Hot, Wet (with sweat), and Exciting

Having not made it to all the races listed on this year’s schedule due to life’s realities kicking in at inopportune times, I was happy to make the much needed therapy session at Lil Tally on August 19, 2017.  The continually rainy summer in Atlanta had the humidity levels up around 70 percent plus all summer long. Just a day before the races at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, the high pressure system brought in much drier air to significantly reduce the humidity levels. If it hadn’t… the weekend would not have been near as therapeutic.

After a restless night’s sleeplessness, as almost all are the night before a race, I got up early and drove west gaining an hour on the trip to Alabama. I ended up arriving with plenty of time to spare. However, I did appear to end up as the last one in the crowd standing in line for registration having forgotten to pre-register in the comfort of home. Although loud with unforgiving acoustics, the upper floor of the “silo” at Lil Tally does offer a great view of the track and surrounding areas. There was also the camaraderie of the others who had not pre-registered. John Cook was filling us in on his remaining details of his up coming  wedding in September. Jerry Duke was explaining his experiences in vintage racing. D.C. was adding joviality to the early morning while standing in line. All in all, we were reorienting ourselves on our alter-life of club racing with the best guys we could hope to be meeting us at the track.

Working my way to the “usual suspect’s” location where we normally pit at Tally I found Doug in his almost always reserved location. John Cook had assumed a location where I could park next to him. Together, we were playing the “roller skates & key” team work with my generator and his super heavy duty industrial strength fan that kept us cool all day long… so long as we kept refilling my newly acquired generator with gasoline. I must admit that little genny behaved with pride as I applied both 6 week old premium and 98 octane race fuel from the same era from Barber Motorsports Park. The only thing the Sportsman Inverter Generator would not tolerate was an empty fuel tank. John and I also shared my 10′ x 20′ canopy as it was going to take up all the space we had on the pavement anyway.

The Gran Prix vintage group and our entourage was a small set of racers. In attendance was  our big frog in our little pond, Mr. Doug Bowie (the king of 35oGP), John Cook, myself, Jerry Duke, David Clark (A.K.A. “D. C.”), David Hurst, Charles Galt and his only competitor in Vintage 3 class, Mr. Dick Gruhn, as well as David Rutherford (the king of 5ooGP)

We did not see attendance from Jeremy Backer (my closest neck & neck competitor) and one of buddies he showed up with at his last race set, Mr. Ryan Uebelhor, and Barry Hasenkopf, the newbie that I have been providing as much assistance and advice to as a veteran vintage rider could and he has still yet to make it to a track with his ever refining 350 Honda twin. James Walker did not make the Tally run. Mr. Mike Wells was definitely missed and will hopefully be able to join us at Road Atlanta in September. The “yankee team” of Bill Johnson and Bucky Sexton were missed and will be seen by the Grand National Finals, if not before. Special note of Kurt Kesler’s absence as he is one of the true “Mr. Congeniality” racers in the mix.

In the two smoke (2 stroke) world, honorable mention goes out to attendees like Dick Gruhn, Jim Hinshaw, Mark Morrow, Mark Williams, and includes names from the regulars like Charles Galt, Dick Clark, David Hurst, Jeremy Sharer. I wish to thank all of these gentlemen for the mosquito control they exhibited with the clouds of blue that sent all the insect life running for other states within the union;)

The forgiving line up for practice has us vintage bike guys practicing last in the line up, giving us the time necessary to get those old bikes patched up and ready for the race track. As such, by the time we made it out for our first practice session, the track was hot and dry. On this particular race day, our race line up was similar as we (in the 350GP/500GP classes and the Vintage 1/Vintage 2 classes) racing in the 8th and 11th (final) race of the day. For me, this was a blessing. I had not yet re-geared for the Tally shorter track, even though I practiced with the taller gearing for Road Atlanta & Barber Motorsports Park.

Practice went smooth and uneventfully. This left us with plenty of time to clean bikes, change gearing, all but overhaul engines while waiting to race. We got to see plenty of action in the other race classes and it was encouraging to see so many “orange t-shirts” indicative of new novice racers joining the fold. Welcome aboard all.

500GP Tally August 19th, 2017

As race 8, Vintage 2 & 500GP classes, time grew near, we began to suit up and experience the sweat that was caused simply from wearing leather suits, gloves, boots, and full face helmets, once doned. Standing still in this outfit was relieved by sitting in front of John’s monster fan, except for the times when the natural wind blocked the effects of the fan. Eventually, we relocated the fan to work with the wind, rather than against it. Hearing 2nd call for the V2 & 500GP race, we snapped up, mounted the bikes, kicked them to life and headed to pit out. However… we waited for a long time while the automobile traffic crossed the track to exit while traffic from outside came in. Scott Hayes also had at least one crashed/broken down race bike to pick up and I was grateful for the trailer awning that offered the only shade I could find to pull under.

The whistle blew and rounded us up for the warmup lap and we took off. Leaving the visor lifted I felt the drenching sweat begin to cool my face, upper lip, and eyelids, which had collected the salty stinging coolant my body had created. Pulling into my grid position as one of the first in the pack, I started and verified the camera was running.

The start of the race included Jerry Duke popping a wheelie at the start in my peripheral vision as we headed for turn 1. David Rutherford followed in Jerry’s wake as the two of them cut through the Vintage 2 class of riders that started in front of us. Uprighting from the first turn, I saw a nice set of targets to chase and they were pulling away from me. By turn 3, I was on Jeremy Sharer’s tail looking at David and eyeing Jerry who had just made an impressive pass of John Cook. This was impressive as John was in the V2 class of faster bikes. With a few bikes in my class behind me, it was the two ahead of me that had my attention.

By turn 5, I was drafting in David’s wake and trying to look around him to see where Jerry was  advancing in the pack. John still had not regained his position in front of Jerry. My loss of the “big picture” led me to be surprised when Jeremy squeezed between me and what little room I left at the edge of the track. For the first lap, Jeremy had positioned himself strategically between me and where I wanted to be. Turn 1 of lap 2 had me staying on the throttle as Jeremy backed off. By the time I reached turn 3, David was closing on Jerry and the 500GP leaders were all grouped together. The tight right hander had me trailing David then all of a sudden, there was Jeremy again. Just a quick show of a wheel to keep me on my toes and minding my P’s and Q’s.

While straightening up for the back straight, I closed any space that Jeremy might find inviting as I closed on David and Jerry. Pushing hard in turn 1, I got closer. Braking late in turn 3 had me back on David’s tail. The right hand sweeper had me side by side with David and left Jerry in my target sights. Uprighting from the only real right hand turn at Tally I was on Jerry’s 6 and receiving some draft effect.

