Motorcycles
 
Issue 32, 1.3.00
HUNWICK HALLAM, the Australian firm that was brave enough to build its own exotic prototype V-twin bikes from the ground up, is now Hunwick Harrop. The reason for the split of the original partnership (Hunwick was the business brains, and Hallam the engineering source) is unclear.

  The new part of the partnership, Harrop Engineering, is very well known in Australian car racing circles. Ron Harrop is a former chief engineer for the all-conquering Holden V8 Supercar team and runs an exceptionally-well equipped engineering business from Melbourne (Vic, Australia). The latest story doing the rounds (which we have yet to confirm) is that the project has not died, but in fact is hoping to have limited production of the Boss cruiser (pictured) up and running around August. Not surprisingly, the potentially lucrative American market is the first target. Watch this space for further updates.

KIWI SUPERBIKE rider Aaron Slight suffered a stroke recently and underwent brain surgery about ten days ago. He is healing well, apparently, but looks likely to miss at least the first few rounds of this year's WSC.

BMW HAS begun production of its C1 scooter, which the company describes as a synthesis of car and bike.

  The 11kW (14.75hp) machine runs an auto stepless transmission and features a full crash cage, complete with roof and seatbelt, that encloses the rider -- enabling it to be ridden legally without a helmet in many countries. BMW says it has done 180,000 trial kilometres with the machine, including a run of crash tests. The bike is for European markets only in the forseeable future and there are no plans to bring it to Australia. (The version at top right is a prototype.)

WILD MAN Anthony Gobert will be racing a TL1000-powered Bimota in this year's world superbike champs. Bimota's record on following through with grand racing plans is dismal, but we hope it works this time. Love him or hate him, Gobert always makes life more interesting.

REPSOL HONDA GP rider and reigning world 500cc champ Alex Criville has a cloud hanging over his health following a couple of episodes where he has blacked out unexpectedly.

THE MARCH edition of Australian Motorcycle Trader (middle right) is out and features a particularly good piece on buying used T140 Triumphs. There's also an historical feature on Munch Mammoths by internationally-recognised motorcycle historian Ian Falloon.

AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE News (bottom right) is also on the news stands this Thursday with a report on the international launch of Suzuki's new GSX-R750 ? attended by GP race legend Kevin Schwantz.

THE WORLD MX GP at Broadford (Vic, Australia) on March 18-19 is looking for officials/marshals. Call (03) 5192 4311. That's also the number to dial for tickets.

Sydneysiders should remember to listen to the Ride Rage radio show, 2.00-4.00pm, Mondays, Radio 2RRR, 88.5mhz.

FROM SUZUKI
Kenny Roberts interview
(Note: Kenny is the lead rider for the Suzuki 500cc GP team and our pick for this year's championship.)

Q: Who is your main rival this season?
KR: I don't have one. We have to beat ourselves. I'm only thinking of myself this year. We have to be more consistent than last year. The championship is mine to lose.

Q: Last year was your first with Suzuki, and you found yourself winning races and going for the title. Was that surprising?
KR: You could say that ? it was kind of unexpected to be doing well so soon. But the amount of work we put into it, we deserved it. The trouble is, you never know when you've done enough.

Q: Wayne Rainey is on record saying that your weakness is that you have very little experience of going for a championship. Is that a fair comment?
KR: He was right ? at the beginning of last year. By the last third of last year I was a lot stronger, and though we had some bad luck in Australia and South Africa, that was mainly because we were trying so hard, and changing a lot of things on the bike. We're way past that now.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Suzuki?
KR: There's places where we struggle on a track, and where the Honda is strong. That's mainly under hard braking and acceleration ? that's what we're working on now. But we're far better off now than we were at this time last year.

Q: Will you ever be happy with the bike?
KR: There's a difference between being happy and being satisfied. You're always looking for improvements, so that means you are never satisfied. But you can be content.

Q: How do you relax?
KR: I like golf, so if I have half-a-day to spare, that's what I'll do. I also like fishing, but that's just an excuse to relax and unwind for three or four days, so it's harder to find the time. I like all kinds of fishing, though mainly in California it's lake fishing for bass. I try and get some deep-sea fishing once a year, but the trouble is I get sicker than hell out at sea.

Q: What is your favourite track?
KR: I don't really have one. Like most riders, I like the tracks I won at, and I don't like the tracks where I had disappointing results.

Q: What car do you drive?
KR: I have a Suzuki Vitara, and a Toyota pick-up truck. I like to be high up, and see over the other guys. I'm not looking to get a Ferrari or something. I used to have big trucks, but I've moved down a bit.

Q: What's your favourite road?
KR: I don't have one. I hate driving. I'd rather fly anyday, even if it's just an hour journey.

