Graham Watson follows his father’s tire tracks on the 2023 Helsington Scramble!
Again in 2021, we featured the distinctive Cheney / Triumph “Cantilever Cub” of Graham Watson. Within the Nineteen Seventies, Graham’s father needed to construct his (then) 12-year-old son a four-stroke British race bike to rival the international equipment shortly rising to motocross supremacy:
“At the back of my dad’s thoughts, he was nonetheless satisfied he might construct a British bike to compete with the rising enter of Japanese and European bikes.” –Graham Watson
When the elder Watson picked up a body for the mission, he shortly realized it was one of many first three prototypes that Eric Cheney and his workforce designed and fabricated again in 1973.
“I then raced it for 1.5 seasons within the 125cc professional ACU class, ending mid-field, annoying just a few dads who’d purchased their sons brand-new Japanese machines. After ending within the schoolboys class, I did a few grass tracks and senior 250 conferences. Then drink and ladies got here alongside, then spouse and youngsters, so the bike was coated up within the storage.”
Quick ahead to 1994, and the Watsons had been invited to the Westmorland Motor Membership’s nostalgia assembly, and the Cheney got here out of retirement — and stayed out!
“Over the past 27 years, we fitted a brand new gearbox, new rings, transformed it to methanol, damaged down a few occasions, spent far an excessive amount of cash on it, and doubtless used about 30 liters of polish.”
Presently, the bike has a 1964 Triumph Tiger Cub engine (199cc with a 9:1 piston), close-ratio gearbox, Greaves cush drive rear hub, Betor forks, an digital ignition (STK-202 Electrex), 13mm carb (Amal 626 L301), and runs on methanol.
Sadly, Graham misplaced his father in 2020, however he nonetheless tries to recover from to the UK from his residence in Southern Spain for a few race conferences every year. Earlier this summer season, Graham informed us that he’d be headed again to the race the Cub for the primary time because the we revealed the piece:
“Because the article was posted, I haven’t been capable of compete on her because of accidents and prices to journey. Nevertheless, on July ninth on the Westmorland Motor Membership Basic Bike Scramble at Helsington Kendal, I might be following my father’s tyre tracks 71 years later, as Dad raced on the very first assembly at Helsington again in 1952. Hopefully man and bike will do dad proud.”
Graham requested if we’d be concerned about a images and a race report from the assembly, and we stated, “Completely!” In case you don’t know, Helsington is a really well-known observe that fell out of use for greater than 50 years, however was introduced again in 2022:
“While the venue has been out of use for over half a century, it went into disuse because of the building of the Kendal by-pass which compelled the membership to maneuver their conferences to a different venue at Foulshaw. Since then, conferences have been held at varied venues, nevertheless it’s Helsington that is still probably the most well-known of the venues the membership has used, the primary being again within the ‘forties. Many well-known scrambling names raced the undulating observe which featured a stream crossing…” –Northern Centre ACU
Beneath is Graham’s firsthand account of getting back from accidents to observe in his father’s footsteps on the Cheney Cub, together with some video protection from Basic Filth Bike TV — we’re certain Graham’s outdated man can be proud!
Helsington Scramble 2023: Within the Racer’s Phrases…
My journey to the Helsington scramble 2023. The touring was as anticipated: Nerja, Southern Spain, to Helsington, Kendal, Cumbria, UK 😱.
The assembly was improbable. Household and mates’ assist was unbelievable and made my weekend. A really giant thanks to all those that got here to the scramble to assist me ♥️♥️♥️.
Now for the racing (driving)…let’s get the justifications out first, lol. I ought to have left the larger rear sprocket on; it was just a little bit too excessive geared, however we all know for subsequent time. The chain snapped within the first race on the final lap. My race health stage and race pace was 🤔 let’s say just a little underneath par.
I hadn’t raced since 2019, and that was simply as soon as 🤷♂️ (The plain dreaded virus was one purpose, and I had just a little mishap on my KTM within the Spanish mountains. I broken my hip and broke 4 ribs in seven locations. However I’m again and nonetheless driving each the KTM and the Cub.) Simply goes to say you need to be bike-fit greater than bodily match; sadly, I used to be neither, lol.
Because of the improbable pit crew, particularly Man Sutton, who managed to find a brand new chain and assist match it, and a well known vitality drink to assist me. We managed to get the Cub prepared for my second race, the Taylor Trophy Basic.
Full lineup: 500cc, 250cc, and me. I received a superb begin however the large bikes quickly flew by. This was an 8+ lapper — I misplaced rely, my bike health or lack of it began to kick in. As I’ve stated, not competing since 2019 began to indicate; I used to be knackered however completed not final.
Out once more for my third race. By this time the observe was ripped up and also you needed to discover new racing strains. I had a few moments 😳, however completed the race in a single piece. The little Cub had accomplished me proud. Dad was positively wanting down on me ♥️.
I made a decision to not exit for my final race. My smart head stated: no, I used to be knackered, and had a protracted journey again residence. I completed eleventh in school and seventeenth within the mixed, so I ought to have perhaps accomplished the final race; I might have made it into the highest 10 (not that there have been that many riders behind me lol). The pre-74 as much as 250cc and over 250cc courses all went out collectively.
I had a improbable day. It couldn’t have been higher, simply perhaps my bike health and the chain snapping. To prime the weekend off Chris Montignani of Basic Filth Bike TV did a full article on the bike.
Again residence now boring my mates with my weekend journey. With perhaps just a little exaggeration 😆. Huge due to the Westmorland Motor Membership for an excellent, effectively organised occasion — see you subsequent 12 months.🤞 Thanks once more to everybody that supported me and helped to make it occur.
(On the aircraft residence I foolishly began so as to add up the associated fee per lap gained’t be publishing these figures lol.)
Cheers, Graham #514 Cheney Cub.