Jerry left me some space on the inside and my later braking had me passing him through the left hand sweeper before the back straight. I had made it to the front of the 500GP pack, took away all space between me and the outside of the track, tucked in and down behind the GoPro camera as if it was a fairing and I headed toward the last turn set. Both Jerry and David humbled me before I reached the end of the long straight as I followed them through the last turn.

Jerry gave up his lead taking the turn too sharp left him scrubbing off some speed. While I headed toward David, Jerry took me again on the inside of turn 1 and again that left him scrubbing off speed through the turn. Late braking into 3 left Jerry behind me and David became a little closer. David took the right hander a little wide leaving me the ability to creep underneath him and trailing him as we both uprighted. I was able to draft David enough to ride along side him for a short stint.

By this time, David was not being bothered by anyone and began to slide into his groove. I trailed as closely as I could, but noticed the unencumbered 500cc BSA was now in charge and the best I could do was keep up within a few hundred feet. By the 4th or 5th lap, David was looking back to see what was behind him. This is very evident in the video. His favorite place to look back was right after the right hander. I too looked back and noticed that I had at least one turn span between me and the traffic behind me. That was it. Seeing David’s pull away power I knew I’d not be able to sustain overtaking him and I had another race to think about.

I paced myself, maintained my lead on the rest of the racers and kept my head down. The only other traffic I encountered was David Hurst whom I lapped on the outside of the right hander, just before the race ended.

Back at the pits it was time for some water, some more water, and a splash of water on the t-shirt to keep hydrated. Free from my heat insulators (leathers) and having drank to feel safe, I walked over to David’s pit and asked him if he thought he had to work for that trophy. We had a quick chat about the Continental vintage radials I was running and then it was time for me to suit up again. Time to chase Doug in the 350GP class next.

Enjoy the WERA GP500 race video

350GP Tally August 19th, 2017

Again, Jerry had a great start and jumped out in front of me. No sign of Doug yet as we all leaned into turn 1. As we uprighted, Jerry was right in front of me and the two of us were chasing John. Again, Jeremy was bursting onto the scene and surged ahead of me going into turn 3. This is when things got a little hairy. John had a good inside line and proceeded to pass Mark Williams. They “tagged” each other as John miss shifted into a false neutral and Mark turned into John while making the turn unnecessarily tight. It was only a slight bump and nobody got hurt or went down. However, Marks reaction was less than focused as he seemed to forget that he was in the middle of a race. This left him almost stalled right in front of me and I have the footage to show it.

John recovered quickly and Jerry took advantage of the situation with me blocked behind Mark and passed me. The three of us continued down the track until Jerry decided to play dirt bike rider and go off the track in the last turn set. The opportunist in me decided to tuck down, speed up, and wait for Doug. It took him a few laps but he took me on the inside and the production just became the “Doug Bowie Show”.

It’s always a great learning experience to chase Doug especially on tight tracks like Tally. Each turn became a little lesson in motorcycle racing. I trailed Doug for a few laps until I noticed that Doug was gaining on Dick Gruhn who is one of the fastest riders in vintage racing. Dick was obviously having issue with this pack barrelling down on him. Seems he had technical difficulties that caused him to drift back into the GP pack.  I took advantage of Dick’s draft to gain on Doug wherever possible.

This pretty much covered the remainder of the race. The tail end of the race had John, Doug, Dick, at about a hundred yards ahead of me until the very end of the race where David Hurst became part of the pack as he was lapped, one at a time, by the group of riders in front of the camera.

A very honorable mention goes out to Mr. Mark Morrow who first proved that he could lap me (something that is very rare) in the last turn set only to wave me by to join the pack I was chasing. This meant he did not lap me by the time the two of us crossed the start finish line for my 9th lap which would have ended my racing a lap early. What a true gentleman and skillful racer.

It’s been said, and proven true, many times over and over, that you meet the nicest people on a Honda. This was the slogan that Honda had when the 350 twins were on the showroom floor. It holds true even today for all Japanese vintage motorcycle owners. If you’d ever like to experience this phenomenon with the volume turned up, spend a weekend at the Barber Vintage Festival in October. You’ll find it to be great therapy like no other.

Check out the WERA GP350 race on YouTube

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Best Day on the Track, Ever!

July 4th, Independence Day, Weekend has always been special for this freedom loving American. This one will always stay fresh in my memory. Barber Motorsports is what I’ve called the finest campus we go to race at. For years now, WERA has arranged it so that we spend the weekend closest to Independence Day at the finest campus…

Today had other treats to offer. Jeremy Backer made it back to the track after about three years hiatus. He also brought a couple new additions to the track. Ryan Uebelhor showed up on what was once Jamie Brenton’s GP350 race bike. His brother Nolan was present to assist in the pits. Ryan took the WERA rider’s school and signed up for both the 350GP and 500GP races. Also new to the WERA track was  Jeremy Sherer, a Kawasaki Big Horn rider in the 2-smoke category.

It should also be noted that there was a missing contingent who had committed to make the Mid-Ohio races the following weekend and had to forego the Barber racing festivities.

The usual suspects like David Hurst, Jerry Duke, David Rutherford (500GP only), and Doug Bowie (350GP only) were present. They were matched with Jeremy Backer and the two he brought into the mix. It wasn’t the packed grids of AHRMA, but the improvement was appreciated in the two classes. Hopefully, a few more will join us for each race and WERA too will have some full vintage racing grids.

Honorable mentions in the vintage grids include Michael Wagner in the V6 grid, Mark Morrow who again played the national anthem on his coronet, thank you Mark, Dick Gruhn on his tws stroke screaming machines (Quick Bikes), Mark Williams on his Kawasaki green two stroke 500cc triple, John Cook and Charles Galt of the Vintage 1/2 class,  and David Clark, Jerry Duke’s race partner, in the Vintage 3 class. There were plenty more vintage racers there, I just listed the handful I know by name.

Unlike the race schedule we had at Road Atlanta that ended less than 1/3 the way through the race day, we (350/500 GP and V1/v2 classes) had the 8th and 11th (final race for the day) which gave us plenty of time to tweak things like ignition timing, replace float needle seats and seals, and install the new Antigravity battery sent by my sponsor, Sirius Consolidated Incorporated long before the race 8.

In spite of the likelihood of rain throughout the day, we had hot weather and the only sign of rain was the “ooze” that bled from the track and gave all of us something to avoid. The cracks in the track at Barber, having seen rain for the days before our Saturday race, leaked water and whatever came up with it onto the track, leaving a shimmering gloss that if nothing else would cause all of us to try to avoid them whenever leaning at speed. Add high humidity, temperatures peaking at 90 degrees, ever changing cloud conditions threatening to dump on us now and then, and you had a physical and psychological weight upon us all.

