CMR Racing Products Inc.

CMR Racing Products Inc.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Cox Custom Fabrication opens

 We are sending this message out to friends and former customers of Denis Curtis and CMR Racing Products. Although we lost Denis to cancer in December, the race world can rely on his second-in-command Byron Cox to continue the work. Contact information for Byron is at the end of this message.

~Thanks, Lindi (Den's widow) and Byron 

photo credit: Daniel Vaughan

It's often said that when a door closes, a window opens. Members of the motorcycle racing community were saddened in December to hear of the death of Denis Curtis, founder of CMR Racing Products. The company that Denis founded in 2009 went on to create an international reputation for race frames, accessories and service. The company was dissolved by Denis' widow on June 30, 2021. That was the door closing.

And the window opening? On July 1, 2021 Byron Cox opened Cox Custom Fabrication in the same Trenton location that CMR had occupied for many years, Unit 99, Building 8, 25 Frankford Crescent, Trenton, Ontario, Canada. Many local readers have walked through that door, and left impressed by what is available in their own community.

Denis attributed much of his success to his decision to hire Byron Cox, a very gifted welder and fabricator. Byron is a graduate of Belleville's Loyalist College CWB-based welding course, and brings creativity and a can-do attitude to the work. He is an exceptional TIG welder in aluminum, stainless steel and chromoly; customers always comment on his perfect welds. Byron and Denis worked as partners for eleven years. During that time Denis "taught him all he knew" and Byron added his skills, his work ethic, his enthusiasm and his great personality to the mix.

Byron Cox's new company will provide most of the same services as CMR - building race frames, constructing aluminum tanks, seats and fenders, assembling exhaust systems. Having CMR's jigs and fixtures, patterns and assembly instructions in the shop means that Byron can replicate any frame the duo created over eleven years, including podium finishers in Australia, New Zealand, England and Europe, Canada and the United States. Frame and tank repairs, general and technical welding and race prep are all provided by Cox Custom Fabrication - "no job too big or too small."

Byron and Cox Custom Fabrication have a great future. Not only are there orders in the book already, and repeat customers glad to see the new business shaping up, but Byron also has a solid team behind him. Byron's wife Kristin is a welder too ("better than me", he always says), daughter Morgan and son Oliver are right behind him. 

Contact Byron at Cox Custom Fabrication: 613-921-5505, or at Visit Cox Custom Fabrication on Facebook and Instagram. A website is coming soon; for now, the CMR Racing Products website will remain active, with links to Byron and Cox Custom Fabrication.

Friday 27 December 2019

Customers can become best friends

Customers can become best friends...a story from 2016 which is still ongoing about my buddy Paul Schaeffer.

It all started like this:

serial number plate ending with customer's (Paul's) initials

testing the frame assembly for fit, before shipping
ensuring the tank fits onto the frame without any movement
Paul has been an avid racing motorcycle builder for many years. CMR got to know him through Team Classic Racing USA's captain Dave Crussell. Paul saw the team's new Australian Phillip Island International Challenge bikes being made ready by CMR for the big PIIC Races in January 2016,  and decided to build one. He ordered a CMR Suzuki XR69-GS1100 frame, swing arm, aluminum fuel tank and rear suspension package so he could have the bike ready for testing,then finding a rider for it, for the 2018/19 races in Australia.

fitting the Hindle exhaust to ensure maximum ground clearance

installing the fully floating rear brake torque arm to clear exhaust

Paul's finished colour scheme less fairing left side

Paul's finished colour scheme less fairing right side

Jorge Guerrero testing ground clearance at speed, knee to track

Jorge ready to go!

