Congratulations Harley Rushton
The 'Whispering Giant' Wins the 350cc Honda Twins Championship for 2nd time in 3 years!
Riding the Craven Concrete 350cc Honda k4.
A good year for Harley and also for us. Winning the 350cc Honda twins Championship, finishing 3rd in the 500cc ACU championship, and 4th in the 500cc Grand prix, club championship!
Racing at the most competitive classic club in the World against the best riders in the World, Harley has shown his talents at a early age, 21 years old and winning the 2nd 350 cc championship in 3 years. He finished in 3rd place in 2014 so quite an achievement.
He always gets off to a flying start on a race morning after his mug of tea in bed in the transporter, as he mutters he is tired and what time is it? That is after sleeping most of the journey 6 hrs or more to the circuits, and then for another good 7 to 8 hours before he gets his morning mug of tea!
He then leaps slowly from the bunk, only one side to get out of so can't present that excuse, if he needs one after an indifferent race, pulls on some clothes and proceeds to sign on, re-appearing with new found vigor out comes the food box, now that lad can eat for Britain, 10 or 12 slices of toast buttered or with jam then a bowl of cereal or maybe a ginger bread man, ah well guess he is still growing?
Then the race clothes box appears, hmmm these race clothing boxes get bigger and bigger, so in future we may have to attach a trailer for race clothing equipment box, boots, leathers, and spare leathers, spare helmets with race gloves that have fancy little gizmo's that pamper the riders hands and a little wheel to tighten, gripping the wrist, oops nearly forgot the back protector, and breast protector, which invariable gets lost during the day 2 or 3 times, or mixed up with Mike Coopers, reason being as the rider dismounts after the race, these things all get piled onto the bike they have just got off, so as we need to check the bike, they all get moved to the nearest chair, table or in rare cases when time allows the transporter!
So the bikes are now warmed up and ready for practise , Harley approaches the bike looks up at the sky, swivels on the spot and trots back to the race clothing equipment box disappears completly inside it and pulls out a clear visor to swop for the dark one, hmm and then grabs the can of Mr-Sheen and some mutton cloth to give it a quick polish!
After all that the more serious stuff starts and Harley puts in some good laps and declares the gearing suspension and engine seem ok, but maybe we should put a tooth on the back as it does not rev out! So Paul, Harleys dad goes to work with his 3ft Jimmy bar and a 10mm socket and changes the rear sprocket.
Pembrey. Harley finished with 3 second places then a win in the final race on the 350, pushed all the way by Ollie Linsdell and Simon Walsh, and bagged points in the ACU 500cc race and 500cc club championship rounds. Then the long trip Back up to Morecambe and beyond, Harley slept except for food breaks, after the exertions of the weekend and packing up the race equipment clothing box ready for the next time!
Cadwell. Harley was on top form all weekend! Untouchable on the Craven concrete 350 Honda, in some very difficult changing weather conditions, and won all 4 races.
Again on the Craven concrete Summerfield 500cc Norton Manx more useful points were accumulated, and picking up points towards the 500 ACU kept Harley in 4th posistion.
Anglesey. Wow was it a windy weekend, making gearing quite a challenge , but it was sorted out and changed from race to race, depending on if the wind had reversed its direction 180 degrees, and kept Paul busy with his spanners, muttering something like bleep bleep bleep bleep not again!
The 1st race Harley was out infront when a massive gust of wind lifted the bike clean off its wheels and into the kitty litter at turn 2 or the Banking as it is known, Cosmetic repairs were required to the bike, and a visit to the clothing equipment box for Harley to sort out bits and pieces and dust himself down.
Putting that incident behind him, he then recorded 3 dominant wins. The 500 races again Harley kept accumulating championship points, And in the 500cc ACU race finished 3rd grabbing a podium with a big smile on his face, and ours also!
Hmm what is that new building on the horizon thinks Ted, WOW it is my new garage, didn't think i would be able to see it from Anglesey!
Brands Hatch. Always a pleasure to go to Brands, even if the journey takes what seems like forever, a great technical track which has all sorts to throw at the riders, great for spectators also, as a vast amount of the circuit can be viewed from most vantage points.
