Friday, October 28, 2016

Bonneville Vintage GP

After having got back from the Isle of Man Wed. evening, I flew to Salt Lake City on Fri.  I had originally thought that I was going to race Gary Roper's '51 Velocette MAC and Mike Bungay's 350 Harley Sprint, as I have for the last four or five years.  But, Mike called me a few weeks ago to tell me that he was selling his race bike for health reasons, and neither he or his bike would be coming to Utah Motorsports Campus, formerly known as Miller M/S Park.  So, it was just Gary's Velo that I would be racing, and Gary himself was taking the plunge, taking the rider's school on the Friday with the Velo, then racing his newly aquired Indian Sport Scout.
When I arrived at the track Sat. morning, Gary told me that he had graduated and was now a real racer, and the Velo had worked fine.  I took it out in the first practice and it seemed better than ever, except the gearing was tall.  Gary had a couple of things to attend to on his Indian, so I got stuck in changing the rear sprocket on the Velo, adding a tooth.  This took long enough than I missed the second round of group #1 practice, but I slipped out with group #2 and was happy with the bike.
The race before my race was the 500 Premiere, 500GP, 350 GP, 350 Sportsman and Vintage Superbike lightweight.  Walt Fulton, riding Karl Engellener's sister bike to Bungay's, got into a good dice with Paul Germain (DT-1 Yamaha) and Jim Neuenberg (short stroke H-D Sprint) and Helmi Niederer (Seeley G-50 Replica, riding in the 500 Premiere class).  Paul eventually gapped every one, and first Jim, then Walt passed Helmi.  Jim seemed to have a fair margin on Walt as they went out of sight on the last lap, but somehow Walt got by and finished 2nd.
I was up next in the Class 'C' foot shift class, which was gridded behind the 200 GP and Novice Production lightweight classes and ahead of the Class 'C' Handshift, which Gary was in on his Indian.  The Class 'C' bikes were in the third wave, so we started considerably behind the other two waves.  Alex McLean, on a 500 cammie Norton, narrowly led me into turn #1 and slowly pulled away from my 350 MAC.  We quickly dispatched the Novice production bikes and started picking off the 200 GP bikes.  Alex ended up 8th overall with the fastest lap of the race and I was 10th O.A. with the second fastest lap, a full three seconds faster than I had gone on the same bike last year.  The bike was still geared a little tall, so I added another tooth to the rear sprocket.
Sun. I decided to enter the Classic '60s class also, as it looked like potentially I could finish 2nd to Alex in that class also.  The  500 Premiere/350GP race Sun. was again a good scrap, with Germain again getting into the lead, only to have his Yamaha seize on the 2nd lap.  He was able to coast and let the motor cool, then restart the bike and nurse it, now in 4th place behind Helmi, Jim and Walt.  They started the last lap in that order but Jim missed a shift, letting Walt through and Helmi left a gap on the 2nd to last turn and Walt shot through to take the O.A. win.
I was up next and again Alex narrowly led me through turn#1 and started to pull away.  But, on the 2nd lap, he threw up his had and pulled off the track to retire with a broken rocker arm.  This handed me the Class 'C' lead and I continued to pick off 200GP bikes.  The Velo seemed to be gaining revs quickly and I wondered if the clutch was slipping a little or if the motor was just running so well that it was accelerating that quickly.  I ended up 10th O.A. again.   Gary had pulled off when one of his sparkplug leads fell off his Indian when the cap broke.
There was one race between the Class 'C' and Classic 60s race and we checked that there was free play at the clutch lever, so I assumed that I had imagined the clutch slip.  I didn't realize that my fastest lap was two seconds slower than in the morning practice or the race Sat.  As soon as I went out for the warmup lap, the clutch was now slipping obviously and badly and I nursed the bike around the lap and pulled off into pit lane thinking that maybe we could do a quick adjustment and I could start from the pit lane.  But Gary said it would take far too long, so I never started.
So, it was a fun weekend and satisfying to go so fast on the Velo, to see Gary do well in his racing debut, to see Walt win on Karl's Sprint, but something was definitely missing without Mike there.  And, judging from my lap times on Mike's Sprint last year, I could have shown all those bums the way around.
Motorcycle Classic again sponsored a bike show and this Triumph Speedtwin was one of the standouts
a couple of Triumph Cubs
A Maico Bella scooter
A Moto Guzzi Ambassador 
Not in the show, but show quality, a BSA Alloy Clipper
The minimalist look is appealing
A JT-1? Yamaha brought back from Japan by a service man was in the garage next to us.
Fred Mork had this beautiful KSS Velo there, which didn't race, but Jeff Scott took it for some parade laps
That's Fred's mid '30s BSA V-twin in the background.

1 comment:

  1. Boy Dave, you sure have been a busy, globetrotter this year!