I lifted this Wednesday’s picture from an eBay auction.

The listing wasn’t for the motorbike but rather this original Glass plate negative and as is par for the course I was outbid.

Still, a great looking motorcycle though?

Alcoyn were a French manufacturer who closed for business in the late 1950’s.

They were quite successful in their day with an extensive production range running from largish capacity Vee-Twins like this one (493cc).
To cheap and cheerful runabouts (100cc) that they punched out in great numbers during the depression.

Apparently this photo was taken in Hobart, Tasmania where there was a dealership.

Just how a dealership came to be established in a small provincial town (& Hobart would have been very small in the early 1900’s)

as far from France as you can go without falling off the earth’s edge is, well it has my mind boggling?

‘bon nuit mes amies!’


a perfect planet – small and blue

2011-MotoGP-01-Qatar_Saturday-0047-sharpScott Jones Photography is part of what makes MottoMatters THE best site for motogp information on the planet.

This Wednesday’s image is of the rear end of Hector Barbera’s, Ducati Desmosedici motogp bike. It was taken at the night race in Qatar in 2011.

The blue flame is only visible for an infinitesimal fraction of a second. It’s the byproduct of unburnt gases that escape the combustion chamber and are then ignited in the super hot environment of the exhaust system.

Purty, Aint it!

If you skip across to you’ll find more background on the shot.


Wednesday Photos.
Default settings.
Whose crazy idea was that?


Tonights photo is from a lovely little vignette on the ABC’s Landline program.

It’s about two young lads who took a pair of Motorbikes around Australia when it was a whole lot harder to do that.

Sixty years later, two older blokes recreated that trip and here is their take on that story Transmatilda revisited.

It’s probably easiest just to take the jump and look at the landline program, it’s only 10 or so minutes.

If I had an old Triumph I’d call her Matilda or maybe Mathilda.

Anyway if you’ve been following for a while you’ll know how I love connections.

Alt-J are favoured sons at the moment. My middle boy saw them play just last week and a song of theirs called Matilda, is pretty much my favorite thing at the moment.

It’s very peaceful, hope you like it.

Why’d ya have to leave so soon

Rossi snow riding

Kept this for a long time.
But the reasons for –
all changed on lap two of the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Marco Simoncelli (centre) was killed after as his bike careered across the track at turn eleven. Hit first by Colin Edward’s bike then by his friend and mentor Valentino Rossi (left) he died pretty much instantly from  catastrophic head injuries. It was the second impact that cost him his life and I think Valentino lost something that day, something more then a friend. I think he lost for want of a better word his Luck and I don’t know if he’s realised that yet.

I think it’s a lovely photo, all the more poignant for what was to come.
An uncluttered day from a simpler place that can never be revisited.

young erv

1parkinglotRunning with the theme of tuners here is a photo of a very young Erv Kanemoto (white tee – center of photo). Whilst Erv is most closely associated with Kawasaki there were two years in the mid-seventies when he spannered for Suzuki.
Love this era of racing when the big two strokes ruled the tracks.

Simoto frame


Another mystery photo dragged across from old hard drives.
Apparently I labeled this SIMOTO Frame but for the life of me I can’t remember why.
It’s very obviously an RG500 engine in that custom made frame and the guy’s expressions are priceless which is probably why I Kept it.
But a quick browse on Google doesn’t yield much using ‘Simoto’ as the search term.
Never the less a worthy participant for Wednesdays photo.

Jeremy’s spoken

Wednesday, Jeez it comes round quickly! And 20 years, just as fast.
I’ve been following Motogp, the premier class of Motorbike racing for 2 decades so my memory only stretches back as far as 1987 and Wayne Gardner’s title.

But in all those years since, Jeremy Burgess has been at the center of the wheel that wins World titles.
His first title as Chief Mechanic was with Wayne. Then there were 5 in a row with Michael Doohan (and probably more to come if injury hadn’t forced Mick into retirement in 1999).
Seven more followed with Valentino Rossi on both Honda and then Yamaha motorbikes.
But what really makes the achievements so special is that his success neatly straddled the 2T and 4T eras and we all Know Two stroke racing was the purer form of competition.
Sometimes I think I’m more a Jeremy Burgess fan then the riders he is campaigning for.

The one glaring blemish on his record was the two lost years at Ducati. In particular the infamous 80 second comment that Casey Stoner took umbrage with. But you know Casey’s a young guy, a little prickly at the best of times and he and Valentino loathed each other. Just because you’re fast and famous doesn’t necessarily mean what you say is right or even smart. Burgess’s full quote was:

“I can watch some of these lesser riders on the Ducatis and you can see that the bikes are, in my opinion, unsuitably set for what they want to try and do with them. I’m not saying anybody’s doing a bad job. I see these things wobbling around. When I think, clearly, if we had that issue with Valentino it’d be fixed in 80 seconds, but some riders don’t like the hardness of the bike, because they don’t get the feel. But then when they’re riding around and it’s too soft they’re not going forward either.”

