A rac­ing pedi­gree de­vel­oped from a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship…

Scootering - - Contents -

The leg­endary NK1 – Vespa Racer. This is a scooter with a true rac­ing pedi­gree, de­vel­oped and con­structed from a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship.

Steve Chap­man and Dave De­laney’s love af­fair with scoot­ers de­vel­oped from an early age, and they shared a pas­sion for scooter rac­ing, which de­vel­oped through the bumps and scrapes of the 80s... Way back when

When Steve was grow­ing up he reg­u­larly went on fam­ily camp­ing week­ends to the sea­side and some­times the traf­fic would be swal­lowed up by a sea of young peo­ple on scoot­ers. “I was slightly scared and very cu­ri­ous. When we were in Dorset in 1982, driv­ing down some beau­ti­ful coun­try lanes, three scoot­ers passed us – all chrome and mir­rors. How­ever, it was the men­ac­ing mes­sage on one of the scooter’s fly­screens, ‘Mil­lions like us’ and the girls on the back that re­ally did it for me.

It was an in­vis­i­ble, glam­orous army of young peo­ple and that’s what I wanted in the next few years, a scooter to carry girls!” Steve ex­plained. In 1983 Dave watched Quadrophe­nia and was hooked. And not long after a few trips to Nel­son House and Oa­sis in Birm­ing­ham he was kit­ted out with a parka, Jam shoes and boating blazer!

Rac­ing pulse

With plenty of funny sto­ries and in­ter­est­ing mo­ments un­der their belts, Dave and Steve now work along­side each other on the BSSO scooter rac­ing com­mit­tee. With the 2016 in­au­gu­ral sea­son suc­cess of the new Pro­duc­tion Class open to both Lam­bretta and Vespa Steve ap­proached Dave want­ing to build the first small­frame Vespa for the class, with Dave as the rider and en­gine builder. At that time Stu­art McKen­zie on a P200 was the only com­pet­ing Vespa rider in a class dom­i­nated by Lam­bret­tas.


“The LCGB BSSO Pro­duc­tion Class was such a suc­cess. Ves­pas were al­lowed to en­ter but no-one had and I was cu­ri­ous to see how a small­frame would fare. It’s a 132cc ver­sus their 200cc and is ob­vi­ously down on power, but lighter with in­cred­i­ble han­dling. I hoped it might en­cour­age some oth­ers to try and in that it’s been a great suc­cess, and we have four more headed to the track this sea­son.” Steve ex­plained. In 2016 their good friend Nor­rie Kerr made his old grass track frame along with a set of Pri­mav­era cas­ings avail­able to Steve. The frame was show­ing the scars of com­pe­ti­tion with a story from Nor­rie on each and ev­ery ding and dent

of its his­tory; so the frame was sent over to their team paint spon­sor, Hodge at Su­per­sprint Restora­tions, for some Black Coun­try magic.

De­vel­op­ing the dream

Want­ing to keep Nor­rie’s rac­ing spirit alive, mas­ter fab­ri­ca­tor Hodge set to work on ca­ress­ing the frame back to its for­mer glory. When the legshields were re­moved it re­leased all the stresses from its rac­ing his­tory but Hodge man­aged to re­align it per­fectly be­fore fit­ting new ones. While all this was go­ing on and after trans­plant­ing a new set of 90SS legshields along with dummy tank, mud­guard and head­set. Hodge was then left to pon­der on a fit­ting paint scheme; and a few ‘chuff’ breaks later the NK1 trib­ute was born, com­plete with its 80s sur­vivor race paint theme!

En­gine build

With the mo­tor, rather than buy­ing new cas­ings Dave opted to save a Pri­mav­era en­gine, from which the cylin­der and crank had to be re­moved by an­gle grinder. “It was a labour of love but sav­ing some­thing that was ready for the skip is most sat­is­fy­ing!” Dave ex­plained. At the same time Dave had al­ready set to work spec­i­fy­ing all the re­quired com­po­nents for the re­build along with build­ing NK1’s race en­gine. Rules for the Pro­duc­tion Class only per­mit type-spe­cific com­po­nents, the idea be­ing ev­ery­one has the same setup, the rider mak­ing the dif­fer­ence.

This pro­vides some very close rac­ing through­out the field: the Lam­bret­tas get an RB20 kit, Franspeed pipe and 30mm carb with no tun­ing al­lowed. For the small­frame Vespa there’s a Malossi MHR 132cc cylin­der kit, NFK sig­na­ture ex­haust, Malossi reed valve and a 30mm VHSH Del­lorto carb. Sus­pen­sion is open to the rider’s pref­er­ence so Dave opted for the proven Malossi RS shock­ers along with fit­ment of a nicely crafted Cri­maz hub mounted disc brake as PK forks would have spoilt the line and han­dling. “The usual route for rac­ing is to fit the PK forks and PX disc brake. How­ever, I’ve tried PK forks be­fore and they do in­crease the ride height and for me up­set the orig­i­nal small­frame han­dling. The scooter’s now fit­ted with the lat­est Zirri disc brake, and the orig­i­nal hub and forks have been re­tained. It eats brake pads but has a ter­rific feel and its sin­gle pis­ton is am­ple for its power.” Dave ex­plained. “If only we had these back in the 90s!” he added with a smile.

The Ig­ni­tion was later up­rated from a PK HP4 to Malossi Ve­spower and Steve bought a Sc­itsu rev counter for the scooter, which Hodge loved. When Steve took the bike to a dyno be­fore Cad­well Park last year he left the rev counter with Hodge. When Hodge ar­rived he used an­other frame to fab­ri­cate an amaz­ing bracket for it and even painted it to match the bike! Steve has to con­fess, the stand­out part for him is the in­board front disc from Zirri with mas­ter cylin­der, which pops on with no mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the SS head­set.


Power from the mo­tor is circa 20bhp and with the NFK ex­haust pro­vid­ing bags of torque the ‘bolt-on’ set up is on par with the com­pet­ing RB20 Lam­bret­tas of the same class. “The NFK sig­na­ture ex­haust pro­vides ter­rific grunt through the gear changes and holds the top end revs per­fectly. The Malossi RS sus­pen­sion works well, keep­ing the scoot set­tled when fully cranked over,” Dave ex­plained. “As re­gards its top speed; that’s around 85mph de­pend­ing on gear­ing/race cir­cuit and cruis­ing is just for the cool-down lap,” he added.

Is the scooter re­li­able? “Fin­gers crossed; yes, so far it has been. We did had some clutch nig­gles ini­tially but they were eas­ily rec­ti­fied and the PK ig­ni­tion and HP4 fly­wheel gave a miss-fire at top revs. So for 2018 we have fit­ted the Malossi Ve­spower kit which now has it revving freely,” Dave ex­plained.

1: Mr Kerr hand­ing the scooter over to Dave. 2: Nor­rie’s off-road frame. 3: Dave and Hodge. 4: Legshields off. 5: Legshields strength­ened for rac­ing. 6: Legshield work in progress. 7: Realigned. 8: Ready for the horn­cast. 9: Un­der­coat. 10: Seized bolts ad­justers and stripped threads to mend. 11: En­gine stripped. 12: Some of the small items for assem­bly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.