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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Off Season Preparations

The 350 Honda has been drained of fuel, had the old Avon bias belted tire wheels removed and replaced with the 2017 season Conti Road Attack 2 CR mounted wheels. With the battery removed, Black Bullitt has been put to rest until fresh fuel and a charged battery will make it ready for the track.

The KZ400/440 is about to go through the track-to-street conversion as I may ride it in the Atlanta Veterans Day parade on Saturday celebrating 100 years since Armistice Day ended World War I. Being the Street & Track bike, I hope to keep it running with fresh fuel over the winter. Atlanta winter weather includes many rider friendly days and track testing on the road sure makes for some great motivation.

It’s time to concentrate on the third of the three race bikes in my corral, Red Storm. After the loss of my job in 2013, I spent the season joining my race partner for his races and was happy to play the role of his “pit monkey”. That positive attitude as well as being in the right place (a race track) at the right time I was blessed with a great race bike in need of some TLC. Thank you Sir Richard Oldakowski! It wasn’t until the end of the 2014 race season that Red Storm went from being off by one tooth on the cam/crankshaft timing to blowing smoke and oil out one cylinder. With two good running race bikes ready to go next season, it’s time to breathe life into Red Storm.

As the 2019 schedule information is released by both AHRMA and WERA, I will merge the two and replace the 2018 schedule with new information.

One big new secret learned this year would be the excellent handling capability of the Continental Classic Attack radial tires. I had put together many pieces of the puzzle, but not yet personally tested my theory at the beginning of 2018 when Scott was ready to buy tires for his 350 stocker racer. I had given him my observations of the Conti Road Attack CR 2 race compound tire evolution, added my suspicions, and recommended he trust me and race on the Continental Classic Attacks on the 90/90-18 configuration. Those smallest tires they offer wanted 2.15″ wide rims. Fitted on his stock 1.6″ front and 1.85″ wide rear rims, he would be close to what was specified for those tires.

Later in the season, when it was time to bring the KZ400/440 to Lil Tally, I mounted the exact same tires to stock rims of the same size. After realizing that the proper fit meant that the tire pressure didn’t have to go lower than normal tire pressure, they felt great! After a weekend at Tally and then again at the Barber Vintage Festival, the tires had been worn fairly evenly as Tally is a left hander and Barber is a righty. The amazement came when racing was done for the season and the tires were inspected. These STREET TIRES have the Conti “micro rough” compound. When described in the tire professional world: “Attack has a safe and short tire break in due to its revolutionary micro-rough tread surface”

These tires are nothing less than amazing. The grip was sure on both the 350 with the race compound and just as grippy with the 440 and front disc brake technology.  Am I serious about the tire I asked Scott to trust me about? 2 new Continental Classic Attack STREET compound 90/90-18 tires showed up and will replace the old Avon bias belted race compound tires and I’ll never look back. My research also included the new Conti Road Attack 3 tires which unfortunately are not offered in the 90/90-18 size… YET? As such, the pair I have will be configured on the KZ440 with 2.5 to 2.75″ wide rims as time permits.

The Road Attack 3 claim to fame is a seriously improved rain handling capability. Although 2018 was one rainy April to October, none of the races I competed in had any rain, in spite of the forecasts for each weekend. Take this information and run with it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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Completion of the 2018 Race Season

Just three weeks after the Barber Vintage Festival where we all kept under the shade of canopies, buildings, and trees in the 90 degree temps, the WERA Grand National Finals were held, also at Barber. However, the very chilly weather had us looking forward to reaching that predicted high of 62 degrees ASAP. Rain on Friday still hadn’t cleared the Birmingham area until after the sun had come up on Saturday.

The 500GP race was schedule as #6 of 13 after a morning of practice and the lunch break. I had done what it took to get just three points behind Jerry Duke with his 120 points towards national standing and my 117 right behind him. Of the 10 racers who participated in the 500GP, only three made it to the GNF. Scott Kulina who was in the 4th position going into the race was looking forward to his presence at the GNF and the double points value to take him to the 3rd place ranking nationally.

Vintage 3 class racers who had made it to the GNF included Sir Richard Oldakowski of Farmville, VA who travelled 14 hours with 3 collision related traffic jams along the way. Mr. David Hurst from Rutledge, TN was on his V2 two stroke machine (racing in the V3 class). Mr. Mark Morrow of Raleigh, NC on his winning 2 stroke power house, Mr. David Clark (DC), of Killen, AL was also on a 2 stroke race bike.

The Vintage 5 class had 7 racers registered, but only the first four made it to the grid. V6 HW had two entries and one DNS. V6LW had 5 racers registered with two DNSs.  V6MW had one entrant and same for V7HW. V8HW had a nice grid of 8 registered racers and only one DNS while the sister class of V8MW had 5 racers start the race and only one didn’t finish.

