Racing the SS in 1975

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Roger Moss
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:10 am
Location: Melton Mowbray UK
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Racing the SS in 1975

Post by Roger Moss » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:47 am

Image
Rebuilder of Scott engines and transmissions. Maker of Scott vintage race engines.
Any challenging engineering project welcomed
www.mossengineering.co.uk

Peter Mille
MHR / S2
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:12 am
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

Post by Peter Mille » Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:02 pm

Roger,

Please tell us more about your expieriences with beveltwin racing!!

Roger Moss
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:10 am
Location: Melton Mowbray UK
Contact:

The truth about the 750 SS

Post by Roger Moss » Sun Nov 14, 2004 2:53 pm

Hi Friends
I think the bike is now sold at 14000 pounds sterling. It is like selling one of your chgildren, but the expected new owner seems to love Ducati's and in truth, we are only custodians and will not live forever. I will buy a Silk Scott and put one of my engines in it, which will be helpful and interesting. I will hope to use the MM more as it is a great little bike!
However--- about the SS
I was asked to help out a magazine with some info and this is what I sent.
Please do not take offence if I am a little critical. I am an objective engineer but am human and thus heir to all the imbecility that goes with that condition. Humans make bikes!


Roger Moss
Fox Cottage, Kings Lane, South Croxton, Leics, UK. LE7 3RE Tel / Fax 01664 840215
Email Rmoss115@hotmail.com
Classic Bike Magazine Ref 2719
Media House, Lynchwood, 02-06-03
Peterborough Business Park.
PE2 6EA
Attn. Brian Crichton
Ducati 750SS
Dear Brian
I understand that you do not have much space in your projected piece on 750SS and perhaps do not want to print anything to disturb the comfortable “purple” myth. However here are the bare bones.
During the period 1971-4 I competed in club level production racing on a Laverda 750. In 72 it was upgraded to works racing spec plus some private ignition improvements. It was able to pass Dave Potter on the Kuhn Norton 750 PR with ease down the old Norwich straight at Snetterton. Come the hairpin and the task of stopping the heavy brute and Dave Potter departed, never to be seen again. In mid 1973, I read glowing reports in American press about the projected 750SS and decided I wanted one. I contacted Vic Camp, who was the official Ducati importer at that time and expressed my interest. Vic said he had no plans to import this model, as he considered that they would be too expensive. I told him that I would give him a down payment in advance and he accepted my order. Ducati wanted a more commercially vigorous importer for its new vee twins, so when I went to collect the bike from a warehouse at London airport in early 1974, it was one of a small batch consigned via Coburne and Hughes.
I took it home and first photographed it in detail for future record. When I tried to start it, it tried to launch me. It was 45 degrees advanced at full retard. When I reset this, it would run only at tick over and full throttle, but nothing in mid range. It had been supplied with no needle jets. On enquiring of VC I was told that there were no spares this side of the Alps, very comforting! The ignition system was changed and high level pipes fitted as the originals were much too low for racing, even after Ducati had put a 30mm extra packer section from a fork spring tube guide on top of the fork springs. The bike was not a racer as delivered as the cams were quite mild. It was much slower than the Laverda, but was lighter and handled nicely. You could ride it with both ends sliding in confidence. I entered a 750km production race at Cadwell in 1975. Alan Cathcart was there on a 750SS in standard trim. I advised him that the low pipes would be a hazard on Charlies. He said they would take care but I believe that is where and why his race ended. My SS blew its big end and then smashed off a section of rod and shoved it carefully between the gearbox mainshaft and layshaft. We did an emergency stop! I discussed what I believed was a design flaw with Ducati, but they were convinced that there was not an inherent problem and sold me rebuild spares at a good discount. In 1976 in a 1000km endurance race, it did the same trick. This time I did full engineering analysis and defined the design flaw. I redesigned and made a new big end assembly and sent the designs to Ducati. They built one for evaluation but deemed it too expensive for volume production and introduced a more cost effective variant Ducati rewarded my input by sending me a set of special cams from their race shop. My old war horse no DM750SS0750017 bears its battle scars with pride, while I await a titanium shoulder. There is nothing better than a thrash on an SS to revitalise a world weary and jaded spirit.