Practice was fairly uneventful. The first practice was only a few laps, while the second practice session offered more time/laps on the track so we could mentally note the location of each of the mini/micro rivers of oozing liquid where we’d have prefered dry track.

My motor, which I had pretty much written off as being several years raced without a rebuild got me thinking that I really couldn’t make it any worse. So, after practice and during the long wait until race 8, I decided to experiment with the ignition timing a bit more. Running a Dyna-S electronic ignition off the crankshaft with my OEM stock back up points system on the camshaft, I hadn’t seen any reason to doubt their settings as optimum. I still proceeded to tinker with variables I could change.

First adjustment showed noticeable improvement. Looking on my custom ignition plates I found a some markings and lined up a few of the unmarked etchings. Taking a test ride in part of the parking area of the pits, I felt noticeable improvements. More tinkering lead me to believe I was making notable improvements. Leaving the adjustments at the best performance settings, I buttoned up the side covers and made ready for the first race.

For the previous races this season, I was thankful for the improvements I had induced in the handling with alloy wheels, new spokes and newly laced & true wheels, Continental radial race tires, the SL350 rear hub mated with the CL175 brake plate and shoes, etc… I had been making up for the fatigued engine with pushing the velocity through every turn, gaining in those areas where others had apprehensions, and doing all I could with what I had. The increase in performance had me feeling more optimistic with the races of the day.

Watching the laps remaining on race #7, I began to suit up and make my way to the pit out area. It seems that for some reason, there were two waves of racers that were released to the track. As such, the first wave that I was in had to sweat in the grid while we waited for the rest of the 500GP/V2 Class to join us. What I did not do during this wait was to turn on the camera’s recorder. Eventually, the rest of the racers all showed up together and the countdown began.

I had the best start I’d experienced in a long long time. Next thing I knew, I had past all the racers in the class in front of me and was in the front of the pack. Clearing turn one and heading toward turn two, I remembered to turn on the camera. By this time, there was nobody in front of me. Unfortunately the start was not recorded. What followed was a battle that Jeremy and I had that fully tested my pre-race tinkering.

I enjoyed being in front up until Jeremy took me on the inside of “Charlotte’s Web” where he swooped under me and took the lead. As is usually the case when I believe that I have half a chance to catch up, I went into speed shifting. This is where I pull in the clutch, but don’t ease off on the throttle. I was pleased that at a certain point, Jeremy no longer increased the gap between us. He maintained a constant distance between us as we sped through the museum turn of Barber Motorsports Park and I tracked him from a distance.

We levelled off  heading toward the first zig-zag (chicane) where I noticed I was beginning to close on him slightly. By the time we levelled off after the chicane, I was drafting him and even past him… for a moment. He then surged by and led the way around the sweeping final turn set best viewed from Norton Hill. He was back after a few years without racing, so I had to leave him some room as he tried a few unorthodox techniques. Wide here then tight at the apex, I knew if I hadn’t planned for his maneuvers we were going to collide.

The best feedback I got from trailing him at first was that it seemed that my “tired motor” had just received new life from my canopy tinkering. I was actually closing on him as we approached maximum velocity. I realized I had a chance here if I could avoid slipping back or making any foolish mistakes. We crossed the start/finish line for the first time since the start and I was closing as we headed toward turn 1.

As we approached the first set of right hand turns, Jeremy again went wide while I dipped to the inside. Together we climbed up and out of the mini gravity cavity and headed toward Charlotte’s Web again. Jeremy did a nice job of pulling away from me throughout all of the Web and then museum turn. We’d get closer then further apart.

My theory of the tired motor began to get squashed as I again closed as we neared our top velocity. I draft him after the first chicane and took him before the second. This time, I led across the start/finish line, through turn 1, Charlotte’s Web, the museum turn, the chicanes, Norton Hill, and through the start/finish line again where he took me just before turn 1. We had a race that was going to be down to the wire.

I was back in his draft before the gravity cavity and we raced toward Charlotte. Side by side, we strained to the Web and he eased into the inside of Charlotte’s turn and had the lead again. I drafted him up to the museum turn. He pulled slightly away, then I was drafting him again toward the second chicane. He was barely ahead of me as we approached the second chicane and had me drafting him through the same turn that I ended my previous season at.

Completing this lap, he pulled slightly away from me yet I had closed again by turn one. Following closely, but not being comfortable behind Jeremy, I decided to keep my momentum up and barely overtook him at the museum turn. This allowed me to stay in front all the way through the white flag being waved furiously as I crossed the start/finish line, indicating there was only one lap to go.

I held him off until his strong point and he slide under me on the inside at Charlotte’s Web. With half a lap to go, I was looking for my opportunity to take the lead and keep in till the checkered waved for me. Jeremy didn’t get the usual distance between us after the Web. I drafted him toward the museum turn. I overtook him long before the turn and all I had to do was a more comfortable repeat of the previous lap.

However, that is not how Jeremy saw the conclusion of this race. He kept the throttle wide open and passed me with just enough space to ride the hump and lean hard right, through the micro river and down the back straight. Coming up alongside Jeremy through the first chicane we zig-zagged along side each other and headed toward chicane #2. As this was where we were approaching top velocity, I had a slight advantage and went through the chicane first and in front of him.

Norton Hill was in sight. I kept the inside track of the last turn set and tucked down for the smallest aerodynamic profile. Knowing that the best Jeremy could do was draft me and slingshot past, I just did my best to be the most efficient I could be. Upon crossing the line, I looked back to my left and there was nobody??? However, looking to my right, Jeremy and I were aerodynamically linked and he was travelling faster. We were both excited and I experienced the fastest fist bumps I’d ever shared on a bike.

Jeremy followed me to my pit. We both appreciated the closeness of our racing capabilities and looked forward to race #11 at the end of the race day. It was only one Solo race away, as the heavy experts and novice races were combined in a two wave race. We would play again… real soon.

It would seem that the Antigravity battery (8 cell) really made a big difference. Check out the SCI selection for an Antigravity battery that is correct for your application.

Watch and enjoy the best race I’d ever experienced as Jeremy and I battled for the WERA GP500 race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Best Day Ever, Round II

After the dust had settled over the excitement and I realized that my motor wasn’t quite as “tired” as I thought it was, I became a bit more conscious of the possibility of burning a hole in a piston in the case that I may have advanced my timing too much, so with the engine still hot from the race I pulled my stator cover and back off about 25% of the gains I had just enjoyed. I added the necessary amount of fuel for 7+ laps around the beautifully landscaped track at Barber MSP and checked the battery indicator which told me it was ready for another round of internal combustion battling.

