1978
 
Page updated 23-May-2011
Vincent's £12,000 problem. Vincent Davey of Gus Kuhn Motors has a problem - a £12,000 one. That's the amount of money he has spent on returning to racing with a special GS1000 Suzuki with Ken Spayson/Reynolds frame and he now finds it may be wasted.

"Problem is that while the bike is competitive in Formula One events when fitted with the 31mm Keihin racing carburettors it simply is not fast enough when using the standard 26mm roadsters carbs." explained Vincent who sponsored BMW's in endurance races for many years.

Oddly enough the big carbs are allowed on the Suzuki in endurance races where anything goes but are not permitted in Formula One events because they are not standard and have not been homologated by the manufactures.

To be homologated the manufacturer is supposed to have sold 200 bikes fitted with the big carbs. I don't know anyone who has seen a Honda fitted with the 31mm racing carbs but they are homologated and it means we cannot really compete. Trouble is that Suzuki are too honest," said Vincent.

What he proposes, and it certainly seems a good way out of what is likely to be an increasing problem, is that all makes should be allowed to use proprietary extras (such as carburettors and brakes) once they have been homologated for any one make.

For example as Honda have homologated 31mm racing carbs then anyone else racing a machine of similar capacity should be allowed to use the same size and make of carburettors.

"If I can't get some sort of go-ahead then I'll have to pull out of the Mr Topps Formula One Championship, the British Grand Prix and the Ulster Grand Prix." concluded Vincent.

May 1st at Oulton Park: F1 race, Chas Mortimer is 6th on the 1000 GK Suzuki.

May 21st Sunday at Cadwell Park : Chas Mortimer is on the 1,000cc Gus Kuhn Suzuki in the Formula 1 race, though it had starting troubles.

June at the Formula 1 TT: Sixth over the line was Chas Mortimer, who failed to recapture the speeds he had in practice on the big Gus Kuhn Suzuki. I'm shattered. I thought I would feel tired after six laps, so I made a decision not to go as fast as I could early on, and I'm glad I did. My concentration went several times on the last lap, and I was all over the road. The tank slappers almost tore my arms out of their sockets. Said Chas. [Chris Carter, Motor Cycle 10/6/1978] (Hailwood won on a Ducati) See picture, Left [Photo from the Gus Kuhn Archive]

June 11th at Mallory Park: Post TT races. Chas Mortimer is entered on the GK Suzuki in the TT Formula 1 race (result unknown).

June 21st at Nurburgring: Quote from Chas Mortimer's column in Motor Cycle 1st July: "Since the TT, I've had as varied a road racing programme as one could find. From the Isle of Man I rushed to Mallory Park and from there it was to the Nurburgring for my first long-distance endurance race.

What an eye-opener that was. Like most GP competitors who haven't ridden a long-distance race before, I thought it was very much a case of riding at 60 or 70 per cent effort for a long time. Just how wrong can you be? The top men like Charlie Williams and Christian Leon race every minute like a GP.

Both Kenny Blake and I didn't take racing oversuits. We rarely, if ever, need them in a GP. Luckily Christan Leon loaned me a spare set, and Stan Woods came to Kenny's rescue. But though the whole of practice was wet and miserable, race day was fine.

The bike ran for seven hours - out of eight till a misfire became progressively worse - and we had to stop. It was an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world - and fortunately, with Vincent Davey and Gus Kuhn, we had someone with a great deal of experience in this type of racing."

Motocourse reports: There was endurance racing for the third successive weekend when the flag dropped for the Nurburgring 8 hour race on June 21. .. The Suzuki of Chas Mortimer and Kenny Blake moved up a place from fifth, but by the time it stopped with ignition problems both Mortimer and Blake had seen enough of the 'Ring to be able to remember it perfectly well until the Grand Prix in August.

August 5th & 6th at Silverstone: British Grand Prix. In the TT Formula 1 race, Bernie Toleman is entered on the GK Suzuki. Result unknown.

September 17th & 18th at Paul Ricard: Andy Goldsmith and Roger Nichols entered on 1100 Gus Kuhn Suzuki. Result unknown. The Bol d'Or turned out to be the 24-hour race that wasn't. The records will say that endurance masters Christian Leon and Jean-Claude Chemarin won the event, but in the end it turned out that it was the enthusiastically partisan crowd who called the tune. They wanted their heroes. And so just five minutes from the scheduled finish with the riders already sensing the danger of being overwhelmed in a torrent of humanity and forming into a race-order close-formation queue, it was stopped just as the police cordon broke and 4,500 fans surged on to the track to embrace, literally, the stars. [Motor Cycle 23/9/78]