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Friday, 19 August 2011

Botheration and Skorpion gloom.

Having got Skorpy back on the road, I was really looking forward to trekking down to the National Assembly of Vintage Motorcycles (aka the National) at Blairgowrie on it (12/13/14th Aug). As if the Plus1 hadn't kept us busy enough on the Weds and Thurs pre-National, we also had the possibility of the sheep shearer turning up some time on Friday. He arrived at 3pm, although my watch said 4pm (he's always an hour or so late, worse than me, some might say) and by 6ish, it was all over. I hadn't started packing of course, much preferring to leave that til the last minute, so I looked out my throw-over panniers, tent and 'stuff' that goes with it, and even managed to find the non-slip mat that I use on the seat to stop the tent and 'stuff' sliding off. With the oil level checked and topped up, and everything bungeed on good and tight, it was time to fire the beast up and be gone. Poor old Shorty is always short (sorry) of volunteers to man the checkpoints at the National, so the Man from Muckle Flugga offered to spend his weekend standing in a layby in Perthshire doing the necessary time checking and logging of the bikes, so I met up with him on the way south and we trundled down the rain sodden A90 in the dark and cold and wind. Conveniently, there is a MacDonalds situated right on the exit that we needed to take to cut across country to Blairgowrie, so feeling a little peckish, and it being somewhere after 10pm, a food stop was in order. Luckily these places don't close til 11pm. We topped up on coffee and fries (oh, how American?) only I passed on the coffee, a cold drink being my preference unless the weather is really awful, and set off once more.

The MFMF's bike was suffering a little, with an indicator lense full of water and a hole in the underside of one of the panniers, the one above the exhaust, to be precise. Skorpy was performing faultlessly though, and I was quite enjoying the ride, now that the rain had stopped and once we were off of the main road, the side winds weren't so effective either. We must have arrived at the campsite some time around 11.30pm, set up the tents and then the rain came down once more. In the morning, it was quite sunny and warm, and I couldn't decide whether or not to wear my jumper. In the end, on the advice of Pilot Rae, I wore it but left the liner out of my coat. Wise move? Yers, it worked out ok, and taking my waterproof trousers bungeed on the back of the Ariel-ish-trials-outfit meant that we missed all of the rain that some of the other riders experienced. I think I should probably write a seperate review of the Plus1 and the National, seeing as this post is specifically to do with Skorpy woes, so I'll miss out all the bits about the ride, and skip to going home on Sunday. It was a bright and glorious day and I was looking forward to going on the social run to Glenshee. As it was roughly on the way home, I planned to do the first part of the run, stop for lunch with the rest of them, then head north while they returned south. Had to go and get oil for Skorpy, so fired it up, rode out of the campsite, and it started to pop and back fire - now, I'm used to Cubbie doing such things, but Skorpy? No, never. Not even when they say 'they all backfire on the over run'. Not mine. I thought perhaps a little rain had got into the petrol tank (I need a new seal for the filler cap) so rode to the garage, and just as I turned off the bike stuttered and died. Thinking it was out of fuel I switched it to reserve and rode smoothly up to the pumps. Filled it up, bought some ultra expensive oil, headed back to camp only to find that Skorpy wasn't happy at all. Decided to check the plug for signs of water in the fuel, which on this bike isn't an easy task. Off with the seat, off with the side panels, then off with the newly filled tank. Whip the plug out, hmmm, seems a little pale, but there are no signs of water. Clean it up with some borrowed emery paper (thanks Mr 'Sunbeam' Odling), gap it and replace. Checked the small filter that's located in the base of the fuel tap, no sign of anything untoward. Flicked the tap on just to make sure there's no nasty bits got in while the tank and tap were lying in the grass, and noticed that there wasn't much of a flow rate when on main, but put it all back together anyway. By now, a selection of chaps have been over to have a laugh and to pass derogatory comments about MZs, but I ignore them all, and besides, they're all heading off on the run in a minute, so peace will be resumed! Captain Bill had hired a van for the weekend to transport his Connaught to the rally, so a plan was formed that I would set off in front of him and see how the bike ran. I got as far as the other side of town, then Skorpy died. Bill parked the van up and the MFMF helped heave the bike up the very very steep and narrow ramp (desighed for the Connaught not a bike with a big fat back tyre!). Just as we got it inside, the Heavens opened and down came the rain, bouncing and pinging off of the road, I'm sure I head thunder too. If ever there was a good time to breakdown it was probably now! With all my gear in the back and Skorpy tied down we set off once more. Once back at Cubbie Towers, some proper ramps were used to unload and my heart didn't stop quite so many times as it did for the loading up.

