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Author Topic: Beachcomber's Tales from the day  (Read 210241 times)

Offline kiwi

  • Posts: 24
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #120 on: Dec 23, 2010, 19:10:07 »
BC, your mention of the Ace being a bit of a dump back in the day reminds me of some time I spent in that area back in 73. I was renting a closet that passed as a bedroom from an elderly woman and her son in Willisden Green. The Lady suffered from Parkinsons, my first time seeing anyone with that disease and it kind of set me back a bit. The son, who was few years older than me, took care of his Mum. In their nice back garden shed he kept his bike, a Norton Atlas I think it was, and it was his baby. On the occasional nice day  we would sit in the garden exchanging stories, and he would mention the Ace and the characters that would gather. among them. When I had time one day I took off down there, and yeah, nothing like it is today, trucks and cars everywhere, no bikes.  I can't remember his name, but the bike I can still see in my mind, funny how that works isn't it.  Knowing I was a bike nut he suggested a trip to the Isle  to see the TT, sure why not, I had just quite my job and due to start a new job in 2 weeks. A buddy and I loaded up the old VW van and headed north to Liverpool, well after a few false starts we did.  After a few wrong turns and leaving London late we arrived in Liverpool just to find out the ferry left from Birkenhead on the south side of the river. By now it was dark, and we decided to stop for the night, and this looks as good a spot as any. We could tell we were near the water, but not sure exactly where, so we went to sleep in back of the van. Next thing there is a loud knocking on the side of the van and voices waking us up from a deep sleep. Slide open the door and see the cops, what the hell is going on here. We were told to get out and stand aways from the van while they had a quick peek through the back. It must have been daybreak, very dark and dreary as only England can be, and I saw where we had parked for the night. In front of the access road the rescue boats use to get out into the bay, and that was Wales across the other side of the bay. Seems the rescue boats are parked in a shed then towed out into the water, or mud as it was then, when required.  We had blocked the ramp, a no no. Off to the station then, and after a few hours sitting around while they did a check on us and a fine was paid for the parking infraction we were off, or so we thought.We didn't have enough time to make the morning ferry and the cops had relieved us of a lot of money, to us, so another plan was hatched. Head north. We had done Lands end, so John O groats was  the plan. Up the west coast, over to Skye, all the way up, then back down to London on the East coast. Had a great time, 2 weeks just driving. The Vw had a 8 track cassette player, but we only had a few cassettes, Led Zep, Tull, CSN&Y , Deep Purple, Stones, so we were able to pretty much sing along to every song, we new them that well. As we got back near London it was dark, got on the North Circular road, the old VW just humming along as fast as she can go, then boom, she just dies, limp of onto a side street and park. Best I can tell it has dropped a valve, and maybe hold a piston. Flagged down a taxi, take us as far as you can for all the money we had left, about a quarter mile from the flat we were renting from the Old Lady in Willisden Green , walked the rest. Next day I went to get the van, and have it towed back to the flat were I could work on it, but it was gone. Checked with the cops and no nothing, but we will let you know if it shows up. Never did, gone. Oh well, shit happens get on with it. My buddy ended up going back to NZ, his experience in Britain was not too good I would say. I stayed with the Woman and her Son for 3 more months, in the closet that I had before. I got a new job as a mechanic for a Lotus dealership in Chelsea and another interesting chapter starts. Its funny how certain people and events are easily remembered and others forgotten. I never did make it to the IOM races, but at least I tried, some what.  All the best guys, Merry Christmas to all.  John.

Offline beachcomber

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  • TJ - Beachcomber
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #121 on: Dec 24, 2010, 06:05:31 »
John,

Sad to say I never got to the Island either [ for bike racing anyway] - we set off 3 times back in the early 60's, but each time we were thwarted [ that's a good old word - thwarted ]. None really worth the telling - oh maybe except one ..........................

The only time I ever visited the Island was to play their "National" American Football team - The Manx Comets. That was about 15 years ago when I was still fit and young ['ish].

Missing the racing first hand in the 60's was a big regret and I have to satisfy myself with endless Videos and DVD's - somehow not ever like being there.
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline Rocan

  • Posts: 4874
  • "Long after I rest, my steel will live on"
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #122 on: Dec 24, 2010, 13:20:50 »
oh man, thats a great one beach! sounds like the owners of the robin werent THAT upset  :D

john, thats a sadder tale! still great to hear though... i would have been bummed out for years on end if i had a car taken from me...

merry christmas all,
David
PJ- Cafe's don't really work right until you get rolling 70mph +

Honda CB350 Project- www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=8643.0

Honda C100 Restoration- www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=38653.0

Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #123 on: Dec 24, 2010, 20:50:39 »
BC, Kiwi,  Sorry to hear you never made it to the Island for the TT.   You did miss some great racing and you're right a DVD doesn't quite convey the feeling of being there.  We always stayed at the New Victoria on Broadway in Douglas.  Except for one year I was broke and suddenly made a few quid and on a couple of days notice headed for the Island.  We stayed in Ramsey as there was nothing available in Douglas.  No "adventures" getting there or back.  It was all pretty straight forward.  We had a lot of fun there though.  Hailwood's comeback year was amazing.  The tourist board was pleading with people to open up their houses to help accomodate visitors.

