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The Great Escape - Foiled


Bill Davies

Now you are probably well acquainted with the WW2 escape of Allied Airmen from their Stalag campsite, but this story is not as well recorded in the archives and relates to the attempted escape of a driver of Italian origin...Signore Moto Guzzi.

Now some of you may have woken up and said that no Italians escaped, true, but this was this year not back then. As those of you that have followed my tales of woe, the result of following maniac drivers across Northern Europe in 2014 to the Treffen I made a decision to swop the engine and employ an Italian ... enter Signore Moto Guzzi. All went well with a few teething tasks along the way duly recorded in my many tales of woe.

Shortly before reaching our destination in Holland for the Dutch Treffen this year I was having a little trouble in gear selection, stopping for petrol just short of hotel I make note to check out etc etc. Meet up with pals of old say hellos etc get a beer and mind goes blank ... not too hard for me. By morning the problem has completely disappeared, well the memory had. The two groups set off, and as I was second in the first group away, all was well and the missus was duly contented at my side as we stopped to mark the route. With the arrival of the breakdown trailer we set off again and the system was working fine. But Signore Moto Guzzi was having second thoughts and was starting to undermine my plans for a roadside free trip (duly required by the management).

About 25 miles into the morning we were stopping for coffee at an Indian Motorcycle Buffs premises and just before stopping I grew concerned that gear shifts were not as sweet. Too hot to investigate so went for coffee and cake, a walk about the museum and all was well. No Signore Moto Guzzi had been at work while I drank the fine brew, the call to start your engines, and I was ready for the off, now there was a distinct crunching (not The Chocolate bar type) but down below and I managed about 100metres, then stopped. She turns to me and says "what now", well my reply cannot be published, but I duly extricated myself and stretched out on the road for a rest!!

Now lying alongside of me was a shiny M10x75mm long bolt, now that's a coincidence, I have some like it back at home with the same markings. Then the penny drops as they say, it's my bolt, but where did it come from. A short investigation showed that Signore Moto Guzzi had managed to loosen and remove the two lower engine/gearbox bolts and had managed to throw one of them away?

The engine/conversion plate/gearbox was lying bird-mouthed down, I was lucky that the upper bolts had not loosened or it could have snapped the top lugs of the box. With the assistance of the back-marker I was able to re-bolt the assembly back together and duly continued the event. Each time we stopped out came the spanners and nipped the bolts...hence the reason why my arms were covered in healing burns.

Fast forward a month during which I set off on other adventures in the car checking the bolts along the way etc. now I was at home long enough to fashion a solution, I had been thinking of welding a tag onto the nuts to allow wiring to prevent rotation, then a flash of inspiration I could use tab washers, a quick check of the net revealed that the standard tab washer that I needed did not exist. While musing in the workshop of my options I found a box of M10 Nyloc nuts, they were not lost just misplaced in my computerised stores. They were of a thin head type and on checking I was able to slip a plain washer and the nut into the tight space. The engine fins had been cut away to allow fitting of the engine, a task done with a sharp chisel and file and a lot of time and care.

The plot was now clear, a new bolt especially cut to length on all four locations, a split washer at the bolt end, a plain washer then the gearbox lug, the adaptor plate, the engine, then a plain washer, then the Nyloc Nut. All went well and a check was made on bolt length to ensure that the tip of the bolt did not penetrate the sump wall. All was well, now Signore Moto Guzzi's plan for an escape and embarrassment to the Commandant was averted.

Now all that remains is a charge around the country to ensure that the reparations have worked and that Signore Moto Guzzi is now fully constrained to undertake the Community Work Sentence duly allotted to him by the High Court.

"I'll teach those Italians to try escaping under my watch."

The management, well she sat back in the car and duly waited while I burned my arms, and did not offer any thanks when we duly set off again or indeed congratulations on showing Signore Moto Guzzi who’s boss. The saga continues.

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