This happened in June 2005. The bike had been off the road for a long time. (It hadn't had UK Road Tax in 19 years) so when it passed its MOT test (UK Annual Government Safety Test) on the Saturday, I was elated. I knew I was travelling away from home on the Tuesday. My plan was to return on the Thursday. Can't wait that long.

My new disc lock arrived in the post that day so I filled up the bike on the way with petrol and I parked the bike up in the work's car park. I then fitted the new disc lock that I'd received in the post that morning. (The reason I ventured out into the world with it that day) The car park is not much more than an old storage building but it's fairly secure. The bike was very rough at this point, with a very scabby tank and side panels, so I parked it in between two cars. I hadn't even cleaned the cobwebs off it.

The bike was only on classic insurance, which means it must be stored indoors over night. As this was a strange vehicle to the car park and because it was really intended for cars, (The bike park is in the Railway station-outdoors), I decided to leave one of my posh cards with my name and job on it. At least they would know me, and the bike would be looked after.

As triple owners will know, you can't turn off the fuel on these bikes but as soon as you shut off the engine, the fuel shuts off. (See Fuel System Gremlins )

Well I was away for the allotted time, and returned to the bike after having walked the ¼ mile to the car park from the local Station with the helmet, gloves, padded trousers and jacket, and my over night bag, I got to the car park and punched in the security code.

This is a particularly slow roller door, so as I waited I dressed in the bike protective gear. As the door opened, the smell hit me. Bam ..Fewhhh. Someone's spilled petrol. Of course the first thing to go through your mind is Can't people fix these things, it s pretty dangerous to leave a car a building like this with leaks etc etc .

So I'm moaning about the smell as I walk over to the bike I realise, it's not there. Oh no.
Where the bike was standing is just a gap between two cars. Oh no.

First thought to go through your mind is Oh no, it's been stolen . I don't believe it. Then I thought about what to do next. Who do I call first? There s the embarrassment of telling the local manager that I've had a bike stolen, pushed away, pinched. Ther' s the girlfriend at home who complained bitterly for 3 solid weeks while I got it on the road and she didn't see me, the guys at work who will never let me forget it, the sarcastic lot that they are. Oh no.

So, at this point I have an epiphany. Wait a minute. This is a staff car park right? This is their (Employer) fault for not having a secure car park. That's it. I was straight on the phone to the local manager. No answer. Hmm. I tried the local information reception; I knew some of the staff. Ah, the car park is operated by the people that own the tracks. Ahah.

So as this mental tug of war goes on in my mind I start to sadden. The bike was gone. So I lose a bit of my fight in mid sentence to the Man in Charge. I'm not pleased my Motorbike has been stolen from YOUR car park

He stopped me mid sentence with a blind sider. I never even saw it coming. (Shouting away from the phone) Ah, Bob, that s the guy on the phone about the bike .
Huh? Wait a minute. They re expecting me. Oh no. Dread again. Why. What. How. Oh no.

That's it I thought. The bike must have gone on fire, the bad electrical connections, and the smell of fuel in the building, the damned thing s burned up. Hell. Oh no.

Wrong.

Just come down to the Main office. We had to move the bike. It had a fuel leak. Fewhhh. Relief washed through me as I realised that the bike hadn t been stolen, it hadn t been burned out, and it was alive.

Well nearly right.

They told me where the bike was so I closed up the car park and started off to walk the 100 metres to the open-air car park next door on the way to the office a ¼ of a mile away.

At this point it rained. Very very heavily. Bouncing a metre off the pavements and I got absolutely soaked. I mean just plain Wet through. Even with the bike gear on. Rain dripping off the end of the nose. The whole show. Owh man this was turning out to be a good day (Not)

As these days tend to go, it got worse. Much worse.

As I arrived at the bike, my heart sank again. Anger this time. The bike was lying against the wall. Indicators, grips all scratched. The fuel tank had no paint on one side, the engine oil was all over the place, and the paint on the engine was grey instead of black down one side. The other really annoying thing was the BRAND NEW FIRST TIME FITTED DISC LOCK WAS BENT. (So much for the quality eh?). The bike had been down on its left hand side, for quite a while. That much was clear. Why?

Well there way no way that someone had leaned against it, because they sit pretty far over, and they weight a ton. I really mean they weigh a ton. I can t lift the bike from the side stand unless I m on it. The only explanation was that someone had run into the back of it and pushed it forward off the stand.