Jorge Guerrero, Ottis Lance, Paul Schaeffer

Dino Swims and wife Margaret with Jorge

Dino Swims and Ottis Lance
 Here is what the quiet Texan said about the 2019 effort:
  • Jorge Guerrero was riding this bike for his very first visit to PI
  • David Hirsch assembled the bike for Paul to take to PI in 2019
  • Ottis Lance helped assemble the bikes
  • Mike Petipas lent his help throughout
All the above are Texas boys. There was also huge support from our Aussie friends.
  • Scott Owen, the master engine builder, spent all night before qualifying 2019 to rebuild the engine
  • Anthony Bann loaned his entire race kit, tools, tire warmers, etc.
  • Paul also mentioned Roger Gunn, Peter 'Bundy' Minahan, Mick Reese and James Ridgeway for putting the team up in their homes
  • Paul can't forget Dino Swims who helped tremendously on and off the track. "He is a legend."
For the 2020 campaign in January 2020:
  • Jorge Guerrero will be riding again
  • David Hirsch has been working nonstop on the bike
  • Mike Petipas has been helping with bike preparation again
  • Steve Upchurch at Capital Racing Service repaired the 'B' engine in time to ship our crates to Australia
  • Keith Hertell at VonHertell in San Antonio tuned the bike with the new carbs
Paul will have the support of his Aussie friends in 2020
In a recent text was Paul's final note of thanks, much appreciated by the team at CMR: "If it wasn't for you, Denis Curtis and CMR, none of this would be possible."

Sunday 10 March 2019

Congratulations to Josh Hayes and Team USA, PIIC 2019

Josh Hayes 2019
Josh Hayes 2019
On January 27th, 2019 CMR Racing Products achieved a career-defining win, when Josh Hayes scored Team USA's first International Challenge victory in race 4 at Phillip Island, Australia. The International Challenge is a series of four races between teams from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and sometimes Ireland.

Held every January, the PIIC is one of the most prestigious classic motorcycle races in the world, second only to the Classic TT at the Isle of Man in August each year.

Dave Crussell, Josh Hayes, engine guru Larry Cook celebrating
Josh's win in Race 4
And this is how the story began:

Dave Crussell, Team Captain of Team USA, used a CMR frame kit for his Yamaha TZ750 for racing in the inaugural Classic TT on the Isle of Man in 2013. Dave was so impressed with the handling of the bike, completing a fast lap of 107.55 mph with very little practice on the track due to weather and accidents on the island.

He commissioned CMR to build five Australia-spec Yamaha F1-FJ1250 frame kits for Team USA to compete in the 2016 Phillip Island International Challenge.

Great results in 2016 led to Team USA returning to  PI in 2017 and 2018. Denis was invited to accompany the team in 2018. The team had impressive credentials: Colin Edwards, 2x World Superbike champion, Jason Pridmore, 2x World 24-hour Endurance champion and Jake Zemke, 4x AMA champion, all riding on CMR frame-kitted race bikes.

Colin Edwards

The team performed really well, with Jason Pridmore coming to within 0.3 seconds of the lap record, his first time at PI. After the races, Jason told Denis that the CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250 was "the best-handling bike I've ever ridden."

Denis and Colin Edwards
Jeremy McWilliams, #1 Team UK rider, told Denis that Jason's CMR-framed Yamaha was "impossible to catch" in the more technical sections of the PI track, and that Jason's bike was handling better than McWilliams' own Harris-framed Yamaha. Music to Denis' ears. Jeremy claimed that if Team USA had better engine reliability in 2019, they would be unbeatable.

After the races, Jeremy brought Roger Winfield, UK Team Captain and owner of most of the team's bikes to speak with Denis. Roger asked Denis how CMR frames differed from the Harris frames his team was using, and why the CMR frames handled better.

Team USA 2019
In January 2019 Team USA returned to Australia for the PIIC races, ready for combat. For the past five years Australia and the UK had dominated; 2019 saw Team USA earn their share of podium honours.

