Sunday, March 4, 2018

AHRMA Roebling Road, 2018

The opening race of my 2018 season had a big turnout, helped no doubt by absolutely gorgeous weather.  Enjoying the sunny, 80 degree day with a light breeze were a number of people we hadn't seen in years, in addition to the regulars and new faces.
working on my H-D ERTT with my '69 TC200 Suzuki in the foreground.  Darleen Drehmel photo
I got to Roebling Fri. afternoon and quickly set up my pit, then rode my '68 TC 200 Suzuki to Pooler where I had been asked to speak at a gathering of the Low Country Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.  It was a informal gathering of 10 or so at a restaurant and the interest seemed to be mostly of the Isle of Man.  It was good getting to know some of the local motorcyclist and several of them came out to the track over the weekend.
My friend Bill Himmelsbach had gone through my motor and thought it was in good shape and just required a valve job and new rings.  It seemed to run great in my first practice Sat., but the plug looked lean.  At the last race last year at Barber, the plug had looked lean and I kept jetting it up.  Bill agreed that it looked lean and said the underside of the piston looked like it had been hot.  When I installed the engine in the frame, I notice that the gasket between the intake manifold and head seemed pushed out.  I assumed that's why the plug looked lean and why I had to jet it up.  So I resealed the manifold and reverted to the leaner jetting.  But, now again it looked lean.  A couple of the two stroke riders told me that the air was quite dense and that they had to jet up.
Starting on the Works Mfg. starter rollers as Stu Carter plugs his ears.  Darleen Drehmel photo
So, I went from a 175 to 178 main jet and did my second practice.  At the riders meeting there was much talk of noise and they had been doing sound checks and my bike was one of many mentioned as well over the limit at 108 db, but it was far from the loudest as one bike was 122.5.  Again, there was no color on the plug and I went to a 180 for my first race, my bump-up class, 500 Premiere, in which I was the sole entry in the class.  Tim Joyce was there with Maurice Candy's 500 Manx Norton, but he decided to enter Formula 750 to try to find some competition (he won that class both days).
entering the track for race #8.  #372 & #304 are 350 Sportsman bike while #320, #55, & #1 are Bears bikes.  Darleen or Terry Drehmel photo
There had been a big delay in an earlier race when someone oiled the track when a oil fitting failed, so the subsequent races were shorted from 8 to 6 laps.  From the second wave, I passed a couple of Bears bike in the first wave and three 350 Sportsman bikes came by me so I was 8th overall.
Again the plug showed no color and I went to a 182 main jet for the 350GP race.  We were gridded behind the Motards in the first wave and the Vintage Superbike lightweights in the second wave.  I got a great start and led my class from flag to flag, but the jackals were not far away with Jack Parker on his DT1 Yamaha 0.169 seconds behind and Alex McLean on a Drixton Aermacchi 0.459 behind Jack, the two of them having a faster best lap than me.
I skipped Sunday's first practice in part to conserve my rear tire, which was quite worn.  There was a long delay in the first round of practices when a bike caught fire on the track and when the rider finally realized it, he bailed off and it burned.  I went out in the second round of practice and the plug STILL looked lean and I went to a 182 main jet.
I did have another entry in the 500 Premiere Class Sunday as Bob Birdsall decided that he didn't want to wait until the 350GP, the second to last race of the day, and changed his entry to 500 Premiere.  On the warmup lap, someone failed to make the last turn and rode into the woods.  It looked like it might be a medical problem as he didn't even start to turn for the corner and just rode straight off.  Apparently, he was dazed, but got into the ambulance under his own power.  But, this caused a delay and we were sent back to the pits and then called for another warmup lap.
Bob Birdsall wheeling at the start of Sunday's 500 Premiere race with Alex McLean's 500GP Norton Manx behind.  Darleen or Terry Drehmel photo
Birdsall wheelies again as he bangs 2nd gear.  The bike clearly has a lot of power, but wheelies don't move you forward and I'm already ahead of him.  The bike in the middle is Scott Turner's 350 Sportsman bike.  Darleen or Terry Drehmel photo
Here I'm exiting turn #4 with Scott Turner behind me.  Darleen or Terry Drehmel photo
Again, I passed a couple of first wave Bears riders, but this time no 350 Sportsman bikes came by but Alex McLean did on his 500GP Manx Norton and I was 6th overall.
The gorgeous weather was finally starting to turn with dark clouds rolling in and a big headwind down the straight picked up.
The Motards were moved to a different race and Vintage Superbike Lightweight was in the first wave and 350GP the second.  I didn't get as good a start and Jack Parker beat me off the line but I passed him before turn #1.  He came back by me near start/finish and then Don Hollingsworth came by us both on his 350 Sprint.  But Don ran off the track in turn#5 and I thought he was going to hit the bank.  Apparently, he didn't and got back on the track and worked his way back to 4th in class.  His brother Al told me this was cause by his throttle sticking with some grit in the slide.  The head wind was really killing my top end and I was definitely over geared and perhaps a bit tentative in the right hand corner because of my worn rear tire, but I thought I had a chance of passing Jack back.  But, all of a sudden we had a checkered flag at the end of four laps.  I'm told there was a sort of micro burst of wind that made the officials shorten the race and when I got back to my pit, I found my EZup was down as it had started to tip over and my pit neighbors had taken it down.  Alex McLean's sponsor, Rob McKeever told me that Alex had been blown off the track, but he again finished 3rd.  It never did rain and we were able to load up in the dry, thankfully.
It was a very good start to the season.
Here I try to tell my problem child, Stu Carter, the true path.  Darleen Drehmel photo
Rudy Schachinger equipe.  The Honda on the left was the record breaking loud bike to which he had added reverse cones on the megaphones after practice to tone it down.  The 1000 Laverda triple on the right has an Austrian made frame.
The fuel tank extends below the carb and therefore has a fuel pump run off of intake vacuum pulses.
Here I talk to Rudy about his latest project, a pre-war NSU.  Darleen Drehmel photo
Scott Dell working on his Vincent Comet with D. Tompkins working on his in the backround.  Tom Kerr, another Vincent owner, is on the right.
D. Tompkins Comet. Sorry about the shadow
The comet rear shock between the twin springs.
Jason Robert with his newly purchased Yamaha TD2B
It has all the right period mods with the Vesco fairing and front mudguard, Koni shocks, lengthen swingarm, and Krober ignition and tach. An early '70s time capsule. 
The Jim Towers/Ellen Yamplonsky pit with Jims 250 Ducati and their Norton outfit
J. Korn works on the slipping clutch of his A1 Kawasaki
Brad Phillips' ISDT replica BMW 750, a bike that he's been building for years, finally ready to dial in the suspension.  What a man!