Red Star Rally Report 2012

Sorry you couldn't make it to this years Red Star, it went down a storm. Even with the bad weather forecast we managed to get 172 at the rally, and we only had a couple of short showers all weekend.

A video of the green lane run I led out from this years Red Star Rally(2012). This is a 4 yearly get together for eastern block vehicle enthusiasts. The run consisted of a route of around 50 miles with a fair bit of off road riding thrown in. It was fairly gentle as apart from 4 riders everyone else was a novice.The bikes in the video are my 1975 M66 ural outfit, a M66 solo from the same year,a couple of dneprs, a few 750 Urals including a 2Wd gear up, a modern Triumph and a couple of MZ's.


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Mature Ladies

A mature (over 50) lady gets pulled over for speeding....Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer? Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding. Older Woman: Oh, I see. Officer: Can I see your license please? Older Woman: I'd give it to you but I don't have one. Officer: Don't have one? Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving. Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please. Older Woman: I can't do that. Officer: Why not? Older Woman: I stole this car. Officer: Stole it? Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner. Officer: You what? Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.

The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle. Older woman: Is there a problem sir? Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner. Older Woman: Murdered the owner? Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am? Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned. Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license. The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled. Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.

Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.

Don't Mess With Mature Ladies

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Gelert Sleeping Pod

After many years of using mummy-style sleeping bags, from three different manufacturers, I fancied a change. The fact is I got fed up with rolling off the side of the air bed when tuning over; that and a slight feeling of claustrophobia when trying to extricate myself in the middle of the night. You know how it is. I decided to try the Gelert Sleeping Pod. The advertising promised it would allow enough room to turn over without having to drag the bag with me or wriggle across the floor. For those who haven’t seen one it’s roughly elliptical in outline, being widest in the middle of its length, rather than tapered like a mummy bag. My experiences so far have been a mixture of disappointment and satisfaction so I thought I should pass on some notes.

As it was available through Argos and we have an outlet in Portishead I ordered one and went to collect it the same afternoon. First problem, though not serious, I had not considered which side the zip would be. It was different from my usual choice. Secondly the package seemed rather large. Of course there is a bit more material in this design but the main culprit was the useless bag provided. There is a sewn-on bag at the foot end with two straps. It is open all down one side and it is definitely not a stuff-bag. After one outing I took it off and now use a real stuff-bag from one of my other sleeping bags. On getting it home I tried the zip up and down a few times. As expected it catches the lining material and jams far too easily. I had met this problem before and have a solution. I run a line of stitching through from inside to outside up each side of the zip about a quarter inch from the zip. It takes some time but it’s worth the effort.

My first couple of outings involved some cold nights and I was not best pleased with my purchase. The material should provide adequate insulation but the design presented its own problems. The opening at the head end is provided with two draw-strings. One is straight across the front above the shoulders and the other runs around the hood-shaped extension. If I stretch out flat the distance from the foot to the front draw-string is barely enough to enclose my shoulders. Also the drawn-in shape leaves gaps for the cold air to circulate. The extension cannot be formed into a hood in the manner of a mummy bag because there isn’t enough material in it. Even if it could it would tend to negate the ability to roll around inside the bag. The best that can be said for it is that it forms a location for a small pillow.

So far it seemed a bit of a disaster. I adopted the habit of wearing a thick sweater to keep my shoulders warm. I added a woolly hat or a balaclava to keep my head warm. Then I had a light- bulb moment. I turned the G-pod upside down so that the top extension was effectively part of the front. It can be folded back to facilitate entry but once inside there are several options. The extension can be folded inside or just allowed to fall around the neck and shoulders making an effective draught excluder. On colder nights it could be pulled right over my head, although I have not had the opportunity to use this mode in earnest. The difference in warmth when used in this way is remarkable. Also, given the available space inside the bag, it is possible to wear any amount of clothing so the quoted 2-3 season range can be extended.

To sum up I would say that the G-pod has potential but I don’t regard it as a fully developed product. I hope that Gelert will improve on it. Larger and smaller sizes are available but they both follow the basic pattern. As a final touch of comfort I might now invest in a wider air bed.

John Osborn.

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An Italian Mama


Mrs. Ravioli comes to visit her son Anthony for dinner. He lives with a female roommate, Maria. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice how pretty Anthony's roommate is. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Anthony and his roommate than met the eye. Reading his mom's thoughts, Anthony volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Maria and I are just roommates.'' About a week later, Maria came to Anthony saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the silver sugar bowl. You don't suppose she took it, do you?" "Well, I doubt it, but I'll email her, just to be sure." So he sat down and wrote an email:

Dear MaMa, I'm not saying that you "did" take the sugar bowl from my house; I'm not saying that you "did not" take it. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Your Loving Son, Anthony

Several days later, Anthony received a response email from his MaMa which read:

Dear Son, I'm not saying that you "do" sleep with Maria, and I'm not saying that you "do not" sleep with her. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the sugar bowl by now.

