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Two wheels & four: 'the great divide'


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#1 David Beard

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 20:18

I was rather perplexed by the prompt negative response I received from a couple of TNFers when I mentioned motor cycles on the Motor Sport Editor thread. Although bikes definitely play second fiddle to cars as far as my motor sport interest is concerned, I always enjoy finding out more about them and can very easily understand why they are some people’s preference. Why do so many people seem unable to enjoy both? I used to pick up the odd Classic bike mag for my dad…. and always pondered at the time how nice it would be if something like Motor Sport could occasionally veer off into Mike the Bike’s 2 wheeled career (same goes for Big John and Duke of course)..or talk about MV, Gilera, Vincent and suchlike in some detail.

And then of course there are the 3 wheelers. Aero Morgans always seem to manage to uphold some sort of respectability in the 4 wheel world, but how about a car mag doing “Chris Vincent and the history of the kneeler” or “The Amazing Creations of Rolf Biland”? I mentioned the controversial Owen Greenwood Mini on TNF once, and was greeted with the stoniest of silences. Some people, it seems, would rather go off on a total tangent and talk about shallow ball games than one of the other motor sport options.

On the other hand, of this is all OT here, does anyone know of a TNF on old bike racing?

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#2 Twin Window

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 20:31

As far as current motor sport is concerned nothing, but nothing, comes even close to the spectacle and raw combative element witnessed in MotoGP. The World & British Superbikes come a close equal second, with absolutely no four-wheeled series able to hold a candle to any of them.

MotoGP in particular has, for me, all the qualities which drew me to four wheeled motor racing in my youth. Wheel-to-wheel dicing, nail-biting outbraking manouveres, sideways powersliding, and a very real element of danger ever present on colourful machinery with an outrageous power to weight ratio running on big fat tyres. And, oh, the noise... :love:

Bike racing is the absolute the business, and I will always watch bike racing over absolutely anything on tv. Trackside it's the same, save for the GP Masters.

#3 Wolf

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 20:45

David- for most people I know there is no need whatsoever to choose... :) I myself cannot but to admire bike riders- it looks spectacular and dangerous even on 'modern' circuits, let alone places they used to race on (Isle of Man, Nürburgring, Preluk, &c)...

#4 ReWind

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 20:54

At least the Swiss bridge the gap with ease. "MOTORSPORT aktuell", the successor of the former "Powerslide", is - AFAIK - the only magazine (worldwide?) devoted to both sorts of motor racing. And I do read both parts although my superior interests lie with four wheels.

#5 Frank de Jong

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 21:01

Although I am a MSA reader too, I mostly skip the motorcycle pages, which is the second half of the magazine these days (in the past it alternated :rolleyes: ). I don't care much about the motorcycles, although I can understand why others like it. I'm not really interested in rallye or NASCAR or desert races too, so it's not just the missing two wheels I suspect.
No. It should have 4 wheels and race around a circuit and I should be able to distinguish different cars.

#6 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 21:27

I admit, motorcycling bores me. But what Frank said is true for me, rallying is a switch-off as well. It has to be circuit racing, motorsport wise.

I think what it is, is, and I know this is somewhat perverse, but..... as a pedestrian, or as a cyclist or as a car driver, motorbike riders are an absolute pain. I just, yes, prejudicely, I admit, class these people as boy racers, show offs, who are either too "cool" or " poor" to afford a car. (This is not everyone, but it's hard to sway from a general stereotype)
I suppose this has manifested itself onto motorcycling. I just have no interest at all in it, but if people want to watch it, fine. I am no machinery man, my interest is in the drivers, but I appreciate a beautiful car. All bikes seem the same to me. If people want to race on them, fine. But I don't want it in a magazine devoted to cars. (Quite happy here, as I will just skip any bike references - although I do feel that it shouldn't be covered in Elsewhere In Racing, but I am in a minority of 1, here...)
I wouldn't expect rugby in a football magazine, or baseball in a cricket magazine, so I don't expect motorcycling to be in a motor racing magazine. Heaven knows, motorcyclists have enough magazines, whether for road or for racing use, as it is.
There's so much motor racing going un-reported or so much motor racing treasure to delve in that is still waiting to be unearthed, I feel. :

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 22:46

To begin with, I must confess that not only can I not ride a motor cycle - I cannot even ride a bicycle!

