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Steve & Nick's Excellent Adventure (part one)

We, that is Steve Cox, and myself Nick van den Braak, were having a beer at the FOB one Wednesday evening. We were chatting about our bikes, when Steve mentioned the Ace Café, and how they hold themed days. Steve had ridden to the Café on other occasions and suggested we go on the 30th June as a Triton and Café racer day was being held. Well that was fine for Steve as he owns a beautiful  650 Triton, I wasn’t sure my Ducati MHR would fit in, it is not a Triton or a Café racer - after another beer I agreed to take it ! However alarm bells rang when a distance of 60 odd miles each way was mentioned, that was about mine (and Steves ) limit on such  uncomfortable bikes.

The months passed, and soon summer had arrived with a vengeance! Our ride was looming quickly. My Ducati had not been started for about 18 months, as the previous summer was so bad I didn’t take her out. I arranged for Moto di-Marinio’s at West Chiltington to give her an oil change and desmo sevice. I know many of you do all your own work on your bikes, but this is a bevel ohc desmo, and I really didn’t fancy the challenge. With fresh high octane petrol in the tank, and a fully charged battery, she fired 2 or 3rd kick. (thank god!!) The ride to Moto Di-Marinio’s was very enjoyable, the conti’s bellowing through the countyside, and on the overun the whirring of the bevel gears could be heard. She breathes through a pair of 40mm pumper Dellorto’s, on ally trumpets,  they make almost as much noise as the exhausts! Collected a few days later we were ready to go. In the meantime Steve had also been busy, have done extensive work to the engine of his Triton, he need to get an MOT and give her a test ride. This was all done the day before, so we were ready to go.

We met up by the Hogslodge pub in Clanfield at around 8.00, the sun was shinning, with a promise of a hot day. Both bikes have low clipons, rearsets, very high 1st gears and heavy clutches – what could go wrong !! We decided to stop the other side of Guildford to strech our legs (if we could get off !) A maximum speed of 65mph was agreed as Steve’s Triton needed a bit of running in, I could just about get the Ducati into top gear at that speed as it doesn’t like to run much below 3000rpm.! The Guildford stop came and went, then we rode around the M25 to a A40. All was well, we both still had feeling in our spines, but our hands were numb, and the traffic was getting heavier. By the time we reached the North Circular I had had enough, these bikes were not designed for this type of riding, I didn’t get out of 1st gear for about a mile.  On arrival at the Café we were ushered to a prime parking spot by the main entrance. We had important business to attend to, coffee and bacon butties!  When we got back to the bikes they were both receiving lots of attention, and the car park was rapidly filling with a great assortment of Tritons, and Café racers of all types. It was all a bit sureal, Gold Stars were two-a-penny, as were RGS’s. I am certainly not going to suggest that they are not beautiful bikes, but when someone puts a Laverda Jota engine in a featherbed frame it made my eyes water ! and then there was also a magnificent Moto Guzzi…….

Have a look at the pictures, they tell a far better story of the day.

The ride home was a slow, hot,  uncomfortable slog, Steve had a small niggle with the clutch cable ( it had worked overtime after all) and we got home late afternoon. Would we do it again – you bet.

Nick van den Braak

(Pictures taken by Nick.vdB and Steve Cox)

PS. And yes, I did roll the Duc on and off the throttle in the Hindhead tunnel………….