Wheel alignment

Thursday, 28 July 2022

When life hands you lemons.....

Fate has a funny way of dealing the cards sometimes.   I've been really enjoying the new e-mountain bike.  Fresh air, getting fitter - what's not to like?  I haven't been on any demanding trails but felt quite comfortable on the ones I've tackled.  It's much closer to home where skill improvements are clearly required.

Coming home from a ride 3 weeks ago, I went to dismount right outside our garage and the elastic lace on one of my cycling shoes caught on one of the serrated pedals.  Time slowed down whilst I slowly toppled over and smacked into the garage door opening and felt a rib let go.  Pain and a lot of bad words!  It's not been as bad as expected, just a bit uncomfortable in bed, with sneezes and coughs to be avoided.  Under normal circumstances, I'd be chomping at the bit to get out again but for the last few weeks, the NZ winter has been horrendously wet so some enforced chilling hasn't been a big deal. 

A ride along the coast on the fateful day

As mentioned in a recent blog, Jennie and I are celebrating our Golden Wedding anniversary (actually tomorrow) and as part of those celebrations we invited our friends to lunch at a local restaurant last weekend.  It was a wonderful occasion, full of laughter and irreverence.  Not that we needed reminding, but we're genuinely blessed to have such great friends.

Mercifully short speeches

Cutting the cake, 50 years after the last one!

From that high point, things went downhill the next day with me testing positive for Covid.  Couldn't believe how quickly it came on.  Jennie tested positive shortly after.  Fortunately, the symptoms have been relatively mild with fatigue being the biggest issue.  Very sad that a number of our friends also became unwell although not seriously so.  It would appear that we became infected at a pub quiz earlier in the week but at least we won the quiz!  We've had to postpone a family gathering this weekend but not a big deal in the scheme of things as we'll get together again quite soon.

We had an email from friends in the UK who married a few weeks after us in 1972.  They attached a photo which we hadn't previously seen which was taken at their wedding.  It has Jennie standing with some mutual friends, Roberta and John; and it has special significance.  Roberta and Jennie were good friends at uni and John and I were mates at school.  They married the previous year and Roberta decided that Jennie and I would be good together.  We only found out later that Roberta pulled a number of devious tricks to make sure that it happened.  Pretty good judgment on Roberta's part!

Roberta, John and Jennie - 1970's fashion icons!

So there we are, a bit of serendipity to offset the curse of Covid!

And in a non-relevant moment yesterday, we were blessed with a flock of Royal Spoonbills feeding in the harbour at the front of our house.  That's the first time we've seen them since we bought the place in 2003.  Absolutely majestic birds.

Royal Spoonbills - Coromandel Harbour

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Where did the time go?

Well, 2022 has been a year of different events so far including retiring from motorcycling and buying an e-mountain bike to explore the cycle trails, both in our area and in other scenic locations.  However, the most important event of all is celebrating our Golden Wedding anniversary at the end of this month.  Fifty years together without me being stabbed or disposed of in any other way is a minor miracle.  It speaks volumes about Jennie's tolerance!  Mind you, it's probably been a close-run thing as I recently said to Jennie that I don't know what she saw in me all those years ago and she said she didn't either.  That's me firmly put in my place then, sigh.....  She once said that it was like living with a 5 year old but I put that down to her being a primary school teacher and me doing "guy stuff" at the time.

With all the Covid lockdowns, one of the things we did to keep occupied was to scan and digitize about 2000-odd photos, 35mm slides and negatives which were scattered around the house in various boxes.  If only I could find the 1969 Isle of Man TT photos and 1970 Transatlantic Match Race Series which I took, but I digress.  We decided as part of our anniversary celebrations to select about 50 photos from 1972 to 2022 and have them printed as a coffee table book.  This has come out impressively well so I thought I'd share just a small selection of  them here.  My dress sense in the early days is a bit cringe-worthy but how come that Jennie always manages to look so elegant?  Maybe that's guys for you!

We met in 1971.  A mutual friend thought we'd be good together and as part of her cunning plan, she organised me to take Jennie to her upcoming wedding in Wales.  Here's Jennie in her "flower power" finery at the wedding.   The scheming to get us together didn't stop there and the rest is history....