Q: What's your favourite book? Or the last one you read.
KR: Computers kind of eat up my reading time ? since I got a computer that plays DVDs I'm more likely to watch a movie. The last book I read was a murder mystery called ìKiss the Girlsî. It was a movie too, but the book was better.

Q: Your favourite movie?
KR: ìHeatî. It's about three hours long, and it's real good.

Q: And music?
KR: I like listening to my local country radio station when I am home. I miss it when I'm away, so I often make a few minidisc recordings and bring them with me when I'm traveling. I like most hit list music. As long as it's not rap, I like it.

Q: How did you celebrate the millennium?
KR: Just with my dad's birthday party at the ranch.

Q: Apart from motorcycle racing, do you have any other ambitions?
KR: Motorcycling takes up too much time at the moment.

Q: Would you like to be remembered for more than racing ? for example as a rider who improved safety?
KR: The safety stuff is simple ? I can do that while I'm still racing. It's stupid to have things that aren't safe. Like if the trackside paint is slippery when it's wet, and people are falling off, like happened last year, then why not fix it so it is right?

Q: Some people think that you're only in racing because of your dad ? that you're trying to live up to him. How do you feel about that?
KR: That doesn't bother me. It's a good reason to go racing anyway. If my dad hadn't been a road-racer, I probably wouldn't be a rider either, so that's the reason why I started.

Q: How do you get fit? Have you changed your training regime?
KR: I've been doing the same sort of thing for about ten years ? a couple of hours a day, five days a week. We try and make it fun and relaxing, so it's not too much of a chore. I do go jogging, but if that gets old then we'll play basketball, or spend more time in the gym, or do something else to break the monotony.

Q: You recently extended your contract with Suzuki. What are the details?
KR: They have an option to extend it to the end of 2002. I'm happy with Suzuki. They are just excellent people. The Japanese and myself think the same way, and have the same desire for success. I don't need an option to renew ? it's kind of like a pre-nuptial contract. If both parties agree, it's not really necessary.



Issue 31, 25.2.00
Motorcycle accessory manufacturer Corbin has started production of three-wheeled microcars that are promoted as environmentally friendly vehicles. The first model, called the Sparrow (left in pic), is electric and 35 examples have been delivered to customers. The second, called the Merlin (right in pic), is powered by an in-house 1200cc V-twin engine and is close to production.
  Corbin has fairly ambitious plans in this area, with a number of designs for mini vans and other variations on the theme on the drawing board. The company says it will produce its V-twin in normally-aspirated and supercharged forms. However there is no hint of doing the obvious and sticking it into a motorcycle. You can find out more by clicking the picture to visit www.corbin.com

Hot on the heels of last week's report that Triumph may have revived its ëT-Max' project comes the news the counter-rumour that Yamaha is working on a two-litre version of the V-Max, running an entirely new powerplant, though likely to be a similar V-four configuration to the original. We support the idea on the condition they don't pussy-foot around with anything less than an honest 200 horses...

BMW is offering a limited run of serious replicas of its Paris-Dakar winning bikes. Based on the firm's F650 Dakar, it is called the Rallye. It carries digital instruments instead of the stock analogue gear, plus a very different seat/tailpiece unit. The fuel arangements mirror those of the race bike, with a 13 litre tank under the seat and two ësaddle' tanks of 10 litres each  hanging down beside the cylinder head. Suspension is race spec, by WP Racing, with travel at the front boosted from 170mm to a whopping 290. Sadly the race mods don't extend to the now fuel-injected powerplant, which makes do with a carbon pipe that might add a couple of horses to the stock 50 (37.3kW). The bike is to be offered through some European dealers.

Bimota is finally dropping its Mantra from the model line-up and you don't have to be a genius to work why...so long as you have a photo of it. The bike
will be replaced by a new naked model.

What price love? According to UK MCN, about ten times the original. A British rider tracked down his much loved Triumph Bonneville after a long separation ? 27 years, in fact. Welshman Jeremy Nibbs sold his Bonnie in 1973 for 275 quid due to family commitments. He recently bought it back for 2500 pounds.

Harley-Davidson has recalled limited numbers of the XL1200 Custom for potential handlebar failure. FLTs are subject to a different recall for a fuel injection fix. Suzuki has also had a recall for a fault in an oil partition cast in SLV650s that could cause engine seizure. Both companies are contacting owners.

A Japanese hospital patient escaped while delirious and set fire to 42 motorcycles in a residential car park before stopped by police. He told officers he thought it would make him feel better...

Suzuki is putting the final touches on a new GSX-R600, said to be styled very closely to this year's 750. Look for it mid-year.

