Sunday, October 26, 2014

Barber 2014

A couple of days after the Pewter Run, I was off to Barber with quite low expectations.  I just took one bike, my CRTT Sprint and that hadn't run very well at the USCRA NJMP event.  We arrived Thurs. afternoon, got our credentials, and went straight to the Hampton Inn right outside the track for a meeting of the Antique Motorcycle Foundation Leadership conference.  I had agreed to be on a panel which included Bob Coy, founder and leader of the USCRA, Richard Bacus, the editor of Motorcycle Classics magazine, and myself, moderated by Mark Mederski, curator at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Ia.  We talked about the future of the vintage motorcycle scene and how to get people involved.  There was a bit of hand wringing about 'these kids now-a-days', but I think the scene is fine and anyway, I don't care if it's an obscure niche that will never appeal to the masses.
The next day, I was approached with the offer of another ride: Dennis Latimer's CT1 Yamaha.
Dennis Latimer's CT1 Yamaha
Initially, Jason Roberts was going to race it but, at the last moment, he couldn't come and he suggested that I ride it.  Dennis actually had two near identical bikes and Ralph Hudson was racing the other one, though the gearbox failed on that one in practice and he wasn't able to race it. The bike's primary class is 200GP but, I thought if it was faster than my 250, I'd bump up to 250GP also.  This proved to be the case, despite my going up and down on the jetting trying to eliminate the server hesitation I was getting on the CRTT.  By the end of Fri. practice, my fastest lap on Latimers 175 cc CT1 was more than 2 3/4 seconds faster than on my 250cc Sprint.
This CT1 is a trick little bike.  The motor has a TR-3 cylinder, piston and exh. pipe and a homemade cylinder head and PVL ignition.
TR-3 cyl., piston, and pipe.  Home made head
The frame is also homemade and it uses modified RZ350 forks with Works shocks in the back.  The all-up weight is 200 lbs.
Dennis made his own frame
Works shocks and disc rear brake
modified RZ 350 forks
Don Hollingsworth tells me he knows Dennis Latimer from when he was in the Airforce in Oklahoma and that Dennis built a H-D Baja that would beat the Honda Elsinores.  He clearly knows his way around a two stroke.  And, he had plenty of back-up.  Dennis' nephew,  Rick Remy, had flown out from SoCal to Ok. two months earlier to help his uncle build the second bike and drive them to Barber.  Rick had helped me a couple of times with two strokes out west.
Here I'm chatting with Rick Remy while practicing on a iWalk-free in preparation of then impending ankle replacement.  Ellen Lorish photo
Also helping out was Bart Winters, who comes from quite a racing lineage.  Bart's Dad was Leroy Winters, a Hall of Famer, national enduro champ and 8 times ISDT rider.  His uncle is Bobby Winters, who was a top roadracer, winning the Daytona LW race in '66 on a factory Yamaha and racing factory BSAs and Kawasaki.  Bart's cousin is Marvin West who rode AMA dirt track and Superbike in the'70s and '80s and Marvin's son Cory who is a current EBR factory rider.
AHRMA rules prohibit more that one 'bump-up', so I rode my 250 Sprint in the 350GP race on Sat.  Paul Germain and Jack Parker took off in the front on their DT1 Yamahas and it didn't take long for Tim Mings to come by on his Honda CB77 based racer.  Tim and his bike were going better than I've ever seen them before.  I settled into a dice with my old friend Gary McCaw for 4th, he on a 350 Ducati.  After we swapped back and forth several times, I missed a shift a touched the exh. valve to the piston and bending a pushrod and came to a stop.
I was concerned about getting back to the pits in time, as I was in the next race, the 200GP.  There were a few bike pick-ups so, it turned out I had plenty of time.  Because I was a post entry, I had to start 35th in  a field of 35.  I thought it would be a hectic couple of laps passing people, but I didn't think I would be taking to lead on the first lap.  Coming out of the last corner on the first lap, Jack Parker ran wide and I got underneath him and assumed the lead and was never passed.  I finished almost 9 sec. ahead of Denny Poneleit's Honda.
It was quite a wait to the 250GP race and I took my CRTT apart.  I had a spare pushrod with me that was borderline too long and could just make it work if I backed the rocker adjuster all the way off.  I took the timing cover off to confirm that the tappets were alright.
But, it was back on the CT1 for the 250GP race.  We were gridded in the second wave behind the first wave Formula 250.  Fast as the CT1 was, I couldn't match the DT1s of Germain and Parker and I finished almost 1 1/3 behind Jack, the three of us having passed 7 of the 11 F-250 bikes.
I fired up my CRTT at the end of the day to confirm it would run, but it didn't seem to have a lot of compression.  However, Gary McCaw decided that he didn't want to race Sunday and offered me his 350 Ducati.  Gary and I go way back to sparing at Shannonville in the early '80s and Gary raced in the '84 Senior Historic TT.  I was curious to ride the bike I had diced with the day before.  It shifted in the opposite direction from my bike, but I figured I could deal with.
Gary McCaw's 350 Ducati 
There is no practice on race days at Barber, but I was able to do a 'scrub' lap on the warm-up lap of the 1st race.  Then, the warm-up lap of the 350GP race was the conclusion of my practice on the bike.  I only shifted the bike the wrong way once and that was at the finish of the warp-up lap of the race.  I thought the selector had failed, as I couldn't get it into 1st gear.  Then I realized that I had shifted up into 5th gear as I approached the grid.
The front row of Sunday's 350GP race.  I'm on Gary McCaw's 350 Ducati #7,  Paul Germain #61 DT1 Yam,  Jack Parker #18J DT1 Yam, and Francis Ganance #97 250 Ducati.  Ricky Pearson photo
 I did miss a couple of shifts on the first few laps as I was getting comfortable on the bike.  And, I did get comfortable.  The motor had a broad powerband, it steered very nicely and the Heidenau tires were good.  I started picking people off, including Jack Parker in 2nd, but I didn't think there was much chance of catching Paul Germain.  Then, two laps from the end, it started to rain.  I don't think I had ever raced at Barber in the wet and I certainly didn't want to slap down Gary's bike.  But, I knew that Paul doesn't like racing in the rain and, in fact, he told me the day before that if it rained he wouldn't race.  I closed right up on the last lap and three corners from the end, Paul had a front end slide, backed right out of it and I slipped by for the win.  And Tim Mings and Jack Parker weren't far behind and got by Germain in the last corner, Mings finishing about 1 1/3sec. behind me and 0.012 seconds ahead of Parker.
This was the run to the checkered flag out of the last corner in Sunday's 350GP race.  I'm #7 on Gary McCaw's 350 Ducati, #34 is Tim Mings on his CB77 based racer and behind him is Jack Parker #18J on his DT1 based bike.  Paul Germain had led the whole way until three corners before this when he had a big front end slide and backed right out of it.  Photo by Kathleen Mings
Three of the Sportsman 500 riders had come by us from the 2nd wave: Ari Henning on a Honda, Niek Leeuwis from Holland on the Hyser Cycles BSA Goldstar and Brad Phillips on a BMW.
Tim Ming's pit
Tim's CB77 based racer on the left, Tohatsu in the middle, and 150 Honda Benly on the right