But I can drive a car so maybe I identify more with 4 wheels than 2. That said, I rarely miss a Moto G.P. race if I can help it and I am a self-confessed Rossi fan.

However, before Valentino switched to Yamaha, Moto G.P, for all its overtaking, sliding and general excitement, was becoming no less predictable than modern F.1.

I would lurve to see Rossi ride the Isle of Man! But then I'd like to see Schuey drive around it in his Ferrari, too.

#8 David Beard

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 22:58

Originally posted by Barry Boor
To begin with, I must confess that not only can I not ride a motor cycle - I cannot even ride a bicycle!


If you can drive a car you can ride a motorcycle (although not necessarily quickly).....and I'm not sure I believe the last bit.

No comments on my thoughts on sidecars, anyone? I also meant to mention Helmut Fath, who home built his own URS 4 cylinder engine in a wooden shed somewhere in a German forest. What a noise that thing made, and how could anyone with a mechanical soul not be interested.....however many wheels.

And for some reason I would just love to see Rossi in F1...

#9 j-ickx-fan

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:02

For 40 years I enjoyed both disciplines, 4 and 2 wheels races. But as far as you are talking about magazines, a choice must be done. I remember a Belgian magazine from the 60's called "Sport-Moteurs" which used to release articles about car racing (every discipline as hill climbing, circuit, off-road) and moto racing (every disciplines as well). Then it went to boat racing and even airplanes. It was ridiculous at the end because most of the readers were only interested by 2 or 3 pages.
If you consider "motor sports" any sports using an engine, you will end with a local lawn mower race. I know the exemple is getting ridiculous but who knows where it will end.
IMHO, each discipline needs its separate media to respond to its own readers.

#10 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:06

David vouchedsafe:

.....and I'm not sure I believe the last bit.


I'll tell you the full story next week. Bring plenty of kleenex!

Rossi in F.1.? Rossi in a FERRARI! - and damn soon, I hope!

#11 David Beard

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:09

Originally posted by j-ickx-fan
For 40 years I enjoyed both disciplines, 4 and 2 wheels races. But as far as you are talking about magazines, a choice must be done. I remember a Belgian magazine from the 60's called "Sport-Moteurs" which used to release articles about car racing (every discipline as hill climbing, circuit, off-road) and moto racing (every disciplines as well). Then it went to boat racing and even airplanes.


Sounds great to me....but I want it all to be history. I don't fancy a mag covering all modern versions of all motor sports.

Oh...the magazine could be called simply, "Speed". Didn't that ancestor of Motor Sport include all sorts?

#12 Twin Window

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:31

Originally posted by Barry Boor

Rossi in F.1.? Rossi in a FERRARI! - and damn soon, I hope!

If you go here and click back through the archive to December 9th, you'll hear John Surtees talk about why he thinks Rossi can replicate his feat of winning world titles on four wheels as well as two.

Personally, I hope he stays with MotoGP.

#13 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:43

Explain, young man!

#14 Twin Window

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:49

Explain what, Barry? Why I'd like him to stay in MotoGP? Simple; because he's not only the benchmark, he's also beatable - which is important. Did you see the first race of the season just gone? That was one of the best races of any kind I've had the privilege of seeing. Lights-to-flag tension, even though - somewhat unusually for the class - it was just Vale versus Biaggi almost the entire distance. Awesome - especially when you consider it was Rossi's Yamaha debut, his relative lack of testing, the longstanding animosity between himself and Biaggi, who was trying to put down his marker as Honda's #1 on a satellite entry...!

The other thing is, in my opinion, he'll never be able to express himself in F1 the way he can on bikes. He won't like that, and nor will I.

#15 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 23:59

Not wishing to get too deeply into this, but..... consider the fact that F.1 cars are going to change in the next few years, already with less downforce and more driver control than in the recent past and maybe, just maybe, expressing themselves might become far more likely in the future.