There are times when you have to wonder about the poms. In a recent survey conducted by an insurance company most (male) riders said that their favourite pillion would be multi world superbike champ Carl Fogarty. The choice of runners-up Liz Hurley, Pamela Anderson and Julia Roberts we can understand, but Foggy? Is there something we missed?

In the on-going saga over who, if anyone, is going to buy Moto Guzzi, both Cagiva and Aprilia have been mentioned as potential suitors. A second attempt to revive the deal with KTM seems to have cooled off and the theory is that both Cagiva and Aprilia could use Guzzi's instant access to the cruiser market.

Benelli is planning to release the first of its Tornados at the end of this year, but in limited edition SP form. In a move similar to that of MV with its F4 Serie Oro, the first version of the bike will be made available in small numbers and at a premium. A production version with less exotic cycle parts will follow. Click the pic to visit the Benelli site at www.tornadobenelli.com

It's late notice, but the largest swap meet in the Southern Hemisphere - at Ballarat in Victoria - is on this weekend. You won't have any trouble finding it if you drop into town.

Just a word of warning for those buying insurance for their motorcycle. Your standard policy may no longer cover you for track days. While they used to be covered, the cost became too steep for a number of companies to bear without additional premiums. So if in doubt, enquire. We understand a number of places will provide such cover at additional expense.

From Evan Holt at tradart@dynamite.com.au: "council has decided that if you want to park your bike at  Batemans Bay when going to or from Phillip Island you have to:
1. go to the town Visitor Information Centre  to collect a plastic sleeve type wallet;
2. go back to the CBD, park the bike, put 50 cents in the voucher machine;
3. put the voucher in the wallet, and...
4. attach the wallet to your bike before wandering in to one of our many cafes for a mugachino and a hamburger.
  "I'm trying to get the Council to let motorbikes park free in designated areas close to the cafes, toilets and phones. Well, I've done about as much as I can do.
  "Council has also decided that two motorbikes will park in each car parking space in the voucher parking areas. 2 x 50 cents is twice what a car owner pays for the same parking space. No reductions allowed for bikes.
  "The guy responsible for all this is Stuart Jones, and I would like all bike owners to email Stuart or the Mayor, Chris Vardon, at council@eurocoast.nsw.gov.au...and tell them you won't be stopping at Batemans Bay on the way through unless the Council gets its act together and allows free parking for motorbikes in voucher parking areas and designated motorcycle parking areas."

Stephen Dearnley, one of the founding members of the Ulysses Club, has published a history of the organisation. This type of club history is usually as entertaining as the death notices in the newspaper, but this is an exception. The book ? which is a little over 110 pages with photos ? is an informative and often light-hearted read. Dearnley, who still rides at a cheeky eighty-something, could carve out a career for himself as a writer. Proceeds for the $14 title (including postage), The Ulysses Story, go to the Arthritis Foundation. You can buy the book via mail at the The Ulysses Club Inc, PO Box 122, Bargo 2574. Click the pic to see the Ulysses web site at www.ulysses.org.au

We've had a reader ask if there are any web sites out there offering go-faster bits for ZZ-R600s. If anyone can help, we'll pass it on.

We mentioned last issue that there had been a bit of a rumble with some Ulysses Club members and an outlaw group over the wearing of vest patches. Here is an unofficial explanation by one Ulysses member: ìThe silk screened denim patch has been okayed with the outlaw clubs, the trouble arises when when ëwannabe' outlaws embroider or, worse still, colour embroider the (white) printed patch - and then add ërockers', the curved name badges over and under the club emblem.
  ìIt's mainly the addition of the rockers that causes the problem. Rockers are a fairly distinctive outlaw colours component and they don't like it at all. As you know the outlaws go through a fairly rigorous and ëunusual' induction to earn the right to wear their colours and they're very positive about dealing with imitators.
  Members have been warned many times and its actually noted in the quartermaster's store advert. Don't colour your back patch and don't put rockers on. Live with it.

Sydneysiders should remember to listen to the Ride Rage radio show on 2SSS, 2.00-4.00pm, Mondays, Radio 2RRR, 88.5mhz.

Web Watch
A couple of good motorcycle sites for owners of TL1000 R & S bikes...
http://www.mccallister.f reeserve.co.uk/index.htm & http://www.tl1000.com/main.htm
Also have a look at our club's pages at http://frontline.alphalink.com.au
Michael Whitey White (Frontline Tourers)
The MRAA is now running regular events for members and potential members, including: social rides, discussion nights, maintenance nights - beginner and more advanced. All the details available from: http://www.mraa.org.au
Dey Alexander


Issues 31 & 32



[Back Issues | Motorcycle Books]
[Roadtests | Travels] [Garage sale]




Article by Guy Allen

home | sitemap | motorcycle books

Copyright © 1997-2017 dropbears