Michelle Ann Duff

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I've just finished reading Mike Duff's book 'Make Haste Slowly' and found it very interesting. A lot of what he says about power, handling and gearing coincides with much of what I've said on this forum. One thing which appalled me was his lack of experience when he first raced on the IOM. As a kid I raced a lot, and these days I don't go anywhere near crashing - the IOM is the last place I'd ever want to race.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KJXhTCYNGg
 
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This was not a book I would normally buy, because I find the transgender thing a bit of a turn off. The book was given to me, so I read it. I can't identify with the emotions in that area, however in every other aspect I can exactly recognize and identify. I suggest it is a very good read for anyone starting to road race. It is candid and contains excellent information. I was a bit surprised a while back when I watched a Youtube video, where he was riding an AJS 7R at the IOM Junior TT and was right up with the 350 MV fours. The stuff in this book about riding old 500cc singles is really gem, and the two stroke stuff is tops. There is a lot about the Yamaha RD56 and the AJS Porcupine. The write-up on the personalities of the top guys in the 60s is an education in itself.
 
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The book is a very good read, contains a lot of information. I wouldn't like to come up against his team mate Phil Read while racing. We have a couple of guys here with the same mentality. Fortunately they are both fairly elderly so rarely ever race these days. I'm surprised how candid Mike is in his book, most of the very top guys rarely say much. Agostini is interesting in that why the MV3 handles so well is worth knowing about. I suppose if he has written a book about it, it is in Italian ?
One thing which really struck me were Mikes comments about gearing. He used to gear so that the bike was over-revving at the ends of longer straights, and rode faster around the rest of the circuit making up more time than he lost by going slower at the ends of the straights. It fits with what I do myself, however until I read this, I still believed the correct gearing for most circuits was for max speed at the ends of the straights.
 
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Lots of the usual suspects, I'm sure there's someone on here who is good at remembering names - but noted an Arter Matchless and Works Triumph Daytona.
Looks like the Post TT at Mallory Park rather than the other big meeting there, the 1000 guineas. Note the crowds! They would be all the way round the circuit as well. A bit too late for the TV OB's of the early 60's.
All the marshals and track officials got a brand new white smock with Shell or BP embroidered on it, issued at the lunch break so you didn't have time to get it dirty. We also got a pack of snap which included a tin of beer (yes fancy that - beer in a tin!) Except no one had an opener so oily screwdrivers had to do instead. I remember the tins being quite thick stuff, and very gassy - good job we had smocks to keep our own clothes clean.

Viz a viz another thread on here: At one of these meetings, my Dad dragged me over to have a look at the works Domiracer - "We'll all have one like that one day!"
 
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'Viz a viz another thread on here: At one of these meetings, my Dad dragged me over to have a look at the works Domiracer - "We'll all have one like that one day!" '

If only he had been correct. The RD56 Yamaha in that photo changed everything. I've always felt that two stroke technology bikes should have been raced separately to four stroke design, however I'm probably pretty stupid. In my own situation, I really love my Seeley 850 - if we were racing for sheep stations I'd always ride a two stroke. It is easier, faster and cheaper if you don't use too many pistons and catch the blow-ups early.
 
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The photo is a Mallory Park startline, 1967/8 to the best of my recollection.
Number 1 of course was Mike hailwood, 2 - Phil read, 8 - Rod Gould, 12 - Agostini, 24 - Rex Butcher. Between Ago and Rex, with the
yellow flash around the helmet is Ray Pickrell. Behind Mike wearing a red helmet is Pat Mahoney. 7 is Percy Tait.
Not 100% sure, but I think 30 is Ron Chandler, and 47 is Kel Carruthers.
Others at the rear I can't recall.
 
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Great pic - a who's-who of the day, pushrods to twin-cams and two-strokes, no slicks, no discs, pudding-bowl helmets, spectators up in the trees and a bloke already brushing cement dust. Love it!
 
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Thanks for the photo, it is excellent. The swing arm on the TZ350 is interesting.
 
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Interesting pic, the bikes are just as interesting as the riders;
1, Honda 297/6
2, Yamaha 250 V4
12, MV 500 3 cylinder
7, Triumph 500 “Daytona” racer with low down pannier oil tank sticking out inside the front of the fairing.
24, Matchless 500
The obscured rider in front of 24 Yellow Chevron helmet with black lining is indeed Ray Pickrell probably riding Dunstall’s spine frame 750.
 
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Glad you like it. I've never seen another photo like it from that era. I was having a look at Moreton's Gallery and it was there as a wall paper and after I downloaded it, I was able to grab it. If you read Mike Duff's book there is a lot about several of the bike/rider combinations in that photo. Also I believe the second movie on 'The Right Line' DVD from Duke video shows Mike Duff with the 7R AJS keeping up with the 350 MVs. I'm appalled at the crashes he had and it disturbs me that I have a similar attitude towards road racing.
 
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I think the rider with No 24, the G50 is Jack Ahearn. It is certainly a magic line-up.
 
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No 24 is definitely Rex Butcher

Additional rider identified
No 50 - Percy May

Corrections to my earlier post
No 30 was not Ron Chandler but Barry Randall
No 47 was not Kel Carruthers but Brian Ball
John Cooper started on the outside of the grid and was already gone and out of the picture.

It was the post TT meeting, 1968
 
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Until '77, the TT was the UK's FIM GP. Unless you were able to get time off to visit the IoM, the Post TT at Mallory was likely your only chance to see the works teams and the Continental Circus.
The start money was good (apparently) so independant riders wanted in. The publicity was huge so the Works teams went too.
Real foreign travel,ie Europe, was a bit of a rarity in the early '60, becoming more common towards the '70's. Perhaps no more difficult/expensive than a trip on the Manx Maid.
A friend's SiL took part in the last bike trip to Moscow, early '60's ? I vaguely remember it was organised by the Velo club (HQ just down the road). He even got mentioned in the local paper!
The Soviets banned solo motocycles from visiting because - they claimed - they could not carry sufficient fuel to get from station to station. Or perhaps a reciprocal action against U2 overflights?
Sorry for topic drift.
 
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If anyone has other photos like this from this period, would you please paste a link ? I would love to see them. I'd never taken much interest in Mike Duff's racing career, however his book gives a good insight into who was who and what happened. To my mind that period was the one where the biggest changes occurred. I know we cannot turn the clock back, and our historic racing can never do that. However it is really great to read something so candid and honest, it shows a bit history which I consider to be important. It was at about the time that the Norton Commando arrived, and one of the reasons that I really like something so horrible, is that they capture much of what we have lost with the advent of modern four cylinder, deltabox framed MotoGP bikes. I don't own a standard commando, however I really admire them with all of their idiosyncrasies.
 
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That is where the photo I posted came from. I've looked and haven't been able to find more coloured photos of the grid from those fifties or sixties races. I you find any, would you please paste the link ? I've read bits and pieces about that era for many years, however at that time I was in my twenties, married with kids - so I didn't get to see any of that stuff. The Youtube videos are great, however you don't really get time to scrutinize the start line-up. In about 1976 we ran the Australian TT at Laverton Airforce Base near Melbourne, and I watched Ago and a lot of other internationals race our top guys. Ken Blake beat Ago using a brand new RG500, which created a sensation. However that was as close as I ever got to an international meeting in those days. I look back with a lot of sadness realizing that if I'd made the sacrifice, I might have gotten to Europe and seen the best that road racing ever was. MotoGP is a big disappointment to me.
I think the photo I've posted is probably the nicest that I've ever seen.
 
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