Anecdote
I was at Snetterton at a BFRC meeting in 1976 and Alan Cathcart was there with his SS. At the end of the meeting he asked if I would listen to his bike engine which was making a clicking sound. I told him that he was lucky as it was about to destroy itself. He said “but I am racing tomorrow on it” I replied “not on that, unless you have a very deep pocket” I told him how to check it and gave him my home phone number. He rang me later to confirm what I had predicted. It’s nice to be able to help at times!

Riders of 750SS that I remember were
Mick James for Mick Walker
Alan Walsh
Steven Fry
Alan Cathcart

In truth they are a really nice bike, but for the hurly burly of short circuit club racing, then they were no match for the Tridents and racing Commando’s. Ask Alan Walsh, who was very successful in club racing. He was much more successful on the Trident than the Ducati. Ask Mick Hemmings how many times he was beaten by an SS. My guess is never. It was a good engine given a good British designed racing frame.
They are very user friendly and as such were relished by fast road riders who do not use a bike to the limit needed to win races, regardless of how fast it felt. No more, No less.

Sorry it ran to length
Pick out the bits you want if any
Kind Regards
Roger Moss
Rebuilder of Scott engines and transmissions. Maker of Scott vintage race engines.
Any challenging engineering project welcomed
www.mossengineering.co.uk

Peter Mille
MHR / S2
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:12 am
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

Post by Peter Mille » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:14 am

Roger,
Thanks for your story!
What kind of oil did you use in your Ducati?

Roger Moss
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:10 am
Location: Melton Mowbray UK
Contact:

Oil in Ducati

Post by Roger Moss » Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:06 pm

Hi Peter
You may not agree but I used castor R 40
I had found on my vintage bikes, that they maintained a better condition for longer on castor. After 2 blowups with the SS, I decided to do everything I knew to make it stay together. Hence an oil cooler, a modified crank and castor R 40.
The only problem with castor, is that it can go gummy if left in unused too long. If I want to change without a total strip and clean out, I first use a fill of totally synthetic oil, which both mineral and castor oils are compatable with, run it a few miles, then change to castor, or mineral as desired. As a side issue, on a vintage bike Castor R40 is great in gearboxes. I even use it on machine tool slideways as it gives the smoothest stiction free action. Far better than much vaunted modern slideway oils -- but, you have to take care is does not go gummy by wiping over if starts to thicken. Well you asked! and I can not spell brevity!
Kind Regards
Roger
Rebuilder of Scott engines and transmissions. Maker of Scott vintage race engines.
Any challenging engineering project welcomed
www.mossengineering.co.uk

Peter Mille
MHR / S2
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:12 am
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

Post by Peter Mille » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:22 am

Roger,

Why shouldn't I agree, after all I do not race my Mille!
And yes I do use synthetic castrol in my Duc.
Thanks for sharing your experiences!
I hope you will be back on this Forum more often, as I think you know a lot of these fantastic motorcycle icons!!

Roger Moss
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:10 am
Location: Melton Mowbray UK
Contact:

