Saturday, 31 March 2012

Guy's 1225 Daytona Project Berserker

Putting together a magazine like ITALIAN MOTOR on your own can be a lonely process, and sometimes you can lose sight of why you do it - it certainly ain't for the money - as there is none...

Then you get a few emails, an exchange of words, some photos, and you're back on track. The last few weeks, while struggling to find the time to put Issue Five together, I've seen photos of at least three bikes that have made me so excited again about what's out there, and Guy Lewis's Daytona 1225 Project Berserker is one of them - not just because it's going to be an amazing bike, but it strikes an emotional chord because it was also originally raced by my good friend Gyles Fairclough (pictured above with the Daytona as he raced it). Gyles and I had met through my little Guzzi 750 website (here) back in 1999, and we sold each other parts, bikes and were generally good mates. Gyles had a natural racing talent that had to come out, and he started racing in UK series Thunderbikes. Tragically, he died after an accident at Cadwell on a track day in 2008 - and is still missed sorely by all who knew him.

Gyles was a great Yorkshireman with a wicked sense of humour, and will be looking down and approving completely of what his fellow Yorkshireman Guy is doing to his old Daytona - and it's brilliant the bike has been kept in the 'family' as it were. Guy's last project was his very tasty Guzzi Jackal-based cafe' racer (pictured above), so Project Berserker will be just as nicely put together. We'll be featuring the bike when completed in the magazine, so won't give away the whole story now, but here's some detail in the meantime from Guy:

"I had heard that Gyles's Daytona RS race bike was for sale - it was a rolling chassis together with a big box of bits, including spare fairings, race tyres etc. The frame had already been modified by Bruce Rawsthorne to the same dimensions as the original Raceco bike, and when I went to see it I could visibly see how short the altered wheelbase was - about 2 inches shorter than stock I believe. I decided to buy it, and Bruce agreed to build the motor and finish the bike. I bought a pair of refurbished Dymags from Bruce, and decided to go with lightweight race bodywork from the same moulds as the Raceco bike, preferring the looks of the original Daytona to the RS. The bike is nearing completion now- engine parts for the 1225cc conversion have been sourced from Raceco and we are just waiting for an uprated oil pump which has been ordered through Joe Caruso and should be on its way from Germany. Heads have been flowed, big valves fitted and the fast C cams retained so it should be a fast motor.Bruce reckons on close to 130bhp at the wheel. There was a pair of K Tech fork springs in the box of bits with the bike, and the WP rear shock will be resprung for my 15 stone..."

It's going to be a monster, and Guy has promised us a ride when it's done - can't wait - and of course, we'll be poring over every detail for a future feature in the magazine. Gyles would have loved it!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Girls on film

I got sent this to try by the lovely Dan at The Fabulous Biker Boys - it's one of those tiny cameras that leaps in technology over the last few years have made possible. I've never particularly been one to want to film my own riding, or anyone else's for that matter, but I did once strap a bulky tape video recorder to the tank of my Ducati 900SS about 17 years ago just to see how it'd come out. Apart from the fact the road was pretty boring, it was actually interesting (for me at least) to watch, and the noise was fantastic.

Things have moved on, and with HD in cameras now, some of the stuff you see on You Tube is pretty impressive, so I'll give it a go and see how it works. This particular model is called a MotionCam01, from an Italian company called Interphone, suitably, and is just 3 and half inches long (approx. 85cms for you modern types). I haven't had time to look at it properly yet, but seems to have various robust straps and mounts to fix it in a certain way - it'll need'em with my old Guzzi. I'm into trying out 'multimedia' and nowadays you've got to keep up with the young people too..

We've had a YouTube channel running for a long time now, so we''l post up results on that. In the meantime, see some video sof other Italian bikes and cars we've experienced here: 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Too little too late

I was supposed to be jetting off to Mandello this morning to attend the revamped Guzzi V7 launch, but unfortunately it was impossible for those in charge to let me know with just a few days to go what day/time/flight I was meant to be there/on. I'm as spontaneous as the next man, but I had to voluntarily and politely decline to attend, as I have to arrange these things a wife and young nursery age daughter, and time just ran out. I'm gutted, as you can imagine, and it's extremely frustrating. Anyway, hope to get hold of a press V7 when they turn up in this country.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Guzzi Griso 'Ipothesys' by Barbacane

Chris at Bike Exif has grabbed a real lovely exclusive here, damn him, pics of the every wonderful
Ipothesys, built by Barabacane, though it looks meanest in the side-on photo on their website (top).
We like it very very much, great stance, a proper modern Guzzi cafe racer, though we'd do the paintwork differently if it was ours.

Read more on Chris's always fine Bike Exif here
Look at the Ipothesys website here

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Moto Morini is back!!

Moto Morini is back, again. Details are a little sketchy at the moment, but there's a new model called the Rebello 1200 Giubileo being lined up for the troubled brand's relaunch. Motor will be a V twin called V87 with 1200cc and 130hp to play with. Their website is running a puzzle-inspired video that suggests they're teasing us with the details, but any news from Morini has to be very good news.

