Monday, December 24, 2012

Pocono Speedway

More stuff from the early days. This was a rainy race weekend at Pocono. I can't remember much about the racing, it was supposed to be Indy Cars, but they couldn't get enough teams to come out and play, so they (CART?) tried to fill the field with local talent in dirt cars. Really bizarre.

We had Sandy's Honda Accord, Bill's Mazda, and Ralph's tent.

You can't really tell in this photo, but the back of the field is mostly dirt cars.

Formula I don't know.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lime Rock Park, 1981

This is another little trip down memory lane. Sandy and I spent a fair amount of time taking in the racing scene in the Northeast in the late 70's and early 80's. Lime Rock Park was an easy track to get to, and had decent viewing areas. This was an IMSA RS event.

These are crap photos but the cars are nice, and the weather was great...

This Camaro had a V6 with twin 2 barrel carbs. Never seen it before or since.

Chevy Monza.

I'm not sure what class this is, now I'd have to call it the lousy domestic car class.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On the road...

Sometimes a car just want's it's picture taken.

This 240Z was at Electric City a couple years ago. I remember reading about the 240Z sometime after it came out, that it was Datsun's answer to the Jaguar XKE, or something like that. It's an easy comparison, rear wheel drive sports/GT powered by an inline 6 cylinder mounted up front under a long hood, but I don't know that Datsun had the XKE in mind for competition. It's a cool car, too bad the chassis rusted out by the time the vinyl started to crack on the seats.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the other hand...

I was probably a little harsh on the track photographers in my previous post. It's easy to overlook the fact that they see their job as being able to provide an action photo of everyone that races on a given day. The more photo's they take, the better their chances of selling some. It can be a daunting task, with lot's of variables, and I can see why some of 'em become a little detached and mercenary about it. Hmmm, that sounded harsh too.

But then when someone comes along that has the skills, and is clearly fascinated by the whole dirttrack racing scene, and isn't in it for the money, you get a much different view.

This is the work of Joan Cuenco, a friend and colleague of Scott's who lives in the city. I don't know the whole back story about how she found out about Oakland Valley, but she came out for a race, and was obviously struck by what she saw. I'll let the photo's speak for themselves. This is all done on film, by the way, not digital.

These are just some of the photos that I picked out, mostly from self interest because it's me and my family, but she has lot's more on her blog.
Go to http://joancuenco.com/flat-track-moto to check out more of her work.
Joan very kindly gave me permission to use these, and I would hope that anybody who visit's her blog would respect her work and contact her before reproducing anything.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Me, racing

I find it very difficult to take pictures of myself while I'm racing. This is an old problem, shared by many racers. Often, family members can help, but sometimes not.
So in these situations it's nice to have a track/event photographer around. Some are better than others, and I've never felt particularly compelled to support the ones that can't seem to frame a photo, or pay attention to the background, or who lack imagination and simply click away at a thousandth of a sec. and lay out their "product" for sale at the next race. To quote a recent TV ad that cracks me up with the grammar while being very succinct, "buy 'em or don't".

Well with that intro, here are a few pictures that I did in fact choose to buy. The selection was somewhat limited this year, since I only attended a few races, but at least there's some variety.

This was at the Stateline Harescramble. It looks like I have a mustache, it's a dirt mustache. Gross.

A different vantage point at the same Harescramble. Good thing the photographer was ready, 'cause I was really flying through this section. (Sarcasm). The #39 is on because I raced this bike in Supermoto in Maine earlier this summer. The Harescramble requires their own numbering system, which is why I have a hand written 4861 number on the front of the bike. That number is assigned to a transponder on my chest protector, and when I complete a lap and ride through the control station, I can see my progress (how far behind I am) on a digital display above the exit gate.

This is at Lebanon Valley Speedway. One of two times this season when I was ahead of Nick Wiemer for at least part of a lap. Inconsequential, since he was ahead when the checkered flag dropped, but still....

And finally, here I am at Electric City Riders, once again going so fast that the other guy doesn't get himself into the picture, just his front wheel and number plate. I'm going to look into a chest mount for my GoPro, so I don't look like a Teletubbie racing around.

Footnote in the FWIW category, my final official result in the Stateline Harescramble was 5th in class, not 7th as reported earlier.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Smuggler's Notch

Sunday was a fun-day. Shooting clays and other targets with Hannah, Jay and Ben for a few hours. No good pictures came out of it, so you'll have to take my word for it, it was fun. The wrap-up for that was, we had some "exploding" targets to shoot at, but they weren't exploding when hit with shotguns unless you were too close for comfort. So we formed a firing line a little closer and agreed we'd all fire on the count of three. I got a little impatient and fired just after the count of two. Mayhem ensued.

