Author Archives: Sophie Whiptank - aka Bart

About Sophie Whiptank - aka Bart

I'm just a bloke doing some stuff, the more interesting bits I post on my blog. Scroll down far enough and you'll see me riding from Melbourne Australia to Birmingham, England in 2014. But now I'm working on another project, a single cylinder motorbike engine at 2750cc!

RIP Nick Moss


Just had some sad news that Nick Moss, our pattern maker, passed away on his return from the TT. I’ve only met him a couple of times, but Nick was one of those guys who you knew instantly was going to become a good friend. Or not, in this case.

Clever, talented, friendly & useful. You couldn’t ask for more. Just 65 years old! Give up smoking people!!

Pattern makers


Pattern maker and engineer Nick Moss has been teased out of retirement by our project. This is good news! Nick came round a couple of weeks back and we had a good old chat. Nick made the patterns for Bob’s 500cc air cooled 4 stroke, so it was good for them to catch up.

Nick took a set of plans away and dropped by yesterday with a couple of questions. It was great to see how the pattern maker thinks, hearing about runners and casting sand. The next step is to visit the foundry and talk to them, which we’ll book in sometime.

Nick took a marked up set of plans away and will start work after the classic TT. Progress!

Great weekend at the HUBB


Another great long weekend at the Horizons Unlimited travellers’ meeting in the beautiful Breacon beacons. Seeing old friends and hammock converts was great, along with making many new ones too.

Duncan Gough provided some great insights to Spain, making me appreciate and reconsider my travel plans to and from Morocco.

Louisa Swaden (aka the existential biker) made me highly jellous of her impending land speed record attempt, and the extraordinary story of how that transpired through simple acts of helping people.

The lovely Tiffany Cotes had some tall tales from Borneo and Gav Bowen’s custom Bedford just blew me away. Wow! My good friend Igor Chernikov presented for the first time, and I only saw about 30% of what was there.

The trade stalls were great, especially Bison Bushcraft, with Roger Harrington doing a great knife safety session. One of his knives would make a great 50th birthday present, if anyone’s looking for ideas 🙂 I picked up some very useful tips there.

So check out a hubb meeting if you’ve any interest in travel. See the links page for details…

The big move


A long 2 days on a farm in Surrey went very well. We finally got permission to relocate the inheritance machines, so I booked a transport firm and hotted off down south in a van. Good friends Bob and Igor came along to help.

At the farm Ken Hamilton was there to greet us with tea and the keys. There’s always been a warm welcome from Ken. 🙂

We called Graham Baker, an old friend of John’s who moves machines often. He’d offered to help out in John’s memory. Graham was brilliant, just what we needed. So we set to on the Bridgeport first, with the first hurdle getting it through the narrow door….

Left handers


The crankshaft is taking shape, with the latest job being the left handed thread to hold the oil pump skew drive. It’s a left handed thread so that the resistance force acts to tighten the pump drive. That way it can’t come loose, which would be disastrous!!

Once the crankshafts are finished we’ll be in a position to press the bottom end together together.

Meanwhile our friendly pattern maker is paying us a visit on Sunday. We’re hoping to get him fully on board for the project (i.e. get a good price for the job!!).

Next week more machines will be arriving, lot’s going on at the moment 😁

Syko machine!


Here’s something you don’t see every day, a Steam powered land speed record motorcycle! I came across it at a Rail exhibition I attended through work, pictured here with designer and rider Graham Sykes. (Nickname: Syko!).

It was beautifully engineered and obviously a labour of love, so I sought out the designer for a chat. Graham was obviously passionate, answering all my questions even though it was the end of the day. It was great talking to a like mind and sharing ideas. Contact numbers swapped and ideas for the future.

(Although to be fair this project is much further on than mine!).

I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of this machine over the next couple of years, well I certainly hope so. Good luck with your endeavours Sir!

Valuable real estate…


In anticipation of potentially getting some extra machines, I’ve been clearing out the garage. With an empty floor I thought I’d mark out the area required for the Bridgeport Mill, according to the manual. It’s huge!!

I think the floor space is worst case, taking account the full table movement and handles. It also allows for rear access which I probably won’t need. I hope so anyway, otherwise I’ll have no space for anything else.

I think I’ll just bring everything up and play precision machine Tetris when they arrive. First world problems eh??