THE DEEK MOVES IN
THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF ANDY - SCOTT SQUIRREL - EAMES NEXT STORY - THIS TIME ABOUT HIS DKW
Andy of the famous Scott Squirrel story has sent us in a story about another of his motorcycles - it starts back in the mists of time in 1981 as he is about to set off on a family holiday. Here is the story in his own words...
We're all goin' on a ....
It's July 1981, and the final details of the annual holiday have been thrashed out. It's going to be a motorcycling holiday (of course) but a little different from before. A ‘Grand Tour’ of Scotland, up the west coast, across the top, and down the east coast. Me and the kids on the Jawa 350 and sidecar, and the current wife on the newly assembled (from bits sourced all over the UK) 350 girder forked and rigid framed Ariel single.
The Wednesday before we are due to set off, it's time for the weekly trip to Harry Billings newsagents for my copy of MCN and my usual trawl through the classifieds to see what I can’t afford.
This week I saw something interesting - the ad went something like this:
DKW W2000 Rotary, brand new, unregistered, reduced to sell £600. I looked again, no, I wasn’t seeing things! I had heard about these and was curious about this new form of motorcycle propulsion. I had read about a home built special that a guy had built in Motorcycle Sport. Hmm, £600! Not a fortune, and I knew that when they were launched they were around a thousand quid! A quick discussion with wifey to enlighten her about my latest idea. The biggest problem was that we were leaving on Saturday for our hols.
I made a quick phone call to René Bennets shop in East London, yes I wanted it and did not want to lose it, would they take a cheque as deposit and keep it for three weeks until I was able to get to them? .......Yes they would! As they say these days ‘Game On’.
The holiday went well we covered 1800 miles in two weeks, all camping. Mishaps? Not too many.:
* My first introduction to Scottish deep fried meat pies (horrible).
* Wife falls off on a single track road in the Highlands trying to avoid an idiot in a car who couldn’t/wouldn’t wait.
* Sunstroke (me) at John O’Groats (yes honestly).
....There were also a few moments when the oil pump on the Ariel would not scavenge causing clouds of blue smoke. I got the fix time down to around five minutes,and it settled down after a few days. The Ariel was only completed a week before we left, so it had had very little running in time. The Jawa went on to one cylinder on the last day and we completed the last ten miles with a 175cc Jawa single and sidecar, oh and a few spokes snapped in the back wheel on that last day also. Happy days !
I made arrangements on our return to collect the DKW on the Saturday after we got back, so on the day, me and wifey set off on another of the fleet, a 250 MZ two-up from South Derbyshire to London. I don’t recall too much about the day, apart from thinking on the way back that the DKW felt like a bike that I had been riding for years, not hours, or even minutes. I knew we were going to get along just fine and the return journey was quite uneventful.
I had never ridden a Norton with a Featherbed frame, but after a few days of riding the DKW, I knew what people were talking about. This thing was on rails, incredibly sure-footed, quite good acceleration and quite thirsty, would sum it up in a sentence. Oh,and I nearly forgot, great brakes, courtesy of Grimeca, and a very unusual yet not unpleasant exhaust note.
At the time I was competing in tarmac hill-climbs, having ‘retired’ from road racing the first time around in 1974. The weapon of choice was a 900 Ducati Darmah. Now this is like trying to get an articulated truck around a kart track. It was too big, too heavy and too expensive, but it was what I had so why not? It quickly occurred to me that with less than half the power of the Ducati, the Deek could actually be quicker up the hills.
Let's go racing!
The next meeting was the famous Barbon event in Cumbria. Three weeks after collecting the bike, we, my eight year old son and I, were buzzing up the M6 to the event. I missed third place in the 350 class by 0.2 of a second, but in my defence I was giving away 50cc and carrying lights, indicators and a luggage rack! I ripped the tape off the lights, threw the lad on the pillion and rode back home to the Midlands. Job done !
The writing on the wall
The writing was on the wall for the Ducati as a hillclimb bike, it was time for a change to the more competitive 350 class, with quicker times, often breaking into the top three in class, and still in full touring trim, and running on the skinny Metzeler Block C tyres. Can’t recall exactly but I think we were fourth or fifth in the national 350 class that year with only half a season of races under our belt. Very satisfying. Apart from the competition stuff the bike was often daily go-to-work transport.
