Tuesday, March 30, 2021

2021 CMP addendum

The first 30 seconds of Jonathan Hollingsworth's video shows how close I was to being taken out in the first turn crash in Sunday's VSL/350GP/350 Sportsman race. Jerry Duke got his usual good start and got through the corner before some VSL bike crashed in front of Alex McLean taking him out. I just barely missed Alex and took a long ride through the grass. https://youtu.be/aUZJn3sn2ts

Monday, March 29, 2021

AHRMA Carolina Motorsports Park 2021

In preperation for my second race of the 2021 season, I put my CRTT H-D Sprint on the dyno to understand why it didn't seem to want to rev at Roebling Road four weeks before. After several runs, the motor went BANG and lost power. I found that the exhaust valve wasn't opening and suspected that a tappet had broken. This happened to this motor last July at Blackhawk Farms and was no big deal as I just took the broken pieces out and put a used tappet in that I had with me. But when I investigated this time, I found it wasn't so simple.
It looked like the broken off head of the tappet had been jammed into the tappet bush and pushed it up towards the head and galled the bush so the broken off stem of the tappet was jammed in the bush.
I decided that this was more than I could deal with in the time I had left and Rob Iannucci offered me a Team Obsolete AJS 7R which I accepted. The bike had last been run in 2015 when I raced it at a USCRA event at NJMP Lightning circuit. We just put oil in it, changed the number plates and did some safety wiring and it seemed ready. I had a miseralble Friday night at CMP as it got really cold and I had to make three dashes to the men's room in the middle of the night with gastro-intestinal distress. Sat., was cold, cloudy and very windy. I took it very easy in the first practice, but had a lot of problems shifting the gearbox, especially downshifting (i.e.lifting the lever up). I got an old broken aluminum footrest from Stu Carter and slid it over the toe piece of the shift lever, lengthening it and making it bigger in diameter.
This helped enormously in the 2nd practice, though I still occasionally had problems downshifting.
Testing the shift lever on the bench. Amy Roper photo. My first race was race #7 with Sound of Singles 2 in the first wave and 500 Premiere (Vintage Cup) in the second wave and Formula 500 gridded behind. At the start, Helmi Neiderer crashed going into turn #1 and his bike knocked down Tony Read, the winner of the two 500 Premiere races at Roebling Road. This brought out the red flag, one of an incredible number of red flags over the weekend. Neither Tony or Helmi made the restart, so I was able to finish a distant 2nd to Wes Orloff, on Dale Coffman's 450 Honda, in class, but 17th overall behind a bunch of SOS2 bikes (and lapped by the leader, Ralph Staropoli) and three F500 bikes. There were more crashes and red flags before my second race, #13 the Vintage Superbike Lightweight, 350GP and 350 Sportsman and and Formula 125. I was running a distant 2nd to Alex McLean on his Drixton Aermacchi in class. I still occasionally had problems downshifting in the 'fog of war'and failed to get it right entering one of the corners and came out two gears too tall. Jonathan Hollingsworth on a Rickman Aermacchi and Jerry Duke on a 350 Ducati came by me. I initially thought--no problem; I can get them back--but then the red flag came out and the race was called final, so I was 4th in class and 10th overall. I decided that I was geared a little tall and added one tooth to the rear sprocket. I also went to one step colder sparkplug as I had a little concern about the center electrode on the one I had run with. Saturday night was much better than Friday and, while Sunday was somewhat warmer than Sat., it was perhaps more windy and even drizzled a bit in the morning. I trimed the footrest that I had slipped over the shift lever in a effort to further improve my downshifting.
My sister-in-law Amy Roper and her fiance Dave Nichols came to the event and were a trememdous help. Amy Roper photo.
Amy Roper Photo. After the one practice round, I went up one jet size in the carb.
Trying to find neutral after starting the bike on the roller starter. Amy Roper photo. In Sunday's 500 Premiere race, Tony Read stalled on the grid and wasn't able to start the race. I again ran a distant second to Wes Orloff and was able to hold off Helmi, who was somewhat detuned by his crash on Sat. This race too was red flagged for a crash and I ended up 2nd in class and 13th overall behind 8 SOS2 bikes, Wes and 3 F500 bikes. By the time the 350GP race came up, the sun had come out and it was considerable warmer, but still very windy. And, people were still crashing. I think it was on the second restart that someone crashed in front of Alex McLean and he had no where to go, went down and didn't make the restart as he hurt his foot. So, I took the lead in the class on the third restart.
Exiting turn #1. Amy Roper photo. I thought the race might be re flagged again as someone fell in the last corner and the bike ended just off the track in the impact zone, but for once they didn't throw the red flag. I had passed Jerry Duke early on but must have been goofing off or again wasn't able to make the downshift as my fastest lap was nearly three seconds slower than in the 500 Premiere race. In the last corner of the race, Jerry stuffed me hard up the the inside. I thought that he wasn't going to make the corner and I ran off the track. Jerry ran over the rumble strips but stayed on the tarmac and beat me to the finish line by 2.5 sec.as I recovered, so again I was 2nd in class, this time 4th overall with two VSL bikes in front of us. So, all four of the races that I was in were red flagged, the last one three times. And these were far from the only races red flagged. There had to be a record number of crashes. Part of this was undoubtedly the weather and maybe March isn't the best time to race at CMP. Part of the problem was just a big turn out--more entries mean more crashes, perhaps especially when it's the first race of the year for many of the racers. And, part of it is the nature of the CMP track. Turn #1 is very tight and not that far from the start line, so it's not uncommon for there to be a gaggle of riders there at the start trying to occupy the same spot. I felt lucky to survive unscathed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