Or am I being naive - again.....

More to the point, it's about time another Italian name was listed in the World Champions column alongside Ascari - and I cannot see where else he might come from.

Where Moto GP is concerned, another benchmark will come along - it always does.

Bedtime!

#16 T54

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 01:28

Explain what, Barry? Why I'd like him to stay in MotoGP? Simple; because he's not only the benchmark, he's also beatable



Twinny,
riding the MotoGP Yamaha vs. the Honda is like driving a Champcar Lola-Ford vs. a Jordan-Ford. The Jordan is sufficiently superior to the Lola that a good F3 driver will beat Sebastien Bourdais in the Lola.

That Valentino was able to beat the mighty Honda driven by the likes of Tamada, Rossi or with what most everyone specialized in MotoGP considers as an inferior motorcycle puts Vale indeed in the category of the Surtees and Hailwoods of the past. In my opinion of course.

I for one love both disciplines, 2, 3 and 4 wheels, and would not mind seing a vintage motorcycle section in MotorSport. Indeed it could double its ailing sales. Give me some pictures of the 1966 5-cylinder 125 Honda driven by Taveri and Bryans, as well as good pics of Paul Lodewijkx beating the works Kreidlers and Suzukis with his home-built Jamathi and I would be happy.

But I would also love to see more of the F3-F2 stuff from the mid to late 1960's as well as more insight into le Mans history and machines... all what is missing in MS today.
Regards,

T54

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#17 Wolf

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 01:45

and one more thing I forgot- maybe it's just me, but I feel modern bike fans are less 'exclusive' than modern F1 fans... For one, I'm a Biaggi fan, but I have no trouble whatsoever acknowledging Rossi's superiority- much less venom between fans, than in F1, IMHO.

#18 ian senior

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:02

Originally posted by David Beard


If you can drive a car you can ride a motorcycle (although not necessarily quickly).....and I'm not sure I believe the last bit.

No comments on my thoughts on sidecars, anyone? I also meant to mention Helmut Fath, who home built his own URS 4 cylinder engine in a wooden shed somewhere in a German forest. What a noise that thing made, and how could anyone with a mechanical soul not be interested.....however many wheels.

And for some reason I would just love to see Rossi in F1...


For what it's worth, I'm interested. I find racing sidecars fascinating, and it's a pity we don't see them more often on the box. Even if the racing is less than close (and that's rare) the sight of some bloke or even woman - remember Dane Rowe ( I think that was her name) leaning out of the chair about 1mm off the ground at unmentionable speed should surely stir even the frostiest of souls.

I'll admit to knowing very little about this type of racing, and I'd like to know more, but other than going off at the occaisional tangent I'm not sure that TNF is the place for it. Is there such a place?

I'll recommend a book that gives a good insightabout sidecar racing in the 70s - Sidecar Champion by George O'Dell, who scooped the world championship in 1977. He used one of the fascinating Seymaz devices in part of that year, and sadly I believe he is no longer with us after taking his own life some years later.

#19 Darren Galpin

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:08

www.sidenet.co.uk

Have their own forums too. The young lass beside me in my office has been a sidecar passenger this year, and has several interesting tails to relate!

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#20 angst

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:54

I love the bikes. MotoGP is brilliant, as are the Superbikes. As you say Twinny, it's where F1 was about 30 years ago - close running and racing, forcing errors, those powerslides(absolutley wonderful), and as Wolf says, without the fanatical animosity of F1.

Sidecars have never done it for me though.

#21 RTH

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:12

I've had a passion for all things mechanical from my earliest memory and for me the racing car has been the pinnacle.

But it is variety that is such a joy in motorsport, which is why 'one-make' racing has so much missing - everyone in a different make of car, trying different things to defeat the rest is so much part of the fascination.

It's the quality of the event that is key. It's hard not to think of a 'Golden Age' (we didn't realise it at the time) of the 1960s and the 1970s when really in comparison to the last 20 years motor sport in general was just so good.

I like seasonality in motor sport, I like motor racing and motorcycle racing in the main to be April to September, the summer. Rallycross in the Autumn, Rallying in the deep winter in really bad conditions deep snow & mud .

