The Gremlins still lived inside Maggy the 5th (my 5th and supposedly perfect MX-5, a rare BBR turbo model).
James (my much relied on MX-5 guru friend) had rebuilt the top end of the engine after she’d cooked herself but unfortunately had found the bottom end had also suffered considered damage. It wasn’t economical – plus he just didn’t have the time – to try and repair that too; we might as well source another engine. But first we’d try the car as it was, just in case we could get away with it…
She drove beautifully!
But quickly earned the nickname Smokey Disaster 2 (after the disastrous Maggy the 3rd AKA White Lightning AKA Smokey Disaster; see my earlier car history).
Smoke puthered out of her, due to the damage to the bottom end. She stank.
Then I recalled that the MOT has expired whilst she’d been away being rebuilt!
Of course, with that level of smoke coming out of her, she failed the MOT emissions test miserable.
James agreed to source me an engine and scored a blinder with a £150 low mileage lump – it had only done about 75,000km – i.e.
around 47,000 miles. Some poor sod had wrote of his low mileage pride and joy MX-5, but the engine was intact.
Poor James was up to his eyeballs in work, a house move, and trying to sort his own MX-5 out. He didn’t have the time to fit it, and then winter approached… I was going to be without Maggy for a few months.
My heart sank.
Not helping matters were the fact that the Gremlins had hopped into the beamer.
In the first month, I took it back to the dealers three times for problems with the headlights.
Then I took it in for a leak in the boot.
Then an issue with the roof not latching.
Then the boot leak returned.
The list of problems mounted. I was at BMW Sytner Monday or Tuesday mornings (the days I worked from home) dropping her off at
least twice a month for the next few months. I got to know the receptionists (I could have easily fallen for the young blonde ;))
and service guys. I made the most of their coffee machine and raisin toast.
Thankfully, the warranty covered everything – oh, except for the steering misalignment problem, but due to all the hassle I’d had,
they fixed that at a reduced price.
So much for a reliable BMW.
I’d had already decided that I wanted to sell her, but couldn’t until everything was fixed.
Meanwhile, I’d got back into motorcycling, due to the girl I was seeing at the time. I did the 1 day CBT test and got myself a Yamaha YZF R125 – the baby R6.
It was a beautiful looking and handling bike. Sure, it sounded a bit whiny but you could get up to 84mph without too much fuss. It was light and easy to handle and I took every opportunity to pop out to the shops or bank with it; I was loving the traffic jam skipping abilities and parking conveniences a bike gave you.
My girlfriend then took me along to a bikers meet, at MFN – Miles From Nowhere, or perhaps Middle of F**king Nowhere?! We had an
hour long convoy cruise beforehand with her riding her Honda CBR600, her friend/landlord a big cruiser and a guy we met up with
enroute chilling on his Harley.
Riding in convoy on the windy Derbyshire country roads was a great experience.
I started taking my full test. Squeezing in a couple of hours one or two evenings during the week, and a full or half day on Saturdays where I could, over a couple of months I managed to get my full bike license.
And in August 2013 bought a Ducati 749S Superbike!
And after 2 minutes of riding her, dropped it, shattering my brake pedal, pride, and confidence.
As our close group of friends would say, “These things happen“.
They do. It seems that most bikers have dropped their bike in the first year of ownership.
2 minutes, however, was pushing it…
My problem had been a lack of familiarity with the ‘dry clutch’ found on Ducati’s of that ilk, and not being yet being used to
the weight and balance of the bike. As I’d pulled away at a tight right hand turn junction, on loose gravel, I’d panicked at the
‘grinding’ sound of the dry clutch, and worried about over revving on the low grip gravel, had backed off the clutch without compensating with the throttle, and stalled it, whilst turning. Not being used to the bikes balance I hadn’t realised she was going over until it was too late to put my foot out, well, at least in the right place!
So down she went.
It seems most Ducati owners had also broke their brake pedals in the process of ‘binning it’ too. Crappy plastic design. I found a suitable metal replacement for the brake pedal and a replacement clutch cover from eBay (as I had dented mine in the drop) and got back on her.
But my confidence had took a blow and I gingerly pootled around, terrified of every right hand turn. Eventually I got used to the dry clutch and the weight of the bike, and opened her up.
Wow. What a machine. I’d easily hit 95mph in 3rd gear – I probably could have in 2nd to be fair – and there were 3 more gears to go!!
However, she was still somewhat of a beast to handle, and hard work. Popping to the shops and the bank as I had on the 125 was more of an effort. For a start, she weighed a ton in comparison, and getting her out of the garage was quite an effort. The same with parking her in the tight car park at the bank. And I wasn’t enjoying the thumpathumpa sound and vibration (particularly with my injured tailbone – will write a post on that in the Health & Fitness section later) of the V twin engine. I preferred the Japanese high revving scream to the Mafia machine gunner Italian. Perhaps I should have made the natural progression from my R125 to it’s big sister, the R6.
By then though, autumn was setting in and it was getting colder and rainy. As a fair weather biker only – I had bought her for fun, and the occasional traffic and parking advantages – I tucked up Daisy (Daisy Duke ;)) in the garage and put these musings aside for a few months…
Next part of the story: Maggy’s big sister