AHRMA Roebling Road 2021

My 2021 racing season kicked off with the traditional February Roebling Road Raceway date.  I only brought my 250cc CRTT HD Sprint and my 350 wasn't ready.  The 250 had a pretty extensive rebuild over the winter: new crankpin and big end bearing, new main bearings, new gearbox, new cylinder bore, new rings, new valves and new exhaust seat and guide.  And a new rear tire. 

My '67 CRTT H-D Sprint as it arrived

So I signed up for Fri. afternoon practice.  I rained Friday morning and, while it had pretty much stopped raining by the time I got on the track, the track was fully wet and I was very cautious.  By my 2nd practice the track was drying, but there were plenty of damp patches and the odd puddle.  The motor started easily, sounded fine and accelerated fairly well, but didn't seem to want to rev and I wasn't pulling the gearing that I had in the past, so I dropped a tooth on the gearbox sprocket.

Saturday morning was quite cold with temps in the low 30's and I took it very steady.  By now the sun was shining brightly and it had warmed up a bit.  I went out for the 2nd practice and on my out lap when I cracked the throttle in turn #3, the rear tire broke loose and I low sided.  I slid on my ass on the track then into the dirt without tumbling, but I did wear right through my leather and got a raspberry of my left cheek. 

Wore right through my leathers.  Darleen Drehmel photo

The bike wasn't too bad, but the fairing was pretty smashed up and dirt was packed everywhere.  It seems like I'm making the rookie, cold tire turn #3 crash an annual tradition as I did it last year, though then I tucked the front.  
After the crash.  Kenny Cummings is very disappointed in his 'dad'.  Courtney A. Black photo

I abandoned the fairing and mounted number plates.  Now I have an air filter on the carb, so I didn't have to take the head off to clean out the dirt as I did last year. 

mounting number plates with Dr. Dan Levine.  Courtney A. Black photo

I installed a new CO2 cartridge in my inflatable vest. I got the bike re-teched and was able to do a scrub lap in race #2, and everything seemed OK for race #3, my bump-up race, 350GP with 350 Sportsman gridded behind us in one wave. 
heading out for a 'scrub lap'  Darleen Drehmel photo

