Friday, December 16, 2011

I recently read a great motorcycle book: Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History, by John S. Stein. This is a large format book of high quality with superb photos. It's comprehensive, covering the evolution of the sport from the '50 to today, and from all angles. The major focus is on the personalities, both riders and tuners. Stein is close to many of them and interviewed many more. The sport is nearly unique in that riders of all ethnic backrounds and genders have been successful at the highest level. The evolution of the machines is fascinating. American, British and Japanese; two stroke and four stroke. Single engine to double engine to triple engine back to single engine.
Highly recommended and, at $4o including shipping, it is a bargain. Go to to see excerpts, photos, reviews, and to order.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NYCvinMoto arranged a screening of 'TT3D Closer to the Edge' at Bar Matchless tonight, albeit in 2D. The film covers the 2010 IOM TT races, mainly featuring Guy Martin, but with plenty of face time with John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, and Conner Cummins, among others. The racing footage is superb. The film certainly doesn't shy away from the dangers and follows up on Martin's and Cummins' horrendous crashes in the Senior and Ian Hutchinson's crash later in the season in a short circuit race in England. Paul Dobbs' widow is perhaps the most remarkable person in the film and her love of the racing and the place after her husband's death there is amazing. I got to meet Kiwi Paul at the MGP in 2004 as he raced the Classics too, on a Matchless G-50. I highly recommend the film as it captures the beauty of the place and the allure of the races.
And, I got yet another dose of the IOM TT when I went to Dean Adams site Superbike Planet. He's posted some film of the '68 Junior TT and you can see perhaps the same bike I rode there in the video previously posted here. You can clearly see Renzo Pasolini on the 350 Benelli four, as well as Ago on the MV and Phil Read on the Yamaha and many others.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ken Richardson has posted part 2 of practice on the 350 Benelli four at the '93 Manx Grand Prix. But, I think part 1 was actually recorded after part 2, as I'm revving the motor to 13K through the gears as opposed to 12K in part 2. The overall gearing is the same as I'm doing very little more revs in 7th gear. I decided on the basis of this that we should gear down for the race and let it sing. To finish well, I had to get a big lead as we had to stop for fuel (and oil!), where just about everyone else could do the four laps without stopping. The bike responded to the lower gearing and I was going a good deal faster in the race than in practice. In fact, I was getting ahead of myself and my timing was a little off and, on the first lap, I ran wide at Kerrowmoar (just after Ginger Hall), and sideswiped the bank on the outside of the corner, dislocating my right hip while I was still on the bike. I then ricocheted to the other side of the road and the last thing I remember is the haybale in front of the light pole I was about to hit. The next thing I remember is being lifted on a stretcher into the helicopter for the trip to Nobles Hospital. I actually made out pretty well, considering. Besides the hip, I fractured my left ankle and they put a couple of screws in. I raced 17 days later at Steamboat Springs, Co. and, while I planned to just cruise around, when Steven Mathews crashed in the lead, I inherited the lead and won the race.
Part 2 is about a lap and a half. It was the first flying lap (going through start/finish without stopping, therefore going down Bray Hill at full chat) I had done on the bike. I actually ran out of gas at the Bungalow on the 2nd lap but, for some reason this tape doesn't get that far. At 35:43 there's a jump in the tape just as I'm about to brake for Sulby Bridge. It resumes just about where I crashed at Kerrowmoar.
I didn't go back to the I.O.M. for 9 years when I did a parade lap at the '02 TT on a AJS 3 valve 7R. That got the juices flowing again, and I raced in the '04 and '05 Manx GPs. I wasn't a contender any more as the locals had gotten a lot more serious with many TT regulars racing in the Classic Manx. '95 was a horrendous year, with five very experience, respected, sober classic riders killed in the practice and racing including a friend I had known for years and another who I had just got to know. I slid off harmlessly at Windy Corner when I miss judged how wet it was (it had rained just before practice started but had stopped, and the road was wet some places and dry others). About 10 min. after I slid off and a mile down the road, John Loder on Dave Nourish's Seeley went off the edge of the earth at the 33rd Milestone and was killed after finishing 2nd in the previous two Senior Classics. While I never thought I kidded myself about the dangers of racing at the IOM, and many times had said to myself before pushing off on Glencrutchery Rd "this could be the last time; do you really want to do this?" And, I had really wanted to do it, until I didn't. I had some good runs at the I.O.M and got away with it. Now, I think I'm cured of needing to race there. But, I love the place no less and am sure I'll go back many times

