Little-end trouble – and a weekend to remember!

Chris Dickinson recalls a hectic scramble to get his Suzuki GT185 back on to the road after a little-end bearing disintegrated as he rode home for the weekend from a summer job at RAF Marham. Although he was just 17, dogged determination ensured that he was back at work on the Monday morning.

Pete Stevens’ letter about working at RAF Marham (OBM August) reminded me of the summer of 1980, when I was 17 and got a job helping to build the fire station there.

Just the right balance – Chris Dickinson’s T140 750cc Triumph Bonneville was pictured at this year’s East Kirkby Aviation Run in Lincolnshire.

As I was still living at home, I decided to camp during the working week at Narborough, a village just outside Marham. I loaded down my Suzuki GT185 two-stroke twin with camping gear and set off early on the Monday morning.

Although the journey was only 60 miles, it involved travelling down the A17, which just as now was used by lines of articulated lorries carrying vegetables around that very agricultural part of the country. As they were travelling just below my top speed, I’d slipstream them until the little Suzuki had just enough in reserve to break out of the tow and overtake them, but this could be quite hair-raising.

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Those were the days! Chris, with his Suzuki GT185, is pictured with his friend Howard Brookes, who’d converted his Honda SS50 to 70cc for extra performance.

The bike had to make the journey rain or shine, and never liked the wet with its exposed coils under the tank, and I regularly had to apply WD40 at the roadside to coax it back into action.

After about five weeks the Suzuki started feeling the effects of these throttle-stop journeys and developed an ominous rattle, and on my way home on the Friday it finally gave up the ghost at Sleaford after a little-end bearing disintegrated on one side of the engine.

Read more in the September issue of OBM – on sale now!

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