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'Team Suzuki' by Ray Battersby


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#1 pykey

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 12:28

Does anyone know were i could locate the Team Suzuki Book by Ray Hattersby?

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#2 T54

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:25

A wonderful book that really tells the story as it happened. Love my copy, I hope that you can find one soon. Amazon? ISBN # is 0-85045-416-6 if this can help you.

By the way, you will find it a lot easier if you spell Ray's name properly, it's "Battersby". :)

T54

#3 pykey

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:40

Sorry for the spelling mistake i will try Amason :

#4 T54

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 18:09

AmaZon maybe? :lol:

#5 subh

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 19:27

I’ve been looking for this myself - I don’t think it’s that easy to find.

#6 motard

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 20:16

I've been looking for years too, with no success. Good Luck. Tom

#7 Bloggsworth

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:19

Must get my eyes tested again - I thought it said Roy Hattersley........

#8 Sergio

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 04:34

Thank you T54 for your very kind comments.

Team Suzuki has been out of print since 1983 and prices have become stupidly high. That's why I'm now in negotiations with a publisher to reprint Team Suzuki very soon. I'd be pleased to gauge the interest in a reprint.

#9 subh

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:43

This is good news and, as suggested above, I’m very interested. I think there was an issue of the MCN Sport magazine that listed it among the best books on the sport to look out for - I’ll check this for you. Certainly, it is quoted in at least one Barry Sheene book I’ve read.

#10 Sergio

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:00

You mention an article in MCN Sport magazine. I'm not familiar with this title. I'd appreciate some more details of the article mentioning Team Suzuki if at all possible.

#11 Sharman

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 14:31

Bloggsworth
It was the fine coating of spittle on the screen which caused you to misread the name
Sharman

#12 subh

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 16:39

Sergio,

MCN is Motor Cycle News, and MCN Sport was, I think, a quarterly magazine that covered all aspects of MotoGP and Superbike racing, including retro stuff. The publication span was about 2002-2005, and I still wish it hadn’t been cancelled.

The article I mentioned was in issue 14, winter 2004. It was called ‘Essential books’, where Julian Ryder picks his top 20. The text is as follows:

TEAM SUZUKI
(OSPREY, 1982) BY RAY BATTERSBY, OOP
The mother of all the racing marque books. Battersby worked for Suzuki and was ideally placed to observe the characters as well as the machinery that first won titles for Suzuki. It’s particularly strong on illustrations and specifications of all the works bikes, and direct quotes from Japanese engineers and mechanics as well as the European and American managers and riders. Lots of insight into rivalries between riders, and difficulties due to cultural differences between Europe and Japan.

#13 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 16:54

I would love to have read Ryders article. Would I be imposing to ask what the other 19 were?

#14 Macca

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 17:04

I have a copy of the book that I haven't read for a while, so it would be better at a new home............offers?

Paul M

#15 subh

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 17:48

Well, pykey asked first, and Tom has been looking for years. I’ve had an eye open only since the article mentioned, about two* years ago. But I wouldn’t say no, so can you send a PM?

Edit: three years

#16 T54

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 18:41

"Sergio",
I also have a few stories to possibly add to the new edition regarding the early and late 1960's and Merv Wright. Even a picture or two of interest...
Regards,

T54

#17 subh

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 19:48

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
I would love to have read Ryders article. Would I be imposing to ask what the other 19 were?


As follows:

BIOGRAPHIES
Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under, by Mat Oxley
Joey Dunlop: His Authorised Biography, by Mac McDiarmid
The Privateer, by Jon Ekerold
No Time To Lose: The Fast Moving World of Bill Ivy, by Alan Peck
Wayne Rainey: His Own Story, by Michael SCott
Wheels of Fortune: Six Times World Motorcycle Champion, by Jim Redman
Kenny Roberts, by Barry Coleman
Valentino Rossi: Moto Genius, by Mat Oxley

HISTORY
Motocourse, from 1976
MZ: The Racers, by Jan Leek
Norton, by Mick Woollett
Scrapbook du Bol d’Or: 1922-1976, edited by B Nardini
Triumph and BSA Triples, by Mick Duckworth
World Superbikes: The First 15 Years, by Julian Ryder

REFERENCE
A Twist of the Wrist, by Keith Code
American Racer (vols 1 & 2), by Stephen Wright
Ducati Racers; Kawasaki Racers, both by Ian Falloon
Honda GP Racers; Yamaha, both by Colin MacKellar
Team Suzuki, by Ray Battersby

TECHNICAL
Winning Motorcycle Engines: The Heart of Competitive Engineering, by Vic Willoughby

#18 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 20:10

Originally posted by subh


As follows:

BIOGRAPHIES
Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under, by Mat Oxley
Joey Dunlop: His Authorised Biography, by Mac McDiarmid
The Privateer, by Jon Ekerold
No Time To Lose: The Fast Moving World of Bill Ivy, by Alan Peck
Wayne Rainey: His Own Story, by Michael SCott
Wheels of Fortune: Six Times World Motorcycle Champion, by Jim Redman
Kenny Roberts, by Barry Coleman
Valentino Rossi: Moto Genius, by Mat Oxley

HISTORY
Motocourse, from 1976
MZ: The Racers, by Jan Leek
Norton, by Mick Woollett
Scrapbook du Bol d’Or: 1922-1976, edited by B Nardini
Triumph and BSA Triples, by Mick Duckworth
World Superbikes: The First 15 Years, by Julian Ryder

REFERENCE
A Twist of the Wrist, by Keith Code
American Racer (vols 1 & 2), by Stephen Wright
Ducati Racers; Kawasaki Racers, both by Ian Falloon
Honda GP Racers; Yamaha, both by Colin MacKellar
Team Suzuki, by Ray Battersby

TECHNICAL
Winning Motorcycle Engines: The Heart of Competitive Engineering, by Vic Willoughby


Thanks for that mate. :up:

#19 Macca

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 19:02

So is anyone (else) interested in my copy? In as-new condition?