Remember you saw it here at ITALIAN MOTOR first.

Check out the video here:

Feelin' good today

Turn up loud!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pioneer Run - first run of the year

Got the bike taxed for Sunday, and despite lack of sleep (little girl with chicken pox), dragged myself out into the cold, fog of early Sunday morninbg to meet my mates Adam, Paul, James and Sam at Epsom Downs for the The Pioneer Run - we've been doing this for 20 years. As is always the case, the sun came out, and we had a good thrash down to Brighton for chips on the beach. The roads seem to have more and more speed cameras, restrictions, traffic and appalling drivers (and other bikers), and the Pioneer Run seems to be attended by groups of people on new Harleys, a few Jap bikes and not much else - hence the lack of any photos. In fact, the most interesting bike I saw was a fabulous Read Titan Suzuki 500cc cafe' racer, and I had the pleasure of sitting in its wake of two-stroke fumes round most of the M25 on the way home.

The S3, despite having sat for 6 months, ran beautifully, as always, though the occasional drop to one cylinder suggests a look at the points is needed. It was so good to get out on a bike again, talk crap with mates and have a laugh. Got back frozen cold, and enjoyed an hour-long bath, bliss..

Friday, 16 March 2012

Youth Youth Youth

I've always loved bikes, old cars and guitars. That's growing up with a punk elder brother, neighbours with Triumphs, photos of Jean-Jacques Burnel from The Stranglers on his Triumph, Gene Vincent in his leathers on the back of my parents' copy of K-Tel '25 Rock 'n' Roll Hits', Elvis, the Clash, the Sex Pistols,  despising authority, feeling alienated at school, bleached white Theatre of Hate quiffs, the punk spitting beer on the front of the 'That Summer' punk compilation album, Gary Glitter, Slade, The Sweet, the Who, football in the 70s (Spurs, me..), the smell of the leather and wood of my first old car, getting drunk, getting up and doing things for yourself, girls - I could go on and on.

This is me at 19 years old with my wonderful big old semi-acoustic that subsequently was stolen from me. One of the few possessions in life that had real value to me, not to any one else. That's either The Fulham Greyhound, or the old Marquee in Wardour Street.

People say you should grow up but my influences are as strong today as they were then.

Photos by my brother Guy. Check out where his influences led him here

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mick Walker R.I.P

I heard this evening from a friend about the sad passing of the racer, journalist. motorcycle importer and author Mick Walker. He wrote so many books about Italian and other motorcycles, and though some have been lazily scornful about his work because of inaccuracies usually supplied by the manufacturers themselves, he was the first person to get up after the collapse of his business and get on with documenting the Italian motorcycle industry. I own several of his books on various subjects, and they have always been very useful, and interesting, to a journalist and Italian bike owner like myself, when a solid foundation on which to research was, is, and will be required.

No doubt his work and enthusiasm will be hard to replace.

Side covers reunited

I'd had an MV Pullman 125  side cover in one of my boxes for the last ten years at least, and had never had anywhere for it to go. I came across it while moving all my junk the other day (more on that soon..) and when I asked good mate and MV guru Dorian which model MV it was probably off, he told me, and strangely, had the very same Pullman motor BUT missing the same cover. It's now his, and on his motor as the photo shows, as reward for some back-breaking help he kindly gave me the other day. Thanks again man!!

Who's to say that very motor and its personal side cover as fitted by Luigi back in Cascina Costa in the 1950s haven't now been reunited?? I love a nice end to a story.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Help with a Hailwood from Hexagon of Highgate?

Stuart emailed us these pictures of his Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica, and needs help:

"I am restoring number 146 of the first 200 Ducati 900 Replicas, nut and bolt sadly as the bike is one owner from new but sadly in need of some tender loving care (don't be fooled by the condition in the pictures).
I am trying to make the bike as accurate as possible, the nuts and bolts are all being bright zinc plated, not using stainless steel and I've done a lot of research to find what the original finish should be.
The bike was originally supplied by Hexagon of Highgate, North London - an Italian Bike specialist of the 1970s and 80s. I have some early photos of the bike and can see the dealer rear numberplate - unfortunatley it has been broken in the past and is missing. You can see it in one of the photos I have attached.
I'd like to make up a replica dealer plate and need a good photo of an original to have copied - would you be able to put me in touch with someone who has an original Hexagon of Highgate numberplate on their bike and that I can get detailed photos of?
Would very much appreciate any help you can offer."

Love the top photo of the MHR at the Ducati factory in the 1980s. I was born just down the road from North Hill in Highgate, and remember the Hexagon showroom well. They sold Guzzis, Ducatis and BMWs. Hexagon still exists, and Stuart has contacted them, but anyone else out there got a Hexagon-supplied bike with original dealer number plate? Email here if so.