Author Archives: JD

The Chequered flag

Racing flags are traditionally used in auto and motorcycle racing and similar motorsports to indicate track condition and to communicate important messages to racers. Typically, the starter, (sometimes referred to as the grand marshal) of a race, waves the flags atop a flag stand located at the start/finish line. But the most well-known is the chequered flag.

The chequered flag (or checkered flag, USA) is displayed at the start/finish line to indicate that a race is officially finished. At some race circuits, the first flag point will display a repeat chequered flag (usually on the opposite side of the circuit). The flag is associated with the winner of a race, as they are the first to “take” the win, (in other words, to pass) the chequered flag.

Upon seeing the chequered flag and crossing the finish line, participants are required to slow to a safe speed, and return to their pit garage, parc fermé (French: “closed park”), or paddock, depending on the applicable regulations of the series. Some pits are just that, pits.

Status flags are used to inform all racers of the general status of the course during a race. In addition, green, yellow, red. black and other flags may in modern racing, the waving by marshals and flags, be augmented or replaced by high-intensity lights at various points around the circuit.

There is no standard design for the chequered flag. Although it nearly always consists of alternating black and white squares or rectangles arranged in a chequerboard pattern, the number, size, and length-width proportions of the rectangles vary from one flag to another. Also, the chequered flag typically has a black rectangle at the corner of the flag closest to the top of the flagpole. There have been instances of the black and white squares being painted onto a wooden board and simply held up for participants to observe at the finish line.

It is said the chequered flag originated in 1906 at the Glidden Tours, a road rally held by the AAA in the USA. Sidney Walden divided the courses into sections; the time check at the end of each section was performed by race officials called “checkers”. These checkers used chequered flags to identify themselves.

The earliest known photographic record of a chequered flag being used to end a race was from the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup race held in Long Island, New York.

There is a persistent urban legend claiming that the flag originated in horse racing, but there is no basis for this myth. Another myth claims that the chequered flag’s earliest known use was for 19th century bicycle races in France, but this claim also has no evidence. Another suggestion is that excited ladies waved a chequered tablecloth to indicate to the spectators and racers that the racing was over and it was time to come and eat. But who can tell the now distant past?

The waving of twin chequered flags at the end of a race is also sometimes used. This tradition was accredited to USAC Duane Sweeney at the Indianapolis 500 in 1980 by waving twin chequered flags vigorously at the end of the race. Previously, only a single flag had been used.

In some instances, the winner is handed the chequered flag to celebrate the win with a victory lap.

Today the chequered flag is not only used for racing but has become a representation of the automotive industry itself.

Racing’s Holy Grail is the Chequered flag.

Retrieved from the lost archives by JD. Artist/photographer unknown, it is a great picture!


Model MT-9, produced in 1971-1974 a total of 189463 were made.

Quite a bit of time passed since the day the prototype MT-8 motorcycle laid the foundation for the Dnepr K-650 family, and at the end it gave way to its successor, the MT-9, on the conveyor of the Kyiv Motor Plant.

The new “Dnepr” got rid of some of the ailments of its predecessor and acquired in addition a number of valuable qualities. This primarily concerns the power unit – the engine and gearbox. Heavy motorcycle riders know how difficult it can be to turn around in a tight spot or pull a loaded machine out of the mud. For the owners of the MT-9, these procedures are greatly facilitated – its gearbox is equipped with a reversing gear. Another novelty – automatic clutch disengagement when shifting gears – is also used for the first time on heavy motorcycles. By the way, the switching mechanism itself has undergone a reconstruction, thanks to which the reliability and clarity of its operation have significantly increased. The inclusion of a neutral gear is indicated by a sensor and a green lamp located in the headlight.

Other changes aimed at increasing the life of the engine include the introduction of valve caps on the valve stems, bronze bushings in the rocker arms, as well as removable steel racks that prevent wear of the mounting hole of the rocker arm axis when its fastening is loosened, and a more advanced pressure reducing valve, which improved the operation of the system lubricants. It has become double: a ball valve is installed inside the plunger, which bypasses excess oil in cases where the flow area opened by the plunger is not enough.

The new K-301B carburetor provides the motorcycle with higher dynamic and performance qualities. In addition, it is more economical, especially at high speeds, and it is easier to adjust it for the synchronism of the cylinders.

A cast crankshaft with thin-walled white metal “automobile” liners has proven itself well on MT-8 engines. After 40 thousand kilometers, the connecting rod journals of the shaft have practically no wear, so it was used on the MT-9 without change. To improve the ride quality of the motorcycle, the stroke of the rear wheel suspension shock absorbers has been increased, and stepwise adjustment of the “stiffness” of the spring in them is provided. It is pressed depending on the load of the vehicle and the nature of the road. Increased to 150 mm ground clearance allows travel on bad roads and rough terrain.

The MT-9 is equipped with turn signal lights. Design and technological improvements have significantly increased the durability of the motorcycle. The warranty period is now 18 months, and the mileage before major repairs is at least 40 thousand kilometers.

We are confident that the owners who comply with all the requirements of the motorcycle maintenance and operation manual will significantly exceed this figure and will be satisfied with the new MT-9.

В. СВЯТНЕНКО, конструктор
V. SVYATNENKO, designer
Kyiv City


M-100 1040cc

At the IMZ plant in the 1960s came a special model designed (under the control of Special Design Institute at Surpukhov), produced and released in small series of special 1040cc, model M-100 in solo and sidecar versions for servicemen in police uniforms and epaulettes. IMZ factory data sheet states the M-100 was produced in small series from 1963 until 1969.

