Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bob Brown's race 851

A member of the 851 Yahoo list Posted a link to Bob Brown's 851 race bike that is currently for sale on Bikepoint: 851 Racer.  I've seen the bike in person and think it's pretty cool, so I thought I'd put a little bit up on it.

Originally an 851 kit, it had lots of mods over the four or so seasons it was raced (88 - 91).  Bob had cylinders made up to allow it to go to nearly 100mm bore for a full 1000cc, and the frame had extra bars welded onto each side of the vertical cylinder that Bob says made a big difference to crankcase life.  It cracked a few sets early on, as did all the 851 that were raced.  Roche used 36 engines in 1990: Bob witnessed the last one letting go rather impressively coming on to the main straight in the last race of the season at Manfield, after he'd won the title in the first race of the day.  From memory the 916 wasn't any better, I'm sure Corser and Fogarty used a similar number of engines in the mid 90's.

Duane Mitchell, who worked with Bob in the era, told me years ago it was very quick, and went past the factory bikes with ease in a straight line.  Until it just shut down, which it apparantly did with monotonous regularity.  So they pulled the Weber injection and Bob had some manifolds cast to fit a pair of FCR39 to each cylinder and a custom alternator cover to allow a Krober ignition to be fitted to it.  Which made it much more reliable.

It's obvious how much time and money went into it, with lots of very cool period race bits like radial master cylinders, etc.  And lots of custom/one off work as well.  Clearly a money pit, and very cool.

He also has his new in glass case 851 Tricolore Kit listed too: 851 Tricolore Kit

And also this TT2, which was displayed a few (several) years ago at the FOIM at the Museum.  It's just gorgeous: TT2 

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