Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Harrington Half Mile

Here are some pics I took in the pits at Harrington. Sandy and I had been going to lots of races during the early '80s, IMSA, F1, SCCA, AMA Roadrace, Indy Car, even Nascar. We saw races all over the Northeast, Pocono, Trenton Speedway, Montreal, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen. I'd never seen any national event that seemed so homespun as this. But the racing was incredible. Somehow it didn't compute.

The weapon of choice for most..

A sweet Honda framer

A well sorted SR500 framer

Privateer Honda's

For some of the racing shots, go back to my earliest posts. I took photos of some slides and posted them. The slides were taken with my Minolta SG, I don't know what camera I used for these photos, maybe my Voitlander?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Englishtown New Jersey, Raceway Park!

I took these photos sometime in the early '80s. I think this might have been a Spring National event. I'll add some photos later. This was just before the track got a major overhaul to keep it's National status. New grandstands, timing and scoring tower, pit walls, all came shortly after.

This is the staging area before the water box. You can see a blue '55 Chevy sedan just coming off the line with the wheels off the ground. This guy was dialed all weekend!

Pro-Stock multi time champion Bob Glidden, in his hideously ugly/fast Ford Fairmont.

Classic match-up, Camaro vs. 'Cuda

Another hotrod Pinto.
And I just noticed, we have an Elvis sighting!

Here's a B/A "Altered" dragster. I never knew how they stuctured these classes. Blown/Alcohol maybe?

Love the Opel GT...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Watkins Glen

There was a time when Formula One was much more accessible to the average race fan. I'm sure we paid more than $5 to get in, but the camping ticket seems pretty reasonable.

Here's Jody Scheckter driving a Ferrari 312 T5 up the "boot" on the back side of the track.

After the race, they put these transport wheels on.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wrack & Ruin

We had another strong windstorm blow through this week, gusts over 60mph were predicted. Came home to a substantial Oak tree blown down across the driveway. Got that cleaned up and cut for firewood for Seamus.

Then I took a walk in the woods today, and found that most of my single track motorcycle trail is now blocked by more trees. With any luck, the neighbor/landowner will take a lot of the damaged trees this winter when he logs the lot.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

(Racing) Year In Review

This was a tough season of racing. I had some fun, for sure, but it was also just one tough break after another. It's hard to categorize even a single event as being good or bad, (with the exception of the last race of the season...bad) 'cause it seemed there was a little of both every time. Examples;
Ice Racing, got a 3rd place trophy, but blew up the engine doing it.
Hare Scramble, mangled my thumb, but I finished the race, and I think I'll try it again.
Mini Motard, struggled with jetting all season, but got some decent results.
Flattrack, still had some minor brake issues, didn't win any races this year other than a heat race. Got a 2nd and a 3rd though.
Broken bones. I broke my ankle mid season, which took me out for two months. Scott broke his clavicle, and wrecked his new race bike through no fault of his own. That was the last race of the year for us, and aside from having a couple great practice sessions, it sucked.

Scott never turned a race lap on the bike, it blew the top end in his first practice sesh.

Catra Harescramble

Flattrack at JRM.

Vintage competition

Jim Durkee's superb SL350

Sorry, don't know the rider, but it's a cool Maico

Racin' Mini-motards in VT

TT race under the lights at WVR.

Electric City Riders Memorial Cup

You just don't see many of these. This is entered in the TT class at EC.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Guard

I was delivering a new car to a customer in Morrisville VT yesterday, and saw this great Army Tank standing guard for the The Vermont National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry, Echo Company, Distribution Platoon. They are currently deployed at Forward Operating Base Lightning, Paktya province, Afghanistan.

I believe it's an M60 Patton MBT (main battle tank).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Montessa Impala

I saw these in Barcelona a few years ago, and thought they were cool. I don't think they were ever imported here. Obviously they'd look better with wire spoke wheels, rather than mags.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The CB Cup...

Believe me, this takes as much guts to post here right now as it did to race the bike almost 30 years ago...

I just stumbled across this photo while going through a pile of miscellany. This is Bill Clarke kicking my ass on a very rudimentary dirt oval, racing even more rudimentary Honda 350's. The rules were simple; any Honda CB/CL 350 twin was legal, but you couldn't spend more than $175 total on the bike (.50 cents per cc).

Bill was the undisputed champion for the series, winning every race he entered.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Riding at Matt Cyr's place

Here's some helmet-cam video of some of the trail system that we've been enjoying for the past few years.

I rode on Thursday, the weather was turning from partly sunny to overcast and windy during the day. Matt and I finally got going when it was overcast, so the light is kind of poor.

And not to make excuses, but the leaf cover on the trails and the general wet conditions were enough to slow me down, particularly because I haven't been doing enough woods riding to feel proficient.

It's also interesting as I review the video, the terrain doesn't look particularly challenging, the steep sections don't look steep and the logs don't look threatening and the side hill crossings don't look perilous, but you'll have to trust me when I say that all that stuff will bite you if you're not careful.