Tim was especially proud of his airconditioner.  He's a sick puppy.
Tim's toy hauler
It seriously rained on the cool-off lap and during bike pick-up, and the track was throughly wet when we formed up on the grid for the immediately following 200GP race, but the rain had stopped.  On the first lap in turn #5, Lorraine Crussell and Jeff Henise went down in front of us and someone behind us.  I was soon in the lead, but taking it quite steady while I tried to figure out where it was slippery.  On the second to last lap, I saw a waving yellow and debris flag while exiting the chicane on the back straight. and saw a bike down on the left just before the entrance to turn #12, a very odd place for someone to fall.  I backed right out of it, thinking that there might be oil or gas on the track.  Apparently, Chris Spargo, on his CS1(180 twin) powered TA-125 Yamaha, was right behind me and focused on me and didn't see the flag and went flying by.  I got back by him briefly, but he came back on the last lap and won the race, his last lap being almost 2 2/3 seconds faster than my best.  He told me that he got his bike handling much better than the day before.
There was some drama before the start of the 250GP as the CT1 didn't want to start after trying a couple of sparkplugs.  I took my transponder and went back to my pit and started my Sprint, when Rick showed up with the CT1 at the last minute.  But, it wasn't as sharp as it had been earlier and I finished a distant 3rd behind Germain and Parker with Frances Ganance less than 6 seconds behind me.  My fastest lap was almost 2 seconds slower that the day before.  The four of us still got by half the F-250s from the first wave.
So, having gone to Barber with low expectation, I ended up having quite a successful time with two 1sts, a 2nd and two thirds and one DNF (13th).
Plenty of people to catch up with at Barber, among them my old friend Rich Schlachter.  We both had our 1st race at Bridgehampton in '72.  He went on to become twice U.S. F-1 road race champion and was 10th in the 250cc World Championship in 1980 with two 4th places and a fastest lap.  Ellen Lorish photo

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave. There are a few more pictures of you and Gary here.