1971 - the days of Flower Power

We were married the following year.  I caught a stomach bug the day before the wedding and it was touch and go but everything worked out ok.

Cutting the cake

We honeymooned in Yugoslavia and Venice. This was at a time when Yugoslavia was ruled by a communist government, albeit with a very light hand.  The local airport was a dual civilian/military base with strictly no cameras in the vicinity.  Rows of MiG fighters parked on the taxiway.

At a Roman Amphitheatre in Yugoslavia

Piazza San Marco, Venice

We emigrated to NZ in 1975 and bought a bright orange Mk 1 Ford Escort which carried us reliably all round the north island. 

Geothermal area near Rotorua.  The era of flared trousers and sleeveless sweaters - ewww....

Sailing at the local yacht club became a passion and I switched to single handed yachts when we started to raise a family.  Haven't sailed for many years but still retain a strong interest in the Americas Cup.

Our first yacht in NZ - Frostply class

Raising a family and building a career were the priorities.  The next photo was taken at a friend's party in 1982.  Noteworthy only for my appalling taste in beer shirts and for Jennie condescending to be seen in public with me.

That shirt - oh dear......

Skipping forward to 1998 which was the year the first of our 3 children graduated.  The last of them completed her postgrad qualifications not that many years ago and I'd hate to total up how much their education cost.  Well worth it though to see highly motivated and caring young individuals succeeding and contributing back to society.

Proud Mum and Dad with the first of three to graduate

When the last of our kids headed off to varsity in the south island in 2001, we took a month off to tour down south in the first of Jennie's MX 5's.  One memorable activity was riding quads into the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range on 2 stroke Polaris "screamers".  Jennie took to it like a duck to water and left me for dead on a rock-strewn downhill section.  Massive pride in her giving me a riding lesson!

Riding quads near Queenstown in 2001

Jennie was a regular pillion on my bikes.  In 2003, I sold the BMW K100 RS and bought a Honda Blackbird.  A friend from the UK was visiting and the mate I sold the Beemer to loaned it back for the friend to use during his visit.  Here we are at Wairakei near Taupo.

With the K100RS and Blackbird in 2003

In 2012, we were driving past the Warbirds base just outside Auckland.  They were closed to the public on that particular day but we were invited in anyway which was great.  They were preparing a P51 Mustang for flight and we were allowed to park Jennie's limited edition MX5 alongside for a memorable photo!  

A great shot with a P51 on the tarmac

Retirement at 60 in 2008 gave us the opportunity to travel extensively and we had some fabulous trips through Australia and the Pacific islands, Canada, Alaska, Africa and much of Asia. As they were all so different and enjoyable, it's genuinely hard to pick a favourite which is as it should be.  Everywhere we went, people were really friendly and helpful, just wanting to get by.  I guess it shows that most of the world's troubles are largely caused by a tiny percentage of the population, not pointing the finger at politicians :-).  On our China trip, we were in Wuhan not long before Covid was first reported - a lucky let-off!

2016, standing either side of the Equator near the Rift Valley in Kenya

The Great Wall, China in 2019.  Temperatures in the high 30's C

In 2019 before the pandemic brought travels to a shuddering halt, we were travelling around the top of the south island of NZ and stopped off at a motor museum in Nelson.  They have an amazing range of vehicles but the one which meant the most to us was a Wolseley 6/110.  This is the car we did our "courting" in (such a quaint term).  Ahhhh.... happy days. The wheel had come full circle, so to speak.

Wolseley 6/110 - much merriment over the memories

As already mentioned, 2022 is the year that I hung up my motorcycle helmet.  Absolutely no regrets as I'd done everything I wanted to during a 58 year riding career and figured that it was better to stop on my terms than be forced to due to health or other reasons.  I suspect that Jennie is secretly relieved.  I still retain a strong interest in bikes though.  It is perhaps fitting that the KTM 790 made me laugh more than any other bike I've owned.

Yours truly and the KTM 790

With the bike gone, Jennie and I spend time together sea fishing from our boat and exploring the back roads in our 50 year old classic MGB GT -  a fitting way to celebrate 50 years of marriage.  May there be many more years of action-packed adventure.