There was only one “combined” race between the 500GP and the 350GP race and I downed 2 1/2 bottles of water, pouring the other half bottle over my T-shirt, hair, and over my face. Not only had I burned a lot of calories exerting my myself on the track, but my body was pumping the water out my pores just trying to keep cool in leathers.

With only two laps remaining in the combined expert and novice modern bike race I began the ritual of donning my chest protector, zipping up all loosened flaps, slid into my gloves, and put my helmet on as the laps remaining counter reached 1.  Pulling the bike of the makeshift stand, I rolled out on pit road and started the bike. The area around “pit out” was blocked off nicely and made for a nice warm up the tires and engine area with no real velocity required. A little bit of lean in the slow turns brought the engine up to temp and slightly warmed the tires for the warm up lap.

This time, we were all released to take the warm up lap and park in our grid positions. Once there, I remembered to start the recorder on the camera. Only a short wait before the countdown began. After a smooth and even start sequence we were all accelerating toward a fast track through turn one. I came upon Jeremy Sherer while leaning into turn one. Only the slightest easing off of the throttle showed Jeremy Backer plowing around Mr. Sherer and the race was on.

Not really fixated on JB (Jeremy Backer), but I did find myself drifting unnaturally wide through turn three while we experienced the rush of the downhill into the gravity cavity before the hill climb that was a horizon event that revealed the stretch toward Charlotte’s Web. JB took his trademark wide to tight (kinda dangerous) transition that put the V1 and F500 class between us before he cleared the crest.

I couldn’t believe that 25 degrees or so in timing shift could cause my 350 stocker to climb past the V1/F500 bikes and be on JB’s tail so quickly. Just halfway to the Web, it was like we were having a flashback to the previous race.  However… there was a new obstacle and he almost cost me a grass slide. As I attempted to take JB before the Web, John Cook showed is V1 powered 350 Honda front wheel to me just in time to admit he was not in the right place for Charlotte’s unforgiving off camber turn and backed off just as fast.

Just as John was out of sight, JB made an abrupt lane change crossing from the outside to the inside in front of me leaving me reacting less than optimally and almost ending up in the grass. My recovery gave John and Doug the chance to step in between me and JB. I was quite impressed with my little bikes response and ability to minimize the degradation of performance.

The straight toward the museum turn led me to believe that there was plenty of time to catch up and start the battle again. Enter Charles Galt. He “showed a wheel”, a racing term for letting another racer know that you’re in his game, and just as quickly eased off before the “museum hump” as his entrance left him on the inside of a very sharp turn ahead.  Approaching the hump, I watched the mob of bikes become a line that graciously fell into a line all trying to find the ideal traversion through the turn without being taken out by one of the micro rivers of ooze that racked our brains all day.

The hump is a concrete portion of the track designed for the small cars that race on the track in order to keep them on the pavement rather than riding the hump that motorcycles are more likely to “jump” over then lean into the turn. Cars don’t quite behave as beneficial as motorcycles that just consider the path as a way to “straighten out the curves”.

Uprighting after the curve, I saw four bikes in front of me, all taking different paths after the micro river avoidance, gradually realigning as some overtook others, heading toward the first of the two zig-zags. Wouldn’t you know it… JB was directly in front of me and our challenge had begun again. A quick draft after the turn set had me passing JB, or so I thought, before the second zig-zag, but such was not the case.  This misconception caused some serious confusion. Compounding the problem was the almost merger of Doug Bowie and Mark Williams at the squeeze of the second zig-zag while JB came back into the picture. This scene is worth playing over and over again to see how “hairy situations” can disappear quickly by doing what you’re supposed to do.

I must admit that Doug really cut close to Mark, but Mark didn’t respond as if flustered as Doug flew by. He also played it cool as JB took advantage of the hole Doug left for him on the Mark’s right while I followed shortly thereafter on Mark’s left. Still in the first lap, we’d had more excitement that most races have in their entirety.

JB took his unorthodox wide setup for a tight cut in front of me, but by this point I had become accustomed to it. I can only imagine that Doug was surprised as JB cut in front of him on the inside of the last turn before the start/finish straight. By the time we left the turn behind us, Doug was behind JB, I was following Doug, and in a good position to draft Doug past JB, or at least very close. JB and I leaned at the same time, side by side into turn 1 but JB kept the throttle on harder than I did through the turn. We had just completed the first lap and beginning the second of six.

Through turn 2, from the inside at the apex Jeremy then drifted wide again only to take a sharp cut toward the apex. However, this time he left space and drifted wide again going through the gravity cavity. We were close. This was becoming a rerun of the previous race. And the two of us had Doug, historically the default winner of the GP350 in all races and all season championships in the WERA GP350 since WERA had Vintage racing, not only in our sites, but we were on his tail. He’s our Big Frog in our Little Pond. However, Jeremy and I were chasing him close, so that had to be a good thing?

All three of us climbed the hill and headed toward the Web. I cut from the outside in most of the way to the inside but left room in case Jeremy was there. I followed Doug and drafted him through the turn. Doug’s pull-away power from his Ducati showed quite nicely, reminding me that Doug, like my late father, knew the art of “beat them just enough to keep them coming back”. If he wanted to Doug could turn this class in the Doug Bowie Show, leaving a separate show for the 350 Honda guys to battle it out, but he leads us on and we follow suit.

As I approached the museum turn for the second time I was close on Doug’s tail and hoping I had put some distance between Jeremy’s bike and mine. Making through the zig-zag where I normally performed better, I saw no sign of my battling counterpart. Doug was getting some good camera time as we past Norton Hill area and as I always try to do when following Doug, I was paying attention to any techniques I might pickup on.

Wrapping up the second lap on Doug’s heals was a rare occasion, so I wondered just how well my engine was doing. Before the second pass through the start/finish line Doug gave a glance back to see what was going on and there I was. I looked back and noticed we had put some distance between us and the bikes behind us.

Turn 1, following Doug’s path, we could see John Cook in front of us just 50 yards ahead. Drafting Doug through the Web, it appeared we were closing on John. The approach to the museum curve had Doug putting some distance between us. Halfway there, Charles Galt flew past me and he closed on Doug over the hump.  Charles made the hump look smooth and effortless as he continued to close on Doug. Not knowing where Jeremy was at this point, I just kept up my pace as Doug and Charles began to pull away.

Maintaining as much velocity as I could through the second zig-zag, I closed slightly. My momentum carried me closer to Charles through Norton Hill and into the last right hand turn of the track. By the time Charles made is final lean, I was all but part of his rear wheel. Levelling off from the last turn set, I was thinking I liked Charles race line better than my own.

