Derek Chittenden, main man of Hejira racing passed way just before Christmas. Back in the 80s he supplied many racers and road riders with Spax shocks to replace the OE LC shock, and also fabricated racing chassis and swingarms for use with LC, TZ and YPVS motors, winning national championships in the process. I knew him well and he was a lovely man, very generous with his time and information.
I bought a Spax shock off Derek and was so impressed I asked if he could make a box section swingarm for my LC. He could, he did and it was excellent. He also supplied a set of Marzocchi 35mm forks to calm down the front end. A few years later I got him to build a rolling chassis to house a YPVS motor. The photos are somewhere on this site I think. His engineering was first rate and he always seemed to come up with an elegant solution to a problem. I'll miss him.
I didn't realise the swingarm I had was a Hejira item until after I sold the bike. Someone told me he made a batch of them for racing at the IOM - not sure if that's correct or not ? I also had a Spax on an Lc project bike, with "Hejira" carved into the top of it;
That is a lovely job. Derek persevered with steel frames and swingarms (normally box section) after aluminium frames became the norm, but then stole a march on pretty much everyone by going straight to carbon fibre. He had lots of friends and acquaintances in the F1 world, all of whom were bike nuts and all of whom lived and worked in the F1 'silicon valley' around Brackley/Bicester/Buckingham. I remember walking into Derek's workshop in summer 1990 and being totally gobsmacked to see a CF chassis and swingarm on stands awaiting the fitment of a Rotax single cylinder engine for a race bike. This was well before even Cagiva had a working CF chassis.