Side Car Project - Nearly Finished
January 11, 2014 at 9:57 PM
In the dim distant past I used to race a methanol burning supercharged Triumph grass track outfit. My passenger at that time was Phil Wade. We have played rugby together, raced solo bikes and remained firm friends ever since.
As we approached our dreaded 60's we decided it might be time to go sidecar racing again. I blame Phil for suggesting it and he blames me! Our wives barred us from grass track as its even madder now than it was in the 1970's, so we opted for a classic road race outfit.
Finding one of these is not an easy task. We scoured the internet and classified for months until finally we found a Triumph outfit in Manchester still owned by the chap who designed, built and raced it. Mr Jim Gee.
One phone call later and we were in Manchester viewing the the bike. The rolling chassis was in the lounge, engines in the dining room and boxes and boxes of parts everywhere else. It soon became apparent that we were looking at something special. It was a twin engined Triumph similar to the bike campaigned by George O'dell in 1971, with considerable sucess. Needless to say money changed hands!
The spec. is fascinating and the quality of engineering superb. The left engine runs backwards and the cranks are joined with a special male/ female gear. The heads sport large valves and special seats, and gas flowing is by pipers. The cams are spitfire and the cranks are lightened Norton units. The cylinders are light alloy with Hagon liners with cut aways to clear the increased throw on the con rods. Primary drive is via a triplex chain running through an all metal commando clutch to a Quaife 5 speed gearbox.
Our main problem was fathoming out how it all went together. This task did involve several phone calls and emails to Jim who has always been very helpful! Engine and wheels went in and our attention turned to the chassis parts. Jim said it was always under braked so we set about adding a second disc and callipers to the front wheel. ACU regs. now require two independent breaking systems so a whole re-design had to take place on the foot brake side of things. Three master cylinders are required, one operates the sidecar and rear brake, one operated the o/s front disc ,and the handlebar lever operates the N/S/F disc. Now it stopped so we now needed to make it go!
Oil and fuel went in and a temporary ignition system set up. The motors had not run for 33 years, no chance we thought! A push up the yard and she fired. Even with the silencers we have had to fit to comply with the 105db rule it sounded fantastic.
We now set about fitting had holds to suit Phil and beautifying the paint work. New exhausts were made from Stainless tubing and a set of new tyres finished things off.
Rockingham Raceway kindly agreed to let us charge around the National circuit for an hour to see how it went, and to see what dropped off! Surprisingly nothing came loose and we had a fantastic time. It certainly is fast but still requires some stopping due to the weight of the second engine.
Since testing the only modifications we have had to make is to manufacture an assembly to lift all four carb. slides with one throttle cable as the previous multi cable system was too heavy.
We intend to compete next season with the British Motorcycle Racing Club and the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club in as many events as we can get to. We will keep you posted with our results, successes and mishaps!