Harley's 1st 350cc race ended as he was out infront on lap 3, when a rare electrical problem developed, cutting the motor, the 16 year old Magneti marelli crank sensor failed, guess even the best don't last indefinitly, so was replaced for race 2 putting Harley to the back of the grid a great ride took him into 2nd place at the end with Ollie Linsdell taking 1st place. Harley then had a 3rd in race 3 and a win in the 4th race kept him well ahead in the championship. Yet again he kept the 500 cc club points building up, and kept smiling as we left for the long Journey home.
Donington Park. Three 2nd places at Donington and a DNF on the 350 Honda ( brand new battery failed) kept Harley infront in the championship battle. Two 4th's a 3rd and a 2nd place kept the 500 cc points tally increasing. And in the ACU race another podium for 3rd place which could have been higher if Harley's front brake had not faded on the penultimate lap which gave him and us a huge moment as he went down into Redgate, then in true motocross style entered the kitty litter feet dangling bike sliding nearly out of control until within feet of the barrier he corrected the machine stayed on rode out the other side and continued to finish 3rd.
Lydden hill. Well Ted and myself had just returned from the Classic TT, a little jet lagged after 12 days over in the Isle of man. And we also had a little problem of NO honda engine's as both engines used over at the Classic TT, suffered broken cranks, the ignition side broke off.
(This problem has now been rectified as delved into the fault and have produced a fix to stop it happening again, i will not reveal the fix as it took a lot of R+D to find a solution, but if your crank is worked on at sunterhonda it will have the work done)
So kindly Ewan Hamilton loaned his Sunter Honda k4 engine to us, it had completed 5 laps of the island, but was still running well, and we popped it into Harleys bike with some newly developed exhausts that we had used at the Classic TT, and off to the end of the Earth Paul and Harley went in the Van to see if they dropped off the edge when they got there. Harley had not been to Lydden before but seemed to master the circuit to record two 3rd's a 2nd place and a win, also the fastest 350cc Honda twins lap of the weekend! So well done Harley and Thanks a million to Ewan for his Engine.
Snetterton. So to the final round of the Championship. Simon Walsh had been hot on Harley's tail championship point wise most of the season although only winning 4 times against Harley's 11 wins, the consistent finishes, add up when finishing 2nd and lower as in Simon's case, and of course we can't forget Gary Freeman who was 3rd in the championship, with a clean sheet finishing every single race.
So really all Harley had to do was finish infront of Simon in the first race to take the Championship.
Full circuit at Snetterton for the first time, what a treat for riders, and for the people back in the pits a long wait for the bikes to re-appear, so we went for a cup of coffee after they left the start, (mmm I like coffee)
2 Bikes appeared around Corams, way ahead of the rest as we got back to the pit wall, a davis motorsport bike and Harley tied to-gether this went on for lap after lap, reports from the infield section of the circuit said they were exchanging paint glaring at each other and rubbing shoulders, friendly sport this bike racing.
The penultimate lap at Murrays, Harley got a great drive out and had pulled quite a few bike lengths, as they crossed the line with the last lap flag waving, so we waited an eternity to see if he could keep it, and as they came around Corams for the final time it was nearly time to celebrate a little, as the gap was remaining the same, he braked for Corams like the champion he was about to be and crossed the line to finish Number 1 in the race and the Championship! He appeared back in the garage to great applauds from us and the Davis motorsport crew!
In the 500 cc GP, 1st race Harleys Norton went a little sick on the cooling down lap, when investigated it had managed to pick up a foreign body, which destroyed the piston and bore, so the bike was out of action, therefore Harley had to settle for 4th place in the championship.
The ACU championship was going to be a problem, as Young Harley was in with a shout of winning it, if Lee Hodge had a DNF and Harley finished infront of Richard Molnar, then he would take the championship, the one big problem was NO BIKE! In stepped Mike Cooper, who had missed most of the meetings due to the silly 3 day events the CRMC seem to have adopted in the last year, and other commitments which kept him away. So had no chance of taking the honours. You take my 500 and I will ride the 350 Honda says Mike, so fairings numbers etc and the information of the swop entered in the race office, the lads went out to the start grid.
The race was close hot and furious up front, and in the end it was Richard Molnar taking the win of the race, Harley along side and a Jubilant Lee Hodge punching the air in 3rd place, meant The Minnovation team and Lee were the new 500cc ACU champions. So congratulations Lee and Minnovation well done!
