FAST BERK TZR250
The rebuild of the racing 2MA comes to a close, just testing and racing left then!
Charlie Oakman is on the finishing straight!
With the clock ticking rapidly toward an ominous deadline, I am pleased to say that the first of the three stages of my TZR project is just about complete. The first stage was the build of a 1988 TZR250 2MA out of a variety of boxes of parts lying around our workshop and the rolling frame of a similar project that started and stopped some five years ago. We are missing only one crucial part currently in development – a bespoke radiator hose from Samco, which is in the post, so we can now start planning for stage two and three, the latter being a race with the Yamaha Past Masters (YPMS) around Snetterton 300 in October. Getting to this point has been a long road of sourcing new parts, cleaning and servicing old ones and calling in favours. The biggest thus far (apart from getting the green light from Fast Bikes staffer Benjamin Kubas-cronin to build and race his bike) was getting a package from Jersey where a 2MA tank was loaned from a private Yamaha collector for the term of this project. Not only did they give me permission to use it, but also paint it – meaning the clean white race bike pictured here did not have to come complete with a yellow and red retro style tank! I have to admit to being very excited by this; it looks stunning and has come a long way over the past six issues since the rolling frame, complete with upgraded Maxton suspension and rebuilt engine (which is as far as Benjamin had got), was rolled into Phoenix Yamaha’s van. Phoenix is the Trowbridge based dealership that not only allowed me a spare bench but also the services of chief mechanic Wayne Philips to aid me on the build. I am exceedingly thankful for this, having learnt so much across the build, getting my hands dirty on occasion, sourcing and supplying replacement parts, despite a certain amount of abuse for not putting the milk in the tea before the hot water! With the exception of the hose linking the
engine to the new GPI Aluminium radiator all else was finished off last week. A hose could be fashioned of course but Samco said they would make me one and given the fact that most of the YPM paddock uses this upgraded radiator it’s a very small legacy that I can leave behind at the end of this project. Wayne, having returned from his holidays was met with a service schedule with ‘TZR day’ written in. In the corner of the workshop he was greeted by all of the necessary parts for the final push and what I am sure was the equally welcoming sight of me for the day, taking pictures, asking ‘what’s that?’ and making plenty of tea – milk first, naturally. The fairing prep had been down to me. As stated in the last issue, with the help of fellow YPM’ER Gary Button we had cut the race fairing from Bardney Racing in half, hinging it for ease of access. The sides had come complete with Dzus fastenings to the cockpit – leaving only the seat unit to be strengthened with 3mm aluminium plates at the rear and under the seat so that it won’t flex when riding. A seat pad was pinched from JHS Racing based in Keynsham and glued into position, two holes burnt through the seat by heating a copper pipe and melting through the foam to produce two perfect holes allowing access to the bolts that secure the unit into position on the purpose built brackets. The brackets were again down to me, with some guidance from seeing how the more seasoned TZR racers had gone about the job. The front bracket was taken from a right-angled aluminium strip, cut in half and then joined together with two bolts on a sliding scale allowing for height adjustment. The rear was again via 3mm aluminium, pop-riveted together using brackets purchased from a DIY store, drilled at the top with a Dzus fastener added to the central beam allowing one fastener to hold the back in place. It’s my own work (messy and primitive it may be) but it is effective. Finally the two-stroke green number boards fore and aft were sprayed on using Halfords spray paint and a final layer of lacquer
to protect the paint from the potential of peeling with the application and more appropriately removal of race numbers. I also had some paperwork to do, getting my race application in and getting my race number for the finale of this project: #99 has been allocated, which led to much hilarity in the workshop with the expectancy that it would read as #66 once I am on track, or more correctly off it. Ha-bloody-ha! So back in Trowbridge we were ready to get things finished. First job was to fit the chain allowing us to run through the gearbox proficiently enough to make sure we had them all. The SES rear-sets are superb, giving a lot of feel through this near 30-year-old gearing, the side-stand is in the way of course but that is only still in place for ease in the workshop. We had a slight issue with the rear caliper, fresh from ebay/hong Kong, but a tightening of the bolts and bleed from both nipples released the air and built up the pressure. Once done a hose replaced the reservoir and the rear brake was finished. Moving forward the oil pump was disconnected from the throttle and the feeder pipes doubled back to create a seal so that no air could be sucked into the carbs. All that is left now is the aforementioned radiator hose and we are ready to run. Fitting the fairing took some time. With no pre-supplied brackets we managed to find a few in the Phoenix Yamaha spares box which given some filing, drilling and manipulation allowed the fairing to all come together, tight to the frame of the bike and fitting beautifully. You may remember that this fairing had come from Bardney Racing, prepared from a cast provided by a member of the YPM faithful so I had no doubt it would fit well, but genuinely it’s perfect. While all of this was going on the manager of the dealership – Barry Bear – was getting involved, having offered to prepare the tank for me. There were rust spots that he treated, sanded, filled and sanded again. Then proceeded to spray the unit white, thus finishing off perfectly what you see here. This is a bike that I am immensely proud of and I cannot wait to move into stage two, the testing. With a track-day booked at Castle Combe I will have plenty of opportunity to run the bike in and test its capabilities though this will only leave one month to get it finely tuned and race ready before Snetterton. Okay then, so far so good, but there are quite a few bridges to cross before the racing. Looking good is one thing, performing well will be a another considering that I will be gridding against 32 other TZRS that pretty much have a full season behind them. With all the investment, time and generosity shown to me for this project, stage two is crucial. Phoenix helped me to build a runner, I am asking JHS Racing to make it a racer and when the red lights go out at Snetterton it will be down to me to bring all of these things together. Deep breaths Charlie, deep breaths.
Some hose work going on here.
Rear end finally complete.
Charlie was allowed to attach the screen!
Even with the fairing, it’s narrow!.
Samco’s bespoke mould.
Home-made spray booth!
Tacho only is needed.
Checking for the chain reaction.
Reinforced: just in case!
Stand could come off...
Oil feed looped off.
Effective, not pretty!