Mad Sunday that year was a lunatic assylum.  I did a lap very early in the morning and we went to Crg ne Ba to watch the fun in the after noon.  The Creg was a great place to watch all the Hailwood wannabees.  You could see all the way down from Kate's Cottage.  Its a pretty steep drop.  I had the Mini over one year and as we passed Kate's at about 25 I knocked it into neutral.  By the time I had to hit the brakes the Mini had coasted up to 95 (speedo reading).

As I said we were at the Creg watching the fun.  A "clump" of about a dozen riders swept around Kate's and started the long drop to the Creg.  We were all watching them to see who would sit up first and brake.  They all sat up together and in the middle of the "clump" was an IoM motorcycle cop!  He was very stylish as he swept though the Creg and headed off towards Douglas.   I'd love to have seen what sort of lap time he put in!
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG   122.240
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF    120.157
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG  119.667
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF   117.186
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG  111.494
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF   112. 600
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF   128.703
El Mirage  record  650 SC/PG   130.224

Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #124 on: Dec 25, 2010, 06:54:43 »
Hoof,
my problem [ Island wise ] was that in later years [ late 60's on ] the TT normally clashed with the Le Mans 24 Hour Race - and by that time my business was fast / racing cars and that took priority. As many Lemon tales as bike tales - don't worry I won't get started ! There was the time when we ended up with 20 Frenchies on and in my Citroen CX Estate....................

Footnote to the Robin tale.

When the dust settled [ literally ] it turned out that the Robin driver had no road tax or insurance and had no appetite to involve the Old Bill.

 
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline crazypj

  • Posts: 12948
  • Split personality, I fake being smart
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #125 on: Dec 25, 2010, 11:53:32 »

First off here’s a brief reminder about the vehicle at the centre of this tale – the Reliant Robin Van.



 Hate to be an ass (well, no actually I don't  ;D)
 That's not a Robin, that's a Regal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Regal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin
 I know most people won't know or care but I like things to be 'right'  :D
'you can take my word for it or argue until you find out I'm right'
Best thing I ever overheard
"yep, PJ's my boss, he taught me everything I know, just didn't teach me everything he knows"
Brian Morgan, 1982

CB360's,  http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=11736.0
XS650,  http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=11922.0

Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #126 on: Dec 25, 2010, 14:17:21 »
BC,  I think that was my problem.  I enjoyed racing too much and jobs were nothing more than a means to an end.  I retired a little over a week ago.  The house is paid for and I think the financial ducks are all lined up.  I had to scratch the idea of a villa in the south of France though.  Would I do it all over with no changes?  In the blink of an eye!!!  This thread is letting me re-live it and thats about as close as I'll get to doing all over. 

I will admit though that I never for a minute thought I'd be still racing (albiet Bonneville and El Mirage only) and bringing home a couple of these.  But as long as the good Lord lets me I will.


By weslake at 2010-12-10
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG   122.240
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF    120.157
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG  119.667
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF   117.186
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG  111.494
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF   112. 600
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF   128.703
El Mirage  record  650 SC/PG   130.224

Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #127 on: Dec 26, 2010, 08:01:00 »
Crazy,

I bow to your / Wikepedia's superior knowledge - I hope my terminal inexactitude didn't spoil the tale.  :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[

Robin, Regal, Kitten ....... I think the results would have been the same ;)

Hey Hoof ......just think how high you can hoist the record next year now you have ALL that extra time !!! ;)
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline crazypj

  • Posts: 12948
  • Split personality, I fake being smart
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #128 on: Dec 26, 2010, 14:58:00 »
Only reason I know difference is a friend had one, front suspension arm rusted through and wheel keeled over about 30 degrees (and, he had just joined South Wales Constabulary  ;D)
'you can take my word for it or argue until you find out I'm right'
Best thing I ever overheard
"yep, PJ's my boss, he taught me everything I know, just didn't teach me everything he knows"
Brian Morgan, 1982

CB360's,  http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=11736.0
XS650,  http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=11922.0

Offline beachcomber

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  • Posts: 3880
  • TJ - Beachcomber
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #129 on: Dec 26, 2010, 18:03:50 »
The ONLY dealings I had with the 3 wheelers was when my ex. Brother in Law upgraded [ ?? ] from a Messerschmitt  bubble car to a Reliant Van. As he had never driven a "car" before he asked me if I'd drive it back from the dealers.
That was probably the scariest ride I've ever undertaken!
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"