So much has been lost from our screens, Autocross, up hill trialling, Hillclimbs,cross country motor cycle scrambling, Super Saloon car racing and much more - really the things the suited the time of year and extreme weather conditions and a big variety of venues right across the length and breadth of the country, there is a real lack of imagination by the people who put on motor sport these days.

If it's quality 2 wheels or 4 - or 3! it could still be great fun.

I remember the Mini based 'combination 3 wheeler anyone find a picture of it ?

#22 Catalina Park

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:15

One of the best things I ever did was passenger on a sidecar. Not just any sort of sidecar but a motocross sidecar :eek:
I only did it for two practice runs and the second run put me in hospital for a couple of weeks! But it was a hell of a good thing right up till the impact. ;)

#23 Garagiste

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 11:18

Strange isn't it? Bikes appear to have it all, close exciting racing, great spectacle and all miles cheaper and yet...
I just don't know what it is but they don't grab me in the same way. I'll watch a race on TV if I stumble upon one, but I don't have the enthusiasm to go out of my way to watch.
I have found that my interest level has risen during the times that I have actually owned a bike though.

#24 ian senior

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 11:46

For the most part, I love bikes and the racing. I even used to ride the things until I had one accident too many. The only thing that didn't make me as committed to the cause of two-wheeled racing, as opposed to cars (and this is really silly) was the the bikes all looked the same. Yes, I said it was silly.

The same argument applies to current F1 and the multitude of one make formulae. I like my cars to look different. Was there ever such a time as the 70s when there were so many different thoughts on what a racing car should look like?

#25 David Beard

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:53

Originally posted by RTH


I remember the Mini based 'combination 3 wheeler anyone find a picture of it ?



Yes, that's the Owen Greenwood contrivance to which I referred earlier. I spent some time last night looking for a photo on the net with no success. It actually started off with four wheels, the back pair being close together, apparently making use of some rule book loop-hole. The "outfit" changed to a single rear wheel after much huffing and puffing by all. I'm struggling to remember the exact capacity limit Greenwood raced under: the world championships were for 500cc machines. Perhaps the British races which I watched allowed up to 1100cc, as I think the Cooper S engine used was a 1071. Greenwood successfully raced ordinary kneelers before this unpopular venture....the bikers in the crowd always saw it as a car, and his ability as a rider was forgotten. I don't remember the name of the passenger in the mini, but he didn't have to do too much and was basically just there for the ride

#26 Macca

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 13:26

Surtees and Geoff Duke commented on the difference when they moved to cars; Bill Ivy found it too. I got into bikes after I'd been interested in cars for a long time, and in the 1980s I went right off F1 and was very much into bikes. In 1984 I went to every bike event going, and the only car race I went to was Group C. There is definitely a different ethos, and different mindset; I noticed that came out in the TV coverage of the last Silverstone Festival in 2001, when the bikers and car people were interviewed, which is one reason why I've always thought bike and car events should be seperate (apart from the safety issues).

After the Greenwood mini, in 1976-77 sidecar outfits started to appear with asymmetric wishbone suspension hung off aluminium monocoques, which were fast but controversial (and now universal); in 1978 there was a two-wheel drive outfit called the Beo-Imagine which won the world championship before it was banned.


Paul M

#27 David Beard

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 13:33

Originally posted by Macca
in 1978 there was a two-wheel drive outfit called the Beo-Imagine which won the world championship before it was banned.

Paul M


That was one of Rolf Biland's creations. yes?

#28 Macca

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 13:39

http://www5e.biglobe...01htm/58017.htm

(picture of Tamiya r/c Beo-Imagine model: engine at rear, passenger sitting, driver kneeling)

Yes, David - he also introduced the monocoque/wishbone Seymaz chassis, and ironically when there were two world championships in 1979, one for radical outfits and one for single-wheel drive, he took part in both but only won the 'conventional' cup.

Then he introduced the LCR chassis, made by Louis Christian Racing in Switzerland (has any country ever been so prominent in a single field if racing?) which is the forerunner of the current long-wheelbase 'worm' type outfits.