Meanwhile Mike on the 350 cc Honda was pushing the machine to pastures new and putting in lap times 8 tenths of a second faster than Rushton and the Davis motorsport rider Oversby, had been setting in the 2 previous 350 cc Honda races. On lap 4 a bizarre failure occured when a front wheel spoke decided to snap under braking for Riches, shearing off at the hub it went bullet like into the tube and wrapped itself around in the perfect form of the inside of the tyre, causing instant deflation, as Mike slid unhurt up the grass the Honda decided on doing some lovely acrobats cartwheeling at least twice before coming to rest as a heap of wreckage.
Congratulations To Mike and Leanne, who tied the knot and became Mr & Mrs Cooper on 31-01-2015.
Mike had a busy year, getting married, then moving house which just happened to fall on the weekend of Anglesey, and 3 day meetings which working folk can't always get time off to attend. So no championship wins for Mike this year.
But when he did turn up then the results appeared, Missing out at Anglesey, Brands Hatch and Lydden hill.
He still finished 3rd in the 500 grand prix championship on the Craven Concrete Summerfield Norton Manx, 13 Wins and a 3rd place the results in that class from 14 starts!
And finished his year on the 500 with a dominant race of the year win, so Congratulations Mike.
Mike and the Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator. Pembury when leading the ACU Race with a lap to go the factory fitted bung for the right hand gear change option, in the primary cover decided to pop out dropping the gear oil onto the back wheel, Mike stayed on and pulled over, a couple of riders behind were less fortunate and slid off on the dropped oil. So if you have a TZ please check that pesky bung, not known it to happen before but as the saying goes "first time for everything"!
The Classic Club are making a complete mess of the TZ class for 2016, seemingly wanting to make it into another production look a like class. Sad as the TZ class is such a spectacle for all involved, owners, spectators and the huge amount of enthusiasts that follow this class. It always was an inventive class back in the day, with over 220 + different frames made by people World wide, fairings and seats of all shapes and configurations trying to get that edge, some beautiful designs were turned out World wide on every race weekend. Which enhanced the look of the Class, even though most times no real gains were made, but hey everyone had fun!
Since the TZ class was allowed at the CRMC and ACU race has been introduced which is fast furious exciting and extremly competitive. People have strived hard to replicate all the lost and forgotten items, and have spent a substantial amount of time and money having moulds made, to try and capture the great period of TZ racing in it's heyday!
So why the Classic club want all bikes to have a G Fairing (which there are 22 different ones and some of them not eligible so we are told? Thought G was G?!) and ugly G seats. Really this gets people annoyed and head scratching! As long as bikes don't turn up with Fairings seats etc from e.g 2013 or Modern Aprilia look alikes, seen in other classes, then let the TZ class continue as it is "Spectacular!"
Instead of this ridiculous new made up rule, the Classic club should be looking at the Fuel some people are using in the Big Money races, it was blatently obvious at at least 2 of the meetings in 2015 who was using this deemed illegal fuel, which gives up to 8 BHP, and when we recieved the info from the person who supplied the fuel, later in the year, then it confirmed what we had deduced! When these people did not use it, then they came back into race and the pack tightened up, they know who they are, lets hope they don't cheat themselves and others in the future!
They do say cheats don't prosper, but in this case they did!
Congratuations to the 350cc Honda twins over 55 Champion Ray Howarth.
Riding his immaculately prepared Sunter honda. Ray took this Championship easily with 15 wins and was 200 points clear of 2nd man Jeremy Hole by the end of the season.
Congratulations Paul Reed NEMCRC 350cc Champion. Paul and his Dad Sooty who looks after and prepare's the Sunter honda Paul rides, went far and wide this year, so not really following any championship honours, European events, some at the crmc and in the North west and of course Scotland. So they were delighted to pick up the 350 championship.
Congratulations Jamie Coward
Billown Pre TT, Jamie Coward blew the opposition away with stunning victories on the Craven Concrete 500cc Summerfield Norton Manx and recording the very First Classic 100 mph + lap on the Mistral Kawasaki.
Congratulations Jamie Coward 500 cc Classic GP TT winner.
