onsdag 25 oktober 2017

Falkenberg 18th of April 1970. SM competition.

The very day after the pictures in my last post were taken here in Stockholm, the bikes were transported to the west coast of Sweden for their racing premiere in Falkenberg.

Front cover of racing Programme.

This was a day of racing for both cars and motorcycles. The bike race was part of the Swedish championship and , I believe, the first race of the season.

During qualifying, P-Å Dahl came in as number 14, 5 seconds after the fastest driver, Lars E Påhlsson from Ronneby MK on a PN-CZ. Kjell Bogren, on my bike, made it around the track but as the last driver with a time of more than 10 minutes (as fastest lap time...) which indicates some kind of trouble with the bike.

When the race started, Kjell Bogren never made it to the starting line. He had problems with the bike...

Article from MC-nytt 1970. Borrowed from another blogger, Urban Engström. 

In the picture above, from an article about the race in MC-Nytt 1970, we can see Kjell working on gearing down the bike from the hideous 250 KM/H gearing it came with. We can also see the start number he was given, 34. The spark plug being off indicates that the problem described in the text about a faulty ignition switch is true. Imagine such a small detail hindering your race.... Another aspect of the picture is the drivers themselves standing on their knees working on their bikes. In their leathers! Imagine that today...

The winner of the race was Bo Granath from Anderstorp RC on his Husqvarna. He finished the 20 laps in 16:59. Per-Åke Dahl finished second, 24 seconds behind Granath at 17:23 minutes. Kjell Bogren never came to start, DNS, Did not start.

As I find out more about this race and can get more pictures I will update this post. I just recently learned that Kjell Bogren actually did drive the bike before "Esso" bought it from Flöter. I believe there´s more to find out about this story and I will try to!

Hang on for the next post which will be even more interesting!


tisdag 24 oktober 2017

Welcome to the history of my KAWASAKI H1R 1970.

I guess you have been reading my main blog for a while if you found your way here, to this one. I did some thinking, tried a couple of other technical solutions to present the history around my Kawasaki H1R restoration project, but finally decided this was the best way to go about it. I am most certainly NOT an experienced blogger...

There are quite a few stories to tell about the bike, the drivers and also about the era of the seventies,  when it was used and raced all over Europe. Everything was easier, well, at least many things were. As we´ll see later in the pictures I´m going to show you here, life on the race tracks were simpler and less complicated than it is today. You could buy a good street bike and go racing! And do good! There are many examples of drivers reaching far with standard bikes even in the bigger classes, like the 500cc GP and the Sport bike races.

My plan here is to make a post of each race the bike was in until it ended up in the barn outside Mariefred in 1974. Each of these articles will be very living posts in such a way that I´ll add information and pictures as I find out more over time. If I find out a way to show you when a post has been edited and upgraded I´ll let it show somehow and somewhere. Right now I´m in the dark. I´m learning as I go along here.

I would also like to urge anyone who finds something wrong in my stories here to let me know! Hopefully some guys that actually did participate during this era of racing is reading my blog. Please enlighten me if I´m making mistakes in any way. It would make the story more correct and also far more interesting if I could add some eye witness depictions to it. Maybe you remember some anecdotes from the race tracks, maybe you have pictures you would like to share. PLEASE DO! I will be very careful and give photo credit whenever I use someone else´s pictures.

I´ll start with a short recap of a couple of magazine articles from early 1970 where the two bikes that arrived in Sweden were presented to the public. First out was "Allt om MC- Racing sport" in May 1970 with this article showing the owner of the Swedish agency for Kawasaki at this time, Hartmut Flöter, posing with the two bikes.

Allt om MC #5 1970.

Allt om MC #5 1970 page 2 

You guys here in Sweden can read the article and see the interesting point about starting a "Dealer team" with two drivers, Per-Åke Dahl and Kjell Bogren. These pictures were actually taken the day before the premiere race in Falkenberg the 18th of April. Dahl´s bike is complete and ready to race but Bogren´s needs the fairing mounted. The interesting point here is that I thought these bikes never made it to Falkenberg for the race. "Esso´s" diary never mentioned that race at all, but as I read more and more articles and joined "Swedish Racing" where all start lists and result lists for all Swedish races are available online I found out that Kjell Bogren actually was the first driver of my bike! Big news for me...