Anyway, the above video starts from the lumber yard and culminates with a climb up "Randy's Hill", which starts with a few large rocks that guard the base of the hill, followed by a fairly difficult climb through some deep ruts, roots, rocks and trees.

Part Deux
I go till I crash..

Part the 3rd
Continuing on..


Friday, October 15, 2010

Oakland Valley Race, video and pics

Here's some video taken during open practice. Not sure who the first bike is, but then you'll see Mike Kramer #278, Scott (#12) followed by Nick Wiemer #495, then me. I'm having some trouble loading it, so you may have to cut and paste into your browser to watch it.



This is the wreck sequence that Ralph Corwin shot.

Thanks to Ralph Corwin for taking photos, and Fumi Matsueda for shooting the video of practice. Try these links for a better viewing experience;


Mike Kramer wrote up and posted these pics on his fine blog. Thanks Mike.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oakland Valley Race Report

What started out as a really nice race day turned into a nightmare pretty quickly.

I got up early and drove the 5 hours to meet Scott at the track by 10:00 AM. He'd managed to catch a ride up with Greaser Mike at the last minute instead of his normal racing transportation with Van, because of some drama down in the city, but we all arrived at the appointed time, and got busy with pre-race prep.

OVRP runs their practice sessions before the riders meeting, so we suited up and got in line for our first session. The track was just as I remembered it, smooth and fast, easy to slide in to the turns and good grip coming out as long as you're careful with the throttle. I had gone down to a 42t rear sprocket at Electric City and I left it on for this track. I wasn't disappointed either, 'cause it gave me a little more top end, I was able to run it as hard as I dared without over revving the engine.

In the first practice session, I went out and found myself in front, I knew Scott was behind me so I ran a couple different corner entries to catch a glimpse of him, and to try some different lines. We caught up to another rider and passed him before they waved the checker on the session.

We both felt pretty good after the session, so we didn't change anything on the bikes and got back in line for the second session. This time Scott went out first, I was going to be right behind him, but I was in neutral when we got waved onto the track and Nick Wiemer got out in front of me on his Honda, which was fine 'cause I wanted to see how hard he'd run it. Well Scott took off and left us. He was gone within a couple laps, so I just followed Nick to see if I'd be able to keep up with him. I could, but I didn't see any easy way around him and I tried a couple different lines.

When we got back to the pits I mentioned to Scott that the holeshot would be important, he said that was on his mind as well. Fumi came over and said he took some video of Scott 'cause he was flying out there.

The riders meeting was kind of typical, but the track manager did say we were going to start the races without an ambulance there, because the ambulances had been called out, but that there were two in the area so we would be OK to race.

Scott and I were lucky enough to be in the same heat race for Open Am, along with 4 other riders. I started on the outside, next to the wall, and Scott was next to me, so we were last on the line. I had a pretty good start and I saw that Scott did as well. The low line into T1 was filling up, so I stayed a little high and figured I'd see how it was going to shake out coming out of T2 onto the back straight. As we were rounding through T2 I had a good high line, and the competition for the low line turned out to be Sandriana Shipman, riding a newish Honda. I had clear track ahead, and I could see that Sandriana was struggling with traction down low, so I eased on the gas and got going. Just as I passed her I felt a little jolt, I suspected it was her hitting my rear wheel.
Looking down the back straight, I saw the flagman start to raise the yellow, and then start running up the track. I hadn't even gotten down the straight and I knew it would be a restart.

It was when I came around turn 4 and looked back up track that I saw that Scott had been taken out in the crash. He was on his side and not moving. So the rest of this story gets a little harder to write about, in fact, I'm going to skip over some of the details.

When I reached him he was just coming to. It took him a little while to put together what happened, but I was relieved to hear him talking and responding to the EMT that was on the scene immediately. (I don't know where she came from because there wasn't an ambulance on site, but she knew what she was doing.)
So I stayed with him as she started to get busy with her EMT stuff. At some point during the proceedings (Cervical Collar, Backboard) I questioned whether this was all necessary, and she told me in no uncertain terms that yeah, this was necessary.

I decided to load the truck when the ambulance team took over. I had some help from Arion and his dad, as well as all the 6th Street gang, which was great. While I was loading, I saw a helicopter flying kind of low over the track. Curious...
Next thing I know the chopper has landed, so I'm worried about Scott, and Sandriana.
I run back to see what's happening, to find that they've cut Scott out of his leathers and he's got an IV in his arm. Holy Shit. I asked who the chopper was for and they pointed at him. Sandriana was going to get an ambulance ride.

Well, they loaded him on a stretcher and eventually got him on the bird. After some internal discussion, the pilot told me they were going to Westchester Medical Center. I asked where that was and had a dozen EMT's tell me it was in Valhalla NY, just across the Tappan Zee bridge, about 60 miles.