Approaching the start/finish line, Doug had pulled away from Charles. Charles was pulling away from me, and still no sign of Jeremy. Charles Yamaha RD400 had some serious power, especially have he had invested in a nice expansion chamber exhaust system that did a nice job of optimizing his performance. Going through turn 1, 2, and 3, I kept up with Charles and we headed towards the Web. With nobody in my way through the Web, I used all the breadth of the turn from outside to inside and all the way back to the outside of the turn barely gaining on Charles, only to loose all I had gained in the straight towards the museum hump.

The back half of the track had me slowly gaining on both Doug and Charles to the point where I had great video footage just in time to see Charles washout in front of me in the last right-hander before the last left. With Charles separating from his bike, I then had to obstacles that I had to chant to myself “do not get fixated on either”. Charles cleared the track, but his bike stopped on the track, in the race line. A few turns later, the corner workers (Salutes and Kisses to you all) all had the red flags flying through the air indicating this race was over and we were to safely return to the pits.

As we entered the pits the “cut-throat” sign that we received from officials and spectating racers alike told us we had gone past the half-way mark of the race so it was officially over. The standing at the last completed lap would determine class standing and the winner of each class.

Only after getting back to the pits, having consumed a celebratory beer, and exited my leathers did I find out Jeremy had caught back up and saw the crash as well. So yes, it was the best day on the track ever. Taking second place in the WERA GP350 at Barber Motorsports Park on the 4th of July weekend with Doug Bowie in sight, just a turn ahead of me, made my day complete.

As I stated at the awards ceremony, I thank the corner workers with Salutes and Kisses to all, WERA Vintage motorcycle racing for a place to play with my friends, Sirius Consolidated Incorporated for their decade long sponsorship, and Jeremy Backer for making the race weekend as exciting as it possibly could be. I hope to recreate this excitement again really soon.

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Excellent Price on a CB160 Show Bike? $2,750 with 944 Original Miles

SOLD! Babyhawk has a new owner now. Hopefully Willy can make it to the Barber Vintage Festival with Babyhawk. If you’re ever in Tuscaloosa, AL and see a beautiful CB160, wave and say hello to Willy.

A World Class special deal available! A virtually unused (@ 944 miles) CB160 with virtually all OEM parts original. Available for an unprecedented $2,750,

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/eat/mcd/6172892628.html

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Barber Vintage Festival Tickets on Sale NOW!

If you like vintage motorcycles or vintage motorcycle people or vintage motorcycle racing, you could be in for a long weekend treat.

barberVINTAGE- Tix on Sale

Me and 70,000 of my closest friends have had a blast for more than a decade. Come join us. Vintage motorcycle optional, but alway welcome.

 

 

 

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Back to Back in the Saddle on the Track

Just six short days after the high speed turns of Roebling Road Raceway was WERA’s CycleJam 2017 at Road Atlanta. Bill Johnson and Bucky Sexton knew they couldn’t make it back into the south for CycleJam, so they were both missed by the gang.  David Hurst and Charles Gault didn’t make the back to back second session either. Barry Hasenkopf, our newbie racer in the Atlanta area, didn’t make it to his new home track but hopefully will join us soon. For anyone else considering taking an old bike and bringing it to the track, I recommend the CB350k, CL350k, or SL350k twins from 1968 to 1973 (front disc replacement with drum brake required for the 73 model CB350G for GP350 racing) for some good old “let it rip” for all the bike can put out racing.

CycleJam was attended by the true diehards of vintage racing in the southeast. The Vintage 1 racers consisted of John Cook and James Walker. Anyone else joining the pack would have been guaranteed 3rd place, and could possibly 1st place the way these two performed on the track;) Between broken spokes and a serious tech session that had all of us diagnosing sounds while James rotated his rear wheel, in gear, with plugs pulled and bad starts that included giving John’s competition a one lap head start, a great time and stories were had by all.

In the GP500 world (our first race) were Mr. David Rutherford on his fine BSA 500cc single, Mr. Jerry Duke on his Ducati 350 single and me on my trusty steed, Black Bullitt, the 335cc Honda CL350. While Jerry and I were in our “bump-up” race, David was on his GP500 natural on his BSA. Smaller races with an understood likely outcome become a race at the back of the pack so as not to be the last one in the class across the finish line, but crossing the finish line is much more important than not finishing at all.

CycleJam was most likely to be attended by myself as a result of missing the first three possibile races for the 2017 race season and being only an hour away.  Since the schedule had us racing during the 6th and 9th races of 17 events, I had scheduled to be back at work after dropping off the race bike and grabbing the next round of tools and supplies on the way back.

Practice was fairly uneventful. The long straights at the start/finish line and between turn 7 and 10a showed consistent fatigue in my motor. I need to make a new race motor with the Kibble White OEM type valve springs, a teflon slipper tensioner, and another set of Sirius Consolidated 1.0 overbore OEM type pistons and rings as soon as I get the chance. Until then, I’ll have to make up for it in the curves.

The weather was hot, but not as hot a most Road Atlanta races. The track was dry with cloud cover breaking every now and then. Having rain well since the previous use of the track meant we’d have a hot, dry, and fairly oil-free surface to grip onto.

I came up on the grid as David and Jerry were already on station. Riding past John Cook as the only V2 racer (both John and James were in their bump-up race) meant that James was riding in behind me. Small grids make for short grid marshaling, so the three board was replaced by the 2, then 1, then sideways, followed evenly by the green flag.

David & Jerry pulled away from me followed by James passing me on the left. I waited for John to fly by, but he never showed before the bus stop. James pulled in front and zigzagged through the switchback turns, Jerry reached then next followed by David.  As I approached the bus stop it seems that the traffic ahead of me slowed down a bit to make it through. Since John hadn’t made his move yet, I followed behind and closed on David’s BSA 500.  Jerry and David pulled away on the softer straights I then closed rapidly as they slowed for the sharper curves.  After trailing Jerry through turns 6 & 7, as David took Jerry after the Road Atlanta horizon turn,  the back straight allowed he and David to pull away from me for a long, long time. Weaving through turns 10a and 10b I didn’t gain much ground, climbing the hill toward turn 12 I began to drift back and through turn 12, the last before the start/finish line, I might have gained slightly on Jerry.

Approaching turn one appeared as if the race was going to leave me behind. Keeping all my momentum and leaning through turn one, I climbed the hill toward the bus stop with all that my motor would allow. By the time I reached the bus stop I had gained back a bit. Heading down through the esses, I gained on Jerry. Broaching the horizon turn I came out drafting Jerry. The straight section of track gave Jerry chance to pull away but turns 6 & 7 were waiting for me to make up some time. Coming out of 7 I drafted Jerry before he pulled away.

