A tale of 2 factory 660 rally's (thread title change)

Discussion in 'Australia' started by richo360, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. richo360

    richo360 Long timer

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    He who dies with the most toys, still dies. (unknown)

    Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like hell. (Peter Brock)

    You only get one shot at life, fuck it, just do it. (me)


    Here is something I recently acquired, so thought I’d put this up for a read.

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    A 2003 factory KTM 660 rally, which aren’t all that common. Not just any, but Andy Caldecotts bike from his first Dakar attempt in 2004, and the 2004 Australia Safari. It even has stages of the Aust Safari still in the map roller.

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    I didn’t set out to buy this, but after I was alerted to it, I had to go have a look. I’d sort of had an idea in the back of my mind to buy a factory 660 RR or 690 RFR if a good one came up (as they do very occasionally), but there was no plan to actually do it until I went and looked. And looked some more. And the seller (Jason) was happy for me to drop cash on him over a number of weeks… dammit, just what I needed. Pfft, done deal.

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    But anyway, so it’s in the shed, and I’ve been doing some research on its background.

    Delivered to Australia in March 2004, its history commenced before that. Don’t quote me on some of this, I don’t have the rally background or knowledge, so some of this may be off, or my understanding and not 100%.

    Whilst Andy qualified for Dakar after finishing the Morocco and Tunisia rally’s, I don’t believe, or am not sure if he did those events on this particular bike.

    What I do know was that after the town of Keith managed to help Andy raise around $80,000 for the entry in 2003, the bike was arranged by Jeff Leisk for Andy in Europe, and he did compete at Dakar in January 2004 on it, up until he broke his left foot whilst in 3rd overall on the ninth stage. Impact with a big clump of tussock grass I heard/read somewhere. He completed that stage, then retired.

    I’ve had a word with Lee Palmer at Crossroads in Grafton, who was the KTM Team Mech at Dakar that year (amongst others)… from a story in Dirt Bike magazine, apparently after a few early stages where Andy impressed with his speed, Lee coordinated the fitting of a big banger factory 700 race motor to this bike as well as full factory suspension, and the story in the mag (written by Andy after the event) does comment on a dramatic difference these bits made. Sadly (for me) the ‘stock’ parts were put back in after he had to retire…

    This is confirmed by the fact that this bike does have ‘different’ rear tanks, and the battery (normally under the seat a-la 640 Adv and other 660’s where the battery sits up high between the rear tanks) is actually located in front of the shock, under the carb, to allow for the different intake tract on the race motor. Lee has confirmed this configuration was required, and hence the different (and very rare) tanks that actually hold over a litre more fuel than the ‘stock’ factory rear tanks.

    After Dakar in 2004 the bike was delivered to KTM HQ in Perth on 27th March (my birthday, an omen?). Due to his foot injury, it wasn’t ridden for a while, but it was later rolled out for the Aust Safari in late 2004. Of over bike 60 starters, there was a heap of retirements that year, apparently (primarily) due to bad fuel. I’ve heard this particular bike drowned in a river crossing out west of NSW and was got going again (thanks Troy SC), then I believe it burnt a valve seat and was subsequently retired, so Andy was a DNF that year. The map roller still has the race route notes on it from the final stage before retirement.

    Others in the 2004 Safari include Homer (John Hudson) who won his class on a 450, Darren Wilson (Winna on here) and Craig Hartley of Dalby Moto on another factory 660 rally who tells me managed to DNF after his bike pulled a barrel stud out of the cases (detonation due to bad fuel?).

    In 2005, Andy was given a Dakar ride on the green Motorex 660, so this particular bike was retired to sit in his shop. If your'e ever that way, the 2005 Motorex bike is in a museum in Hahndorf SA. The 2006 660 is held by a collector in Qld, after being auctioned off a few years ago to raise funds for Andy's family

    The previous owner (whom I bought it from) heard it was for sale, so travelled to Andy's shop in Keith in mid 2005 and bought it, paying KTM/ Jeff directly. For 12 years he owned and rode it occasionally, including the northern part of the CSR, various trips through Wonnongatta to Bright and return, and the Dog fence.

    There’s two of his riding mates down in south Gippsland who also have 660 rallys – one was bought new from KTM in 2005, and the other is an 03 purchased second hand from Alice Springs in 05, which I think may have been Craig Hartleys Aust Safari bike… not sure on that though. At least one of these two is currently up for sale if anyone is interested… bring your cheque book. Dr AT knows these guys apparently.

    Steve Kuzco (Stiffy), ex Wattsy mechanic and owner at KSP in Wodonga has had a bit to do with it in terms of maintenance over the years, which is good to know.

