Project Bikes

An­other month scorches by, which means even less time be­fore Charles ‘Char­lie’ Charles will be lin­ing up on the grid to go rac­ing. Get­ting ner­vous much, Char­lie?

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

It’s time to get se­ri­ous! Two is­sues ago I in­tro­duced you to my in­ten­tion to build a TZR race bike from a rolling frame and box of bits and pieces, re­plac­ing what was ab­sent or spent. Then, to get at least one round of the Yamaha Past Masters Rac­ing se­ries un­der my belt and start the process of los­ing my OJ (Orange Jacket) sta­tus. Last month I told you about a fan­tas­tic day I had at Brands Hatch with the gen­uinely bril­liant peo­ple in the YMPR pad­dock (who are to be­come my tar­get through the vi­sor), as they pre­pared for the first round of the se­ries. How­ever, by the time you are read­ing this the YMPR’ers will be three rounds in and I have spent way too lit­tle time with Wayne Philips, who is build­ing the bike ‘with’ me at Phoenix Yamaha in Trow­bridge.

For­tu­nately for me, Wayne has not been lord­ing it about like my­self. He has been putting in the time bit by bit, in-be­tween jobs, and steady progress has been made. As I had left it be­fore head­ing to Brands the TZR was sat on the re­serve bench at Phoenix. I had been rel­a­tively busy get­ting the parts to­gether that we needed, so that we could at least get the bike run­ning and test an en­gine that has not turned for some five years.

I had ac­quired a rear mud­guard from eBay for £20 which meant that many of the in­ter­nals could be at­tached. Hav­ing failed to re­place the lost man­i­fold for Beej’s F3 rac­ing sys­tem (I’m still look­ing for it! – BJ) I had also dropped in the stan­dard ex­hausts for the job to progress, as well as var­i­ous cop­per wash­ers, front and rear wheel oil seals and, much to the an­noy­ance of our Beej who never ran one, an air­box, once again from eBay.

Hav­ing re­ceived a call from Phoenix that I should go over as Wayne had found a bit of time, my TZR (okay, Beej’s TZR) was in a very dif­fer­ent place in­deed. The carbs had been sent, re­turned and fit­ted hav­ing been sonic cleaned, the rear mud­guard was fit­ted, pipes were fit­ted, the ra­di­a­tor fit­ted, and Wayne had set up an in­tra­venous fuel drip into the en­gine and was ready to start her up. A few kicks and the brand new plugs ig­nited and she was away, puffs of blue smoke bel­lowed out of the pipes and my un­trained ear was telling me that the bike was sound­ing pretty damn good, all things con­sid­ered. How­ever, the pud­dle of wa­ter that was con­gre­gat­ing be­neath the bike was con­cern­ing.

The nat­u­ral place to start was the ra­di­a­tor, in the end this is knack­ered and as I had learned from the YPM chaps it would not be up to the job even if it was ab­so­lutely spot on. The pref­er­ence in the pad­dock was to re­place the stan­dard ra­di­a­tor with that of a 400cc Quad type as sup­plied, again, via Fleabay, from GPI Rac­ing. I duly or­dered and re­ceived the new ra­di­a­tor to find it be­ing at least three times thicker than stan­dard, the ad­di­tional fluid ca­pac­ity mak­ing sure that the TZR (which ap­par­ently takes an age to warm), will have plenty of cool

fluid when run­ning at full chat. This ra­di­a­tor came with its own chal­lenges though, which I will get to, but fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that it was not the knack­ered old rad that was piss­ing fluid, it was the mo­tor’s top-end.

For­tu­nately the heads can be re­moved in situ so the in­ves­tiga­tive work be­gan, first thing to check was the gas­ket, if in­deed there was a gas­ket con­sid­er­ing the time this bike has had out of ser­vice. But it was there, with­out any causes for con­cern, re­fit­ted, restarted and then the source was dis­cov­ered as fluid made its way up and through four of the bolts that at­tached the head to the bar­rel. A quick look at the ex­ploded di­a­gram of the top-end in the manual high­lighted the prob­lem.

When the en­gine was re­built they had omit­ted to use nut crowns which keeps the seal wa­ter tight. Fowlersparts.co.uk came in to save me once more and two days later, and £21.36 lighter, the en­gine was sealed and we could move on.

This project has been run­ning bit by bit, the suc­cess­ful test of the en­gine had given the green light on mov­ing for­ward to other ar­eas of the build/re­furb. One of the more es­sen­tial items we were miss­ing were the keys, thus Wayne had hotwired the TZR to get it run­ning.

How­ever Beej re­cov­ered these which not only al­lowed us to use the ig­ni­tion, but also open the fuel tank which had a very pro­nounced rat­tle of some­thing rather amiss on the in­side. We dis­cov­ered the tank is full of rust, and if that isn’t bad enough I had been given the ad­vice that these fuel tanks were li­able to rust through in two sig­nif­i­cant places at the bot­tom of the tank.

Here lies an­other sig­nif­i­cant is­sue; the rust spots via a lit­tle pres­sure and ag­i­ta­tion with a screw­driver be­came gap­ing holes on both sides. In short, the tank is shot, but be­fore rac­ing to my lap­top again to hunt for a fresh one we are go­ing to look at pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tives to get the tank sealed.

This is where the ra­di­a­tor comes in, as qual­ity as it may be, we need to mod­ify the brack­ets so that it fits the TZR. For­tu­nately work­ing with a lo­cal dealer means the con­tacts are there to help out and a chap called Andy Tay­lor, whose bike we fea­tured in FB some time ago, is will­ing to help out. Thus the tank, ra­di­a­tor and bike will be wing­ing its way to His­cock Engi­neers for a bit of po­ten­tial weld­ing love. Hope to bring you more on that next month.

De­spite try­ing to re­cy­cle as much of the orig­i­nal bike as I can there some things that will have to be re­placed, the clutch and power-valve ca­bles are look­ing very tired and have the po­ten­tial of ru­in­ing the project through a fail. The brake lines also need up­dat­ing and I am cur­rently await­ing a de­liv­ery from Ven­hill for these re­place­ments. I will also be speak­ing to Bike Torque Rac­ing about re­plac­ing my discs and get­ting a quick-ac­tion throt­tle in place. There is also the small mat­ter of fair­ings, levers, spare wheels (ac­tu­ally spare ev­ery­thing...) that needs to be ad­dressed as well as your pad­dock es­sen­tials, the task is re­ally fi­nally dawn­ing on me now. It’s huge…

But once all of that is achieved, I can fi­nally get to ride the TZR and race it. A re­cent track­day at Cas­tle Combe has re­minded me that once all of the above is done, I still have a lot to learn about rid­ing and race craft. If the prospect was not so ex­cit­ing I would be ut­terly and truly ex­hausted.

It’s all com­ing to­gether!

Char­lie, pre­tend­ing to ac­tu­ally do some of the work on the TZR him­self...

Some­thing miss­ing here...

...wish­ing he’d never met Char­lie.

Wayne at work...

Knack­ered old rad...

... and a shiny new one!

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