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#1 tonyed

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:23

OK then let me kick off this new thread.

Although I would have loved to ride in one or more of the great endurance events the best I ever achieved were two races at West Raynham.

One was on a Yamaha RD400 and the other on a Ducati Desmo 900. Both times I partnered Graham Godward.

I can’t remember much about the RD400 escapade other than we did finish after several punctures. Not having spare wheels or the services of Dominique Méliand the punctures took some time to repair after puhing the bike back to the pit area.

The second ride was in 1982 (I have the finishers award for that dated 8-8-82). We used Grahams 900 bevel drive Ducati this time. The Wednesday before the race we had a practice day ay Snetterton where Graham managed to throw the Duc up the road before I had a chance to sample its’ delights. He managed to get the bike straightened on a Motoliner and we turned up at Raynham with the bike rebuilt but Graham feeling second hand.

I went out for practice first to find that the front wheel was buckled by about a quarter of an inch. Despite that it was rideable.

I went off first in the race as I was able to run the Le Mans type start. During the race the engine died in the turn just after the start and finish straight where the pit area was. So it was a very long push back. During which time the travelling Marshall came out onto the circuit during an ‘incident’ I later found happened at the hairpin at the end of the long straight. By the time I had footed my way to the hairpin the ‘incident’ had been cleared and the race was progressing.

This was the first race my new partner, Marion, had ever been to and the aforementioned ‘incident’ proved, unfortunately, to be a fatality, news of which had spread to pits and crowd. Graham new the incident did not involve me but failed to inform Marion who was unaware that I was pushing in. (Marion did not speak to Graham for several years after this but now 30 years on all is well).

I eventually got back to the pits and we traced the fault to a wiring plug which was easily fixed.

Once again we finished, well down, due to dropped time as the bikes’ ignition failed again a couple of times due to this plug which was ‘fixed’ each time out on the track.

So that is the story of my endurance experiences which hardly classify as momentous.

As this thread (hopefully) develops we will hear of much more meritorious and momentous deeds in races raging from 500km to 24 hours.



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#2 picblanc

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:42

Mick Robinson on the ? @ Bol dor 1979.

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Mick Robinson photo.



#3 Mick Robinson

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:03

[quote name='picblanc' date='Feb 3 2013, 09:42' post='6113351']
Mick Robinson on the ? @ Bol dor 1979.

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Mick Robinson photo.


Its a Tony Foale framed Laverda Jota which was owned by a shop in Dunkirk called Moto Boutique.

#4 knickerbrook

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 13:51

I only did one myself - the 1977 Thruxton 500-miler (or whatever it was called then). Myself and John Chappell rode my sponsor's (Eric Jenkins) bog-standard Ducati 900SS. Can't remember the lowly finishing place, but I remember that due to both the Sports Motorcycles entries dropping by the wayside (I think Roger Nicholls and others), we ended up winning the "First Ducati Home" prize of £50 from the Ducati importers! That was despite losing 20 minutes when the rear tyre we started with, shredded up in the first hour! Eric had to rush around to find a new TT100 to put on, while the precious minutes were ticking away. Great fun and the only time that I ever raced at Thruxton. Brilliant circuit, with all those sweeping bends! Two abiding memories were: a) compaining about an unexplained misfire every time I was flat-out on the straight (that didn't happen when John was aboard!) and: b) managing to scrape the splined kickstart shaft (the kickstart lever had been removed) on one of the corners! The cause of the phantom misfire was that my extra-long leg was blocking one of the protruding bellmouths when I was tucking-in on the straights :lol:! There was an assortment of machines taking part, including would you believe, a TZ750 with lights :eek: and if I recall, Wayne Dinham was riding some sort of TZ350 untill it blew up!

Edited by knickerbrook, 03 February 2013 - 14:01.


#5 Mick Robinson

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 14:48

[quote name='picblanc' date='Feb 3 2013, 09:42' post='6113351']
Mick Robinson on the ? @ Bol dor 1979.

Posted Image

Mick Robinson photo.

My first endurance race was at Thruxton 1976, I was partnered with Christian Dubuisson on what I think was the Laverda above, we completed practice ok although I recall riding on slicks for the first time in the wet was a bit scary!Unfortunately on the first lap of the race Christian crashed and I didn't get to race.
The other was Bol d Or 1979 partnered with Tony(Golly)Harris, can't remember where we qualified but Tony started the race but crashed early on and pushed in, bike was repaired although I can recall it had no rear brake or screen from then on(Doublos forum member was team co-ordinator ? So he may correct me on some of this)I think we got to about 17 hours and Tony came in for a refuel and tyre change as the bike was weaving badly and just as I was about to take my stint I noticed the engine moving in the frame,after further investigation we noticed the frame was broken in a few places and with another 7 or so hours to go we felt it was unsafe to repair and carry on although the owner Michel wanted to weld the frame! I recall we were not very popular as Doublos can probably confirm.I think I remember the bike was handling and weaving that badly Kork Ballington came by Tony shaking his fist !!Over to you Doublos !



