The Garage

Endurance racing

The Family


12 years in FIM Motorcycle World Endurance racing 

I spent some 12 years of my life with a motorcycle endurance race team, sadly I no longer do that, but here I’ve recorded some images with some possibly helpful comments. They aren’t in any special order however…  During that time I had a lot of fun, worked much harder than I have every done in a real job, and learnt a little bit about racing—but not much!If you’d like to see more about my old race team, you can see it’s history and what it’s doing at the moment, at, which contains plenty of details.

VF850 leaving a pitstop at Le Mans.

Built out of a VF750, the 850cc version was very fast in it's day. In theory, only the works race-only gear drive cammed Honda RS850 had this capacity, but a few enterprising engine builders—like Brian Capper (RIP Brian), who was ours—managed to install the 850cc parts and gear drive tower in a VF. The rider is Mat Oxley, here leaving a pitstop at Le Mans.

Mat Oxley at Le Mans

Here, Oxley (again!) is taking over the Harris Yamaha from the previous  rider, and querying “is it ok?”…You can see the frantic action around the bike.

The Zeltweg circuit was in Austria and was one of our favorite circuits. Nowadays this sort of race start, where the riders run across the track (a “Le Mans start”) has been banned in many races, although it is a stunning spectacle from the pit wall, or if you are the one holding the bike up!In the 1st picture you can see our rider (Oxley again, in white)  watching with the others up the track to the start line for the flag to drop, whilst the team manager holds the bike up from the rear. When the flag drops, he must run for the bike (2nd picture), fire it up, and GO!In the 3rd picture, he is just about to leave, and he seems to be doing ok, as the Bimota next to him hasn’t blasted off yet...

Team ready for action, the twit in the middle is me, and the job in this case could be described as “bike catcher” or possibly “skittle”, since the riders’ judgment can be a bit off after an hour at high speed...

Honda RC30 at Suzuka 8 hours.
 RC30 in the pit lane..
The RC was really a race bike on the road—all you had to do was get a few extra bits for one, and hey-presto, you had a race bike. An RC also makes a damn pretty road bike!
Harris Yamaha after Spa 24h.

Fairing removed. The dark staining is the fuel blowback from the carbs, which extends all over the rear 2 thirds of the bike. The rear wheel for example should be white!

My pit pass from ‘89 Le Mans.

Look closely and you’ll see that perhaps Mike Myers was not first with phrases like “yeah baby, yeah!"

A more famous Honda than ours.

The works Honda RVF of Coudray/Igoa, which absolutely dominated Endurance for 10 years, at a pitstop. A few miscreants from our team can be seen standing ahead of the Honda (we were often in the next pit down), studying the pitstop, something which went on a lot in endurance.


Team "realaxed" on race day...

Both these were taken during races, I don’t think it was the same one though... Note “some journo” with traditional whisky bottle in top pic, and contents of table at bottom...


Stopped in the right pit anyway.

Mat Oxley on Harris Yamaha just coming to a stop at a pit stop, probably trying to guess what gear he’s in.
First public showing of a Yamaha Genesis.

Yamaha’s Genesis 5-valve concept, used in the FZ series bikes (and their F1 cars) was first shown to the public at the last endurance race of the season, at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. This is it in the pit lane, with Christian Sarron about to do an “exhibition lap”...

This page is dedicated to three of my friends who never saw the end of the race…

Howard Lees, Dave Chisman and Brian Capper.