A major evolution has occurred with the number of GP350/GP500 racers having upgraded their bikes to V1/V2 machines. The 2015 GP racers that have converted to V1 include Bill Howard, the AHRMA 2015 Champion in the Novice Historic Production Lightweight class, and John Cook, who was headed for a dramatic win of the GP500 class before he pushed his machine too hard in the “Museum Turn” at Barber Motorsports Park at the WERA Grand National Finals. Undeterred by the outcome, John spent his winter building his version of a V1 motor including his own PVL type battery-less ignition system.
Both John and Bill have already started their 2016 racing season by racing with AHRMA at Roebling Road Raceway at the end of February. Bill appears to have had some difficulties on Saturday, which from what I hear are worth a write-up of his own. I heard about the break stay coming loose, cables wrapped around the axle, and all sorts of “field modifications” to come up with a brake system that would take Bill to a third place finish in a grid of dozen racers in his class and about two dozen other racers from other classes on the track at the same time.
John showed continually impressive drops in his time over the weekend. Over the four races John ran on his new performance 350 Honda, still going through the break-in period as well as John’s new learning curve,
His best times started at 01:40.560, then dropped to 01:37.187, followed by 01:35.366, and then an impressive 01:33.858. Just imagine his results at the next run, now that the motor has proved to be ready for some real stress. John’s race videos can be seen on his YouTube channel.
Both John and Bill will be on the track in the same races they were in previously a part of, only now they will be in the V1/V2 classes on the souped up 350 Hondas rather than the GP350/GP350 classes on 350 Honda stocker bikes like I still run.
With the reduced numbers of racers we’ve seen in the flailing economy, it makes it quite possible for newbies to place nationally, as well as receive divisional titles. There’s nothing like the great group of unpretentious guys that have a blast on the 350 Honda twins from 1968 to 1973. And, with half a million of those machines sent to north America, both bikes and parts are readily available and quiet inexpensive. The guys in the classes will do whatever it takes to help get you on the grid, for each race you register in. Once on the starting grid, you’d be on your own with guys who not only want to make it to the last race of the day, but also the last race of the season and the last race that they are willing to suit up into leathers… I’m shooting for racing in my 80s.
So, if you ever had a hankering to experience the thrill of riding a motorcycle on a track where there are nothing but motorcycles, fairly closely matched in power to weight ratios, with riders schooled, tested, and probation period proven, all riding in the same direction, all suited up in safety gear to the max, I highly recommend making the leap and receiving the rush. I also recommend the “stocker class” on the 27 horsepower 350 Honda twin. Double digit racing (never breaking 100 mph) can be some of the most therapeutic activity you’ll ever experience on a budget.
For new guys: Even though you may have delusions of grandeur and believe you’re going to release a flood of natural skills on your first race, like I did, you’ll actually be renting the track “all to yourself”. At least for the first 4, 5, or maybe six laps. I could tell you more, but I already have, so check it out “Starting with WERA Vintage Racing on a 350 Honda Twin“.
If you make the leap, get in touch with me and I’d be happy to give you all the info I have, like I did for Barry. Many other opinions available from other racers as well. Come have fun with us!