Again, the back straight didn’t look too promising but by turn 12 I was now a part of a four bike trail. James Walker was now a part of the pack. By the front straight, James was in the right lane and I was passing him. Chasing Jerry was my mission and I knew I’d get the rundown on his difficulties in the pits. Flying through turn 1, I gained on Jerry. I kept on gaining and passed him listening to some missing of his engine. Through the bus stop and down through the esses, I was gaining on David. As the back of the track straightened out, David pulled away easily. By the end of turn 7 I was much closer.

The long back straight of Road Atlanta racing on a 350 Honda stocker can seem like an eternity, especially while the leader of the race is pulling away from you. Through turn 9, John flew by with Jerry drafting him as we all headed into 10a & 10b.  I waited longer on braking than Jerry did and followed John through the 10a and passed him through 10b. Climbing the hill and and racing under the bridge, John took me on the right heading down the hill and taking turn 12 before me. It would seem that John turned on his game switch and raced away. James flew past me followed by Jerry. I was back to the back of the pack, again.

Not letting my throttle rest, I caught up to and rode shoulder to shoulder with Jerry through turn 1. He pulled away up the hill and I used the bus stop to catch up. I did my darnedest to gain him in the downhill race through the esses, but Jerry had become more familiar with them. His exit however had him riding the rumple strips till back on the track. Well past the halfway mark and I could still see most of the racer in front of me.

Through 6 & 7 with very little gain on Jerry, I was beginning to think he got the hang of the track. In front of Jerry I could see two bikes making turn 8 shoulder to shoulder. This time, on the back straight, I seemed to stick with Jerry.  Going into 10a I noticed Jerry drifting wide. His recover through 10b left him wide. The two maneuvers had scrubbed off some much needed speed and I dove into the inside of his turn and throttled full.

Jerry and I rode under the bridge together as he pulled ahead toward turn 12. We were fighting for it and Jerry went into 12 too hot. He’s seen leaving the camera range as he enters the grass. He did NOT end up in the pea gravel! He calmly brought the bike back under control in the grass and rode back on the track without losing control. Glancing back before turn 1 I saw Jerry tucked down and aiming for me.

It wasn’t until I got through turn 7 again that I saw David. It was getting fairly late in the race, so he was my next target.  David had been clearing turn 12 as I crested the hill under the bridge. Still pushing to close even more I flew through 12 and tucked in tight for the long boring front straight. The white flag was waving from the finish line bridge and I figured where I was was where I was going to be at the finish. After my last traversion through turn 12 that I needed to save myself for the next race. Jerry was behind me, but I didn’t have to work hard to keep most of that lead for one lap. Some conservative racing to the finish line of the GP500 race got me there before Jerry and left me saluting and blowing kisses to the corner workers, thanking them for their service that allows me to have such fun.

Back to the pits for hydration and insight to John & James’ woes on the track before returning for the GP350 race.

Doug Bowie made it to CycleJam and had 3 of his Ducati race bikes with him. His big bike was not in play, but I can’t remember why. Doug, Jerry and I would be battling it out for the GP350 at Road Atlanta. John Cook and James walker would be on the track with us in the Vintage 1 class.  All of us would be following the Formula 500 class.

As we landed in our grid positions, there was no sign of James Walker in front of us in his Vintage 1 grid position.  John Cook was camera center glancing back for James.  As the green flag approached, we made ready for our best starts. John’s spread eagle start looked a bit like a kite with two tails. Doug surged in front of the GP crowd flying past John who was in the Vintage 1 class.  By the time we approached turn 1, we were shoulder to shoulder with Doug on the inside line, John center, and me on the outside turning right toward the bus stop. Doug lunged for the lead through the bus stop with me following and John hot on my tail.

Coming out of the bus stop, my favorite part of Road Atlanta, There was a pack of four racers blocking my path. Jerry was holding up the rushing racer after getting to the bus stop first. Doug trialed him. It seems that Jerry was held up by Mark Williams, f the Formula 500 class who was about to be played in a high speed game of chess. Powering through the downhill path of the esses, I trailed the pack to the horizon turn, turn number 5, where Doug and I flew by Jerry on either side while chasing Mark. I drafted in behind Doug as we approached turn 6. Having mentioned to John after the first practice session that I kept pace with Mark Williams during practice went through my head as Doug took the inside track and I proceeded to take Mark on the outside track during this right hand turn. Doug got stuffed at the apex and I pulled past Mark in a lean like only the Contis would allow.

This left us with turn 7 behind us and the long back half of the track where everybody gets to pull away. With nobody in front of me, first Doug eased past me, then Mark flew past both of us and we all progress towards 10a. Before that, Jerry eased by me on my left, in time for the left hand turn. Jerry took 10a first and I took 10b while Mark and Doug climbed the hill and under the bridge. Making the last set of turns, led us out to the front straight.  Expecting Jerry to pass me never came to fruition. That left me leaning hard and fast through turn 1 only to pass Mark on the outside. With Doug in my sights, I closed through the bus stop and gave chase downhill through the esses again. Gravity was in my favor and I gained significantly in time to ride up along side Doug for the horizon turn, #5. I tailed Doug up to turn 7  and he pulled away in the back straight. John overtook me before the zig and zag of turn 10a and I took him back through 10b, just three seconds later. By the time I’d made it to turn 12, Doug was pulling away.

Halfway to turn 1, John flew past me closely as if he’d taken advantage of my draft for a short burst. By turn one, I was using John’s wake for my own drafting and we climbed toward the bus stop together. The last turn of the bus stop had me tailgating John and a couple seconds later he was noticeably pulling away. By turn 5, I was along side John and he burst away in the short straight before turn 6. Coming out of turn 7, John filled the camera lens. Then as if he’d warmed up, he pulled away to chase Doug.

The second half of the GP350 race had me successfully staying off Jerry as I chased after Doug. I did see Doug cross the finish line and followed seconds behind.

John Cook sent me this link to the V1/GP350 race from his perspective. Seems he was in a lot of the right places at the right time to play cameraman for the GP350 racers, having made a good start this time…

Good times had by all. More fun in the next exciting episode. Hope you’ll be on the track with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in the Saddle at Roebling Road

The first three races I’d hope to race came and went this season. However, Roebling Road got me back on track. WERA’s vintage racing began in the southeast Saturday, which was smack dab in the middle of Memorial Day weekend. Traffic was as expected on the way to the track, including the 40 minute traffic stop in I-75 around 6pm in Macon, GA.

The 93 degree forecast had everyone prepared for a hot, stagnant, sweltering day in the pits. When in fact, we were all blessed with a nice 15 mph breeze which kept the sweating concentrated to “leathers time”. The skies were clear while the track was clean and hot.