I sold all my bike books & mags (& my bike!) a couple of years ago, so I can't remember all the details.

Paul M

#29 ian senior

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 14:11

As I said, I'm fairly ignorant on this subject (as I am with so many others) but I'm not sure that Rolf Biland "introduced" the Seymaz, unless you mean he was the first to race one. I think they were actually designed and built by a man with a surname along the lines of Vuagnat (apologies if the spelling is wrong, which it may well be). And wasn't there a Seymaz F3 car some time later?

#30 Ronaldo

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 14:25

David, passenger in the Greenwood Mini was Terry Fairbrother.

#31 Macca

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 14:54

Ian,
Rolf Biland didn't actually build any of his outfits, but he was always looking for an advantage, and worked with Seymaz and LCR to design and develop the advanced chairs IIRC - but it's a long time ago so I may not remember correctly. ISTR he sold his 1976 outfit to George O'Dell who used it to win the 1977 WC, beating Biland when the last round at Silverstone was damp and Biland had Locnutted his wheels on and couldn't change tyres before the start.


Paul M

#32 ian senior

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 15:08

Originally posted by Macca
Ian,
Rolf Biland didn't actually build any of his outfits, but he was always looking for an advantage, and worked with Seymaz and LCR to design and develop the advanced chairs IIRC - but it's a long time ago so I may not remember correctly. ISTR he sold his 1976 outfit to George O'Dell who used it to win the 1977 WC, beating Biland when the last round at Silverstone was damp and Biland had Locnutted his wheels on and couldn't change tyres before the start.


Paul M


Thnaks, Paul. That goes with what I recall from George's book that I mentioned above (which I must dig out and read again!). I seem to remember that George has an accident with the Seymaz during 1977, and it had to be rebuilt so he didn't actually use it for the whole season. In fact, I think he was on his Windle at the soggy Silverstone race.

#33 philippe7

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 15:45

Rolf Biland was indeed the first one to believe - and to win - with the " monocoque + whishbone" chassis , but I think that must have been in 1975 actually - he won the Deutsch GP at Hockenheim .

But the original "creator" of the concept was another Swiss maniac , Rudi Kurth , who had built such a chassis ( with a home made triple based on a 350 TZ with an extra cylinder ) quite a bit earlier.....but with no success, due not to the concept but to engine unreliability. Kurth was a real visionary in many ways , he had introduced the concept of very "low chassis" with wider wheels than the German's BMW kneelers quite before that , and had also equipped one of his outfits with a swedish Crescent outboard engine , opening the ways for the 2-strokes in sidecars for König then Yamaha ......

......and by the way....he was also the first GP sidecar rider to put a lady ( and a nice looking british one ....) in the passenger basket . Dane Rowe, the lady was called

#34 philippe7

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 15:57

oh by the way, to come back to the topic of this thread....as you can tell from my avatar I am also a huge fan of bike racing ......more than of car racing actually

#35 T54

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 16:16

remember Dane Rowe ( I think that was her name) leaning out of the chair about 1mm off the ground at unmentionable speed should surely stir even the frostiest of souls.


Dane Rowe NEVER "leaned out" of the chair. Rudi Kurth's inventive monocoque (WAAAAAY before the Seymaz and LCR) chassis was designed so that the passenger was just that, a passenger who was no longer involved in weight distribution. The first time Rudi and Rowe raced the outfit (Clermond-Ferrand in 1967 if I recall), it absolutely SHOCKED the public. It took him a while and several re-designs of the 3-cylinder Crescent-based, water-cooled two-stroke boat engines until he finally was competitive, but the basic design stayed the same and was then imitated by others. Kurth WAS the guy with all the ideas. Other followed.

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But the actual very FIRST monocoque Rudi (or anyone else in sidecar racing ) built was a BMW-powered outfit in which I had the privilege (?) of being the passenger. Built of welded sheet steel, it was very light and extremely efficient. Driven by Frenchman Brejat, we won several hillclimbs with the thing and never got off, thanks God, making us some decent cash! Below is a relatively still young T54 (his nose still up in the breatheable air :cool: ) in the Rudi Kurth-built outfit, bearing the same Cromwell helmet I wore during most of the 1960's, before I discovered the greater safety of the Bell Star.

