Tuesday, May 31, 2011

31 May, 2011 I arrived in the IOM today and checked out the 1911 Indian I will ride in the Parade. It's beautiful, but need some fettling yet. I met up with Lennon Rodgers and his MIT crew who have built an electric race bike for the TTXGP. They're after a special cash prize put up by the IOM government to the highest finishing University built electric bike.

photos by Amy Roper

The next morning, I took off on my daily beater, a '90 Honda VTR 250, in the rain for my house in Hicksville, N.Y. to unpack and pack and head for JFK to fly to the IOM. About 40 miles into the trip as the rain is starting to abate, the motor died. It would start and idle, but opening the throttle at all or putting it in gear would cause it to die. I called my good friend Carlos Escudero, owner of Solo Moto, and he had nothing better to do on Memorial Day than drive up from Greenwich with his van and pick me up. This added a bit of tension to the day but I still made my flight with plenty of time. I'm posting this from the Dublin airport as I wait for my flight to the IOM

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Dondolino on the bench 5/21/11. Photo by Todd Pucket
photos by Jim Jowers (250GP winner!)

21,22 May, 2011 Vintage Celebration, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. I just took my '46 Moto Guzzi Dondolino and just raced it in one event at this vintage car and bike event. Sat. morning I waited on the pre-grid waiting to go out for practice several minutes, but when we were finally told to go, my motor died. I tried push starting the bike but it didn't pop. I found some rollers, but it still wouldn't fire at all. My first thought was that the magneto has finally died. I rolled it back to my pit and whipped out the spark plug to find plenty of spark. Then I noticed the intake valve wasn't moving, easy to see with exposed valve gear. Pete Talabachhappened by and we dove into the rocker box and found the intake pushrod had come out of the socket on the end of the rocker arm. I had had the head off prior to this event cutting and lapping the exhaust valve seat and evidently didn't get the pushrod properly seated when I replaced the head. There was no damage done and we got it back together and I got three laps in the 2nd round of 'fast' practice. I came in and re-adjusted the valves, then went back out and did three more laps in the 'medium' practice. The bike ran strong though I felt the seat give way and when I came in, found the seat frame had broken. This is aluminum, but I was able to weld it there as Erik Green had brought a neat little air cooled tig welder that work great. I was entered in the Pre-65/Pre-50 combined race on Sun. When I went to check the grids shortly before the race, I found there were no Pre-65 entries and only one other Pre-50 entry: Randy Hoffman on a '49 Norton 'Garden Gate' Manx. I lobbied to combine our race with another class, but it was too late at that point. So, Randy and I lined up in very light mist and did our 6 lap race. The Guzzi worked great and I enjoyed my romp, though it was hardly an exciting race. The grids have been thin at most of the races I've been to this year. Is it the economy and gas prices, or are people just loosing interest? Don't know, but I'm still having a ball and expect to keep doing it as long as I can.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

7 May, 2011 I went dirt bike riding for the first time in many years. Dave Flach organized a trail ride on his and adjacent property in Coeymans Hollow, N.Y., near Albany. About 60 riders showed up to ride a 15-16mi loop in the woods on everything from a '69 T100 Triumph to the latest Honda and KTM 450s, with probably about 2/3s on vintage bikes. Dave generously loaned me a mid '70's Ossa SuperPioneer 250. He also offered me a modern KTM, but I chose the Ossa as I had owned a '71 Pioneer back in my youth. There was another fellow on a borrowed '71 Pioneer and he, like me, hadn't been on an Ossa in at least 30 years. He said it wasn't like he remembered it. Flach's Ossa was much better than I remembered mine. I've done a smattering of motocross, trials, and hare scrambles over the years but, to me, the most fun one can have on a dirt bike is a trail ride through the woods with some friends. Someone commented that a 50 year old guy on a 30 year old bike equals 80 years of fun. In my case, it was pushing 100 years of fun. After the ride, Larry Speifogel put on a feed bag of burgers and sausages. A near perfect day, especially considering that, against all odds, I managed to avoid hurting myself prior of the great IOM Indian adventure.

Monday, May 2, 2011

This is me coasting down Mt. Equinox in a dead engine 'race' in a Giro a couple of years ago. Photo by Ken Richardson
4/30-5/1, 2011 I competed in the USCRA's Spring Moto Giro at Jiminy Peak, Ma. on my '53 Moto Guzzi Airone. To my knowledge, this has been the oldest bike competing in every Giro I've entered and I believe this past weekend was no exception. That's about the only glory I can claim for this Giro, as I finished near last of the 125 entrants. Sat. I assembled my roll chart backward and set out on Sunday's morning's route on Sat. I thought it odd that there was no one at the stamp checks, but it wasn't until I got to the lunch stop and found no one there that I finally figured out what I had done. So I 'mad dogged it' to the real Sat. lunch stop and was able to do the pm route, though I, along with many others, blew the last agility test. Sun. I had a good ride in absolutely gorgeous weather. I did have one incident when the back end stepped out big time making a tight turn. I found my axle nuts were loose. It must have been sabotage. Nuts tightened back up, I was able to continue and finish in my normal mediocre fashion. But, as always, I had a blast.
Star of the event was Devon Frazier, an enthusiastic young woman who appears to be a natural. She took over all low score on a '61 Moto Guzzi Zigolo 110cc, a truly outstanding performance.