The monthly newsletter for Supermono lovers

November 2013

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At long last Britaliamoto has found a new home – just outside Northampton Town Centre, in a spacious warehouse, just opposite the Saints Rugby Football Ground.

It’s two floors of south-facing, double-glazed open space, in an industrial building built in 1900, with plenty of character and plenty of space – in fact 2,700 square feet or 256 square metres of space –  just waiting to be filled with motorcycles.

We move in at the end of November, and not a day too soon. The double garage, garden shed, portacabin, dining room and lounge that have served as our workshop for 7 years will now be allowed to go back to the purpose they were intended for. Instead of working on two or three projects at a time, Alistair will have space to work on many more.

Plans are also underway to open the ground floor as a motorcycle storage area, so you too can free up your garage and living rooms. There’s been lots of interest in having a centrally placed storage area for motorcycles, so watch this space (and Facebook and email) to see when it will be open for business.

As for the Supermono build and restoration projects it will be business as usual but better, at 3a Bruce Street.  We’ll be stocked with coffee and biscuits!  Telephone numbers stay the same.

We’re moving

Alistair has just completed customising a 2005 Ducati 1000cc Sport Classic. It involved, amongst a lot of other things:

•Stripping and anodising the front fork stantions

•Powder coating the fork bottoms

•Machining Brembo P4 calipers

•Engraving modern racing Brembo logo on the caliper faces to replace the adequate but aesthetically challenged 2 piston calipers

•Fabricating the model for a new exhaust system and then having it built

•Turning solo rider to biposto

•Painting in 1950 Steingrau (Stone Grey) colour

The client was thrilled.  “You did an absolutely fantastic job on the SC. It looks stunning and goes just as well. I can’t believe how the power is so accessible low down,” said Hugh Simpson.

“The bike that came to my workshop looked down at heel . We turned an ugly Duc into a swan,” said Alistair.

Recent restoration projects

Above: A tricky modification due to the clearance of the spokes and the rear of the caliper – little space meant the rear needed machining.

Left: Hugh’s bike needed a lot of black anodising to the front end

Right: The client wanted to make this solo bike into a pillon bike. This needed a dual seat modification and removable rear pillon foot rest. Sourced from 916/748 model and welded to the frame.

Also on the bench is the same client’s replica of Carl Fogarty’s 1994 championship winning 955 Corse (below left). Of the two bikes Foggy rode that season, one is in a collection in Spain and the other in the Ducati Motorcycle Museum, Bologna.

The client supplied a frame, engine, forks, fuel tank, brakes and disks, and some of the bodywork.   Between Alistair and Hugh all the missing parts have been sourced.

“This is an example of how much work goes into a restoration project outside actually building the bike,” said Alistair. “I reckon I spent up to 60% of the time needed to get the bike up and running, just sourcing the parts from all over the world.  Fortunately in this case, Hugh helped me, but still sourcing is a very large part of my business – the hidden, often unpaid, work!” he added.

Hugh paid very close attention to detail in replicating this bike and so this added pressure for Alistair to source the very best.  One of the challenges was building carbon shrouds for the carbon front brakes. Key work included rebuilding the engine.

“Come the end of the project in December 2013, we will have a near nut-and-bolt replica of the original bike that is unique,” said Alistair.

A companion in the workshop is Alan Cathcart’s 1988 Ducati 851 (Superbike Kit bike, Tricolore) picture bottom left. Alan was given the bike by Ducati to compete in the Battle of Twins Championship in Australia in 1988. Alan’s is one of 207 bike kits made.

Since 1988 the chassis has remained in the UK but bits were stripped off it for other projects.  The engine was reunited with the chassis and Amazinal was commissioned to put the rest of the bike together.

This bike was the first time Ducati had built a four-cylinder water-cooled, fuel-injected road bike.  This design has spawned many models right up to the 1198 that use the Pantah-based crankcases designed by Fabio Taglioni (including the Supermono).

The 851 was Massimo Bordi’s collaboration with Cosworth Racing to design a Desmodromic water-cooled 4 valve cylinder head.  Bordi then went on to design the Supermono engine. (Desmodromic is where the inlet and exhaust valves are mechanically opened and closed, doing away with a conventional valve spring which has valve timing limitations.)

Alistair is enjoying the adventure of working on this bike. Again this has been largely a resourcing exercise. Many parts have been very difficult to find, including the two below.

If you can help, please call Alistair.  He’s looking for:

•Verlicchi black chrome silencers

•Swinging arm with the reinforcement bracing

The Saxon Triumph got an airing at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, 18 years after its first appearance there.  Alistair was involved in the building and maintaining of the bike in 1994.

It was built because Paul Taylor had been involved with Nigel Hill of Saxon Racing (chassis builder). Paul was part of a partnership takeover of Motodd Laverda and they campaigned a 3 cylinder Laverda in a Saxon chassis.

Alan Cathcart was the rider on this bike, but due to the unreliability and lack of power potential of the Laverda engine, Alan suggested approaching Triumph for an engine unit, and they agreed.

The Hinkley Triumph bike was innovative in its time as it had a sax-trac front end (top right) which BMW later copied on its boxer twins as a tele-lever system (a single wishbone A-frame with a shock absorber behind the head stock). Other innovations were an aluminium tubular frame and swinging arm, and a fully-ducted rear mounted radiator.

Earlier this year, Paul had been invited to bring his carbon fibre monocoque to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.  As Paul would be in the UK, this was a chance to bring the Saxon Triumph out of retirement and show it alongside Paul’s new bike (below left). As Alistair was the race engineer on the original bike and a consultant on the build of the new monocoque in 2011, being at Goodwood was obviously the place for him to be.

The Saxon Triumph was run up the hill many times over the weekend with John Keogh, Andrew and Alan Cathcart in the seat.  For Alan it was a step back in time as he was its first rider. So impressed was he with the performance that he decided to do a racer re-test at Mallory Park. Results of the re-test will be in a number of magazines next year to mark 20 years of the Taylormade Saxon Triumph.

“The reason the bike felt so good was that it was 20bhp more than when Alan last rode it.  I worked with Mistral Engineering to develop the engine,” said Alistair.

The bike is now back at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

Taylormade Saxon Triumph

Alan Cathcart’s Ducati 851

Builder: Alistair at Britaliamoto on
Webmaster: Lotte at liberate-u

Above left: The unfaired Taylormade Saxon Triumph showing the ducting to radiator via fuel tank

Above right: Sax-trac front end

Left: At Goodwood Festival of Speed Alistair, Alan and Andrew Cathcart in pen with Chris Walker on right

Below left: Saxon Triumph at Mallory Park for the racer re-test

Below right: Kevin Grant gets to grip with the Britten at Goodwood

Low below left: Paul Taylor shows off his monocoque to Kevin Schwantz. 

Low below right: Paul talks with Adrian Newey, chief designer at Red Bull F1, and Robert Keogh - the man who scanned the whole of Paul’s Moto2 bike and put it into a virtual wind tunnel.  Paul and Adrian look over the results.