I’ve read that quote a dozen times front, back and upside down and I can’t see a personal slight to Stoner, his team or Ducati in there. In fact i think he is going out of his way to distinguish Casey from the other Ducati riders with his “lesser riders” qualifier. He doesn’t say we can fix the Ducati in 80 seconds he says that he could fix a setup issue in 80 seconds. He also doesn’t say that Ducati’s crew is incapable of  fixing it either. If you read it properly he says that in many cases it isn’t fixed because of the riders preference.
I reckon Casey went off half cocked.

Anyway, I’m not sure where this photo came from? I’ve lugged it round from Hard Drive to Hard Drive as computers have died. It’s  probably a scan from an old book but I love Jeremy’s pose (Stiffly upright, a little    ungainly, even a smidgen embarrassed – school-boyish like he’s trying to tuck his shirt in at a school formal)
And of course he is standing next to a RG500. I have probably a bike and a half of the road going version of the big Suzuki in boxes in the garage. It’s very likely the only thing of value in my shed and even then it would need a major injection of money and talent to get it running (both in short supply). Part of the point of Wednesday posts is to dig up an image that as far as I know isn’t already on the internet or is tucked away in some obscure by-water of the web, which come to think of it describes M.O.W.
So Keeping to that theme and matching it. Here is a link to a lovely little bio piece hosted on Mr Burgess’s old amateur Racing Club site The Phoenix Motorcycle Club. A couple of interesting things in the article. The “don’t hand him a spanner” quote was unexpected and check out the Club’s Hall of Fame (there are some impressive names on it).


young jeremy burgess

Monkey see, Monkey Do(uglas).


One of the things I learned from the last Blog was to create ‘default settings’ for myself. By that I mean set up a few tricks and routines to drag me across to the keyboard and actually post something.
So it being Wednesday evening and a quiet night at work I thought I’d use the company’s time (I like to think of it as a form of recycling) to start a weekly tradition. To wit, posting up an old motorbike photograph that’s caught my attention.

There’s a huge resource of motorcycling imagery hidden away in the on-line archives of Libraries.
Here in the Antipodes the Australian National Library has a site called Trove. It acts as a repository for a lot of the images from the smaller State, Council and Municipal libraries.
Really cool old stuff that by and large rarely sees the light of day.
Theres no rules to my schedule. I post whatever holds my eye. Heck the photo don’t even have to be old but if It’s Wednesday, make sure to post that picture!

Robert Edison Fulton (Jr) was apparently the first person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle (solo) and Douglas were the company that provided him with the Bike.
Heres that Bike, the Douglas 6T:

fulton-equipment It’s not that far from a modern ADV outfit if you look at without a patronising eye.
Douglas were one of the many English manufacturers that went to the wall in the 50’s but from what I can find out Mr Fulton’s bike was from their heyday in the early 30’s. It was powered by a twin cylinder, 600cc, side valve, 4 stroke  engine. It had a boxer type configuration which means each cylinder was directly opposed to its cousin on the other side of the Crankshaft. Similar to the old airhead BMW motorcycles or Porsche/VW, even Subarus and plenty of piston powered aircraft engines. Designing it this way gives you almost perfect balance as each piston/conrod moves in and out at the same time thus balancing out the reciprocating mass of its opposite. You’ll note I said almost perfect. If you think about it both conrods can’t share the same spot on the Crankshaft so they are offset a little from each other and that induces a ‘rocking’ imbalance. I don’t think it’s that big a deal as there are no counterweights that say an inline engine utilises to balance things out (I really should find out about that). Anyway the end result is you get a very smooth combustion cycle with the added bonus of a lot of riding stability as there are no tall cylinder towers pushing the weight upwards and affecting the bike’s handling. Interestingly Douglas choose to lay their engine down longwise in the frame not cross-wise like BMW. You’d think this would create problems with the rear piston overheating, sheltered as it is behind the front barrel (It’s not a water-cooled engine remember so it relies on movement to create an airflow and dissipate the heat). I guess getting the heat out is the reason for all that beautiful finning cast into the heads, the cylinders, even the dry sump. Just as an aside old air cooled Ducatis faced the same problem and Ing Taglioni tilted his 90 degree Vee Twin engine in an L configuration to address the issue. No doubt the Douglas forums would answer the question of overheating but for the time being it remains an imponderable.

So getting around to the Monkey and The Douglas. The photo is from Mr Fulton’s book  One Man Caravan which I’d not heard of up till now.
However I’ve found a modern reprint on eBay so any day now it should be landing in my letter box. It’s a great read by all accounts.