As soon as I started the warm-up lap, the motor started cutting out intermittently.  I pulled in pit lane and saw that one of the leads had pulled off the coil.  I shoved it back on and got a push start and started the race from the pit lane after everyone got rolling.  Three of the 350GP and three of the 350 Sportsman bikes started pulling away.  After a couple of laps, I saw I was catching Colton Roberts riding his Dad's TD2b Yamaha.  Jason Roberts had crashed in practice when an oil line failed on his Aermacchi and oiled the rear tire.  He broke three ribs and offered his Yamaha to his son.  Colton had never turned a wheel on this bike before the start of the race and he was clearly figuring out how to ride it.  I was able to pass him in several corners and he would blow by me on the straights.  By the last lap, Colton had gained enough confidence in how the bike was going to act that I was unable to pass him and he finished 0.9 seconds ahead of me.  So I was 4th in class and 7th overall.

The 250GP class was in race #11 gridded behind Sound of Singles 3 in the first wave and Vintage Superbike Lightweight in the second wave. 

On the front row of the 250GP grid, behind the VSL grid, in the 2nd wave.  Darleen Drehmel photo

I got ahead of a few of the VSL bikes at the start and soon caught some of the SOS3 bikes.  SOS3 may have the greatest range of speed of any class.  The first two in that class lapped me (and all but 7 of the 30 starters)on what were effectively Moto3 bikes--modern watercooled, fuel injected 250 singles in full race chassis.  I passed 6 of the SOS3 bike and two of the VSL bikes for 1st in class and 17th overall.

Sunday morning was even colder with frost everywhere.  There was only one round of practice and I managed to complete 5 laps without crashing.  I still wasn't pulling the gearing, so I added two teeth to the rear sprocket.  Then, Art Kowitz told me that he was taking his X-6 Suzuki to the Hall brother's mobile dyno to sort it.  I didn't realize that it was there, and I followed Art down and after he made a run, we put my Sprint on.  Rob Hall was able to alter the ignition timing while Jake kept the bike running.  Rob advanced the timing 2-3 times to optimum and noted that the fuel/air mixture was a little rich, so I went down one jet size.

Sunday's 350GP/Sportman race went much like Saturday's except Jason Roberts wasn't riding his dad's TD2b.  I had a fairly lonely ride after the first 5 pulled away and ended up 3rd in class and 6th overall.  My best lap was more than 0.8 seconds slower that Sat. without the encouragement of chasing Jason and maybe his draft, too.  

There were a couple of crashes in close succession around race #7 that required both the ambulances to transport riders, which shut down racing until one returned.  After racing resumed, there was another red flag delay so, by the time race #11 came up, the race was shortened from 8 laps to 6.  Again, I led the 250GP class from the start.  I passed three of the VSL bikes and two of the SOS3 bikes to finish 1st in class and 17th overall.  I was only lapped by the leader of the SOS3 class (as were the next 16 bikes).  What I didn't realize until after the race was that I finished just 0.315 seconds ahead of Don Hollingsworth on his 250 Sprint.  I had a slightly faster fastest lap than Don, but mine was on the 3rd lap and his was on the last.  Clearly, I was goofing off and he was smelling blood.  Would I have been able to respond if the race had gone the full 8 laps?

My fasted lap of the weekend last year on the same bike (also without a fairing) was more that 3.3 seconds  faster then my fastest lap of the weekend this year.  I'm willing to accept that some of that is because I'm a broken old man (or rather more broken, older man), but I was definitely pulling more revs with taller gearing last year.  Why is mystery that I'm still investigating.

Brian Larrabure's Seeley G-50.  Brian unfortunately had a serious crash Sun. on another bike and broke his leg and clavicle

My pit neighbors: Doc Batsleer's Indian and Beno Rodi's cammy Nortons


Dave Kaufman's G-12 Matchless

 


Local Rick Panettieri always brings an interesting and immaculate bike, this time a Laverda Jota

 

Stu Carter's ex-Ginger Molloy Bultaco

The Bultaco seat warning

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Skip Aksland addendum

I recently ran across two races that Skip Aksland had competed in of which I wasn't aware on two successive days.  I saw a photo of the start of the Formula 750 race at Mosport Park in Canada, 17 Sept., 1978 and there was Aksland on the front row with  Johnny Cecotto, Yvon Duhamel, Kenny Roberts and Mike Baldwin. 

