When I returned from my small trip round the world, I imported the FZ from America. This took a bit of time as I had left it with my aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh just as winter started to bite. As I still had the KR1S and the powervalve stashed in my lockup it would have been rude not to drag them out and blow out the cobwebs, so that is what I duly did. Unbelievably I managed to keep the KR1S upright till I sold it a couple of years later, however it was stolen form my lockup one night and was involved in a high speed chase with the police the next night which ended with the rider being knocked off by a police car. Fortunately there was not a great deal of damage, the worst being a bent front wheel. Unfortunately the thief managed to escape despite a police dog being used to try and find him.
I got the FZ after about seven months and also kept it upright. Unfortunately it was stolen at the same time as the KR1S and has never been recovered, so that was that. The Powervalve I still have to this day of course and being a racer the inevitable just had to happen. I returned to racing in 1996 and did a season without a fall, however the next year made up for that with two crashes, one of which was a good one. The first one was at East Fortune mid way through the season. I was doing pretty well that year and had won most of my races comfortably once I had broken free of the pack. the class I was racing in catered for 600cc four strokes built up till 1985 which meant GPZ 600Rs, although we also allowed GPX 600Rs. The Achilles heel of the Powervalve is the difficulty of getting off the line quickly. It is much easier to get a four stroke away fast, so I was always playing catch up. Mind you, you get good at slicing your way through. This was what I was doing and had gone for an outbraking move down the inside at the hairpin. My main rival Andy had, as usual anticipated my move and cut the nose off me, forcing me to come on the brakes a bit harder. Normally I would have got away with this, but at the hairpin there have been some patchy repairs done to the tarmac which used a different tarmac to the original road. When I hit one of these down I went, so fast I was on the deck before I new it! Fortunately damage was light, just some fairing scuffs and a broken rear brake lever. One of the other boys very kindly lent me his allowing me to get out in the next race which I won, so the day was not lost after all.
The next one was at Knockhill and was due in total to my own negligence when getting the bike ready. Ooppps! It was the last meet of the year and I needed one fourth place from two races to win the championship. The track was wet in the morning, so I should have softened up the suspension damping and lowered my tyre pressures a couple of psi. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I neglected to do so. I also managed to forget about the bump on the exit to McIntyre’s, which has caught me out in the wet before. Morning practice and I was feeling really confident, and started chasing one of the fast supersport 600 boys. Till McIntyre’s that is! I got a nice highside on the exit. It was one of those crashes where you think for a while perhaps you might save it, then next thing you have parted company from the bike and are flying gracefully through the air. Next thing I was sliding along the track on my head listening to my helmet grinding itself away and cringing at the expense! The damage to the bike wasn’t too bad again, although I had destroyed the front brake master cylinder, necessitating a rather quick trip back to Glasgow for a replacement. We managed to get the bike back together in time for the first race and I borrowed a friend’s helmet to get through scrutineering. Unfortunately I had damaged the throttle twist grip also and during the first race it came loose forcing me to stop. Luckily we were able to pin it on for the second race which I managed to finish in fourth place. Phew!
Since then I have managed to keep thing sunny side up, although I have had a few close shaves, including one cracker at the Nurburgring. See my trip report for the details. With a bit of luck I will continue to stay upright, though you can be assured I will let you all know if I chuck it up the road again!