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend in Ct.: a time for motorcycling. It was a bit cool, but clear and calm for my ride up to my brother's in Haddam, but no problem with the electric jacket liner and gloves plugged in. And, leaving Hicksville just before 11a,on T-day there was less traffic than on a normal Sat. We drove the cage over to New London to the cousin's when three generations of cousins were there (i.e. aunt, cousins, and cousin's children). Great time and excellent meal.

Fri. got in the mid 50's, so riding was comfortable without the electrics. After replacing the repaired footrest and installing the selector return spring (I stole from the Dondolino) on my '53 Airone Sport, brother Doug and I got riding, he on his '65 260 Benelli. We went to the south and west putting on about 72 miles by the time we got back. Doug asked me if I wanted to ride his Benelli, so I put another 12 or so miles on it. It runs strong, having had some port work by Scott Clough ( and with a fresh piston in it. And, the brakes are good. But, it vibrates a bit and I wonder if the balance factor is optimum. I also found downshifting awkward, probably mostly a matter of getting used to it. The suspension was stiff for me, but could be right for Doug as he's a bit heavier than I am.

So, Doug got to draining the oil and we started lifting bikes down into the basement for the winter.

After we put the '70 Bridgestone 200 DT, the '66 Bridgestone 175 HS, and the '65 Jawa 175 in the basement, Doug and I took a couple of four-strokes out to warm up the oil for draining. Doug took his wife Amy's'72 CL 350 Honda and I rode Doug's '78 Moto Guzzi LeMans. Doug has own the LeMans from new and has done much massaging over the years. It's a 950 now and has twin plugged heads and a deep sump. He replaced the forks with 38mm Marzocchi and has Koni rear shocks. The pipes and mufflers are stainless. The seat is 1000S. The motor is marvelous; I'm a singles guy, but I do love the 90 degree V-twin. The handling was solid with great suspension, but I did have some ergonomic issues. I thought the handlebars (non standard) were too wide and my shins bashed against the cyl. heads. We did a 10 or so mile loop around the neighborhood, then drained the oil on these and put them in the basement.

I didn't put the Airone in the basement because, though Doug had to work Sat., I didn't and the forecast was even better than Fri. At first the plan was to ride with Harold Dean, a local friend who, though he's 81 years old, is still a very competent rider. Harold was a great enduro rider in his youth and probably has a million road miles under his belt. But, Fri. evening, Harold tripped in his home and sprained his wrist and decided he better not aggravate it by riding. So, I called Rich Schlatcher Sat. morning. Rich and I started roadracing together(Memorial Day, 1972) and he went on to be twice U.S. roadracing champion ('79 & '80) and raced in the 250 World Championship in '81 and '82, scoring a couple of 4ths, at least one pole, and finishing the season 10th in '81. Rich now has a 500 Triumph Daytona and a Norton Commando in addition to and ST1100 Honda and a 999 Ducati. Rich said he loved to go for a ride, but he had to work, putting a roof on a house. What is it with these guys and work?