Waitete Bay - Coromandel Peninsula

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Back on 2 wheels - first impressions

 Well after a 4 month wait due to international supply chain problems, I'm back on 2 wheels of the powered variety (sort of!).  I picked up my Giant Talon e+1 mountain bike a couple of days ago and have spent a few hours getting used to it.  Already, there have been various learnings, some unexpected; so I thought it would be worthwhile documenting some of them from the viewpoint of a complete newbie.

The 2022 Giant Talon e+1 mountain bike

Why an e-bike and why a mountain bike?

I already have a 30 year old Diamondback mountain bike which was purchased for road riding before retirement and way before moving to the Coromandel Peninsula.  In our area, there's very little flat terrain which makes it hard on a 74 year old body with pedal power alone.  Also, there are some fantastic mountain biking trails on the Peninsula, both of the family scenic flattish gravel type and and proper graded MTB trails of varying skill level requirements.  After lots of reading and watching YouTube videos, it appeared that an e-MTB offered the best "fit for purpose" option.  The Talon e+1 offered a good specification against what I was happy to pay (~NZD 4400/USD 2700/AUD 3970/GBP 2280).  I bought the bike from a family business in a nearby town (The Bike Man, Whitianga) because they have a well-deserved reputation for great service.  Sure enough, they threw in a brand new helmet and a quality adjustable stand as part of the deal.  Unexpected and very generous. 

Some of the features

I'm not about to get all nerdy and trot out all the specifications, just the things which caught my interest as a complete beginner.  It's easy to find full details on the internet.  Firstly, it's an alloy frame and even with the lump of a battery, the weight isn't too bad at all.  It has a 500Wh battery, ensuring a decent range.  Giant claim that in the eco mode, it could deliver around 150 km on a single charge.  A balls-out challenging MTB course will drop it down to 50-60km.  The powerplant is made by Yamaha with a 10 speed rear cluster - that's good enough for me!

Yamaha hub drive

The controller has a colour TFT display, new on the 2022 model.  As well as the normal speed and distance data, battery state etc, there are various power modes which can be selected on the move.  The default is Smart Assist which basically measures the effort a rider is putting in at any given time and uses an algorithm to supply the ideal power delivery.  It also has walk assist, presumably to help if you need to dismount and push the bike any distance.  You can also link it to a phone app for monitoring other data such as heart rate etc.  Something for another time, methinks. 

Controller with colour TFT display

The bike has a solid rear end but fully adjustable 100mm travel front forks in terms of preload and rebound rate.

Fork adjusters for preload and damping

There are heaps of other features but they currently mean little or nothing to me as a newbie and possibly nothing later in ownership either.  I chose to go for conventional pedals as with stuffed knees, I have no desire to be cleated onto the bike during a mishap!

First impressions

In terms of frame size, I chose a Medium.  At 170cm (5'7"), I was on the crossover between small and medium.  Like off-road motorcycles, MTB's are quite tall and with the correct seat height, I can't touch the ground whilst the bike is vertical. This lead to a certain amount of embarrassment on the first ride when I rode round to show a mate.  My technique for coming to a stop was found wanting and I ended up sitting in his driveway with the bike on top of me.  No damage apart from ego.  Like mates everywhere, he laughed long and loud - bastard!  I've since developed a better dismount technique which works just fine.

So far, I've tried Eco Mode and it works fine by providing a minimal level of assistance.  Probably ideal for longer flat riding.  I haven't tried Tour, Active or Sport Modes yet.  The default Smart Assist is great, providing as much or as little power as required.  We have a steep concrete drive around 50 metres long. In bottom gear with Smart Assist, climbing it is fine.  I did have one anxious moment riding over a green patch which the sun doesn't reach in winter where wheelspin actually set in.  Fortunately, it quickly gripped again so there were no ungainly dismounts.  First time out, I walked the bike downhill to the bottom of our drive as I wasn't sure how the disc brakes would perform in those conditions.  I remember an incident on my old MTB with caliper brakes where I applied a bit too much front brake and had the rear end come a long way off the ground.  Not to be repeated.  Just like motorcycle disc brakes, they improve with use and towards the end of the first day, they were noticeably more powerful and progressive.  No problem riding down the drive now!