Then through a hillclimbing mate (my main adversary Pete on his 350 Morini), I got an invite to the Morini owners track day at Cadwell. Had a memorable session trying to shake off a Ducati Pantah, not easy with only 28 BHP! We yoyoed along - I got him on the corners but he got me back on the straights. Eventually I decided that I had to pass him on a corner that didn’t lead onto anything like a straight. Only one place fitted the bill - The Gooseneck! And so it was, I made the move and then, once on the back straight I listened for the unmistakable sound of a V-Twin, but there was nothing! I wondered where he was until I got to the Gooseneck again and saw the poor bloke collecting bits of fibreglass out of the scenery! Felt a bit guilty for the next half a lap, but it soon passed.
Eventually I moved onto proper hillclimb machinery in the shape of converted CCM/BSA motocross bikes. I suppose you would call them ‘Supermotards’ these days. The last competition work for the Deek being in Southern Ireland where a friend scored a 2nd place in class at straight quarter sprint in Cork city. The weekend before I got the 350 and 250 classes at a hillclimb in an unlikely sounding place called Belgooly. The place made the news a couple of years before for its moving statue! I paid a visit to the shrine. It never moved once !!
So the Deek became a normal (normal?) road bike again. Much loved by me and anyone who rode it. My brother came over from Australia on holiday and had a spin on it. He said the nearest thing to it in handling he’d tried was a Bultaco Metralla production racer, much famed for its sweet handling.
Holidays on the Isle of Man were the norm back then, and it was whilst it was over there that it suffered its only fall. The ‘new’ wife was with me on her 125 MZ, and surprisingly was struggling to keep up so we swapped bikes. If I rode the little MZ as if I was in the 125 TT I could just about keep up. On the back roads up past the Tholt Y Will pub there is a very tricky uphill hairpin. New wife let the revs drop too low without clutching, and tumbled off at zero mph! I parked the MZ as quickly as I could and ran to rescue my darling. I picked her up, and luckily she was unhurt. The wife was still rolling round in the road! I still have the bike, the wife has long since gone!
He liked beer
A few years before I had met a guy from Denmark who had become a very good friend. I sold him a Norton Commando in bits and he never bore a grudge. He liked a beer and on many an occasion he would in times of semi drunkenness ask me when I was going to sell him the DKW. The pressure was relentless and one day in a moment of weakness I gave in but only on condition that I could have his mid 50s NSU Max. To my utter horror he agreed. No backing out now, a deals a deal, so off she went to Danish-Land with the proviso that should anything happen, I would have her back. How prophetic that turned out to be. Within a couple of years poor Hans was dead. He never made forty. It was a very bad time in my life. The DKW came home. I wish I’d kept my mouth shut.
Middle-aged free and single
Back on the road and I was middle-aged free and single again, and decided I would have another trip to Ireland, this time with the young ‘un who’d been the pillion passenger on that trip to the Barbon hillclimb. This time though, he would be the rider, and I would be on my Honda NS400 (what a wonderful machine). Just starting the 2nd week of our holiday, and the Deek had disappeared from the rear view mirrors. Unusual, as the lad was a very quick rider (he was hillclimbing at the age of 15, due to a slip of the pen whilst entering his date of birth on the forms) and could easily keep up in the twisty bits. I found him about a mile back, looking very forlorn.
‘It just went pop dad, then stopped’.
We managed to get the bike recovered to a friend's in County Wicklow, where it spent nearly two years in his barn. We continued the holiday two up on the NS - not much fun!
As mentioned it was nearly two years before we got her home, in the back of a Vauxhall Astra 1.2 .
What to do now?
Andy 's story is quite topical really, as Brian Crighton is about to launch a new rotary engined race bike at the VMCC Festival of a Thousand Bikes at Mallory Park on July 13th-14th.
Great story again Andy thank you so much we really enjoyed it and the photos! Watch this space to see what happened next!
written by Andy Eames for Wemoto News
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