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Some 1970s sidecar stuff memories


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#1 Helvetica

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Posted 03 August 2023 - 12:34

Hi everyone,

Back in the late 1970s just before and after Rudi and I retired, I wrote several articles for a Japanese bike magazine. To be honest, I had forgotten all about them until I found four of them (original typed pages) in a box which was returned to us (together with our two CAT sidecar outfits and CAT solo), from the USA following the death of our dearest friend.

I scanned one of them and made it into a pdf in case anyone would like to read it. It's about the "family of sidecar racers" from back then... It's only a few pages (4 pages + 3 lines) but it made me smile when I read it after all these years.

Here's the link

www.catbikes.ch/coinstuff/Sidecar_family.pdf

(sorry, had to change the link after a couple of minutes)

 

Don't know whether the others would be of interest. ("A large leap for the sidecar sport", "Wolfgang Kalauch - ready for retirement?" and "When the sidecars beat the solos"..)


Edited by Helvetica, 03 August 2023 - 12:53.


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#2 StanN

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 00:38

Thank you for this, Dane. An interesting story about sidecar racing back in the 60s early 70s.

I would certainly like to read the other pieces you wrote at the time if you would post them here.

 

Stan



#3 brands77

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 04:34

I too would love to read the other articles.



#4 Michael Ferner

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 06:39

Yes, very much interested in reading those - thanky you, Dane! Kalauch is certainly a very interesting character...



#5 LittleChris

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 07:13

Me too please Dane

#6 milestone 11

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 10:01

Me too please Dane, I can't access the first one, c&p brings no results.

#7 tonyed

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Posted 04 August 2023 - 15:51

I raced a Crescent engined solo in the 70s and was associated with others who rode the Willy Ryans Crescent.

The engine had one major problem, the fact that the cylinder block and head were cast in one piece which meant that no adjustment to the squish dimension was possible, which mean that compared with the other hydoplane engine, the Koenig the power output was considerably lower. I don't know what Rudi might have done to address this problem that was inherent in its design.

A few years ago when visiting BDK engineering in Norfolk England I saw what they were doing to modify and rectify this problem which was to remove the cast in head and replace it with a screwed on separate head so the squish could be adjusted to improve the power output. 

Did Rudi ever pursue such a course or did the progress to the 3 cylinder Yamaha TZ based engine mean that such was not required?  



#8 Helvetica

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Posted 05 August 2023 - 11:58

Well, we had the Crescent on our ancient test bench and Rudi tweaked it as much as was possible. (I still call the little room, which now houses our heat pump unit, "the test bench room"). The cylinder heads on our engines were separate.

Despite all the publicity that the Monark factory made using photos of our CAT, we received very little support from them, we had to pay for all the spare parts we picked up at the factory in Uppsala when we were in Sweden for the Anderstorp races. Oh wait a minute - they gave us two nylon jackets (I think I still have mine somewhere)....

 

We changed first to a 2-cylinder 350 Yamaha engine (borrowed from Philippe Coulon) because we were just fed up with the Crescent breaking down every time (I wrote in my race log something like "We have now had enough of the Crescent). The 350 Yamaha was much more reliable and it was then that Rudi decided to make a 3-cylinder Yamaha 500. (Yes, it was Rudi who built it AND the two Yamaha 3-cylinder bikes for the factory, despite a certain plagiaristic Dutchman saying in interviews that he made them :mad: ). Our first 3 cylinder crankshaft was welded, later we had them made at a German factory. The Yamaha race manager Tanaka-san saw our 3-cylinder engine at the Assen TT and asked Rudi to build one (later 2 more) for them, as well as two monocoque frames, which Katayama-san rode and which are now in the Yamaha factory in Japan. We will always be grateful to Yamaha for their amazing generosity and friendship.

 

About the other articles - OK, I need to finish a 65 page translation (ancient coins stuff) then I will scan the other articles.

 

@milestone 11: Important: First clear your cache of the link you tried. Then try http:/.... instead of https:/.... Make sure your browser is showing http, not https (many annoyingly switch to https by default). catbikes.ch is not yet set as an https site.



#9 tonyed

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Posted 05 August 2023 - 16:27

There is much controversy about the first 3 cylinder Yamaha engine. However all the TZ derivatives were preceeded by an American engineer who built one using  TR2 engines.

That bye the bye, whoever did build the first one and I am in no position to say, although I do know of the 'Dutch Person' to whom you do refer and his story, I am amazed that the Yamaha factory went down the road of building, and lets face it, hardly developing the in-line 4 cylinder TZ500, when they could have built and developed a TZ 350 based 3.

The TZ500 compared with the RG Suzuki was a non-starter unless you had the availability of 'works parts' and Suzuki themselves could have offered the better package of the TR500 to those who could not afford an RG 500.

As for the Crescent, the engine was a nice concept, incredibly simple, but too simple to be competitive in the motorcycle racing world.

We found in the 70s that if you wanted to race a 500 without running a 351 TZ (350 with yellow plates) and couldn't afford the genuine GP bikes your options were limited.

The Koenig had more potential but was along engine when a gearbox was fitted to run in a solo. In my opinion the 3 cylinder Suzuki base Sparton was the best option.

