Saturday, June 27, 2009

Truck fever

Well after 3 1/2 years, the Red '98 Ranger had pretty much worn me out, heat coming on by itself, flaky A/C, transmission doing funny things in lock-up mode, I decided it was time to upgrade...

so I got a Blue one. Only this is an '03, and in Rangerspeak, it's a 4.0 Edge with a handshaker, 4 door, 4X4, roll-ups, ice and cruise. I'm happy to say it's actually a nice truck and I'm getting decent fuel mileage, even driving around with the ice on.
The cap had to come off as soon as I got it home. Unfortunate, 'cause it's a nice cap.
Anybody need a Sonic Blue cap?

Monday, June 22, 2009

'75 CB125 "Pea Shooter"

This little bike has been fun to tinker with. My brother bought it from the original owner during one of the first gas crunches. Rode it for a year and then it made it's way into many basements and garages over the next decade. I got it a few years ago.
The tank is from some British single, I got the seat on ebay, the bars from one of my flattrackers. It passed a state inspection. Tires are oversize universals.
The gas tank leaks a bit, the carb could stand a cleaning, sometimes hard to start cold after it's been sitting but once you get it going it starts first kick.
Fun bike to ride. Could be a good vintage racer too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NEMM at Rocky Ridge Raceway

The second New England Mini Moto event of the season ran today in Graniteville VT, at the home track of vtshifterkarts.com
It's a great little track with a surprising amount of elevation change and a good combination of tight and fast turns.

I managed to crash in every points race I entered. Not a very good showing, don't know how I did in the results, but last is never worth much. I also managed to wear out the promoter with my constant helpful comments and insight, sorry Aaron. I further managed to run over a guy's hand who happened to crash next to me, sorry Donald.
I did learn (...by accident...literally) why the XR100 was running so poorly (air filter), and I did determine that racing on 10+ year old crappy street tires is pretty much just a bad idea.

I did have a good time despite myself. Scott Baker graciously invited me to be his teammate on his CB125 for the enduro, which is becoming a tradition after the points racing is done. 2 riders per team, each rider with a 20 minute stint. His CB125 was a fun bike to race, decent power and tires that actually had grip.

Here's a vid of an open practice

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NEMM! (New England Mini Moto)

So Sunday turned out to be a great race day as well. The first round of the New England Mini Moto series at Loudon. Our goal was to have some fun, support the new series run by our friend Aaron Phinney of Caferacer.net fame, and not get dinged up. Fairly low expectations, but this was a new venture, so it seemed like a good idea to go in like that.
Turns out we had a blast. My XR100 really wasn't running right, I had OK low end, but I couldn't get any high RPMs, the engine wouldn't rev. I figured I'd be alright if there wasn't a long straight...but there was a long straight. Since I've already tried several times to adjust the timing with no apparent sucess, I decided to live with it.
Bill's bike was looking and running great.

We went out for a couple practice sessions. Each session is 20 minutes, which I'm just not used to at all. In dirt track racing you're lucky if you get two 5 lap practice sessions, so this was somewhat surreal to me. I just pulled off the track after awhile, 'cause I figured I was just burning gas.
Bill and I were signed up in the XR100 Cup, and Aaron wanted me to go into the Premier class as well. I confess I wasn't really sure what all the classes were, but Premier sounded and looked like bikes that were way over the level of my poor, tired little XR100. I convinced Aaron to let me run in the Sport Cup with Bill and some of the other guys. He said it would be fine but I'd have to start at the back. Fine.

Well I don't really remember much of the heat races, I did pretty well in the Sport Cup, 3rd, and I was doing OK in the XR100 Cup till it started to rain, I crashed and finished just about last.

The Sport Cup feature was great though, I had a decent start and was running in 3rd behind a TTR and a nice BBR Honda ridden by what I guess was a slightly less experienced racer, (she had a hard time with the T1 hairpin) so after lap 2 I was in 2nd and I could see Bill and our buddy Steve Baker were not too far behind me. I was hoping they'd have a harder time passing the BBR girl than I did.
Well I was doing my best to hassle the TTR, but no matter what happened in the infield, he'd pull away on that long straight. I could see Bill catching up to us on every lap at the end of the straight, till the 2nd to last lap, when I didn't see him because he was right behind me. Well he was patient, followed me around and passed me on the straight as we took the white flag. I knew it was over but I tried to at least stay with him and not get passed by Steve, and we finished in that order. Bill ran a hella good race to run me down after the gap we started with, so we were both pretty psyched after that!

Th XR100 Cup didn't go quite as well for me, starting from the last row I had a good start and gained a couple positions. Then I made some mistakes here and there and lost ground just as quickly. It was a ton of fun though, 15 bikes in the race. I haven't been on the track with that many bikes in a long time. I'm looking forward to the next round, in Graniteville Vermont!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wachusett Valley Riders Club

Let me start by saying I love this place! "Sideways Pete" has built a great facility, it's an awesome clay racetrack with a great "grassroots" atmosphere. You can really run anywhere you want on this track surface, and believe me, the pro riders do.
I hooked up with Bill Clarke for a weekend of racing starting here Saturday evening. We were both signed up for the Senior "B" class and I entered Vintage as well. Bill would be running his Trackmaster framed KX125 and I'd be on the XT500 for both of my classes.

Right to the racing, we started with the Senior "B" 8 lap heat, I had a decent start and felt pretty good during the race. I think we got spread out pretty quickly, I was in 3rd behind Bruce Ward on his Rotax and I don't know who was in 1st. I wasn't making any headway on Bruce and we finished in that order. Bill was still learning about his Trackmaster, this was only his second time on the bike, he was riding well but with some caution. Good idea.

The Vintage heat was two races away so I shut off the bike to let it cool off. Took a little help to get it restarted and once I did get it going I stabbed the brake and got nothing. The nut holding the brake stay had come off, (I must have left it loose when I remounted the tire) and the hub rotated and bent the pull rod. I had to miss the Vintage heat race and spend some quality time with my rear brake. The brake arm had stripped on the pivot splines, so I had to remount it with some safety wire jammed in between the splines for a tight fit. Presto...brakes again.

The Senior "B" feature went about the same as the heat race, an OK start, but not good enough to get in front of Bruce and the other guy. The best I could do was keep 'em honest, but they stayed up and in front of me. I finished 3rd again. Bill's race was also a repeat of the heat, but I think he rode a little better.

I had to start on the second row for the Vintage feature race. That wouldn't be too much of a problem, I thought, 'cause I had 8 laps to make my case. I had a decent start and finished the first lap in 3rd or 4th. I remembered to relax and be patient, and by the 3rd lap I was able to pass our new friend Randy on that sweet 500cc Guzzi, which left me chasing Mark Methe on his 400cc Husky. There was a red flag next lap, so we had to line up for a restart, single file. I should have taken more time to get into position because I prefer to start in 2nd gear, which requires rolling to the line in gear. Instead, I got into position and started in 1st. I spun the tire at the start and had to back off just a bit, which was enough to let Mark gap me a little. I was able to close the gap by the last lap, but I couldn't get under him so I had to settle for a 2nd place. No complaints though, Mark ran a great race, I had fun trying to catch him (I actually rubbed his rear tire coming out of T4 on the last lap, I backed off quickly and no harm was done).

So that was Saturday night racing, hopefully I'll get a video feed from Bill to add a little later.