More about that in the post about that actual race.

Next out was MC-sport #2 1970 with an article more focused on the technical aspects of the H1R. The first picture below is from Anderstorp the 3rd of May 1970. "Esso´s" first race with the bike. "Esso" has number 4 and wears his characteristic "Clover-ace" helmet. Number 8 is Ulf-Åke Nilsson on a Metisse. The cover photo of this blog, here at the top of it, is taken at the same race. There you can see also number 25, Paul-Erik Guldager, on a Rickman-Metisse, Number 1, Anders Svensson on a Seeley and also number 18, Tomas Backman on a BMW. Not a bad line-up!

MC-sport #2 1970.
In the picture above we can clearly see the inside of the fairing was white... Later models were changed to black, flat black, maybe to reduce the risk of reflections and glare. The simple "cushions" for the fuel tank are also visible. They look so extremely home made with tape and around some cushioning material. I´m going for the rubber ones that were used later on the H2:s. The ignition switch is clearly visible to the left inside the wind screen. That switch had a central part in the race in Falkenberg just a few weeks before this picture was taken. I also note that the high tension cords to the spark plugs are black and that the older type of wire harness rubber holders are used. Lots of info in one picture!

MC-sport #2 1970 page 2.

In the top part of the above picture you can see they probably had problems with leaking expansion chamber spigots. 4 springs on the middle exhaust chamber? The middle, crossing-over, exhaust pipe was also covered with heat absorbing tissue to save the fairing from too much heat. That was later removed. The top right part shows how the battery was hung to the frame. No extra there, just the two rubber straps to hold it to the frame. The gear change pedal is out of view... Yeah, many drivers, including "Esso", preferred to have the brake on the left hand side and the gear change pedal on the right. Since the rear brake uses a cable and the gear change shaft goes through engine and out on both sides it was easy to shift sides with just a few "optional" parts. You can also see the "cushions" again. It is impressive they paid 16000 SEK for these bikes in 1970. An H1 MACH III 500 cost less that half of that! 7900SEK, "On the street", as we said in Sweden. At this time only 20 of the H1R:s had been produced and Sweden got 2 of them. Not bad for a small country. The lower part o the picture shows the front brake and the front suspension to the left. The racers got aluminium outer front fork tubes instead of the steel ones still used on the street bikes. Much lighter, of course. To the right you can see the very small rear sprocket supplied with the bikes on arrival. Geared for Daytona and a top speed of 230 KM/H. The Swedish tracks were smaller and tighter and needed larger sprockets to make the engine hit the power band on all gears. 

MC-sport #2 1970 page 3.
In the top part of the picture above we can see the rear brake cable going to the right side. This picture is of Per-Åke Dahl´s bike. He had the brake on the right and the gear change on the left side. If you look closely there is an "AL" visible on the fairing behind the seat. Each bike was marked at the rear with the driver´s name in black lettering. The rudimentary battery attachment can also be seen here. The high mounting point of the engine inside the frame is obvious also. Way above the level of the two wheel spindles. This to make room for the bulky expansion chambers under the engine. Below left is a picture of the original ignition system with its breakers, condensers and the timing cam. Below right is a picture of the early H1R cylinders. Later models, H1R-A and H1R-W had "bridge port" cylinders.

MC-sport #3 1970 page 4

Above you can see the brake pedal on "Esso´s" bike... To the left with the longer, optional, brake cable. The small rear sprocket is also clearly visible here. The original rear shocks from Kawasaki is still on here as well. They were changed quite soon. If you look real close you can see the battery box is being held in place by a spring attaching it to the frame. That spring is actually the same part number as the exhaust springs.

The picture below only shows the last part of the text in the article. I include it so my Swedish readers can get the complete story.

MC-sport #2 1970 page 5.
Well, my friends, that concludes the first post in the history blog of my Kawasaki H1R restoration. The next one will cover the very first race the two bikes were used in. Falkenberg, 18/4 1970. A race in the SM, Swedish Championship.

Thankls for reading!