    But in reality, Jason told me it really wasn’t ridden that much, but largely sat in his shed, particularly over the last 5 years where it was wheeled out every six months to ride around the block (literally). A lack of use, and perhaps he was sick of looking at it brought about a sale listing and dealing with tyre kickers (some ass clown sat on it with the stand down and managed to snap the alloy stand…. ) until I came along.

    I’ve done some internet based research, scrolling through old articles and stories on Dakar and the Aust Safari… noting some of the pics were printed in ADB and AMCN. A quick call and I was down at their Vic office in Oakleigh chatting to Mark and Dylan, who pulled up some pics and stories from the Dakar archives (including the 4 page article written by Andy himself) and stories and pics on the Australia Safari. They are keen to do a photo shoot on the bike in the future.

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    I’ve gotten onto a few other people about the place with knowledge and background with these events, as well as people who knew Andy, and continued to amass knowledge and pics and useful info.

    I still want to have a chat to Jeff Leisk (maybe at next years KTM Rally? ) and see what he can remember, but there’s been a heap of water (bikes?) under the bridge in the last 13 odd years, so don’t hold my breath on his ability to recall specifics.

    So what to do? Choices are to restore it and polish it and look at it every day in my lounge room, until it becomes a dust collector/clothes horse… nope.

    Or ride it. Yep. It needs to be ridden.

    Actually, the long term plan is a bit of the latter, and then the former, then maybe ride it again on extra special occasions.

    The bike came with the 2004 Dakar side shrouds and wheel hugger front guard still with the stickers on them (as per pics taken at the time), and a dig through the box of bits has revealed the Dakar 72 race number stickers off the rear tanks. Win. Also I’ve had a chat to Andys mate who owns Keith Signs and he reckons he will still have the decals etc on file, so can be reproduced.

    So somewhere down the track a full resto is a possibility.

    For now, its got a fresh set of rubber (trying a GT 723 rear, Pirelli Scorpion Rally front ) and a fresh set of filters and oil…. Special order Motorex KTM 20w60 racing. Lee Palmer has been a great source of knowledge on bits and pieces incl what oil to run, and my plan is to (at some point) get the bike to him for a strip down and looksee at its internals as part of a total rebuild/freshen up. I reckon he’s the only bloke I’ll trust with it, given his background and knowledge. Besides, Winna threatened to do things to me with a blunt object if I took it anywhere else.

    I found a local master tig welder and machinist who builds race bikes in his spare time for a few local teams, and hes done a brilliant job of repairing the side stand. (Interesting guy, also works with Aust Superbike teams, Glenn Seaton Racing etc amongst others) He’s also got the job right now of repairing / machining up a new RHS muffler body as its got dents and gouges in it (Jason tells me he dropped it in a riverbed in Wonongatta).

    So whats it like to ride? Interesting, and not what I expected.

    Remembering it’s a big single with a big carb, its sort of reminiscent of a 640 Adv off the bottom, but lumpier. Everyone should hear this exhaust note at least once in their life…. Glorious.

    The clutch grabs, hard, like an on/off switch making it sometimes tricky to get off the line. I was expecting a big midrange hit and a frightening top end, but no. Sure, it motors, and it does gather speed through 3/4/5 way faster than you realise, but in reality it’s the torque of this engine that makes it so good. Theres no screaming 10,000 RPM redline. It would easily account for 640/690’s, but somehow doesn’t seem scary to ride at all. I reckon it would trounce an SE until well over 120-130. At least.

    One thing I did come to realise is that ear plugs are mandatory. The twin pipes are tapered over their full length, effectively trumpets, and the mufflers are resonators only (amplifiers more like). Riding it is akin to having a couple of cannons pointed at the back of your head, and after an hour the noise is obnoxious even if you’re going deaf like me.

    Handling and suspension wise, whilst the forks feel a little harsh on initial travel at lower speeds, they do start to work as the speed increases. (At about 92 kegs I’m probably 10kgs lighter than either Andy or the previous owner). I never gave the rear a thought, so it must work ok.

    Like a lot of rally style bikes, you don’t give the nav tower a second thought within 10 mins of riding it. Sitting on the bike, I can see the ground 3 metres in front, so the overall positioning is good. One thing I’ve noticed is the footpeg height…. When standing, I feel like I’m 3 meters off the ground, it seems way higher than anything I’ve ever ridden. And the transition from sitting to standing is probably the easiest of any bike I’ve ridden too.

    I reckon its probably about the same weight as my previous HARD kitted 690r…. but feels lighter in the way it rides, probably due to the suspension set up. I never felt a sensation of bulk, but being a (relative) short ass at 175cm, it is tall, ie one foot on the ground at a time when stopping.

