Pat tells his story...
was born in 29th August 1943, Birmingham UK.
I married on 10th May 1969 to Elaine, we have two children, Sara born
in 1971, and David born in 1973.
Sara is employed at the university of York, and runs the „archive“
department. She also lives in York.
David is employed by a „Christian“ charity named Matrix trust, and together
with his wife Elisabeth lives in Guilford, Surrey.
I left school at the age
of 15 and I started a engineering apprentiship with the BSA/Triumph engineering
group, at 17 I was selected to spend the remainder of my apprentiship within the
BSA research and development department. I spent the majority of my last 4 years
of my apprentiship employed in the „engine research“ department. I worked on
many engines that never went into production, and also engines that were built
for the sole reason of obtaining maximum power, and torque, these engines were
“one off’s“ for pure development. I also built trials, motocross and road
racing engines that were used by the factory riders.
In 1965 I was awarded a mechanical engineering degree.
The day after my 16th
birthday I rode in my first motorcycle competition, a trial, on a 250 cc BSA
C15T, I can’t remember what my result was. A month or so after that I rode in
my first Motocross, finishing 4th in my first race, and crashing in
the 2nd race. I learned a lesson that day that when you crash you may
hurt yourself! I did! A year later I had my first ever road race on a closed
circuit. I used to ride far to fast on the „open“ roads, so my parents were
pleased when I raced on closed circuits. My first racing bike was based on a 250
cc C15 BSA. The engine was very fast, but the handling was terrible. I spend a
lot of time altering and adjusting verious things to make it go in a straight
line! Cornering was non existent and it often turned itself inside out, many
times in the same corner! Eventually with a lot of help from my father, who was
also employed at BSA, we got it as good as we could.
then worked for myself for a little while, and was then offered the position of
service manager at the Ducati and Moto Guzzi importers. I travelled many times
to the Ducati factory in Bologna, and got to know many of the people at Ducati
very well. I had a working relationship with Franco Farnè and Giuliano Pedretti
and also with Dr. Fabio Taglioni, who I consider to be the best motorcycle
engineer in the world.
My first „love“ and passion was for „off road“ racing and spent a lot of
time racing in Belgium and France, and a few trips to Spain. In 1964 I rode in
the ISDT (International Six day’s trial) and I won a Gold medal. I was riding
a modified „works“ 350 cc prototype military B40, it was painted in British
army green paint, even the alloy petrol tank had been painted green. This event
was held at Erfurt in the then DDR, and there were many East German „officials“
taking a lot of photographs of that bike! In 1965 I rode in the ISDT which was
held on the Isle of Man, along with every other „works“ BSA the ignition
failed. We were running a „special“ Lucas capacitor discharge ignition
system, every BSA using that system stopped within 50 miles of each other! I
rode again in 1965 in Sweden on a works 441 cc Victor, using a modified Lucas
capacitor discharge system, and it worked perfectly! I won another Gold medal. I
continued to race until 1970, when the co-director of the BSA/Triumph importers,
Firma Breeze offered me the job as service manager at their premises in
Landsthul, Germany. When BSA/Triumph stopped trading I again worked for the
BSA/Triumph company. The company was moved to Oberhousen, we then lived in
Dorsten, we were very happy there, but then the company moved me back from
Germany. I was sent to the research department and watched the BSA/Triumph
company fall apart!
One of the UK’s most successful motorcycle retailers at that time was Sports
Motorcycles in Manchester. Steve Wynne who owned Sports offered me a job with
his company as a director. I became a good friend of Steve and his wife Lynne,
in 1978 I was a member of the team that supplied Mike Hailwood with the Ducati
NCR that he won the 1978 Formula 1 TT on.
In 1981 I persuaded Steve that we should „run“ a machine in the Formula 2
TT, to be competitive we needed help from Ducati. I travelled to the Cologne
motorcycle exhibition for a meeting with Ducati’s commercial director, Dr.
Cosimo Calcagnile, their export sales director Franco Valintini and Franco Farnè.
After a very long meeting, followed by another long meeting at the Alt Cologne
restaurant. I consider I was privileged to listen to Dr. Taglioni talk about his
early days at Ducati, his love of racing motorcycles, and motorcycles that never
met the light of day. We had a deal at about midnight. The deal was, that if I
could confirm to them that we could find a rider that was capable of winning the
F2 race they would supply us with a Pantah based engine and a race kit. When I
arrived home I contacted Tony Rutter (I had known Tony for a long time) and he
agreed to race the Ducati Pantah in the F2 TT race. Ducati sent to us an old,
well used 500 cc Pantah engine, with cracked crankcases. The race kit consisted
of a racing exhaust system, 2 venola high compression pistons and racing
camshafts. As the engine had done many mile, they also sent a new gearbox
cluster. I was invited to Ducati to spend 3 days working with Giuliano Pedretti.
