Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015 Barber Vintage Festival

On my way to Barber M/S Park from Weaverville, N.C., I stopped at the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, N.C.  The museum has exclusively American motorcycles and the majority of them were Harleys.  But, there are quite a few other more obscure brands, lots of memorabilia, and the odd car.  Dale Walksler, the proprietor, is a dynamo and is very approachable.  Dale fired up a bike and rode it around the museum.  There's a very good competition section with lots of race bikes, posters, trophies, leathers, and photos.
From there, I drove straight to Barber and got set up Thurs. afternoon.
For the AHRMA Barber event only, there is practice Thursday and/or Friday, but none on race day because the entry is so big and there are so many races, there isn't time.  Practice went well on the ERTT, though I did miss the odd shift.

I also rode the the CT1 Yamaha that Dennis Latimer built for David Ecker, and that I rode last year at Barber.
  It was geared too tall initially and the clutch slipped when it was cold.  By the time that we got the gearing close, the clutch was slipping all the time.  This was fixed by changing the whole clutch pack.  Then Dennis jetted it down and we were ready.
On the Dennis Latimer tuned CT1 Yamaha.  Don Hollingsworth photo
It rained pretty heavily over night and the track was still wet for the first race, the 250GP.  The second race was the 350GP gridded behind the Formula 500, in the second wave.  I didn't get a very good start and I was a bit tentative, figuring out how wet the track was.
Here I lead #112 Kevin Thurston (F-500, CB 350 Honda), #950 Don Hollingsworth (350 H-D Sprint), and #76 Stu Carter (Seeley 7R), but Jack Parker is long gone.  Neville Miller photo
But, Jack Parker, who had just won the 250GP race and knew exactly how wet the track was,  nailed the start on his DT1 Yamaha.   I passed several bikes after I got going, but never caught him and ended up second in class, almost 11 seconds behind, and 6th overall.
The 200GP race was in the afternoon, by which time the track was totally dry.  I started on the 10th row, having no points in the class this season.  It took me a couple or three laps to get in the lead and I won the race, but was surprised after to see that Chris Spargo, on his LS2 Yamaha, had finished less than 0.3 of a second behind me and his fastest lap was only 0.112 seconds slower than mine.
Cory Levenson photo
Sunday dawned beautiful and for the 350GP I was ready.  I got a much better start, although Jack Parker (who had again won the previous 250GP race) and Paul Germain both beat me off the line. I got by Paul first and, after a lap or so, got by Jack.  He came back by, but I was able to pass him back and pull a small gap, finishing just over 3 seconds ahead of him and again 6th overall.
Here I'm ahead of Jack Parker #18 (DT-1 Yamaha), Bobby Birdsall #x2 (350 Aermacchi) and John Stevens (250 Aermacchi).  Neville Miller photo
 My fastest lap was more than 2 seconds faster than I had gone on Sat., while Jack had gone only less than half a second quicker.
Jack and I went back and forth.  Neville Miller photo
The 200GP was similar to Sat.  I had a little better starting position, based on the point I had earned Sat., and was quickly chasing Chris Spargo.
leading Chris Spargo through the back straight chicane.  Neville Miller photo
We swapped back a forth a couple of times and I was just able to hold him off to the checkers, winning by 0.171 seconds., with a fastest lap 0.351 seconds faster than Chris, and 1.329 seconds faster than I had gone Sat.
Chris Spargo on his LS-2 Yamaha chasing me on a CT-1 Yamaha.  Don Hollingsworth photo
I packed up having had two good races with good competition and both bikes seeming in good shape for Daytona the following week.

Joe Gardella, winner of the Century Race for bikes at least 100 years old.
Beno Rodi on an Indian in the Century Race
A belt drive Triumph for the Century race.
And, speaking of belts, I love the belt damper on the front suspension
As long as I'm on two wheels, I'm happy.  Cory Levenson photo

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