So, Amy suggested I call Rich Hosley. It wasn't work Hosley had to get out of, but family obligations. He told me to give him a half hour/45 min. for him to work out a strategy and conduct negotiations. Success; he got a day pass and I rode down to his shop in Branford. We spent a little time me catching up on the latest additions to his extensive collection. It's largely AMC, mostly Norton with some Matchless and a Royal Enfield project, but also several Ossa. Rich is another former enduro great, starting his career on the Brit bikes, but quickly switching to Ossa and finishing on Honda singles.

sort of hoped Rich would ride his Norton International today, but,when I arrived at his shop,he already had his '70 Ossa Wildfire gassed up, so I didn't say anything. Don't get me wrong; his Ossa is a great bike. But, I had ridden with him and it many times in Moto Giros and Tiddler Tours and the Ossa is a bit loud and a little smokey to follow for a long time. Rich led me on a great ride through south central Ct., an area I knew almost nothing about. This was largely the suburbs and exburbs around New Haven. One of the things I love about Ct. is that despite the fact that it's a small state and that I lived in it at least 25 of my years and spent much time in it since I moved to N.Y., I still discover places I've never heard of. Maybe it's because it's hilly and wooded that places are hidden. Totoket and Beacon Falls are examples of this. Who knew? And, while this area is moderately densely peopled, there are still lots of open areas, either rocky and wooded or pastures and fields. And, great roads. It's a great time of year for riding as the leaves are off the trees so one can see around many corners and also get the occasional vistas, but the pavement is cleaner and smoother than in winter or spring. On the other hand, the sun is low in the horizion and heading south and up hill can be a problem.

We got as far north a Beacon Falls and as far west as Seymour and had lunch at the Blue Check deli in Woodbridge which, Rich tells me, has been there a million years. When finishing lunch, I ask him if now we're going to switch bikes. After a moment hesitation, Rich says yes. The Ossa and Guzzi may both be southern European four speed 250 singles, but that's where the similarity ends. Rich had told me the Ossa was geared a bit short as he puts a 14 tooth gearbox sprocket on it for the agility test at the Giros and he hadn't gotten around to changing it back to a 15 or 16t. So the bike was definitely snappy with spot on carburation (from the cheater Mikuni) but a reasonably broad powerband. I was surprized at how smooth it was. Good brakes and good, if firm, suspension. The seat was a board. And did I mention it was loud? It's been a while since I've ridden a two-stroke on the street, and it's always a treat. Rich seemed to be enjoying the Guzzi, too. It takes some getting used to, with it's sprung saddle allowing you to move around a good deal and the heel/toe shift lever. It's fun getting to follow the bike I've spent so much time on, and see it from someone else's perspective. After following Rich about 87miles, we switched back to our own bikes and went out separate ways. I got in 128 miles in the day, then drained the oil and gas and put it in the basement.

Sunday, Harold Dean and I joined Amy at the British Iron Assoc. breakfast in Colchester, after which most of us retired to Ad Coppens' shop. Ad is a Dutchman who's a specialist in Matchless. He had singles and twins from 250 to 750 there and an extensive and highly organized stock of spares.
I packed up and took off on the 250 VTR beater(which passed 70K miles on this trip) and headed home, stopping at an old motorcycle friend in Stoney Creek, Ct., another little town I had never heard. Stoney Creek is a charming little beach community that part of Branford, but has it own post office. My friend says it's getting a little too charming but still quite liveable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ken Richardson has digitized a tape of a practice lap I did at the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man in 1993 on a '67ish 350 Benellli four cyl., 16 valve, 7 speed grand prix bike. The first installment can be seen here:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

19 November, 2011
I rode out to the Amagansett on the east end of Long Island for a benefit for a friend, Bob Curtis, who was paralyzed when he fell in an AHRMA cross county race in May. He's in a tough situation and if any one is interested in helping they should go to:
I stayed over with my friend Gordon and today we made the rounds to several motorcycle buddies. We ended up at Randy Hoffman's shop. Randy is a cabinet maker and m/c racer/collector/nut. He had just returned with his latest purchase: a '49 Velocette KTT motor in a Featherbed Norton chassis. It's a very good looking bike with many interesting pieces on it. It has an Amal RN carb, which is a new one to me. The 'RN' stands for remote needle, but it's different from a 'GP' in that the needle is entirely outside the slide. Apparently it was a transitional model between the 'TT' and 'GP' and not many were made. The bike seems to have been built in Australia, but not much is known of it's former life. It wasn't built with these wheels (230 Gimeca 4LS and Commando) and they do look out of place and will no doubt get replaced.
Randy has a love of the one off hybrid classic Brit bike racer. Also in his shop was a Norvin single which he's building

