Monday, October 27, 2014

Daytona 2014

Less than a week after Barber, AHRMA had their final race of the season at Daytona.  From Barber, we drove to Opelika, Al., and the next day took a side excursion to Pasaquan, in Buena Vista, Ga., on our way to Savannah.  Check it out; it was well worth it.  In Savannah, my two biggest fans, Darleen and Terry Dremel, let me use their garage/shop to pull the head off my Sprint.  The exh. valve had clearly touched the piston and wasn't sealing.  I tried lapping it a bit, but it wasn't going to happen.  But,  I discovered that I had a spare, used exh. valve with me and, with minimal lapping, sealed well.  With the rocker adjuster all the way out, I just barely had valve lash and the pushrod really needed to be shortened, but no time for that now.
We got to Daytona Thurs. afternoon and got registered and teched.  I decided that I had gone way too rich at Barber and lowered the float and main jet.  Maybe it was a little better, but still lots of hesitation and missing.
As it's been for the last several years, the turn out for Daytona was very thin.  In the 350GP, there were only four entries, one of whom (Jack Parker) didn't show up.  In the race, Paul Germain pulled away until his bike broke (suspected broken piston) and I inherited the 'win' from Dick Hollingsworth on their new 350 Sprint, which they've built very mildly initially.
A couple of races later was the 250GP, and there were eight entries in that, four of whom actually started.  My bike died on the warm-up lap, which turned out to be just a wire that pulled off the coil.
Don Hollingsworth won the class by a big margin, and was 3rd O.A. behind a couple of Vintage Superbike Lightweights, on the same CRTT H-D Sprint that he used to win the 1968 Daytona Novice race.
The next day, I decided that my carburetion problem was an ignition problem.  The motor seem to run fine below 5K rpm and, if I really screamed it, would pull high rpms.  The problem was getting to those  high rpms.  So, I geared it down, and it seemed a little better.  Our practice ended at perhaps 10:30a and we had to wait to perhaps 3:30p for the CCS races to finish and the AHRMA races to start.  On the warm-up lap of my first race, the 350GP, the motor dropped a valve and made a mess.  I haven't pulled the head off yet, but the spark plug was hard coming out and smashed up and there was debris in the exhaust pipe.  If it had dropped the valve on the last lap of practice instead of the warm-up lap of the race, I could have packed up 5 hours earlier.  Life is cruel.
I thought this was a pretty neat in line radiator on Barrett Long's 125
So, a rather definitive end to my 2014 racing season.  An equally definitive end was having my right ankle replaced four days later.  This goes back to that fateful day in 1977 when I hit the diesel fuel on the off ramp from the Goldstar Memorial Bridge in Groton, Ct. while riding my Norton Commando and sliding feet first over the kerb and under the guardrail and braking my talus.  The ankle has gradually deteriorated since then and I decided last spring the time had come to replace it.  So, I scheduled it for right after the racing season and I should be fit near the start of the '15 season, though I may have to miss the first round, or so.  The operation seemed to go well and I'm at my brother house right now recovering, with good confidence for the future.
My CRTT with Don Hollingsworth snoozing in the backround
The Hollingsworth pit was a bee hive of activity.  Al & Dick snoozing
Don Hollingsworth's 250 on the left and Dick's 350 on the right
The evergreen Ken Nemoto brought his Guzzi from Tokyo again.  Neik Leeuwis from Holland was the other foreign competitor at Daytona.  Both talked of going to Barber next year.

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