Wayne’s World

Ex-na­tional cham­pion Wayne Le Mar­quand is back in ac­tion in this year’s Twin­shock Cham­pi­onship on a twin-port Honda

Classic Bike (UK) - - SHOCK TACTICS - WORDS: GEZ KANE. PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: STU­ART COLLINS

Afa­mous name in mo­tocross from the past, back in the sad­dle to take on the Hawk­stone sand, was just one of the many at­trac­tions at the Hawk­stone Park Fes­ti­val of Leg­ends last Sep­tem­ber. Reliving his glory days in the Haynes Four-stroke Mo­tocross Cham­pi­onship in the late ’70s and early ’80s, burly Chan­nel Is­lan­der Wayne Le Mar­quand was back on a big four-stroke Honda – and shift­ing a bit. This season, he’s back for more of the same, con­test­ing the over-60s class of the Na­tional Twin­shock Cham­pi­onship. His cur­rent bike might not be the JBR Honda with a full works en­gine from Ja­pan on which he clinched the 1982 Haynes ti­tle two years af­ter his first ti­tle win on a CCM, but it has a sim­i­lar twin-port Honda en­gine. The HPF Honda – a replica of a bike bear­ing an­other fa­mous mo­tocross name, Cal­i­for­nia race shop The Horse Power Fac­tory (HPF) – was built by arch en­thu­si­ast and ex-racer John Marsh. This 1982 HPF Honda is a spe­cial piece of kit, as Marsh ex­plained. “HPF were one of a bunch of spe­cial­ist bike builders cash­ing in on the boom in mo­tocross in ’70s and early ’80s Amer­ica,” he ex­plained. “The frame is a replica of a C&J frame built by Steve Or­rin (07968 971132). C&J were one of the best­known af­ter­mar­ket frame builders in the States back in the day. Steve is a top-class frame builder and fab­ri­ca­tor and also hand-crafted the ex­haust. I’ve used an af­ter­mar­ket Maico swingarm, the forks and front wheel are Suzuki RM250 parts and the rear hub is from a Honda CRF230. They’re not the most pow­er­ful stop­pers, but they’re light and the en­gine brak­ing helps a lot.” The mud­guards are a mix of UFO front and an uniden­ti­fied rear, sourced at a show. WP shocks take care of the rear sus­pen­sion. “I’ve al­ways used them,” says John. “They’re very good – and very light.”

The en­gine, while not a full works job, is just what Wayne Le Mar­quand yearned for all those years ago. It’s fast and re­li­able and a

lot of work has gone into trans­form­ing an over-the-counter XR500 en­gine into the fire-breath­ing race lump that strut­ted its stuff at Hawk­stone. “You can do a lot to the twin-port Honda en­gine.”

“Top en­gine builder Steve Clitheroe re­worked the en­gine,” says John. “It’s got a gas-flowed head, pro­filed cam, high-com­pres­sion 89.5mm pis­ton and still runs the stan­dard 80mm stroke, which gives a ca­pac­ity of 503cc. I would use a stan­dard bore, high-com­pres­sion pis­ton to keep the en­gine at 498cc, but they’re not avail­able. The carb is fairly trick, too. It’s been oval-bored – it’s 36mm across the hor­i­zon­tal axis, but 37.5 mea­sured ver­ti­cally. It gives us the bot­tom end of a 36mm carb with al­most as much top end as a 38mm. The ignition is an Elec­trex­world unit in­tended for a BSA B50 – it works a treat.”

Not only that, the whole pack­age seems to work a treat. Wayne is well on the pace and clearly lov­ing be­ing back with Honda power. He’s also en­joy­ing his rac­ing as a ‘works’ rider for John’s HPF Rac­ing team – and it’s no sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing the ‘rou­tine’. “I fly over from home in Jer­sey to the south coast, drive up to the cir­cuit with a few mates and camp for the week­end. Then I get on a great bike and en­joy a cou­ple of days rac­ing. What’s not to like?”

Not much, ob­vi­ously, as Wayne is cur­rently ly­ing sec­ond on the big thumper in the Over-60s Twin­shock Cham­pi­onship af­ter three rounds. At the open­ing round at Polesworth in April, he snatched over­all vic­tory by a sin­gle point. He backed that up with sec­ond place be­hind Martin Snape in round two (back at Hawk­stone) be­fore hav­ing to set­tle for fifth over­all af­ter his chain came off in the third moto – hav­ing won the first two races in style – at round three at Oller­ton in May.

John Marsh is de­lighted with the way his bike is go­ing and he con­firmed that he’s plan­ning to run it at a few non-cham­pi­onship, meet­ings this year when I called him for a catch-up on the rest of this season’s plans. “I’m hop­ing Barry Turn­bull – last year’s Twin­shock Ex­pert cham­pion – will give it an out­ing. He’s amaz­ingly quick, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how he goes on it.” It will in­deed – if you want to see for your­self, this season’s up­com­ing dates are listed be­low.

The Chan­nel Is­lan­der won two Haynes Fourstroke Cham­pi­onships in the ’80s. Now he’s on a HPF Honda in the Over60s Twin­shock se­ries

A replica of a pe­riod af­ter­mar­ket C&J frame holds it all to­gether

Twin shocks are from WP – they’re very good and very light En­gine is a high-comp, gas-flowed XR500 twin­port with a pro­filed cam Af­ter­mar­ket Maico swingarm and rear hub from a Honda CRF230

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