Photo courtesy of CSBK/PMP

I checked back, I saw that I had included Skip's 4th overall (5th in the first leg, 4th in the second) in the text, but had left it out of the list.  But, in researching this, I learned that Aksland had raced the previous weekend (10 Sept.) at the F-750 race at Laguna Seca, which I thought he missed because of injuries from his crash at Sears Point in July.  Laguna may have been his first race back after that crash.  In th first 100km leg, Skip finished 2nd to Roberts and ahead of Steve Baker, Gene Romero and Mike Baldwin.  In the second leg, he made only two laps before pulling into the pits with a "broken coil". Two weeks after Mosport, Skip was 8th in the San Jose Mile and a week later 11th in the Ascot Half Mile, both on a XR H-D.  Then, the next weekend (7-8 Oct., '78), Skip finished 8th overall in the AGV Cup of Nations at Imola, Italy.

Then I stumbled across an old post on the WERA forum by Larry Lawrence.  He had come across an old floppy disc that he had made on the history of the WERA GNF.  I was surprised to see that in 1978, Skip had raced in that year's GNF at Texas World Speedway.  This was three weeks after racing at Imola, 28 Oct.  In the F-1 heat race on Sat., Lawrence says the Aksland and Freddie Spencer 'tangled' and both went down.  Cycle News says they both hit oil and crashed virtually simultaneously on the last lap while dicing for the lead.  Lawrence says Aksland got a 'badly injured hand'.  Cycle News says both were unhurt other than Aksland's sprained thumb.  Evidently it was bad enough that Aksland didn't start the next day's final.  Mike Baldwin arrived after the heat races Sat., and started the final Sun., from the back of the grid and went through to win over Spencer and Aldana.

Quite a busy and varied two months for Skip, racing a four stroke V-twin on the dirt and an inline two stroke four on the asphalt, in three different countries and two continents.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Bruno Kneubuhler

 I've been reading "Chris Carter at Large,  Stories from a lifetime in motorcycle racing" which is a collection of anecdotes about races and racers.  Carter writes of the Swiss racer Bruno Kneubuhler "He was good, too.  Second in both the 50cc and 125cc world championship, and he rode in the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc championships at various times, scoring podiums in all classes, I think.  Possibly a unique achievement."  I found this quite amazing and started researching if it was in fact true.  Bruno Kneubuler's name was vaguely familiar, but I didn't know any of his details.  A quick Google search confirmed that he had been on the podium in every solo class, had won five GPs, and finished 2nd in the '73 Spanish GP in the 50, 250 and 500 races.  But, what I found even more impressive was that he raced in the World Championship GPs from 1972 when he was 26 years old through 1989 when he was 43 and scored points every year except '87 racing a Honda in the 500cc class. Bruno started racing in 1969 and got 2nd place in his first competition, a hillclimb.  In 1970 he won the Swiss Senior title.  In 1971, he rode as many International races as he could get starts for.  In 1972, he started racing in the GPs in the 350 and 500 classes on Yamahas, was 4th at his first GP in the 500, third behind Ago and Pagani on the works MVs at Assen and third again at Brno, and won the 350 race at the last GP of the season in Spain by 42 seconds. This made him third in the 500 class for the season and 6th in the 350 class in his rookie season. For some reason, I associated his name with the Imola 200 Ducatis.  Sure enough, he rode one of the works bikes in '73.  '72 was the first year of the Imola 200 and Paul Smart put Ducati on the map by winning over his teammate Bruno Spaggiari.  Apparently, the 350 Yamaha wasn't allowed in '72, but was in '73 and Jarno Saarinen, fresh from his win in the Daytona 200, dominated the event.  Ducati had developed their 750 V-Twin considerably with a shorter stroke, and reduced valve angle that allowed a shorter wheelbase.  Smart rode a Suzuki in '73, and Spaggiari had Mick Grant and Bruno Kneubuhler as teammates on the works Ducatis.  Grant fried a clutch at the start and retired and the two Brunos chased Saarinen, after Yvon duHamel and Art Baumann on H2Rs dropped out.  Kneubuhler was in 2nd place near the end of the first 100 mile leg when he crashed after turning the fastest lap of the race.  

