Jim Curry’s CR93

The pri­va­teer's ul­ti­mate weapon

Classic Racer - - WHAT'S INSIDE - (and my even­tu­ally suc­cess­ful for one by Peter Pamham)

Clas­sic Racer’s Peter Parn­ham’s jour­ney to get his hands on this lovely bit of rac­ing kit took al­most as long to com­plete as the work on the mo­tor­cy­cle it­self. The end re­sult is a great ex­am­ple of the breed.

I re­mem­ber it clearly – the still­ness and ab­so­lute lack of sound as the 40,000 people crowded into the nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre that is Mallory Park held their col­lec­tive breath.

Iswear that a but­ter­fly land­ing on a leaf would have been heard by all. Then the starter’s flag dropped; there was the pat­ter of feet and the splut­tered ca­cophony of as­sorted two-stroke en­gines; but above it all was the boom­ing howl of the small col­lec­tion of Honda CR93S that res­onated off the sur­round­ing low hills and cor­ru­gated roofs of the pad­dock build­ings. Their long open mega­phone ex­hausts sent the cu­mu­la­tive deci­bels far and wide. It was 1964 and I, as a young ‘gofer’ for one of Lin­colnshire’s finest, Derek Chat­ter­ton, com­pet­ing with his CR93, was hooked. This was what rac­ing was about! I was de­ter­mined to com­pete my­self some day, as and when fi­nances al­lowed. In the mid -1960s the light­weight rac­ing ma­chine to have wasw the beau­ti­fully de­signed and en­gi­neered 125cc Honda CR93. With reg­u­lar check­ups and changes ofo oil (in­clud­ing warm­ing up the oil over a Primus Stoves on a cold day) the ma­chine could go a full seaa­son without un­due prob­lems. This ex­tremely rel iable ma­chine held sway un­til the ad­vent of the race- kit­ted Yamaha AS1S and sub­se­quent AS3 ma­chines.m So, by the time I started rac­ing my Jack Ma achin- framed and race-kit­ted AS1 in the early 1970s,, apart from their com­pet­ing in the TT, they were tota ally out- per­formed. I re­mem­ber on my very first 12 25cc out­ing at Croft (hav­ing com­peted on 50s pre­vi­ously) out-speed­ing one of the few rem main­ing CR93S (that of New­cas­tle man Howard Smith) down the straight, but their timet had passed and their value plumm meted. In his book ‘A Laap of My Life’

Jim Curry, who had cam­paigned a CR93 so suc­cess­fully (and in­deed be­come Bri­tish cham­pion) dur­ing those 1960s years, al­ways speaks highly of the ma­chine. So much so that in 1973, in what he thought would be his last TT, he once again com­peted on one. This ma­chine, slightly long in the tooth, be­longed to his friend ‘Rom­mel’ Tay­lor, who had bought it from Dutch­man Hen­nie Jansen for the princely sum of £250. Jim was ly­ing sixth in the race when, un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, the ma­chine seized. How­ever, af­ter wait­ing for it to cool, he restarted and fin­ished in 21st po­si­tion, gain­ing a Bronze Replica. Such was their longevity. It was, as he says: “The first and only time I ever ex­pe­ri­enced a pis­ton seizure on a CR93.” Some years later Jim pur­chased the same ma­chine from ‘Rom­mel’ (for £1000) and dry stored it for pos­si­ble fu­ture use. In 1984 he de­cided to race in the newly in­au­gu­rated ‘His­toric TT’. He could com­pete in the 250cc class if he bored out the en­gine to 182 or even 190cc. In his book, he de­scribes how he man­aged to make the ma­chine an ‘over-sized’ 190cc even­tu­ally and com­peted very suc­cess­fully, fin­ish­ing third in the 250cc class. In­ci­den­tally, the 250cc class race win­ner was Mac Mcdiarmid on a race-con­verted Suzuki Super Six. His ac­count of it all was in the Au­tumn 1984 issue of Clas­sic Racer. Af­ter the 1984 TT, Jim be­gan to feel ill and lym­phoma was di­ag­nosed. He even­tu­ally re­cov­ered af­ter very in­tru­sive treat­ment and raced the CR93 in Clas­sic Races in 1986 (prov­ing that life is all about its en­joy­ment – as both Malc Wheeler and I fully un­der­stand). Even­tu­ally, he sold the ma­chine to Steve Kemp­ster, who suc­cess­fully pa­raded it. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing an in­sur­ance pay-out for life-chang­ing in­juries suf­fered in a mo­tor­cy­cle road accident, I was de­ter­mined to re­call those early days as Derek Chat­ter­ton’s ‘gofer’ and be­gan my hunt for a good Honda CR93. There are very few on the mar­ket. Af­ter a cou­ple of ‘red her­rings’ (one gen­tle­man wanted me to travel to Ger­many with cash in the car to pick one up un­seen, mak­ing me think of sev­eral rea­sons not to, in­clud­ing Fletcher’s ex­cuse in the TV pro­gramme ‘Por­ridge’ of: “What, with these feet?”); I heard that one was go­ing to be for sale. I con­tacted the ven­dor, who had pur­chased it from Mr Kemp­ster. Even­tu­ally, it was ob­tained, my son and I hav­ing seen it suc­cess­fully pa­raded at Chol­monde­ley. It came with a host of spares but with the ask­ing price con­sid­er­ably more than £250! It is the very same ex-jim Curry 190cc ma­chine with the his­tory as above. Jim, when re­search­ing his book, called in and looked the bike over. He com­mented that the orig­i­nal car­bu­ret­tors should re­place the over-size ones and this has now been done. He now calls me a ‘lucky person’ or words to that ef­fect.

My thanks to all who have helped in my search and par­tic­u­larly to Jim Curry for al­low­ing me to quote from his book ‘A Lap of my Life’.

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