I have been active during the winter, the Beasley engine was dismantled to find where unpleasant noises had been coming from. The source soon became obvious - two teeth had broken off a bottom bevel gear. I could attribute no reason for this to have happened and concluded that they had just 'had enough'. I would have liked to have used all new moving parts when I built the engine but sometimes that isn't an option. I had a batch of pairs of coarse bottom bevels made. Though the broken pieces were present, the engine was completely stripped for thorough checking and then rebuilt.
The brakes had not been particularly good on the post-war Mkvii, so they were re-lined and machined to size.
The Venom got a fairly good going over, gearbox rebuild, top-end engine rebuild,cycle parts painted and the bike generally tidied up.
My Mkii KSS was getting oily and the forks were in a very worn condition. I have commenced the engine rebuild and the forks were sent to a specialist for overhaul.
June - 3rd - rather a late start to the season with a first outing to Staphorst in Holland. A newly improvised circuit with sections around cones but the usual friendly atmosphere that we have come to expect. The Mkviii went very well but I had some difficulty starting - the Dutch still favour 'bump starts' and the motor did not pick up cleanly. I suspect that the pilot mixture or float level needs looking at. The Beasley went well in it's first proper outing with small adjustments being made during the day to make it feel more like 'my' bike.
5th - Tubbergen, about an hour from Staphorst. Well attended meeting, the bikes went well. The organisers had arranged a display of bikes, including some works NSU's and a Rennsport BMW, which were also paraded, very quickly, during the day. There was a photographic disply of when Tubbergen had been an important circuit in the 40's, 50's and 60's. Both the Beasley and the Mkvii performed well.
17th - Z Z Race Holland- this event is only run every three years and is on a fast 'closed public road' circuit, four miles long. There was naturally a good attendence. We drove a couple of laps in the van on the previous afternoon and it looked a bit scarey, I wondered if I would be able to learn it ok. In first practice, I followed a rider who clearly knew what he was doing for a couple of laps and then tried it out in front. In the 'pre-50' race, I entered the Mkviii and would have been second if Stu Rogers' Norton hadn't broken the chain just before the finish. It was a special Norton day but that doesn't mean that they have to win anything, does it ? I had been hoping for a really good ride on the Beasley, having made several useful little changes but when I came to start it up, the magneto was dead. I didn't feel like doing a mag change in the paddock. The Z Z Races have their own website : www.zzraces.nl
July - 2nd - The Velocette Owners' Club annual rally at Stanford Hall, unmissable if you enjoy meeting old friends and talking rubbish all day long. I had a very pleasant ride down on my Venom in the company of Chris and Pat. We were blessed with excellent weather. I had taken the Beasley to display with the usual request for information on its history but was very surprised when it won first prize in the beauty competition.
15th & 16th - VMCC meeting incorporating the Velocette Owners' Club annual races. I took KTT966 which went very well and the Beasley which is now going better but has an engine breathing problem to be resolved - oil blows through into the magneto drive chaincase and out behind the magneto. The handling of the Beasley seems to be very good and i'm gaining confidence in the bike. The front brake drum is not round and needs skimming. There were six KTT's at the meeting, Ian Cramp's very fast 500cc Mki, the Mkviii's of Roger Sloley, Peter Crewe and myself, the Mkviii engined Parvel and the Beasley. It's a long time since I've seen so many together.
22nd - Barneveld, Holland, John Mundey took his Mki, Ian Whitehead took his 250cc Rudge and I took KTT842 and the Beasley. I had spent some time fitting an oil seal to the magneto driving shaft and improving the crankcase breather on the Beasley - this seems to have cured the problem of oil in the cahincase. The bike went well and I'm becoming much more comfortable on it. It became clear that the bike is over-geared. KTT842 went very well but has quite a bit of piston-slap. John and Ian both had good rides but we had to leave early to catch the ferry at Rotterdam, so missed the presentation etc.
August - 19th & 20th Schotten, Germany. I took three bikes, the Mki for Class B, up to 1930, unlimited cc ; the post-war Mkviii for Class C, 350cc's up to 1949 and the Beasley for a friend to ride in the racing bike parade. Though the Mki goes ok, the motor gets rough as the revs increase. It is ok for road use but hard to ride at racing speed. I had four rides over the weekend but am resolved not to race it again until the motor is sorted. The Mkviii was splendid, Geoff Bloor (also on a Mkviii) and I led the field for both races, resulting in one win each. Cord Warneke rode his very quick Mkv KTT in Class C and his special four valve Venom in a Renolds frame in Class K. My friend elected not to ride the Beasley, so I rode it myself - it went like a dream and is a joy to ride, now that I have the gearing right. There was the usual turnout of interesting machines including three 'works' twin cylinder Horex's, Rennsport BMW's and a very pretty Bennelli. The crowd was impressive and responded generously to all of the riders. A great weekend.
September - 8th - Beezumph, Cadwell Park. It's official, the Beasley is the best handling bike that I have ever ridden ! Riding round Cadwell without any pressure gives you time to try things out, the Beasley is going well, pulling 8000 rpm in top and I get progressively braver until I find out that this bike handles perfectly. I'll try one tooth larger on the final drive, there is still a small problem of crank case pressure to resolve and the front brake could be better. KTT966 goes very well but I've fitted some new Maxton rear suspension units and they're not quite right yet. Beezumph is the annual track day \ rally for the BSA and Triumph triples, open to other riders. Splendidly organised by Tony Page and his team and blessed this year with excellent weather. Fabulous.
I complete the engine rebuild on my Mkii KSS and it is running like a dream. It's hard to imagine how a bike could be more pleasant to ride than one of these. I'm already looking forward to riding it in Spain in October.
30th and October 1st - Cadwell Park for the last VMCC meeting of the season. Saturday on the Woodland Circuit and Sunday on the Full Circuit. A well attended meeting with a a good entry for all classes but some races run concurrently with another class. I entered KTT966 and the Beasley. There was only one other KTT - Ian Cramp's 500cc Mki. Heavy rain preceded the meeting but the weather cleared up and most races were held in fair conditions. The Mkviii went well on both days, it's handling improved by a new pair of lighter springs on the recently fitted Maxton rear units. I think that the adjustable damping needs a tweak and then I will make some suitable covers to make them look more authentic. The Beasley also went well and I appear to have been successful in finding a cure for the engine breathing problem. The front brake is much improved after skimming the drum and more work on the cam lever. The Beasley attracted a lot of attention and I got a bit more information from a previous owner of the No.6 bike. It's great when the bikes perform well and you can put them back in the van knowing that there's nothing that needs doing to them before their next outing.