Monday, October 10, 2016

Moto Giro d'Italia 2005

More raiding of the photo album. This time a trip to Rimini for the Moto Giro. My good mate Matt and I squeezed four bikes in to a van for the journey down and stopped by at Dijon for Moto Legendes on the way down. My Anglo Indian Bullet hybrid was entered for an outing on the track. Unfortunately I rode it part of the way to Dijon and over exuberance buggered a new and tight piston before it even made it out on to the track. Instead Matt's trusty Crusader Sports got a few laps in. Very quick in his hands and with his slight weight on top of it, not so quick with myself aboard...

The equipe at Moto Legendes.
On to Rimini and the start of our first Giro. I had wanted to ride the event for a while: though totally geared up to Italian lightweights the rules said purely pre-57 and less than 175cc. I ran by the organisers in advance if a BSA Bantam would be OK, they gave it the thumbs up and I duly went out and found a cheap one. I stripped off all superfluous parts and transplanted a 175 D7 motor that I found at an autojumble. My first experience of long distance racing, it was a steep learning curve. By the end of the first day the flywheel mag was overheating badly and scraping against the casings, just taking the cover off gave it enough ventilation to cool sufficiently for clearance to be restored.

Moto Giro start line in Rimini.
The Bantam required spannering every day of the event. Not a lot of fun to be tinkering a greasy bike in a hotel car park after a hard day's riding whilst other folks were making merry. The sense of camaraderie amongst fellow mechanical woe sufferers was great though and somehow it increased the sense of achievement. Day three and I had a flat tyre overnight. I was on a tight budget but really should have bought new tyres as the ones on the bike were so hardened I had to take them to a professional tyre fitters early the next morning. Towards the end of day four the crank went out of true and was grinding away against the cases in an alarming manner. Power was also down somewhat.. Fellow competitors urged a car park engine strip that night but I declined and felt that they were just after entertainment as they sipped their Peronis. I thought I would chance it for one more day.

Mild disbelief at scrutineering!
Matt's ride was a lovely original Bianchi Mendola 175cc two stroke. A sweet and high quality bike, not fast but one a par with the Bantam and certainly more refined.

We were amongst the slower bikes on the Giro but the key to going quick aboard a tiddler is to not slow down. We followed that maxim, kept stops to a minimum and held pace with the time checks.   

The little Bantam proved to be phenomenally resilient to abuse and against all the odds made it to the finish line. The first Bantam to ever ride, let alone finish a Moto Giro and I believe also the first British motorcycle to do so.

Matt's Bianchi also made it to the end, perhaps more comfortably and in a better state than the Bantam. The long distance racing bug had bitten. I developed the Bantam in the light of experience of the Moto G (fresh tyres for a start!) and returned the next year with a very different bike, but that is a another story....  

Matt's Royal Enfield Crusader Sport at Dijon Prenois.
Camping by the circuit.

Tasty Ducati, stinky Bantam! The bike was fairly well received
as a novelty. The Italian riders were very welcoming to the
Bantam, if there was any snobbery it came from Italian bike
enthusiasts of other nations.

The prize...
Start point hotel in Rimini.

Flying the flag!

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