Yorkshire Enduro

Fancy a go at an event that caters for big trailies or rally bikes? Then contact the Yorkshire Enduro Club and enter their Rydale Rally on 3-4 luly 2010. Bikes must be fully road legal. For more details contact Bob Wilson on [email protected] or phone him on 07941 925295 before 8.30pm please.

Vinduro UK

There's a new enduro club on the block called Vinduro UK which will cater for all enduro bikes 25 years and older. That's 1985 to as far back as you fancy. They will be split into five year segments, for example, '81 to '85, '76 to '80, '71 to '75 etc.

Nigel Heath - instigator, or one of them at least - of the whole thing says, "As far as I know there isn't a club catering for the non-twinshock bikes of the early 80s which is a shame. Some bikes I can think of being the Yamaha IT's, Suzuki PE floaters and Kawasaki KDXs. These bikes are in danger of being ignored and forgotten. We will also have a class for Trail bikes using the same year format. "Our first event is going to be on 26 September 2010 and will be called The Hot Trod' It will be a proper time card enduro and based loosely on the French Beauval Normandy enduro." For details email swampd [email protected]

m]>Bultaco 370 Mk 7

John Banks Moto Cross

The heady atmosphere of international competition demands constant development of machinery, buoyed by lim Pomeroy s success of their 250 model, Bultaco bigged up.' Vic Allan was there then and there now... read what he says.

Iim Pomeroy and a 370 Bultaco never had the ring to it that his heroics on a 250 Pursang delivered in the GPs. Like most present day classics that are raced, time has allowed advances in their performances through better engine management and especially quality suspension parts. As this bike was built in America by Woody Graves - a talented and known bike builder - for Jim to ride in the AHRMA Championships then it would have been given the latest tweaks. Tragically it was not to be as Jim lost his life in a car accident before he could race it. The Bultaco was put up for sale, bought by Rick Verbeeten, then shipped to England to be used as a regular race bike.

Bultaco's route to the models, which in 250 mode catapulted Jim Pomeroy into a 250cc GP superstar and, incidentally, allowed me to achieve a dream of becoming the first person ever to claim the 250 and 500cc British MX Championship in the same year began in a very different Spain to the one loved by the British tourist. Company founder Francisco X Bulto Marques came from a wealthy family with good business contacts. He'd served as a lieutenant in civil war and returned to a very different civilian life from the one he'd known before.

Under General Franco, Spain was isolated from all sorts of things which forced the home industry to fill the gaps but often raw materials were of poor quality. It was into this industrial climate Francisco Bulto, already a businessman making piston rings, set up the Montesa motorcycle factory with Pedro Permanyer. A keen motorcyclist from an early age and a competitor in off-road and road racing disciplines, Bulto saw the competition department as an integral part of any motorcycle manufacturer's development and its closure at Montesa caused him and 18 others to leave and form Bultaco.

First of the line

The first motocross bike was made for an International event in Barcelona in 1960 and Don and Derek Rickman were invited to compete and ride these 175cc machines in the 250cc event. From this early start the Rickmans realised the engine had great potential but the water pipe >

tJamb*

WORDS - Vic Allan PICS - Nick Haskell

Nick HaskellFamous Dirt Bikes1973 250 Motocross

O So impressed that he and the Verbeeten lads - Tony and Rick -give it the thumbs up' famous in Bultaco logo.

By 1973 Bultaco had made the 250cc into a 325cc bike by boring out the 250 motor to 83mm for the big bike class and produced these to try and win a slice of the lucrative 500cc class market sales. A good little bike but no match for the new breed of proven bikes coming from the established European makes of Husqvarna, Maico and CZ, with the Japanese still trying to convert works bike success into production form.

At this time Bultaco had prototype 400cc engines made and tested by various distributors throughout the world, with Jim Pomeroy using one in the American Trans AMA Series. Comerfords got two engines and Malcolm Davis got two as he was contracted direct to the factory. The prototype engines would give a genuine 397cc and overcome a problem encountered when riding a 325cc bike at International events. I needed a big bike to ride at 500cc international events to earn some money and when the 325cc was banned because it did not reach the 352cc minimum level it left Bultaco with the option of producing a 352cc bike from the 250 motor or getting the 400 prototype production ready.

