Playin with DC

A work in progress with two links for videos: More when I get it.

 

 

The last day of June and the first day of July can be some hot fun time, at Barber Motorsports Park. Great turnout as all love everything about Barber.  Back at the finest campus we go to race at, and for that very special time of year as well. Happy Independence Day America!

Starting off with only a few hours sleep the night before, the Saturday morning ride was pretty much uneventful. At Barber, all four tiers were full of activity, except for the helo-port section, which never got used, thankfully.

Barry made his first Barber event which was all but a full house. He had his newly mounted and balanced tires on the rims he’d laced and trued. Having purchased a new canopy, he was the shade mister in our pit, having lost two myself, in the past year, I’ve been holding off. We looked over his bike and made a list of future considerations for when budget allows, a missing screw here, a cotter pin there, and we cleared up as many of the obvious aesthetic issues, you know, the longer you stared at it kinda discrepancies.

His Conti bias tires looked like they were ready for almost any type of terrain, although chosen for their rain grip tread pattern. The after-race conversation about evaluating the performance of the new tires came down to a misreading of the tire pressure, one more experience not to be repeated.

One item to note is that Barry’s first “tag” on the track was not recorded as I had, in all the circling round pit out area to keep cool, had not started the camera till after the first half lap. We had heat, we had a delay after we had headed out of our canopies while wearing full leather suits in the direct sun, or… in the shade with absolutely no breeze to speak of. Leaving the “Hotlanta” area only to find North Alabama in the see you, and raise you one mode, was fun, but not so cool.

Others of the last few remaining Vintage smaller bike racers in WERA included: Jerry Duke (Ducati 350 single), DC Clark (V3 class on a Yamaha RD400, David Hurst (V1/V3 class on his Yamaha DS7)  I saw Harry Vanderlinden’s name on the results for having not started. He’s an AHRMA guy who takes control of the Vintage Superbike Middleweight class on his 550cc powered bike in a class that goes up to 1000cc. Hope to meet him someday.

500GP was the 14th race of the day, so after practice was over, we spent the day keeping track of what race was in motion at the time.  By the time we got the track it was hot and bone dry, however, just an hour or two before, the racing was called on rain, I assume for standing water on the track??? After a short delay and clearing skies, racing resumed.

The 500GP saw 3, count them, 3 bikes in the grid. Barry’s and my Honda 350 twins and Jerry “Champ” Duke on his Ducati 350 single. We were in the back of the pack for our grid… however, as we had discussed before the race, there were those two pesky Ninjas behind us that we were both supposed to make sure they had room to get by, if they hadn’t passed us by turn 1. Barry left no room at turn 1 as he all but clipped the white line and met one of the Ninjas in turn 1. No harm, no fowl and two had the opportunity to learn on the same event.

By halfway around the track, the breeze of the race speed began to cool things off,  I realized I hadn’t turned on the camera, before the second zig-zag. Hitting the power button confidently, I waited till after the second zig-zag, at a much faster pace, I hit the start record button just before the last turn set. So, be prepared to see a race as if, “returning to our regularly scheduled program” midstream.

I’m leaving the two videos to speak for themselves and back to working on the KZ440 for its next race. FYI, yes, the titles of the videos are one day off from actual dates recorded.

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First Completed Race in 2019

The Friday night drive to Tally for a night of track camping before the race was replaced by an early departure Saturday morning, in the cold rain. As predicted, around 8 AM the rain in Munford, Alabama came to a drizzly stop. At around 50 degrees with only 63 as the predicted high temp, with a puddle soaked track, and some occasional wind gusts, I let both practice sessions go by while I tried to catch up on only 3 hours of sleep.

The WERA Vintage contingent included Jerry Duke, Dick Gruhn, DC Clark and myself pitting next to the Race Tech area. We had 2 two stroke racers Dick and DC and 2 four stroke.  Jerry and I made up total of the 500GP grid with our 350GP race bikes.  Hopefully more riders interested in vintage motorcycle racing will join us on the track this year?

Soggy ground, dark overcast skies, and a cold dry wind left bike mud sprayed, tread filled, and less than optimally warm.  This was difficult to believe as the February visit to Lil Tally was T-shirt weather. By the time bikes took to the track for racing, the track had been dried up during practice sessions. Freshly cleaned and dried, that was one nice surface to race on. Would have been even better with sunny skies to make a track hot with excitement.

Just before Race 12, the V3, V4, 500GP and FSS race, the sun came out with one large chunk of blue sky making for a nice change of pace and perkier attitudes. By the time we gridded up, the overcast skies were back, making things better for video recording. We took the warm up lap and proceeded to our grid positions.

My start was interesting. My bike was behaving quite well. My motor timing and carbs seemed to be ideally suited for the weather conditions. 11,000 RPMs was easy to reach taking advantage of all of the power in the red-line range. This proved to be the case with my barely discernible wheelie at the start. The clutch grabbed and held, the bike began to lean to the left at the end of the wheelie, and as usual, Jerry tore a path to turn one that was phenomenal. Shift to second gear sent the front wheel to the clean asphalt and I was in hot pursuit of the Duc.

Lil Tally is the one track where my 350 Honda has half a chance to keep up with Jerry Duke, on his Duc. The freshly configured 2.15″ rims, front and rear, to support the Continental Classic Attack street radial tires brought the chicken strip size down to 1/4″ to 1/8″ in the front and a barely discernible edge in the rear. This supports the latest information released from Continental now stating that the 90/90-18 Classic Attacks will support a 2.75″ wide rim. My results tell me that 2.5″ or 2.75″ rims would be ideal.