Practice had some thrills to reveal. My old Avon bias belted race tires didn’t like the cold temperatures of the track. At their 5 year old mark, they spent all this season on the bike due to the multiple number of predicted rain race weekends that I face this rainy season. However, NOT ONE of the races that I ran this year had ANY rain, in spite of weather predictions. By the second practice session the temps had warmed a little with some direct light on the track as gaps between the clouds revealed a beautiful day above.

As Scott went to go out to practice, the functionality of his clutch lever evaporated as he was heading to take the track for the first practice session.  Clutch adjustment ensued to no avail and then I saw it. The clutch actuator housing had cracked and was now in three pieces. Seems that this damage was not identified with the prior repair required to the front sprocket mounting. With no spares on campus and none of the materials required to make the repair, I set out while Scott was disassembling the front sprocket cover for repairs.

Rich Oldakowski contributed the brake parts cleaner, modern bike #124 supplied the JB Weld, while the guy pitted next to us had the fancy red grease for when everything was put back together. Scott had been riding the bike since the front sprocket incident so we had a good chance of putting it back together in a manner that worked, again.

The part in question holds the grease pack that keeps the actuator lubricated, so all grease had to be removed to clear way for the JB Weld epoxy-like adhesive. When the best attempt was completed, the cover was reintegrated with the motor again and the engine was started multiple times before race #6, the 500GP, was time to run. Scott decided to give it a try and it worked, so he started with us on the grid. Rich, David, Mark and DC were in front of us on the grid. They represented the first and second row of the second wave of race 6.  Scott, Jerry and I made up the one line of the 350GP bikes racing in the 500GP race.

When the second wave received our green flag, I popped the clutch for a slight wheel lifting surge of a great start and still watched Jerry take off down the track. Six of the 250 Ninjas that past us before and through turn 1. David Hurst was the target I had directly in front of me by the time the dust settled. The tirest were behaving much better in the warmer weather so I was giving the bike all it had to offer.

David’s little DS7 was performing much better, as shown at Lil Tally and the Barber Vintage festival, since he had installed the front disc brake system. He would pull away from me in the straights and I’d catch up in the turns. The 7th Ninja 250 passed me just after the museum turn and gave me something to draft behind for a while.

DC and David had a V3 battle going on in front of the camera and I was doing all I could to be a part of it. After a few laps of chasing David I was able to pass him in sight of Norton Hill and draft DC through the last turn.  The drafting continued through the front straight, turn 1, turn 2 and up the gravity cavity headed towards Charlotte’s Web. Exiting the Web, DC poured on the 400cc two stroke power and pulled away from me heading toward the museum turn.

The excitement became too much for the camera to handle in my chase to pass DC that it popped off the camera mount and turned around to show me upside down. With my wine cork camera riser as the foreground, my full face helmet, visor closed, showed my FBF tech sticker from the Barber Vintage Festival just three weeks before.

David eventually passed me and gave chase to DC and the Vintage 3 race battle continued to the checkered flag. The faster Clubman racers actually lapped us twice shaving off tow of our 8 laps on the finest track I’ve ever been on, as many times as I can. I later heard that Jerry was playing around with the 250 Ninjas most the race. He took first, I took second and Scott took third in the 500GP, doubled points, GNF final race of the year. That was also the order for 2018 national standing as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the vicarious track time with me and the guys. Come on out and join us!

As you put your motorcycle project work into motion, remember Sirius Consolidated Inc. for your parts, accessories, and motorcycle apparel needs. The product selection continues to grow faster than I can keep up. They also sell  Jack’s 350 Honda twin combination solid state regulator/rectifier, a must if you plan to go to lithium battery technology.  Enjoy the exciting final 500GP race (or about half of it) of 2018.

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“Cocky: It felt good while it lasted”

Barely making the registration for the Barber Vintage Festival 2018 racing after the first weekend racing the KZ400/440 and getting a 2nd place on Saturday and a 3rd place on Sunday that propelled me into the Vintage Superbike Lightweight class to 10th position in a class of 25 racers. I thought this was great and that I’d be playing near the front of the pack. Little did I know the realization I would experience while racing with the full sampling of the race class at the grand finale in the splendor of the most beautiful “campus” we go to race at, Barber Motorsports Park. “The Real Guys” showed up!

Still shaking out a few bugs from the bike… I began to experience a high speed break up on the much larger track in comparison to how the bike behaved on the “Lil Tally’s” sprint track. Checking the fuel venting by breaking the seal at the rubber gasket did not solve the problem. Pulling off both float bowls and cleaning what really was begging for a good flush didn’t solve things either. So, I went through the process of “finishing” the mods I had made. When I got to the velocity stacks, I remembered that they came with a diamond patterned “chicken wire” grill to keep rocks out. I removed one that only required the lightest touch to extract. When I got to the second, it was already removed and shaped differently. More of a curve and the outer diameter of the grill was smaller than the one I extracted. As I didn’t get to this step until after the last practice session, I had to console myself in that I had found what had to be the problem and would experience the benefit on Race Day.