This problem was solved for me once when I arrived in Holland with John Banks single port works bike in my van, as I was doing him a favour by taking it back to Britain. With the 325cc banned and no mobiles in these days, the logic was I was doing John a favour, so out came the works CZ and off I went. A few problems with the left hand gearchange but a good result and a few precious pennies in my pocket, the bonus was I had tried a works bike and John just laughed at the cheek of it.

Maybe having had the opportunist chance to ride a competitive big bore GP bike at the time would have some bearing on my thoughts of the prototype 400 Bultaco engine that slotted straight into the 325cc and 250cc production frames.

frames needed attention. From this the Bultaco Metisse was born and the Rickman brothers became the first importers of Bultaco competition bikes into Britain. Though by 1970 Thames Ditton dealer Comerfords had become taking on the import duties.

Over in the USA, Pomeroy's homeland, Bultaco America had been set up by John Grace, creating Bultaco's largest off-road market. The first large capacity scrambles bike was developed in 1967 for the American market and was called the El Bandido with a bore and stroke of 85 x 64mm given 362cc in 1968 for motocross and flat track racing. This proved a complete flop in European racing and when people like Don Rickman could not get results it was soon shelved as a serious motocross bike.

Tony Comerford
O What secrets lie inside these cases, wonders Vic? Whatever they are it means a sweet clutch and gearchange. Radial fin cylnder head is presumed trom a Husqvarna but why is it on? Vic gives his opinion it the text.

Having battled back from a broken thigh on the works BSA in 1971 after they went bust, riding the GP's again on a Comerford's Bultaco for two GPs seemed a good chance to get established once again. The week before the first GP of 1973 in Barcelona we, mechanic Tony Worthington and myself raced an international event in Belgium on the prototype 400. The outcome was I won the event against all the main 500cc GP riders of that year, emphasising how good the bike was. Gear selector and clutch problems were the main cause for concern but needed no redesign of the engine to overcome production needs. Gear driven primary transmission took Bultaco into the modern format of all future bikes and coupled with an engine that pulled from the bottom appeared the logical step forward.

To say I loved this engine is an understatement although we all realised work needed to be done to get it into reliable production form. Was I directly asked by anyone from Bultaco my thoughts on this bike, as someone from a 500cc GP background and having just given them their best 500cc class result? Unfortunately no, in fact when I look back I probably spoke more to the Queen when I received my MBE than I did directly to any member of the Bultaco factory.

At the second GP in Italy I broke my iyi ankle in practice when I caught my foot in a rut, feet up and not even falling off.

Money was tight and we needed the start money to get home so Tony Worthington, a good rider in his own right, was dressed up in my riding gear to do the timed training and start the first race to raise funds towards our trip. Tony did the timed training, posting me last in qualification but was not the only one not to do the first double jump I ever encountered.

Andy Roberton would rush up to it then jam the brakes on at the last minute, putting himself off the idea for the whole meeting. From my hiding position in the back of the Transit van I watched Tony come round on the first lap of the GP and under instructions to come in after a couple of laps and looking as if he were in strife but Tony appeared to be enjoying riding in front of 30,000 people. To his credit Tony did enough to earn us our start money and Andy Roberton's version of the event is not true, saying we put a cushion up his race shirt to make him look more like me. Tony has been dogged by ill health for many years

O Though it is a simple job to swap the gear lever to the other side ol the engine on a Bultaco most owners use the left hand side these days.

O Below: Front suspension has benelited too trom modern technology and has had the damper rods re-valved.

but is still smiling and even made it to Wrighty's show this year in a fast wheelchair. Tony will always be a GP rider in my eyes and more importantly a great guy as well.

If my return to GP's was a disaster then the arrival of Jim Pomeroy to Spain was a fairy tale, winning a GP at his first attempt which quite rightly put the Bultaco focus on him and the benefits to the American market. By 1974 we had the Mk 6, still at 352cc, for the British Championship but good enough for me to win the 500cc class. The bigger class turned out a lot harder to win than the 250cc class where Bultaco dominated all the front positions. >

Bultaco Matador 250cc Dirt BikeRicke VerbeetenPrimary Gear Bultaco

250cc BULTACO

Tony Veibeeten had his 250cc Bultaco there and as this was one of my favourite bikes we thought it better to give it a tun. With a Wiseco piston and a Mikuni caib theie was not much to distinguish it fiom any other 250cc Bultaco. The riding told a different story with the gearbox nothing like the 360cc. missed gears was a regular occurrence. Worse for me was the fact I had been out on the 360cc first and this made the 250cc feel slow. I always remember my 250cc bikes being fast and often used it in the 1975 British Championship which was open to any size bike, beating a young Graham Noyce on his Maico and Vic Eastwood on his CCM on more than one occasion. Could I have done it on this bike, not a chance. It was pleasant enough to ride but felt slow and was ruining my recollection of a great 250cc bike.

