At Willow, I practiced first on Gary Roper's '51 Velocette MAC and it seemed fast immediately, if geared a little short. Gary said it had the tallest gearing he owned, but when he got to Sonoma, he discovered that it had a 22 T gearbox sprocket, not the 23T that he thought that was on it. So I ran the whole weekend under geared and revving the hell out of it. In the 2nd practice on the MAC the right handlebar moved on the fork and Gary tightened it up. In the 3rd practice, it moved again an Gary replaced the plan nuts on the pinch bolts with stop nuts and I tried moving it again. Then Mike Bungay saw that it wasn't the clip on moving on the fork tube, but the tube turning in the yokes, and tightening up the pinch bolts in the yokes solved the problem.
|Gary Roper's '51 Velocette MAC|
|Karl Engellenner with the two Sprints, mine #7 and his #177, which Walt Fulton III rides.|
|Robert Aegerter's shifter, bent when it hit my left foot.|
Walt Fulton, on Karl's sister bike to mine, chased Juan Bulto and closed on him, turning the fastest lap of the race, but came up just under 1/4 second short and 2nd overall.
Disassembly of my clutch revealed that the lock washer for the nut retaining the outer clutch basket had broken and the nut had backed off into the clutch hub preventing it from disengaging. Some shimming and Loctite solved the problem.
|the broken clutch basket nut lock washer|
|Karl working on the clutch|
Karl got the clutch working on the Sprint and I did a 'scrub' lap before the day was over and the shift was OK, but not perfect.
There were some legendary retired racers there Sat. and, though I didn't get to speak to Wes Cooley, I did talk to Mark Brelsford who, in 1970, raced the ERTT I own at Talladega at the beginning of his road race career. Mark lives in Alaska and was down in California for the annual Trailblazers Dinner and show. And, I was introduced to Marty Lunde, a Californian who started racing in this country in the 60's then lived in England for a while and raced at the Isle of Man and some Grand Prixes. We talked about the IOM and TT racing. Then, the next morning, I ran into Mark Miller, the second American to win a TT. I constantly have to correct people who say that I'm the only American to win a TT and tell them that Mark won the electric bike race in 2010. Some people scoff and imply that the electric bike race wasn't a 'real' TT. But, I'm sure many people think the one and only Senior Historic TT that I won was not a 'real' TT. Mark raced in 49 TTs in 11consecutive years and is the fastest American to lap the Mountain Circuit. Mark is also an excellent writer and I told him how impressed and moved I was by reading his description of almost dying in a crash approaching Quarter Bridge when he was running 5th in the Senior TT and had just achieved his goal of being the fastest American to lap the course. I wondered after I read this if he would go back there and race again and, sure enough, he did. But he, like me, decided that he had some good runs there and got away with it, and that he didn't need to race there anymore. He also wrote an excellent report of racing at Macau last year. Mark was racing a full house GSXR in Next Generation Superbike at Willow.
|Two of the nicer bikes from the annual show at Willow Springs|
|A 125 Ducati and 150 Moto Morini|
|a couple of Roland Ortiz' Bultacos|
|Roland took the rider school on this 250 Bultaco|
|An electric bike built by Ely Schless from an RS 250 chassis and Brammo running gear.|
|Jason Linquist's CB175 Honda with his DT1 Yamaha and Kerry Beriont's T-20 Suzuki in the background|
I was immediately back out on the Velo MAC. This time, Lorraine Crussell, winner of Saturday's 200GP race, stalled on the grid at the start, and there was quite a delay before they let us go in the second wave. Despite that, on the last lap I caught the leading 200GP bikes and won overall, again with the fastest lap in the race.
From Willow, I drove up to Roseville with Karl and, for most all of the next three days, we worked on the bikes. We took the clutch apart on my bike and Karl crated more clearance between the outer clutch basket and the inner hub. We noticed that a bushing for the shift shaft in the outer cover had moved outboard and thought it might be related to the reluctance to downshift, so pressed it back in with red Loctite. Karl made a clevis for the shift linkage to replace the Heim joint to eliminate an interference between the shift lever and the connecting link. I took the front brake apart (200mm 4LS Kawasaki A1R), which had been freshly relined and turned by Vintage Brakes. The shoes hadn't fully seated yet as one doesn't use the brakes much at Willow, but they were on their way. I made some screens for the air scoops. We change the gearing for Sonoma by adding two teeth to the rear. But, the big project was putting a muffler on my bike. Last year, I had repeatedly tripped the noise meter at Sonoma despite efforts to quite it down and ultimately had to roll off the throttle by the sound meter, which killed the lap times. Oddly, Walt Fulton, riding the same bike, never exceeded the noise limit. Karl had previously acquired a Cone Engineering megaphone styled muffler and ultimately made a completely new exhaust system which was well tucked in and proved to be significantly quieter.
|Karl at work on the pipe|
|Karl's beautiful Ducati 750GT|
|The Cone Engineering muffler installed|
We loaded up both bikes in Karl's pickup with all the spares and tools and drove the 1 1/2 hours down to the track, arriving around 5:30 Wed. afternoon. Gary Roper and Don Lange, with whom we were sharing a garage, had already arrived and we unloaded our pile. Karl pulled the head off his bike to repair a minor oil leak, got it buttoned back up an headed back home. I went with Don and his brother Bill to dinner and a motel in Novato.
