Chris Bradley builds a T500 racer - Chapter 3

Over the next few weeks I started buying any magazines that had pictures of racing machines. I was studying how the rear set mounting brackets were fitted onto the frame. How does the fairing attach, what kind of wheels do I need. It was no good, I needed to go and look at some bikes.

By this time there were two questions in my mind that were already answered. 1) that the front brake was going to be a double twin leading shoe drum. Only one reason for this I am afraid to admit, and that is that I just love the look of the things. And 2) I was determined to use the original T500 2/stroke oil tank filler cap which has OIL stamped in the middle of it. We all have our little fetishes, and there's two of mine.

I heard that there was some motorcycle racing on at Croft Circuit which is about 30 minutes drive away. More importantly for me there was to be a classic event. Needless to say I went. Not just to watch the racing but to get round some of the machines in the paddock and see how they were put together. It was a dry day so I decided to go on my bike, a Yamaha GTS 1000. I thought I might blend in a bit better dressed in my bike gear. (who cares really) As I got just beyond the toll booth I scanned the area for something to look at. The first machine I could see looked like the sort of thing I was interested in so I made a bee line for it. As I got closer It seemed to appear a bit familiar. " No it couldn't be". I don't believe it. It bloody was ! What I later learned to be, a Spondon frame Suzuki T500. I tell you the hairs on the back of my neck just stood up. Is someone up there pulling strings for me or what ! It seemed the hand of fate had been played once more, but boy was this getting a bit spooky.

The rider of the Suzuki told me he was winning his class although he believed the engine was not in a high state of tune. He also told me that he had a couple of seasons racing without looking inside the motor once. This gave me great confidence in my own project and tempted me further towards the racing scene. One of the other riders a fella called Mark was very helpful and recommended that I use a Femsa ignition system on my motor if I can get one. He also told me of a chap in Australia who has a web site with loads of info about T500's. This I had to explore, and although I was not on the internet then, I am now.

What followed was to be a long and lasting relationship of exchanges between myself and a brilliant guy called Murray Barnard. TR500 motorcycle racer, and a hell of a writer. Before I go any further Check this out.

Clascic Motorcycling - Suzuki 500 Fanatics website

E-MAIL Murray Barnard

This web site contains a feature called THE SUZUKI T500 FANATICS PAGE. Actually there is about 100 pages. Chapters on everything from the original launch of the Cobra and Titan to the Factory Racers. Pages on how to build a racer from a standard bike. What shocks to use, what tyres, what brakes, what everything. The definitive guide to building a Suzuki T500 Racer. Lots of photographs and loads of tuning data. The bizzo.

After several letters to and fro I was given even more help in filling in the blank spaces in my still ignorant brain. I even persuaded Murray to sell me the Femsa ignition he had once used on his TR500. Things were getting even more interesting.

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