Paul M

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#20 subh

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 19:10

I did send a message, Paul.

#21 Sergio

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 12:11

Subh
Many thanks for identifying the publication containing Julian Ryder's article on his favourite books.


ex-Rhodie racer
You asked to read Julian's full article. I may have the answer because a pal recently sent me a link to the page on Julian's own website providing the full list of his favourite books and his comments. I assume this is similar if not identical to Julian's MCN Sport piece.

Here's the link: http://www.superbike...Jan/080107b.htm


T54
Your vast knowledge is always intriguing - I can see the Gallic glint in your eyes as you refer to your pictures. I'd very much like to hear your stories and especially to see the pictures (you have my contact details I recall). However, what's on the cards for Team Suzuki is a reprint of the original book. Whether I shall have the opportunity to add further details and amend the errors I know it already contains remains to be seen.


Incidentally, I know of another writer who has taken up the story from where Team Suzuki left off. He told me recently how much he is enjoying the project and that his new book will continue what I would call the 'warts and all' content I used (tempered by my then employment by Suzuki) when writing Team Suzuki.

We all know that it's not only the rider who wins the championship. And yet how many times do you see a book written or a documentary made about the guys working flat out behind the placid front-of-house scenes demanded by the teams' PR gurus? I have owned one such book called 'Alf Francis, Racing Mechanic 1948 to 1958' since the 1970s and it's an extremely good read. But I cannot think of another. And I recall a BBC TV documentary series some years ago called "The Team - a season with McLaren" which was compulsive viewing for me.

Here a snippet on YouTube:

We need more insightful books about designers, technicians, race engineers don't you think?

#22 subh

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 12:39

Originally posted by Sergio
a pal recently sent me a link to the page on Julian's own website providing the full list of his favourite books and his comments. I assume this is similar if not identical to Julian's MCN Sport piece.

Here's the link: http://www.superbike...Jan/080107b.htm


We all know that it's not only the rider who wins the championship. And yet how many times do you see a book written or a documentary made about the guys working flat out behind the placid front-of-house scenes demanded by the teams' PR gurus? I have owned one such book called 'Alf Francis, Racing Mechanic 1948 to 1958' since the 1970s and it's an extremely good read. But I cannot think of another. And I recall a BBC TV documentary series some years ago called "The Team - a season with McLaren" which was compulsive viewing for me.

We need more insightful books about designers, technicians, race engineers don't you think?


1) That is essentially the same article as in MCN Sport, but without the pictures of each book.

2) You’ll find that Mark Donohue’s autobiography is an excellent read of the type you mention. He details all sorts of technical development undertaken on all the various racing cars he competed in, mostly with Penske, throughout his career. I think he was effectively his own chief mechanic for much of the time.

#23 Sergio

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 14:01

subh

On the strength of your recommendation I searched www.abe.com and found a good used copy of Donohue's autobiography "The Unfair Advantage" in the UK. It didn't have a hefty price-tag (one of the copies on offer in the USA at ABE was $800US); I'm paying a more realistic $16 for mine - including shipping.

Thanks for the tip.

#24 subh

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 14:36

I hope you enjoy it - you should do.

#25 T54

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 16:12

We need more insightful books about designers, technicians, race engineers don't you think?


No kidding, that is where the stories are fun...
I am a bit busy right now but will try to get you some info soon.
Best regards,

T54

#26 Mackinrow

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:20

Hi I have a copy, will sell, but wonder what for. I am in New Zealand.

#27 subh

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:53

For those who hadn’t noticed, the long overdue reprint of this book is now available with ISBN-10: 0979689155 & ISBN-13: 978-0979689154. I’ll be getting my copy soon.

#28 Sergio

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 12:59

Subh, You may like to know that you can download over 50 try-before-you-buy pages of my TEAM SUZUKI book at my own website.

#29 subh

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 13:02

Thanks for the link, Ray.

#30 suzukijo

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 22:24

Thanks for the link, Ray.


I mentioned in another forum that the degner story in stealing speed and Team Suzuki by Ray Battersby, was interesting, and I was startled to get this reply from Ray himself. below is what he said.
************

Suzukijo has tempted me out of my box by seemingly reading between the lines of the 1961 Degner defection. The essential secrecy of this story - where those involved lived literally in fear of their lives - has provoked a great number of myths and legends. It has cast Ernst Degner as the baddie and Walter Kaaden as its genial and genius goodie.

For many years, I have toyed with the misinformation and rumours that have circulated about Degner and his defection. These myths and legends have not been challenged by the surface-scratching research of Degners many biographers over the last forty eight years. They have been content to regurgitate the errors of other writers to produce a rounded, plausible, interesting story. A professional writer does not have the time to conduct a great deal of original research. It is easier to read what others have written and then to form an opinion.

A good example of this recycling of errors is contained in the excellent MZ history written by Jan Leek who says that Walter Kaaden designed the 4S 293 missile. Actually what Jan meant to type was the HS 293, a typo not spotted by later authors who have repeated the same error.

Yes, we all love a story of mystery and intrigue so it is all too easy to believe what has been dished up so far. To a world so easily persuaded to part with confidential banking data by simply not applying the litmus test "Does it sound right?", it is small wonder these myths and legends still circulate.

Here is an example of a truth-defying myth. Degner deliberately blew up his MZ 125cc engine in Sweden in 1961 so that he could get on with his defection. RUBBISH. Here is a man who can win his first World Championship in this race and still defect afterwards as planned, not as the runner up but as the World Champion! Think how much more Suzuki would have paid Degner to join them as the reigning 125cc World Champion. In fact his DNF would not have allowed a speedier defection because the Kristianstad paddock was in the centre of the circuit with no bridge or tunnel to the outside world. So after his DNF, Degner had to wait with his car in the paddock until the race was over. And if he had been so keen to defect, why did he not turn left into West Germany instead of driving aboard the ferry to Sweden that weekend?