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Regards,

T54 :wave:

#36 philippe7

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 17:55

Bonjour T54

So my memories of Rudi Kurth were not too misty.....however, if he did build the first ever "monocoque" with BMW, then Crescent engines , those were still "conventional" ( ie Earles fork ) suspensions , weren't they ? I think his first design with the triangular car-like suspension was with the TZ Triple engine, in 1975 maybe ( French GP , Paul Ricard ? )

Oh, and is your friend driving the sidecar the same Dominique Bréjat who todays appears in historical bikes meetings in France with various exotic machinery , and who also is ( was ) chairman of the TZ 250 fan club ?

#37 David Beard

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 18:55

Originally posted by Ronaldo
David, passenger in the Greenwood Mini was Terry Fairbrother.


Clang! (penny dropping) Yes, I remember now :)

#38 T54

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 19:49

So my memories of Rudi Kurth were not too misty.....however, if he did build the first ever "monocoque" with BMW, then Crescent engines , those were still "conventional" ( ie Earles fork ) suspensions , weren't they ? I think his first design with the triangular car-like suspension was with the TZ Triple engine, in 1975 maybe ( French GP , Paul Ricard ? )



Yes indeed, his first chassis used a steel sheet fabricated modified Earles front suspension system and 3 10" X 7" Mini-Cooper alloy wheels with Dunlop CR65 tires. This advanced outfit had a kneeling position, a fairly recent development then. This when Max Deubel was still world champ with a "sit-down" style RennSport sidecar with 18" motorcycle tires.

I really liked this idea of lowering the CG and getting it closer to the roll center, as Norton did so successfully in 1953 when Ray Amm beat all those records on a kneeler Manx at Monthlery. In 1974, it got me to design this futuristic kneeler GP bike for the Yamaha International Magazine...

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If this is not the freakiest thing you have ever seen, I don't know what is!  ;)

Oh, and is your friend driving the sidecar the same Dominique Bréjat who todays appears in historical bikes meetings in France with various exotic machinery , and who also is ( was ) chairman of the TZ 250 fan club ?



I believe so, I have not seen or talked to him in 35 years... Do you have an E-mail address for him?
Regards,

T54

#39 David Beard

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 20:41

T54, that's fantastic.

It reminds me of an article Gordon Coppuck wrote for Motor Cycle magazine sometime in the 70s. He rather ridiculed racing motor cycle designers and their conservatism. In particular, he questioned the logic behind telescopic forks, a short wheelbase, a high C of G. Why was the heavy fuel tank always on the top of the engine, and the relatively light exhaust sytem underneath? Few racing bikes look much different from road bikes even now...perhaps all a marketing ploy. The only one I can remember that remotely tried to break the mould in recent years was that Elf thing that Rocket Ron rode a few times.

Oh, and anyone brave (or mad?) enough to be a sidecar passenger has my utmost respect, starting with DSJ. I used to work with a chap who passengered for Vince Winstanley, who built outfits similar to the Windle jobs, in Wigan. I was offered a go at leaning out of the chair of his Kawasaki powered outfit (he previously used a Hillman Imp motor) around the the Aintree club circuit. I encouraged my wife to say she wouldn't let me do it....

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#40 T54

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 21:00

Actually, we almost built it! While working for Giancarlo Morbidelli in the late 1970's, I came up with this revised design, of which I retained this sketch worked on a napkin while lunching with the Commendatore in Pesaro in February 1977:

Posted Image

Note: the driver is kneeling, the minimal fuel tank/composite monocoque chassis with stressed Morbidelli 500cc square-4 engine, the final drive to the swing-arm rotating axle to a constant-tension final chain, and most important: the double A-arm front suspension with one-piece rigid magnesium wheel upright/brake calipers, mounted with Heim joints to the suspension, with bellcrank actuating the low-slung shock/spring and hydraulic steering. Other features: single-sided swing arm, extremely low CG/CR allowing a possibility of sliding the bike with the throttle while using fairly shallow lean angle, and last but not least: possibly the first attempt to control helmet lift through a helmet spoiler.

