Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ralph's shop

My friend Ralph has been helping me with some fabrication work. Here's a small portion of his shop. The hammer is about the only thing I know how to use there.






Sunday, December 13, 2009

Guzzi 750 S3

Nick Sharp sent me some pictures of one of my favorite bikes. I saw a picture of one when I was a starving student in the UK in 1990 and I decided then that I had to own a Guzzi.

This is how deluded I was: I actually went and tried to get a loan from my bank manager to buy one. He not only turned me down but he actually laughed at me while doing it.







Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pictures of 2009


Do these leathers make my bike look small.



Traveling in style




Raw power



Zero engineering at El Mirage





Helped a friend pick up a Laverda SFC from Lake Tahoe. The deal involved a whacked out owner, a crazy tattoo artist buyer and $25,000 cash in a brown paper bag.




My lovely new helmet that lasted 3 race weekends only to be ruined on a stupid trackday.........



John's Fiat Abarth.


2009 racing


Not a huge amount to report from this year. I raced 3 times: Willow Springs, Portland and Miller.

At Willow in April I had the pleasure of meeting and racing with Steve Arnett on his Paul Smart Imola rep Ducati. We had a very close race which made things fun. Otherwise I would've been circulating alone. Willow is a horsepower track and as the Guzzi makes 80 rwhp if I'm lucky and weighs over 450lbs it's hard to keep the big multi cylinder Japanese Superbikes in sight. I was running 1.45 which is kind of slow. I'm probably blaming the bike more than I should. 1.40 should be a realistic time but at Willow I'm ... what's the word.....crap!!.

June: Portland Vintage Days as usual was great fun. After surprisingly winning last year my competitors were on top form . Tom Mellor on his Trident 750 was turning 1.23's which is quick. My best time was 1.27. About 2-3 seconds faster than the previous year. Again raced with Steve and his Duc. This time I beat him.

The following Monday I did a Ducati track day. Lots of laps and I felt like I improved my times so I'm hoping to do well next year at the track. Diced with several guys on modern Ducs especially one guy on a Hypermotard who clocked us at 130mph at the end of the straight. I out-braked someone on a Desmocedici which I thought was particularly heroic until my friend Steve pointed out that of course I out-braked him, he wasn't about to go throw a $75,000 bike down the track. I was certain I would be getting that GP ride after such a performance!!

Miller Motorsports Park in September is the racing highlight of the year. Many of the West coast racers try to attend and there's a particularly large turnout of Honda 160 racers. This year there were 37 of us. I managed 5th in the 160 only race. The 160 race has a Lemans start (see movie, I'm #445) and the sight of 37 grown adults running across the track to bump start tiny little Hondas is a sight to behold.

Steve A and I again had a great race in Formula Vintage on the Sunday. We were literally neck and neck the whole race. I made a mistake on the last lap and overshot my braking and Steve poured on the coals and turned a 1.56. Mistake or not I think he would've won it. My best was a 1.58. So Steve is up 2 to 1 and we are both looking forward to next season and plotting ways to gain an advantage but I think we will again have some close battles. Steve claims that he can get more horsepower out of his old nail but I think he's going to be fitting an N.O.S. bottle somewhere. My plan is to shed some weight off the Guzzi and try to improve acceleration. Can't wait!!!!!

Below are the bikes at the end of the season. Apparently the Honda makes slightly less power than the vacuum cleaner next to it.







Nick's project update


Here's some shots of Nick's cafe project. Rearsets by http://www.barleycorn.co.uk/

Notice the sexy all in one master cylinder. Might have to get one myself.




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Long overdue


A quick summary of the past 3 weeks:

Helped my friend Ralph with his GSXR 1000 record setting land speed racer. We took it up to El Mirage dry lake twice in the past month and he reached the dizzying speed of 192mph to set a new record. Lots of dust and it was COLD.



Finally stopped hobbling around after my crash.












Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Crash


85 mph track day highside on my Honda 160 racer (yes they really do go that fast).