I learned a great deal about the Pantah engine especially how to build a racing
The 500 cc Pantah arrived with us at the end of February 1981. I spent over 87
hours working on the engine, apart from fitting the high compression pistons,
and camshafts every thing that could be lightened was. The rockers and cam
wheels were machined lightened and polished. The gearbox was modified, and the
selector drum and selectors were lightened and polished. Many hours were spent
working on the cylinder heads, modifying the inlet and exhaust ports, and
fitting the special valve seats that the factory had sent to me. I remember well
spending a long time obtaining the correct „squish“ and compression ratio.
The frame and swinging arm assembly and suspension units were given to Ron
Williams of Maxton engineering. Ron was the engineer that Honda had turned to
sort out their NR500 GP machine, and eventually all of their GP machines. Ron
made an excellent job of modifying the chassis. Tony won the 1981 F2 TT race at
record speed. For the last F2 world championship race of 1981 at the Dundrod
circuit in Northern Ireland the factory supplied a very special F2 Ducati which
was the prototype TT2 machine.
After Steve Wynne had closed Sports Motorcycles Ltd., I worked for myself, and
Tony Rutter asked me to build him a machine for the „Battle of the Twins“
race at Daytona. The chassis for this machine was George Fogarty’s (father of
Carl) and Ducati built us a special 750 cc Pantah engine. One week before we
were to leave for Daytona the engine had not arrived, so I drove in my car to
collect the engine, the return journey was completed in 72 hours. Tony finished
2nd in the Battle of Twins race, it was won by Jay Springsteen on a
very special 750 cc Harley Davidson. The machine did not conform to the
technical specification for the Battle of Twins, but this was a Harley and we
were in America!
For the next five years Tony and Me worked very closely, and in 1983 Tony Rutter
Racing was formed. During 1982/83/84 Tony won the F2 world championship. In 1985
Tony crashed very heavily at Montjuich Park in Barcelona, Tony was fighting for
his life for over 6 weeks and my family joined me in Barcelona for that 6 weeks.
Tony and me had a lot of help from Ducati during our three years together. Due
to a strage policy at Ducati they could not sponsor us with money, but they gave
to us a complete machine with a very special 750 cc engine, they also „loaned“
to us a complete F2 engine complete with an air cooled clutch, special
camshaft’s and a proper racing gearbox, this engine produced over 79 bhp when
it was tested on the dynamometer. I also took all our engines to Bologna and
rebuilt them there. Each time that I visited the factory Franco Farnè gave us
or loaned to us parts so that we could keep our team going. We had a spare dapsa
light weight frame, front forks, brake callipers, brake discs, and many engine
parts. When Ducati negotiated their tyre contract with Michelin, they included
Tony Rutter racing and we were supplied with 40 tyres, 20 front and 20 rear. It
was because of the help we received from Ducati that we made Tony Rutter racing
the most successful Ducati racing team, apart from the Ducati „factory team“,
in the UK as well as Europe. I will never forget their kindness.
During July of 1985 Tony crashed in the F1 race at Montjuich Park, Barcelona,
Spain. This accident really effectively ended Tonys career as a world class
rider, however Tony did ride in a few events including the Isle of Man TT.
After he had recovered, I stayed in Barcelona with Tony for the duration of his
stay in hospital, my wife and children joined me in Spain. It was during this
stay in Spain that we decided that when we got back home and all the bikes and
engines were rebuilt I would „retire“ from my nomadic life. I had missed a
lot of things that my kid’s were doing, and we had not been a real family for
a long time. Apart from being away from home for most of the racing season, I
was spending a lot of time away during the winter months as well. In 1983 I made
6 trips to the factory in Bologna and again 1984 I made 6 separate trips by road
to the Ducati factory, one trip to the Bologna motorcycle exhibition in 1984
where Tonys F2 machine was to be displayed lasted 10 days.
After I arrived back home from Spain I went direct to my home in Cheshire with
the race transporter. The race workshops were close to Birmingham and I had
decided to work in my garage at home. I had all the equipment I needed to
rebuild the crashed F1 machine, and the 4 engines over the next couple of months.
The F1 Ducati that Tony had crashed on was completely wrecked. I had never seen
a machine so „damaged“ as that F1 machine, and I had been mixed up with
competition machines for 20 years. The frame had been torn in half at the
steering head and the crankcases pulled apart at the front engine mounting. The
left front fork was bent back at about 30 degrees, and the left front fork bent
forward at about the same amount. The front and rear wheels were smashed into
about 3 pieces. The brake callipers and discs were smashed, as were the
handlebars, footrests, gear change and brake pedals, everything was so badly
damaged that I threw all of it away. I did not want anybody to have any of it,
so that there is no one who can ever say that they have a piece of Tony
Rutter’s F1 machine as a souvenir. I kept one small piece, that was the white
dial from the rev-counter (tacho). After everything was rebuilt, I loaded
everything including all our spares and equipment into the transporter and
delivered it all to Tony Rutters commercial manager. I have not seen any of the
bikes since that day, and have only spoken to the commercial manager once in 19