Over the summer break, Brian has been working every night in the potting shed at the back of his garden that he uses as his workshop.
There’s been the constant sound of hammering and flashes of electric light coming from inside the shed, culminating in a roar of thunder and a shout of “It’s alive!”.
The end result is the Ducati 650 Manx Mk II – a water-cooled, twin-cylinder four-valve machine, made from various parts of Ducati 848, 821 and 749R bikes, a hint of Aprilia and a lot of BJR components, including a frame made by Brian from scratch.
The team took the bike down to Mount Gambier a few weeks ago to see if it would run and handle.
Royce was accompanied by our teammate from our New Zealand venture, Howard Sabey, who has also been the test pilot for the earlier BJR Ducati’s that Brian started building some years ago.
PIC: Royce and Howard debate who’ll be the first to ride the new machine
Straight off the bat, the bike showed plenty of power and superb handling.
A subsequent dyno test has found 107 horsepower so far, with further development still to go.
There is a lot of work to be completed yet, including getting components sorted and in the right place, like a fairing, a large-capacity tank fitted and other Isle of Man style mods, but we still expect it to be ready for this year’s Manx Grand Prix.
And now for something completely different… Rowe Racing dusted off the old 1938 350 Ariel Red Hunter, originally built by Rowe Racing founder Darrell Rowe, for the Collingrove Hill Climb last weekend, conducted by the Atujara MCC in the Barossa Valley.
PIC: Not sure if that’s oil or Royce’s shadow under the bike here on the start line (Credit: Glen Hand)
Royce had to adapt from the 130 horsepower Triumph to the 15 horses produced by the Ariel, but still managed to get the bike up the hill… eventually!
It was a relaxing break from testing and a very enjoyable meeting, run superbly by the Atujara Club as usual.
PIC: Safe to say, the knee sliders got a rest over the hill climb weekend (Credit: Glen Hand)
Our next race meeting is the Adelaide 3-Hour endurance race on April 6 – 7 run by the Phoenix MCC, which we will be using as another test session for both the Triumph and the new Ducati.