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nick Sharp's project


Hi Andrew,

heres a few so far.

The original bike is a 79/80 Mk 2 Le Mans that i imported from spain.

stripped down to restore . Realised it needed major overhaul, so when I was researching

the parts etc I cam across lots of Cafe racer style guzzis that have inspired me to build one.

(Much more fun than the original !)

Most inspiration was from a company in Germany called H T Moto.

A guy called Hartmutt and his son race guzzis in classic racing and also make many

special parts for guzzis of all types, cant recommend them highly enough, top pros !


So stripped the bike and sent the engine to NBS (guzzi specialist in UK) I would have liked to do it

myself but only have a lock up garage at the moment so just not practical.

They rebuilt the engine, Gearbox and final drive box.

Ali tank came from Johns Tank shop in Scotland.


Frame is just getting some brackets welded for the new seat unit (H T Moto) and will then be ready

for powder coating (not sure about black or grey silver ?)


Then the rebuild can begin


Oh yes ! and the new wheels.

I managed to obtain some rare to find Astralite wheels (Black) but having thought about a classic look

decided to go for a set of Borrani wire wheels instead.

So the Astralites will be on a plane to USA soon to Andrew ! and his set of Borranis will be making its way to me in the UK.


More later


Nick











Friday, October 16, 2009

Miller and Sandia 08

Next race was at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah with Ahrma. Packed the truck with the Guzzi and Honda drove 750 miles. Just a quick jaunt for us West Coast racers. How nice it would be for closer tracks......

After Ohio I had to get to the bottom of the front end issues; mainly the chatter and subsequent temporary loss of front brake. I'd been riding around the problems but I had to put my laziness aside and figure it out. Tore the front end apart, everything seemed fine. Checked the bearing carriers. AHA!!!!! Turns out that one of the carriers was worn out and was allowing the bearing to more side to side. After bumpy corners this allowed the pucks in the brake calipers to be pushed back and I'd have to pump the brake to get the brakes to work. Apparently it's the same thing that happens when bikes get into serious tankslappers. Something that I'll probably never experience due to the Guzzi's 30 degrees of rake. Oh and it turns out I'd been overfilling the fork oil. DOH!!!
Miller was a blast. World class facilities, great people, Lemans start on the Honda. It doesn't get much better. The Guzzi handled great. Took a 2nd and a 3rd in Vintage Superbike Heavyweight. Admittedly there were only 4 bikes in the class........ Also visited Bonneville salt flats for the speed week. Very cool.

Drove back to LA on the Monday. Hummed and aahed for a few days and decided to drive out to New Mexico the following weekend to a tiny track called Sandia. Did more of the same.

And that is 08 wrapped up. Managed to be 3rd in the championship in Vintage Superbike Heavyweight. I would love to say it was because of my amazing riding skills but if you have a pulse then you can pretty much get a result.

Awards ceremony Ahrma style


Here I'm going for the Hillbilly look.



Miller garages.





Ralph and Kristina and the first seeds of love are sown .


Bonneville delivery truck


Hardware



Road trip



Two single Vincents. The bikes not the riders.


video

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Glamour shot

Here's a shot of my friend Steve A racing at Barber last weekend. We've had 3 races together this year and each was hammer and tongs. He's 2 to 1 in the results. At Miller in September and had an epic race for the ages (in our minds at least). Note the jaunty scarf.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Humbled

Next race: Mid Ohio AHRMA, July 08.

Did the rock star thing. Paid to have my bikes trailered to Ohio. Flew in. Flew out. Nice!!!

Got 4th on the Honda. Got soundly beaten on the Guzzi. Mid Ohio is a tricky technical track and I was up against 120 hp Superbikes and guys with alot of experience. I didn't get lapped though and kept the winners in sight (just). A good learning experience.

The front brake issue again raised it's scary head.


Ohio barn


The bits





Art shot



Ex Raceco Guzzi now campaigned by crazy Australian Andrew Cowell



Big Jeff Bottrell. Fellow Guzzi racer.



The pits






video