Your loving MaMa

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Powers The Pot Report 2012

This is the 5th year of Powers The Pot Irish Royal Enfield camping weekend. With a mixed bag of weather, good food, beer and company the event was a great success. Unfortunately we missed John Deegan and Nell due to work commitments. Sadly we missed Sylvia Seager RIP and send our condolences to Mick, Steven and family. On the subject of the good folk that passed away, we raised a glass to Dave Clements (Lonely Bob and Dave fame).

After a dry ride to Clonmel rain started just after filling with petrol and a short drive to the site to be greeted by Rodney, Fiona, Bill, Nigel, John Burke, Alan Jones and Alan Kean the awaiting campers on Friday. After putting up the tent Bill Bergman and I set off for Clonmel on a beer and food run. Bill on his award winning 500 and I on my 350. As the evening drew on and more Enfield's arrived Adrian and Jonathan from the North, Silver Dee, Tom Coffey on his 500 trials, the Maharajah on his 65 and later Brendan on his sweet Triumph. Cliff on Crusader and Ron on 350 turned up and entertained many with their quick humour. A pleasant evening evolved in the bar from 8 till late with Niall our host joining the nighthawks.

The dawn brought hope for a dry ride out. Ger arrived on his sweet Jawa 350, Jim and Catherine on their well set up BMW outfit and Enrico on his top class 500 Enfield outfit, Pete on his real nice 350 joined on the ride out.

The ride out leader was Ger Duhig (thanks Ger for a good one) through Clonmel, Ardfinnane,Clogheen over the Vee to Lismore for lunch. The finest seafood chowder to be had at the Lismore Hotel. Back to Ballymacarbery and a pint at Melody's before our return to Powers The Pot to meet the awaiting Mick with his Jawa 250. Visitors in the afternoon were Tom on Triumph T90 and Brendan on Honda Pan.

A top class meal followed to see the evening get in full swing with beer and cider consumed by one and all. Awards were Best Classic, Cliff's 250 Crusader. Long distance to Alan Jones, Long distance female Silver Dee. Bill for most progressed Enfielder (two years ago Bill met us at Powers without a bike and he now has 6 Royal Enfield's and always ready to help those in biking need) Best non Enfield to Ger Duhig (Jawa 350) Tom Coffey most character Bullet with his 500 trials. Jim Walsh best combination.

The Sunday dawned sunny with folk breakfasting, packing up, saying goodbye's and heading home. A good weekend and looking forward to next year and the next events.

Thanks to all who attended and made the weekend a success and to Bill and Ger for donating prizes.

Regards John B Nicholls

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Update On David Crawford’s Biography of Stanley Woods

At the Ballacolla rally (a great event, as usual) in early August we met Eamon and Conor Crawford once again – the musicians who’d attended Garrison in May – and Eamon’s brother David Crawford, the author of “Stanley Woods; The World’s First Motorcycle Superstar”. They arrived with a pair of very tidy MZs – a TS 250/1 and anETZ – on a trailer.

David and I had some very enjoyable conversations. He’s a store of knowledge on motorcycle racing, and on Italian motorcycles in general and Moto Guzzi in particular.

When I wrote a review of David’s book for Issue 25, I mentioned my old pal Damien Lyle-Stirling giving me a pillion from school on his 98cc Guzzi Zigolo back in 1968. I sent on that issue to Damien, and here’s what he had to say:

“Heavens, but that takes me back. The old Guzzi Zigolo. Mind you, it would have been more correct to call it a Moto Gutless. All 98ccs of it with its three gears and it could scarcely ride its way out of a wet paper bag. Dreadful lights, an Aprilia (no less) horn that sounded like a bee in a tin can and brakes that had all the stopping power of a duck landing on oil.

I well remember meeting Stanley Woods, and at 16 years old I was in awe of the man and his history. His trophy room had all those glorious winged wheels from the 10 TTs he'd won. At least I think it was 10 without checking up. I remember getting the Guzzi from a chap called Ray Tobin (a friend of my brother Noel) and discovering my pride and joy had a problem concealed within its crankcase. So I took it to “Dirty Face” Byrne in Monkstown. He opened the crankcase and discovered that a few teeth were shorn off the clutch housing. He also broke my back light but denied that, swearing it had come in like that. Great workshop and great skills he had. He could screw up anything without having to take a hammer to it for very long. And charge you for the privilege too.

Then Dad (who was sort of friendly with Byrne) told me to go to Stanley Woods with the bike. Imagine the wonderful shock that was to a 16-year old boy who was mad keen on motorcycles and motorcycle racing. Woods' workshop was like an operating theatre compared to Byrne's oil-soaked shed. At that stage Stanley Woods had arthritis in one hip but there were no hip replacement operations then - 1968.