The rest of the story involves lots of Emergency Room sitting around etc. so I'll cut to the end. Scott had a broken Collar bone. I left Scott at Westchester after it became clear that he wouldn't be released but he would spend the night in a comfortable room, got home at 2:00 AM. Scott didn't get released until late the next day, but was released into the care of Clubman Racing/Saviour South Cycles Brother Bill Clarke, who will be a hero, a legend, for delivering Scott to his front door in Brooklyn.

This was my helmet-cam footage, it may not work on the blog, but I'll try to fix it tonight.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Overdue race report

Hey, sorry to take so long to post a race report. The truth is, I had a cold (still do). I was in a fog (still sort of am). So was the bike. Together we didn't add up to much.
In fact we were just in the way.

The race was the last race of the season for NEMM, and it was also the debut of the new track, Boxshop Speedway, near Kezar Falls Maine.

The track will be great for NEMM. It's a bit longer than the Vermont track, not as much elevation change but still a difficult track. Narrow in certain sections and fairly fast. The dirt section was short but still had two kicker jumps, a table top jump and a nasty right hand berm that was a mix of sand and wheel deflecting/fork compressing rocks. We're talking baseball/softball size rocks. Hitting them with your 16" road tires was pretty fun.

Anyway, I raced in a few races, sucked, finished last. The XR wasn't happy with it's jetting and it let me know in very uncertain terms. I fiddled with it enough to make it finish the last race and then loaded it back on the truck. I might not look at it again for awhile.

One cool thing is there are some new "GP" classes to race. "GP" stands for "no dirt, thank you very much", so the GP classes can have road race bikes. Fun to watch.

Here's a Youtube link to the start of the GP80 race;

So the New England Mini Moto season is over, except for one more track day that I won't make, 'cause I'm racing that weekend at OVRP.
I think I finished 4th overall in the XR100 Cup for the season, which is better than last year where I was in a 3 way tie for 5th. Scott actually finished 3rd in Sport Cup, so that's cool.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Electric City, 2010 Memorial Cup

After the rain out last weekend, I returned to Electric City to race the Memorial Cup on Sunday. Despite some threatening overcast, and some really tedious and unexplained waiting around, we got to race the full program.

I signed up for Vintage Light and the 50+ class instead of my normal Senior B class, at Hugh Mackie's suggestion, because at least a couple of the 50+ guys would be on vintage iron. So there was Hugh on his 750 Triumph, another guy on a 750 Yamaha, two guys on Honda CRF450's and a guy on a Rotax of unknown displacement.
In the heat race the Rotax lead the way, followed by the two Honda's, me and the two twins. I got around one of the Honda's early on, to take 3rd and we finished that way.
Once again I discovered during the heat race that my brake was mostly ornamental. Upon closer inspection I thought maybe I could tighten the pivot arm a little more, so I did that and re-adjusted the rod.

The Vintage heat had 3 "cheater" Honda's in it, plus another SR500 and a nice '78 YZ400. I refer to the cheater Honda's because they didn't exist before 1974, which was the original cutoff year for Vintage. And they always seem to show up in Champion frames, which hardly seems fair. Well it turns out that the AMA changed the cutoff year to '79, and they allow twin shock racing frames even if they were built last week, so the cheater Honda's are legal now.

So anyway, two of the Honda's are being ridden by experts, one by a nice fast kid, and they all beat me in the heat race. In fact both the experts jumped the start and were sent back to the penalty line, and they still beat me into turn one, but I was having some trouble keeping the front wheel down, which slowed me a bit. I finished the heat in 4th place.

As we lined up for the 50+ feature, the two Honda 450's stalled and all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't get those bikes to fire again. That left the Rotax, the two twins and me. I gave chase to the Rotax and kept him honest for a lap or so, then he started to gap me and we finished that way, he got the better of me but I was happy with 2nd.

I had one of my worst starts in years in the Vintage feature. I was the last bike off the line and in my ham fisted attempts to catch up, the front wheel kept coming off the ground so I had to back off. This was not looking good considering I only had 6 laps to make my case. One thing in my favor for a podium finish was that the nice young kid on one of the Honda's didn't make it to the feature because of mechanical problems, but I still had to pass the SR500 and the YZ400 to get a 3rd. I got the SR coming out of T2 on the first lap, but the YZ was a little tougher. It took me a lap to catch up to him, then I followed him around for a few laps, looking for a good chance. He was fairly consistent, I had a better corner entry speed than him but I didn't want to do a slide job on him so I decided to work on a better corner exit, get inside and take his line away. He gave me the opportunity coming out of T4 on the
white flag lap, he just got on the gas a little too hard and opened up a nice hole for me to slip into and that was all I needed.

So I finished the day with a couple trophies, which kind of made up for the interminable waiting around. Hugh had a great day too, with a well earned 3rd place in Vintage Heavy after a race long battle with a Yamaha 750.

Here's Hugh setting up the bike.

The 6th Street Specials racing crew.

Monday, September 13, 2010


This is Jeremy Patrisi's 883. It's for sale I think. Sweet ride.