At Imola on the works Ducati in 1973

Here's a link to a documentary of the race: https://www.bpvideolibrary.com/record/746

In June of 1977, Bruno crashed at an International in Holland and badly fractured his left ankle and the surgery was botched and it got infected.  He was flown to Zurich and, after three months and more surgery, his ankle was fused.  This not only ended his season and but compromised his push starts when he resumed racing in '78 on a RG 500 Suzuki, and he only scored 2 points all year.  So, in '79 he switched to a 125 MBA, but that season was ruined by a fall at Assen where he broke both wrist.  He came back strong the next year with the MBA with three podiums and 4th in the 125 championship.

On the 125 MBA at Assen in 1980

For 1981 Bruno raced a 250 Pinfold Rotax that wasn't very successful.  He only scored points in  two GPs.  Fron Motocourse 1981-82: "Schlachter passed Bruno Kneubuhler on lap ten as the Swiss dropped down the field.  It was yet another disappointment for Bruno who struggled all year to make his Pinfold-framed Rotax competitive and had qualified fourth only to have the engine run flat in the race."  Here's a video of the earlier race at Hockenheim:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI8eIf55R2g

#33 is Bruno at Monza in '81

It was back to the 125s with an MBA in '82 and in '83 he had perhaps his best year finishing 2nd overall in the 125 World Championship with two wins, a 2nd and a 3rd, and scoring points in 8 of the 11 GPs he contested at the age of 37.  Bruno stayed with the 125s through 1986, but in 1987 he raced a 500 Honda, presumably a RS500 three cylinder.  This was probably prompted by the FIM changing GPs start from push to clutch. '87 was the first year that Bruno didn't score any World Championship points since 1972 but, keep in mind that '87 was the last year that points were awarded only 1st through 10th and the next year they went to 1st through 15th, which is still used today.  And, Bruno was racing against Gardner, Mamola, Lawson and Schwantz on works bikes.  It only got worse with the addition of Rainey in '88 and Doohan in '89, but Bruno did score points both those years.

On the RS 500 Honda

Bruno has participated in Classic racing in more recent years and operates riding school in Switzerland.

So, from 50cc Kreidler to 750 Ducati to RS 500 Honda, Kneubuhler was superbly versatile.

But, somewhere in my research, I saw a reference to seven riders being 'classified' in all five solo classes: Ralph Bryans, Tommy Robb, Luigi Taveri, Stuart Graham, Dave Simmons, Bruno Kneubuhler, and Alberto Pagani.  It wasn't totally clear what 'classified' meant, but I assume it meant scored points.  Further research revealed that Kneubuhler's podiums in all solo classed wasn't a unique achievement.  Tommy Robb won 125, 250 and 350 races and got 3rds in 50 and 500 GPs.  Stuart Graham may have also been on the podium of all five solo classes as he won 50 and 125 GPs and was 2nd in 250 and 500 GPs, but I haven't been able to find results of all his 350 GPs, though think that it's probably unlikely that he made the podium in one.  Bryans, Robb, Taveri, Graham, and Simmons all raced against each other in the mid to late '60s and Kneubuhler and Pagani were just a little later in the early 70's, but Kneubuhler carried on and was 5th in the 125 World Championship in 1986 riding an MBA, then spent his last three years in the GPs racing the 500 Honda.  It was a different time.  Much was made of Freddie Spencer winning both the 250 and 500 World Championships in 1985 and I don't think anyone has even tried running more that one class since then, even Kneubuhler who last raced more that one class in a season in 1977.  The 350 class was eliminated after 1982 and the 50 class was replaced by the 80cc class in 1984 and ran through 1989, when it too was eliminated.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Sprints at Bonneville addendum

My previous post piqued Dick Hollingsworth's interest and he did some research and came up with what seems to be a definitive answer to my question:  How did George Roeder go 20mph faster in '65 than Roger Reiman  in '64 in the same streamliner.  The answer is better salt conditions AND more power.






