Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nummer 1

Some people tell everyone they are Nummer 1. Some people ARE Nummer 1

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Return of the Albatross

 I've touched on this bike in previous posts but here's a little more of the story.

My friend Rick bought it about 6 years ago (upon my suggestion). Turns out the motor wasn't quite the fire breathing monster we were led to believe so it sat unloved at my shop for a few years. In the meantime Rick bought another ex race bike which had a lovely motor and a crap everything else (except the tank).

First round of modifications was to make his second bike somewhat race able. On went spare wheels from the 1st bike and some lovely suspension from Maxton. It was still kind of shit handling so I provided one of my de raked, lower frame deleted, race frames and made him a somewhat competent bike. See below:

For my troubles Rick gave me the remnants of the first bike. Smart man that Rick. 

Brief specs: Ex BOT race bike built in 1985/6. Last raced and crashed in 1986. Stockish motor. Crap suspension. Lovely Dr John 2into1 exhaust.

The bike just got in my way and I was thoroughly sick of looking at it. I considered parting it out but couldn't bring myself to doing that to an ex racer. Knowing how much work and money it takes to do a legit racer it sat around unloved until summer 2020. MotoAmerica had announced a vintage superbike race at Laguna Seca and a friend with a soft spot for Guzzis was looking for a ride.

Perfect excuse to build a bike. Guzzi logic !!!!!

See below:

Brief specs: V11 92x80 motor. V11 cam, 40mm carbs, Saches crank fire ignition. 80hp. Just enough power and ridden by Tom Montano and ex pro rider it came in 6th at Laguna (beating me). Video here

Clearly the bike ran well and it was a great feeling building and fielding a bike that did well after a 34 year hiatus. 

The agreement I had with myself was that if I built it it had to go on sale after the race for what I had into it. My labor would be a donation to the Guzzi racing Gods.

Couple of months later and after a track day or two I found a buyer. Rick. Smart man that Rick!

So now it sits ready to go in our shipping container at my shop.

Albatross indeed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

RIP Ralph

See you on the other side Ralph. We'll miss you.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

New build (kind of)

Getting an ex BOT racebike ready for a friend to ride in October:


Summer racing.

It's been a strange old year but there has been some local racing here in Southern California. I raced in July and August at Buttonwillow with AFM which was hotter than Hades.

I have a friend who's wife refuses to go racing with him if there's the word Willow associated. Buttonwillow, Willow Springs and Willows (Thunderhill). Smart Lady.

The race plan for this year was to be more aggressive at the start and try to keep the fast guys in sight. I tend to be a slow starter and potter around for a lap or two.

Both weekends were a Saturday afternoon race and a Sunday morning race.

Let's start with July.

Saturday practice was spent getting up to speed and shaking off the cobwebs. Rick was along for the weekend on his 992cc round head racer and kept me honest. We were both in the 2.15 to 2.13 lap time range. Last year my best time was 2.13 so pretty happy with the times.

Did I mention it was hot ? By the late afternoon it was well over 100F and I had to stick a bag of ice in the leathers to cool myself down before the race.

I got a good start :

The Colonel (132) got the hole shot but I was with him and it took almost a lap to get passed by Mr Fast Guy Kevin McKee (90) which is a good measure of my increased pace. Usually Kevin passes me by turn 2.

Pretty uneventful race and I was able to get my time down to a best lap of 2.12. 4th place. Not bad.

The Sunday vintage race followed the same pattern as Saturday's race. Good start, kept the fast guys honest and came in 5th. Best time 2.10 which was gratifying. Rick had an off track excursion:

Rider and bike made it safely back to the pits. 

Overall a great weekend and a lot of fun.


I came into the weekend feeling much more comfortable on the bike and feeling confident I could go quicker. The bike handles, stops and goes really well so it's time for me to get my head together and push. 

Again all day Saturday practice but I was pretty slow. 2.15 to 2.20 range but I'm trying to ignore practice times and concentrate on lines and areas where I can improve. Once the racing starts things seem to click into place.

Unfortunately in the last session I developed an oil leak from a head twin plugging modification where the oil feeds into the head. Some quick jamming of shop towel into the cylinder fins was deemed acceptable for the race an hour away. But it wasn't to be. On the out lap oil was covering my boot and I had to pull in. Bugger!!!!! Race missed.

Out with the JB Weld and off with the head. Bike was repaired by 10pm. A good night's sleep in the van and I was up at 6am for tea.

Race was at 10 am. Lined up on the front row and fluffed the start. Bike was in neutral instead of first when the flag dropped. Oops. Ended up in 4th at the first corner and it was too difficult to get past the front runners. I couldn't do my usual get in front and slow the fast guys down by mesmerizing them with the sight and sound of a Guzzi.

The Colonel dropped out with rear wheel issues and I got 3rd. Best time 2.07. Nice.

Race footage here: Part 1 RACE and here: Part 2  RACE

Another great weekend and next up Thunderhill in September and Laguna Seca in October.