So, as I'm a fairly luck guy, I had tools and oil in my bag. Tada. Boy scout or what? I got the bike running and limped it to the offices of the Track Company. Spark plugs don t like oil on them do they? Wet, fed up, angry, sad, and now late I went to the offices.

To cut to the chase, they had called the fire brigade because the local safety rep had been concerned about the smell of fuel in the car park and they didn t know whom the bike belonged to. WHAT! Ahhhh. I left a card on it. Liars, cheats, idiots. Oops, there goes that overactive brain cutting through my line of thought again. What if they charge you for the call out? 6 Firemen at £20 per hour, the cleaning solutions, the roadway blocked (It's quite narrow), OH NO.

Good news, the guy feels sorry for me and says, Never mind no harm done in the end . I'll just call the local British Transport Police and let them know we've found you . Oh no.

When the PC gets there he explains that the bike doesn t appear to be registered to me. (An offence in the UK as your insurance is invalid if you don't own the bike)
At this point the grey cells just about self-destruct. Can anyone else hear that noise? Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh no. The guy s lips are moving but there isn t any sound. I m gonna get a fine for the damage and the time, a fine for not properly registering the bike, and wha' s that? I noticed that you hadn t displayed the tax disc on the bike SIR . Sharp this guy.

Ah-ha. Now this one I had covered. I had it with me. I showed him the disc. The law states that if you leave a vehicle on a public highway you must display a valid tax disc. I hadn t left it on a highway so I hadn't broken that rule. I could actually see the guy's face sink. Ah-ha, he s on the ropes. Move in for the kill I thought . And secondly, how could I get a valid tax disc without registering the vehicle? Come to think of it I have the registration papers here This was the final blow to PC Plod, I had him. He relented, and asked me to hand my remaining details in to the local station within 7 days. (You don t need to carry them with you in the UK).

One down and one to go. The guy in the office clearly wasn't spoiling for fight because he had disappeared. Two down. Free.

The only danger now was if the company I work for decided to discipline me for causing anemergency vehicle despatch to their property. Worry about that later.

The bike was Ok really. Most of the damage was on parts that needed to be replaced anyway so that wasn't too bad. I adjusted the mirrors, straightened the bars and mopped up the mess around the engine and tank. I got the bike home OK.

I really was wiped out that day after travelling for the best part of the day and being away from home, I really needed my sleep. Once I had relayed the story in more detail than this to by long suffering girlfriend, I went to my bed.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I handed in my details the following day and made a point of doing it at the Station Police Office. PC Plod was out but a guy about my age cast a glazed look over my documents and let me go.

Nearly two weeks went by without me finding out who the safety rep was that was involved, or hearing any more about it until one Sunny Sunday afternoon, in the summertiiiiime do do do do .. Sorry. A British Transport Police car stopped outside my house. I'd completely forgotten about the incident 3 weeks before until they got out.
PC Plod.

Oh no. A rush of highs and lows came over me. This is it.
We re looking for the owner of XS750 OK Ok. What?

Yes that s me , Dudumph Dudumph. (What was that odd noise?)

We ve found out what happened to your bike. (Huh? No charges against me?)

Oh great, what happened Dudumph Dudumph. (There it is again! Ah. It's my heart beat)

"Well, it seems the guy from your company fiddled about with it to try and stop the smell of fuel." It was at this point that the pieces all started to make sense. I actually questioned them and discovered that the car park had a security camera. Here s what I think happened.

I reckon that the bike was suffering from Fuel Oil. (See Fuel System Gremlins) this is where the vacuum operated petrol cock should seal when the engine stops. When it fails, it just doesn t. The result is the dripping or pouring of fuel through the airbox onto the ground. (And into the engine) (Click here for a photo of the damage to the side panel. Note the red oxide paint that ran onto the engine from the side panel).

Ah-ha. Only this "Wally" (Note the polite replacement for another word) decided to turn off the fuel. Bzzz. Wrong. The fuel cock has three positions. On (On), Reserve (On), and Prime (Always On). I remembered that when I picked up the bike that the taps were at prime. Hmmm. The guy has tried to stop the flow of fuel and made it worse.

New petrol taps and a carburettor overhaul kit please Mr Part shop owner.

What was worse than that was the reason the fuel had poured out of the fuel cap and the oil out of the engine was they had transported the bike out of the car park on a pallet.

With a forklift truck!!!!

On its side!!!!!!!!

So, in conclusion, if you get fuel in your oil and your engine blows up, I reckon that you ve been lucky. You could have caused an major incident.

Like I did.

Warren