Pre-Season 2001

2000 Trophies, 2001 Paint Job
Last years trophies from left to right: Rickard Trophy (250GP Champion), Lord of Lydden 2nd, Sir Algenon Guiness Trophy (Most outstanding solo rider), 250GP perpetual, Outstanding rider perpetual.

Sorry - no updates through the winter. Didn't seem much to report, but in fact loads has happened. I can't believe how the season has crept up on us again. One minute it's Christmas and a long break to the start of the season, then suddenly you're scrabbling all over the country for parts of the bike in the hope of reassembling it for a snowy meeting at Lydden in early March.

It's been a busy and fun winter. I'm the Bemsee 250 champion, but that pales into insignificance compared to the enormity that I'm about to become a dad! Jan is absolutely huge now, and not just because of a nine-month "craving" for chocolate and cakes. We've done all the inheriting of clothes and toys, the visit to Mothercare, the "mothers and fathers to be" classes, and Jan's due to pop in just two weeks. The "nursery" is still strewn with computers and boxes of trophies, but there you go.

Bike Prep

My 2000 TZ250 was looking a bit of a mess at the end of last season. It didn't look like it should have cost seventeen grand at the begining of the year.

I'd decided to go back to a proper paint job instead of the bare white-with-logos, and I wanted everthing else working and looking like new.

So I stripped it right down to the bare frame. The frame went off to Keith in Coulsdon (020 8668 5817) for polishing at an excellent price. The wheels went off to be powder coated silver (though at some grief in refitting disks and bearings).

Professional painters will charge 200 quid for a paint job. That pretty much doubles the price of a fairing and seat unit and makes crashes expensive. So I took advice, bought a 40 quid paint gun and fifty quids worth of paint - enough for two complete sets.

Painting was easier than I thought, the secret seems to be to lay it on as thick as possible without it running (much, anyway!). The thicker the paint, the more it flows together and gives you a smooth surface. If you try "little and often" you just end up with little hard balls of paint all over it which are rough as anything.

The engine went off to Graham File to be rebuilt and tweaked. Sadly we seem to be down a bit on last years horsepower - I suspect the pipes, which I've damaged several times, and which engines are particularly suscetible to. So any horsepower that Graham has liberated have yet to be noticed.

It's now the day before the start of the season, and we don't have any forks. Clive Horton of Racing Lines (01332 331716) has been trying to get heavier "ladass" springs for them but has given up and rebuilt them with the springs for the six-stone Jap riders.

They're currently with a parcel company, hopefully for delivery today! If that fails, I may have to ride Rik Ballerini's "spare" TZ (he's testing a TSR-framed Honda RS), or maybe just borrow his forks.

I've been fitting fairings and stuff all evening. Still lots to be done, but hey - it's a whole day away, right?

First Round
Bemsee Championship, Lydden - March 3rd & 4th 2001.

Roger Ford