This article came form the website: http://msolisvintagemotorcycle.com/cr
Scrolling down quite a ways is a heading "Sprint CR Publication & Information" and immediately following is an article on the '64 effort with Reiman, with this photo: 

This clearly was a wet clutch motor which normally would be long stroke.  I suppose it's theoretically possible that it had a special short stroke crankshaft and top end, as Mick Walker claims in his books 'Classic American Racing Motorcycles' (1992) and 'Aermacchi' (1995), but I doubt it.  Scrolling down further is the article on the '65 effort with Roeder.  Neither of these articles are identified as to what publication they came from, but I suspect both are from H-D's in house publication "The Enthusiast".

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sprints at Bonneville

When I recently went to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America national meet at Denton, N.C., a few of us rode to the American Classic Motorcycle Museum in Asheboro, N.C.  It was strictly H-D, with Knuckles, Pans and Shovels, and a couple of Sprint road bikes.  But, it had some good race posters and two that intrigued me featured a Sprint powered streamliner at Bonneville.

As you can see, in 1964 Roger Reiman went 156mph and a year later George Roeder went 176mph in what appears to be the same streamliner.  I wondered how they gained 20 mph in one year.  All things being equal, it would take a lot more horsepower to gain 20 mph at those speeds.  I spent a little time researching it, going first to Allan Girdler's book 'Harley Racers'.  This has a photo of Roeder with the streamliner which the caption says was built by James 'Stormy' Mangham.  Stormy had built a streamliner powered by a Triumph 650 twin, a Cub, and a 500 Tiger 100 and ridden by Johnny Allen first in 1955 and last in 1959 when Allen crashed and destroyed the 'liner.  In the '60s, Strormy built three streamliners: one similar to the on that was destroyed (and maybe using some of the original), that had a Sprint motor; one larger with had a Sportster motor; one with a Chevy V-8.  Harley got involved and built the Sprint and Sportster motors, with Reiman riding them in '64 and Roeder in '65.

I called my friend John Stein, who wrote the book 'World's Fastest Motorcycle, The Day the Salt Stood Still, Mike Akatiff vs. Denis Manning vs. Sam Wheeler'.  John didn't know any particulars of the Sprint effort, though he believed the Roeder family still owned the Sprint streamliner.  John is very friendly with Denis Manning and suggested that I call him.  Manning built the streamliner powered by a Sportster based motor that Cal Rayborn rode to absolute motorcycle speed record in 1970 of 265.492.  This is featured in the film On Any Sunday.  Manning wasn't involved with the earlier Sprint record, so didn't know any particulars but suggested that the difference in speed between '64 & '65 could have been fuel, but I pointed out that both posters say the times were set with pump gasoline.  Manning thought the difference must be down to the weather and/or salt conditions.  I asked him if there was any way to find out what the weather/salt conditions were in '64 & '65 and he told me that the AMA lost all the Bonneville records and when he ran his BUB event at Bonneville they had to reconstruct old records from magazine articles and the like.  Manning suggested that I might talk to Clyde Denzer, The Harley race department number 2 man to Dick O'Brien, and someone involved in that '70 effort.  I called Peter Zylstra, the man who designed/drew  the XR750 motor, also retired from the Harley race dept.  Peter arrive at H-D right around 1965 and didn't know anything of the earlier Bonneville effort.  I suggested that in '64 the streamliner might have been powered by the long stroke, wet clutch motor and in '65 might have had the revised short stroke, dry clutch motor, but we both questioned that as we thought the short stroke motor came out in '66.  Peter gave me Clyde Denzer's number and I called him.  He was in the H-D race dept. in '64 and was aware of the Bonneville effort, but hadn't gone there as he did in '70 with Rayborn.  Clyde also didn't think that the short stroke motor was used in '65 and thought part of the difference in speed was just down to more experience and a refined effort, though agreed that weather/salt conditions could well have contributed.  Then I called Keith Martin of Big D Cycles, as I understood that he had the molds for the shell of the Stormy Mangham Triumph streamliner and was involved in the restoration of the bike for the National Motor Museum in England.  He also didn't know anything specific about the Sprint records and thought it had to be down the weather/salt conditions and that sometime you just get lucky. I re-read the caption on the photo in Girdler book and it says that Reiman used the long stroke motor and Roeder the short stroke.
From Allan Girdler's "Harley Racers"


