More about Me
A lot of the people who've contacted me through this site seem to be around the same age as me with a similar biking
background - I guess 80's strokers seem to appeal on the same 'wish-I-was-18-again' nostalgic level to everyone of a certain
age. Here's my biking history so you can compare it to your own. And if anyone knows where any of my old bikes
are, please get in touch...
It all started a few weeks before my 16th birthday in July 1982 with a secondhand Yamaha DT50M (XDN192V)
bought for £140 (cheers Dad !). Is there a better bike than that first one that gives you your
independence ? Going to school was never so much fun. The DT took me everywhere and taught me a lot about bikes
(like you have to put oil in them or they seize - oops !). When I turned 17 I moved up to
a Kawasaki AR80 (WGN434W) which was sadly stolen after 18 months never to be seen
again. It was a good bike, though trying to keep up with my mates on their 125's meant a crank rebuild was needed after
a while. In March 1985 I passed my test on a borrowed RD80LC (thanks Gav) and bought
a Yamaha RD350LC (JKH304Y) a week later. The best biking experiences of my
life were all on the LC - all those long summer nights where you do a hundred miles but never really go anywhere. I wish
I'd still got it. But in October 1986 with some savings burning a hole in my pocket, I sold both the LC and DT and
bought a brand-new Suzuki GSX-R750G (D811LAT).
Two days after I'd sold the LC, I received a phone call from a tearful woman who turned out to be the mother of the kid that
had bought it. He'd taken the bike home and his parents had gone mental - mainly because he didn't have a full licence
to ride it. Following a row, he'd left home and they hadn't seen him since. Though sympathetic, I explained that
he'd seemed delighted with his new purchase and that his domestic arrangements weren't really my problem. The next
night I got another call, from an angry bloke (his father) who threatened me with all sorts of stuff and said he was
calling the police because I'd sold the LC in 'an unroadworthy state'. I explained that I'd pointed out the dubious
front tyre to the buyer before he committed to it, and had knocked him £20 off the price as a result too. I also
explained that you didn't need a full licence to buy or own any bike, just to use it on the road. Nevertheless, they
were both upset and I went round to see them and managed to calm them down a bit. That was the end of it ... until I
received a court summons in the post two days later. Naturally my first instinct was to leave the country but on closer reading I realised that the list of traffic offences (wheelieing on a public road, running a red light, failing to
stop for a police car) had occurred after I'd sold it - the day after in fact. By this time I was thoroughly
sick of this kid and his family so I went straight down the police station and gave his full details to the copper dealing
with it ! Kids, eh ?
I was only 20 and my mates away at university were running RD's and GSX250's etc. while I was poncing about on the superbike
of the moment ! With hindsight I'm not sure why I didn't go for the RG500 instead but I loved the GSX-R and was gutted
when some dozy twat in a Nova turned across my path and destroyed it in March 1988. Hopefully that'll be my last ride
in an ambulance. While waiting for the insurance money, I still needed to get to work so I picked up
a Kawasaki KH250 (OUB569P) out of the local paper. It never really ran properly
despite loads of fettling, a complete stripdown and some 'professional' (cough...) tuning but it had loads of style and
character. Shortly afterwards I spotted another Yamaha RD350LC (B113VAG)
for sale in the local paper - it had the proper yellow Roberts-rep paintjob so I snapped it up. It had Microns fitted
which I never really liked so my mate lent me his spare chrome Allspeeds for a while. Three months later, the LC
started making suspect noises from the bottom-end and I sold it in a panic, forgetting to swap the exhausts back
first. Sorry Dave ! By now, the insurance had finally paid out on the GSX-R so I bought a
brand-new Yamaha TDR250 (F482BAT).
I still think the TDR concept was spot-on. An LC-engined supermoto-styled hooligan machine is still my idea of the
perfect bike. But the TDR was a bit of a disappointment, being nowhere near as mental as the press made out, and with shocking build
quality that made it rust overnight and cut out badly in the wet. In January 1990 I traded it in for another new bike -
a Suzuki GSX-R750K (G161NAT). It did nothing wrong and took me everywhere
but I never really liked the way it looked so in August 1991 I traded it in for a
new Suzuki GSX-R750M (J311EAG). The same bike - more or less - but with USD
forks and much better styling in gorgeous black/purple. But by April 1993 I was getting bored again and a trip to
Padgetts in Batley to help my mate Grant replace his FZR600 saw me looking round their showroom with a twitching
wallet. I didn't really know what I wanted next but I went over to look at a GSX-R just like mine. Except it
wasn't a 750, it was a Suzuki GSX-R1100M (K11OOX) and it was
brand-new. Half an hour later and I'd swapped...
