Wednesday, May 28, 2014

6th annual Rossi TT

Steve Rossi did it again, hosting an excellent Tiddler Tour.  The tiddlers included four BMW R-27s, four 250 H-D Sprints, two 250 Benelli (vertical motors), a YR-1 Yamaha, a CL 77 Honda, a CL 90 Honda (punched out to 104cc), an NSU Max Special, a 250 BSA Starfire (the only British bike this time), a Puch/Allstate twingle, and my '53 Moto Guzzi Airone Sport (once again, the oldest bike in the event).  Getting into the grey area of period correctness were a 250 Jawa, a CL 175 vert. Honda, a later DT-1 Yamaha, a XL 175 Honda, all from the '70s.  Getting into the '80s were a VTR 250 Honda and a 305 GPZ Kawasaki.  Getting into the '90s was a MZ 125 and into this decade was a Honda Grom.  Blowing the bounds of Tiddler were a R69 and R75 BMW.  Blowing the bounds of Tiddler AND period correctness was a 1000 Guzzi Le Mans and a Hinkley Triumph.  Our host ran a 10-12 year old tiddler, a Derbi 50.  Steve owns a number of very proper tiddlers, but had a good excuse to ride perhaps his most modern, and smallest bike: he had fallen down some stairs and had badly broken his left elbow, and couldn't straighten (or completely bend) his left arm.
Mark Turkington's '61 H-D Sprint, the first year H-D imported them.  Perhaps the most 'concours' bike on the ride

A cherry CL77 Honda ridden by a 30 year Honda mechanic from Willimantic, new to the TT

I had some mechanical drama leading up the this event.  A week previous, while riding my Airone to the British Iron Assoc. breakfast in Colchester, the motor made a bad noise and locked up.  Turns out, the magneto gear nut had backed off and the gear went askew and jammed.  This stopped the motor, but it didn't stop the flywheel, which sheared the Woodruff key that locates it on the crankshaft.  Mike Peavey sent me a key and Fri. I started putting it back together.  Sat. I pulled it out of the basement again and it started on the first kick and seemed fine.

Me, my '53 Airone Sport, and the Nevr-Dull.  Photo by Gordon Pulis
 I decided to take it for a test ride and see if I could find may old friend, Gordon Pulis, who was riding his CL 175 Honda from East Hampton, Long Island (via the Orient Point/New London ferry), for the TT.  Sure enough, there he was riding up Ct-82 in East Haddam, and I escorted him to my brother's house.  I had to make a few minor adjustments to my bike.  But, being the socially conscious and responsible people we are, we condemned Gordon's 'silencer', which was rotted and blown out.  At first we thought we could just patch it but, when we took it off, we decided it was too far gone to salvage.  We ended up grafting on mufflers from a CL350 that originally came on Amy's bike.  This required a bit of redirection of the pipes and, though not elegant, the bike ended up much quieter.
Some not-so-elegent exhaust mods to mount CL 350 mufflers on Gordon's CL 175

Gordon with his bike.  The exhaust doesn't look too bad from a distance.
Steve dubbed this TT "North by Northwest" as that's the directions we headed from his house in East Haddam.  Steve had to do some last minute revisions to his route as he found some of the dirt roads washed out from the recent rain.  A few crybabies complained of rough paved roads but I should try to be more understanding.  They're riding with the handicap of hydraulic rear suspension which we all know is just a fad;  friction dampening is the answer!  I thought the roads were excellent.
We had lunch in Coventry, Nathan Hale's home town.

Steve expounds at the lunch stop.  Photo by John Harris
 Quite a few of the tiddler tourist seemed to leave the ride from there.  Rick Bell on a 250 Sprint and I rode back together.  At one point we came upon a guy on a Boss Hog.  He held us up a bit and I thought I could dive under him when we turned from one road to another, but he squirted ahead and picked up the pace.  I was actually quite impressed how quickly he hustled that huge barge.
After we debriefed back at Steve's house, a few of the hard core repaired to Doug and Amy's house across the river.  There we entertained ourselves by dismantling a dead 250 Jawa that Harold Dean had donated to the cause.  Doug just wanted the wheels, but we stripped the motor, which was a challenge as the crank was seized.  The peanut gallery gathered around and ate piazza and drank beer while a few of us beat the stuck motor into submission.  Actually, other than the seized crank, the rest of the motor and chassis was in remarkably good shape for having sat outdoors for twenty years.  Anyone need any Jawa parts?
A couple of dead 250 Jawas that Harold Dean donate to the cause.
More photo from the TT can be seen by going to:
Search 'NE Tiddlers' and go to 'new photos'

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