Unfortunately, circumstances and timing meant that only a few of these things were actually used on Graziano Rossi's Morbidelli 250cc in 1978, still resulting in a second place in the world championship.
Those were the days, and it would be so much fun to incorporate old stuff like this in a revised MotorSport section...

T54

#41 Michael Oliver

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 21:01

David

I think that two and four-wheeled motorsport is inextricably linked. The fact that the likes of John Surtees, Gary Hocking, Bob Anderson(?), Paddy Driver, Bill Ivy, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and more recently, Damon Hill, made the transition from two to four means that it is impossible to look at each in isolation.

I have always followed bikes in tandem with cars, attending many bike meetings such as Transatlantic Trophy, Race of the Year, King of Brands etc whilst also going to F1 Grand Prix races, F2, F5000 and sports car events in the UK and Europe. I was a big Barry Sheene fan and also mad about sidecars - in fact I still have two scrap books chock-full of clippings from MCN covering the sidecar scene during the period 77-78. I loved the technical innovations that took place during that time, although sadly the Beo Imagine introduced by Rolf Biland proved a step too far. I would love to know if the Beo exists today and, if so, whereabouts as I never got to see it in the flesh.

My admiration for the guys racing in GPs in the 1970s is enormous when you look at the circuits they were racing on - Imatra, Brno (old version), the Ring (as late as 1979 or 1980 IIRC, long after the F1 boys had given it up), Spa (I went in 1977 for the GP, again long after the F1 circus had taken their toys off to Nivelles!!!) and so on...

The spectacle today is still unbeatable. I would choose MotoGP coverage, from 125s through the 250s to the top class, any day over any other form of motorsport, especially F1. The commentary of Julian Ryder and Toby Moody on Eurosport is icing on the cake and I have to admit it isn't quite the same when you watch the same racing on BBC!!

I am actually trying to break in to writing about historic motorcyle racing in the period I saw a lot of races (1970-80) but it is actually really difficult as there are so few publications who run this sort of thing. Those that do want somebody with access to their own photo archive and they seem to have their own favourites they use again and again. The fact that I've got a bit of experience of writing about motor racing history doesn't seem to count for anything!!!

So I would love to see a historic motorcycle racing section in Motor Sport, because I would like to read it myself, I would like to read about the technical innovations and also because I might have a chance of actually writing something for it myself!!

#42 Twin Window

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 21:28

Originally posted by Michael Oliver

The spectacle today is still unbeatable.

:up:

I would choose MotoGP coverage, from 125s through the 250s to the top class, any day over any other form of motorsport, especially F1.

:up: :up: (and for me the World and the British Superbike series too)

The commentary of Julian Ryder and Toby Moody on Eurosport is icing on the cake and I have to admit it isn't quite the same when you watch the same racing on BBC!!

:clap:

#43 T54

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 23:16

We agree on this...

In the USA, I watch MotoGP and SuperBike races on the Speed Channel, and the comments are not so bad. Geeez, seing these guys slide them things, modern tires must be GOOOOOD! :eek:

Sure enuf, there is nothing like it in modern auto racing that has become somewhat boring to me. :(

T54

#44 philippe7

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 08:13

Originally posted by T54


I believe so, I have not seen or talked to him in 35 years... Do you have an E-mail address for him?
Regards,

T54



T54 , Check your e-mail ( I hope your elecinfo address hasn't changed since last year ! )

#45 Darren Galpin

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 08:17

I also like watching Superbikes and Moto GP on TV, and find the races much more consistently entertaining than F1 is. What I also like is Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish when they are live and can't have their commentary adulterated. It still makes me laugh when I think of Cox's comment on Jamie Toseland earlier this year: "He's got such bad luck that if he fell in a bucket of boob's, he'd still come up sucking his thumb." Things such as that sadly get edited out on the usual feed......

