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More Classic stories please

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by port80, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. After reading rc36's account of the 'cool down' session in the Greg Pretty as well as various other first hand accounts of classic racing, I'm keen to read more.

    I'd love to hear the stories, not to keen to have the accuracy or merit debated (i.e. no shit fights).

    So those with stories please share with the younger generations.
  2. this will be fun, I hope.
  3. Lets hope Rog. More photos would be good too... paging Hornet.
  4. Often, the funny stuff happened away from the track.
  5. Guys, I don't think this'll be a good thing.
  6. Yes!

    Bring on the old men fights!
  7. thats it I challenge you all to a duell at the track. ;)
  8. The trouble with old racing stories is that they are like all old stories; they were partly legend when they happened, and have only grown in stature (and embroidery) in the years since :LOL:.

    Nevertheless there was a story at the time that a certain rider cunningly snuck a bike a tad bigger than the allowed 250cc into the 250 Australian Grand Prix one year. As he ranged up beside the leader and prepared to pass, the rider looked at him, and pointed down towards his engine and nodded. He got the hint and finished 4th. Only the first three bikes were scrutineered after the race.

    So the story goes.....
  9. Gyro at the Ken Blake Memorial Lunch...
    "I've only had 3 riders....Blakey, Johnno and Ajay"
  10. Well, you wouldn't NEED any more than that anyway, would you???
  11. Excuse my ignorance but who is Gyro?
  12. Gyro Carless was the brains behind the (in)famous Syndicate Kawasaki superbike. If you have the time, get MVRog to take you to Greg Johnson's workshop and he can show it to you, and tell you all about it. Basically it was a drag-race tuned engine in a road bike modified for racing, an awesome beast.

    THIS is from KSRC....

    Here is a story about a motorbike called "The Syndicate". It is not for the weak of heart...........

    Today's Superbike racing is very much a sport for specialist motorcycles, if you compare it with its counterpart of the early 80's. Early superbikes were based on the principles adhered to by the average streetbike. Take a production model and give it some good old fashioned engine development, upgarde the suspension, and apply lots of coats of high quality paint and TLC.

    The Syndicate Kawasaki was one of that special breed, starting life as a standard Z1000MkII and developing into a normally aspirated beast, which from time to time put out 169BHP at the countershaft sprocket. Now that's a lot of grunt in anyone's language. This was not a big-dollar factory-special, it was a hand-crafted rocket from the depths of Ecco Engineering based in Coburg. While Honda and others were spending big bucks on development, lots of late-night fettling by Gyro and his crew were producing results. One of his long-time workmen, Simmo, remarked "Didn't have anything to do with it mate, but I made lots of parts for it......". The Coburg shop is full of heavy lathes, boring, grinding and metal shaping equipment. In fact the principle business is heavy engineering. Motorcycles are a sideline ( sounds like KHI ! :wink: ).

    A close look at the Syndicate Kawasaki reveals just how homespun the whole unit is. Fork brace and exhaust system you would almost expect to be home-grown, but not wheels. When Gyro wants something to be strong, he prefers to build his own.

    The Syndicate ran 2.5" front and 3.5" rear rims, to allow for the use of large Michelin slicks ( well, large 'for the era'). A large number of racers used Ecco rims in the early 80's because they were quality products.

    The brakes were also Ecco specials, cast-iron undrilled twins discs on the front, and a single rear disc. Lockhead master cylinders and calipers were used, although the calipers from Gregg Hansford's H2R750 were also used from time to time. The brakes rarely let the team down, even on the tight circuits.

    Engine development as considered by the observers of the day was 'pretty radical' :shock: , but the details remain locked in Gyro's head....The most information he would give out was "...oh well, the same as every other bugger did in those days.....Big cams, big valves, headwork, compression, you know...."

    Gyro had also developed a 1-litre BMW that could out-accelerate Graham Crosby's Phase 4 Yoshimura Kawasaki, so he clearly knew his way around a motor !! Compression and capacity of the Syndicate Kawasaki is unknown, but an educated guess based on the output of the engine would be a comp.ration well in excess of 11:1. Leakdown tests saw the power drop off to around 155 bhp after a few laps. Gyro reckoned the capacity was 1200cc, but news reports from back then would indicate otherwise :D . 1300cc would seem closer to the mark according to more than one punter.....

