My Moto Guzzi Dondolino had broken the last time I raced it, in May at Loudon, N.H. It has roller rocker cam followers and a roller spindle had broken, allowing the roller to fall to the bottom of the timing case and the rocker to bear directly on the cam lobe, galling it.
As luck would have it, a friend in California had a Dondolino cam sitting on his shelf that he didn't need. What are the chances of that? He sent me the cam and two rocker assemblies and they arrive just before I left for the Midwest. The rockers he sent me had been modified and the bushes had been replaced with needle bearings. The bushes were 13mm I.D., but the needle bearings were 1/2" I.D., so a ground down rocker spindle was included. This meant that I had to make a little shim 0.004-5" thick, so the spindle wasn't sloppy in the case. I got it assembled, but when I went to put the rocker box on the head, it wanted to open the valves even though I had the adjusters backed all the way off. After much head scratching, I finally realize that these roller rockers were for a Falcone and were different than Dondolino because a Falcone has enclosed valve gear. I had brought a new set of reproduction Dondolino rockers with me, but they didn't have rollers or spindles. So, I had to press the spindles out of the Falcone rockers and take those rollers and spindles and press them into the Dondolino rockers. Except it wasn't as simple as that because the spindles had be peened or swedged and had to be relieved and the holes in the Dondo rocker had to be opened up, then the rollers offered up and the spindles pressed in then swedged. This involve a lot of fiddling and Ken was a huge help in this with his shop facilities and a lot of good ideas. Wed. afternoon I finally got it buttoned up and we fired the bike up outside his shop and it sounded good. I got my van loaded up before the big thunderstorm, which included hail, that was just tapering off as the garage party was to start. The storm may have scared some of the lightweights away, but there was still a good turnout and we enjoyed Ken's beer boiled and barbecued brats.
Thurs. morning I headed to Michigan and visited Buck and Constance Boudeman. Buck is the owner of the 1896 Sylvester Roper steamcycle, as well as a big collection of Stanley Steamers and Miller race cars. Constance is the great grand daughter of one of the Stanley brothers (F.O., I believe) and she and Buck met through steam. Buck got the Roper steamcycle by trading Coburn Benson a Stanley Steamer for it. When Buck got it, he powered it up with compressed air and everything worked. He was afraid to fire up the boiler as it's old and light weight. Now he's decided that he wants to get it running and has asked me to ride it (I'm Sylvester's 2nd cousin, four times removed). We're looking into non-destructive testing of the boiler now. This will certainly have to wait until Buck gets back from taking his Miller 'Golden Submarine' race car to Goodwood.
From Buck's, I drove to Grattan. Fri. I just puttered, changing the gearing on the Dondolino, then warming it up and re-torqueing everything. I did a little crude body work on the ERTT.
|I patched the hole in the fairing where it slid on the tach drive.|
I got the jump on Alex Mclean on Bob McKeevers rigid, cammy Norton, as I often do, I suspect because I have a lower first gear. Alex came by just before we got the last lap flag, and I was surprised that he didn't have that much speed on me down the straight. But, he still manage to put a bit of a gap on me before we got the Checkered flag. I suspect the main advantage he has over the Dondolino is fatter 19" tires as opposed to my very skinny 21" front and rear. He also has a hydraulic damper on his girder fork, when as I just have the friction dampers.
|Hydraulic damper on the McKeever Norton|
|McKeever's pre 40/Class C bike in the foreground and Classic 60's bike behind|
|Despite the big scoop, Alex says it doesn't have much brake|
|The classic Norton motor|
Sun., Germain did beat me off the line, but I passed him going into turn #1 and didn't see him again. Going over the jump on the 1st lap (or was it the 2nd?), I locked the front brake landing and went into a tankslapper and some how kicked my right footrest up. It took me a couples of corners to finally get the footrest down and be able to downshift twice to get in the proper gear. Several people came by during this including Stu Carter on his Seeley AJS 7R. When I got organized again, I was able to get Stu back and he finished 2nd in 350gp for the second day. Sun., I was chasing Mike Dixon rather than the other way around, and I finished 5th overall.
|That's Stu Carter on the left behind his Seeley AJS 7R with Francis Ganance or the right|