He recently finished a showroom/display area with examples of his woodworking and his motorcycle sickness.

A Rickman triple in front of the window and a '49 Norton International on a faux shipping crate Randy made.
Back in the shop was a truly classic 'barn find'. Someone told him they had an old motorcyle in their basement; they thought it was an Indian or something. He went to look at it expecting to fine an old Honda or something. What he found was this:

A '32 H.D. model 'C' 500cc sidevalve that had been left a good 40 years. Check out the grip and rear tire:

Also, in the shop was a long stroke Manx

and a '36 MSS Velocette

If you're out on the east end of Long Island, give a visit to The Machine Shop, 460 Pantigo Rd., Easthampton, (631)537-6152 and check out the bikes and furniture. But, don't schedule your visit for the end of August because Randy will be on the Isle of Man marshaling for the Manx Grand Prix.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leif has asked what the autopsy results were from the Aermacchi failure at Barber and Daytona. Those who were paying attention will remember that on Sunday's 350gp race at Barber, I had a big lead on the 7th of 8 laps when the motor made a bad noise and lost power. I clutched it immediately and pulled off. Back in the pits, we found the engine turned over fine, it had compression, the plug looked good, the valve train worked fine and nothing was amiss in the carb. We started it up and it sounded and ran fine. And, it ran fine at Daytona for me on Fri. and Sat. But, Sun. when Don Hollingsworth was racing the bike going for the checkered flag out of NASCAR #4 with a big lead in the 350gp race, the motor made a bad noise and lost power. He was able to coast across the line and still win the race. Again, the bike turned over fine and had compression, but there was no time to look at it further before loading in the trailer for the trip back to Calif.
I left out one little detail: at Barber, when we were checking it over, we found the bolt holding the rotor of the Dyna ignition on the end of the camshaft was loose. The rotor is indexed to the cam with a tang in a slot and it didn't appear that the tang had come out of the slot, so we just Loctited the bolt and started the bike up. Well, when they looked at the bike back in Ca., the rotor was laying in the bottom of the fairing. Evidently, at Barber the rotor had come out of engagement and the ignition stopped firing, but then end up in the correct orientation (50/50% chance). At Daytona it fell all the way off. Oh well, it's better than a rod through the case, and I doubt will happen again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When I was at the Barber vintage event, Chris Smith of gave me the 30th anniversary issue of Morton Media Ltd's The Classic Motorcycle which included a reprint of their first issue from 1981. In it is a good article by Mick Woollett on the very first vintage
race at Daytona in March of '81. Subscriptions to the magazine are available through Chris and this particular issue is still available.

While Woollett tells of the red flag and restart, there's a little more to it. The first start was a push start. Clive Watts was used to this and got a flyer. Many of the Americans struggled. Kurt Liebman said his foot was run over in the start and, during the red flag delay, agitated for the restart to be by clutch. A vote was taken and clutch start it was. Watts got a less good start and, if I remember correctly, Jimmy Adamo on the 350 Ducati might have led into turn #1. Watts and I overhauled Adamo, and I led the rest of the race.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bill Burke sent me a couple of photos from the archives. I think the second one dates the first. I'm saying March '85 at Daytona. Back then the vintage races were on Wed., Amateur day. I won the F-750 race on Team Obsolete BSA Triple, but in the 500 Premiere race, riding a Matchless G-50, I tangled with someone and ran off the track coming to a complete stop, but not tipping over, before I could get going again. Kurt Liebman won on the OLS (Oscar Liebman Special) BMW. Roger Reiman crashed his KR 750 H-D in practice and broke his wrist.
Thurs. morning, I went out for BOTT practice on a TT-1 Ducati and promptly crashed on cold tires in the Dogleg, breaking a metatarsal in my left foot. After much negotiations, Dr. Dave Kieffer, also racing a Ducati in BOTT, wrote a medical release for Reiman and myself. My memory is that in the race Fri., Reiman finished 5th on an XR1000, Kiefer was 6th and I was 7th, Reiman and I bracketing our othopod.

