Diary 1999

June - bought KTT No. 842 - I can't believe that I really own one of these beautiful bikes! I spend several hours just looking at it. I make a nuisance of myself riding it up and down the industrial estate.

July - I take my KTT to the Velocette Owners Annual Rally at Stamford Hall where I haven't been for several years. It was good to meet so many old friends again and feel the enthusiasm - particularly from Ray Thurston who encourages me to have a go racing it. I make a nuisance of myself riding it up and down a few times.

July - prior to finding KTT 842, I had been making enquiries in several directions. One line of enquiry led me to a 250cc Beasley Special. At that point I was only interested in a genuine MkVIII and passed on it. I now began to think what a splendid machine it would be and went to look at it and subsequently bought it. More of this machine later.

July - realising that I needed a few parts to restore KTT 842 to originality I contacted a well known (infamous?) restorer. This man told me that he had just completed a total restoration on a 1948 MkVIII and gave me the 'phone number of the owner who wanted to sell. I visited this kind and honest man and agreed to buy KTT 966 it was absolutely beautiful. My cup was really beginning to run over!

Late July - I take all three machines again to Stamford Hall where the VMCC was having its Velocette-themed rally. I met lots of friendly and helpful people. I also met Ray Thurstone again who convinced me that I should take the Velo to Lydden the following weekend August 2-3 to race. During the following week I had to make a guard to cover the primary chain and clutch and convert the megaphone into a 'straight pipe' by fitting a perforated tube down the centre, packing with 'Rockwool' and fitting an endplate. The immediate result was to lose the bellowing exhaust note but to gain clean carburation and tractability from low revs.

August 2-3 - Arrived Lydden on Friday evening and pitched tent. I woke up early the following morning and was too nervous to think of eating. I don't 'know the ropes' so am asking questions everywhere. I sign on and get the bike scrutineered without any problem. Next, my clothes and helmet - again no problem. Now I am really nervous but then I get lucky. A chap that I had met at Stamford Hall the previous weekend - John Gilson (who has a MkVIII himself) turned up. 'Could he put his riding gear in my van?' - 'of course'. John then looked after me for the rest of the day - Thank you John I don't think that I would have survived. Ray is supportive and encouraging - out we go for for first practice. I have just realised that I have never ridden the bike properly until now - delighted to find that is a typical Velocette - and more besides. A few careful laps and I am beginning to settle down. A second practice and I am starting to enjoy myself.

During that very hot day I did about six races - Lydden is a lovely short circuit and suited me well. I had a wonderful day and the Velo was a dream to ride.

Mid-August - Schotten (near Frankfurt) Drive to Schotten with Harry and two bikes - my MkVIII and Harry's 1929 MkI KTT - No. 13. It was interesting to have the two machines together in the paddock - only ten years separating but totally different machines. My good friend Ken Waller has raced his Norton outfit there many times and made the arrangements.

I had done more preparation for this outing but even so, disaster struck when I tried to fire up for the first practice on Saturday - the mag had completely died! Fortunately Ken had a spare and with much help from my friends the bike was ready for the second obligatory practice. By this time I am a bit nervous and it is raining, not good when I haven't yet ridden the circuit. Once I had practice out of the way I settled down to enjoy myself. My race was tailor made for me - machines up to 350cc pre 1939. It was so easy that it didn't seem fair!

Schotten is a short 'closed road-circuit' where there is the hazard of kerbs, manhole covers, trees etc. The attendance of competitors and spectators is amazing. On the Sunday, some 14,000 spectators line the entire perimeter of the circuit inside and out, many deep and there are several grandstands. The standard of preparation and range of German racing bikes was very impressive, as was the hospitality that we received.

August - Hockenheim. John Gilson came to 'spanner' and generally look after me. I did two good practice sessions on the short circuit. It is a lovely track with good visibility and plenty of run off. Excellent visibility for spectators. On Sunday, I had only one race, made a good start and was holding a good position when a 1/4" BSF nut fell off my gearlever and I had to retire.

September - Took bike to Three Sisters race circuit - a very short, twisty and difficult circuit. Managed to fall off in first race but had the extreme good fortune to limit the damage to handlebars and footrest. With assistance from my friends, sorted job out and was ready for my next race.

October - It is the last meeting of the season at Cadwell Park - my 'home circuit'. I am quite nervous because the circuit is known to be technical. At first practice, Nigel Lines offers to go steady for one lap to show me round. Once practice is over I begin to enjoy myself again and did six races. Now I have to prepare for next season......