Monday 26 May 2014

Ireland, Rain, Guiness, whisky & good crack

Last Wednesday we set off for work on the two Nortons, always a bit stressful riding a Norton in rush hour traffic in Glasgow! The bikes (well Fiona's to start with) added to the stress, a misfire heading along the M8 had me worried so we swapped bikes and farted and banged into the office. I did a quick plug change and it seemed OK so Fi headed off to her office and I to mine.
We met up after work and headed over the very busy Kingston Bridge and on to the M77 heading for Stranraer, after about five minutes on the M77 Fiona shouted her bike had packed in, a roadside investigation showed that one of the coil wires had vibrated off, that fixed we were on our way again for about half a mile before my bike spluttered to a halt, I couldn't believe it! As I checked I could smell and see smoke coming from under the tank, transpired the throttle cable had been rubbing against  the wiring loom, rubbed through the insulation and was shorting out the wires causing a fire!
Roadside maintenance again and me thinking what did I do to deserve this today!
We made it to Stranraer without further mishap, dumped our gear and headed into town for food and a beer, my brother John joined us not long after and Alex joined us but didn't come to the pub (unusual!)
The following morning we caught the ferry to Belfast and met up with Michael McEneaney
our guide and host , Mickey served us tea and Pat put on a wonderful lunch before Mickey's pal Brian joined us and we headed south to Nenagh to stop at a great B&B, the Abbey View, well recommended if your in the area. A pretty heavy night at the pub followed and on the Friday had a great (but cold) ride down to Kilmakilogue to meet up with the team. Martin Connachy organises this event every year and we are always well looked after.
Great to catch up with all the friends we missed by being away last year, the weekend followed the usual pattern of drinking, talking, taking the piss and having a great time, there was even time for a fair bit of motorcycling! A special mention and an idea of the calibre of guys who come here was John Martin from Texas who couldn't make it this year ensured there was wine on the table for us both nights, nice one John!
Sunday we headed back up to Mickeys place, it rained most of the way and we had a small 20 minute breakdown on Fi's bike (she needs to sack her mechanic) but all in all not too bad a run back up the road. Back into Belfast today and back home, rain again of course but some sun as we got within striking distance of Edinburgh, 1000 miles and about 800 of them wet! Typical! Looking forward to next year already. I'll let the pictures tell the story;

Fixing the bike before work!
And after work
Tank back on and fire out!
After the problems we enjoyed the run
We are sailing, we are sailing , again........
Ready to disembark
The gang at Mickeys house
At the Abbeyview, Mickey got roped into folding the sheets by the landlady's Mum & Dad
Nice wee town
Nice wee pub, John looking chilled
On the road again, petrol stations are our church....
Alex looking at Ladies view rather than viewing the Ladies
Fiona with her back to Ladies view
Ba Ba Black sheep
Made it!
Martin Connachy with his very nice Vincent
Peter Allen our host in Denver last year came over , not sure if he came to see all of us or just his Vincent
Kevin Raftrey holding on the Triumph badge to stop it vibrating off
More fuel stops
Cake stops
View stops
And beer stops
Outside the famous MacCarthys bar in Castletownbere

Striking a pose.....
Striking a beer
Glad Kevin and Margaret persuaded us to do the Healey pass, great fun despite the rain  
Trick BSA by John O'Regan 
Heading home, stop in the rain
Our genial host and guide for the weekend, Michael>
Belfast Docks, Fi praying to the Norton Gods for some sunshine
Attempting to quickly remove 1000 miles worth of muck, it didn't work, we'll have to do it properly tomorrow night
Some of the Drinking team with some noteable exceptions outside the pub at Kilmac

Sunday 11 May 2014

Beveridge Park

Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy was one of my favourite race circuits back in the days when I used to burn copious amounts of cash trying to be a motorcycle racer, it was effectively a race around the park paths, slightly wider than a path but certainly not as wide as a road, unfortunately it became a victim of the elf & safety thing and the last race there was in 1988 which I'm glad to say I took part in.
The Kirkcaldy and district motorcycle club still stage road races but no longer on their home turf in "the Park", they staged a reunion come bike show today and Fiona and I took the Nortons up to have a look. It was a day of blethering (Talking) with old friends and looking at the bikes, a grand day out and we even managed to avoid the showers. Mose Hutchison (The commentator) must have been hard up for interviewees as I got knobbled soon after arriving for a few thoughts on "The Park" must admit it brought back some memories. I still like it when I hear people say "you guys raced around here!?" like we were mad (we were) Hopefully it'll become a more regular event in future.

Ready for the off with our new (Christmas) helmets!
Forfar John's trick Commando
Nice LC's
Yes we raced around here. this was the start finish straight
Nice BSA outfits
Good crowds despite the weather
Ex Tony Rutter TT winning Ducatis
Tribute to the Late Robert Dunlop
Nice and unusual Vincent racer in the Scottish Classic Racing Clubs lineup
AJS 7R , Come on Peter get yours cracked up!
I raced against stuff like this!
But not this, before my time even 
Dod Spence trying to drum up some cash for his forthcoming TT capaign, Dod is a true TT privateer and has been racing on the Isle of Man for as long as I've been stopped racing (a long time) Good luck George
The evergreen Alan Duffus's TZ750 just back from a successful trip to South Africa where he won his class
1931 Rudge racer, class

Monday 5 May 2014

May Bank Holiday

As it was the May Bank holiday this weekend it was also the annual Scottish Moto Guzzi Rally. This year it was in Moniaive in the Scottish borders, this particular part of Scotland is a bit of a stranger to me I'm afraid so it was a few new roads that made our acquaintance. I haven't done much touring around this area as I always get the impression its colder and wetter than most of the other places I go to in this fantastic country. No surprise then when I found it was cold and wet! However we still had a great time and we did get to ride on some dry roads, the organisers did a fantastic job of keeping us entertained at night and serving us plenty whisky tae keep the thrapple doused, we were given an award in recognition of our wee jaunt round the Americas last year which was nice, apologies we missed the presentation as we wir getting unco fu wi Bert McCall & Laurenne in the pub and joined in the festivities a bit later. Bert bumped into an old school pal who lives nearby and then we found out he'd just been speaking to my old neighbour and friend Jimmy the moothie Harcus at the blues festival in the next village, Scotland is indeed like a wee village, especially amongst the motorcycle fratenity.
The field did remind me of a Norton rally on Saturday morning as there was much unplanned maintenance going on. Fiona decided we needed to go for a run to Prestwick on Sunday to see our pal Liz who's just had a shoulder operation and also so that we could get wetter and colder, I didn't see much of the road due to the rain and mist but I did feel the potholes!
Thanks to the all the people there both local and Guzzi folk for an excellent weekend in great company. I'll be back hopefully on a sunnier day to sample more of this area which like most most of Scotland oozes history. Glad to say both the Guzzi and the Norton ran well over the weekend so that was another bonus.

Bikes loaded and sunshine while we wait for our friend Gill

Let the damage begin, it got messy of Friday

Dark Sky, camping, a great combination

This bike was blowing out oil (easily fixed)

Rally organiser Russell wondered why his bike was handling funny and found one of the front leading link fork tubes had broken!

Minor adjustments

Nice Lodola

Scene of good music and whisky overdose

The main street with the Market Cross, its been there since 1638

Nice town and despite it looking closed it was very much open, try the Green Tea room if your in the area

Fiona waiting to buy water despite being tempted!

The houses here were built to last!

Old Moto Guzzi's built to last also

Gill preparing for the off on Sunday

Fiona & the guys discussing world politics

A brieff respite from the rain and mist (and sheep) en route to Prestwick on Sunday