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Pictures from Quainton Road, 30/08/2004

On August Bank Holiday Monday 2004, the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road station had a rally, or an open day, or something of the kind. Anyway, they were doing steam train rides and there were lots of old bikes and cars in attendance. Several Rat Bikers and one Pigeon Biker turned up, admired the machinery and became slaves to suicidal urges to build single-wheel motorcycles.

Here are some photos taken at the event. Unfortunately the vehicle park was far from spacious, and heavily loaded with both vehicles and people. Hence a lot of the photos are crap, with too much gubbins in the background. Some of them I have heavily cropped, some of them I have edited out the background clutter and some of them I couldn't be arsed. Please enjoy the machinery in the photos without worrying too much about the shameful quality.

Click on the picture of your choice for a larger version. Some of them aren't that much larger though. See the ALT text for the dimensions.



Here are the rats on parade. Like a plonker I made no note of which one is whose so if the owners want to let me know please email me via RBZ quoting the ALT text for the picture in question. (Stefan's is obvious, of course :-) and the two MZs are Rex's (left) and mine (right))

Update: Thanks to U.T. for this: Well i was the Bros 400 owner, with gasmask over the headlamp, and Chris was the owner of the CB750. Chris is the guy with the black baseball cap on on the stinger, I'm the skinhead in combat trousers!!!

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Yes, there is now a big black streak in the car park.


There were a significant number of motorcycles which had been maintained in a less individual manner, some of which were very shiny and some of which were very old. Here is a selection of them. Most of them were really hard to take any kind of photo of in the press of bikes and people.

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A particularly interesting bike is this BSA/MZ hybrid. Apparently the bloke who built it thinks it's what BSA should have produced after the Bantam. They didn't, so he put a tuned ETZ engine in a BSA frame. The head looks like it has been made from a heatsink, but it is a pukka MZ racing head, complete with a pair of bosses on the back to bolt to the MZ rubber damper head stay thingy. The exhaust seems to both start the diffusion cone very early and also reach the maximum diameter very early. It must rev like stink, though it retains the standard MZ clocks, so possibly the rev limit is not precisely known. It has reed valve induction, just visible in the closeup. Unfortunately I didn't get to speak to the owner and ask him what the inside of the engine is like. If you see this, please feel free to email me via RBZ.

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Not just bikes but cars were there. Here are some of those which combine being interesting with being somewhere I could actually get a shot of them. I don't think the Sceptre really is the diesel that the strip at the top of the windscreen on the passenger side claims.

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Of course, being a railway centre, there was some railway activity taking place - though surprisingly little, it seemed to me. A GWR "matchbox" and a Metropolitan 0-4-4 tankie were puffing up and down giving short rides, with a BR 2F saddle tank in the background. A Ruston 0-4-0 and BR Class 03 shunter were very smartly painted, but not running. There was a magnificent South African Railways 4-8-4 undergoing restoration, and some interesting railway fixtures. The photo of the Hall cab interior came out much better than I had any right to expect it to in that dark shed. Thankyou Lord.

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Other attractions on the railway side were this fairground organ:

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and this rather fine Unilec genset powered by a three-cylinder Petter diesel, mounted on an inspection trolley type chassis.

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Highlight of the day was the riding of the Stinger, Sneaky Pete's single wheeled motorcycle, a scooter engine and transmission mounted on a pair of skids. Much fun was had on the grassy area by the vehicle park trying, and in some cases failing, to ride it. Unfortunately it began to feel unwell due to the after-effects of ingesting some dirty fuel IIRC, and after a period where it would condescend to run if you applied positive pressure to the fuel tank via a tube in your mouth, it ceased to function entirely before I got a chance to try it. Still, I would probably have buggered the camera trying to photograph myself falling off it.

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Here are some not very interesting photos of various people burbling off after the event, and in some cases coming back again. Note particularly the ancient beastie with the leather belt drive, which still works. There was speculation among the ranks as to how many of the vehicles left the site under their own power only to be loaded onto a trailer once out of sight...

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Finally an interesting photo which I have included here because it was on the same film and at the moment I don't have enough of a collection of miscellaneous photos in machine-readable form to make it worth while having a page of miscellaneous photos. I replaced the cylinder on my MZ because the thread for the exhaust retaining collar was buggered and I was fed up with the exhaust falling off. The replacement cylinder, unexpectedly, turned out to have had the ports enlarged, so I thought with glee that I'd come by a high performance cylinder. Once fitted to the bike, its deficiencies became apparent. To begin with, it was impossible to get it to idle, and it had a disturbing habit of deciding to suddenly rev its nuts off even with the throttle closed and the plug lead removed. This was traced to the transfer passages having been enlarged so much that they overlapped the edge of the crankcase and were open to atmosphere... Several rude words and some epoxy filler applied from the outside to block the holes later, it then ran reasonably well on the stand, but was gutless and kind of strangled on the road. On removing the head the reason became apparent. The transfer passages were not only enlarged to excess, but asymmetrically. One gave a good flow of mixture aimed at the back of the pot, the other gave a feeble flow in two streams heading more or less straight out. Where the flows from the two ports met, a vortex formed, entraining exhaust gases. The result of all this was a dire scavenging efficiency. Swirly black marks on the top of the piston told the grisly tale. Here we see the piston in the barrel, to show the alignment with the transfer ports. The inlet side of the barrel is uppermost. The piston is correctly aligned, but the arrow indicating the front is on the piss.

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