In terms of ergonomics, the bike feels pretty good.  My wrists ache a bit after about an hour of continuous riding, as does my butt but neither are show stoppers.  I've still got to fully adjust seat height and position but it may simply be a case of putting in the hours and getting used to it.  Easing the fork preload might help too.

The manuals which come with the bike are surprisingly light on the level of detail I was expecting both as a professional engineer and motorcyclist.  I'll be spending a bit more time researching on the internet and building practical experience.  Maybe it's just me.  Jennie would say it's definitely just me, sigh.....

Outside a 100 year old working gold ore stamper battery in Coromandel Town

The large wooden overshot water wheel at the gold stamper

A big climb from sea level

In summary, I'm delighted with the purchase and it ticks all the boxes in terms of both road riding and modest off-road trails, which is all I want.  Perfect for staying fit as long as there aren't too many face plants and cycling will definitely be kind to my damaged knees.

Recent early winter weather in NZ has been mild in our area but the rainfall has been biblical, accompanied by very high winds.  This has meant that our classic MGB GT has stayed in the shed.  On its last outing, the rear SU HIF carburettor was overflowing slightly and a cursory inspection didn't reveal the problem .  Because of the weather and as the carbs hadn't been serviced at the time the previous owner restored the car in 2018, I decided to have them inspected by an Auckland MG specialist.  He reported back that there was considerable wear so I asked for a full restoration for peace of mind, particularly as we live out in the countryside.  The cost was NZD 1044/AUD 941/USD 650/GBP 541.  Didn't think that this was too bad for a full restoration.  All that remains is to put the carbs back on and tune them in anticipation of better weather.  Plenty to keep this retiree busy!

MGB GT and mussel harvesting boat at the town wharf

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Spit and polish

For as long as I can remember, carnauba wax has been my go-to for our cars and my road bikes.  Gives a good shine and is relatively long-lasting.  Having recently run out and wanting to give a bit of pre-winter protection to our fleet, I popped into our local Repco store to get some more.  However, perusing the shelves, I came across this:

Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Wax

Pure ceramic coatings have been around for quite a while but they require a high degree of surface preparation. The instructions on the this hybrid looked pretty straightforward so thought I'd give it a go. The instructions said that for the first time up, wash your vehicle in the normal way and straight after you've applied clean water, squirt on some ceramic wax, then spread with a soft cloth and buff with a microfibre towel until dry.  I followed the procedure and here's the result:  

A real mirror finish

The finish is superb and it gives a really slippery feel.  Really easy to apply too.  That slippery feel translates to less dust sticking than a pure wax finish.  It's too early to comment on how easy it is to clean off accumulated road dirt.  However, water is still beading then running off even gentle slopes on the car after 3 weeks of use as shown below.  It pretty much runs straight off vertical panels.

Good beading and run-off after 3 weeks of use

The photo below shows beading on our 4x4 roof straight after a shower.  The coating is 3 weeks old and the vehicle lives outside.  So far so good although it's too early to predict longevity.

Beading after 3 weeks of the 4x4 sitting outside

The Meguiars instructions say that to build up layers on subsequent cleans, simply squirt on the product after washing, then use a strong jet from a hose or pressure cleaner to spread it on the panels, then buff dry.  In my opinion, this is both wasteful and somewhat hit and miss.  A few videos I've subsequently watched on YouTube also hint at this.  What I did by way of experiment was after washing and drying, to wipe a dry, clean panel of the car with a wet microfibre cloth, immediately apply a light squirt of ceramic wax then buff it dry. I then repeated this on the rest of the car panels and it worked perfectly with only a small amount of product used. 

So what's the initial verdict?  In terms of finish, it does exactly what it claims and is easy and quick to apply now I've got a better technique sorted out. Because it's a relatively new product, it attracts a premium price.  It costs a bit under NZ$60 for a 768 ml bottle (US36, AUD51, GBP29) which is similar to a good carnauba wax.  The price may fall over time but in any event, a bottle should last up to a couple of years if the finish is reasonably durable.  Very happy to have an alternative to conventional waxes.