#6 doublos

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 18:23

[quote name='Mick Robinson' date='Feb 3 2013, 16:48' post='6113820']
[quote name='picblanc' date='Feb 3 2013, 09:42' post='6113351']
Mick Robinson on the ? @ Bol dor 1979.

Posted Image

Mick Robinson photo.

My first endurance race was at Thruxton 1976, I was partnered with Christian Dubuisson on what I think was the Laverda above, we completed practice ok although I recall riding on slicks for the first time in the wet was a bit scary!Unfortunately on the first lap of the race Christian crashed and I didn't get to race.
The other was Bol d Or 1979 partnered with Tony(Golly)Harris, can't remember where we qualified but Tony started the race but crashed early on and pushed in, bike was repaired although I can recall it had no rear brake or screen from then on(Doublos forum member was team co-ordinator ? So he may correct me on some of this)I think we got to about 17 hours and Tony came in for a refuel and tyre change as the bike was weaving badly and just as I was about to take my stint I noticed the engine moving in the frame,after further investigation we noticed the frame was broken in a few places and with another 7 or so hours to go we felt it was unsafe to repair and carry on although the owner Michel wanted to weld the frame! I recall we were not very popular as Doublos can probably confirm.I think I remember the bike was handling and weaving that badly Kork Ballington came by Tony shaking his fist !!Over to you Doublos !
[Good evening Mick, and thanks to Graham for the picture, lots of memories....
I did not remember that the Laverda had started in 1976 at Thruxton, I thought his first race was the 1000 kms of Mettet in 1977 with Frederic FOURGEAUD and Christian Dubuisson..
But regarding the pathetic end of the Bol d'Or 1979, I will always remember the scene.
The Foale frame was a main cylindric beam linking the fork yoke (not sure it's the right term) to the rear swinging arm articulation, and the engined was suspended by 2x2 tubes joining this beam to the original Laverda engine fittings.
One of these broke (not cracked but really broke), it was the right one I think. As you said Michel wanted to weld it, but he not only wanted , he did it in a way that is worth
to explain.
The tube was aout 1/4", so he found in the pits a similar dimension tube (certainly closer to plumbing quality than to the original Reynolds 25CD4) and as it was impossible to dismantle the broken tube and sleeve it, he simply welded 20 cm of tube side to the broken tube, as a brace immobilise a broken bone.
To make it definitely safe, he welded a similar patch on the left tube which had already started to crack.
We had lost minimum time (less than an hour) and ,as he spoke little English, Michel then asked me to explain to you and Tony that you could resume the race.
Your answers enriched my English, although it was with a vocabulary that I scarcely use nowadays...
I don't think Michel has kept any rancor about this episode, a few hours later (and maybe a few beers) he had understood that abandoning the race was the only possible isssue.
Now , when I see the obvious lack of ground clearance of the bike on the picture, I am not surprised Tony fell in Le Beausset double right hander , knowing this curve (but on 4 wheels) I imagine it was a nightmare every lap.
Nevertheless, this is not totally the end of the Laverda story, as it was then dismantled and the bits sold except the fork and front brake system (a brembo one replacing the original loocked fitted by Tony Foale).
The next year, Michel was preparing the TZ 750 of Christian Dubuisson who (after his dramatic crash in Mallory) lended it to Pascal Seguela. As he still thought (as a Laverda dealer) that Italian is always better, he decided to install the front end (or maybe only the braking system, I'm not totally sure) on the TZ.
What had to happen happen, the TZ was much more powerful than the Laverda and ,at Brands, Pascal entered Paddock Bend on the TZ, and exited it in a St John ambulance after a brake disk had litterally exploded.
A few months later, Pascal was back in Uk for a race at Mallory with a collarbone repaired and the original yamaha brakes...]