So, I think this photo is on 6 March, '85 and, if I had to guess, the fellow I'm talking to is John Ulrich. That's definitely Linda Swanson looking on and Antonio Ricciardi in the H-D tee shirt.
When I see a photo of myself like this, I think "Dude, lighten up. It's just a game."

Here I am the next day talking to Paul Miles after leaving the medical center.
The price of glory.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

21-22 Oct, 2011 Fri. evening I rode up to Greenwich to see the bike show put on by my friend
Carlos Escudero at his shop, Solo Moto. Carlos had some of his and his clients significant bikes on display. These include a Matchless G-85 CS motocrosser, a Crocker, a Brough Superior, a Velocette Thruxton, and a Laverda SFC. There was Honda 'from mighty to mini' with a nice unrestored C102 Cub and a NR750 oval piston bike, one of about 300 made. And there was the 1930ish Indian 101 Scout that Carlos found in a basement and hadn't run in over 40 years. He got it running shortly and has left it as found with just basic cleaning up.
And, speaking of Indian 101 Scouts, when I was at the Fall Giro, I sat next to Will Paley at the Sat. dinner and he extolled the virtues of his 1929 Scout and suggested I come up to his house in W. Cornwall, Ct. to ride it some time. So, I stayed over in Greenwich and rode up to W. Cornwall Sat. morning. Fellow Giroist Bill Burke had called the other day and told me he was taking his NSU Special Max and Ken Richardson's Moto Guzzi Lodola to Pete Tallabach's Mohawk Garage in Washington, Ma. for some fettling, on his way to his sister's in Millerton, N.Y. Since these were all vaguely in the same area, I suggested he join our vintage ride.

'51 Moto Guzzi Falcone with my '90 Honda VTR250 and '29 Indian 101 Scout in backrounds

So, Will rode his '51 Moto Guzzi Falcone and I rode the '29 Scout over to Falls Village for lunch where Bill met us. The Indian has a left hand throttle, a right hand ignition advance/retard, a left foot clutch and right hand shift three speed gearbox, and 'normal' right hand front brake lever and right foot rear brake pedal. The ride started at the deep end of the pool with a very steep decent down Will's road to Rt. 4. There's not much front brake there, but the rear was adequate. Not only is the twistgrip throttle left hand, one turns it inboard to accelerate, so there was about 45 years of muscle memory to erase and relearn on the fly. To add to the challenge, the 2nd gear dogs are apparently well worn and when one got much speed in 2nd, it would pop out of gear. Time to change to 3rd, which was slightly hard to find. But, once in 3rd, the motor was very flexible. I started to learn about retarding the ignition when slogging up hills and advancing when the revs got up, but I'm sure this is something that takes a while to feel and do instinctively.
After lunch at the Toymakers Cafe, something of a motorcyclist destination run by a guy who says he raced with me at Loudon and Daytona years ago, Bill followed us back to Will's house where he got on Will's '56 R 50 BMW, which Will had hotrodded a bit with lightened flywheel, lumpier cam and higher compression pistons. Will led us on a couple of hour ride through the back roads of northwest Ct. on a nice dry fall day, if slightly cooler than ideal.

