Before I had any car at all, I’d been riding motorbikes for about 3 1/2 years. I got my CBT licence at 16 and went straight for a 50cc geared bike, my lovely old TZR 50! This was a great little machine, and did end up going home on a flatbed more than a few times as I broke and crashed it for all I was worth.
When I was 17 I replaced the TZR with the newer 125cc alternative, the R125, and passed my full bike test ASAP. But, going to Uni, I would keep hold of this bike instead of upgrading again. I loved this thing!
I started off making an exhaust mod- cutting a little bit of pipework off the end of the stock exhaust, so that the can expelled its gases into the strange vented fake cap on the old exhaust. The pulses between these vents made the whole thing sound a lot more aggressive! Couple this with a few washers to space the cap to the user’s sound preference, and the mod took off quite massively among R125 owners. Last I checked 12,000 people had looked up the article!
(Although in the grand scheme of things, it still sounded like a hairdryer, 20 minutes with a saw and some washers isn’t bad for a freebie mod!)
It needed to go one better.
Among the RAD boys I’ve got a bit of a reputation for being the king of good bodges. This title should have been obvious when I built the exhaust for this R125. A lot of my friends were buying sports exhausts, but I couldn’t even slightly afford the weighty £400 pricetag at the time. So what did I do? Got a little bit drunk one night and looked at a thermos flask thinking “Shit, that’d look so cool as a bike exhaust”.
Sober me agreed, and the Thermopovic exhaust was born.
Now this thing sounded absolutely evil… I ran this for about 2 years until I eventually sold the bike.
(BONUS! Watch the video at about 1:03 to hear what a tiny CC engine with no headers sounds like. It’s like blowing bubbles!)
I’d been into drifting for a few years by this point without any clue what it was called, having started off doing it pretty young in videogames, just because cars I’d made in Gran Turismo stepped out on the power. I loved it and tried to make them crazier and crazier because I found in really fun. 2010 or so hit and I stumbled across a ‘drifting’ video on youtube. Oh my word, this thing had a name! OH WOW THERE IS A WHOLE SPORT. After this, I went drift mad.
And that little loop kept me going for a good 2 years or so, until one night in the depths of winter, I got sick of the rut I was living in at the time. I went on the internet and started searching for cheap RWD to actually get into this myself, nobody ever got good sat on the sidelines!
A couple of months later, I’d landed on an MX-5, with a lovely example in Rugby taking my fancy. Me and a friend got on the bikes and went to go see it (Now THAT is a good story for another time- ask me in the pub.) I loved the car, put down my deposit and picked it up just before Christmas… Cue the next part of the story.