|Don Lange's CB 175 Honda|
Thurs. morning was pretty cool and on the first lap of practice I had a slide accelerating out of the turn #10 chicane, then saw the red flag and returned to the pits. After the mess was cleaned up, we went out again and when I got to turn #8, the rear end snapped sideways when I got on the gas. I went sky-ground-sky-ground and the bike slid down the track, over the grass and back on the track. After I figured that I was alright, I ran to the bike to get it off the track. But, I couldn't lift it without putting my bak to the oncoming bikes, so I left it and walked to the corner worker station. The bike laid in the middle of the track for two or three laps before they finally redflagged the the practice again. It was a stupid cold tire/cold track mistake on my part, but I and the bike made out surprisingly well for a perhaps 75mph crash with a fair amount of tumbling. So, we got right to work on the bike, The left footrest and brake pedal were bent, the left clip pushed in, the windscreen partially broken, and the left fairing mount bent.
|The Sprint kicked it straight after my dumb crash|
Race #4 had the electric bikes in the first wave, the three 500 Premiere bikes in front of the ten 350GP bikes and the two Formula 250 bikes in the second wave. I got a good start and led the wave out of turn #2. On the first lap, Juan Bulto came by on the brakes going into there turn #10 chicane, and I gave chase. I did get by him as we went through the electric bikes, but he came by again in the same place making excellent use of the 210mm 4LS Menani front brake on his Bultaco. As the race went on, my front brake lever was coming back to the grip as my freshly refurbished brake bedded in and I had some trouble downshifting and Juan prevailed with me second and Walt Fulton third.
|Hub Zemke's 350 Bultaco superbly developed by the Romero brothers in Barcelona|
|The Bultaco lineup with a modern e-bicycle, Juan's 250, Hub Zemke's 350 and Jim Neuenburg's 250|
Bears, Vintage Superbike Heavyweight, and Formula Vintage were gridded in the first wave, with Sound of Singles 3 and Novice Historic Production Heavyweight in the second wave. I got a decent start, but Motorcyclist co-editor Ari Henning came by like a shot on his well developed KTM 390R and disappeared.
|Ari Henning's 390 KTM|
|Mick Hart's RS 125 Honda|
I decided that my bike was geared too tall and added a tooth to the rear sprocket, I adjusted up the front brake again, and dropped one mainjet size on Karl's recommendation, before we left the track for the night.
Fri., the first practice went well except the tach stopped working because I hadn't charged it's battery properly, so I couldn't get an accurate fix on the gearing change, but it felt better. Karl put in a new spark plug for the second practice to get a fresh reading on the jetting change and the front brake adjustment seemed to be stabilizing as the shoes bedded in. Again I got a good start and led the second wave out of turn #2 and again, Juan came by on the brakes into the turn #10 chicane.
|I believe the 1st lap of Friday's race #4. Photo by Carmen Lynaugh|
|photo by Carmen Lynaugh|
|I'm leading with Andy Mauk #95 on Keith Lieghty's CB 450 based 500 Premiere bike, #177 Walt Fulton III, Juan Bulto obscured behind Walt and Jason Linquist #13 on his DT1 Yamaha. Carmen Lynaugh photo|
|This is the exit of turn#2 and one can see the second wave going into turn #1 at the top. Carmen Lynaugh photo|
We came up on two back markers on the approach to the turn #10 chicane. Juan chose to go to the left around the outside of the initial right, while I dove to the inside. Juan got baulked again and I got by and led over the line starting the last lap. As I expected, once again, Juan came by on the brakes into the turn #10 chicane but, as we exited, the red flag came out before we got to the last turn. This meant that scoring reverted to the previous lap when I led, so I was the winner with Juan 2nd and Walt 3rd. The win had a lot to do with the luck of the draw in traffic, but I had the satisfaction of the fastest lap of the race, just under 2 minutes at 1:59.977.
I adjusted up the brake one last time for the SOS 3 race. Again, Ari shot into the lead on his 390 KTM. On the first lap I saw Mick out of the corner of my eye as we exited there turn #5 carousel, but he didn't make it past until the same place on the next lap. I suspect that Mick had rejetted or change his gearing, or both, as it didn't seem that I could close on the drive up to turn #2 as I had the day before and Mick steadily pulled away, and put in a 1:59.095 lap, while I went a bit slower than I had in the 350GP race. Still, I ended up third and this time third overall as the three of us from the second wave got by all the other bikes.
It was a great week of racing between the two tracks with excellent dicing with Juan and Mick.
|a 1960 Lotus Elan|
|A very original '69 H1 Kawasaki|
|Motorcyclist co-editor Zack Courts raced this Kramer powered by a 690 KTM and SOS1 and Sound of Thunder 2 both days|
|A road racer built out of a Rickman Montesa dirt bike|
|Love them wavey cylinder head fins|