John Shirt Snr:

Classic Trial - - OPPORTUNITY -

“I fully sup­ported Jnr with his de­ci­sion to move from my two-stroke Yamaha to the four-stroke Honda. When both the drum brake and disc brake Hon­das ar­rived the qual­ity of the com­po­nents re­ally im­pressed me. The en­gine was a dif­fer­ent ball game all to­gether. When they ar­rived they would only do 40mph on full throt­tle and ran very slow, which was not such a good thing for what we wanted. I fit­ted a Yamaha TY car­bu­ret­tor as the Honda was sup­plied with a very small bore one. This im­proved it and so I fit­ted a 28mm Ø Del­lorto, which worked well and im­proved the per­for­mance no end. I had good knowl­edge of four-stroke en­gines from my Speed­way days and de­cided to go and see Guy Al­lott who lived across the road from me. Guy had looked af­ter the speed­way en­gines of the great rid­ers in­clud­ing Ivan Mauger, Ole Olsen and Peter Collins, to name a few. Ba­si­cally there was not enough ad­just­ment to make any changes and so we took the camshaft sprocket, which was fixed, off the shaft and made a slot in it to give so much more ad­just­ment. This worked a treat and al­lowed the en­gine to rev more open and higher. Along with John Hulme who was on a mono-shock Yamaha we went a ride out on the roads and tracks near Hawk’s Nest; the top speed was now closer to 80mph and it would cruise all day at 70mph. I also rode the RTL in a trial to un­der­stand it more. John Jnr was very young when he rode the Honda and he learned so much from the ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter my Yamaha days had fin­ished I needed a new prod­uct and I started to im­port the Gas Gas tri­als ma­chines. John Jnr knew I needed this to work in or­der to se­cure our fu­ture and he moved to them to ride and pro­mote the prod­uct; he is still do­ing it some 30 years on.”

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