The Ministry of Public Order Protection intended to provide traffic inspectors with complete superiority over all traffic on the roads of the Soviet Union. The tactical and technical requirements of a special-purpose motorcycle were laid: a powerful speed of 150 km/h for a solo and 120 km/h for a sidecar.

Additional conditions required: enhanced rider comfort and weather shields. It was necessary to install special equipment: a radio transceiver station ” Mars”, a speech amplifier, a high-volume siren, special flashing headlights with red filters and other police attributes. The “prescription” required direction indicators, brake lights, 12-volt electrical equipment, hydraulic brakes of the 4.00×17 wheels, parking brake on sidecar models – all this was not yet used in the serial production of the domestic motorcycle industry. And last but not least, a secondary requirement: the motorcycle must have the appearance of a powerful, high-speed vehicle and stand out against the background of other transport.

The rider’s seat was made special – leather, like a “Harley”. The analogue was a specially purchased “fresh” police version of the “American” of 1962 release. This Harley-Davidson sits today in the Irbit Motorcycle Museum.

Deadlines were pressed, and the head of the sector V. Konovalov took the easiest path of least resistance. As a basis they took the chassis from the M-63 that had just appeared in the series. Unlike older models, it had a rear swingarm with hydraulic shock absorbers, and fulfilled its assigned task. The first two samples (with and without a sidecar) were readied by the autumn of 1963, and by January 1964 they were tested in a run length of 10,000 km.

On the M-100, the 1040cc engine with a bore & stroke of 92x78mm, deserved special attention. At 4500 rpm and a compression ratio of 6.5 on gasoline with an octane number of 72, the engine produced 40 hp. At the summer tests of the TsKEB of the motorcycle in Serpukhov, the first samples did not reach the expected speed: 132 km/h solo and 108 km/h with a sidecar.

A number of significant shortcomings were revealed. The most obvious was excessive wear of the rear tire (tyre, sic). Increasing the compression ratio to 8 led to the need to use gasoline with an octane number not lower than 85.

The development of the vehicle’s siren was another challenge. The initial siren version simply ran by contacting on the rear tire and did not work at a standstill. Besides, this unit often failed, because of dirt and mud, from which there is no escape. The solution of the mechanical siren is worth mentioning, as it first appeared on the M-100. V. Konovalov and the engineer of the sports department V. Sokolov received an author’s certificate. In the new version, the siren was placed over the right engine cylinder – the drive was excited directly by a shaft from the flywheel of the engine. At first, the drive was activated by a hand lever located on the left side of the handlebar, below the clutch release lever, using a cable. Later, a pedal located at the driver’s right footrest, adjacent to the rear brake pedal. And it was a screamer! Ear-piercing, even at idle, at 4000rpm more like a small air-raid siren. I have heard it, so I know!

In the summer of 1965, three corrected samples were submitted to Serpukhov for new tests. This time, the speed limits set by the policemen were obeyed by the M-100. Although some shortcomings remained. The motorcycle though, mainly met the tactical and technical requirements.

There was still the problem of tires. On a solo, the rubber withstood about 4000 km, and with a sidecar, only from 800 to 1800 km. And then the customer (finally!) realized: you cannot do with a universal tire. It is necessary to apply various variants of rubber, select them depending on the type of motorcycle (solo or sidecar), the condition of the road surface, and the time of year.

But improvements to the design’s hardware continued. Three samples of the M-100 again passed interdepartmental tests in Serpukhov. And only after them they dared to make the first batch of 12 motorcycles with a sidecar. They were issued in December of 1967 and sent to Moscow for the Traffic Police.

Extra equipment included optional electro-siren, loudspeaker, fire extinguisher, medical first-aid kit, tablet with night lighting, and portable lamp, side stands for solos.

The estimated volume of orders for the M-100 exceeded 1500 units per year. The plant, already loaded with serial production, and not having special workshops for small series production, was not ready to manufacture so many new machines. In addition, the problem of tires remained unresolved.

Therefore, the Ministry of Public Order Protection was offered an existing model with near real capabilities of IMZ: a patrol motorcycle based on the M-63, the M-63П (M-63P Eng.), produced from 1969 to 1970.

These vehicles, equipped with additional police equipment, turned out to be much cheaper than the M-100. Maybe the price was the last straw that influenced the decision in favor of the M-63P. And in 1969 (having received, however, further numbers of M-100), law enforcement agencies switched to patrol “sixty-threes”. Moscow employees who worked on 1040cc motorcycles, despite their “childhood diseases”, preferred them, rather than serial motorcycles M-63П.

But alas, the wonderful motorcycles M-100 did not appear at the right time. What a pity… It was an outstanding motorcycle.

The existing fleet of M-100 motorcycles drove until completely worn out, thick reports fell on the shelves of the archives, and the M-100 was forgotten.

sources: Alexander Bulanov, Steve Wiggins, Moto, Oppozit

You can find data sheets for the M-100 and M-63П here:

Friday photo

I was scavenging in the archives of the old site and found this. I believe the bike is a Pannónia, a brand of motorcycle manufactured in Hungary. It’s hard to see the bike with all that sidecar and the girl, but it’s a good photo.

source: internet, unknown. Retrieved from the archives.