Then I found Mick Walker's 'Classic American Racing Motorcycles' which states: "As a way of extra publicity Harley-Davidson began to take an active interest in Bonneville.  Their first attempts were with a specially prepared short-stroke 248cc Aermacchi road racing engine enclosed in a 14 ft long alloy shell.  Ridden by works rider Roger Reiman this device averaged 156.24 mph for the flying mile and 156.54 mph for the kilometre in 1964.  The records were approved by the AMA but not the FIM as no recognised observer was present from the latter organisation.  Hence the speeds constituted American records only.  However Harley achieved its ambition the following year when George Roeder piloted a revised version of the sprint streamliner to a new world speed record at the breathtaking speed of 177.225 mph-sanctioned by the FIM."  So Walker claims that a short stroke motor was used in both '64 and '65, which doesn't explain the 20 mph gain.


From Stephen Wright book American Racer 1940-1980


I just got a hold of George Roeder's son, George II.  He thought that Reiman had run a long stroke/wet clutch motor and his dad the short stroke/dry clutch motor as a way of introducing it, as it was what was supplied in CR Sprints in '66.  He still has the streamliner at his museum at his shop Roeder Racing in Monroeville, Ohio.  When his dad was a franchised H-D dealer starting in 1972, he used to drive up to Milwaukee to pick up new bikes from the H-D factory to save on shipping.  He'd drop into the racing dept. to see his old buddies.  One time someone told him that the old streamliner was in a warehouse and in the way and why didn't he take it with him.  However, the machine has no motor in it, so it doesn't answer if it had a long or short stroke motor.  George II, also known as 'Joe' to distinguish him from his dad, told me that Bill Millburn had some information on the streamliner, so I called him.  Millburn is a collector and a bit of an historian on Class C racing in the '50-'70s.  Bill told me that he has the build card on the motor that both Reiman and Roeder used, a long stroke, wet clutch unit.  He says it was run at Daytona in a road racer with a 5A, 5 speed gearbox, 5A being the closest ratio option.  The gearbox was changed to a 5B, wider ratio, gearbox for Bonneville.  This would make some sense as with the super tall gearing needed at Bonneville, a lower 1st gear would be useful for getting going.  After Bonneville '64, the motor went back in a road racer with a 5A gearbox, then back in the streamliner with a 5B for Roeder at Bonneville in '65.  Millburn is convinced that it was the same motor in '64 & '65.
Finally, I talked to Herb Harris, a collector and former sponsor of Roeder Racing, and a lawyer who represented Roeder when, after Harley built their museum in Milwaukee, decided that they wanted the streamliner back.  According to Herb, it was a Davidson who gave the streamliner to George and therefore Roeder was the rightful owner, and that he decided to keep it and respectfully declined to return it to H-D.

This is one of the ways I spend time during 'lockdown', researching bit of motorcycle history arcana.  There is just about no one left who was there at the time and I guess we'll never know the details of effort, but I find it fun jogging peoples memories and getting their opinions.