The rest of the Festival was in full swing and I had the Buell Blast as my pit bike to cruise throughout the park. Checking in at Norton Hill, I set up my “other” abode with the Norton folks and made the rounds. Friends from all over the world, including Mexico and Germany, were on Norton Hill and I made it a point to say hello to each and every one. I’d like to give a very special “YAY MAGGIE!” to our den mother/event promoter/memorabilia maker/etc… She and Barney were instrumental in what like many years before turned out to be the BEST BARBER FESTIVAL YET!.

Saturday morning, race 4, I was gridded in the midst of the pack as a late entrant. Just like at Lil Tally, In front of me was Patrick McGraw, limbering up for our thrill ride on the track. We were in the third wave of race 4. This meant that the faster bikes were given a head start to ensure those fastest among them would lap earlier in the race. A cloud of smoke in the distance ahead with the “Wave 2” track worker moving aside indicated Wave 2 was ready for their green flag. Their cloud of smoke and the Wave 3 sign being taken out from in front of us meant it was our time to look at the number boards and wait for the green flag…

As all those behind me flew past and we headed down the track, I believe that Patrick was the only one I raced past before turn one. Patrick is running his own KZ400, but it has the original KZ400 motor whereas mine has a 440 motor installed giving be 40cc more displacement to work with. Neither of us have played with headwork, cams, valves, or larger pistons. Going into turn 2, I edged past M53 (researching name) and raced down the mini “Gravity Cavity” headed toward the front straight.

The pack was pulling away from me as I raced towards Charlotte’s Web. Braking as late as possible, I caught up to and passed a Suzuki GS450 846 (researching name) through the most significant left turn on the mostly right turn track. He took the lead before the museum turn/hump as did M53.

Pulling out of the museum turn I noticed that I had full used of the redline range. Removing the chicken wire from the grill of the velocity stacks made all the difference in the world. My stock carbs were now able to do all they possible could do. The pack was pulling away from me as I was setting up for the first zig zag of Barber’s back track section. Staying on the throttle up to and through the last turnset, I had more than a half dozen bikes in front of me bunching up for the other most significant left hand turn on the track, the last turn before the start/finish line. One full lap completed and I had some good footage to show.

I passed another bike in the last turn and tucked down for the long run to turn 1 where I passed another with ease. As the size of the track tends to separate riders with different lap times, I still had a pack of 3 chase into Charlotte’s web and gain on them. Edging up to 846 (researching name) I paralleled by, but only for a few seconds. He pulled away heading toward the museum turn and I had to fly through it to keep up. They all pulled away initially leaving me to go WOT until the second set of zig zags near Norton Hill, where again I caught up with the three in front of me. I was playing cameraman as best I could and it looked like I had found the stars of this video. I was definitely out powered. Each time the track straightened out, they would pull away. Each time there were curves to race through, I had to in order to get the right angle to record their turns.

Going faster than the stars in turn one, I brought the camera closer to the subjects ahead of me. M53 (researching name) became the star nice and clear as we zoomed through the gravity cavity and raced to Charlotte’s Web. Swooping up behind him on the outside, I passed and closed to position for the museum turn. Before we got there, he took the lead again. I tucked in behind him for the draft and we raced to the museum turn where I had to check up momentarily as M53 (researching name) had let off the throttle exiting the turn and I was following his lead. That slight hesitation on the throttle left me delayed entering the zig zag leaving me spending all the curves at speed to catch up by Norton Hill. As I did, M53 (researching name) went wide and I swooped in and passed him. By the time we got to turn 1, he’d taken the lead with me hot on his heels.

I was so focused on the best line to catch back up during Charlotte’s Web that I was taken by surprise when the leader of the 1st wave came flying by during “our” battle. For more than a full lap, I was getting different camera angles of M53 (researching name) while the fastest of the first wave went flying by us and a much greater speed. The cat and mouse game continued where I would watch him pull away in the straights and I’d catch up in the curves. After the white flag (one lap to go) I took the lead again in Charlotte’s Web and I was passed before the museum turn, again. We gave each other a reason to push our bikes hard and our skills even harder. Having my friends on Norton HIll there watching gave me all the encouragement I needed to gain on my playmate in the last turn set.

Approximately one second after M53 (researching name) took the checkered flag, so did I. This was just one of the many highlights of the greatest Barber Vintage Festival… so far. However, when I took a look at the results, humility set in. I was 15th of 18 racers in my class. So, unlike my previous expectations may have been led to believe, I’m still the guy on the $1,500 of motorcycle AND tires AND all the race parts added having a GREAT time on the track with guys who are putting a bit more into their budget. COME JOIN US!

Thank you to Mr. Martin Mattes of Sirius Consolidated Incorporated, my race sponsor for more than a decade. siriusconinc.com

The great race video can be seen at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQJdqAL2G1I

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