Weather forecast was good, so with the 1967 Bolt Up and 1968 250 is was time to start my right-hand gear change season. After thrashing around in the mud at Battle MX for the practice the week before , looking forward to going racing.
Nice drive to Windwhistle on a quiet Easter Sunday with little traffic and lodged the van into the rather cramped paddock. Kevin (and his loyal supporters) were all there and managed to jam the van in nearby, prior to scrounging a cup of tea and a sausage. Track was laid out on a hillside, with racing mainly off-camber. Great view though. The start had a steep slope, so no problem selecting the right gear from the line. It joined the main lap at the bottom of a steep grassy slope, which proved to be the biggest challenge in practice.
Kevin was on his 1972 450 Husqvarna he’d picked up at the end of the previous season, now with the nice new tank he’d picked up at Telford. I decided to use the 1968 Husky, really as I’d not used it before. Steve James was on the 1973 Honda Elsinore he’d picked up from Terry Powell during the closed season.
I’d picked up how to start the Husky, without flooding it, which they are very prone to do with the early Bing carbs, so got to the start of practice no problem. Bike went well, with the only issue a slight cut out (fueling ?) under load in the higher gears. The track itself was nice and slippy so spent most of the time in 1st and 2nd, with the challenging hill indeed being a bit of pain on each lap. Overall, very happy with the bike.
Kevin return from practice, without losing the rear wheel (which he’d nearly done in practice at Battle MX) but about to adjust the chain he notice he’d lost the collar and spring off one of the rear shocks. I lent him the YSS shocks off the 67 Bolt Up so he could race.
First race of the day was the pre74 250cc and by some miracle, managed to get 3rd into the first turn, with about 15 other riders behind me. This made the getting up the awkward hill a lot easier and and managed to get round the circuit though losing a few places in the process without too much hassle. The older tyres were not clearing the mud, so dropping it on a corner on the last lap wasn’t great.
Second race saw the fuel tap detach from the tank just off from the line and spray petrol everywhere, so not the best. The threads from on the tap that attached to the tank were worn and the lower threads from the collar to the tap itself were none existent. The PTFE tape had given way (this is when you discover what people will do to keep a bike running to sell it).
Third race was delay, so whilst in the pit box, the Husky choked up and wouldn’t run. I then walked backed to the van, got a spare plug and got it running for the over 250cc race. Kevin had a similar problem, but we both got away from the line. Not far in my case however as the clutch burnt out. Later inspection showed they were significantly worn, which was surprising as this normally shows up when you kick the bike over.
All in all, a mixed day, but no problems with the right foot change and the 1968 Husky is a nice handling bike. Carb and clutch issues to resolve, hopefully before the upcoming Teifiside round.
There are number of reasons you should go to Red Marley, if the weather is good.
– you’ll see bikes and riders you will not see during the rest of the year. People develop and build bikes for the sole purpose of going up this hill.
– you’ll see those people who build the bikes
– it’s a different event, with lots going on and around 4 hours of racing.
– if you are riding, you can say you’ve got up the hill.
On the other hand, it’s a bit pointless if you’ve got a standard 250cc 2-stroke Huskie. You are about 300-400cc short on the necessary capacity to be competitive. You’ll get up the hill, but not that quickly. It was good to see that the winner in the up to 350cc class was a two-stroke Greeves but it was a real special with an impressive expansion chamber and some serious tuning.
Enjoyable day however and at least I can say I have ridden up the hill. I used the 67 Husky on the day and I proved (twice) that you cannot ride it over the pimple in 2nd, as it just hasn’t got the power. Both races I resorted to 1st and no problem. Never the quickest and didn’t qualify but good to say that I’d done it.
Martin Squires is a guy who likes to draw bikes and he did a nice picture of the 1968 Husky (he wouldn’t have bothered with a Yamaha MX250 methinks)