Sunday, 5th November

Off to Graham Files with my motor for it’s winter freshen up. Graham never ceases to amaze me in his capacity for work, ability to remember the most obscure details about 2 stroke motors, courtesy in supplying tea/coffee, and stamina when it comes to a conversation. I think it was Roger once said “He’s the only person I know who can spend two hours telling you he doesn’t have time to do his work”. Anyway, the deal is new top ends, new crank seals, probably new reeds, and a jolly good examination to see how the engine has fared in the hands of yours truly. A very informative chat about cooling and jetting has given me some ideas for next year as well.

But, for now, it’s back out to the garage again and I’m going to start stripping the chassis. I’ve got half a day off work, so I’m going to use it. Being paid overtime at the moment is all well and good when it comes to paying off this seasons accrued debts, but I’m knackered. Everything looks pretty good with the chassis, but I’m worried about one of the brake calipers. The retaining pin has completely siezed in place, and I’ve got no idea how to get it out. I’ve tried heating it, to no avail. I’ve tried shocking it (I wandered into the garage with no clothes on) but also to no avail. I split the caliper, and got a pair of mole grips on it. I could get a good grip, but the thing is siezed so tightly that I ended up twisting the steel pin so hard that it snapped.

Wednesday, 6th December

Well, another month has passed, and my lack of updates to these pages could be construed as a lack of activity on my part. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As far as the bike goes, I’ve stripped everything, put it back together again (except the wheels, which are waiting to be blasted and re-coated). The engine has come back from Grahams, and is a work of mechanical loveliness. New cables have been attached to various bits like the throttle, clutch etc. to ensure I don’t suffer an embarrasing lack of forward motion 50 yds into my first race next year. Mark Walford has machined me up some gorgeous footpegs in his spare time to replace the rather tatty ones that were on there. Erm, I think that’s about it at the moment. Oh, the aforementioned siezed caliper pin was removed by the chaps at Cambridge Motorcycles in about 12 seconds with the aid of an oxy-acetylene torch. I still think it’s a fairly crap bit of design though, as it appears that every TZ250 rider I’ve spoken to has had exactly the same problem. Thanks to everyone who mailed me with possible solutions too.

Off the bike, things are also going rather well. A couple of monumental parties thrown by TeamIxion and The BMCRC left me in possesion of a rather nice trophy, and asleep in a wardrobe at 3am respectively. I’m getting far too old for all this sort of thing.

I’m also thinking of starting the running total of the seasons costs again… I could start here with the cost of the engine rebuild, control cables, wheel bearings etc. but I think I’ll leave it ’til after Christmas.

Finally, I have to report on my first ever race victory… In a local minimoto race. I can only say the the level of competition can’t have been that hot, ‘cos I started both my rounds from the back of the grid and won both of them. Perhaps I should pursue this as a hobby, as it’s a whole lot cheaper.