I remember bringing the Guzzi Lodolo (or was it Lodola?) to him to get the ignition switch replaced and he tore a strip off me for bringing him a bike in such dirty condition. I was absolutely gobsmacked and my jaw must have hit the floor. You see, I'd bought the bike secondhand or what nowadays one would call pre-owned. The pre-owner hadn't exactly gone wild with the rust remover and Solvol Autosol. Consequently, the vile Italian (and I don't mean that in a racist context) chrome was a bit tired and pitted. Some dust had gathered behind the headlight shell. It never occurred to me that I had to present the bike to Stanley Woods in the sort of condition he would have taken his works Guzzi to the scrutineers before being permitted to start in the Senior TT. Here was I coming as a hero-worshipping customer who'd been friendly to the old bugger for a couple of years and totally unable to respond to the rudeness. I think he subsequently apologised. He also did a fine job of replacing and soldering in the new switch.”

For those who’d like to buy a copy of the book (well recommended), the best way is to click on and carry on from there.

By the way, all profits from the sale of the book are being donated to the Northern Ireland Hospice, Belfast.

Regards. Pat B

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Jawa 650 Classic Update

The “mileage” has now reached 33600 km. It’s not so much for nearly six years use but I have to admit I’ve slowed down a bit of late. Nevertheless I’m still lovin’ it! It’s a comfortable ride for long trips and I try to get up to Scotland once a year if I can. It’s a strange mixture of a bike really. The cruiser styling is fine and gives the bike a low centre of gravity which is ideal for a sidecar outfit. But the engine is a modern single which simply doesn’t do plodding or thumping. If you try to it turns out to be only snatching. When I was running it as a solo I tried, without success, to change the final drive gearing because I thought this would improve it, but since I fitted the chair I decided the gearing was just perfect for this use. The BMW’s with the same basic engine have a 47-tooth rear sprocket against the Jawa’s 64-tooth. Quite a difference.

The only major problem I’ve had in this time is breaking spokes. It started quite a while after fitting the chair so I don’t think this was the major cause. One other customer I know has broken some rear spokes on a solo, but Ian Bridge hasn’t broken any. I broke about five each in front and rear wheels. My conclusion was that there had been a short-term failure of quality control. The spokes all showed slight surface damage at the bend. I think the tooling needed to be re-furbished. I had both wheels re-built with polished stainless spokes and had no further trouble. The new spokes are much easier to clean.

I’ve had the swing-arm pivot shaft out twice to re-grease the bearings. The last time I noticed some orange-coloured paste where the grease should be, at the drive side. My materials lecturer at college would call this “fretting corrosion”. Being pressed for time I just cleaned it up, re-greased it and put it all back. Next time I will replace the needle bearings and seals. The seals have synthetic rubber lips without a garter spring and they are liable to wear so that’s something to look for. Swing-arm bearings live in an awful environment and seldom get much attention. Martin Broomfield always says that Metalastic bushes are the best solution. I can’t disagree.

I’ve no particular worries for the future but I suppose the silencer will have to be replaced eventually. It’s probably the least attractive part of the bike, quite heavy and with a catalyst inside. I would like to find a cheaper alternative but a custom-made special might not be any cheaper. I’m not bothered about improved performance but I don’t want it to be noisy. Is there an answer?

John Osborn

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Boozing Bikers

Caledonia Smooth


A new nitrogenated draught ale from Bulmers.

It is only available in draught format in Ireland, 4% ABV Caledonia Smooth emanates from the Tennents stable in Glasgow's Wellpark Brewery - but this could all change to Clonmel if Bulmers can drive volume to significant levels. There's certainly no lack of capacity in Clonmel following the ill-fated expansion work undertaken to optimise what transpired to be less-than-expected sales of Magners in the UK following the economic downturn.

Caledonia Smooth now follows Bulmers' other beer brand Tennents (a value offering which now in 1,400 outlets here) into the Irish draught beer market. The final presentation of the product followed research among 250 consumers. “research has shown that 80 per cent of consumers would try the product again, which has given us great confidence,” he explains, “We are really excited about this new refreshing alternative to stout, ale and lager_ and we call on you too to 'make the move to smooth'.” Explains Stephen Kent

Caledonia Smooth's target market is the 28 to 44 year-old, a category that enjoys a pint, has a mature set of taste buds and will take something different in beers. Using the tag line 'Make the move to smooth' Bulmers will commence a series of ads on outdoor and radio as well as on-trade sampling in the short term which it intends to build into a national campaign over the next few months, “… building it up from there as we go into the cities,” explains Stephen Kent. Caledonian Smooth is being supplied in 50 litre kegs and is expected to retail at an RRP much the same as that for stout and ale, “…. around €4”.

beer drinking biker

Being a man who is not afraid of the challenge a new beer offers, I sampled the brew. Like the chaps surveyed I sampled it again. I can say with my hand on my heart that I will repeat the experience. It is a very pleasant addition to what is on offer in many bars. It has a slight sweetness. The strength is sociable and the nitrogen in the head feels perfect. It fills the gap where a pint of stout is to much and larger is to bland.



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