So Ted and Myself went off to the Classic TT, with Jamie Coward and girlfriend Sophie. Jamie back to full fitness now after a long year with his leg in a cage and a stunning performance earlier in the year at the pre TT he was ready to take on the Mountain course.
Inclement weather was the story of practise week, but laps did get put under the belt and all was going reasonable well. Although we did suffer the 1st broken crank on the 350cc Honda, Jamie had clocked 103.4 mph lap from Glen Helen to Glen Helen (ignition side as described earlier on the page) another engine was built ready for the race or time trial.
The Norton was ready to go, Starting Number 17 this year, Jamie had quite a few machines to get past on his way to Victory on the Craven Concrete Summerfield 500cc Grand prix single cylinder Norton Manx.
Finishing 4th overall, a stunning acheivement with a Million pounds worth of exotic reproduction bikes in the first 3 places 2 MV's and a Paton.
Unbelievably Jamie's WIN was reported by press and TV as a Inherited win!
Nothing on the TT circuit is inherited. In the past 3 years This bike has finished 1st in class twice with Jamie Coward on board, and 2nd in class in 2014 with Connor Behan, he followed home Bruce Ansty. So that is a 3rd overall and two 4th places overall!
Ted and myself have over 90 years of racing experience between us, As competitors, Grass track racing and Karting. And now building championship winning engines and classic bikes for circuit and road racing.
So we went about the task of preparing the Norton and Honda the best way we knew. The front disc carrier did not loose its bolts going into parliament square from not being tightened, oil seals did not leak onto the dry clutch making it a wet clutch and cause it to slip, correct stud material was used so it did not stretch and blow head gaskets, and the engine was balanced so it did not vibrate itself into a million pieces, but we do admit to the seat on the Norton breaking up on the last lap going into Quarter bridge, which gave Jamie a very uncomfortable 36 miles to the finish, that is one to look at for future events! We did supply Jamie with a tube of soothing cream after the race for his sore behind, but did NOT offer to apply it for him!
Some teams altered why they had stopped a little or a lot ! We love the one from the Molnar team, "hey what has happened to Michael D?" Answer: Ran out of petrol up on the mountain! 20 Minutes later got a text from Ewan Hamilton who was in the 500 race on his 350 Sunter Honda, saying he had run out of fuel on the last lap over the mountain. Ewan admits he did not brim the tank after warm up and had run out of petrol at the same place as Michael D. Well Michael kindly emptied his bone dry tank into Ewan's, and Ewan continued . So no fibs were being told next day when another member of the Molnar team was asked the same question! Yea his tank was bone dry when we got the bike back! hmmm. And i have still got the Text!
The Craven Concrete 350cc Honda was all ready to go once more starting 17th Jamie had his work cut out, unfortunatly the second crank broke, same place ignition side, after approx two thirds of the first lap! Jamie had by then got the Machine up to second place on the timing screen, and we were gutted. But that is the name of the game over at the IOM. Things that never happen in years of racing always occur at the most unwanted times! C'est la vie.
Ewan Hamilton using identical machinery, as Jamie was riding, suffered no such problems, in both engines he used, the cranks stayed in one piece! Now Ewan did have a lowly number to start the 350cc race, number 41 he just got quicker and quicker and came home in 8th place and was delighted, with his and the bikes performance, his last lap being a 98 mph lap, which he said was beyond what he thought he may achieve as he would have been happy with a 95 mph lap! So congratulations Ewan, on the result and on the 50 starts you have made on the TT circuit!
We visited one of our favorite race weekends of the year again the Bob Mac memorial meeting, full of enthusiastic people, there to enjoy the delights of the weekend. Only Harley competing this year, he put in some fine performances, winning 3 of the 4 Honda races, caught out by the huge jump start by the first and second row of the 350cc race, the officials on the start line said they never saw it! Sort of makes this layed back meeting more fun! He clawed his way back to a good 2nd place behind Steve Mason who was riding a Sunter Honda so that was fine by me. And at the end of the 2 day event Harley took home the honours for wins on the Honda and the 500cc Craven Norton Summerfield Manx. Hmm i wonder what Harley will magic out of the Clothing equipment box in 2016 ? ! ? !
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Good luck with your racing in 2016! See you on the starting grid! - Jon Sunter.