In the red cor­ner: Alis­tair Frame

Classic Racer - - DESIRE -

“There was an in­ter­est­ing photo at Mallory Park on the front cover of a French mag­a­zine, of this­tar­tan red Bee­bees bike up­side down at the hair­pin, with Gary Green up in the air. I don’t know if that was the rea­son but I sub­se­quently got the ride through Mal­colm, so I owe him a lot, as he put it to Mike that he should pick me. I’d ac­tu­ally started rac­ing in 1973 on my dad’s con­verted wide­line ES2 Nor­ton and did three meet­ings that first year – I’ve got my re­sults book here – and at the year end I fin­ished with a grand sum of £17. Back then you won per­haps a fiver here, £1 or £2 there.that was how it was when I started rid­ing for Mike in 1976. “Mike had the red bikes,tar­tan red, and we had con­sid­er­able suc­cess on them. We won 52 races and three cham­pi­onships, three years run­ning from 1977 to 79.That was the Ain­tree, the Mid­land, and the Water­loo & Dis­trict. The ‘Lion’ we won at Ain­tree was val­ued at £1100 alone, it was for the race record of about 94mph and it was a long time be­fore it was beaten.then we won all three rounds of the Sid’s Place Cham­pi­onship in 1981 and three rounds of the Ken­tucky Fried Chicken Cham­pi­onship, to take that ti­tle the fol­low­ing year too. “The deal was I just had to get my­self down to the meet­ings and do the cos­met­ics, with all the prize money go­ing back into the rac­ing. But that was fair enough, as we had good stuff, no doubt about it, and it used to gather a lot of in­ter­est with the pub­lic.the bikes were im­mac­u­late and I’ll never for­get the time at Cad­well Park when it was stair rod­ding it down. I went up to the line and this didn’t please Mike. Due to all the work they’d done get­ting them into this pris­tine con­di­tion. So he wan­dered back off to the van and left me to it. Af­ter the race, be­fore I got back to the pad­dock, Mike asked some­one ‘who won the race then’ and they said ‘your bloke did’. We won all four races ac­tu­ally and, of course, that changed his at­ti­tude. “We did the F1 Grand Prix rounds as well, of which my big­gest mem­ory was writ­ing off the Mocheck Honda at Sil­ver­stone. Af­ter prac­tice I think on­lytony Rut­ter was in front, but the race was an­other ket­tle of fish.there was a pic­ture of Gra­ham Crosby in Mo­tor Cy­cle News, with a lock-to-lock on the Mori­waki, and not long af­ter­wards I went down on the same oil that had caused his near high side.this brings us back to the fact that ev­ery­thing had to be spick and span and pol­ished. It was Mike’s pride and joy and I to­tally wrote it off. It was on fire as we were go­ing through the catch fenc­ing, so you can just im­age what I was think­ing! “Mike’s switch to Mocheck Hon­das and Dave’s totzyamaha’s should have spelt the end for the Bri­tish bangers, but they were in­di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for a fine and fit­ting swan­song, of which Alis­tair is quick to ac­knowl­edge he was the lucky ben­e­fi­ciary. “Ian­tay, down in Clapham, had this team that was start­ing to blitz ev­ery­thing – Mocheck. So Bee­bees bought the bikes that we con­tin­ued to run in Mocheck colours – Stan Wood’s, Phil Read’s andtony Rut­ter’s Hon­das. But when we took them over to the Is­land we never saw day­light.they’d been sent up to us leak­ing through the bar­rels, as I think they were bored out too far, and oh did we have prob­lems with them. We were on them all the time in the garage. So in the end we pulled the cover off the BSA and we used that in­stead. And it ended up be­ing prob­a­bly my best re­sult. Ninth. It was un­be­liev­able re­ally, as we knew a placing like that would never be achieved again. It was a fairy-tale re­sult, but it only came about due to the un­re­li­a­bil­ity of those Hon­das.”

Above: Alis­tair Frame re­united with his triple at a re­cent Stafford show.

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