Hurtle Goes Racing - Getting Ready For The 2016 Season

Author: Dave Roberts   Date Posted: 12 March 2016 

Hurtle Gear Race BikeThis is going to take longer than we thought...

The bike for 2015 was everything I could have wanted. I bought it on Gumtree, pulled off the lights, stands and the rear fender, and went racing. I did a couple of races slipping around on street tyres, and when an offer came up for a front race tyre, I found myself instantly quicker.

All the time I had a bunch of minor issues, each of which taught me things I should already have known, and I wrung it's neck and made lap after lap, limited by my own lack of skill and preparation.

The motor in these Pantahs is redlined at less than 8000 RPM. Every week it ran, I pushed it way out past 10,500. It seemed tight, but I knew that I was taking a piece of machinery that had done years of service and pushing it hard, as often as I could. Surely this couldn't last forever. I considered the outcome if a significant part let go at 10,000 revs. Without intimate knowledge of these things, I arrived at the conclusion that I'd basically have a motor past repairing, so a rebuild was in order.

Racing has been all about learning for me. I know at this point that soon enough I'll find another Pantah motor and rebuild one myself. I also know that the process will take a very long time and will probably involve lots of phoning people who know more than me, or emailing photos, or runs into the workshop to have them consider a part for wear. This is not that moment, with one motor to use and the season break only a few months long, so I tried to enlist the help of a guy who knows these motors. As is often the case with people you hope will help, at the time I needed him, he was incommunicado. Genuinely nowhere to be found.

So I hit up Todd, professional Ducati motor builder, and it's now in his workshop. Of course I pulled everything down in November after the season and it took me a moment. The bike has come to pieces by my own hand and it took a little while. Then I delivered it in December, but with people who are good at their craft, you'll always find that they're busy, so the tear down happened in January, after a break for Christmas. Then a few parts were tricky to find. OK, the task of finding them came to me and I am not as good at it as I imagined. The idea of staying up after you've done a day's work and searching the interwebs for 30 year old parts seems kind of romantic, but really, there's a lot of chasing things down that turn out to be nearly what you want, but not nearly enough.

So the long and the short of this is that Team Hurtle Gear will be at Collie for Easter, but I won't have my bike, so I'm camp helper and flag marshall for the weekend.

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