One of the most hurtful myths to the Degner family is the manner in which Ernst Degner died in 1983. According to web and printed media, he died in no less than five different ways, all incorrect; he died in a car accident, he was shot, he slit his own throat, he died of a drug overdose, he was assassinated by the STASI using a lethal injection. The truth is that he died of a heart attack.

For over thirty years I have studied the story of the Degner defection by meeting with those who were there at the time and have a story to tell. These have included Ernst Degner, Jimmy Matsumiya (his confederate), Messrs Ishikawa, Matsui and Nishi (of Team Suzuki), Frank Perris (rider), Mick Woollett (journalist) and Ralph Newman (Avon tyres) who were all staying in the Kristianstad hotel when Degner fled. I have interviewed Gerda Degner, his widow and their sons Boris and Olaf. I have questioned the widow of the man who smuggled the Degner family across the border in the boot of his car and I have heard the only tape recording of her late husband describing what he did and how he did it during an in-depth - though private - interview.

But the more I research this story, the more myths I come across. And these myths surround Walter Kaaden too. He is cast as being betrayed by his friend Ernst and often given the sobriquet genius or father of the modern two-stroke. And yet if you believe that he invented the expansion chamber, the rotary disc valve or the boost port, you would be wrong. Whilst these were all invented (and sometimes patented) by German engineers, they were all in the public domain before Kaaden used them and in the case of the rotary valve and the boost port, whilst Kaaden was still wearing short trousers.

People who have interviewed Kaaden told me that he was a nice man with an affable, avuncular personality. But he surely was not quite as clever as modern non-technical historians would have us believe.

For example, it is said that Kaaden worked at Peenemunde during World War II designing the V1 (Flying Bomb). I am uncertain that Kaaden ever worked at Peenemunde - though he may have been involved in some way with the HS 293 guided missile. This missile was actually invented by Professor Herbert Wagner at the Henschel aircraft factory at Berlin-Schoenefeld - not Peenemunde. It was in the Wagner team that Kaaden worked during the war. But when it all ended, why was Kaaden not snatched up by Von Braun or Herbert Wagner as they assembled their engineering teams for work in the USA? And after being passed over, what made the engineer Kaaden decide to set up a wood-working shop instead of an engineering workshop? These are the imponderables that will need to be filled with educated guesses.



Suzukijo reproduces an intriguing photo of a row of expansion chambers as fitted to early IFAs (IFA was not renamed MZ until 1956). What does this photo prove? In my view not as much as the above photograph proving that the first racing motorcycle to be equipped with an expansion chamber was actually a 1951 DKW 350-3. This futuristic machine was designed by their chief engineer, Erich Wolf, who also invented its expansion chambers. It revved to over 10,000 and was a potent racer.

The following season (1952) Kurt Kampf - IFA's racing manager - copied the Wolf design and fitted an expansion chamber to an IFA racer. Kaaden succeeded Kampf as race manager at IFA the following year (1953) and continued the work of Kampf on expansion chambers. But who mentions the important parts played by Wolf and Kampf in the story of Walter Kaaden?

And here is the reason; we all like to see David slaying Goliath so our natural sympathies lie with poor old Walter Kaaden and his MZs, running on a shoestring budget and giving the mighty Honda the scare of its life.

Here is another truth. The guy who drove the Degner family over the border into West Germany lived in fear of his life. For the rest of his life. His wife told me that he always slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow because of his fear of STASI retribution. No wonder the people involved have kept schtum for so long and allowed the truth to be enveloped in a fog of histrionic rumours. To this day, Mrs Petry is reluctant to discuss the fine details.

The above casts a weak light into the murky depths surrounding the Degner defection. Yet there are other technical and historical truths that need to be told. One day, I hope to set the record straight, once and for all by publishing an account of what I believe to be the truth. Until then, I am resigned to being vexed by the myth-ridden scribblings of others.

Now as to Degner. The truth is that virtually all of the modern two-stroke's performance features - the sort of things that pushed it to an unbeatable performance level in GP racing from 1962 to 2001 - were all inventions of German engineers in the 1920s and 1930s. After the war, the West was simply too proud and arrogant to acknowledge the contribution made by these pioneering engineers and down-played the part they played. "Dammit. Why should we give the vanquished nation any credit. We won the war, Let's plunder their design offices." Which of course, they did with relish and the result was the BSA Bantam, the Saturn rocket and various jet fighter planes.

Degner's defection in 1961 with the MZ's secrets (which Kaaden had - how shall I say this kindly? - 'borrowed' from other manufacturers, most notably DKW and the privately built ZPH racer), placed these concepts in the hands of a company with a massive budget to capitalise on them. This was Industrial Espionage on a large and outrageous scale but few people outside of Suzuki racing fanatics know anything about it.

So Degner revealed to Suzuki all about Mahle's forged alloy pistons, INA's caged needle-roller small-end bearings, the Schneurle (boost) port, the rotary disc valve and the expansion chamber. Once Suzuki knew the basics about these topics they set to work with a zeal. Degner would never have known the formulae for designing an expansion chamber; it was Murai-San who tried various shapes and sizes on the race-shop dyno who worked it all out for himself. So it was Degner who put Suzuki on the right track but it was Suzuki people who worked out the details and continued the quest for more power (and reliability).

And guess what? Today, these same Japanese engineers who were happy to worship at Degner's knee in 1962 are in denial. There are Japanese forums where they gather to explain that they never needed Degner anyway; they could have done it all without him! Well, all I can say is there are very few engineers honest enough to say that he copied a basic design from a competitor. They want to take the credit for themselves.