From the time of my last race/crash of 2016 to this weekend, Black Bullitt had been through some serious upgrades making it more like a race bike than the street bike I’d been racing for a decade. New swing arm bushings with complete cleaning and re-working, first time conversion to alloy wheels front and rear along with leaving behind the 50 year old factory laced and trued OEM wheels, hubs & spokes constituted the bulk of the refinements.

Conversion from the larger heavier CB350 rear wheel hub to an SL350 rear hub laced with Buchanan spokes to an XL350 rear, rim as well as, modifying a CL175 rear brake plate allowing for brake rod use versus a brake cable modification, was the most “outside the box” modification I made. The SL350’s hub center WAS about a 1mm larger diameter than the CL175’s brake plate cavity designed for the CL175 wheel hub. Both the CL175 brake plate and the SL350 brake hub required material removal to accommodate the configuration. Having received many pats on the back for rear brake lockup recoveries and wanting to reduce the overall weight and spinning mass of Black Bullitt motivated the modification.

The greatest modification to the bike was probably the replacement of the bias belted technology tires with the Continental Road Attack radial tires. Many a discussion, both technology and “banter-based” took place between GNF 2016 and Roebling Road May, 2017. The results associated with the rubber hitting the road/track were… amazing.

As stated, everything wheel related had been rebuilt from the axle to the track, so maximum benefit would be experienced. The Contis proved to be everything I’d hope for. With the high speeds of RRR and Black Bullitt running through some of the turns at 95% maximum speed, the Contis stuck to the track giving the confidence necessary to push the limits full time. I do have pics of my tires that showed the most shedding I’d ever seen from a set of Road Attacks CR tires, perhaps due to the maximum temps on the track at RRR.

The first practice session was nothing more than a tire scrubbing that was not at all impressive having to return to the pits in the crash truck for having forgot to add enough fuel to the tank. The second practice session included a faster pace and the beginning of confidence of the Road Attacks. Keeping hydrated as much as possible, we attended the racer’s meeting, copied down our grid positions, and went back to the pits for the long wait till race #8, our first for the day.

Bucky Sexton was dealing with some technical issues which left him wrenching on carburetors where he found a milky ball of water in the bottom of one carb. His concern was that he felt the issue was electrical. John Cook seemed to have pinched a tube and required a tech session at “Stick Boy Racing” tire trailer where Derek Bennett took great care of John. All those that had spare tubes tossed them John’s way to help him back on the track.

Bill Johnson returned to the track having transformed from being a GP racer to having beefed up to a V1/V2 bike configuration as well as bringing an track configured EX500. His weekend was a matter of upping his game to a world of faster racing.

Our first race was the GP500 where we actually had one GP500 bike jockeyed by Mr. David Rutherford. He’s one of the truly competitive GP500 AHRMA racers that occasionally joins on the WERA gridded tracks on his BSA 500 single. Since Bill Johnson had upped his game to the V2 class, he was gridded in front of us with the faster bikes. Bucky Sexton, Jerry Duke, Mike Wells, David Rutherford, David Hurst and myself were all that made it to the GP500 grid this Memorial Day weekend.

Ed Bargy was the Race Starter for the weekend and it was good to run into him Friday night for some chat time. With Jerry having made the run to Michigan and having weathered the frost slick weather, which forecast was the last straw keeping me from going, he was gridded in the center position, first row, for our class. He was surrounded by Bucky and Mike. That left me in the ideal position, behind them, as cameraman. David Rutherford was gridded behind me, for some reason. This did make for a more impressive surge into the scene after the start.

Ed’s start was as smooth and consistent as always and the pack raced down the long straight track towards turn one. Shortly after the start, David burst in front of the camera from stage left and kept going down the track closing on the pack as I slowly eased past Mike while we approached turn one. My tired motor, years since the last rebuild, did not act impressively for the Roebling long straight between turn last and turn one. The pack pulled away from Mike and I and began to make their first lean of the race before we could clearly see turn 1. Not letting off on the throttle and trusting my new radial tires, I kept my speed up and leaned as other slowed in the turn.

I gained and closed on the pack to find Charles Gault as my first target. Trailing him through turn 2 and passing in turn 3, the first left hand turn of Roebling. I then set my sights for Jerry. After a right turn behind Jerry I overtook him on the outside of the next left turn sweeper. This left a serious gap between me and Bucky. Approaching the last turn of the track, I shifted into fifth (and final) gear and leaned. Achieving about 95% of Black Bullitt’s maximum speed for the day in the apex of the turn, I uprighted behind Bucky for the beginning of the long straight trek to turn 1.

I centered on Bucky only to have to veer right to avoid him as Bucky’s technical issue had reared it’s ugly head before the completion of the first lap. I tucked down and in for the long agonizingly slow run for turn 1. I had plenty of time to think about when I was going to rebuild the motor or build another leaving this one as a “trusty” backup.

Surprisingly, nobody came up behind me before the turn… nor for the rest of the race. David Rutherford was already  turns ahead of me being chased by John Cook on his V1 bike and I wouldn’t see either of them until we were back in the pits. I spent the rest of the race making up for my tired motor in every turn while truly scuffing the tires for the next race. Nothing but baron Roebling Road Raceway track for the rest of the GP500 race video.

The break that followed the GP500 before the GP350 race was just one Solo race of the modern bikes. A short burst of PowerAde and powered fan along with some water over the face and down and inside the leathers and I was energized for the next and final race of the day, or so I thought. I did make one prediction during the break. Noticing that Jim Hinshaw was running in the Formula 500 class during our next race, I stated my goal was to NOT be lapped by Jim on his plenty powerful 500cc two stroke triple Kawasaki.

As we were pitted by the back fence, calls from the control tower were not easy to discern. We missed 2nd call and headed to the track in a fury. Not seeing (or even looking) for the number sign, I saw a racer turning back to the grid and not taking a warm up lap. So I too followed him back stream to my grid position. Not knowing why he did such, I assumed it was time to do so. Then I saw John Cook and Bucky head down the track for a warm up lap. Having not come to a stop in my grid, I chased them around the track for a warm up run. Getting to the grid with a full crowd I figured I may have been in the wrong. I had started my camera before the grid, just in case we took off quickly.

Pulling up alongside David Hurst, I was ready for the start. Noticing Jerry ahead of me, backing up into his proper grid position, I verified the camera was recording. Grid officials were still checking and positioning racers so I was comforted that I was not the final hold up before the race.