Team Captain Dave Crussell and Jason Pridmore attracted a number of very competent US riders. Dave expanded his Mojo Yamaha stable of CMR-framed bikes from three to six. The team ran three additional CMR-framed F1-XR69 machines for a grand total of nine CMR-framed bikes: Dave Crussell, #17 and Barrett Long, #29 rode CMR-framed Mojo Yamaha TZ750s. Micheal Gilbert, #55, Josh Hayes, #4, Larry Pegram, #72 and Steve Rapp, #15 each rode a CMR-framed Mojo Yamaha F1-FJ1250. Jason Pridmore, #43, rode a CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250 owned by Ralph Hudson, and Dale Quarterly, #5, rode a CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250 owned by Carry Andrew. Jorge Guerrero, #219 rode a CMR-framed Suzuki XR69-GS1261, owned by Paul Schaeffer.
Micheal Gilbert's CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250
owned by Dave Crussell

Four of the Team USA racers, all of CMR-framed bikes, were in the Top 10 of accumulated points in the four-race series: Josh Hayes place third, Larry Pegram 5th, Micheal Gilbert 6th, and Barrett Long 10th.

Over the previous five years, Team Australia and Team UK had dominated. In 2019 Team USA came within 43 points of winning top honours.

Thanks to Team USA for believing in CMR Racing Products!

Monday 1 October 2018

More CMR Racing Products Down Under

Phillip Island Classic Motorcycle Road Racing International Challenge Races. January 2018.

 Here is Denis with Phil and Roz Andrea at the Phillip Island race track near Melbourne Australia. Phil and Roz own two of our CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750s and this is the first time Denis actually met them in person. Old friends, instantly.

 The above photo show Marty Craggill in Race 1 of the Unlimited Forgotten Era Premier Race event.  Marty, on the Andrea CMR-framed TZ750 is in second place early in the race behind #88 Dean Oughtred riding Carl Cox Motorsports' 1982 Suzuki GSX1100.

In the second photo, Marty has gained the lead. He went on to win Race #1.

Here we are in the garage with the Andrea Race Team. From left to right, behind the CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750: Denis Curtis of CMR Racing, Marty Craggilll the rider, a fellow we didn't meet, Roz Andrea and Phil Andrea showing how delighted they are with Marty's performance on their bike.

In the photo below, the fellow in the middle beside Roz is the new engine man on the Andrea team.

In Race #1 Marty gained the win over #88 Dean Oughtred riding Carl Cox Motorsports Suzuki GSX1100. In third place came #31, Craig Ditchburn, riding Consortium Racing's Yamaha TZ750.

In Race #2, Dean Oughtred won the race and Marty finished second.  Scott Webster, #76, riding his Suzuki 1200, finished third, and #29, Barrett Long, from the USA, riding his CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750, came in fourth.

In Race three, Marty finished first again and #31, Craig Ditchburn, second. In third place was #88, Dean Oughtred.

In Race 4, Craig Ditchburn finished first, Scott Webster finished second, and Marty finished third.

The final result was a win for Marty Craggill with two first places, a second and a third. Well done Marty!

Here's a happy Phil and Roz Andrea with Denis Curtis of CMR Racing Products, discussing their rider Marty Craggill's overall win in the Unlimited Forgotten Era Premier Class Race Event.

 Why was Marty so fast?

Back in 2016 Phil and Marty joined forces to make their CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750 the fastest in Australia. Marty Craggill wasn't happy with the handling of the bike when he first tested it for Phil. Phil had been using a number of race engineers in Australia since he purchased the frames in 2014/15.

Marty, who had been racing in the USA in the Superbike Championships in the mid-2000s, retired back to Australia in 2008. The foremost suspension 'guru' during Marty's career was Jon Cornwell of Ohlins' Racing USA. John helped Marty win many races in the USA. So when Phil convinced Marty to come out of retirement to race in the Classic International Races at Phillip Island, Marty called on Jon to come over to Australia to help with the set-up on this new race bike.

Here are some photos of how Jon Cornwell of Ohlins Racing USA, using chassis development 'MotoSPEC' software designed by Canadian Jeff Laidman helped CMR Racing to upgrade the chassis geometry. on Marty's CMR TZ750 

The result enabled Marty to achieve faster lap times and win the Unlimited Forgotten Era Premier Class Race Event.

