Tuesday, July 21, 2015


10-12 July, 2015 I went to the AHRMA race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, in Millville, N.J.  I picked up my 350 Sprint from Bill Himmelsbach on my way down.  Bill had just replaced three layshaft gears that had failed at Grattan with reproduction gears that I ordered from Germany.  Friday, Bill took the bike out and did 5 quite gentle laps on it and pronounce it good, though he couldn't get used to the 230mm Ceriani 4LS front brake, thinking it was quite 'wooden' and then overly fierce.  I'm just used to it I guess, as I think it's a great brake.  But, that afternoon while rolling the bike to Tech inspection in neutral, I heard a click, click, click...  On the stand, we spun the rear wheel and listened.  We thought it could just be a dog just kissing another dog, but Bill was quite confident he had shimmed it correctly.
Saturday morning I went to start it to warm it up for practice.  At first it didn't fire, so I stopped and tickled the float again.  I push it again and, when it fired, there was a loud bang and now I had 6 neutrals.  The gearbox had failed.  I pulled the motor out of the frame and Bill took the drive side crankcase half off and it was immediately obvious.
failed gear on the layshaft
  Nine teeth had sheared off the brand new gear on the layshaft that all the intermediate gears drive through.  I seemed to be a case of improper material or hardening, or both.  Anyway, that bike was done for the weekend.
My friend Aleksey Kravchuk let me ride the Velocette Thruxton that I've left with him for a couple of years and into which he's put a tremendous amount of work and money.  Most recently, he's had the Lucas K1FC magneto rebuilt and bought a 1 1/2" Amal GP carb.  The carb required cutting up the fuel tank for clearance.
Velo Thruxton with tank modified for carb clearance.
I took the bike out in the first practice and it seemed to go quite well, though I didn't push it as it had brand new tires and I had lots of trouble shifting because of lever position.  I came in after 5 laps and notice that now the clutch was dragging.  We adjusted the clutch and I moved the shift lever.  I started the bike again and rode around the paddock a bit and all seemed well.  Then Aleksey rode it around a bit to confirm that the lever position was good for him, too.
When I started it for the race, the clutch was dragging again, but there was no time for any adjustment.  On the warm-up lap there was some indication of clutch slip.  I was able to get the gearbox in neutral when I came to the grid and I made a pathetic start when the flag dropped.  When I would shift, the clutch would slip, though it seemed that if I then backed off, it would hook up, so I carried on.  Then, I lost all clutch release, with the lever dangling on the clip-on.  So, I started shifting without the clutch.  Then the motor started misfiring.  This got progressively worse and I pulled off after two laps.  First we found that the magneto flopping around, the nuts holding it to the timing case being loose.  This was fixable, with some difficulty as there is limited access.  But, the clutch was a different matter.  When we took it apart, we found that four balls from the big ball bearing between the inner and outer clutch basket had somehow gotten out of their race and were jammed in the plates.
Somewhat hard to see, but there is a gap in the balls near the top of the bearing in the middle of the clutch.  They have scored the surface outboard of the outer race and left a lot of debris on the outer perimeter of the basket.
This was non-fixable and I was done for the weekend and Aleksey once again did not get to race the Velo.
Aleksey did have his rebuilt CB 350 Honda that had failed at Roebling Road when I was on it.  But, in Saturday's F-250 race, it stopped when an electrical connection lost contact.  That was easily fixed and he was back out in practice Sun. morning when a new rider on a 675 Triumph crashed behind him and the bike slid into Aleksey's knocking him down and giving him a grade 2 sprain of his ankle.  He's non weight bearing for 2 1/2 weeks.  Not a good weekend for Team Works Manufacturing.
All of this did not stop me from having a good time as there was plenty to do and see.  Bob Robbins brought his Brittan, one of 12 made, and it's original rider, Stephen Briggs, did some demo laps.
 Nick Ienatsch rode Rusty Bigley's Spondon TZ750 and won the Open Two Stroke race both days and the Formula Vintage race Sat.  There is some video of this at:

There was a swap meet and vendors with interesting stuff.
Doug Wood repairs magnetos and generators and had his 1938 Velocette KTS in front of his booth
This fellow made a featherbed frame and put a Royal Enfield motor in it.
This Zundapp Super Sabre really spoke to me

A young girl was riding it around and it seemed to run really well.

Almost 22K miles on the clock.

The TZR 250 Yamaha is another tasty stink wheel from the next generation.

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