    Carbies ? No numbers on them, or throat size. " ...I think they are 38mm or something mate, they certainly have enough size to make her get up and go....." . A racing clutch was also installed, but needed adjustment after every start due to the power being developed.

    Weight saving consisted of chucking everything out that was not necessary. Alternator and battery went first, along with brackets, headlight and the dual seat.

    The chief rider for the Syndicate was Andrew Johnson, who later became a Team Honda rider of some reknown...Jonno isn't a big fellah, so its amazing he could stay aboard the big Kwakka in full flight. The wide open handlebars would have helped (none of this clip-on shit :LOL: ). Still, powerslides were all part of the progress of the Syndicate Kawasaki.

    A quick glance at the Ecco racebook shows that the bike attended meetings at the end of 1980 and the beginning of 1981. It hardly did a full season and yet it picked up an NGK Superbike Series, and shook the hell out of the Unlimited races from time to time. Gearing started at 16/35, but went to 14/33 when full power was being developed. Lap records were set at Winton and Mallalla. Gyro reckons that Colby, Neale, Crosby and Gardiner didn't know where the beast went some times....."we'd pull out 50 metres on the first lap....".

    Its generally acknowledged that we'll never see another Superbike like the Syndicate Kawasaki. To a large extent, Gyro retired the bike because Jonno was snaffled by Honda, and "....no other bugger could (or would) ride it....". The Syndicate now lies idle, although it did have a demonstration run at the 1998 WSB. Jonno fell off the bike and remarked "..Shit - its still got power !!..". Gyro's response...." Of course it ****ing has !!!".

    So thats it, the story of one of the gnarliest big Kwakka's ever built. I will post up some pics when I can. If I can find the REVS edition with the stories about the NGK Superbike Series from 1980 and 1981, no doubt there will be some more info on The Syndicate Kawasaki to post up.......

    I wonder if Gyro would allow someone to ride this bike in the current Forgotten Era series ?? :wink: :shock: Its period all right, and would probably still hold its own against the quickest bikes out there today (Robbie's GSX1100 and Guesty's Z1R.....).
  13. Graeme "Gyro" Carless. He runs a company called "Ecco Engineering" (at least he did last time I was in Melbourne a few years ago.) An excellent engineer and fabricator, he has built, over the years, a number of BMW-based racing bikes that have all borne the moniker, "The ECCO BMW".

    Most notably, the early iterations of the machines were ridden by the late and lamented Kenny Blake.

    Melbourne-based members here will undoubtedly be able to fill in lots more info.


    Sorry about the photo quality. Scanned from a print that was originally a slide. None of this new-fangled digital stuff in 1997. [-(
  14. Fair enough but what if what is being said is 100% false in that it never even happened? The problem with old stories is that over time that is exactly what they become.

    As Rog said most of the good stuff happened away from the track and is not able to be told on here as most of the protagonists are still alive.

    The last appearance of the "syndicate" superbike was Oran Park '88 as a demo support for the WSBK. Ajay took it out and at the end of the straight on his first lap the throttled jammed open and he laid it down at about 100mph.

    Re one of the other stories the rider actually finished 3rd and the oversight was then picked up in post race scrutineering. There was no head shaking or finger pointing down any straight as nobody knew about it until then, except probably Steve.(y)
  15. we can name him, cos it's true, and he was busted. It was Steve Trinder.

    As for the Syndicate bike, it should never race again. The Historic Superbikes are built so much better today, than they were 30 years ago.It would still be fast down the straights, but would be deficient in brakes and suspension. It could be rebuilt from the ground up, but that would spoil the historic value of the bike. A replica would be good. About 30 grand would need to be spent, to build a front-running bike. All you would need then, is a rider with the talent and desire to Race it..... Any takers?
  16. Then there was the Sydney "A"-grader who was so desperate to win his club's championship that he turned up at a club day with his Suzuki 500 square-four Grand Prix bike :LOL:.
  17. Whatever it takes, I guess.
  18. As suggested about stories, the funny thing is that I can remember that he did it, because there was much hilarity round the pits, but I CAN'T remember if he won :LOL:.
  19. What was he up against, aside from his ego?
  20. I think the joke was that everyone else was racing 250s and 350s ......