A huge thank you to Phil and Roz Andrea for making us feel so welcome in their paddock, to Marty Craggill for his compliments about the race-winning frame kits we produce at CMR Racing and to Jon Cornwell of Ohlins' Racing USA and Jeff Laidman of MotoSpec Chassis Development software for the outstanding collaboration.

Even More CMR Racing Products Down Under

A really nice thing happened just before we left for Australia and New Zealand in January 2018. Denis got a phone call from Joe O'Neill in Dunedin, NZ. Joe asked for verification of the pedigree of a motorcycle that he'd just purchased while on a business trip to Los Angeles. He said that he'd purchased it as a Seeley Norton. On leaving LA he'd travelled up to visit relatives in Vancouver, B.C. and showed them photos of the bike he'd just purchased. Someone knew of Denis Curtis and his frame-building business, and had actually seen the bike racing in the 1970s at Westwood track near Vancouver (it's since been replaced by a subdivision.)

Joe went on-line, found Denis' phone number, and rang him. Denis asked for photos, had a look, and wonder of wonders - it was the very first motorcycle frame that Denis had built in Canada. Now, that doesn't happen every day! If you go to the History section on the CMR Racing Products website (here's a good link) and read through to the '70s road racing section, you can read the rest of the story.

The frame the youthful Denis is working on was built into a Curtis Seeley Norton750; it was a replica of the Colin Seeley MkII Seeley 750 racer. The bike was built in the Curtis Racing Frames facility for employee Lief Sorenson, who went on to race it quite successfully. When Lief left Curtis Racing Denis lost contact with him, and the bike.

The photo opposite shows the bike in the early 1980s after it was purchased and rebuilt by the founder of the CVMG (Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group) Peter Gagan. Peter saw the launch of CMR Racing Products website in 2007 and kindly sent this photo. Peter eventually sold this bike to a fellow in Los Angeles to compete in AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) and that was where the story ended, until Joe contacted us.

Here are the photographs Joe sent to Denis.

They show the bike in its current form, with the same tank and seat, fairing and exhaust system. The LA owner changed the frame and swing arm  from green-painted to nickel plated, the tank, seat and fairing to Ferrari Red. The bike has the same front forks, wheels and brakes as originally fitted.

Kevin Docherty
As it turned out Denis had been invited to be at the Phillip Island Races in Australia by Team USA. He was also invited to visit New Zealand and see some of the race bikes he had supplied to customers there, and also to the N.Z. Team.
Joe invited Denis to visit the bike at his place in Dunedin, South Island. This next series of photos was taken, the day Denis was reunited with the first Curtis Racing frame, built into this exceptional motorcycle.

Joe was called away on business, but Kevin Dougherty of Motoxtreme Services Ltd., Dunedin, who takes care of all of Joe's motorcycles, took Denis over to visit Joe's garage.

The best moment was when Denis got on board this bike, the first time since 1973, and found it alive and well on the other side of the planet.

Sincere thanks to Joe O'Neill and Kevin Dougherty for their hospitality.
Denis of CMR Racing Products in his happy place

Sunday 23 September 2018

CMR Racing Products Down Under

 January 2018, Australia. Phillip Island Racing Circuit. The 25th Anniversary running of the International Classic  Motorcycle Road Racing Challenge Races. The teams competing: Team USA, Team UK, Team New Zealand and the home team - Team Australia.

The photo at left shows Team USA members on their bikes. On the front row from left to right: Number 17, Dave Crussell, Team USA Captain on his CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750. Next to him, Number 98, is Jake Zemke, riding Dave's CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250. Next to Jake, is Number 5, Colin Edwards on Carey Andrew's CMR-framed Yamaha F1_FJ1250. And next to him, Number 43, Jason Pridmore on Ralph Hudson's CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250. On the back row, left to right: Number 29 is Barrett Long, on Dave Crussell's #2 CMR-framed Yamaha TZ750. And next to him, Number 72 is Eirik Nielson on his own CMR-framed Yamaha F1-FJ1250.

