From Cyril's memoires dated 2 October 2006

Heat. Without it our bikes would go nowhere, but dealing with it can be a problem. My lovely young wife Francesca reminded me of this on a recent trip to the south of Italy on my Ducati Multistrada. Underseat exhausts are a tidy design, but, she explained, squatting over a hot pipe for a few hours can lead to a certain amount of discomfort, especially in an Italian summer. By the time we reached our hotel, Francesca was desperate to jump in the shower and douse the bush fire, as it were. Being a gentleman, I insisted on applying a slathering of cold-cream. It was the very least I could do.

The temperature in a combustion chamber can reach more than 1000 deg C, so there's a hell of a lot of heat to get rid of. Liquid cooling helps, but I recall a trip to South Africa in 1982 when we were involved in pre-launch tests of the superb, air-cooled Suzuki GS1100GK. The simple aim was to put in plenty of miles on three bikes in high temperatures and our small team comprised myself, chief engineer Colin Craywell and one of his young protégés, Ashley Gardener. Much could have been learned from that trip, if only things had gone according to plan.

Ashley Gardener was a tall, skinny, wax-white youth in the Peter Crouch mould, very uncomfortable in the hot South African summer and if something wasn't chaffing then something else had broken out in a rash or had swollen painfully. We were all in the hotel swimming pool one evening and I'd never seen so many mosquito bites on a man. He assured us they were 'all over' and had to be dissuaded from proving the point in a sheltered area behind the chlorination out-house.

Day five's itinerary demanded that we take a long and extremely exposed route from Britstown to Moffie. The bikes were checked the night before and we set off well loaded with water and food. The morning went very well and Colin and I were loving the ride, dicing with one another, or just sitting back and enjoying that silky motor and the stunning scenery. Ashley loitered at the back like a sullen teenager and at each stop reeled off a list of blisters, sores and throbs.

The road deteriorated badly and we were reduced to 20mph for more that 30 miles. Well, you can imagine that on a fully-faired air-cooled bike in 40 deg C, the heat rising up from the engine was enough to boil an egg. My eggs were certainly boiled. After a while we realised that Ashley was no longer with us. Colin offered to go back to see what had happened, while I stayed beneath a shady poes tree.

After half an hour I started to get worried. After an hour I jumped on the GS and retraced our tracks. A mile back, I found both Ashley and Colin and the vision I was presented with in that sun-scorched landscape is one I've never shaken from my mind. Colin's bike was on its centre-stand and the throttle was pinned open, the rear wheel spinning furiously. He was lashed to the bike on his back with his head on the clocks and his legs splayed over the panniers. He was absolutely naked and gagged with what I assumed to be his own underpants. I could see no sign of Ashley.

Then, from behind me came a blood-curdling scream and I turned in time to see a spark plug spanner fly past my left ear. Ashley was naked, too, except for a bandanna fashioned from an inner tube. His scrawny, almost hairless body was smeared with engine oil, presumably taken from his own machine, which now lay on its side in the poephol bushes. He squawked like a bird and with uncanny agility scaled a nearby tree, from where he proceeded to put on a lewd display of genital gymnastics while grunting, babbling and drooling. It was hard to tell whether he was in a state of arousal or if his distended manhood was the result of yet another nasty bite, but distended it was. Meanwhile, the bike was still revving painfully in the background and Colin began to yelp in pain as Ashley pelted his rotund, naked form with spiky fruit from the tree. It was a scene straight from hell.

Back in Britain, the doctors blamed heat stroke for Ashley's bizarre interlude and a week later he returned to work. However, Colin Craywell never recovered fully from the trauma and he spent the rest of his working life in a Jawa-CZ dealership just outside Chorlton-cum-Hardy. It seems that for Colin the nightmare was never-ending.

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