Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 Quebec GP

5 September, I drove up to Autodrome St. Eustache just west  of Montreal to once again race the '72 TR3 Yamaha of Len Fitch.  Len brought his stable of three solos and a sidecar to sponsor a bunch of us.  Showers started in the afternoon, so the 1/8 mile drag races were canceled Fri. night.  As promised, we awoke Sat. morning to rain.  I don't recall ever riding the St. Eustache road race course in the wet and I spent the two practice session feeling out the traction.  It seemed quite rideable to me and I was surprised by the number of riders who elected not to ride in the Saturday heat races.  Sunday was forecast to be fine, but still, why pass up another chance to crash one's bike?
My first 8 lap heat was for the Period 2 Heavyweight/Middleweight Production race.  I motored past early leader Bill Quail on his SR 500 Yamaha on the back straight and led over all.  On the 3rd or 4th lap, I had quite a slide out of the last corner and that cooled my jets a good deal.  On the last lap, Brian Henderson came by on his CB 500 Honda.  I motored by him on the back straight, but Brian rode around the outside in the last corner and took the overall win with me 2nd O.A. and 1st P2 HW.  Brian rode really well, especially considering that he had started from the pit lane having arrived late for the warmup lap.
Brian Henderson's CB 500 Honda
By the time of my second heat, the 2nd to last race of the day, it had stopped raining a the track had largely dried, though there were still puddles around.  This was the GP race for factory built two stroke race bikes.  It's divided into Modern GP Lightweight (125) and Middleweight (250) and Vintage GP, up to 1989 Lightweight (125 watercooled & 250 aircooled), Middleweight (350), and Heavyweight (351 and above).  Eddy Burnett on his 2002 Honda RS 250 disappeared.  I motored by the modern 125 on the first lap but a couple of laps into it, Paul Gagnon on his '89 RS 125 Honda came by and that's how we finished, the first three winning their respective classes.
Sat. eve, Joe Bar Team, local Quebecois racers and friends, provided food, beer and musical entertainment while the stock car races went on on the oval, which the road race course uses part of.
Sunday was a beautiful day.  The TR3 wouldn't start for the first practice.  Apparently, the fuel tap leaks and the crankcases loaded up with gas over night.  By the time we got it cleared out and new spark plugs installed, we missed the practice session.  I made a point of being first out for the second round of practice and had a good session.
Pregrid for the P2 HW/MW Prod with Bill Quail #711 on my left and Brian Henderson #93 behind me.  Michel Martin Photo

In the P2 HW/MW Prod final, I got a great start and led flag to flag and turned the fastest lap of the race.
Leading in Turn #1 with #560 Peter Hurst Rickman Triumph and #95 Brad Monk XS 650/750 Yamaha following. Michel Martin Photo

The 10 lap GP final was the last race of the day.  Again, Eddy Burnett disappeared.  Chris Hurst, who didn't run the heat race, came by on his Nikko Baker framed TZ 350 Yamaha.  Then, Patrick Gagnon on his RS 125 came by pursuing Chris.  On the penultimate lap, Chris' TZ died and on the last lap, Eddy Burnett lapped me and Patrick, i.e. the whole field.  Eddy is a superb ride with a very fast bike.  His fastest lap was just over 7 seconds faster than my fastest, this with a lap time of under 50 seconds.  I'm not used to getting lapped in a race where I win my class.
Eddy Burnett changing the tires on his 2002 Rs 250 Honda.
Tucking in on Len Fitch's 1972 TR3 Yamaha.  Michel Martin Photo
I love this Michel Martin Photo of the last turn with the sparks coming off the washers that I 'Shoe-Goo' onto my boots.
Some bike one doesn't see too ofter at the races:
A Ural sidecar outfit
A Honda NS 400R three cylinder 2 stroke
A nice original 250 Bultaco Metrella

Another fun and successful weekend in Quebec.  My thanks to Len for letting me ride his well fettled, fast TR3.

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