I would not claim that my Crescent was the best around but it did offer a reasonably competitive, cheaper alternative  to the Japanese production alternatives.     

It's all history now and we are the better for it.

IF ONLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!        


Edited by tonyed, 05 August 2023 - 16:27.


#10 Helvetica

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Posted 05 August 2023 - 19:58

PS - I just asked Rudi and he said that he had the cylinder parts specially cast by a local company - he said the engine also looked much more elegant than the original Crescent engine.



#11 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2023 - 16:28

 

 

@milestone 11: Important: First clear your cache of the link you tried. Then try http:/.... instead of https:/.... Make sure your browser is showing http, not https (many annoyingly switch to https by default). catbikes.ch is not yet set as an https site.

Hi Dane, I have no problem getting on the site but don't see the sidecar_family pdf. I can see the one for an electrolysis bath but not being a numismatist, I have little need of it. Clicking on PDFs produces a message denying access without signing in. Can't see a registration either or are you talking in terms of the mailing list?

 

Edit.

Typing the address rather than C&P had success. :clap: This should in all theory be a live link.  http://catbikes.ch/c...ecar_family.pdf


Edited by milestone 11, 07 August 2023 - 16:38.


#12 Helvetica

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Posted 10 August 2023 - 16:53

That's weird - all my browsers (still using good old windows 7) both with and without the www part.

 

Anyway, here is the Wolfgang Kalauch article:

Use whichever one works for you.

http://www.catbikes....ang_Kalauch.pdf
http://catbikes.ch/c...ang_Kalauch.pdf



#13 milestone 11

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Posted 14 August 2023 - 09:46

No problem on Windows 11, Amazon Fire tablet won't go near HTTP, must be a recent update because previously would get a warning message that it was an insecure site with an option to knowingly continue.



#14 flatlandsman

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Posted 14 August 2023 - 10:10

Does anyone know much about the turbo 250 stroke outfit I think Biland tried in the 80's maybe?  I think it was put together by what might have then been Swissauto who went on to build V4 engines and basically formed the basis of elf and MuZ solo teams. 



#15 tonyed

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Posted 14 August 2023 - 16:16

I don't think the turbo 250 got much further than an experimental engine, plus the fact despite Rolfs innovative approach to racing the FIM were a load of old codgers who would not accept any form of supercharging.

However I believe as the SA 250 this engine is still available or at least was https://www.swissaut..._Display=20000I for kart racing

The Swiss auto though was a four cylinder two stroke where there were two common crank volumes. Basically a simplified four cylinder concept.

Worked well with little in the way of a performance deficit. 

MuZ used it for their solo and with more development could have gone further. It became the Pulse after BSL bought the engine for Jay Vincent and Mark Willis to campaign.

Still see it about at various classic meetings in Europe.  :clap:


Edited by tonyed, 14 August 2023 - 16:16.


#16 flatlandsman

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Posted 14 August 2023 - 17:03

I am sure Biland or maybe someone else raced the turbo 2 stroke, I am positive I saw a picture of it and an article somewhere, I must be dreaming!



#17 Helvetica

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 17:19

I can ask Rolf about it (if I remember) next time he comes round. He does pop in now and again.



#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 08:33

I'm pretty sure Markus Bösiger raced the thing a couple times, without success. Don't think Biland did, although it was certainly up his steet!

 

Dane, good to see you're still around! I recently found a few nice pics of yours in some old magazines, I hope you don't mind if I post them here!?



#19 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 17:03

From my (perhaps incomplete) records:

 

1989-07-30 Le Castellet/F: Markus Bösiger/Peter Markwalder, Colani 4c/250cc turbo, qualified 26th, retired after 11 of 22 laps, engine failure

1990-05-06 Jerez/E: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto?) 250cc turbo, qualified 24th, DNS/too slow

1990-05-20 Misano/I: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto 250cc turbo?), qualified 26th, DNS/too slow

1990-06-10 Salzburg/A: Markus Bösiger/Peter Markwalder, LCR/Swissauto (250cc turbo?), qualified 26th, DNS/too slow

1990-06-17 Rijeka/YU: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto 250cc turbo?), qualified 24th, DNS/too slow

1990-06-30 Assen/NL: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto 250cc turbo?), qualified 29th, DNS/too slow

1990-07-07 Francorchamps/B: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto 250cc turbo?), qualified 26th, DNS/too slow

1990-08-12 Anderstorp/S: Markus Bösiger/Peter Markwalder, (LCR/Swissauto 250cc?) turbo, qualified 26th, DNS/too slow

1990-09-02 Hungaroring/H: Markus Bösiger/(Peter Markwalder?), (LCR/Swissauto 250cc turbo?), qualified 25th, DNS/too slow

1991-05-26 Hockenheim/D: Markus Bösiger/Peter Markwalder, (LCR/)Swissauto (250cc?) turbo, qualified 21st (?), DNS/clutch (Bösiger raced a Krauser instead, perhaps he used it in qualifying, too)

 

So, not a success story by any stretch of the imagination. It's worth noting that I have only on four occasions positive info that he used the turbo engine, he may have used a Krauser or ADM instead in some of the other races listed.