The benefits received in this configuration for racing include: The small low profile wide footprint tire yields a wheel/tire outer diameter much closer to the end result of a 17″ wheel’s gyroscopic characteristics. The tire portion of the wheel is much lighter than larger tires at the outermost portion of the spinning mass. And of course, the Continental Classic Attack secret ingredient (race rubber on demand) makes for one nice handling dry track tire.

With all the benefits working in my favor, I tried to brake as late as possible, hitting the gas early as possible, and maintaining as much speed through the curves as possible. Jerry would power pull away from me out of each turn and I’d gain as much as I could going into each. The one right hand curve at Lil Tally can be an ongoing mind game, if you let it. This was one area where gaining on Jerry gave me great advantage over the rest of the track.

It was our fourth pass through the right hander when as I closed on him, I saw his hand up in the air. Glancing rapidly and seeing no red flags, I flew past him putting as much space as possible, in case it was a trackside fix issue. The rest of the race was the completion of my tire/wheel configuration test and all scored highly, above my expectations.

When it was all said and done, I was the only vintage racer to score points on the track at Lil Tally on 4/20.

One thing to note about racing with modern bikes flying by us on the track, is the amazing racing skills of Ms. Kayla Yaakov, as she so smoothly flies by. With a race finish time 24 seconds ahead of her closest competitor, I always smile and try to learn as much as I can, for the short time she’s within in my sight.

Race times for Race 12, Clubman, V3, V4, 500GP, FSS race posted at Speedhive.com

The next race realistically reachable would be the Roebling Road Raceway weekend with WERA on May 18th and 19th. Hope to see you there!

 

 

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Motor Swap Complete, Fine Tuning to Go!

While swapping out the KZ440 motors, I’ve come to a conclusion that there was a change in the production process right about the 25,000 unit mark as the two motors were about 250 apart in serial number, but the clutch cable no longer connected on top of the right engine case. It is now run along the left side of the engine to the front of the sprocket cover. The engine proved to be a good runner using the original CV carbs.

The next step is to configure up my next “Cheapjack” modifications. Been following the Z400 page of FB about the carburetion conversion to direct slide carbs. Most contributors point out the cylinder size of 4 cylinder bikes still comes down to around 29mm carbs, per cylinder, at around 200/220cc per cylinder. So, the next step is to install the pair of Mikuni carbs  ($20 each) and hopefully a CB200 throttle cable will span the distance. Add an oil change before taking the bike for some test riding at Bike Week 2019, then Savannah to race Saturday March 16th at Roebling Road with WERA and the 500GP gang.

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Season Opener Blow Up!

The Z440 motor developed a knocking noise during the first Vintage Motorcycle Road Race of 2019. Skipped racing on Sunday in hopes of swapping out a motor I bought to soup up, but have to go stock again out of necessity. Headed to the barn to pull one and install another in time for next weekend’s race at Roebling Road Raceway.
No video posted, this is the write up for the season opener. And, it’s time to DO rather than writing about doing.
Hopefully I’ll have something exciting to write about next weekend and NOT have to be working on the race bike.
Stay tuned.
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5 Days and a Wake Up!

Winter projects have kept me so busy I am glad I accomplished the rim and tire upgrades immediately after the WERA Grand National Finals at Barber Motorsports Park. New Continental Classic Attack 90/90-18 all round for both the CL350 and KZ400/440 racer on  2.15″ and 2.5″ rims where applicable.  As Red Storm (CB200T punched out to 240cc, high compression, high lift cam on ball bearing journals) is reconfigured, she too will be sporting the same STREET tires on her race frame.

2018 made for a great test experience with the radial tires using what Continental calls “Micro Rough” technology. For the past few years I had been calling it “thumbprint scuffing”. Either way, for double digit racing, it’s Continental’s answer to “Race Rubber on Demand”.

As stated in the 2019 Race Schedule, This Saturday and Sunday represent the first race weekend of 2019. With the traditional WERA season opener at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway just a few days away, it’s time to put the bikes through season opener maintenance. Drain the KZ440 tank and fill both CL350 and KZ440 with fresh premium. Bring tires up to 26 rear and 24 front, lube the chains, charge the batteries and transponder and warm both up to operating temp for an oil change. I will be making that one super duper modification to the Z440 specifically for Lil Tally… the 14 tooth front sprocket replacement for the 15 tooth OEM original. Lil Tally is the one track where I can hope to benefit from such a subtle modification.

If you’re working on your race bike project, get er done! Come join us on the track and have some fun like no other in the process. See you there!

 

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2019 Season Is Upon Us

It’s officially February and the first race it just half a month away. Both the CL350 (Black Bullitt) and the KZ440 have proper width rims sporting the Continental Classic Attack Radials in 90/90-18. A quick charge of the batteries and Lil Tally, here I come.

Get those vintage bikes tuned up and bring them to the track!

2019 Combined Vintage Race Schedule (both WERA & AHRMA) is now posted: https://vintageracer.wordpress.com/race-schedule/

And remember… life begins at 45 degrees, and goes up at a parabolic rate!

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Short Notification Event, Help Spread the Word!

Short Notice, last minute update: Looks like I’m going to have to wish you all the best as well guy. Had a rim rupture as I was lacing up wider rims for the KZ440. Got filing to do on the next rim and I’ll be working on it while ya’ll have fun on the track.

Next Monday, the 19th of November, there will be a special one-time event at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway in Munford (Talladega area) Alabama. Derek Kimes is coordinating an event at Lil Tally where in racers with 1980s (or close proximity/looking) race bikes with lots of track time, cameras recording the event and interviewing individuals.

This is going to be a great chance to get some publicity for vintage motorcycle racing. Help us stir up more interest in our sport. Please spread the word and send the Instagram link to those who may  have qualifying bikes.

I’ll have my KZ440 Vintage Superbike Lightweight on the track. Come join us!

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