#7 doublos

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 18:36

My first endurance race was at Thruxton 1976, I was partnered with Christian Dubuisson on what I think was the Laverda above, we completed practice ok although I recall riding on slicks for the first time in the wet was a bit scary!Unfortunately on the first lap of the race Christian crashed and I didn't get to race.
The other was Bol d Or 1979 partnered with Tony(Golly)Harris, can't remember where we qualified but Tony started the race but crashed early on and pushed in, bike was repaired although I can recall it had no rear brake or screen from then on(Doublos forum member was team co-ordinator ? So he may correct me on some of this)I think we got to about 17 hours and Tony came in for a refuel and tyre change as the bike was weaving badly and just as I was about to take my stint I noticed the engine moving in the frame,after further investigation we noticed the frame was broken in a few places and with another 7 or so hours to go we felt it was unsafe to repair and carry on although the owner Michel wanted to weld the frame! I recall we were not very popular as Doublos can probably confirm.I think I remember the bike was handling and weaving that badly Kork Ballington came by Tony shaking his fist !!Over to you Doublos !
[/quote]
Good evening Mick, and thanks to Graham for the picture, lots of memories....
I did not remember that the Laverda had started in 1976 at Thruxton, I thought his first race was the 1000 kms of Mettet in 1977 with Frederic FOURGEAUD and Christian Dubuisson..
But regarding the pathetic end of the Bol d'Or 1979, I will always remember the scene.
The Foale frame was a main cylindric beam linking the fork yoke (not sure it's the right term) to the rear swinging arm articulation, and the engined was suspended by 2x2 tubes joining this beam to the original Laverda engine fittings.
One of these broke (not cracked but really broke), it was the right one I think. As you said Michel wanted to weld it, but he not only wanted , he did it in a way that is worth
to explain.
The tube was aout 1/4", so he found in the pits a similar dimension tube (certainly closer to plumbing quality than to the original Reynolds 25CD4) and as it was impossible to dismantle the broken tube and sleeve it, he simply welded 20 cm of tube side to the broken tube, as a brace immobilise a broken bone.
To make it definitely safe, he welded a similar patch on the left tube which had already started to crack.
We had lost minimum time (less than an hour) and ,as he spoke little English, Michel then asked me to explain to you and Tony that you could resume the race.
Your answers enriched my English, although it was with a vocabulary that I scarcely use nowadays...
I don't think Michel has kept any rancor about this episode, a few hours later (and maybe a few beers) he had understood that abandoning the race was the only possible isssue.
Now , when I see the obvious lack of ground clearance of the bike on the picture, I am not surprised Tony fell in Le Beausset double right hander , knowing this curve (but on 4 wheels) I imagine it was a nightmare every lap.
Nevertheless, this is not totally the end of the Laverda story, as it was then dismantled and the bits sold except the fork and front brake system (a brembo one replacing the original loocked fitted by Tony Foale).
The next year, Michel was preparing the TZ 750 of Christian Dubuisson who (after his dramatic crash in Mallory) lended it to Pascal Seguela. As he still thought (as a Laverda dealer) that Italian is always better, he decided to install the front end (or maybe only the braking system, I'm not totally sure) on the TZ.
What had to happen happen, the TZ was much more powerful than the Laverda and ,at Brands, Pascal entered Paddock Bend on the TZ, and exited it in a St John ambulance after a brake disk had litterally exploded.
A few months later, Pascal was back in Uk for a race at Mallory with a collarbone repaired and the original yamaha brakes...]





#8 philippe7

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 19:01

Bienvenue à toi, Doublos ! :wave:

Posted Image

Christian Dubuisson, Laverda 1000 SFC , Bol d'Or 1977

Usual apologies for the poor technical quality of the pic :blush:



#9 doublos

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 20:05

Good evening Philippe,

Thanks for your post.

The title of the picture is a little exagerated, the kike was not a SFC but a stock Laverda 1000 engine, slightly modified at the level of the inlet valves.

The problem at this time was that Laverda was devloping the 6 cylinders and they were not interested at all to devlop racing parts for the 1000 as they had done a few years before for the 750.

This picture is from Le Mans in 77, I remember we had neighbours in the pits (should be n° 42 or 44) who were British with a Triumph Trident and with who we socialised a little (3 cylinders solidarity).

I can't remember their names (was it Mead and Tomkinson ?), anybody can help on this forum ?

#10 Bernard

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:09

Whenever I think about endurance racing my thoughts turn to this

http://mrcycles.eu/i...-Venom-1967.jpg

#11 RC162

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 20:21

Here are some of the programs I have for Club and National Endurance races showing the entry lists.


1979 West Raynham 500km Production Race Sunday 2nd of September.

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1980 West Raynham 500kn Production Race Sunday 17th August.

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1981 Snetterton National 6 Hour Endurance Race Sunday 17th of May.

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1985 Snetterton Metzeler 6 Hour Production Race Saturday 15th of June.

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