The next photo shows Denis Curtis of CMR Racing talking with Colin Edwards about his chassis set-up. Paul Schaeffer, Denis' sponsor for the event, is in the background.

To the right is Colin Edwards showing his enthusiasm for the new set-up. Denis couldn't be happier.

 Here's Colin trackside basking in the 41 degree Celsius temperatures for the race weekend.

Here's Colin in action, with his knee down and going for it!

Ralph Hudson, owner of the bike in the foreground of this photo, sent us this article from a local motorcycle racing magazine on his Facebook post. Ralph's bike was ridden by Jason Pridmore who did very well at Phillip Island. Behind Jason is Barrett Long. These are second generation road racers! Jason's father is the famous Reg Pridmore, and Barrett's father is John Long.

 We were invited, as part of Team USA, to the 2018 Phillip Island International Classic event, and what a great time we had! Thanks to Dave Crussell, Team Captain, and a special thanks to Paul Schaeffer, one of the original sponsors of the International Challenge race effort for Team USA as far back as 10 years ago. Paul provided us with air fare and accommodation for the 25th Anniversary event.

L to R: Denis, Dave Crussell, Lorraine Crussell, unknown,
Bruce Lind, Mike Studzinski
 Seeing the photo posted by Ralph Hudson, got me thinking about PI 2018, all the people I wanted to thank and all the stories of great riders and their efforts, that I've been wanting to tell. It's amazing how popular classic motorcycle racing has become.  The Australian Phillip Island Classic Motorcycle Road Racing International Challenge Races is held in January each year: Classic motorcycle racing has been gathering lots of interest recently around the world, from spectators and former road racers alike.

Phillip Island Classic International Challenge brings in comparable numbers of spectators to the World Superbike rounds held at the same circuit.
photo credit Roger Colvin

For 2018, Team USA was fortunate to have some very fast former world champion road racers join the team, as well as a  former USA AMA and Daytona #1 plate holder, also.
Colin Edwards is a former two-time World Superbike Champion.
Jason Pridmore is a former two-time World 24 Hour Endurance Road Racing Champion.
Jake Zemke is a former Daytona winner and AMA National Champion.
Team USA faired very well in qualifying. Colin Edwards, who knows the track well, qualified 6th fastest. Jason Pridmore, who has never raced at this track before, finished 7th fastest, only .001 seconds behind  Colin. Jake Zemke finished 11th fastest, only .5 seconds behind Jason.
The overall results from the four-race series was that Team USA finished THIRD, however there were some very fast times run by Team USA: 
Jason Pridmore finished 4th in Races #1 and #2 but retired on the last lap but one, in third position, with a broken engine in Race #3.  He was unable to compete in Race #4.
Colin Edwards finished thirteenth in Race #1, fifth in Race #2, tenth in Race #3, and twelfth in Race #4 with ongoing clutch issues.
Jake Zemke finished eighth in Races #1 and #2, twelfth in Race #3 but could not start in Race #4 because of engine problems.

Jason Pridmore was very fast during the three races he competed in, and thanked CMR's Denis Curtis after the races for a fine-handling race bike. He said "this is the best-handling race bike I've ever ridden." Jason has been instrumental in bringing the team back in 2019 to challenge the podium.

Jeremy McWilliams spoke with CMR's Denis Curtis after Race #2 and told him that Jason Pridmore will be very hard to beat in 2019, if his engine has more power. Jeremy said he could not stay with Jason in two of the technical corners of PI. After the races, Jeremy brought his Team UK boss, Roger Winfield, over to meet Denis. Roger spent 40 minutes with Denis, reviewing what made CMR frames handle better than his Harris frames. To be continued...

For more information about Team USA's  objectives for PI 2019, check out Team Mojo-Yamaha 2019 Phillip Island Classic International Challenge here!