'56 BMW R-50

What an interesting collection of contrasting bikes that were still compatible riding together. A 750 V-twin flat head, and horizontal 500 single and an opposed 500 twin. A girder forked, leaf spring on the Indian; and male slider telescopic fork on the Guzzi, and an Earles fork on the BMW.

'29 Indian 101 Scout front brake torque arm detail

Rigid rear on the Indian, swingarm with friction shocks and springs under the motor on the Guzzi and swingarm with shaft drive and hydraulic shocks on the BMW. Foot clutch, hand shift on the Indian, right side, up for 1st on the Guzzi and left side, down for 1st on the BMW. We stopped for fuel and Bill got on the Guzzi and I got on the BMW, then finally I got on the Guzzi and Bill rode the BMW, he not being ready to learn the Indian in traffic.

Will gases up the Indian while I ponder the front brake /suspension. Bill Burke photo

Will Paley and Bill Burke with bikes spanning 27 years

I had not ridden an example of any of these bikes and it was a treat. The Indian is extremely impressive for an 82 year old machine. It steers very well and motor is delightful and quite quick. I've never warmed up to the BMW opposed twins, but this was a very competent ride. I've got to pick the Guzzi as my favorite. I'm smitten with the horizontal single. The motor is marvelous; torquey and responsive, with excellent shift and steering. It's very much like my beloved 250 Airone, but with more power and more stressed brakes. Maybe Guzzi should have made a 350 single road bike.
2011 racing summary This year I entered 41, and started 39, final races over 13 events at 13 different venues, on 7 different bikes owned by 5 different people. I had six DNFs, four of which were mechanical, one crash, and one mechanical/crash. I finish 1st fourteen times, 2nd eleven times, 3rd five times, and 6th five times. I crashed five times, twice in races, three times in practice. Luckily, I didn't get hurt beyond minor bruising, but one can't count on that. Five crashes is the most I've crashed in a year in the last decade and is twice my average. Let's hope it's just an anomaly. I'm still very much enjoying the racing and look forward to a similar program next year.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

14-16 Oct., 2011 From Barber, much of the circus move on to Daytona for the AHRMA event combined with CCS modern club racing. I was able to stay with racing friends in Smyrna, Atlanta, and Savannah, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fl. killing the four days until activities started at Daytona. One part of the Circus that didn't move from Barber to Daytona was Ken Rosevere and his Goldstar that I had raced at Barber. So, I decided to race my 350 Sprint ERTT in the 500 Premiere race. With a reduced grid at Daytona compared to Barber, I ended in the same position on my 350 as Ken's 500: 6th. Wes Orloff, Ari Henning, and Todd Puckett had all gone home and John Cronshaw suffered a nasty high side crash in Fri. morning practice that ruled him out of racing this weekend. Doug Polen was riding the McIntosh Manx that Schwantz had ridden at Barber and he ended up finishing 3rd behind Tim Joyce and Pat Mooney, with Niek Leeuwis 4th on his Seeley Goldstar and Bruce Verdon 5th (after I had showed him around in practice). Bruce is the proprietor if TT Industries in New Zealand, manufactures of superb 6 speed gearboxes for the British singles.
Nancy Hollingsworth photo

Next, I raced Mike Bungay's 350 Aermacchi in 350gp and won comfortably. The bike worked perfectly with no sign of the trouble we had with it on Sun. at Barber. My quickest lap on my bike was slightly faster than my quickest lap on Mike's bike, but it came on the third lap and is probably attributable to the tow I got off of Alex McLean when he came by on his 500gp Norton Manx.
So, to finish the comparison between my 350 and Mike's, I raced his bike in the 500 Premiere race Sat. Again, I finished 6th behind Mooney, Nick Cole (ES-2 Norton!), Polen, Niek Leeuwis, and Bruce Verdon. I was able to swap back and forth a bit with Alex Mclean and Peter Politiek on Tom Heyser's BSA Goldstar as they came through from the 500gp grid. This time I got a killer draft off the two of them and my quickest lap was almost three seconds faster than on my bike. Fortunately, we had put taller gearing on after Fri. (the tallest Mike owned) to take advantage of the draft. Again, the bike ran great.
I decided not to stay for Sun. and the final 350gp race. I had already cinched the championship for the year and there wasn't too much competition left. So, Mike asked Don Hollingsworth to race his bike. Don got a big lead after starting from the back of the grid with no points.
Nancy Hollingsworth photo