So once Suzuki had debriefed Degner over the Winter/Spring of 1961/62, apart from any debt of honour, they didn't really need him any longer. They had the means to do it all for themselves. Here's a modern example. Suzuki's TSCC four valve cylinder head design was invented and patented by the late Vincenzo Piatti, an Italian engine designer and a good friend of mine. His licensing contract with Suzuki included a clause that he was never to claim that he had invented TSCC! I know this to be true because I've read Piatti's contract. In fact, at the press launch, Suzuki paraded one of their own engineers - Shirasagi-San - as its inventor. This illustrates just how proud Suzuki were/are and how far they go to shed the image of simply copying other people's ideas.

****************

hope this helps get you guys to buy "Team Suzuki", its a good book.
joe

#31 Herr Wankel

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 23:01

Joe,
You know the line that goes;Don't let the truth stand in the way of a good story!I look forwards to Ray's real account.
HW


#32 exclubracer

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 00:27

Excellent post Joe, an intriguing story about the politics of the day (and the present)  ;)

#33 GD66

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 09:24

That's very interesting indeed, Suzukijo, I was over in Victoria last October and read Stealing Speed over the course of the race weekend. I found it a very strangely-written and confusing book, especially when it attributed the success of ALL Japanese two-stroke victories and successes from the 1960s onward to the skills and genius of Walter Kaaden. While I'm sure he will be forever regarded as a genius in the field, surely as pointed out in Ray's monologue he was not the only man in the east or the west working on such projects, especially in racing. While his efforts can never be under-estimated, in particular working within the eastern system with poor metallurgy and a threadbare budget, I can't believe that Oxley's prime focus on his talent takes into account all those who came before, and all who subsequently emerged within and without the raging rise of the Japanese factories. Perhaps the truth will emerge eventually, if not it's still a hell of a yarn... :eek:

Edited by GD66, 29 January 2010 - 09:26.


#34 suzukijo

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 03:05

My friend Mike has been conversing with Ray, and here is his reply, to some questions about the Degner Defection, and the RT kits they sold for the A series bikes, which were popular in the USA in the late sixties.
**************


Hi Michael,

There is a lot of misinformation and myths about Ernst Degner both in print and on the web (since they feed off each other). The perpetrators range from esteemed writers to unknown 'enthusiasts' posting notes on a forum.

The bare bones of his true story are these.
Degner's excellent racing skills aboard a 125cc ZPH machine in the early 1950s was noticed and he was offered employment by MZ at Zschopau
He worked in the racing department as a mechanic during the week and as one of their riders at weekends.
His boss was at MZ was Walter Kaaden.
In 1960, Suzuki decided to expand sales beyond Japan by racing internationally to gain publicity and a reputation for manufacturing fast, reliable machines.
Their first event was the Isle of Man TT in June 1960. They entered a three man Japanese team on their 125cc 'Colleda' (RT60) model.
They finished in 15th, 16th and 18th places.
Meanwhile, they were impressed by the speed of the 125cc MZs, whose team happened to be staying at the same hotel and working on their machines in the same garage as Suzuki.
Suzuki planned a full GP season for 1961 but their results were simply awful. Not one of their initial seven man team at the TT finished the race. Some had not been able to start.
Jimmy Matsumiya had already befriended Degner at their joint hotel and now suggested that he join Suzuki by defecting.
The initial plan for Degner and his family to defect by driving freely into West Berlin on 13th August were prevented by the building of the Berlin Wall on August 11th and the strict border controls that were implemented at that time.
Whilst Degner, as an international sportsman, was allowed by the border controls to travel abroad, it was only on condition that his wife and family remained in East Germany. This is what forced the separate escape of his family and Degner's insistence that he would not defect himself until he had proof that his wife and family had arrived in West Germany.
Degner's new plan to defect at Monza (13th Sept) was cancelled because he needed more time to arrange for his wife and children to be smuggled into West Germany.
Meanwhile, Degner was in contention for the 125cc World Championship with Honda's Tom Phillis. If Degner won the Swedish GP, he would become 125cc World Champion.
Degner drove his wife and children to a point near the border where he transferred them into a secret compartment beneath the trunk floor of a friend's car. The friend was a West German called Petry.
Petry drove back across the border without problems.
Degner continued in his car to the Swedish GP at Kristianstad where he was hoping to clinch the championship.
In the race, his MZ engine broke and he was unable to leave the circuit until the end of the race because the paddock is in the centre and there was no bridge or tunnel across the track.
After the race he drove south and took the ferry to West Germany where he declared his intentions.. He then drove on to be reunited with his wife and family in West Germany.
Part of the pre-conditions for his Suzuki contract was that he would be able to explain and build a new Suzuki using MZ technologies and to do this, he took to the West various engine components and drawings. Please not that Degner always denied this to me.
Degner still wanted to win his championship and borrowed a 125cc EMC (Ehrlich Racing Motorcycles) built by Dr Josef Ehrlich for the final round in Argentina. But MZ managed to persuade the FIM to withdraw Degner's racing licence so although he was at the circuit, he was unable to race. He finished 2nd overall to Phillis in the 125cc world championship.
Over the winter, Degner flew to Japan where he helped Suzuki to design and build new 50cc and 125cc machinery.
In 1962, Degner became 50cc World Champion aboard one of 'his' Suzuki machines.
Degner rode a Suzuki 250cc square four machine at the Japanese GP at Suzuki. It was extremely powerful but renowned for its weight and 'slow;' handling due to a long wheelbase.
Degner had a bad start and was in a hurry to keep in touch with the rest of the field. He lost the front end at the 2nd turn. He ran towards his fallen machine intending to restart it but as he got hold of it, the machine burst into flames due to its full tank. Degner was severely burnt.
Contrary to previous information, new photographic evidence now proves conclusively that Degner was dragged out of the fire by a track marshal and not by a fellow rider.
This turn at Suzuka has since been officially named Degner Curve in Ernst Degner's memory.
Degner was out of racing for almost one year and had over 50 skin grafts in various German hospitals. He became dependant on pain killers for the rest of his life.
His racing suffered and he never fully regained his old form. He eventually retired in 1966.
Degner had a number of jobs after hanging up his leathers. He was a car salesman and worked for a carburettor company. He worked for Suzuki Germany for a couple of years too. He had a couple of stints working for ARAL as their competition manager.
In 1981, Degner (by then his marriage had broken down) moved to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where he established a car hire business.
On 8th September 1983, he suffered a heart attack and was found dead in his apartment.
I can see why you believe that Degner caused Honda to develop four stroke technology but that his normal. You could say that MV caused Honda to develop their racing machinery too or indeed, any brand that beat Honda in those years. That's the nature of racing - competition.

