Classic Motorcycle Mechanics


It’s been a simple job, but Niall Mackenzie has finished it. And doesn’t she look fit!

- cmm

Call it a novelty event or support race, the Yamaha RD-LC Pro-am resurrecti­on proved incredibly popular in 2017 so it seems we’ll be seeing even more action alongside British Superbikes in 2018. The sound and smell of two-strokes is rare now in any paddock so seeing the same riders now close to pension age banging elbows just like they did in the 1980s is a great spectacle. And the future definitely looks bright, as there is a rough plan to run around four events next year at circuits suited to the iconic RD250LC. After taking my second, hard-fought Pro Am victory at Knockhill in June last year, I was immediatel­y served a one race ban by the lovely Jan Mac (I never argue) so didn’t take part in the two race ‘Poachers and Gamekeeper­s’ event at the Cadwell Park BSB event later in August. Both races were again brilliant with the finale on Sunday being shown live on Eurosport with yours truly commentati­ng. Big Charlie Corner and tiny John Corrin took home first place trophies with a busy gaggle scrapping behind them for the other top six positions. We also had an impressive paddock presence at Cadwell Park featuring a dedicated articulate­d Pro-am race transporte­r and big display of 500cc GP bikes from the 1980s and 1990s. With these bold plans afoot I’m keener than ever to get my own ‘homage’ bike complete and suitably prepped for pre-season Pro-am practice. Fortunatel­y my friends down at IDP Moto, now based at the Silverston­e Stowe complex, prep and coordinate the whole RD-LC operation so have all the necessary parts in stock and knowledge required for my conversion.

As mentioned in my last piece, most of the work involves stripping parts off but I still need to shell out a few quid to bring her up to Pro-am spec. The second most expensive items are a pair of the brilliant Continenta­l Classicatt­ack tyres that we’ve used from day one and have proved to be excellent in wet and dry conditions. They provide the rider with excellent feel and although the tyres are actually too good for the original suspension they still help to give decent feel when one is getting close to the limit. This latest generation of Pro-am bikes has had a rear shock upgrade and uses Nitron Units. It looks the part and increases the rear ride height by 4mm which sharpens up handling when it comes to steering and changing direction. You can also adjust rebound and spring pre-load if you fancy tuning things to your size and weight. Fitting is relatively straightfo­rward although you have to take off the rear wheel to remove and replace. Next on my list is the famous bikini fairing and fitting kit made by Mead Speed and coming in at a very reasonable £180. The only other bits additional bits and pieces are blue plastic number discs and numbers costing £10 a pop. Ouch. So after a quick brief from IDP Daryll I set about removing the all parts surplus to requiremen­ts on a race-ready Pro-am machine. First to come off and enter my ebay box of sellable odds and sods was the much sought-after LC centrestan­d. It’s possible to remove the stand by taking just one exhaust off but I whipped off both so as to give them a check over along with the underside of the motor. Thankfully I found everything in good order so after a good clean and the stand gone, I bolted the pipes back on fitting new gaskets for good order. While underneath (and to keep things authentic) I drilled a 1.5mm hole in the sump plug to make it race ready for lock-wiring to the bottom frame tube. Race rules forbid the Pro-am bikes to have side-stands so they have a detachable arrangemen­t with a locating bolt wired to the stand. My bike will only ever be used on track days so for handiness it can stay in place. While down there I removed the pillion pegs and swapped my gear linkage to race shift. I always preferred the first gear up and the rest down arrangemen­t for racing as it makes shifting up quicker and more positive plus changing up while leant over through left-handers is a lot less tricky. All you need is a 10mm spanner to remove and invert the splined connection to the gearbox selector shaft. Next up is fitting the bottom part of the fairing and another simple job for a simple man. Two ‘U’ brackets secure the sturdy belly-pan on the frame down tubes just underneath both sides of the radiator guard and another two underneath the engine casings.

Headlight and indicator removal is next in preparatio­n for nose cone fitting and another straightfo­rward task of dismantlin­g brackets and unplugging wires. The top triple clamp has to be removed to slip the headlight brackets off. This can leave the forks slightly out of line so it’s best to have a buddy on standby to wiggle things around when reassembli­ng and thumping into place with a rubber mallet! I fitted the nose cone bracket and fairing at this time – a small child could do this but there are clear instructio­ns just in case. With all the electrics disconnect­ed I spent 10 minutes sealing any open connectors with insulation tape and securing them with a few cable ties. The left-hand switchgear is also surplus to requiremen­ts. However, we keep the right-hand kill switch in place for obvious reasons. At the tail end the indicators, rear inner mudguard and number plate holder are removed with the latter being replaced with small, fabricated steel brackets to support the tail-light. To keep things super reliable the Pro-am bikes have their two-stroke pump removed. This involves simply disconnect­ing the cable, unbolting the pump and removing the gear inside the clutch casing, then fitting a small blanking plate and gasket. The bikes are then be run on 40:1 ratio pre-mixed fuel with no fear of failing pumps and piston seizures. One item I haven’t changed is the brake hoses. The race bikes use braided lines but I prefer the standard rubber hoses as they give more feel and I’ve never ever had any brake fade. Overall braking performanc­e is also improved by fitting EBC Organic FA pads as they are definitely superior, having more bite and endurance than the stock item. A nice little touch but pretty much out of sight is the R&G Shark Fin chain guide. It’s another 10 minute job using P-clips but crucial if you plan to jump the Mountain at Cadwell as so many of the Pro-am pensioners did earlier this year. There have been countless DNFS over the years with chains jumping off when everything goes light at this unique feature in the Park. Seven hours in and my last job is to remove the chrome seat rails then using the same mounts fit the blue number boards sporting my number 54. Incidental­ly, this was my age two years ago when I made my return, so I’ll have to replace them with some 57s next time out!

 ??  ?? Headlight and indicators off!
Headlight and indicators off!
 ??  ?? He once thought he was an LC tuner...
He once thought he was an LC tuner...
 ??  ?? Lock-wire: not just for show...
Lock-wire: not just for show...
 ??  ?? You can just see the Nitron shock-top!
You can just see the Nitron shock-top!
 ??  ?? Oil pump blanking plate.
Oil pump blanking plate.
 ??  ?? Nice clean wheels.
Nice clean wheels.
 ??  ?? Rear pegs and centrestan­d come off.
Rear pegs and centrestan­d come off.
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Race bits add a more purposeful look to the little LC.
Race bits add a more purposeful look to the little LC.
 ??  ?? Never raced or rallied...
Never raced or rallied...
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Keeps chain on sprockets.
Keeps chain on sprockets.
 ??  ?? Race-ready, minus winkers!
Race-ready, minus winkers!
 ??  ?? Mackenzie stickers non-standard!
Mackenzie stickers non-standard!
 ??  ?? Best race cockpit ever!
Best race cockpit ever!

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