Thanks Peter

Post by Roger Moss » Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:32 am

Dear Peter
As a man approching 64 years old, I was racing till injured last year. I remember keenly the problems of getting information and spares when young. I like people and am always happy to help where I can.
I am looking forward to getting back on the track next year.
As a matter of light entertainment for you, I post a copy of last Christmas message to my friends round the world. I send my kindest regards to all with a "bright eye" that shows passion within. Motorcycle people are invariably passionate and the world is much better for their input
Roger
We hope you will forgive a copied synopsis of our year, as we have yet to bring our 48 hour day project to perfection!
As Son Richard said, “Dad, why can you never do anything NORMAL!”
Year started with putting a base for a new workshop and office so Marina can have a home rather than a commercial office to live in. The mini digger got stuck. A JCB was fetched, It also got stuck!. A crane was fetch to lift them out. Luckily it succeeded , so the Chinook was not needed. The earth moving was therefore not completed as planned and we have an earth mountain in our “garden” that the dogs scale, so as to look down and bark at anything that moves.
Our primitive cottage in Cornwall was sold and our motor home loan paid off and a most unusual machine tool ordered from Germany. We had great fun digging foundations for the machine and installing it. Commissioning it with only a handbook in technical German was stimulating. I had competed in three race meetings on the Scott when July 5th saw me in Anglesey, where I crashed heavily. I broke five ribs, a bone in my right hand and displaced a disc. In the doctors excitement on discovering I also had pneumonia and no spleen, they missed the broken hand that now needs re breaking and fixing correctly and some internal damage. Marina and I went to Moscow, en route to visit her parents south of the Ural mountains. The internal damage became evident as a bleeding stomach ulcer and I was sent to a state hospital as an emergency. This experience was “fascinating” and on one occasion when reflecting on the tide of events that led to my being there, I started laughing. The chief nurse saw this and stalked off to return with a military size hypodermic of sedative, which she plunged into my unappreciative backside. I reflected that I had better learn not to laugh, unless I fancied recuperating in Siberia! Marina and I carried on to see her parents and were treated to daily 6 hour feasts with singing and dancing. Unfortunately, in my weakened state, I had another problem requiring surgery and a further stay in a state hospital. I must remark on the funny looks I got when I explained that the root cause of the problems was me crashing whilst racing my motorbike. This invariably brought the question, “how old was I” when they heard that I am 62, it would seem that they had to choose between treatment in a hospital or an asylum. Marina and I returned with Marina,s mother Marzia, who must be the definitive “mother in law from heaven”. She cooks, sews and cleans with infinite relish. She is a slight elderly lady and this appearance accentuated the shock I got when I asked her what jobs she did as a young woman. “Laying railway track” was the answer translated from her native Tatar language. She told about carrying rails and sleepers and belting in the spikes. I thought of the macho legend of John Henry and shook my head in disbelief! We are all home at Fox Cottage and making plans to offer more Scott engineering, such as engines and components, as the aerospace work is going through a recession and we must put bread on the table!
We are all happy and preparing for Christmas and then again work, racing and travelling in 2004.
How others live!!!!!
Rebuilder of Scott engines and transmissions. Maker of Scott vintage race engines.
Any challenging engineering project welcomed
www.mossengineering.co.uk

Peter Mille
MHR / S2
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:12 am
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

Post by Peter Mille » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:26 pm

Thanks Roger,

That's some story!!

Just of curiosity did you ever meet or raced Mike Hailwood?
And do you know Steve Wynne from Sports Motorcycles manchester?

Peter.

Roger Moss
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:10 am
Location: Melton Mowbray UK
Contact:

I was a club racer

Post by Roger Moss » Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:11 am

For many years I was intensively involved in making special purpose machines, so my escape was to race at weekends. I had a family and raced for relaxation, as it releases stress, and enjoyment. Most folks are not going to be champions or wish to risk all for the chance. When I raced my old 39 Triumph twin, which was renouned for its evil handling, I used to say that if you wished to do well, then you should have total disregard for the safety of life and limb. If you wanted to win, however, you should have a death wish! A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but correct in spirit. I was president of a big racing club and met Steve Wynne several times but did not move in the same circles as Mike Hailwood. While Mike was making a career racing, I was inventing machines for Rolls Royce, for instance, that made the Harrier engine more powerful. It was after that improvement that the US Marines bought some. If I decided that there were engineering problems with anything, I would re design and re create. In this field, I had far greater resources than a tuner or a normal race shop. I am an engineer who loves engineering, rather than a tuner or mechanic. It is not important in what application a problem lies, engineering is engineering.
The Ducati is an example of good engineering. Like the humans that created it, it is not perfect, but the design is redolent of passion, rather than just comparitively sterile logic. Although engineering is in theory a logical profession, it is when that logic is kissed with passion and true talent that the outcome becomes memorable and worthy of the same level of respect as the works of great composers or painters.
Unfortunately, the engineer is rarely seen in this light.
Kind Regards
Roger
Sorry, I can not spell brevity!
Rebuilder of Scott engines and transmissions. Maker of Scott vintage race engines.
Any challenging engineering project welcomed
www.mossengineering.co.uk

Peter Mille
MHR / S2
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:12 am
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

Post by Peter Mille » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:52 am

Thanks Roger,
again, I hope to read more from you!

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