But I would say that what Degner did was accelerate the development and interest in two strokes - particularly as a racing engine - outside of the Eastern Bloc. But I have no doubt that regardless of Degner's defection, the technology would have slowly seeped out. You cannot hide crankcase-mounted carburettors (i.e. disc valves) and expansion chambers and rear-facing exhaust ports for too long. Also, machinery is stolen and the information it contains reverse-engineered. This is how the EMC 125cc machine of 1961 so closely resembled the latest MZs. MZ shared garages in the Isle of Man. this too was most revealing and we know that Walter Kaaden was not beyond trading MZ technology for the sort of common Western components that were hen's teeth in the East (such as Norton's Road-Holder forks).

I am very interested in the AS100 documentation you sent. I already possess US Suzuki's Performance Bulletin No 1 (also issued on August 1st 1969) so I am grateful for this.

I assume that the contents of the document whose cover appears on Page 4 of your PDF (showing a pic of an AS100 and the words "A-100 AS-100 MOTO-CROSS") are the following 15 pages? i.e. the last page of this booklet contains the words "Enjoy - - - Suzuki A100 Moto-Cross!"

That being the case, what is contained in the booklet whose cover you provided as Page 1 of your PDF (the page with the power curve)?

But it's all very interesting and I would guess at this stage that this Kit was only ever issued in the USA. Why? By November 1968 (when this Kit appears to have been issued), Suzuki's major export market was the USA. The European markets were still in their relative infancy and in any event, Europe doesn't have the off-road space of West Coast USA, so for these reasons, an AS moto-cross conversion would not have been as interesting anyway. I could be wrong but I think this will be the case.

Now your photographs of the converted parts.

The Kit cylinder and cylinder head appear to have been made using a process known as Low-Pressure Die-Casting. This doesn't give the smooth finish of a High Pressure Die Casting and also allows sand cores to be used (High Pressure requires all-metal moulds). What this says to me is that Suzuki had partially tooled up for these kits. Not the whole expensive ten thousand units a day type tooling up that high pressure die casting would provide, but certainly for bigger volumes than hand-made sand casting would have provided. So I guess they must have had plans to sell high volumes of this kit. And the the Bulletin you sent, seems to confirm this. They talk about "The 17bhp 100cc Motocross Suzuki has proven unbeatable in road racing, motocross, flat track, and TT competition." In that case, it had become the machine to have if you wanted to win and demand for these kits would have been tremendous.

The photo of the RT Kit Pipe again shows a degree of investment by Suzuki. this pipe has clearly been made from two steel pressings (with the header pipe, this would be 4 pressings) so not the welded up hand-made type seen on the factory racers. This again indicates a degree of mass-production.

I just love Q-Bikes; machines that look 'normal' yet pack a real punch and I guess with a 75% power boost, this aptly describes the AS-100 with the factory kit fitted. And if you have specialised in machines fitted with conversion kits, I am sure you have found an excellent niche market and I wish you the best of luck in exploiting it.

Finally, one of the guys who worked at US Suzuki in those days - in the racing department - was a Japanese guy called Shogi Tanaka. When I interviewed him in 1981, he lived in the Los Angeles area (by then he was working at a dealership) but his name is quite unusual outside of Japan anyway) so you may be able to track him down quite easily. He may have some knowledge that can help you. If you find him, please give him my regards (and maybe ask him to email me).

Cheers

Ray




#35 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 08:00

Just one question Jo. Ray says that Ernst ran over to the bike hoping to restart the machine when it burst into flames. There are pictures available on the net (even on this forum I think) which distinctly show him lying (unconscious???) in the fire. These points don´t seem to correlate. Surely, if the machine burst into flames while he was trying to pick the machine up, he would at least have been able to run away from the fire, even if he ended up with severe burns?
It seems to me he hasn´t got this point right, which in turn casts doubt on the rest of his facts. I would love to hear what he has to say regarding this point. :confused:

#36 suzukijo

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 14:57

Just one question Jo. Ray says that Ernst ran over to the bike hoping to restart the machine when it burst into flames. There are pictures available on the net (even on this forum I think) which distinctly show him lying (unconscious???) in the fire. These points don´t seem to correlate. Surely, if the machine burst into flames while he was trying to pick the machine up, he would at least have been able to run away from the fire, even if he ended up with severe burns?
It seems to me he hasn´t got this point right, which in turn casts doubt on the rest of his facts. I would love to hear what he has to say regarding this point. :confused:


you would need to quote the source of your statements, and put them directly here, for me to speculate.
its facinating that Ray has opened up about the information he has spent his life accumulating, especially those tid-bits from direct conversation with those involved.
any links to the photos and other information here on autosport, (cut and paste) would be beneficial to this discussion.

your argument, that one group of events, may not be specifically exactly right (as you say), would negate the rest of his life long achievement, might be viewed by some as silly, considering his intense knowledge of events and personal interviews.

but thanks for your comments, can you provide more information, or links?
were you there? did you interview any of the participants?

if there is more conversation with Ray, I will ask.




