After all the excitement of the final round of the Raven Racing sponsored Vintage Trifecta, Sunday morning, after a beautiful rainless night, began with an early dawn wake up call of a light rain. Scrambling out to reconnect the rain fly tossed aside for heat relief in the tent, I scrambled back inside the tent, in the cool of the morning, and fell back to sleep in a matter of seconds. Then next thing I know, Jerry awoke me with the sound of his single cylinder engine firing up as a wake up call.
By then, the rain had soaked the track but had since cleared up to a fine mist. I was optimistic about another day of dry racing, no matter what the forecast said. As such, I did not have any intention of practicing on a wet track just to race on a dry track. During the second practice rounds, I started to clean up the truck and found a scary part of my bike laying in the bed. Then I saw two more parts not re-installed as part of my sprocket change for Lil Tally. I hopped out of the back of the truck and looked at the rear axle of my bike. My axle nut and monster washer were gone!
Unlike at VIR, I had all my race tubs and my race toolbox with me. I searched, sorted, and organized only to find I had no spare axle nut or washer. I then checked with Jerry and he searched all he had but came up with nothing. Going through my head of the few vintage racers at the track, I came up with Dick as my next best bet. He searched through his tool box and came up with nothing. However, his search of his Mercedes Benz Sprinter van should a much brighter picture. He pulled out an organizer of large nuts and said take this with you. Sure enough, I rode back on Jerry’s pit bike that he let me borrow, when I got back to my bike, there was at least one nut that slide on like new. By the time I came to this conclusion, Dick had arrived at my pit on his WAY COOL 90cc two cylinder two stroke Yamaha and I said “need a washer”. Back again together we went to look for what ended up being a layshaft nut of larger diameter inner thread and recessed ridge to act as the monster washer for axle torque strength. I get by with a little help from my friends.
I made it back from Dick’s pit to Jerry’s pit to return his pit bike in time to secure the rear axle, grab another bottle of water and hit the bathroom just before the National Anthem. Our timer had begun again and we were race #13 on Sunday. Later as things had settled down and the clouds had separated leaving direct sunshine to burn the skin, I headed back to my “lay in the shade” bench where I listened to the roar of 2 and 4 cylinder engines on the back straight.
My counting of races cut it very close. I noted that there were just 7 bikes in the warm up lap which should make things easy to determine which race this was. Just so happened to be that it was race #12 and we were up next. A quick trip to the bathroom and I saw Jerry headed my way on his pit bike. He was coming to make sure I wasn’t going to miss the race. I get by with a little help from my friends.
It ended up that I had about 2 minutes to spare, but as I was suited and without canopy, I fired up the engine and headed toward pit out. As I passed the concession stand, I headed back into the trees and the cool breeze of the shade generators. I watched everybody else go by then followed them to pit out. I took the widest line I could to warm up the tires as much as possible. Lil Tally has just ONE right hand turn and it’s scarred up with nasty patches which can both be a psychological problem as well as technically challenging. I also have a history of sliding off the track at this same point in a fairly heavy rain.
We had an interesting start as Jerry again flew on the outside of the track to catch up with the faster bikes in front. This time however, out of the corner of my, I saw Jerry perform a great wheelie start that he continued on into the being another great head start bursting toward turn 1. But this time, turn 1 got real busy, really quickly, right at the apex of the turn. And, just as quickly as things got snug and hairy, as if the thinning shears were applied, bikes spanned apart and headed further on down the track.
As if a rerun of Saturday, I passed DC just in time to lean into turn 2 and show the gravel texture of the track as I rounded through the turn. My not-so-favorite right hander was a bit of a nemesis but I recovered quickly. I got into my grove shortly after recovery and concentrated on the track, only glancing for Jerry ahead of me when I didn’t need to be concentrating on the details of what lay ahead of me. Concentrating on braking as late a possible and finding that earliest acceleration point for each turn, I willfully breathed through my nostrils in, and out through my mouth.
I got to the point where I was doing all I could do with what I had and consoling myself with need for a change, like some serious head work including the new Kibblewhite springs to replace my 50 year old valve springs. And then it happened (4:30). A 250 Ninja that must have been hanging out behind me passed me in the back straight. It wasn’t a blistering pass, and may have required some drafting behind me. This was at the end of the third lap. THREE laps (almost) he was behind me so… I got a playmate!
As soon as he passed me, I got in behind him and drafted him through the last turn set. He pulled away from me slightly as we crossed the start/finish area but I hit the throttle as I downshifted for turn one and closed the gap. On the way to turn two a slight gap developed but I braked later and drafted through the turn. The right hander didn’t seem to matter at all. I do have to make a note to self to adjust the camera OR the tachometer as it is in the way since my latest tach rubber mounting.
The back straight showed some gap developing and I closed and almost got some draft in the last turn set. I was hitting brakes later and throttle earlier through the turns and making up for span between us. Through turn 2 he gapped me and by the right hander I was back on his tail and took him on the inside. He took me back before the next turn and gapped me a bit as he pulled down the back straight just in time for both of us to be lapped by the faster bikes on the track. I closed a little through the last turnset and he gapped us at the start finish enough that I didn’t gain full closure in turn 1. By turn 2 I trailed him through the turn and then played his wingman for the right hander on the outside. Playing his wingman again for the last turn before the back straight, I was having some fun.
Again, we were lapped by another of the faster bikes on the track just before leaning left into the last turnset. At that moment, I lost traction on the rear tire just enough to take me out of the ideal turn. Knowing I was heading off the track, I straightened up, eased off of the throttle and coasted through the grass. This left a serious gap and another of the bikes lapped me. Going through turn 1, then 2, I had to concentrate on where I was and what I was doing. Coming out of 2, I saw something that didn’t make sense until I realised I was lapping somebody. Taking this Ninja 250 on the right was a surprise and now I was back on target for my playmate. I kept flying and without any hesitation flew through the last turnset like nothing happened the time before.
I measured about 4 seconds between us as I raced through turn 1. Then 3 second by turn 2 and less than a second by the right hander. The back straight showed some serious span developing, and I gained no ground on the last turnset. The last lap showed no chance to catch up. It was a great few laps for this old man on his old bike. To see the “Great Chase” click on the title. youtube.com/watch?v=hQDiwlFGHrY
I get by with a little help from my friends. For my closing thanks I chose to include Mr. Martin Mattes, my race sponsor and the owner of Sirius Consolidated Incorporated (the Keyster Carb Kit Capital of the WORLD) for all the support he’s given me for my vintage motorcycle racing efforts. The list of SCI parts found on my bike include: spokes on my CB77 front wheel and the tube inside the Avon and Continental tires, the spokes on my SL350 rear wheel and the tube inside the Avon and Continental tires I run on them, the 520 chain that propels me down the track, the Antigravity battery that Martin sent me as soon as he carried the product line, the Keyster K 1561HK carburetor kit that bring my 350 Honda twin all the life allowed with the restrictions I am limited by with the indexing of the 350 Honda twin in WERA’s 350GP class. the throttle cable, clutch cable, and front brake cable that I interact with my race bike via, the OEM type petcock, the fork seals and fork oil in my front suspension system, the gasket and seals in my engine, the electronic ignition on my cam shaft, the spark plugs, spark plug caps, the Barnett clutch springs and clutch plates in my transmission, the 1.0 over pistons, rings, circlip, wrist pin, assembly in my engine, the intake and exhaust valves, the tappet covers and o-rings, the chain lube I run on the race bike and street bike I resurrect and the repair manual I used to work on and optimise all bikes with. I get by with a lot of help from this friend, Mr. Martin Mattes of Sirius Consolidated Incorporated. Thank you Martin!