CMR Racing Products Inc.

CMR Racing Products Inc.

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!