Lintin and Richards join chase for 110mph Classic TT lap
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Lintin and Richards join chase for 110mph Classic TT lap
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Classic TT team owner Brian Richards joined the race to set the first 110mph Classic TT single-cylinder lap when he fired up his radical four-valve 500cc Matchless G50 for the first time.

“We’re really delighted with it,” he said. “It hasn’t been on the dyno yet, but it looks as though the bike will be really good.”

TT winner Ivan Lintin, 30, will ride Richards’ G50 in the four-lap event on the Mountain Circuit on August 29. The engine is the first customer unit to leave the Lancashire factory of Andy Molnar, whose Molnar Precision company specialises in Manx Nortons, G50s and AJS 7Rs.

Matchless only made an sohc two-valve G50 in the fifties and sixties, but Molnar has devised his own twin-cam, four-valve cylinder head, in a quest for more power. He predicts an output of 70bhp at 10,000rpm, far above the 54bhp that the best original G50s gave.

Richards’ engine is fitted into a Seeley Mk IV frame, and uses Ceriani front forks with Maxton internals, and twin front discs. Lintin, who won the Lightweight TT for Supertwins in June, will ride the bike for the first time at an open day at Cadwell Park, and the machine’s first competitive date will be when Classic TT practice opens on August 22. It will be Lintin’s debut appearance at the Classic TT.

“We’re a bit late with preparing the bike, but Andy has had some issues with getting parts on time,” Richards said. “I have a second engine here that I want to build up as soon as possible. If we get a chance to go to Cadwell with it we will, but other than dyno running it will go straight to the Isle of Man.

“We’re putting our neck on the line a bit because it’s a new project. But a lot of the parts in the engine are standard G50 or close to it, and the four-valve side of it isn’t unlike what Andy is doing with his four-valve Manx engines. The gearbox is a six-speed TTI unit from New Zealand.”

The retirement rate in the 500cc Classic TT has been high in previous years, as teams tune their bikes to the limit in a bid to win, despite the challenges of getting to the finish in a 151-mile race over a bike-breaking circuit. But Richards prefers a more conservative approach to machine preparation.

“I have no idea how much my bike weighs,” he said. “It’s an Isle of Man bike, built purely for road racing. We’re using aluminium crankcases rather than magnesium because they’re so robust, and we have heavy flywheels compared to a short-circuit bike, because I think they’re needed. We’re doing a lot of things that are contrary to Andy’s normal, but he’s given me a free-hand.”

The lap record for classic singles on the Mountain Circuit was set at 109.102mph by Michael Rutter last year, on a two-valve G50 run by Ian Garbutt’s Ripley Land Racing team. “Our biggest desire is to be the first to a 110mph lap on a classic single,” Richards says.

But he is planning to get to the finish, as well. The fuel tank limit for the 500cc Classic TT forces multi-cylinder bikes such as the Paton twins to pit for fuel, whereas a skilfully set up single can run straight through. “I don’t mind dropping 500rpm on the top end to make sure we don’t run out of fuel,” Richards says.

As a rider, team manager and owner, Richards has 50 years of experience of competing on the Isle of Man. You have to believe that he’s got the right formula, for both speed and success.

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Author: Mike Nicks
05-08-2015, 05:01 PM
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