Alberto flew up from his home in Mexico to ride the bike for the first time. At the same time, Motorcyclist Magazine is doing an article on T/O's Dick Mann G-50 Matchless, which Dick used to win the '62 Laconia National, among others, and the '63 Grand National Championship. Motorcyclist sent a photographer to take photos for the article.
|The Dick Mann Matchless G-50 in the foreground, '56 AJS 7R in the backround|
While we were at it, Rob Iannucci decided to bring two freshly rebuilt bikes to run them in and make sure they were race ready. One was the '54 AJS 7R3, the bike with which Rod Coleman won the '54 Junior TT. We had taken the bike to the inaugural Classic TT in 2013 and the piston failed on the Lap of Honour due to inadequate fuel quality. Since then, we had replaced the piston and freshened the top end. The other bike was a '56 two valve AJS 7R which had had it's crankcases and main and big end bearings replaced.
Initially, Rob didn't want to race any of these AMC singles, just do a few laps of practice on each. In the end, Rob weakened and I raced all of them.
I also brought my own 250 CRTT H-D Sprint, also with a new piston in it after the last had failed at Summit Point in May.
|My '66 H-D Sprint CRTT 250|
I had raced on the NJMP Thunderbolt circuit before, but never on the Lightning circuit. The two circuits are totally different with the Lightning circuit being shorter (1.9 Mi.), simpler, more flowing and faster, with two blind, quick corners. I got in one practice Fri. afternoon and, while the bike wasn't running great, it still seemed under geared. I geared it taller for Sat., but it still hesitated some esp. on the front straight. I went though the fuel system looking for some blockage, but found none.
I was in the first race with F-3 and CB 350 in the first wave and the 250 GP in the second wave. On the pre grid just before we were let out for our warm-up lap, I noticed my tach cable was loose on the drive. I tightened it as well as I could by hand. I got a good start, led the 250s into turn #1, was never passed, and passed several of the first wave bikes. But, after a couple of laps my tach stopped working and I looked down to find the cable dangling. And still the hesitation, but not in the two left hand turns, which made me think the problem might be float level height as the remote float is offset to the right of the carb, so left hand turns effectively raise the float height.
Rob then decided that I should race the three valve 7R in the Euro Cup class so I went out with no practice on the bike and 0 miles on the piston, so naturally, I took it easy. The bike was well over geared too, with IOM gearing. But, it ran well and I picked up the pace by the end of the race.
|Bobby Verhasselt fettles the '54 AJS 7R3 'triple knocker'|
Then, I rode the two valve 7R in the Super Masters race. In addition to having a fresh motor with 0 miles on it, the bike had tires with 0 miles on them, so again, I took it easy. The gearing was closer on this bike and it had been updated with an AMC gearbox which is much slicker than the original Burman, like on the three valve 7R. Again, the motor ran well and after a few laps with the tires scrubbed in, I gave it a bit of stick.
Alberto was getting up to speed on the Bsump triple and had a couple of good races, so a good day was had by all, capped off by a great pot luck dinner after the awards.
For Sunday, I raised the float height, changed the main jet, and replaced the spade that connects the drive to the cable that I had lost in Saturdays race. Unfortunately, Craig Hirko's quick 175 Bridgstone had died in Sat. practice so he wasn't in the race and Steve D'Angelo was hiding from me by changing from his 250 Ducati to his 350 Ducati to run the concurrent 500 GP class, but Doug Donelan thought he might have something for me with his 250 Bultaco. Another good start and I had the pleasure of passing Steve's 350 Duke before the first lap was over. My bike ran a little better, but it's still not right and I'm going to have to give some thought to it before running it at Barber in three weeks.
The photographer for Motorcyclist Magazine very much wanted to get action shots on the track of the Dick Mann G-50, but the bike didn't have several nuts and bolts drilled for safety wire and had no belly pan. We prevailed upon the powers that be to make an exception and, after an extremely through tech inspection, we we're allow to start well behind the 50s and 100s. We had some trouble starting the bike and when we finally got it started it seemed to be geared extremely tall. Then, I realize that it didn't have the reverse cam plate in the gearbox and we had started it in 4th, not first gear. So, down for first and up for up it was. Rob speculates that the bike was last used in dirt track with the gear lever forward, but now it's facing back for rear set pegs. Again, I took it easy as, although we rebuilt the motor years ago, it hadn't been run. In fact, the motor may not have run in 49 years. And, I was running on very old, unused tires (2.75/3.00 X 19" Avon Speedmaster in front and 3.50 X 19" Avon GP in the rear). The motor ran great and the more I rode it, the more confidence I got and was able to wick it up a bit before I pulled off just before the checker flag, so as to not short change the tiddlers. I only shifted it the wrong way once, going down to 2nd when I meant to go up to 4th.
A very enjoyable and useful weekend until the fuel pump on my van failed as I drove home. I had to get it towed to a repair place and spend the night in a motel in south Jersey. And you thought it was all glory.
|Randy Hoffman's 1948 Velocette Mk VIII KTT|
|Randy Hoffman's Vincent Gray Flash mid gearing change|
|One of the most interesting bikes at the event: Frank Camillieri's 400 CanAm. Frank will be 76 years old in a couple of weeks and is still very fast and is still fabricating potent race bikes.|
|Frank made the frame.|
|Frank says he took four lbs. off the front rotor, which he can get away with as the bike only weighs 205 lbs.|
|Frank made his own yokes,Clip-ons, and levers|