Monday, March 4, 2019

summer activities

I'm way behind on my blog and may never catch up, so here's just a quick summary of the summer's events:
In June, I went to West Clare in Ireland for a family reunion/party, which didn't involve motorcycles at all.
That's me in the upper right at a sea stack at Loophead.  Rob Dowling photo
As soon as I got back from Ireland, I went to Maine for a week to visit a friend and we did a little motorcycling.
Then was the annual Roper Tiddler Tour.  We had a record turn out, great weather, and a fabulous route.
Three '60s Yamahas at the lunch stop for the Roper TT
Fri., the 13th of July, on my 70th birthday, I got back on the racetrack after my crash at Willow Springs almost 11 weeks earlier at the AHRMA race at NJMP.
On my H-D Sprint ERTT at NJMP.  Sigmond Lorenz photo
The next week, I flew out to Portland, Or.  My initial plan was to race my West Coast 350 Sprint at Portland Intl. Raceway but, in the end, Karl Engellenner couldn't get it ready in time and the water pump in his truck failed the day after he would have left, so he would have been stranded on I-5 if he had left.  So, I ended up being Gary Roper's pit attendant while he raced the '51 Velocette MAC that I had crashed at Willow Springs in April.  Gary totally rebuilt it and it worked fine at PIR.
The Velo MAC lives again
Gary, his wife Debbie and I left the track early Sun. afternoon and drove 5hrs east to Baker City, Or., for the week long Velocette Owners Club rally.  Gary let me ride his BSA B-50 MX (with B-25 charging and lights).

The BSA B-50 MX the I rode for more than 1000 miles in the Velo Owners Club rally
Not the most practical touring bike as I couldn't kickstart it and it had very limited range with a tiny fuel tank, but  I could generally bump start it if the road was flat or a little down hill and I started carrying a extra gallon of fuel after I ran out of gas on the first day and coasted 6 miles down hill.  But, the bike handled well and I was able to scratch on the fabulous roads.  We spent a couple of days based in Baker City, then a couple of days based in John Day, then back to Baker City.  On the last day, Terry Wobert let me ride his Frankenbike MAC with a XL350 top end, then drove me back to Portland for the next day's Sang Froid Riding Club's Two Stroke Ride.
Terry Wobert's Velo MAC with XL Honda top end
Courtney Olive let me ride his YA2C 125 Yamaha for the 80ish mile ride heading east from Portland.
The YA2C Yamaha I rode on the 2T ride next to Courtney's 400F Honda.
We took a break half way to swim in the river, then Courtney was the one to run out of gas on the RT 360 he was riding.
Courtney's RT 360, which is also his endurance race winner at the go-kart track
The ride ended up at Vicious Cycles for a BBQ.
a fabulous Spartonette Trailer at the AMCA meet in Terryville, CT
On 3 Aug., I started riding my '68 TC 200 Suzuki up to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America meet at Terryville, Ct.  I was jamming up the Hutchinson River Parkway when the motor lost it's edge and I noticed that it was smoking like crazy--much, much more that normal.  I got off in Greenwich and limped to my friend Carlos Escudero's shop Solo Moto.  When I got there, I saw that the smoke was just coming out of the right pipe, so checked the gearbox oil, which was way down.  I concluded that the crank seal had failed on the right side and was sucking the g/b oil out.  I topped on the gearbox and limped home, then got on my 'modern bike', a 2012 CBR250R, and headed back to Terryville.  By the time I got there it was pretty late and things were pretty wound down, but I did get to schmooze with a few people.  I rode on to my brother's house in Haddam.  It rained in the morning the next day, but after it stopped I rode my '53 Airone Sport back to Terryville.  Again it was late when I got there and most had packed up and left, but still got to talk to a few people.
Darryl Cutter's Nimbus
On 19 Aug., was the 'Splitting' Lanes, Dodging Gutters' bike show at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, and I rode my '68 TC200 Suzuki there.  I thought that easily the best bike in the show was the Henderson four of Girard Fox, but there was an Excelsior single from the teens that was impressive, too.  There was a great collection of bikes ridden there out on the street and I spent much of my time schmoozing with people there.  It was starting to break up and several of the worthy bikes had left, and I was award the "Best of the Street" trophy, largely by default.
The 'Best of the Street' trophy was, of course, a bowling pin.
Once again I went with Team Obsolete to the Classic TT at the Isle of Man.  This year we brought the 350 Benelli four cylinder on which Renzo Pasolini had finished 2nd to Ago's MV in the Junior TT in 1968, and which I had crashed while leading the Junior Classic Manx 25 years ago.  The weather was a bit of a challenge this year and I only rode it briefly in the rain at the Jurby Festival, but it came good the next day for the Lap Of Honour.  I was assigned to lead the parade and it wasn't too long before Mick Grant, John McGuinness, Steve Parrish, Brian Reid, and others came past, and I felt a little rusty as it had been two years since I had done a lap on the closed roads.  I kept the revs down to about 12,000, but made some good noise for the fans.  And, in fact, I passed Mick Grant back over the Mountain as apparently his RG500 Suzuki was over heating.  The Benelli worked perfectly and seemed to be well received.