As Ed ripped the green flag through the air the pack took off. Mike and I made our not so impressive push down the straight as the pack pulled away from us with David trailing behind us. I slowly left Mike behind me in time for turn 1. Just as the race before, slowing traffic in turn 1 allowed me to gain on the pack.  Again, Charles was the bike in the back of the pack. This time however, he held me off for the first lap and again I took him on the outside of turn 3 in the second lap, this time.

Now behind Bucky who was trailing Jerry, I noticed Bucky was apprehensive about overtaking Jerry. This is only Jerry’s second year of racing and he has yet to get to a point of smooth & predictable. I did show Bucky a wheel in the second left turn just to let him know I was with him. Jerry, Bucky, and I made a drafting train heading for the last turn of the track which lead to my dread, the long straight run.

Bucky had signs of issues again so I was prepared to jump aside when his speed dropped off. That left me behind Jerry who was pulling away in the straight. Charles Gault passed me on the left just after the start/finish line.  I slowly and predictably drifted left down the long, slow motion effect, run for turn 1.

I took Charles on the inside as he was braking for turn 1 with Jerry right in front of me. Showing Jerry a wheel in turn 2, he hit the gas to keep me at bay.  Knowing Charles was behind me, with a steady smooth move, I drifted to Jerry’s right side for the left hand turn. When Jerry slowed for the first left turn of the track, I didn’t. Jerry drifted wide as I was passing him on the outside. I continued to surge so he could see my front wheel as I passed him close and outside.

Getting in front of Jerry left a blank track ahead of me. The faster classes were gone much further down the huge track. At the end of the second lap I drifted left in preparation for turn 1. Just before the end of the straight, Charles burst in front of me, held the lead for a couple seconds, then graciously chopped the throttle and left turn 1 for me clear to race through, unencumbered.

Charles and I are not in the same race class. He is a Formula 500 racer while I’m racing GP350. Our position at the finish line has no effect on each other’s placement at the podium. However, the way my bike was configured and at the faster tracks like Roebling Road Raceway, we are playmates on the same playground. Knowing the rules of any and all playgrounds, we play well together.

This was the last time Charles could get close enough to even show me a wheel, but I didn’t leave him in the dust. The rest of my race was a matter of maintaining pace to avoid being lapped by Jim. I believe Charles was close enough behind me to see when Jim and Mark Morrow flew past me… just 100, then 200 feet after the finish line. This left me still in my race.

In the last lap, I saw  David Hurst on the horizon. With one more reason to up my game, I pushed to lap David. Closing on him, all the way down to the last turn, I leaned in and got some good footage of David and his bike, got a small draft effect behind him, and took the slingshot toward the finish line. With David’s two stroke power against my tired motor, I needed all I could get to stay him off all the way to the finish line. Tucked in and down, tweaking the throttle to get maximum efficiency since WOT was slightly breaking up, I counted the seconds remaining to the finish line. At the end of the GP350 race, as I approached the line I noticed the flagman already flying the checkered. It was less than 3 seconds after the finish line that David flew by me.

Just six days until the next race at Road Atlanta for CycleJam, I’ll leave things at this point. Lots to do before I get there. Stay tuned.

 

 

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2017 Race Schedule is Posted!

I have been quite fortunate this year in that Mr. Martin Mattes of Sirius Consolidated Incorporated has agreed to sponsor me for all the races I attend in 2017. So the ambitious schedule is posted. Beginning in February with AHRMA at Roebling Road Raceway, one of the fastest tracks we race at. In March, AHRMA will take me back to Kershaw, South Carolina for the first time in many years. We take the month of April off for… lack of races available. Then, just when you think we might be getting into warmer racing in May, WERA racers will be heading up to Grattan Michigan to keep temperatures under control.

By June, things begin to heat up with  WERA Cycle Jam at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Georgia. It’s a 3 or 4 day racing event with both vintage and modern bikes. Cycle Jam also makes for a great opportunity for the motorcycle racing spectators to camp out and live a weekend of motorcycle racing.

One month later, the pace really begins to pick up. WERA is hosting their usual July 4th weekend of racing a Barber Motorsports Park, the finest “campus” we go to race at. Topiary artwork in the infield and throughout this most fabulous refreshing place to be.

Less than a week later, WERA personnel have to be at the Mid Ohio Raceway for the WERA/AMA Mid Ohio Vintage Days where all sorts of vintage motorcycle racing will take place. It will also be my opportunity to race this world renown racetrack for the first time.

This leaves us with a full month to recuperate before our passport-required trip to the Canadian Gran Prix. The Canadian equivalent of the Barber Vintage Festival will be the site of the first August vintage race a Mosport hosts the Mosport Vintage Festival in early August. The weather is expected to be Canadian summer wonderful and a refreshing change from the next track weekend just one week later and 1,ooo miles south of Mosport.

Mid August will include a sweltering hot track, so no tire warmers required for vintage bike racers. Talladega Gran Prix Raceway will host our return to Hotlanta-like weather conditions romping around the “funnest” little track you ever had the chance to lean on at “lil-Tally”.

Just three weeks later, the Atlanta boys have their second local race at Road Atlanta just before the temps begin to cool down at the end of southern-summer. That’ll be one hot track that will be a blast to “stick to” while leaning through the curves and cresting the hills on some mighty fine September days. The real challenge on this weekend will be the divide between the WERA racing at Road Atlanta and the AHRMA racing at Lil-Tally.

AHRMA begins at Tally earlier in the week. They usually have practice day(s) prior to their back to back redundant race schedules Saturday and Sunday. In 2016, the opportunity to practice at Tally on Thursday or Friday with AHRMA, then load up and travel to Road Atlanta to race on Saturday, and then load up again and travel back to Munford, Alabama to Lil-Tally for Sunday vintage racing to complete an exciting extended weekend of racing.

The October spectacular is the AHRMA vintage racing event in front of the 70,000+ visitors to the Vintage Motorcycle Festival hosted by Barber Motorsports Park. Back at the finest campus we have the privilege to race at while surrounded by 70,000 of the nicest people you’d ever what to meet again.

With one month’s rest after the Barber Festival, WERA racers return to Barber Motorsports Park in a totally different scenario. For the WERA Grand National Finals, the racers and their family members that join them constitute the spectators at the WERA GNF. Any showboating will be only for the special few that come out to join us.

Should be a very exciting season in 2017. I’m also a bit more hopeful, with the change of regime, that our economy has a chance to return to the prosperity levels that will take us back to the days of 12 to 14 races in a season, all with WERA.

Come join us on the track! Grab a 1968-1973 Honda 350 twin (CB350,CL350,SL350), strip it down, and join us on the track. There are lots of racers willing to help newbies get up to speed and join the mix of racers. Keep the motor stock with stock Kei-Hin carbs and NEVER break the 99 mph mark, but have a blast where your fun meter is pegged all the time.

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