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The Tale of Old Blu': Part Two

Pete Stansfield continues the story of his cool Triumph, Old Blu'

Reverse head, no front brake

I sold it to Peter Allan, Bonneville Salt Flats racer and owner of many Triumphs. He said he would never change it and would offer it back to me first if he wanted to sell it. Two years later, by the magic of today's technology, I bought it back while in the Atlas Mountains having just got back from camel riding.

My aim now was to make it useable which in all honesty it wasn’t. I stripped it and rebuilt the motor repeatedly playing with valve timing in an attempt to get the reverse head configuration to perform as I wanted. I still get emails now asking me how, just don’t do it, it's not big or clever and is a major cause of sleep deprivation.

The frame was chopped up and re-tubed by a local guy who builds historic rally cars and is a wizz at brazing. I made up some twin carb inlets, bought proper engine plates and an original oil tank, fitted a different gearbox, seat, tyres, bars, footrests, controls and loads more. It went pretty well and was finally a rideable bike.

Around this time I entered Dirt Quake II in the chopper class. The reverse head configuration was never going to work on dirt, for obvious reasons, so I pulled it apart and turned it around. The event was great but dirt in the carb made the slide stick open, road tyres were also not ideal. Dirt Quake III was better. A trails front tyre helped get round turns and the motor behaved, but a crash and resulting broken finger and bloody nose meant I didn’t finish heat one. The track medical staff were great, a large lady looked at my finger and said, 'Come back at the end of the day and we can dig the dirt out, it’ll hurt if we do it now and you won’t be able to ride again.' Proper racers' first aid. I still had way too much self preservation going on after that though.

Conventional head, still no front brake

At the end of 2014 I stripped it completely, went mad with nickel plating, fitted 3134 cams, belt drive primary, made up a front brake for the first time and generally tarted it up. I did have another tank and mudguard painted up to use but somehow it just wasn’t my bike then, so the old stuff went back on. The following year I rode to Belgium for the second time to Flanders Chopper Bash and carried home so many trophies I had to throw away my sleeping bag. I also fell off on a diesel slippery bend two miles from home.

Ready for 2017: new tyres, nickel-plate, front brake

I generally dick about with the bike most weeks, trying different stuff but invariably reverting back to its default setting. The name Old Blu’ grates a bit but that's what it's called so i guess we are stuck with it. I have owned the old thing for (off and on) 13 years now, probably ten years longer than I have ever owned another vehicle. I occasionally get asked if i will sell but it's looking doubtful. Dirt Quake VI is on the cards for 2017 together with another trip to Belgium and generally annoying horses and avoiding potholes around North Yorkshire.

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