With Seth Rosko waiting to go out on the Lap of Honour with Steve Plater on an RC30 in the background

About to start the Lap.  Sue Blythe photo
A Burney V-twin we saw while spectating at Gorse Lea
My first outing in brand new Vanson Leathers

Two days after getting back from the IOM, I drove up to Mosport for the VRRA's vintage festival and raced my ERTT in the P1-350, and P2 Lightweight classes
Turn 3? or would it be turn 10 at Mosport.  Bill Murphy photo
8-9 Sept., the USCRA ran a vintage race at NJMP as a support race for MotoAmerica and I ran Team Obsolete's Surtees Special AJS 7R.  It rained all weekend and, instead of being the curtain raiser on Sun., the vintage race was moved to be the curtain closer and, by that time, virtually everyone had left.  I didn't get one photo there.  I left the race track and dashed up to Binghamton, N.Y., to catch up with the Motorcycle Cannonball which arrived there from Keene, N.H. on their odyssey from Portland, Me. to Portland, Or.  I knew at least five riders making this epic trip on M/Cs at least 90 years old.
Keith Martin of Big D cycles had prepared these three Nortons and was riding one of them
The next day it was announced that the days ride to Jamestown, N.Y. would be canceled, the first time this has happen in five Cannonball that have been run so far, because of flooding and washed out roads.

On the 15th of Sept. was the Harris RiConn (Rhode Island/Connecticut) Tiddler Tour.  I rode my '53 Moto Guzzi Sport.

My brother Doug holding on to his 250 Benelli  with my '53 Airone Sport in the backround.  Edwina Stevenson photo
Google tells me that 'schrott' tanslates as scrap metal.  This sticker was on the back of a Sears/Puch twingle
The next day after the RiConn TT was the IMOC (Italian Motorcycle Owners Club) annual meet in Sturbridge, Ma., with a good turn out of interesting bikes and people, as usual.
A 200 Laverda Gemini, a bike I had never heard of.

Again, I rode my Airone there.  Shortly after I left with a bunch from the Boston based  'Ministry of Transportation', my bike lost power and died just as I was crossing Rt.20.  We quickly saw that the rocker spindle had backed out.

This had happened before, so I had safety wired the nut on the other side and it was still there, dangling from the wire.  But, that didn't stop the spindle from unscrewing.  We had it back together in 10-15 mins, and when I got home, I drilled and wired the spindle, too.  Bill Burke photo

The last weekend in September was the USCRA's Fall Giro in Oakridge, Tn.  I rode my '68 TC200 Suzuki and had a fun session swapping back and forth with Robert Ignatowicz on his CL 175 Honda.
My TC200 Suzuki in front of Robert Ignatowicz's Cl175.  He's talking on the phone.

definitely one of the classier bike on the Giro: a 125 H-D Rapido with sissy bar

Definitely the classiest tow vehicles at the Giro: Jack Parker with his Studebaker Lark with oversized tires.

I spent Sunday night with Jack in Knoxville and checked out his considerable pile.  The next day I went to visit a friend in Hixon, Tn., near Chattanooga.  She took me to the International Recovery and Towing Museum.  The tow truck is claimed to have been invented in Chattanooga and this museum is dedicated to the history of towing.
An overview of the International Recovery and Towing Museum

The next day, we went to the Coker Tire Museum which has a big collection of vintage cars and motorcycles.
Coker Tire Museum

Then it was on to Barber M/S Pk. for the final AHRMA race of the year.  This year I only raced my ERTT H-D Sprint.  I practiced on Thurs., which went well, and spent Fri. checking out the museum.   Sat., my first race was the second of the day, the 350GP.  I got in the lead on probably the 2nd lap and kept pushing, expecting Alex McLean to challenge, based on his winning performance at NJMP.  Tim Mings showed me a wheel once or twice, but ended up not finishing, as he crashed.  I was still leading on the second to last lap when I approached a back marker in the 'museum turn'.   I thought that I had to get a good drive out to pass this back marker before the chicane so he wouldn't balk me there, as I was convinced that the jackals were nipping at my heels.  But, I grabbed too much throttle too early and spun the bike out.  It was a fairly gentle low side with minimal damage to me or the bike.  Hero to Zero.  It turned out that Alex was back in 4th place having started the race in 2nd gear.  Peter Politiek on Ed Sensening's 350 Ducati was closing and wasn't sure if he could have caught me if I hadn't crashed.  He did have the fastest lap in the class.  I was able to patch the bike up and get it through tech well before my 'bump-up race', the 500 Premiere.  I was able to keep it upright this time and finished 6th behind the CB450 based Hondas of Andrew Mauk and Wes Orloff, the Seeley G-50s of Helmi Neiderer and Kenny Cummings, and the BSA A50R of Paul Germain.  Tim Mings on his CB77 350 Honda got by me at one point, but I passed him back and he ended up finishing about 2.5 seconds behind me.
Leading Tim Mings #34 CB77 Honda, Paul Germain #61 DT1 Yamaha, and Peter Politiek, Jr. #59 350 Ducati.  Nev Miller Photo
Sunday, Alex nailed the start and steadily pulled away and finished almost 6 seconds ahead of me with Peter almost a second behind.
There was a lot of attrition in the 500 Premiere class with first Andrew Mauk dropping out and then Helmi Neiderer.  I went back and forth with Paul Germain, but he was clearly having trouble with shifting or clutch and he dropped out also, so I ended up 3rd, behind Wes Orloff on Dale Coffman's Honda and Kenny Cummings on his Minovation Seeley G-50,  almost 7 seconds ahead of Maria Costello, who was having her own problems.

Less than 2 weeks after the Barber event, my younger brother, Douglas, died in a horrible accident.  It was a huge loss as he was universally liked and relied upon for his mechanical expertise.  While he and I were quite different, we shared our love of mechanics in general and motorcycles in particular.  He had a wicked sense of humor.  He laid out the best routes for the Tiddler Tours that he and his wife Amy put on for years, the social event of the season.  I really miss him.
Doug in the middle between our good friends, Scott Rikert (L) and Bill Burke (R).  Ken Richardson photo

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