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1959 Jawa 355 - Part Four
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Phil Speakman's freshly fettled 125cc two-stroke has made it to its destination at a Jawa rally in Holland. Now can he get home again?...

On the evening of the first day I took a stroll around the rally field with my camera, for there was plenty to see with maybe 400 people and their bikes in attendance. Mostly Jawas and CZs from the 50s and 60s but also an Ogar, three Velorex three-wheelers and a brace of Jawa-engined Ital Jets. During my walk I spotted a bike that I thought I recognised, a 500cc OHV Jawa twin with a matching Pav trailer in metal flake candy red. I looked at the chap standing nearby lighting a cigarette.

Kawasaki W650, anyone? 500cc OHV Jawa twin with a matching Pav trailer

'Fred Rode?' I enquired.

It was indeed Fred, who had recently supplied both Tony and myself with some parts via his website. He'd sent me a picture of his recent rebuild of the OHV during our friendly correspondence and almost instantly a bottle of whiskey was produced from nowhere. He's a very dangerous man to drink with is Fred Rode, trust me on this. Tony and myself found out just how dangerous later that night, or was it early morning? We ended up knocking back miniature bottles of Erich's Rache (Eric's Revenge) a 30% liquor with a cartoon of Erich Honecker on the label, but there was one hell of a lot of laughing, I remember that much. Ouch!

Tony (right) and Evil Erich Honecker.

Let me assure you, if you are considering making a similar trip in the future, I can tell you now that the Dutch really know how to throw a rally. The BBQ was an excellent communal DIY affair, with a plate of selected meat cuts supplied and three large grills to cook your own on, so those with sharpest elbows eat first.

The beer was purchased using tokens bought in 10 Euro lumps and Tony and Gary lost no time in educating the bartenders how to pull an 'English Beer', as it became known for the rest of the weekend. I even heard a few of the German lads asking for an English Beer, which meant that the glass was full to the brim and not half full of frothy head. Do you think it will catch on?

The next morning saw Tony rise first and start to prepare breakfast. We'd brought plenty of our own bacon with us and bought the eggs and bread in the local campsite shop. Whilst Gary and I lay in our respective pits, Tony had the kettle on, the bacon in the pan and soon the whole campsite was being wafted with the unmistakable smell of cooking…Bakelite.

'TONY! You've left the handle folded underneath the bloody frying pan, you dozy sod!'

Gary lay in his bed laughing like a drain, Tony looked sheepish and I ended up cooking breakfast instead. I don't know, if you want something doing…sodding brand new that pan was…mutter, mutter, mutter…

Random Jawa stuff on

The tank looks like it's from a Honda SS50, but where's the seat from?

Once Tony had washed up the charred and blackened dishes (I'm not letting this drop, brand new I tell you), he and Gary popped out on the bikes for an explore and a brief excursion into nearby Germany whilst I just pottered about the camp and enjoyed a swim in their lake.

After lunch we rode out of town to a local speedway track where all the Jawas and CZs had gathered for an afternoon of racing and auto-jumbling. I found a new set of front fork oil seals and a cheap supply of Castrol 2T at £3 a litre, whereas Tony stocked up with new cables and rubber bits and bobs for his 559. After a couple of hours we returned to camp via a meal in a local café, sat in the hot sunshine waving at all the Jawa riders riding past. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Very... blue.

The journey back passed easily enough and by early Monday afternoon we were nearing home again, filtering past stationary traffic in Tintwistle (which seems to be the natural state of all traffic in Tintwistle for some reason). As we pulled to a halt at another set of lights, the clutch cable on Gary's Voskhod went 'pingfeckitt' and we exited into a side street to see what could be done.

With only eight miles to go, calling out recovery simply wasn't an option. We were ALL getting home under our own steam, simple as that. The easiest solution was to fit Tony's newly-purchased front brake cable to his 559 and simply transfer the solderless nipple that we'd used on the way out. There was just enough cable left to do the job, but only just. The clutch dragged a little but that was of little consequence as only eight miles of motorway lay between Gary and home.

For me there was a little further to travel. As I waved goodbye to my travelling companions on the M60 at Stockport, in what was probably the last of the June sunshine, Lovin Spoonfuls 'Hot Town, Summer in the City' came up on my MP3 player. Perfect.

By the time I got home I'd clocked up 750 miles door to door and the Jawa's main bearings were running noticeably noisier than when I'd set out. I'd done no work at all on the motor during the rebuild, save change the gear oil and paint the barrel so I suppose it's about time those mains got some attention.

Who knows, just like the TS250 main bearings that I had to change in Finland, they may well be the original factory-fitted ones. I'll add that job to my seemingly never-ending 'things to do' list, shall I ?


The Jawa/CZ Club of the Netherlands:


More Jawas on


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