#37 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 16:07

you would need to quote the source of your statements, and put them directly here, for me to speculate.
its facinating that Ray has opened up about the information he has spent his life accumulating, especially those tid-bits from direct conversation with those involved.
any links to the photos and other information here on autosport, (cut and paste) would be beneficial to this discussion.

your argument, that one group of events, may not be specifically exactly right (as you say), would negate the rest of his life long achievement, might be viewed by some as silly, considering his intense knowledge of events and personal interviews.

but thanks for your comments, can you provide more information, or links?
were you there? did you interview any of the participants?

if there is more conversation with Ray, I will ask.

Here is a link to the 3 photos of the crash.

http://images.google...htt...l=de&sa=G


The first of these could well show Ernst bending over to pick up his machine, or, it could be he hasn´t stopped rolling yet, and it simply appears that way.
The second shows him lying next to the bike, with his head in the fire. Had he been conscious, and the bike had suddenly burst into flames as he bent over to pick the machine up, I doubt he would have ended up in that position. The third pic clearly shows a marshal dragging him clear.

It is possible that the conclusions he has drawn regarding the crash were made from these pictures, in which case he might have misinterpreted the first one. Just a thought.
Please don´t misunderstand me, I´m not disputing any of Ray´s claims, just playing devils advocate, that´s all. There is no such thing as accurate history, and everything should be questioned, irrespective of who has done the research. Only in that way will a version closer to the truth finally unfold. :wave:

Edit: I´ve just been examining that first pic again and he is definitely not bending over trying to pick the bike up. Both Ernst and his machine are only just out of the corner in that pic, but in the following two shots you can clearly see both he and his bike are a lot further down the road when they have come to a standstill. This clearly indicates the machine and rider were still moving at a fairly rapid rate when that first shot was taken, even though they appear to be stationary.

Edited by ex Rhodie racer 2, 03 February 2010 - 16:40.


#38 suzukijo

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 19:58

Here is a link to the 3 photos of the crash.

http://images.google...htt...l=de&sa=G


The first of these could well show Ernst bending over to pick up his machine, or, it could be he hasn´t stopped rolling yet, and it simply appears that way.
The second shows him lying next to the bike, with his head in the fire. Had he been conscious, and the bike had suddenly burst into flames as he bent over to pick the machine up, I doubt he would have ended up in that position. The third pic clearly shows a marshal dragging him clear.

It is possible that the conclusions he has drawn regarding the crash were made from these pictures, in which case he might have misinterpreted the first one. Just a thought.
Please don´t misunderstand me, I´m not disputing any of Ray´s claims, just playing devils advocate, that´s all. There is no such thing as accurate history, and everything should be questioned, irrespective of who has done the research. Only in that way will a version closer to the truth finally unfold. :wave:

Edit: I´ve just been examining that first pic again and he is definitely not bending over trying to pick the bike up. Both Ernst and his machine are only just out of the corner in that pic, but in the following two shots you can clearly see both he and his bike are a lot further down the road when they have come to a standstill. This clearly indicates the machine and rider were still moving at a fairly rapid rate when that first shot was taken, even though they appear to be stationary.


looking at the picture, i can see how one might suspect he is bending over to pick his bike up, but in reality, how many pictures have you, i, seen where the rider is similarly "thrown" and the snapshot is so similar?

I'd guess, and its a guess, it was the moment of the fall, and what you interpret is him walking to his bike and bending over to pick it up, is nonsense.
here is the english translation, for you mates,

http://translate.goo...t...l=&ie=UTF-8


#39 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 21:06

looking at the picture, i can see how one might suspect he is bending over to pick his bike up, but in reality, how many pictures have you, i, seen where the rider is similarly "thrown" and the snapshot is so similar?

I'd guess, and its a guess, it was the moment of the fall, and what you interpret is him walking to his bike and bending over to pick it up, is nonsense.
here is the english translation, for you mates,

Thank you for the translation, but I am fluent in German so don´t require it to be translated for me.
I think you misunderstood my post. Please read it again, as well as the edit I made, before your reply.


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#40 Sergio

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 04:28

To remove any misunderstandings about Degner's accident at Suzuka in 1963, let Ernst Degner tell you precisely what happened (as he told it to me in 1980):

"I made a very bad start, and I had to risk a lot on that first lap to get the connection to the top. On the second corner, the front wheel tried to slip away, I caught it again and I went off the racing line, because at the edge of the track there was no grass, only sand, and if you touched that it is dangerous. And then I laid the motorcycle down myself because I didn't want to touch the sand, and my head hit the ground so hard that I was immediately unconscious. When I awoke, I saw the motorcycle about ten yards away and I ran up to it - I wanted to pick it up - but inside the streamlining it was burning. I didn't see that because I was dazed. When I started to pick up the motorcycle, I became unconscious again and a big flame spread to the tank which exploded and that was the end. I was told later that I was burning for 25 seconds before a fire extinguisher was used."

In the first of the three photo sequence referred to elsewhere, you can see in the background a rider in the process of picking up his machine. I believe that this is Ernst Degner doing what he described to me because I am unaware that any other rider fell at Turn 2 that day.

I do not claim that everything I write is 100% correct - I mak typos and speling mistales to - but I can assure you that the facts are as correct as I can possibly make them - whether or not it makes a good story. In most cases and, where possible, this is after I have spoken with the people concerned and those who were there at the time.

Herr Wankel, you're so right about truth getting in the way of a good story. These guys - such as Degner and Kaaden - were just like you and me at the end of the day. Degner's defection story is courageous but the main motivation for most people is usually to do with money and the benefits it can bring. Up to his defection in 1961, Degner had had a raw deal just by having to live in East Germany. There was nothing remarkable about the way he lived even after he'd arrived in West Germany.

It's said that Kaaden was upset after Degner defected but I suspect he'd have left too if his immediate family hadn't all lived in East Germany. In that regard Ernst Degner was lucky; apart from an estranged sister, he was a loner so once he had secured the escape of his wife and two boys, the East German state had no further hold on him. So I take with a pinch of salt the story that Kaaden and Degner didn't speak to each other after Ernst Degner had joined Suzuki in November 1961. I'm sure they would have quiet chats in secret because if the East German state had learned that Kaaden talked with Degner it would be a black mark on Kaaden's record. I believe that it was probably for this reason that they put it about that they were no longer on speaking terms with each other.