Then Hannah and I took the bikes up to Smugglers Notch, I was pretty sure the notch road was closed, but it was a nice ride up to it. Sure enough, the road was closed, so we took a couple pics from parking lot #1, then took the back roads home through Underhill, arriving home just around nightfall.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


We're sort of between seasons now. The flattrack racing season is done. The supermoto season is finished, and the off-road season is barely hanging on. I haven't put the KTM away, but it's been too cold for the past 4 weeks for me to get motivated to ride it.

Anyway, I've got to clean up the garage a little bit, and sort out what stays and what goes down to the barn.

I have a rack of wheels and tires that get rotated through periodically. There's a rear 19" Goodyear, unmounted. A wrapped ice tire, XR100 front DOT supermoto, YZ125 rear supermoto, 18" ice tire, 21" ice tire, YZ125 front dirt, XR100 dirt front and rear.

Then there's some tires that refuse to be thrown out. Worn front and rear dirt tires, and this old Avon 17" dual sport tire that I had on the XL600 Streettracker. This tire actually got raced enough that the left side wore enough to create a noticeable profile. I tried cutting some grooves for better grip, but as I remember, the thing would just spin most of the way down the straight. I ultimately wound up putting a 19" rear with a proper Goodyear DT2 mounted on it, but I couldn't get rid of the Avon for some reason.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Formula150 4 Hour "Pete Giammalvo Memorial" Endurance Race

Scott and I had the honor and privilege of racing in this 4 hour endurance race on the Kart/Supermoto track at Cuddebackville this past Sunday. This was the last race of a 6 race series, and the promoter dedicated this one in memory of Pete Giammalvo of Sideways Promotions, who played a very significant role in the careers of many racers from the Northeast. In fact, a couple of the better known racers participated, PJ Jacobsen and Kenny Coolbeth. It's not every day that you can share the track with a GNC National Champion and a British Superbike Race Champion.

I say share the track, they didn't use as much of it as I seemed to use. It was a constant source of amazement when they would lap me wherever I happened to be, using a racing line that didn't exist, and safely disappear down the track. Lot's of respect for those guys.

Scott and I teamed up with an old flattrackin' buddy, Dave Marcil, and we were riding a modified XR100 owned by Tony and Jane Leary. Tony and Jane were an integral part of Sideways Promotions, working with Pete and Connie Giammalvo to run flat track races at Pete's track in Winchendon MA and all the other race tracks and fairground tracks around New England.

Dave suggested we start off with 20 minute sessions, which worked out fine. We each had a brief practice session on the bike and agreed that the bike was set up just fine, no gearing changes needed. We also agreed that Scott would start the race for us, I'd jump on next and then Dave would go.

This is the line up before the race got underway, modified bikes on the right, stockers on the left. Scott is #144, the sum of the race numbers of Dave Bettencourt (9), Aaron Creamer (64), and Pete Giammalvo (71).

"The King of Cool", Kenny Coolbeth

The start, with Kenny already out of the picture with a big lead on the rest of the field.

Our team owner, Tony, on his stock XR100. Since it was close to Halloween, there was a side competition for best costume on the track. Tony was riding as Charlie Brown, with a pumpkin helmet. He won that competition, and got a new helmet for his effort.

Here's Connie, lighting up the day with her smile.

Dave, handing off to Scott.

PJ looked like this most of the time, a blur.

And this is Kenny, cutting through traffic. He just passed Scott, who is catching up to Sandriana.

Don't know who this kid is, but I heard he was about 16 years old. He lapped me several times.

Another "costume", clever.

There were times during the race that a bunch of bikes would get clumped together for a few laps, and it was fun for all involved on either side of the fence! After the 2nd hour we agreed that Scott would extend his time to help build a lead over the team behind us, which was Sandriana Shipman and Nick Weimer, and then Dave and I would see how much we felt like staying out there in the fourth hour, with Scott bringing it home. We kept our lead and finished 3 laps clear of Nick and Sandriana, for 6th in class.

Team Sideways

Team Rolling Obstacle, with Connie standing in for Julie Starzinsky, Pete's niece.

We had a great time. The racing was fun, especially when you could get someone in your sights and track them down and make the pass. The bike was rock solid all day with the exception of an exhaust hanger that fell off or broke (maybe when I lowsided in my first stint). We had to adjust the front brake a few times, I suspect there's not much left of the shoes, since it was a stock front brake and I guarantee nobody at Honda thought the front brakes would get this kind of abuse.

There had been the threat of rain, since Hurricane Sandy was off-shore but headed our way, but it stayed dry and cool for us. Big bonus there.

Many thanks to Tony, who supplied the bike and race food. And many thanks also to Mike and Lisa Weimer, who housed and fed me and Scott Saturday night, with a full breakfast Sunday morning!