In other news, international supply chain delays are really pissing me off.  The Giant brand e-mountain bike which I ordered in early March still hasn't arrived in the country and may not show up until late June.  Conversely, the accessories ordered from China and Australia only take 2-3 weeks to arrive.  I'm picking that the accessories are relatively quick thanks to air freight whereas larger items such as bikes are almost exclusively shipped by sea.  Sigh.....

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

A question of time with a dash of serendipity

Well, it's been nearly 2 months since I retired from riding and haven't missed it (yet) because of the fallback interests I mentioned in previous blog posts.  The last sea fishing expedition was highly successful, if you discount the lack of mercy from Jennie due to her catching substantially more than me.  Gracious?  Not on your life!

Launching near our house

A stunning day fishing amongst the offshore commercial mussel beds

That's dinner taken care of!

Whilst not exactly a fallback interest, the tale below has consumed a bit of time recently and has been an interesting learning experience.

The saying that every day is a school day is bang on and a recent foray into the world of vintage watches is no exception.  Let's start by going back more decades than I care to remember........

Back in the 1960's and in my early 20's, I owned an Omega Caliber 601 wristwatch.  Being an engineer, I've always loved nice clocks and watches because of the engineering complexity and the standard of finish which verges on pure art.  The downside is that like expensive cars, servicing can cost an arm, leg and probably your firstborn too.  Being young with a limited budget and more pressing commitments on the horizon, servicing was ignored with a predictable result a few years down the track.  There was a bit more to the story but essentially, it got shoved in a drawer and forgotten.  

Since the mid 90's, I've owned a TAG Heuer and got absolutely hammered by the NZ TAG-approved service agent for its first service.  Fortune smiled when we moved to the Coromandel Peninsula in the shape of  finding an elderly "old school" watchmaker who completed a second service at a very reasonable rate and it runs beautifully.  Just recently, the Omega was rediscovered in a bit of a sorry state (missing glass, missing second hand, no strap, to name the most obvious faults) so I dropped it off at the watchmaker to see whether it could have a second chance at life and was worth passing on to one of our adult kids as a legacy item.  

As an afterthought, I also took along my grandfather's pocket watch and chain.  He'd given it to me when I was in my 20's.  It too was missing a second hand but from memory, still worked at that stage.  Remarkable given that it was probably made in the early 1900's.

My maternal grandfather, W.H.W Odell - 1913

The watchmaker got back in touch and said that the Omega was indeed worth repairing as it would be quite valuable when restored.  What he said next floored both Jennie and I.  The case on Granddad's watch was actually gold and had a value similar to the Omega.  That was surprising enough as value was never considered but then he added that the watch chain was solid high purity gold and worth nearly 3 times as much as the watch.  Bloody hell!!!!  Closer inspection shows that both the watch and chain components are hallmarked so I must investigate further.

With the Omega wristwatch now being considered "vintage", new parts are no longer available.  The watchmaker said that he wasn't internet-savvy and asked for my assistance in tracking down a used sweep second hand and matching drive pinion.  Having zero knowledge, I joined an international watch forum and threw myself on their mercy.  Crikey, if you think that computer and automotive forums are full of nerds with incomprehensible technical language, try vintage watches!!   It was a steep learning curve but I must admit that the members were incredibly helpful. With their suggestions, I was able to track down a set of hands in Poland and with my new-found knowledge, a matching gear pinion in Sweden.  Clearly, these parts are as rare as hen's teeth judging by the prices they command - ouch!  The original watch face has corrosion marks on it due to leaks decades ago and my negligence in getting it serviced at the time.  Tracking one down in pristine condition would be a major mission and the suggestion was made to leave the original patina "as is" as part of its story. That's what happens with the repair of vintage porcelain in Japan. It made perfect sense to me. 

Two or three weeks later, two small packages duly turned up.  At first glance, I thought that the plastic container containing the gear pinion was empty.  You can see why in the photo below. The pinion just below the number 600 in the left hand container is just 5.19 mm long!  Duly dispatched to the watchmaker for final assembly.  Incredible skill to be working on that minute scale.

Expensive used Omega parts sourced from around the world

We got the call that the watches were ready and collected them yesterday.  The restoration of both was flawless and having them back in working order, particularly as legacy items for our adult kids is a surprisingly emotional experience.  It was great to learn new stuff and the only thing left to do is to get them itemized on our household insurance!

