Thursday, October 1, 2020

Southern loop

I started three back to back weekends by joining the USCRA's Moto Giro in Syria, Va. We were based at Graves Mountain Lodge and did loops from there, returning back there for lunch each day, which meant going over the some of the same roads multiple times. But, the roads were great and the scenery gorgeous. In fact, at first I wondered if the roads were too good--too smooth and well marked. But, eventually we did get a few gnarly roads and there was a good deal of excellent dirt road and one watercrossing. The turnout was well down from the usually because of Covid-19, but there were about 50 riders and a good variety of bikes.
Jesse Morris with his NSU Max 
An NSU Max, a Puch, a Jawa, a Gilera, two Ossas, two Bultacos, three R-27 BMWs,three Suzukis (including my TC200, a TC250 and a 305), two Yamahas (including a YM1 reputedly bought in Vietman at the PX by a service man and brought back to the States), a Kawasaki 90, and the usual gaggle of Hondas.
Alex Snoop on his 175 Ossa Wildfire

The bummer of the weekend was Rich Hosely breaking his right tibia and fibula without crashing by putting his foot down when he slid a bit and hitting his leg with his foot rest.
Craig Light's Bultaco Lobito
Bultaco Metralla

I didn't think the route sheet was the best and misinterpreted an instruction Sunday afternoon and missed a turn and went miles the wrong way on a boring divided hiway until I got disgusted and rode back, missing a reportedly good road going up to Skyline drive.
90cc Kawasaki G-3
Mitch Fraizer with his 250 Jawa Californian
Puch Allstate Twingle
Yamaha YM-1 Cross Country reputedly bought in Vietnam at the PX and brought back to the States by the previous owner.

I stayed over at Graves Sun. night and Monday drove to Thomas Jefferson's house Monticello, which I found fascinating and well done. From there, I drove to Peaks of Otter campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway, hydroplanning in the heavy rain and wondering if this was a good idea. But, it stopped raining and I was able to set up my tent and walk to the near by lodge to get dinner in the dry.
In the morning, I woke up to find that my right rear tire was flat. Thinking I'd put on the spare, I found that the tool to lower the spare was missing from my tool kit and I was unsuccessful trying to bodge it with an Allen key or screwdriver. I ended up pumping it up to 63 psi with a hand pump, which took a while. But, it got me into Roanoke where I got the tire patched. I unloaded my TC 200 and rode it to the Va. Museum of Transport while they were working on the tire. Cars, boats, planes and locomotives and one motorcycle--a '67 Triumph Bonneville. I stayed in Roanoke that night and the next morning cruised around town some and went to the O. Winston Link/Raymond Lowey museum in the old railway station that Lowey redesigned in the late '40s.
One of two railway stations in Roanoke
Downtown Roanoke
The Taubman Museum of Art

Hotel Roanoke
From there to the Booker T. Washington National Monument, then to the Rocky Knob campground also on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Rocky Knob overlook  where I met this rider from Indiana

Thurs., I drove to Stone Mountain State Park in N.C. and walked up to the top of Stone Mountain for a beautiful view that afternoon. The next morning, I walked the 4.5 mile loop trail that goes down to the base of the mountain by a spectacular waterfall, on to a restored homestead, then up over the mountain.
Stone Mountain had these mysterious holes in the rock.

this photo of the Stone Mountain waterfall doesn't do it justice

Then I drove to Carolina M/S Pk., getting there barely in time to get my bikes to Tech inspection before they close. I presented my 350 with a flat rear tire, which is a bit embarrassing. The next morning, when I tried to start it for practice, it wouldn't fire as my battery ground lead had come out of it's holder and had been laying against the crankcase for possible 8 days, draining the battery. So I put it on charge and just rode my 250 in practice.
The 250GP was in the third race of the day in the second wave behind the Thruxtons and Classic 60s & 650s in the first wave and 350 Sportsman in the second. I won the 250GP class quite comfortably and finished 9th overall behind four Thruxtons, three Classic 60s and one Classic 60s 650 (all form the first wave) and had the 5th fastest lap of the race. I did a scrub lap before the 350GP race to confirm that the battery was now charged up, my only practice on my ERTT. Race 11 had Sportsman 750 and Formula 500 in the first wave and 350GP led the second wave with Novice Historic Production Lightweight and Formula 125 behind. Alex McLean led the second wave into turn one with me behind. Jason Roberts on his TD2b Yamaha came flying by me on the straight between turns #6 and #7. Before the end of the first lap, we caught up to the first wave and I was able to get around both Jason and Alex. I guess Alex got really baulked by traffic and Jason and I began to exchange the lead. He'd pass me on the straight and I would out brake him going into the corners. We exchanged the lead 4 or 5 times in the first 3 laps. Then I ended the fun when I tucked the front end in turn #5 while in the lead on the fourth lap and, with my bike in the impact zone, the race was red flagged. Jason had the 5th fastest lap of the race, only bettered by the two Sportsman 750s and two F-500 bikes, while my fastest lap was 0.011 seconds slower than Jason's. I made out fine in the crash, but my bike got pretty torn up.
My ERTT after the crash.

It lowsided and then backed into the dirt ripping up the fairing and breaking the right clip-on off, and there was lots of dirt in the carb, and other damage.
Broken clipon and brake adjuster
Turns out that is fork tube was slightly bent.

Dirt in the carb.

