UP THE CREEK!

Our Anit­podean Project ZXR wins at Eastern Creek!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

our aussie arm has only gone and blink­ing won some­thing! Webby and the Wilkos win the Barry sheene Fes­ti­val of speed. re­port in their own inim­itable words...

Are we up a cer­tain creek with­out a cer­tain pad­dle? Nah, far from it! sure, we were rac­ing the Project CMM pre­pared by John Wilkin­son and pi­loted by his very tal­ented son, Mark, at eastern Creek but the sewage treat­ment plant was a mile-and-ahalf away and a pad­dle wasn’t re­quired to pro­pel this 25-year-old, 87,000km green ca­noe. af­ter some more great prepa­ra­tion by John and Mark lead­ing up to this very pres­ti­gious post-clas­sic motorcycling event, the old boiler per­formed like it had an ex­tra out­board mo­tor strapped to its back­side. We started this Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Me­chan­ics project ZXR more than 18 months ago as we wanted to prove you don’t need to keep spend­ing end­less amounts of money to buy, build, and suc­cess­fully com­pete in what is one of the fastest-grow­ing and most popular dis­ci­plines in mo­tor­cy­cle road rac­ing. Why is it popular? The bikes and peo­ple make it so.

You may have owned a cam-chew­ing VF or a head­shak­ing Gsx-r slabby or a scream­ing killa rg or rz500, or maybe the very popular Z900 a CB750: they’re all out there. and then there are the peo­ple in­volved. Hearts of gold, will­ing to lend a hand – even if you kick their butts out on track. any­way, back to the guts of this read. We’ve just re­turned from the Barry sheene Fes­ti­val of speed held an­nu­ally at syd­ney’s Eastern Creek cir­cuit. It’s a track you can see so much of when perched up high. This is a huge event that at­tracts peo­ple from all over (see box­out) and the amaz­ing Fred­die spencer was among the crowd. I was for­tu­nate enough to at­tend satur­day night’s din­ner to hear Fred­die tell his truly en­light­en­ing story about how he started out as a kid racer and what hap­pened af­ter­wards (yeah, we know…) Back to us, John and Mark did ev­ery­thing they could to get the most out of this ZXR with brakes and han­dling and gen­eral set-up af­ter phillip Is­land, in which the only thing be­tween Mark and the sil­ver­ware was a few ex­tra horses. so, a de­ci­sion was made to leave early and spend a day in syd­ney mak­ing some ig­ni­tion ad­just­ments and a proper dyno ses­sion to fi­nally see what horse­power this thing still made and fi­nally jet it to get the best we could. We shared a shed at phillip Is­land with a guy who’s been around a while named Craig Hara­dine of C&M Mo­tor­cy­cles who also races and builds clas­sic bikes of very high qual­ity and is also a com­peti­tor in our class. Craig was blown away by Mark’s abil­ity and per­for­mance on such a low-bud­get ma­chine. any­how, on the run-up to the event, John, Mark and Craig were busier than a three-legged cat try­ing to bury a turd on a mar­ble stair­case. What more do you ex­pect from get the best out of this di­nosaur. By the time we got to the track on Fri­day the place was buzzing as peo­ple ex­cit­edly looked to­wards the races and fran­ti­cally got their bikes ready. This was the time we had waited for – to try to de­liver to you dear read­ers of CMM – the win in the pe­riod 6 pre-1990 750 class. We wanted to win it out­right and to do that we had to com­pete against the best in the big-bore class. The pit garage was set up as per usual by John and Mark the day be­fore, so the bike was on its stands and tyre warmers fit­ted. With ev­ery­thing set, I took a look around at the com­pe­ti­tion – there were some lovely bikes out there. soon it was our turn to hit the track. John sent Mark on his way with his fi­nal words of wis­dom. He pats him on the back and sim­ply says: “Have fun son!” Even with 44 bikes out there you could see Mark had the speed on worn tyres. at the end of the ses­sion Mark was half a sec­ond quicker than any­one in our class and even near the pointy end of the 1300 class. Qual­i­fy­ing saw Mark as the fastest pe­riod 6 750 and on the front row of the grid. We were sec­ond be­hind a rapid 750 two-stroke with a handy rider on board. In race one when the green light came on our green bike shot off. Mark and the TZ750 swapped places

but Mark was slip­streamed over the line in an oh-so­close fin­ish. No mat­ter, he had done the busi­ness and won the P6 class out­right. Mark and the big TZ had ba­si­cally bro­ken clear of the pack and Mark’s lap­time was a 1m 44.2. To be hon­est I can’t de­scribe how we all felt at that re­sult. I mean, this is the first win for Project CMM ZXR and the bike has 87,000km on the clock. Mark be­ing the bat­tler he is wanted to go out in the big­bore class, so we shod the bike with new rub­ber and rubbed shoul­ders with Steve Martin, Rob Phillis, Shawn Giles and Mal and Scott Camp­bell. In this big-name and big-bore field he came home ninth. From then on Mark and the old ZXR kept on de­liv­er­ing the goods. Next he beat the TZ and got an­other class win. The sec­ond big-bore race he came home third with a 1m 44 flat. Then it was the 25 best qual­i­fiers to take to the Tar­mac for the Barry Sheene me­mo­rial race. There were plenty of big-buck bikes out there in the big-bore class, but Mark was do­ing the busi­ness and even­tu­ally run­ning 1m 42.1 sec­ond laps. I had a plane to catch be­fore the fi­nal Barry Sheene race, but I was stoked at his per­for­mances so far and knew we had the out­right 750 class win in the bag, but bet­ter was to come. John texted to tell me that his boy had come sec­ond out­right in the Open-class Barry Sheene Me­mo­rial race and that we would have the sil­ver­ware to prove it: all done on a knack­ered old Kwak with bug­ger all for a bud­get. Hell, if most CMM read­ers saw this bike they’d say it was a resto project not a racer… With sec­ond in the main race and the over­all win in our class we’d got­ten the job done. Mark re­ally does de­serve a fac­tory ride. I bet Barry would be proud of this event and what goes on in his name. One per­son sums up the spirit of the great man him­self. Alan Kemp­ster is 52 and lost his right arm and leg in a hit-and-run ac­ci­dent five years ago. He hadn’t raced a bike since the mid-1980s and here he was at the Creek show­ing just how rapid he was on a Kawasaki ZXR400. Meet­ing Alan was a real hon­our and made my week­end all the sweeter. Good on ya mate. So what next for the CMM Project ZXR? We’d love to find a spon­sor who can help us build a mo­tor that could help us lift a few Aussie ti­tles. Or maybe race at the Clas­sic TT on the Isle of Man? If any­one fan­cies con­tribut­ing to our lit­tle adventure we’d give you full cov­er­age on the fair­ing of the old girl. C’mon peo­ple – con­tact Ber­tie and let’s get the CMM ZXR in the north­ern hemi­sphere I reckon it would be a rip­per of a riot!

Mark Wilkin­son did good with the old CMM Project ZXR.

Above: The sights and sounds of the fes­ti­val are in­tox­i­cat­ing. Barry would have loved it.

Wilko Ju­nior heads out to kick some butt. Above: Some amaz­ing ma­chines at the event. And men – Alan Kemp­ster – re­spect to you mate! be­low: Webby meets his hero Fred­die Spencer.

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