The restored items

My other interest in the shape of an e-mountain bike is still several weeks away due to international supply chain difficulties so using my 30+ year old Diamondback MTB in the meantime is building up a bit of fitness and allowing time to grab a few accessories.  Never a moment's rest in retirement!

Saturday, 16 April 2022

New life for a classic race bike

Colin Seeley was a highly successful British sidecar racer back in the 60's who subsequently gained international fame for building frames for race bikes which were light but produced better handling than virtually anything else available at the time.  He was also associated with Brabham race cars in the 1980's because of his reputation.

He built an ultra lightweight and physically tiny 500cc Matchless G50-engined race bike for well-known UK racer Dave Croxford to campaign for the 1971 season.  As an aside, I was living in the UK at that time and regularly went to the various races so must have seen it, although I have no specific memory of the bike.  Although the competitiveness of British singles was on strictly borrowed time against Japanese and Italian bikes, Dave Croxford and the Seeley had some epic battles and wins against them on the short circuits.  A good example of power to weight ratio and sublime handling.

Jumping forward to late 2020 to continue the story, UK auctioneers Bonhams; were auctioning a parcel of rare and classic bikes.  My mate and fellow Coromandel resident Paul successfully races a Norton 850 and he saw a Laverda Jota among the auction offerings as well as the Seeley.  The auction was in the middle of the night NZ time but Paul sat up and joined the on-line bidding.  The Jota went for far more than Paul was prepared to pay but for some unknown reason, he was the only bidder for the Seeley and got it at an excellent price.

Unfortunately and no thanks to Covid, there was a substantial delay in getting it shipped to NZ.  When it eventually arrived, Paul had it sent to the company which prepares his Norton racebike for a ground-up rebuild. The engine was pretty tired and needed TLC.  By way of example, those big singles used to vibrate and the frequencies caused cooling fins to fail.  The photo below shows broken fins and evidence of past repairs.

Single cylinder vibrator

No mucking about, a new cylinder head was fitted and plastic wedges between the fins to dampen the vibrations.  Note the gold painted camchain cover.  It protects the lightweight magnesium alloy from corrosion.  The gearbox is also painted for the same reason.

Vibration dampeners between the fins

After the extensive rebuild and a repaint, Paul has only just received it - well worth waiting for as the photos below show - it's now flawless!  Yesterday, Jennie and I dropped in to see it and what a beauty it is.  It's absolutely tiny, presumably to reduce frontal area as well as to improve power to weight ratio.  The bottom half of the fairing has been removed in these photos, just for access to the engine.

Paul and the 51 year old Seeley G50, together with our 50 year old MGB GT 

Yours truly.  Even at 5'7" (170cm), my knees are well bent - it's tiny!

Here's a short clip of Paul starting it on the rollers.  It's a sight noisier than the video shows!

It's almost a case of serendipity as Paul met Colin Seeley when he came to a NZ classic race meeting in 2012 as a guest of honour.  He will keep racing his Norton and just demo the Seeley at classic meetings.  Isn't it just great that there are people like Paul who keep history alive and kicking?  For the nerdy amongst us, the info below was taken from the Bonham's auction site.


• Prototype Seeley Mark 4
• Raced by Dave Croxford during the 1971 season
• Present ownership since circa 2009
• Fully restored 2009-2011
• Offered from an important private collection

Many-times British sidecar champion Colin Seeley bought Associated Motor Cycles' racing department when the company went into receivership in 1966. The previous year he had constructed the first Seeley racing frame to house a Matchless G50 engine, and the AMC purchase enabled him to produce complete Seeley G50 and 7R machines. With their improved frames, the ageing four-stroke singles enjoyed renewed competitiveness, Dave Croxford winning the British 500 Championship on a Seeley G50 in 1968 and '69.

"Our association with him over two years had been just brilliant," recalled Colin in the first volume of his autobiography Colin Seeley Racer ...and the rest. "Dave was a real trouper and an entertainment on and off track. He had achieved so much in two seasons, winning races, circuit titles and two British 500cc championships on his Seeleys. Croxford's contribution to the Seeley Racing Company was considerable."