For those wishing to see what I believe to be the first machine to be fitted with expansion chambers, here's a photograph of the incredibly advanced 1951 DKW 350-3:
Posted Image
The designer of this machine - and its expansion chambers - was DKW's chief engineer Erich Wolf. When this machine was being raced, some two years before Walter Kaaden joined MZ, I believe that he was still running his own wood-working shop. I say this not to discredit Walter Kaaden but simply to give credit to Erich Wolf for it was he, not Walter Kaaden, who pioneered the application of expansion chambers on racing two strokes.

Edited by Sergio, 04 February 2010 - 04:31.


#41 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:51

Thanks for that Ray. It certainly puts it in a different perspective if it was Ernst himself who described the events. My apologies if you feel I was nitpicking. :wave:
Great pic BTW. Look at the small bag strapped to Ewald Kluge´s belt. I suspect it contained a spark plug or two, as I seem to recall reading the early 2 strokes were prone to oiling plugs on a fairly regular basis. :eek:

#42 stuavant

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:13

My friend Mike has been conversing with Ray, and here is his reply, to some questions about the Degner Defection, and the RT kits they sold for the A series bikes, which were popular in the USA in the late sixties.
**************


Hi Michael,

There is a lot of misinformation and myths about Ernst Degner both in print and on the web (since they feed off each other). The perpetrators range from esteemed writers to unknown 'enthusiasts' posting notes on a forum.

The bare bones of his true story are these.
Degner's excellent racing skills aboard a 125cc ZPH machine in the early 1950s was noticed and he was offered employment by MZ at Zschopau
He worked in the racing department as a mechanic during the week and as one of their riders at weekends.
His boss was at MZ was Walter Kaaden.
In 1960, Suzuki decided to expand sales beyond Japan by racing internationally to gain publicity and a reputation for manufacturing fast, reliable machines.
Their first event was the Isle of Man TT in June 1960. They entered a three man Japanese team on their 125cc 'Colleda' (RT60) model.
They finished in 15th, 16th and 18th places.
Meanwhile, they were impressed by the speed of the 125cc MZs, whose team happened to be staying at the same hotel and working on their machines in the same garage as Suzuki.
Suzuki planned a full GP season for 1961 but their results were simply awful. Not one of their initial seven man team at the TT finished the race. Some had not been able to start.
Jimmy Matsumiya had already befriended Degner at their joint hotel and now suggested that he join Suzuki by defecting.
The initial plan for Degner and his family to defect by driving freely into West Berlin on 13th August were prevented by the building of the Berlin Wall on August 11th and the strict border controls that were implemented at that time.
Whilst Degner, as an international sportsman, was allowed by the border controls to travel abroad, it was only on condition that his wife and family remained in East Germany. This is what forced the separate escape of his family and Degner's insistence that he would not defect himself until he had proof that his wife and family had arrived in West Germany.
Degner's new plan to defect at Monza (13th Sept) was cancelled because he needed more time to arrange for his wife and children to be smuggled into West Germany.
Meanwhile, Degner was in contention for the 125cc World Championship with Honda's Tom Phillis. If Degner won the Swedish GP, he would become 125cc World Champion.
Degner drove his wife and children to a point near the border where he transferred them into a secret compartment beneath the trunk floor of a friend's car. The friend was a West German called Petry.
Petry drove back across the border without problems.
Degner continued in his car to the Swedish GP at Kristianstad where he was hoping to clinch the championship.
In the race, his MZ engine broke and he was unable to leave the circuit until the end of the race because the paddock is in the centre and there was no bridge or tunnel across the track.
After the race he drove south and took the ferry to West Germany where he declared his intentions.. He then drove on to be reunited with his wife and family in West Germany.
Part of the pre-conditions for his Suzuki contract was that he would be able to explain and build a new Suzuki using MZ technologies and to do this, he took to the West various engine components and drawings. Please not that Degner always denied this to me.
Degner still wanted to win his championship and borrowed a 125cc EMC (Ehrlich Racing Motorcycles) built by Dr Josef Ehrlich for the final round in Argentina. But MZ managed to persuade the FIM to withdraw Degner's racing licence so although he was at the circuit, he was unable to race. He finished 2nd overall to Phillis in the 125cc world championship.
Over the winter, Degner flew to Japan where he helped Suzuki to design and build new 50cc and 125cc machinery.
In 1962, Degner became 50cc World Champion aboard one of 'his' Suzuki machines.
Degner rode a Suzuki 250cc square four machine at the Japanese GP at Suzuki. It was extremely powerful but renowned for its weight and 'slow;' handling due to a long wheelbase.
Degner had a bad start and was in a hurry to keep in touch with the rest of the field. He lost the front end at the 2nd turn. He ran towards his fallen machine intending to restart it but as he got hold of it, the machine burst into flames due to its full tank. Degner was severely burnt.
Contrary to previous information, new photographic evidence now proves conclusively that Degner was dragged out of the fire by a track marshal and not by a fellow rider.
This turn at Suzuka has since been officially named Degner Curve in Ernst Degner's memory.
Degner was out of racing for almost one year and had over 50 skin grafts in various German hospitals. He became dependant on pain killers for the rest of his life.
His racing suffered and he never fully regained his old form. He eventually retired in 1966.
Degner had a number of jobs after hanging up his leathers. He was a car salesman and worked for a carburettor company. He worked for Suzuki Germany for a couple of years too. He had a couple of stints working for ARAL as their competition manager.
In 1981, Degner (by then his marriage had broken down) moved to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where he established a car hire business.
On 8th September 1983, he suffered a heart attack and was found dead in his apartment.
I can see why you believe that Degner caused Honda to develop four stroke technology but that his normal. You could say that MV caused Honda to develop their racing machinery too or indeed, any brand that beat Honda in those years. That's the nature of racing - competition.