SuperBike magazine used to sponsor a drag-racing series back in the 80's for ordinary punters on road-legal bikes - they
called it Ultimate Streetbike. I fancied giving it a go on my GSX-R750G and I persuaded a mate of mine with an 1100
Katana (Hi Dave) to enter the round at Blyton in 1988 with me. We sent our entry forms off and got our race numbers
back. Then I totalled my GSX-R. Dave was busy fettling his Kat ready for the big day and I couldn't stand being
left out so I decided to just take my KH250 and race that instead. Race preparation for me consisted of sticking my number
'273' on the tailpiece and packing a bag of spare spark plugs. On the day itself, my bike misfired the whole way there,
running on two cylinders most of the time. We got there and Dave shot off to scrutineering to get his bike approved -
this achieved, he joined the queue of impressive-looking bikes awaiting their shot on the strip. I started working
through my bag of spare plugs, more in desperation than anything else. Eventually it fired up on all 3 and I shot off
to get the magic yellow chalkmark on the front tyre that signified it was fit to race. Dave had managed a couple of
runs already by the time I joined the queue, completely out of my depth among all the big musclebikes. I reached the
front of the queue and was only mildly amused to find myself up against the turbo GS1000 of Ken Taylor. Ken did a big
burnout and looked deadly serious. I fiddled nervously with the fuel tap like I was adjusting something
critical. Green light - go ! 15.72 seconds later and it was all over, although Ken was back in the pits and
halfway through a cup of tea by then. Nevertheless, the KH had run perfectly and I hadn't made a prat of myself at
least. I joined the queue again. This time I was slightly less nervous and decided to do a burnout for a
laugh. I grabbed the front brake, stuck on some revs and dumped the clutch. The crappy front tyre failed to
find any grip and I shot forward with the wheel locked. Two marshals ran over and I thought I was gonna get a
bollocking - instead they braced themselves against the front forks and told me to try again. I got the wheel
spinning and held it there for what seemed like ages, with the marshals holding back the mighty triple and the crowd
laughing (although someone came up to me afterwards and asked if I was really running a 750cc motor with 250
badges !). The second run was even better though - 15.43 seconds. I had no idea how this compared to everyone
else but I assumed I wasn't going to be taking any trophies home. By the time of my third run I had sussed out the
correct startline procedure and did another burnout - the marshals were on standby (see photo) but I was OK on my own by
now. 15.66 seconds. I decided I wasn't going to get any quicker and parked it while it was still running
properly. Although obviously when it came to the trip home, it ran on two again all the way. 6 weeks or so
later I eagerly flicked through SuperBike looking for the results. And there I was - last place out of 117
runners. How cool is that ?
By Autumn 1993 I still hadn't bothered learning to drive a car so whatever bike I had at the time was year-round essential
transport. The snow and salted roads had taken their toll on my previous bikes and I'd finally sold the KH, so in order
to help keep the 1100 immaculate I bought a Yamaha DT125R (G176MAT). Every
snowy day could now be looked forward to instead of dreaded, with a winter commute seeing my speedway-style powersliding
attempts get better all the time and the summer months seeing a leisurely stripdown and rebuild of the DT in an attempt to
repair the ravages of salt and snow. Work forced me to finally learn to drive in 1995 and the DT got sold a year
later when I bought my first car. The 1100 continued to provide everything I needed in a bike.
Fast-forward to May 2000 - I've still got the 1100. I still read all the bike magazines but none of the stuff in the
showrooms really appeals any more and I've grown out of the sportsbike rat-race. I start to get all misty-eyed whenever
I see an old two-stroke and decide I need to get another one. I keep an eye out in the local paper for anything
suitable, hoping to score an LC or maybe a Kawasaki 500 triple. Soon I spy an advert for
a Kawasaki S3A 400 (SDN884P) and go to have a look. It's very nice but it's
not a 500 so I make the seller a very low offer and leave.  He rings me a couple of days later and accepts
it ! He's spent some time restoring it with new parts, though it's not so perfect that I daren't ride it like it was
intended. I have great fun howling through the streets leaving nice blue clouds everywhere again. Ooh, it's good
to be back !
My Mum had a T-reg Honda Express that she used to go to work on. Whenever my current bike was off the road for whatever
reason, I used to borrow it. It only did 28mph flat out but it would do that all day without complaint and still return
80mpg. Despite the hopeless performance it was great fun to ride and would tolerate all sorts of abuse. You could
wheelie it by tugging on the bars while accelerating because it didn't weigh very much - the photograph shows what happens if
you tugged a bit too hard - yes, a 3bhp moped remains the only bike I've ever flipped. Luckily the top-box took most of
the damage. Another time I entered the forecourt of a petrol station a bit too fast, locked the front wheel on the
greasy tarmac and slid up to the pumps on my arse in a shower of sparks. Many years later I was consumed by a nostalgic
desire to rescue 'The Spreadle' (as it was always known) from the dark corner of my Mum's garage and return it to the road -
imagine my disgust to find she'd given it away to the rag 'n bone man some months earlier.
Autumn 2002 sees me looking around for a 350LC to go with the triple, then my wife intervenes and
the Kawasaki KR250 magically appears instead. This website is all
about what happens after that of course, and the 'spare' Kawasaki
KR250 finds a place in the garage too. Since then, I've sold the triple in order to make room in the garage
to work on the KR's and picked up yet another Kawasaki KR250 too.
