The next day, I flew to Salt Lake City to race at the 8th annual Bonneville Vintage GP. Once again I was riding Gary Roper's '51 Velo MAC and Mike Bungay's 350 H-D Sprint. Gary had replaced the electronic tachometer, which didn't work worth a shit, with a proper Smiths Chronometric mechanical tach.
Not only did it work perfectly, but it certainly looked the part, too.
But, it was going to take more that a new tach to win this year as Alex Mclean was entered on Bob McKeever's 500 OHC Norton. The MAC, being a 350 didn't have much of a chance.
|Gary Roper fettling the Velo MAC|
Mikes Sprint was the same as it's last outing at The Ridge in July, other than the stator mounting holes being repaired. It did have a chance, though there was some good competition there with Paul Germain on his DT-1 Yamaha, Jim Neuenburg on Fred Mork's 350 short stroke Sprint, and Tim Sheedy on his 350 Honda four.
In the Sat. morning practice, the Velo was great but somehow the wrong gearing got put on the Sprint and we had to gear it down twice.
|Karl Engellener, master motor builder, changing the gearing|
As expected, Alex McLean pulled away in the Class C race and I was well clear of Fred Mork on his 500 Cammy Norton. The Class C was combined with 250gp and Lightweight Historic Production and I ended up 8th overall. This was in part because Paul Germain seizes his DT-1 which caused Billy Hamill, former World Speedway Champion. to crash.
This meant Germain didn't start the 350 GP race. I led from the start and was never challenged, though late in the race, Dave Crussell came by on his Formula 250 Kawasaki Bighorn. But, Tim Sheedy turned the fastest lap of the 350GP class, about 0.3 sec.s faster than me.
My friend, Tom Marquardt, had talked to me a couple of weeks before about riding his 380cc Yetman CB77 race bike in 500 Premiere. I was non committal, as I already had a fairly full dance card, but said I'd try it in practice. As it turned out, I wasn't able to make Fri. practice because of the Loose Screw Seminar and, in the mean time, Tom had talked to Thad Wolff who was looking for a ride. This was a good solution as Tom and Thad go way back and I had a fairly full dance card. But, I noticed after Sat. races that my fastest lap was quicker than Thad's in 500 Premiere. Now, Thad was the only starter in 500 Premiere, so he wasn't pushed at all and I figured he could go much quicker. But, I figured it was my moral obligation to make him go much quicker, so I bumped the 350 H-D up to 500 Premiere on Sun.
The bike had started to chatter in turns # 5 & 6 in Saturday's race and we worked on that a bit in Sun. morning practice by altering tire pressures and altering technique, which maybe helped slightly, but the chatter was definitely still there.
Sunday Class C race went much like Saturday with Alex McLean riding off and me finishing a distant 2nd, dicing with some of the 250gp bikes.
The 500 Premiere race was next for me and was combined with 500GP, Bears, Formula 500 and Vintage Superbike Middleweight. I nailed the start and lead flag to flag, but Thad only finished a little over a third of a sec. behind. Apparently, I had gapped him a bit in the middle, but he closed on me towards the end so, I'm told, it was a good race to watch.
Finally, there was the 350GP. The chatter had gotten worse in the Premiere race and I was putting it down to worn tires. Again, I nailed the start and led for 4-5 laps with Paul Germain second on DT-1 with his spare motor in it. I wasn't the only one with chatter as Paul had it bad, too. Tim Sheedy and Billy Hamill (on his 200GP bike!)came by Paul and he ended up running off the track and letting Jim Neuerburg by. Then, Sheedy came by me. We swapped back and forth a bit then Billy Hamill came by. Billy had incredible corner speed and, while I passed him a couple of times on the straight, he was creeping away and annoying Tim. On the last corner before the checkered flag, Billy went underneath Tim and they came out of the corner about even. I looked down at my tach a second and, when I looked up Billy was crashing in front of me and I had to swerve to avoid him. Tim took the checkered flag first and me second but, as we started the cool off lap, the red flag came out. I'm told that Tim had cut left across in front of Billy and taken out his front wheel. Tim confessed that some 'Red Mist' had overcome him and he had made a error of judgement, as he could have out dragged Billy to the line and the shortest distance to the line was to stay on the right edge of the track. The referee disqualified Tim and Billy was awarded the win, with me second. Billy was banged up and lost some skin, but luckily nothing serious. A wild race with plenty of drama.
|one of the more interesting bikes on display was this B-50 BSA streamliner|
|It had just come from the BUB event at the Salt Flats|
|ram air cooling|