    So anyway, enough of my rambling… just thought Id put this out there, as these things are relatively rare, and I don’t think too many punters have had a chance to ride a full rally bike (I never had). And no, don’t ask…….

    I plan to get it out from time to time, but given the scarcity of parts supply (ie fuel tanks, shrouds etc – ive heard pistons are something like $4500), I’m hesitant to ride it too much or punt it too hard.. I’ve got others in the shed for that.

    You never know, it may make the occasional bush ride appearance or even a rally somewhere.

    (Pics being loaded later today)
    #1
  2. Jaybee750

    Jaybee750 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Eastern Suburbs Mexico (Vic)
    Or i can ride it for the rally next year.......:clap
    #2
  3. BOOTLACE

    BOOTLACE Bikie Scum. Supporter

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    Well done old chap!

    :clap
    #3
  4. GSnovice

    GSnovice Beer me up, Scotty!

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    SE Qld
    Pure bike porn - thanks for sharing!
    #4
  5. richo360

    richo360 Long timer

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    Some more pics...
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    Jaybee, you're dreaming.
    #5
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  6. ferals5

    ferals5 Grumpa

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    Goulburn, Australia
    Congrats and pleased to hear it will be out n about :clap
    #6
  7. lentil

    lentil King of the Dad Joke and Senior Status Legume Super Moderator

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    Horn jellyfish

    That is all
    #7
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  8. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

    Joined:
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    That is a thing of beauty. Congratulaions. You lucky bastard eh.

    At $4.5k a piston I'll be sticking with the 640 and using my imagination (free). It would be nice to be cashed up but.......
    #8
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  9. Hoges

    Hoges Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
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    Sunshine Coast Australia
    Wow man that's an awesome background of a great bike, sounds to me like it has gone to an owner who understands and appreciates the bike for what it is. Good stuff, lucky bugger.
    #9
  10. enookway

    enookway Are we having fun yet?

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    904
    Location:
    Leeton NSW
    Piece of Oz Motor Racing history!

    I know there was a thread some time ago on compliance plates for these things............So is this ADR'd, or has it been registered by some other means?

    Or shouldn't I ask:hide
    #10
  11. mcguyver

    mcguyver Long timer

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    That is fantastic. Congratulations.
    #11
  12. OneOff

    OneOff Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
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    345
    Location:
    S.E.Qld

    Sooo.... Waditcostya???


    :hide
    #12
  13. OldDog

    OldDog non impediti ratione cogitationis

    Joined:
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    Oh? I didn't know you bought a 660 Richo (said tongue in cheek @troy safari carpente )

    But seriously, congratulations mate. They really are a revelation to ride, and with all that history! I'm glad you've taken a considered approach to the bikes history actually, I think we all still hold Andy's memory dear. One thing I can say is, don't ever sell it, you'll never find another! Enjoy the ride :)
    #13
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  14. Kiwirich

    Kiwirich Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    978
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    Toowoomba Australia
    Well done ....
    An exceptional purchase and with your interest it'll give you pleasure for years

    Keep the updates coming
    #14
  15. richo360

    richo360 Long timer

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    Well, it does have rec reg here in Vic...
    I saw Coma's Dakar winning 06 660 bike was for sale recently for 45,000 euro...
    This was a lot less than that. :) but still the most exxy bike I've ever bought.
    Did I need it? No.
    Did I want it ? Hell yep.

    Got a few things to fix, and I'm sort of planning to ride over to be in Andy's home town on 9 th Jan, to have a beer in the pub where they used to hold a drink in his name annually.

    More updates as things progress. Which may be slowly.
    #15
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  16. ktmgeoff

    ktmgeoff Remember it's not a race!

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    How the hell did Nevgriff miss out on this bike ?? :photog:lol3
    #16
  17. richo360

    richo360 Long timer

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    Probably cos it's not a minibike
    #17
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  18. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Free at last, free at last!
    Bewdy!! :raabia
    It's gone to a discerning owner - just not me! :wings
    Congrats - you have a unique piece of history and you're clearly smart and sensible enough to care for it, as it deserves. :thumbup
    "We never truly own these machines - we merely have the privilege of paying their bills for a while..."
    #18
  19. bigborett

    bigborett Hipster Supporter

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    We should get it out and thrash it a little before the rebuild Richo. Line it up against the 690 in a straight line, have a little fun then rebuild and put in the lounge room.

    By the way, you will get very nice pistons made for less than that, a lot less.
    #19
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  20. Brute

    Brute Melbourne , outer east .

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    Oddometer:
    1,747
    Very nice Richo , and some great research on the history .
    #20