© Paul Blezard 2007 - Return to Paul Blez’s stories and snaps
Last weekend I paid my first visit to the BMF Show for several years, and my first in the Quasar. Long time members of this list and/or the BFF will know that we used to have an FF stand there for several years in the late ‘90s and early Noughties. (When was the last, I ask myself?)
In the past I’ve been to the BMF on the Flying Banana, a John Bruce Honda SuperDream FF, Keith Duckworth’s Voyager, a Honda Helix and sundry other superscooters. Last weekend’s trip was my first out of town ride on the Quasar since I had Punctureseal fitted to both wheels and I had a nasty surprise on Friday evening when I rode down to Elspeth’s place near Guildford. On the fast section of the A3 the Quasar’s front end started juddering worse than it ever has before, with 90mph apparently being the worst speed. Below 75mph, everything was fine.
Before leaving for Peterborough the next day I checked the tyre pressures and found that the rear pressure had dropped from 40psi to 30 in the three weeks or so since the Punctureseal was fitted, which is a vast improvement on the previous leak; before, it would dropped below 10psi in a matter of days. Elspeth left about half an hour before me in her immaculate 1979 VW Kombi camper, which would provide our overnight accommodation.
I filled up with LRP at the Cobham Sainsbury’s (just off Jct10 of the M25/A3) and was disappointed to find that the Quasar had used 7.6 litres of juice in only 89 miles (a worst ever 53mpg). I had a few bits of vibration on the M25, but the traffic was dense enough to keep speed below the critical 90mph for much of the time. I took the enjoyable dual carriageway short cut from Jct21A of the M25 onto the A414, which joins the A1 at Hatfield.
I don’t know if there’s something about the A1 and the prevailing winds, but as with my last trip up it for the Harley launch last September it seemed pretty damn windy. Not quite as bad as last time though. I made ‘good progress’ but the front wheel vibration came in with a vengeance several times. It was really thumping hard, making it quite painful to hold on at times, and was bad enough to blur the left handlebar when I took my left hand off. The worst moment was when I rolled the throttle going into a fast S-bend at an indicated 90mph and the vibration suddenly kicked in so badly that I could barely see where I was going and wondered for a moment whether I’d even make it through the corner. Returning to a more sedate 75mph restored everything to peace and quiet, as did accelerating up to 100mph. Hmmm. What’s bizarre is that the vibration is not consistent. It doesn’t happen every time you hit 90mph, only sometimes, but shutting off at any speed over 80mph does now seem to bring it on even when it’s previously been behaving itself.
It’s funny how sporty cars rarely seem to be driven quickly; on this journey it was a Hyundai 4x4 which was the quickest thing on that particular stretch of the A1. We passed and re-passed each other several times over about 20 miles. He backed off in the fast corners, but had much more stomp up the hills, while I could sneak past on the brakes into the roundabouts. I’d clocked up 118 miles on the odo by the time I got to the East of England Showground at about 7pm and was just about to turn through the gates when I spotted double Quasar owner Tudor Thomas, wife Suzy and the 4 kids parked up with their immaculate 1962 split screen VW Kombi camper. Seconds later, as if by magic, Elspeth was right behind me in her Kombi, complete with Nick Sanders on board. Spooky.
We adjourned en masse to a nearby pub where the two
round-shape Kombis and the Quasar drew plenty of attention from passers-by.
Before we went in I persuaded Nick to have a sit in the roofed FF. The multiple
round-the-world biker, mad balloonist and kamikaze canal boat transporter
quoth: "I don't know how you do it; I couldn't possibly ride this
thing". Last summer Nick filmed me riding and briefly talking about the
Quasar for his forthcoming
Next morning I parked the Quasar next to Nick’s
RTW-in-19-days R1 at his stand and went off for a wander round the show. I
watched the start of the moped race, still going strong 21 years after I helped
to organise the first one at the BMF for
I returned to the
Quasar to find Barry W waiting for me. Turns out he’s the owner of the Gold
Wing Phasar previously owned by Richard Baughan, which I rode briefly in
Lots of people
came up and reminisced nostalgically about the Quasar although there was the
usual confusion in their memories between Royce and Malcolm. And of course there were lots of people who’d
never seen or heard of anything like it. 2007 was the 30th
anniversary of the BMF’s annual bash being held in
I was just about to move the Quasar back to Nick’s stand when a chap on an immaculate Triumph Hurricane turned up. It was Malcolm Newell’s son-in-law Gerry Hedderwick, (husband of Michaela) who had been helping out at the (excellent) Short Track event in the main arena. I got a snap of the two ‘70s icons together. Jerry told me that poor old Malcolm was dug up from his grave in Field Cottage and cremated along with wife Janet (who died last September) and their ashes scattered in the garden of the prophet. Field Cottage has now been sold to someone local. Gerry’s back garden is full of Quasar ‘furniture’ including moulds for both bodies and panniers. I don’t think there’s any danger of anything valuable going into a skip. And I know Mark Crowson is in touch with Gerry.
returned to the Show on Sunday afternoon, but by car rather than bike. Sadly
neither of his FFs is currently road-worthy. I meant to give Quasar owner
Stephen M a call since he lives in
I somehow got roped into taking photos of the Girlbiker competition which was actually judged by the aforementioned Miss Federations, who, as serious bikers themselves, selected on bike credibility as much as looks, which is as it should be in the 21st century.
While we were waiting to go into the arena I found myself
a few yards from Roy Pratt and his Imps whom I hadn’t seen since our ill-fated
trip to the
Just before the end of the show I bought a cover for my Burger King from a company called Specialised Bike Covers www.bike-covers.com. They’ve been making covers for everything from caravans to helicopters for 25 years and said that they could knock one up for a Quasar no problem (or a Voyager come to that), although they’d have to have the bike for a day at their Bradford HQ, or one of the original covers to use as a template. Their covers are supposed to be both waterproof and breathable so I’d certainly be interested if the price was right. (Their standard bike covers are £20-25).
My desert racing and bike trading friend Tom Beckett also had a sit in the Quasar and I was astonished to see that his smart caravan is also called a Quasar, so I had to take a pic of the two Quasars together! Before leaving there was just time to have a look at the Sprinter van of my Big trailbike-riding buddy Andy Cadney. It would make a good Quasar transporter since it is a former truck tyre fitting unit equipped with both a hoist and a massive air compressor. Only the big step up at the back is less than ideal. Andy has decided that he’s probably going to hang on to the Merc anyway, but he also revealed that he used to lust after a Quasar in his youth.
I finally left the
East of England showground at and
the sun was still shining as I launched the Quasar back down the A1. It went
straight up to 100mph on the clock with no problems but the first time I shut
the throttle ten miles down the road it went into ‘bar-blurring shake mode’
until the speed dropped below 80. Despite intermittent and annoying thumping
from the bars all the way back to
The roadway outside the Ace was full of crazy Brazilians doing stunts on their despatch bikes, complete with top boxes still bungeed to the pillion seat! Almost inevitably, one of them looped it and left a trail of petrol about 100 yards long. No gloves, so it must have hurt. There was a nutter on a CB500 twin stunting in shorts, but with motocross style arm protectors. He was actually pretty good. Another crazy, who turns out to be Columbian, departed in a cloud of tyre smoke as he weaved his R1 through a chicane of traffic islands and parked cars in a frenetic rolling burnout. Impressive.
I managed to get
out of the Ace without being T-boned by a wheelie-ing Brazilian and made it
back home to Ham just as darkness was falling. It had been an entertaining
weekend. I’m thinking of doing the Kill Spills rally from