In 2005, after 12 faithful years service, I finally sold the 1100. I'd thought about swapping it for something several times over the years but never found anything else I wanted badly enough. Well, it's the perfect bike - it starts on the button and you can just stick it in top gear and cruise to work getting 45mpg if you want. But if you suddenly find you need to be at the other end of the country in an hour, you can switch your brain off and go nuts. It deserves it's reputation for evil handling but that's just part of the fun. Drag-strip hero (11.08 secs at the PB GSX-R Day at Santa Pod), two-up tourer or stunt tool - it'll do it all. But a mate kept begging me to sell it to him and eventually I gave in.
In February 2006, having convinced myself that I still needed another 350LC, a
lovely Yamaha TZR250 (H773YGP) turned up nearby and I couldn't resist it. It's the Reverse Cylinder (3MA) model, and the SP (Sport Production) variant which means it's got a dry clutch, close-ratio gearbox and various other little trick bits.
November 2007. I'd been thinking about getting another GSX-R. I wasn't really missing the 1100 but I kept seeing 'Slabbies' and feeling nostalgic. I came very close to buying a nice original 1100G but then I spotted a
Suzuki GSX-R750RK and snapped it up. Like the TZR, it's a homologation special. And in May 2008 I bought it's little brother, a Suzuki RB50.
October 2008. Almost 6 years after acquiring my first one, I've just bought my
fourth Kawasaki KR250. Can't fit any more in the garage now though...
...not unless they're really small anyway. So in June 2012 I buy a Kawasaki KS-II 80. And in April 2013 I sell the TZR. In Oct 2014 I finally buy another Yamaha RD350LC and manage to squeeze it into the garage by relegating three to the shed. That makes it 21 bikes then, 8 of which I still own.
Keeping my bikes company in the garage is my wife Sara's Honda 250 Hornet, yet another grey-import 250, utilising the inline-4 motor from the CBR250RR that redlines at 16000rpm and the 180/55 rear tyre from the
FireBlade ! Lovely to ride and so much better looking than the watered-down 600 and 900 Hornets Honda UK eventually brought in. It's since been joined by her other toys, a pair of 'Gag' bikes :
a Honda NSR50 (repainted in Rossi/Nastro colours) and
a Yamaha TDR80 (completely stripped and restored), plus a Yamaha SDR200.
Her Suzuki GSX-R400 and Honda H100 are long gone now though, and the Kawasaki ZL250 Eliminator was never hers - the bike shop lent it to her while the Hornet was being shipped over from Japan.
Oh yeah, I'm also in the world's crappiest rock band - check
out The Bastards From Hell...
I was never really that bothered about cars. I didn't learn to drive until I was 29 and only did it then because
it was holding me back at work. I bought my first car in September 1996, a 2.9 litre
Ford Sierra XR4x4 (J95OBA). It had a lovely grunty V6 motor and all the toys. Unfortunately it also
had loads of problems that the previous owner had bodged. I spent £2000 over 10 months fixing it, culminating in a
complete engine rebuild. After that, it was the great car that it should always have been but I quit while I was
ahead and traded it in August 1997 for a brand new Renault Laguna 2.0
RT (R350HAT). I kept that almost 9 years as it did everything I needed but eventually it reached the point
in its life where it was needing regular repairs and I decided to replace it with something newer. So in June 2006 I got
a 2-year old Ford Focus ST170 (VX54VLE), which provided mostly-reliable practical transport for 7 years
whilst also being fun to drive. But in June 2013 I swapped that for a VW T5 Kombi which functions as
both 5-seat hatchback, bike transporter and trackday support vehicle...
I also co-own a 1991 Rover Mini Cooper. 'Charlie' was bought in 2002 especially to do the Italian Job Rally. He
is 1275cc, has a single carb, 2" stainless centre exhaust system (no cat), K&N air-filter and electronic
ignition. Rover Sportspack arches barely cover the 175/50 R13 Bridgestone tyres on Minilite-style
alloys - also present are halogen headlights, 4 spotlights, twin airhorns, an upgraded stereo and a one-off airbrushed roof
mural. Creeping rust means that he is fresh out of a very expensive 6-month restoration by a local Mini specialist. Check
out The Italian
Job for details of our Mini adventure...
So what next ? Well obviously my first KR will be buried with me, and the special is a keeper too (just so I can get it finished). I'd love a mint red/black KR250S too but three KR's is enough - I'm not trying to collect them
all. I'm not sure whether the KS-II is a keeper or not but I can't see either of the Suzuki's going anywhere, nor the LC.
Did you notice that I've never owned a Honda ? There's something about them and the people that own them that turns me off somehow. Everything I've owned so far has been either a Yamaha/Kawasaki 2-stroke or a GSX-R.
Given a big enough garage and bank balance, I'd be wanting more Suzuki's : a '89 GSX-R400RRSP, Mk1 Gamma 250, 250 Katana, 750 'pop-up' and another GSX-R slabbie.