The Seeley frame progressed from the duplex cradle original to the similar but lighter Mark 2 before the down-tubes were abandoned with the Mark 3, the headstock and swinging arm pivot of which were linked solely by tubes running diagonally above the engine. Introduced in May 1971, the Mark 4 featured a revised tubing layout and continued in production until 1973.

Having enjoyed what by his standards was a rather disappointing season riding Yamahas, Croxford returned to the Seeley team in time for the 1970 August Bank Holiday meeting at Oulton Park to ride the prototype Seeley-QUB and was back in the Colin Seeley Racing Developments team full time for 1971. His first race was at the Transatlantic Trophy meeting at Brands Hatch riding the prototype Mark 4, the machine offered here. Colin recalled: "For the 500 race Dave Croxford came to the line with my new Mk4 Seeley G50, painted in a striking colour scheme of red, orange and black." Croxford scored a sensational debut win on the new Mark 4, pipping Gus Kuhn's Charlie Sanby on another Seeley. However, by this time over-bored Yamahas were beginning to assert themselves in the 500 class and wins would be ever harder to come by. When Seeley and MRD (parent company of the Brabham Formula 1 team) agreed to merge at the end of 1971, the Seeley motorcycle racing team was stood down and Croxford was left unemployed, though he swiftly found another job as Peter Williams' team-mate at John Player Norton.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Gone, gone, movin' on......

Well, I advertised the KTM 790 on NZ's premier buy and sell website and the enquiries came thick and fast!  Less than a day after advertising it, there had been nearly 1000 views and 150 bookmarks.  I'd priced it to sell and others clearly thought so too.  First call was from the owner of the dealership who has serviced my bikes for the last 25 years or so.  Due to the international supply chain difficulties at present, they're having problems getting good bikes to sell.  Greg was happy to pay the price I was asking so that sealed it but the calls and texts kept coming, despite marking it as provisionally sold on the website.

Two days later, I was delivering it to the Hamilton-based dealer, 160 km from home, with Jennie following in the car to pick me up.

Bye, bye Bad Girl Lola!

The last ride was perhaps surprisingly unsentimental.  I guess that ownership had been so much fun and the past 58-odd years likewise that it didn't feel momentous at all.  It might have been nicer in some respects if I'd sold it at the attractive price to an individual rather than Greg on-selling it with a markup to someone else.  However Greg and his team have really looked after me over the decades with great service including discounts on the gear I've purchased so it was a fair arrangement.

Straight into part of the next phase of life,  we headed off this week in the MGB GT with neighbours who are also MG owners, a 1955 TF and a 90's MGF.  A most enjoyable run on twisty roads, ending up at a beachside cafe about 100 km away, then a photo op for the MG car club.

Cook's Landing, Coromandel Peninsula

Jennie pretending to be interested in the club magazine!

I've endured a bit of good-natured mickey-taking about buying a classic car by some of my riding partners which has been fun.  A recent exchange on Facebook with fellow rider and motoblogger LEE went like this: 

Lee: Next it'll be the tartan rug, Thermos and a little sign with the car's history on it for displaying purposes when you're at MG OC Ralies.

Geoff: Eff off 
🤣. We already have a tartan rug and wicker picnic hamper. It's decades old and sits in a very dark part of the house. Sigh.....

Lee:  So - Just the history summary to go then 
😉 Go on - You know it makes sense!


Just before leaving the topic of classic cars, another friend sent the following ditty, which has a large element of truth in it:

Fairly close to the mark, I'd say!

The next step of getting hold of an e-mountain bike which was both road and off-road capable hasn't gone so well.  After poring over specifications I thought that the Giant Talon E+1 would be the ideal entry into the world of e-bikes for me and that's where it started to come unstuck.  

Giant Talon E+1

Fellow moto and cycle blogger Dave had already mentioned that bike supplies in Australia were a bit sketchy.  As it turns out, deliveries to NZ are similarly affected and it looks like they won't be available until May or June - bugger!  Never mind, it's now on order and plenty else to do until then, including riding my ratty 3 decades old Diamondback MTB.  Oh, and I can assure you that you'll never see me in Lycra.  The family would never let me live it down.  Besides, mountain bikers are supposed to be a scruffy lot, aren't they?

No more Mr Cool!