Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oakland Valley Raceway 6-10-12

Sunday June 10th was the rescheduled 1st race of the Vintage Series at OVRP. Hannah and I drove down and met Scott (and his GF Kira) at the track. This would be Hannah's 2nd race on the XR100, and Scott and I would be entering the Vintage Heavy and Vintage Sportsman classes. One nice thing about the Vintage Series is there were no Quads racing, so the program moves along a lot quicker.

As we expected, the Vintage Heavy class was pretty well attended with 15 bikes, requiring 3 heats to establish the starting positions for the feature. Scott went out in the first heat, had a poor start but finished 2nd, which inexplicably put him on the 2nd row for the feature. I was in the third heat and also had a lousy start and finished 2nd, but they put me on the front row for the feature.

The Sportsman class was only 5 bikes, a couple experts on air-cooled Honda's, an amateur on a Rotax, and Me and Scott on Yamaha XT500's. The heat race was a lot of fun, we all got off the line pretty well and I had a great view of a tight race for positions since I was last. I think Scott got a 3rd.

Re-start of the Sportsman heat race. Andy jumped the start and got sent back to the penalty line. It's always interesting to have the fastest guy behind you, knowing he'll be knifing through the pack like a falcon through a flock of pigeons.

Hannah's heat race was good seat time for her, the two other bikes were riden by a couple fast guys and she was pretty much out there on her own, but still trying hard every lap.

Our Vintage Heavy feature was a blast. The same two experts from the Sportsman class, Andy Karodontes and Nick Weimer got the lead, Scott was in 4th behind Fumi Matsueda on a Triumph twin and I was in 5th coming out of T2. It was a 12 lap race and I was able to defend my position from the Rotax behind me, and we gapped everyone else pretty well. Fumi pulled out after a few laps with bike troubles, so Scott and I moved up a position, finishing 3rd and 4th. I was happy with that result.

Hannah's feature was a 12 lap repeat of the heat race, but she was working the bike a lot harder. I had changed the gearing for this track and she wound up getting the most out of that engine. A great effort.

Our Sportsman feature was the last of the day for us and it was another great race. Andy jumped into the lead, but Scott and I both had great starts with him in 2nd and me in 3rd coming out of T2. I was able to hold that position from Nick for almost half the race while Scott tried to stay with Andy. Once Nick got around me he was able to catch up to Scott and make the pass for 2nd. I held on to 4th for a few more laps but the Rotax finally got around me coming out of T4 with a couple laps to go. I was just hanging on at that point, no fight left in me, but it was a ball.

1st lap of the Sportsman feature.

We walked the track after the racing was done, the groove looked and felt like pavement. Love this track.

You can check out the GoPro vids on my youtube channel, 39xt500

Friday, June 8, 2012


Finally, some real progress on the XR250R. I haven't written much about it but I've been steadily working on it and made some interesting discoveries.

The intermittant spark problem seems to have been cured by a new CDI unit, found on eBay for under $50.

The forks were a stumbling block for me, I was able to get one apart, but not the other. So I installed new bushings in the one that I got apart and proceeded to put it back together. That's when I made the most interesting discovery...pictured below.

It's a homemade PVC spacer for the springs, presumably for shorter/stiffer springs, thus the need for a spacer to take up the slack. There is one for each fork, but only one had the writing that identifies them as being installed by J. Cyr, that would be Jean Paul Cyr, Matt's brother. I called Matt as soon as I saw that and we shared some laughs about it. This bike originally belonged to Norm, Matt's dad, who then sold it to Jean Paul. Between the two of them this bike has seen some tough duty.

Anyway, when I put the fork back together it was 1 1/2" longer than the one I hadn't taken apart. This puzzled me greatly, and after several attempts at re-assembling it, all with the same result, I finally got some further insight from Seamus. He looked at it for a few minutes and decreed that I must have misplaced another spacer that would have reduced the stroke. The solution therefore was to make a new spacer, and now I know where the spacer goes to make the stroke shorter on a conventional fork. I was so exited I forgot to take a picture before I put it together.

Once I had all that back together I fired it up and rode it around, but after a short time I noticed smoke coming from the front brake. Looong story short, I rebuilt the caliper, put new pads in, bled the system, and now we have a working front hydraulic disc brake! Oh, and I swapped out the ancient front tire and tube with less ancient ones while I had the front wheel off.

Here are some comparison pics of the '87 XR250R vs the '82 XR200R. The forks and front wheel on the XR200 came off an '82 CR125, which was a motocross bike. I might try to shorten them.

A ride report on the XR250 will be coming shortly. I've ridden it around the lawn, and Hannah ripped around on it as well.