#46 Macca

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 10:19

posted by David Beard

It reminds me of an article Gordon Coppuck wrote for Motor Cycle magazine sometime in the 70s. He rather ridiculed racing motor cycle designers and their conservatism. In particular, he questioned the logic behind telescopic forks, a short wheelbase, a high C of G. Why was the heavy fuel tank always on the top of the engine, and the relatively light exhaust sytem underneath? Few racing bikes look much different from road bikes even now...perhaps all a marketing ploy. The only one I can remember that remotely tried to break the mould in recent years was that Elf thing that Rocket Ron rode a few times.




ISTR it was Alistair Caldwell in MCN - I think I've still got the article somewhere in my cuttings files. In 1984 Honda tried the low CofG path with their first NSR500 4-cylinder, with expansion chambers upswept and tank under the engine - it wasn't very successful and hasn't been repeated, as it seems that a certain amount of weight high up is desirable to help tip the bike into a lean and flip it from side to side in esses.

There were quite a few different Elf GP bikes, and endurance bikes before that (not forgetting Mead & Tomkinson's 'Nessie') but ISTR most had the tank high up. Ron did a lot better on a standard Honda than the Elf, which he raced for a season.

And now it seems too stiff a frame isn't good either - current MotoGP bikes are carefully designed to flex a bit, I believe to provide feel when hitting bumps when leant over.

Re T54's design; Hossack used and use front forks like that - I can't imagine why others don't as it seems to combine all the advantages of girder and telescopic forks.


Paul M

#47 David Beard

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 12:48

Originally posted by Macca
posted by David Beard


ISTR it was Alistair Caldwell in MCN
Paul M


I could have sworn it was Coppuck, but now not sure whether it was MCN or Motor Cycle. My dad use to take Motor Cycling in sixties...it was a mag that looked almost identical to its rival Motor Cycle. I think the two merged at some stage, then turned into the newspaper format Motor Cycle a bit later. When did it finally disappear? I used to prefer it to MCN.

#48 T54

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 15:58

Re T54's design; Hossack used and use front forks like that - I can't imagine why others don't as it seems to combine all the advantages of girder and telescopic forks.



Actually, others like the late Claude Fior also used similar designs in the mid 1980's, but none used the wide-base triangulation designed from the width of the shoulders of the rider, the actual aerodynamic limitation. I am still wating for someone to do it, but the much heavier telescopic twisty fork endures... I reckon that our design could be as much as 40% lighter while offering up to 3 times the rigidity while allowing adjustment in all 3 planes.

As far as the fuel under the engine, it is in fact a mistake in my opinion as the handling characteristics change too much as the fuel is used, as seen on the Elf. Our design is for the fuel to be aft and forward of the engine, not below it. The changes are much less critical that way.

Another design we tried was for the driver to be seating very low, ahead of the engine, laying just like in a F1 car. But the FIM objected to it when we showed them the project despite that there were no provisions in the rules against it. So we did not pursue it. The dismantling of the works Morbidelli team in 1982 put an end to all this, and I was too busy in the racing car wheel business to spend any more time designing crazy looking machinery, and had stopped racing motorcycles since 1978 anyway.

It sure was fun while it lasted, and I was pleased to have been given the opportunity by a visionary person like Giancarlo Morbidelli, as his fertile and free mind allowed time and money for experimentation. But the Italian press was merciless...
Regards,

T54

#49 doc540

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 12:11

My respect, admiration, and sense of awe compels me to mention a name in this thread:

Joey Yer Maun Dunlop

R.I.P. Champion :cry:

#50 subh

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 23:25

Originally posted by Michael Oliver
I am actually trying to break in to writing about historic motorcyle racing in the period I saw a lot of races (1970-80) but it is actually really difficult as there are so few publications who run this sort of thing. Those that do want somebody with access to their own photo archive and they seem to have their own favourites they use again and again. The fact that I've got a bit of experience of writing about motor racing history doesn't seem to count for anything!!!


Michael,

I would happily publish your writing at Motorcycle Racing Online: http://www.sportnetw...t/main/s180.htm
I can’t offer payment, but it might be a good way to get your work seen, if you’re interested. And I am always looking for ways to add more content, especially on the historic side. Let me know if this is helpful. You can e-mail me via the ‘About this site’ page.

subh