The best 250cc Bultaco I ever rode was one that the legendary Aussie tuner Bert Flood prepared for me to ride when I was competing over there, and it was fast. In

It's a modern world

The bike we tested today would be as near to any of the bikes we landed up using at the Trans Am series in 1974 and is a lightweight coming in at around 2081b, with great handling and a strong engine with plenty of useable power. Jim Pomeroy took a new riding style with him when he came to Europe, straighter bars to allow the head nearer the headstock and the style of the modern rider was one we have adopted too with our own riding. Suspension is by now the popular American Works Performance shocks used by many competitors in this country. Bultaco's Betor front forks have been re-valved to upgrade their already good reputation. Inside the engine sits a Wiseco piston connected to a new crank while outside a Mikuni carb is used because it's the best. This bike has a radial head and when Rick asked the reason he was told "it looks cool..." I believe the real reason is that Bultaco used an offset to the rear combustion chamber to transfer heat away from the front of the piston.

All modern and most of the large two-strokes of the time used a central squish chamber with a central spark plug. This cylinder head appears to be a Husqvarna one and probably been tried and found to be beneficial to power output.

Unlike my original bikes that were all right hand gearchange the Verbeeten boys have changed their bikes to modern style left hand gearchange which lots of riders are used to by having modern road or off-road bikes. The gearbox has also had the Woody Graves treatment resulting in a Bultaco gearbox working to Japanese standards.

Sitting on the bike it is easy to forget how small they were with a nice narrow combination of seat and tank. On the move it felt like coming home and looking at the pictures through Nick Haskell's lens it is easy to see how much I enjoyed riding these bikes. At ease with the controls and relishing the gearbox, the power of this motor felt very crisp and a lot sharper then I remember. It is a long time since I rode a 360 Bultaco but like all modern prepared bikes they're a better bike now than at any time in its heyday.

Has the cylinder head helped to sharpen the power delivery or is it a combination of things? It really doesn't matter as here is a very competitive bike. It did not take long to gain the confidence to really attack the downhill jumps and with its light weight the suspension absorbed landings with ease.

As far as I'm concerned there is nothing on this bike that needs to be altered and Jim Pomeroy would certainly have had a competitive bike in its class. The more I rode it the more I enjoyed the experience and this just about sums up riding Bultaco motocross bikes in the mid-70s period. I always geared my bikes to start in second gear off the start and with a low seat height and a reasonable wheelbase were always sharp out of the gate. The extra power did not distract from the normal procedure for starts and it was very easy to find a consistency in getting to the first turn rapidly, one of the main priorities of any moto-cross race.

The no missed gear' scenario might seem an unobtainable dream to some present day Bultaco riders but as the old saying goes 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating' and this gearbox is definitely 'sweet' rather than 'pudding' but the recipe is not available. With re-valved fork damping matched to Works Performance rear shocks, the suspension all round was a delight and coupled with an extremely sharp motor has been a good acquisition for the Verbeeten boys. A better all round bike now than the version available at the time? The answer has to be a resounding 'yes' but has it a better motor than the experimental 400? I do not think so.

It is well known that time plays tricks on memories but when I compete in Australia in August this year I hope to test a bike with the works 400 motor in. This is the engine I gave to the importer Bert Flood when I went to Australia to race in 1975. Bert arranged a great time for me back then and I'm looking forward to an equally good time in 2010.1 only hope the outcome of the test is as good as the memory of the bike and that nice man Tim Britton will publish the results. ■

fact the first time I tried it was when we were doing a photoshoot with Malcolm Fraser, the future Prime Minister of Australia riding his Bultaco between Gary Flood, Bert's son and former Comerfords rider and myself. We were to do a wheelie with Malcolm Fraser riding normally between us but the extra power shot me over the back and on to the ground. The next day's newspapers read "Premier Floors the Champ." Seemed a good idea at the time but maybe we could find this as well and test it in Australia in August.

In Motion

Twinshock Trials Parts

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Responses

  • gloriana
    Are bultaco mk7 360 pursang competitive mx bikes?
    8 years ago

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