and is ok ? I think he rode in a set of leathers with a different name on them.

Stuart Matthews

Stuart,
I was wondering if that pic was you, I was the new face that would arrive with Mick and Steve (he didnt want to be called bernard...), i met mick at northampton tec col in 79, i wanted to start racing so meeting him was the key, think mick had been at it for a year or so.
I had a white X7, I rode it to northampton then put in that old bedford cf.
Remember when mick made you a trophy after the leaving emery cloth in the port incident, `illegitimsa blahh...`dont let the bastards grind you down', cadwell i think.
Had a good 1st year, usually finished 1st or 2nd novice, managed a top 6 at snett end of the year so got in mcn results....
Bought an LC over the winter, finished 5th in 1st race at snett, poss bfrc meet, mick was winning, think prob 2 or 3 that day.
I didn't go the following week, that fateful day so I wasn't there, i found out from him mum when i called him monday night to find out how it went.
I'm still really good mates with Clifton Tabiner remember him?
Good to make contact agan Stu


#23 RC162

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 21:14

Stuart,
I was wondering if that pic was you, I was the new face that would arrive with Mick and Steve (he didnt want to be called bernard...), i met mick at northampton tec col in 79, i wanted to start racing so meeting him was the key, think mick had been at it for a year or so.
I had a white X7, I rode it to northampton then put in that old bedford cf.
Remember when mick made you a trophy after the leaving emery cloth in the port incident, `illegitimsa blahh...`dont let the bastards grind you down', cadwell i think.
Had a good 1st year, usually finished 1st or 2nd novice, managed a top 6 at snett end of the year so got in mcn results....
Bought an LC over the winter, finished 5th in 1st race at snett, poss bfrc meet, mick was winning, think prob 2 or 3 that day.
I didn't go the following week, that fateful day so I wasn't there, i found out from him mum when i called him monday night to find out how it went.
I'm still really good mates with Clifton Tabiner remember him?
Good to make contact agan Stu


A really sad day Geoff and I thought about calling it a day but I'm glad I didn't. It happened right in front of my mum and dad and from then on it changed how they saw bike racing from exciting to being fearful. Do you still see Steve ? I've still got my 'trophy' and of course it always reminds me of Micky. He was always a good rider but when he got the LC he really lit up. Say hello and best regards to Clifton when you see him again. I really liked Clifton. What you saw is what you got. I ran him over when he fell off at the hairpin at Cadwell at the Marlboro round in 81' He got up and I carried on. Getting into the MCN results was one of those things we all had to do wasn't it. All the best Geoff and take care.

#24 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 21:35

A really sad day Geoff and I thought about calling it a day but I'm glad I didn't. It happened right in front of my mum and dad and from then on it changed how they saw bike racing from exciting to being fearful. Do you still see Steve ? I've still got my 'trophy' and of course it always reminds me of Micky. He was always a good rider but when he got the LC he really lit up. Say hello and best regards to Clifton when you see him again. I really liked Clifton. What you saw is what you got. I ran him over when he fell off at the hairpin at Cadwell at the Marlboro round in 81' He got up and I carried on. Getting into the MCN results was one of those things we all had to do wasn't it. All the best Geoff and take care.

ok mate i'll say hi to tabbs, he will want to get in touch i'm sure, ive found a pic of me and mick at silverstone end of 80, just scanned it so will try to upload.
Steve, no dont see him, I think it was very difficult for him really, we obviously kept contact after, then drifted, think he turned his back on bikes after the accident.
and have a look at my rg, 87 i did ok :)

#25 Paul Collins

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 22:31

A really sad day Geoff and I thought about calling it a day but I'm glad I didn't. It happened right in front of my mum and dad and from then on it changed how they saw bike racing from exciting to being fearful. Do you still see Steve ? I've still got my 'trophy' and of course it always reminds me of Micky. He was always a good rider but when he got the LC he really lit up. Say hello and best regards to Clifton when you see him again. I really liked Clifton. What you saw is what you got. I ran him over when he fell off at the hairpin at Cadwell at the Marlboro round in 81' He got up and I carried on. Getting into the MCN results was one of those things we all had to do wasn't it. All the best Geoff and take care.


I remember it clearly, I was sitting in the assembly area that day waiting to go out in the next race when suddenly the 'Stop Engines' board was shown, we all stopped our engines and the paddock fell to complete silence, i've never known the hustle and bustle of a race meeting become a place where you could hear a pin drop, and then the announcement was made, my father who had been standing next to me turned to me and said "son why do you do this?" and for the first time it actually made me think a bit.

#26 GeoffK

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 23:35

ok mate i'll say hi to tabbs, he will want to get in touch i'm sure, ive found a pic of me and mick at silverstone end of 80, just scanned it so will try to upload.
Steve, no dont see him, I think it was very difficult for him really, we obviously kept contact after, then drifted, think he turned his back on bikes after the accident.
and have a look at my rg, 87 i did ok :)

Stu,
I cant sort out the uploading pic stuff, my e mail geoffkingston@yahoo.co.uk I'll send this pic of mick, its a nice shot mate would like you to see it :)

#27 suzrg500

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 17:43

A bit more RG porn, my RGV500 project I've been doing over the last year or so, 500 motor squeezed into an RGV250 VJ22 chassis with Aprilia front end and wheels, 105hp and 140kg. Back in bits again at the moment, new bigger rad (the 250 one is a bit marginal on temps) carbs bored, uprated box and straight cut primaries being done. I have to say even though it was 30 odd years ago it feels every bit as quick as my race RG did but far more tractable with exhaust valves and lovely to ride as well, very nimble and quick steering. Looking forward to the Mallory festival and some classic trackdays this year :) if we get some kind of summer :evil:

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Edited by suzrg500, 26 January 2013 - 17:44.


#28 picblanc

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 19:07

Yum Yum!! :love:

#29 greg1953

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 20:43

Yum Yum!! :love:

Orgasmic

#30 GeoffK

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 21:49

Orgasmic

wonderful......want to hear it!!

#31 tdijam

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:29

Simply stunning ! You should be very proud of your achievement .

John.

#32 rd500

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:54

a little something with an RG...


Edited by rd500, 25 February 2013 - 02:57.