When he exited the East Banking on his last run to the checkered flag, the motor made the 'bad noise' and lost power just as it had done on me on Sun. at Barber. Don clutched it and was able to coast across the finish line still in 1st place. Mike didn't have much time to check it over before the bike had to be loaded for it's trip back to Ca., but he was able to determine that that the motor turned over fine and had compression. The mystery deepens and I can't wait for the autopsy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

7-9 Oct., 2011 it was down to Leeds, Alabama for the Barber Vintage festival, the biggest vintage event in North America.
Let me get the 'name dropping' out of the way right off the bat.
Here I am telling Paul Smart how it is.
Paul Pace photo

Buff Harsh photo
And here I am about to show Kevin Schwantz the way to get around the race track. I'm riding Ken Rosevere's Geoff Monty Special replica Goldstar and Kevin is on Ken McIntosh's Norton Manx. This bike came from New Zealand with a contingent of fast Kiwis. There were also a few Aussies, Dutchmen and Brits making a truly international event. Much credit for this goes to Jamie Waters who's hard work and sponsorship made for the best 500 Premiere grid in years, if not ever. Because of the large number of foreign riders who had no points with AHRMA, the normal grid placement based on points was replaced with a 'Superpole' type qualifying: one warm-up lap, one timed lap, and one cool-down/in lap. This was great fun, though Sat. I screwed it up, running wide at the chicane onto the grass and I had to momentarily back out of the throttle. As it turned out, this wasn't a handicap as the two people who were supposed to grid in front of me weren't there, and I got a good start while others were balked. This allowed me to hold off the hordes for a little while, and a couple of people augered in on the first couple of laps. First Niek Leeuwis on a Seeley Goldstar came by, then John Cronshaw on his Goldstar. John was distracted by a debris flag in turn#1 and I was able to get back by him. A little over a lap later, John came back by with Robert McClendon on the Herb Becker prepared Seeley Norton 500 twin. They both had a little motor on me and started pulling away, but then the twin broke a valve and was out. Todd Puckett, on Jamie Water's ex-Bruce Yoximer Seeley G-50, stuck a wheel in on me, but I backed him down. Then, apparently the plug came out of his float bowl and he retired. So, I ended up 6th behind Schwantz and Pat Mooney on Manx's, Dave Cole on a Norton ES-2(!!!), Leeuwis, and Cronshaw. Four pushrod motors in the first six.

I was also riding Mike Bungay's 350 Aermacchi. This is a bike I've ridden several times out west as it's based in Sacramento with Mike. Mike got it as an unfinished project many years ago and it's been an ongoing development project. It has a one-off trellis frame (that's been mistaken for TT-1/2 Ducati, but isn't) and a street based motor that Mike's done extensive development with Karl Engellenner of Motorcycle Machining Specialties, also in Sacramento. I brought my own 350 ERTT Sprint and, in practice, I went a bit faster on my own bike than Mike's. I also crashed Mike's bike in Fri. practice when I spun it out in the turn #5 hairpin. I was unhurt and there was only minor damage to the bike. But, based on the times, it looked like I had a good shot at the win on his bike and we changed the gearing and I rode that in the 350gp race. I led flag to flag and won fairly comfortably.
Sun. we had another 500 Premiere qualifying, which a lot of people weren't aware of, myself included, and several missed it entirely, including John Cronshaw.He was pissed off being gridded at the back and decided not to race. I did a little better and was gridded at the other end of the third row.
Me, Ari Henning, Bruce Verdon, and Wes Orloff on Sun.'s 500 Premere Grid. Paul Pace photo

Again, I got a reasonably good start and, after things settled down for a few laps, Ari Henning and Wes Orloff came by, both on 450 Honda based bikes. I was able to get back by them into Turn #1 and shortly after that, Wes' fairing came adrift and he had to retire.

