Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last weekend was the annual pilgrimage to Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio.  I arrived early Fri. afternoon with my Moto Guzzi Dondolino and 350 H-D Sprint.  My garage mates, Stu Carter and Francis Ganance were all set up and had both practiced.
Stu Carter's Seeley 7R 
But, then the rain started and practice stopped.  Mid-Ohio isn't like most racetracks; when it's wet, it's incredibly slippery.  In the dry, the traction is fine and it's a great layout, one of my favorite tracks with lots of elevation change, and good mix of fast and slow and a couple of challenging blind turns.
While it's an AMA event, WERA actually runs the roadrace portion of the event and they do an excellent job with clear, concise riders meetings, an excellent starter who's quick and predictable, and sensible decisions about the weather at this uniquely demanding track.  They made a couple of attempts to get the practice going again Fri. afternoon but, each time they did, it would start raining again.  Jason Roberts had volunteered to get my Sprint fairing repaired after my Road America crash and took it with him from Grattan.  His friend Andy Runge did an excellent job repairing and repainting it.  After mounting it, my ERTT looked half way respectable again.
My ERTT with the freshly repaired and repainted fairing by Andy Runge

It rained Sat. morning and I just tip toed around and managed to keep it upright.  Both Francis and Stu had minor tip overs and both were able to straighten out their bikes and make their races.  It stopped raining but was still wet and very slippery for the GP250/70's GP125/Class 'C' race.  Jim Varnes on a 250 Ducati ran away from everyone with a fastest lap almost 8 sec.s faster than anyone else in the race and finished more than a minute ahead.  Jason Roberts was second on his 250 Drixton Aermacchi and Francis Ganance was third.  I was next, first Class C, though my fastest lap was 2.8 sec.s faster then Francis' and almost a sec. slower than Neil Pooler, who finished behind me on a 175 CanAm.
Next up for me was the GP350/Euro-American Twins/ Original Superbike Middleweight.  The 350 were gridded in front for some reason, but Doug MacRae immediately shot by on his 750 Norton Commando and not long after Jeff Uher went by both of us on his 550 GPZ Kawasaki.  As the race went on and I got a better sense of where it was slippery, I closed on Doug and finished1.5 sec. behind him and 0.017 sec.s ahead of Sam Williams on another 550 GPZ Kaw.
Sunday morning dawned dry and Mid-Ohio was a normal racetrack again with good traction.  I went out in the 1st practice on the Dondolino and got less than half a lap when it sputtered to a stop.  It was out of gas and I was lucky to have finished Sat.  I got a ride back to the pits and was able to get out on The ERTT and get re-accustomed to a dry Mid-O.
During the lunch break, after Dick Burleson lead riders around the track, I did three parade laps on the Team Obsolete 1954 AJS 7R3 that won the Junior TT at the Isle of Man, piloted by Rod Coleman.  We're taking this bike back to the IOM in one month and I'll do a Lap of Honor on the Mountain Circuit and do laps at the Jurby Festival, so this was a chance to make sure the bike was in good nick.  It ran great, though the ancient tires felt squirrelly, so we're putting fresh rubber on it.
Ready to take some parade laps on Team Obsolete's 1954 AJS 7R3 that won the '54 Jr. TT.  Photo by Francis Ganance
The original plywood number plate from 1954 when Rod Coleman won the Jr. TT
Sunday GP250/70's GP125/Class 'C' was quite different than Sat. with Jason Roberts running away with Francis Ganance 2nd.
Jason Robert beautiful and fast 250 Drixton Sprint.
Neil Pooler was clearly feeling more confident in the dry and he finished 3rd overall.  Keith Hamilton 'bumped up' on his 175 Honda and I couldn't hang with him.  Jim Varnes, who won Sat., seemed to miss the rain.  He passed me on the last lap and I tried to go around him in the  carousel but almost lost it and he beat me to the line by just over 0.1 sec.s
Doug Macrea didn't make Sunday's GP350/Euro-Am twins/ O SB MW race as he blew up his Norton in practice.  So, I finished behind Jeff Uher's 550 GPZ 2nd overall, !st in class.
Mid-Ohio continued the trend of light entries we've seen this year, but there were still plenty of spectators and a huge swap meet.
A swap meet find.  $800 for a 100cc Ducati and it ran fine.

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