In Sat. morning's practice, I take it easy, breaking in the fresh pistons and rings, but I can already tell the bike is pretty fast, but doesn't handle well and I'm dragging the pipes. It wobbled pretty badly and I figured the suspension was too stiff. But, checking it out with Pierre Vailancourt, from Works Performance shocks, we found it not far off and made only minor preload adjustments to the rear shocks. In the last practice, I noticed it didn't wobble so much if I stayed tucked behind the bubble, I decided there wasn't enough weight on the front end and maybe the wind was initiating the wobble.
Two races later, I went out on the same bike for the bump-up race, F-250. But, on the warm up lap, the motor didn't feel right, surging, sometimes pulling strong, sometimes weak. I pulled into pit lane and, after a quick consult with Kerry, we found nothing obviously wrong and I started from the pit lane after the grid had left. It started strong but, by the time I got to 4th gear, it started fading and misfiring. I putted around slowly and pulled off at the end of the lap.
It seemed like ignition, but all Kerry found was a fouled plug; cause or effect? Sun. morning, I went out for practice with nothing changed except new, hotter plugs. It ran great, but now we had clutch slip. Kerry put in new clutch springs and it was better in the second practice, but still slipped a bit when I shifted from 5th to 6th.
In Sun. 350gp race, I blew the start when I shifted to 2nd too soon and bogged and had to go back to down to 1st. Four bikes passed me before turn #1. I got one back in turn #2 , two more on the back straight and the last one just before the last turn on the first lap. I didn't see anyone other than lapees until the last corner of the last lap when Jeff Elings came by on his 500 Paton, riding in the F-500 class.
But, Yoximer and Germain had been close the whole time until Yox dropped out when he drive pulley came adrift and Germain finished close behind. Yox had the fastest lap in the class, with me second fastest, and Germain third.
It ended up being a very thin field in the F-250 race, as Elings and Ralph Hudson both had bike problems and I finished 2nd in the two bike class, to Dave Crussell on his quick Kawasaki 350 Bighorn. I did keep Dave in sight and my lap times were almost as quick as in the 350gp.
I think a lot of people were surprised by the performance of Kerry's Suzuki as some thought it looked fairly ordinary. But, Kerry has put together a very quick, if simple racer. My thanks to Kerry for what turned out to be a fine ride.
Entries were quite healthy and there was a good turn out for the bike show on Sat., so maybe the slump in AHRMA racing, and bike racing in general, is reversing.
Here are some bike show photos:
I forget if this was a 650, 700, or 750cc RG Suzuki allegedly ridden by Virginio Ferrari. It had amazingly bulbous expansion chambers.