Sunday, September 18, 2011
10-11 Sept. 2011 I went up to the Autodrome St. Eustache, just west of Montreal, to compete in the VRRA's Quebec GP. I just took my 250 Aermacchi, a '66 CRTT. This is a bike that's been apart for around 14 months. I last rode it at BeaveRun on 24 July, 2010 when it broke it's camshaft. Evidently, some piece of metal ran through the timing gears, breaking the inner end of the cam. When I took the motor apart, I found a dog broken off one of the gearbox gears, so maybe that's what went through the timing gears. I also found that one of the plugs in the crankpin was coming out. But, before I got the motor back together, I got distracted by the Dondolino and the CRTT was pushed to the back burner.
Now, with the Dondolino out of commission, I decided it was time to get the CRTT back on the track. I had lost the PVL ignition that I had on the motor (it's a long story) and ordered a new one through Frank Giannini. It arrived without the frame that the stator mounts on and I had to whittle one on the mill and rotary table. I tried to start the bike on Labor Day, having just arrive back from Miller at 6am that morning. It didn't even pop and I couldn't see a spark. So, the next day I took the entire ignition over to Frank's and we ran it on his test rig and found it was sparking 180 degrees out. It seems they had sent me a stator for a rotor that turn in the opposite direction. With a strobe light we marked where it was firing and I re-installed the ignition setting the timing to the make we had made. I bumped the bike off in my driveway and it fired right away. I didn't actually run the bike as I didn't want to make a lot of noise and annoy my neighbors. I figured that was good enough and loaded the van.
Friday we drove up (a beautiful drive through the Adirondack Mts.) and I was pleased to see almost no line at customs entering Canada. The inspector asked where we were going a why. I told him to St. Eustache to race a vintage motorcycle. He said "What?". I said "to race a vintage motorcycle". He said "I don't understand". I said "I'm going to race a vintage motorcycle at St. Eustache". He said "You?" incredulously, then let us go. We got to the track about 7pm and registered and went through scrutineering.
Sat. morning, I fired up the bike on some rollers and it ran poorly a short while then died. I pulled out the sparkplug and found the gap closed. I had lost the thick washer I have to use under the sparkplug and the one I replaced it with wasn't thick enough. That rectified, I went out for practice and the bike ran very poorly and didn't want to rev.
When I came in, I was told the sound limit was 98 db and my bike was 106 db and I'd have to do something to quiet it down.
I trolled the pits looking for some material and a welder when a spectator, Jose', took an interest and took a baffle out of his home made megaphones on the Ducati he rode to the track.
It was just a simple tube that went down in the mega, but he assured me it would work. We just had to drill one hole to bolt it in.
I went out for the P1 Open/P1 350 heat (my bump-up race) and the bike ran very poorly, though maybe very slightly better with the baffle in. After the heat, I went to check that the carb really had the 170 main jet my records said it had, and no, it didn't. It didn't have any main jet in the carb. None. I guess I had stolen it for the Dondolino and forgot. Oh, that must be my problem. And, I was told that I was down to 100 db and they were going to let me slide.
So, I put a 170 main jet in and went out for the P1 500/P1 250 heat. The motor ran differently, but still very poorly, maybe very slightly better. then it died on the back straight and I clutched it. I went over everything and found a wire to the coil was next to, not over, the spade, and looked like it was making intermittent contact. Oh, that must be my problem. I put the wire on properly.
Sunday morning, in the 1st practice, the bike ran very poorly, maybe slightly better. And, when I came in they told me I was right on the limit for sound and ask if there wasn't something I could do to quiet it down.
I had a piece of aluminum screen which I wired over the megaphone opening. I also went to a 178 main jet and went out for the second practice and it ran very poorly, maybe slightly better with the screen and/or main jet.
But when I came in, the screen had broken up and most of it was missing and they were concerned that metal was getting on the race track and could I do something else?
I again trolled the pits looking for material. I started to lash up something out of thicker aluminum sheet, when another racer, Tim Ruhl, took an interest in my plight and came up with a propane canister, like you'd use on a camp stove or lantern.
We drilled through the valve to release any gas left and managed not to blow ourselves up. Then we cut the end off, cut a slot so it could slide past my hanger tab on my mega, and drilled a hole in just the right spot to line up with the hole I had previously made for the baffle tube which, by this time, was mostly broken off. Then we drilled a bunch of holes in the back. With a bit of safety wire. we had a very solid mounting.
I went out for P1-500/P1-250 final and the motor ran very poorly, maybe slightly better, and I was able to get a distant 2nd in class to Stan Nicholson on his Greeves Silverstone, a bike which had seized twice Sat. Stan had patiently cleaned the bore with muriatic acid and sanded the piston and re-use the same rings. He went up two jet sizes and it went well Sun. Persistence paid off.
I went up to a 180 main jet, the biggest I own, and went out for the P1 Open/P1-350 final and the bike ran very poorly, maybe slightly better, and again I was a distant 2nd in class to Tim Voyer on a 350 Honda, and 4th overall.
Despite all the problems, I had a great weekend. It was gorgeous weather. Everyone was extremely friendly. Going to a francophone province is exotic, but everyone put up with my lack of French and spoke to me in English. In fact, all the anglophones and francophones seemed to get along great. The track is short and tight, but fun with good pavement. Fri. night they have 1/8 mile drags, Sat. night stock car racing on the 1/4 mile oval, part of which the roadrace course uses. A moment of silence was observed Sun. morning at the rider's meeting to remember all those who had died 10 years before AND all other victims of terrorism all over the world, which I thought was a thoughtful touch.
Driving back home, again there was almost no wait at the border (this being Sept. 11th) and the American customs agent did want to look in the van and see the race bike, but was less incredulous then her Canandian counterpart, but perhaps more bemused.