But I would say that what Degner did was accelerate the development and interest in two strokes - particularly as a racing engine - outside of the Eastern Bloc. But I have no doubt that regardless of Degner's defection, the technology would have slowly seeped out. You cannot hide crankcase-mounted carburettors (i.e. disc valves) and expansion chambers and rear-facing exhaust ports for too long. Also, machinery is stolen and the information it contains reverse-engineered. This is how the EMC 125cc machine of 1961 so closely resembled the latest MZs. MZ shared garages in the Isle of Man. this too was most revealing and we know that Walter Kaaden was not beyond trading MZ technology for the sort of common Western components that were hen's teeth in the East (such as Norton's Road-Holder forks).

I am very interested in the AS100 documentation you sent. I already possess US Suzuki's Performance Bulletin No 1 (also issued on August 1st 1969) so I am grateful for this.

I assume that the contents of the document whose cover appears on Page 4 of your PDF (showing a pic of an AS100 and the words "A-100 AS-100 MOTO-CROSS") are the following 15 pages? i.e. the last page of this booklet contains the words "Enjoy - - - Suzuki A100 Moto-Cross!"

That being the case, what is contained in the booklet whose cover you provided as Page 1 of your PDF (the page with the power curve)?

But it's all very interesting and I would guess at this stage that this Kit was only ever issued in the USA. Why? By November 1968 (when this Kit appears to have been issued), Suzuki's major export market was the USA. The European markets were still in their relative infancy and in any event, Europe doesn't have the off-road space of West Coast USA, so for these reasons, an AS moto-cross conversion would not have been as interesting anyway. I could be wrong but I think this will be the case.

Now your photographs of the converted parts.

The Kit cylinder and cylinder head appear to have been made using a process known as Low-Pressure Die-Casting. This doesn't give the smooth finish of a High Pressure Die Casting and also allows sand cores to be used (High Pressure requires all-metal moulds). What this says to me is that Suzuki had partially tooled up for these kits. Not the whole expensive ten thousand units a day type tooling up that high pressure die casting would provide, but certainly for bigger volumes than hand-made sand casting would have provided. So I guess they must have had plans to sell high volumes of this kit. And the the Bulletin you sent, seems to confirm this. They talk about "The 17bhp 100cc Motocross Suzuki has proven unbeatable in road racing, motocross, flat track, and TT competition." In that case, it had become the machine to have if you wanted to win and demand for these kits would have been tremendous.

The photo of the RT Kit Pipe again shows a degree of investment by Suzuki. this pipe has clearly been made from two steel pressings (with the header pipe, this would be 4 pressings) so not the welded up hand-made type seen on the factory racers. This again indicates a degree of mass-production.

I just love Q-Bikes; machines that look 'normal' yet pack a real punch and I guess with a 75% power boost, this aptly describes the AS-100 with the factory kit fitted. And if you have specialised in machines fitted with conversion kits, I am sure you have found an excellent niche market and I wish you the best of luck in exploiting it.

Finally, one of the guys who worked at US Suzuki in those days - in the racing department - was a Japanese guy called Shogi Tanaka. When I interviewed him in 1981, he lived in the Los Angeles area (by then he was working at a dealership) but his name is quite unusual outside of Japan anyway) so you may be able to track him down quite easily. He may have some knowledge that can help you. If you find him, please give him my regards (and maybe ask him to email me).

Cheers

Ray

Just caught up with the latest blog on Degner. What a great story. Rays book was my bible during the 80's and my well worn copy is still at home. Suzuki ran a whole range of 100cc and later 125's in Indonesia in the early 70's when we were up there. Lovely little single cylinder rockets, all Factory. Speaking of the 100cc Kit, we had a few kits in NZ. Somewhere I have a pic of me on a A100 with a factory kit lining up at Ohoka waiting to do a run and achieve a new NZ speed record for the class. Unfortunately the wet clutch could not handle the extra power and IIRC my speed was 20mph :) Nevertheless we had, via the Colemans, access to most of the Suzuki kits going around. Magic days down under!!


#43 mba21

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:25

Just caught up with the latest blog on Degner. What a great story. Rays book was my bible during the 80's and my well worn copy is still at home. Suzuki ran a whole range of 100cc and later 125's in Indonesia in the early 70's when we were up there. Lovely little single cylinder rockets, all Factory. Speaking of the 100cc Kit, we had a few kits in NZ. Somewhere I have a pic of me on a A100 with a factory kit lining up at Ohoka waiting to do a run and achieve a new NZ speed record for the class. Unfortunately the wet clutch could not handle the extra power and IIRC my speed was 20mph :) Nevertheless we had, via the Colemans, access to most of the Suzuki kits going around. Magic days down under!!



To keep things on a lighter note ,,,,,, :rotfl:

A kiwi is hoping to emigrate to Australia and arrives at Brisbane airport on a beautiful sunny morning full of optimism for the future.

"What is your business in Australia?" politely asks the customs officer

"I want to emigrate to Australia"

"Do you have a criminal record?"

Stunned, the crestfallen Kiwi replies

"Geez bro, I didn't think you still needed one!"

#44 fil2.8

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:46

To keep things on a lighter note ,,,,,, :rotfl:

A kiwi is hoping to emigrate to Australia and arrives at Brisbane airport on a beautiful sunny morning full of optimism for the future.

"What is your business in Australia?" politely asks the customs officer

"I want to emigrate to Australia"

"Do you have a criminal record?"

Stunned, the crestfallen Kiwi replies

"Geez bro, I didn't think you still needed one!"


:lol: :lol: :lol: :rotfl: :rotfl: :lol: :lol: :lol: :up: :up:

#45 suzukijo

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 19:50

http://www.teamsuzuki.co.uk/

his book is still available..... good reading, and great reference, terrific pictures.