I also found that the exhaust head pipe was cracked almost completely around, which probably had nothing to do with the crash. I decided not to try to fix it in the field and to wait until I was back home to strip it down and examine it carefully. I asked Sakis Vasilopoulis if he could repair the fairing and he said he could and would return it at Barber in Oct. So, Sunday I raced my 250 CRTT in both the 250GP and 350GP races. In the third race, I again easily won the 250GP and was 6th overall with the 5th fastest lap of the race. But, my fastest lap came on the 4th of 6 and the motor seem to loose it edge as the race wore on. I checked the valve clearance before race 11 and found the two rocker adjuster lock nuts sitting in the exhaust rocker cover and both adjusters had backed off and I had huge valve lash.
The lock nuts for both rocker adjusters came off.

I readjusted the valve lash and tried to really reef down on the lock nuts. This brought the edge back to the motor and I finish 2nd 350GP behind Alex McLean, as Jason Roberts didn't race on Sun. I was 4th overall behind two Formula 500 machines and Alex and my fastest lap was more than 1 1/4 seconds faster than in the 250GP and less than 2 1/2 seconds slower than I had gone on my 350 the day before, or just over 2%.
Craig Light's Bultaco road racer.  He rode the Lobito in the Moto Giro.
Dave Kaufman's (AJS Dave) G-12 Matchless
This Gilera was at the Moto Giro, also.
A beautiful S-65 Honda
This showed up at Carolina M/S Pk., on it's way to an air show.
I drove to Savannah Sunday evening and visited with friends there the next four days. Dan Levine made arrangements with a friend of his for me to change the gearing and check over my 250 for the AHRMA Talladega G.P Raceway the following weekend at his friend's sports car racing shop in Pooler. It was a fabulous facility with one half being devoted to vintage cars and the other to modern.
Dr. Dan Levine admiring the hardware
What do you do with the headers while you're working on a motor?
A Ferrari flat 12.
A Lola?
Porsches, Lolas, Elvas, Corvettes, and Ferraris, and other exotica.
Modern racing Ferraris.
And street Ferraris, too.
I was amused that crew at this shop were all Ga-Ga over my little stone ax 250 single in the presence of all this sophisticated, high dollar equipment. I got to Talladega Fri. afternoon and got my bike teched. The weather forcast was iffy with a good possibility of thunder storms and I wondered if the ancient Dunlops on my bike were up to a wet race. But, despite seeing lightning in the distance, not a drop fell on the track all weekend. It was hot, though. I hadn't been to TGPR since 2013, when it was back to back with NOLA. Since then it had be a stand alone event and I didn't feel it was worth the very long drive for a track that I considered second rate. It is short and flat. But, it being back to back with the postponed CMP and having done so little racing this year, I decided to do it. After practice, my opinion of the track hadn't improved, but riding on a mediocre track is better than watching TV at home.
Like CMP, my two races were separated by a big gap. 350GP was in race #2 and 250GP was in race #10. 350GP was in front of Novice Production LWT and Formula 125, all in one wave. Jason Roberts (TD2b Yamaha), Alex McLean (Drixton Aermacchi) and Jerry Duke (350 Ducati) pulled away in the front. Soon, Colton Roberts (Jason's son) came by on a F-125 Yamaha and not long after Jonas Stein came by on his 175 Honda. Jonas was pulling away when he got into the last corner too hot and ran off the track. This allowed me to get by, but he soon recovered and passed me again. So, I ended up 4th 350GP (on my 250) and 6th overall. The 250GPs were gridded in the back behind Thruxtons and Classic 60s and Classic 650s, and Sportsman 350 in the first wave and Novice Production HWT and 250GP in the second wave. My best lap was less the 0.05 of a second faster than in the 350GP race but was good enough to win the 250GP class and finish 5th overall behind three Thruxtons and a Sportsman 350. After the race, I checked my valve clearance and again found huge exhaust lash and the adjuster lock nut missing. Al Hollingsworth gave me a spare locknut and a little advice on the tightening procedure when I adjusted the valve clearance. Sunday's 350GP went about the same as Saturday, except that Jason Roberts didn't race because the chrome on the cylinder bores on his TD2b was peeling. Alex McLean and Jerry Duke took off and shortly Colton Roberts, the Jonas Stein came by with their F-125 bikes. This time, Jonas kept it on the track and passed Colton for 3rd overall, me being 3rd 350GP and 5th overall, with my best lap 0.7 seconds faster than I had gone Sat. The previous weekend at Carolina M/S Pk., when I rode my 250 in the 350GP race on Sun., I finished almost 1 min., 7 sec. ahead of Jerry Duke and my best lap was almost 11.5 seconds faster than his best. But here at Talladege there was no way that I could stay with him. He finished more than 8.5 seconds in front of me and his best lap was more than 1.2 seconds faster than my best. Also, I lapped Jonas Stein at CMP, but he was way faster than me at TGPR. I don't think that my bike was slower; I was just slower. Race #10 was also similar to Sat. with me 1st 250GP and and 5th overall behind three Thruxtons and one Sportsman 350, though my fastest lap was more than 0.8 sec. slower than I had gone in the morning's race #2. I guess I better check my valve clearance again.
Luke Conner's Thruxton, KRTT, and KHK?
Stu Carter's two Seeley G-50s, Framecrafter KTM, and my finger.
Stan Miller's T-20 Suzuki X-6
I noticed the grease fittings over the cams on Keith Leighty's CB450 based racer and asked Keith about them.  They're to pre-lube the rocker arms.