Ari Henning leading me, Todd Puckett and Wes Orloff. Paul Pace photo

Ari was having a lot of chatter problems and the motor wasn't carbureting well coming off the corners (which turned out to be a loose needle) and he dropped back. Then, my old arch nemisis, Todd Puckett came by seeking revenge. After a short tussle he pulled ahead and I finished 6th again behind Schwantz, Tim Joyce, and Mooney on Manx's and Leeuwis (Seeley Goldstar)and Puckett(Seeley G-50).

Ari Henning, me, and Wes Orloff debriefing after Sun.'s 500 Premiere race. Buff Harsh photo

In Sun.'s 350gp race, I again got a big lead when, on the 7th of 8 laps, the motor made a bad noise and lost power. I clutched it immediately and coasted to a stop. I figured a valve train
failure, though it sounded a little like the sparkplug had blown out of the head. I rode back to the pits on the crash truck with Phil Turkington who had won the race on his Bultaco, then ran out of fuel on the cool off lap.
Examining the Aermacchi after we found it turned over fine, had good compression, and the sparkplug looked good. We took the rocker covers and carb off and found nothing wrong. So we put it back together and fired it up. It started right up and sounded fine. I rode it around the paddock for a while and revved it out in 1st gear and it seemed fine. A mystery. I wondered if I had hallucinated the whole incident ( there was some mold on the bread I made a sandwich with a few hours earlier). But, nearly a week later, I had dinner with Steve Maney and Martin Page and they told me they had been watching from the outside of turn#2, and they heard the noise and thought a valve must have dropped.

Oct 1, 2011 The USCRA Fall Giro took place in
the Catskills based in Freehold, N.Y. and I rode my '53 Moto Guzzi Airone Sport which, once again, was probably the oldest bike in the event. Sat. was wet and cool. Sun. was pouring when we got up, but had stopped raining by the time of the riders meeting and by lunch stop the sun was out. Apparently, it rained all around us and started raining again just after the awards ceremony. We got lucky.
I rode most of the weekend with Rich Hosley on his Ossa Wildfire (I was #76, he was #77). Rich is an excellent rider and is an old enduro veteran, so he knows how to read a route sheet. But, it seemed we both overshot the odd turn at about the same frequency, which allowed the other to take over the lead. Sat. afternoon we got separated when he missed a turn and I waited for him at the side of the road. When he figured out his error and got back on route, he didn't notice me waiting and was charging to catch up to me. So then I was charging to catch him and never did (the Wildfire is fast). Later, I took a wrong turn and went way out of my way. When I retraced my steps, I found some people to ask directions of. While we were going over the fairly complicated directions, another lost Giroist showed up. He couldn't follow the directions and said he'd just follow me. I went glacially slow, but he couldn't keep up in the fog. I was eager to get back but thought I couldn't drop this guy as he'd die of exposure. So, I stopped at every intersection and waited for him to catch up. When we got close to base, I was momentarily disoriented approaching the town from a different direction. My charge caught up and pointed the direction. Now that I knew he knew where he was, I dropped him and sped to check in and made it 12 seconds before my key time.
Among the interesting bikes there was this 250 Villiers powered Royal Enfield

two stroke exhaust spew.

Another nice two stroke twin was the Yamaha YM-1 Big Bear Scrambler

I love the exhaust tips.

pit stop Sat. Henry Syphers in front of his ex-Doug Roper Bridgestone DS175
I didn't get a picture of the beautiful 250 Adler from Louisiana before he dropped out Sat. We had three Airones and a Lodola in the Guzzi camp.