Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Road America

The week after Shannonville, I made the annual trek to Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wi., with Grattan, Mi., the next weekend.  Jamie Waters generously offered me the use of his ex-Bruce Yoximer Seeley G-50.  The bike had last been raced at Barber M/S Park in 2011 by Todd Puckett.  In fact, I was racing Ken Rosevear's Goldstar and Todd and I went back and forth a bit.  I finished ahead of Todd on Sat. and Todd finishing ahead of me Sunday.
So, Todd had a good ride on the bike the last time it was raced, so it must be ready to go.  I talked to
Todd, and through the mist of time, he remembered it being in good shape.  Well, not exactly.  For one thing, the gearing had to be changed.  When I picked up the bike at Jamie's space in Jersey City, while checking out what gearing was on the bike, I noticed what looked like a crack in the frame behind the swing arm pivot on the drive side.  But, the light wasn't good and I couldn't be sure.  When I got to Rd. Am. the next day, it was clear there was a crack.

  I talked to Randy Illg of Framecrafters and he agreed to take on a repair.  This involved taking out the swing arm, stop drilling and beveling the crack, TIG welding that portion that wasn't already brazed, brazing the rest, then fitting and brazing a gusset to go over the whole shebang.

Then I changed the sprockets front and rear, which involved removing the clutch.  Todd had race the bike at Rd. Am. in 2011 also, so I had notes of what gearing he ran then.  I changed the oil in in the bike and charged the Scitsu tach over night.

Saturday's first practice I spent feeling out the old, but little used tires, and generally getting used to a new bike.  It had probably been 20-25 years since I had ridden a Seeley.  I like the way it steered, especially on turn-in, and the motor seemed to have a broad power band, though it was a little hard to tell as the tach didn't seem to be working properly.  The needle seemed to stop climbing while the revs continued to rise.  In the second practice, I got down to competitive lap times and the tach seemed to be waking up after it's 2.5 year sleep.
The small 500 Premiere field was reduced more when Larry Poons didn't make the start, this race being back-to-back with the 250 GP, which he had just run.  And, Helmi Neiderer 's NYC Norton prepared Minovaton Seeley G-50 started running poorly in the SOS2 race and they weren't able to figure out the problem in time(eventually they found a broken wire making intermittent connections).
I led exiting turn #1, but soon Chris Spargo came by on his  RD400 based Formula 500 machine and disappeared.  Kenny Cummings had his chain come off and jam between the rear sprocket and the swing arm.  This  mangled the sprocket studs, the chain adjusters and the  swing arm, putting this bike out of commission for a while.  Ron Melton finished just under 10 seconds behind.
Sunday, I blew off the first  practice, but in the second, Ron and I went back and forth a bit setting up the promise of a good race.
In the race, again I got the lead by turn #1, and again Chris Spargo came flying by and disappeared.
This time, Ron Melton'schain came off, but his jammed between the sprocket and the hub and he was  able to limp back to the pits.  So, again I won the 500 Premiere class and was second overall.
I very much enjoyed riding  Jamie's Seeley G-50 replica and was looking forward to racing it at Grattan.  But, I discovered that the crack in the frame was returning and after consulting with Jamie, we decided that the frame should be stripped and repaired properly in the shop.


  1. Sorry Mason, I've screwed up somehow. I thought I attached the photos the same as last time, but it doesn't seem to work now. You got to understand that I have a very limited grip on these electronic devices. I need a young, savvy editor to hold me by the hand.