After a quick brain storming session on my favourite Skorpion forum the guys reckoned my first port of call should be the fuel tap. So I spent far too long playing musical-spare-petrol-cans, filling one, then another, then emptying one into Cubbie and looking for other vehicles to empty the next one into, until finally, the huge Skorpy tank was empty.

Then removed the two bolts that hold the fuel tap in place. Took the tap apart, blew some compressed air through it all, finally got the long filter removed and gave it a clean, then put it all back together. Was slightly apprehensive as the last time I took one of these taps apart it never stopped leaking....chucked some petrol back into the tank, enough to take it over the reserve level and the tap leaked just a little, but seemed to dry up after a while. Ran the bike a bit in the shed, seemed fine. Just needed to test ride it before heading off to the Harley gather at Aviemore on the following weekend. Got a fine day midweek and risked a trip to Aberdeen. All was well. No back firing or stuttering. Could it really be as simpe as dirt in the tap? I hope so...

PS, if you're wondering where I've been, other woes, such as a broken water pump for the house and an extended search for a wheel bearing for the 4x4 have been taking up too much of my time lately! Hopefully both are now sorted and normal service can resume. I'm told, by the way, that there are two reports by GBC in OBM this comiong month, so check it out.


Bodger said...

I sees no gloom and what's the botheration? Actually I sees no words of any type....OMG....I've gone blind!!!!!

Anonymous said...

..... and I've gone confused!!

Good write up, glad to see all's well.


Stuart said...

Welcome back GBC, hope all your problems are sorted now.Will you be at the Convention?

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

I will indeedly Stu, will you?

Hehe, Bodger, sorry 'bout that, I accidentally clicked 'publish' before I'd finished writing then I decided to unpublish it! Wasn't quick enough to do so before you left a comment though.

Confused? Jean? Naw, not for a minute ;-)

Anonymous said...





Me or thee?


Bodger said...

Ahhhh....thank God for that....was really beginning to wonder there if I was getting as knackered as I thought I was.

Had the same type of prob years back on my H*nda...was riding back from Stratford to Banbury when it was spluttering like that.

Managed to clear up before Sunrising Hill luckily. Think it was just some muck in the tap.

Hairy Larry said...

Sitting at my local McDonalds, logged onto the "free" wifi. Good to hear you got your Pump probs sorted. And too, your Skorp gloom and botheration.
Have you tried "Google Chrome"? It seems it has ironed out some blogging and posting probs for some of us out here.
Which brings me to a problem I'm having. I want to put your blog and others in a "Blogs I follow" thingy at my blog and am having no luck what so ever. Anyone have advice?
Is your 4x4 wheel bearing a rare creature...trying not to think of the noises my 4x4's rear bearings are making.

Stuart said...

I was hoping to make it this time but had to change my hols to look after me daughter, just had her tonsils out....ouch.

Maybe see you at Stafford?

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

I'm glad someone noticed I used Mac instead of Mc, teehee! Larry, I just got a messge on my blogger home page saying my browser is no longer supported by blogger, try Chrome. Oh well, looks like I'll have to keep up with the times. There's usually an option on the blog you want to follow, to 'follow' it, can't see on mine though cos I'm signed in.

Ah ha, the Bodger had an Onda! Someone suggested Skorpy's non-metal tank might be being eaten the by the new ethanol levels in fuel, I'm hoping it was just a bit of dirt.

That's a shame Stu, but yes, am looking into travel plans and options for Stafford - hope your wee lass gets better soon.

Stuart said...



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