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#740281 06/30/18 3:03 am
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I was going through some of my books and found a bunch of old racing pics I thought I had lost. I found this one. It's my first real win racing in speedway, probably about 1977.
Sure I got the win, got the blondes, the gold and the adoration of the crowd, but what I really find interesting is the look on the face of the Ref as he is passing by behind me.
Priceless.

Irwindale race track
[Linked Image]Speedwaywin
This is the first time I've revealed my face here on Britbike in 10 years. However, I don't look much like this anymore. I got injured the next week here in a horrific accident. Almost ended my racing. No, that's not why I don't look like this anymore. I'm old now. Jeez....

A couple more.
Going fast at Ascot. BE THERE! That was the radio ad. Very fast very dangerous track.
[Linked Image]Speedway08

Costa Mesa. Very tiny track, I think the smallest there ever was. Hard to ride, but I got a few wins there.
[Linked Image]Speedway09
Any of you guys have racing pics you'd like to share? From the old days?


Cheers,
Bill



Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 06/30/18 3:08 am.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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HawaiianTiger #740300 06/30/18 11:16 am
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Young and handsome with the hot blondes...... I'm sure that you're not much different than me, Bill. That feeling that we've earned every grey hair and wrinkle and proud of them.
As for me, there was no racing in the old days. Just a bunch of standing by the start/ finish line with a young boy holding onto each hand, wishing I could be out there. Now those boys come to watch me.

HawaiianTiger #740302 06/30/18 11:27 am
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i have an old days picture. not because it was long ago, but because it was me that got old before i discovered racing.

[Linked Image]

^^^this was last summer. might have put this up somewhere else.

if i had started in 1977 i wouldn't have wasted so much time.


i'm old enough to remember when patriotism meant not trying to overthrow the government.
HawaiianTiger #740304 06/30/18 11:55 am
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Me, 1967:

[Linked Image]

Note the green AMA novice plate. Back in those days, you ran the full oval at Daytona as a novice.

[Linked Image]


Later, that summer, on Cape Cod. The "girl" isn't in the picture since she was taking it. Not blond.

[Linked Image]


Kurt

-- Don't believe everything you think.
HawaiianTiger #740305 06/30/18 12:15 pm
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Bill, nice bit of history about you.....You still have the beard?

No photos of me racing but a photo of me two years ago with double I built...Some of the junk in the background was actually used in building the bike


[Linked Image]



79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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Hey guys, cool pics, Kurt, that was quite the chunk of change to spend back in 66

Mark. L #740316 06/30/18 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Mark. L
Hey guys, cool pics, Kurt, that was quite the chunk of change to spend back in 66


Mark, that price on the Yamaha was about 10% over dealer invoice on these production racers, at the time I worked at John Jacobson's other store, Honda City (at Fenway Park, Boston).

Before that 1967 Daytona outing, I had raced novice class in AAMRR and CMA for a little over a year. Then got my AMA license, and off to the races at Daytona.

1968:

[Linked Image]





Kurt

-- Don't believe everything you think.
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Im sure this thread could go on for quite some time with stories and more pics of bikes and racing from the members here, I like it.....

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I gave up racing speedway when I was 31 feeling like a really old man racing against guys who were 18. But I was just getting good. I should have stuck it out and gone to Europe to race. Greg Hancock just turned 48 and is 4 time world champion the first time when he was 27 and then again just a couple a years ago. That really pisses me off. I mean, I'm happy for him. I just wish I had kept at it for a while.
I did race in the desert for a couple of more years but that doesn't require the almost daily dedication that speedway does. I raced once a month at club events and the odd pie plate hare and hound.

I currently look just like this.

[Linked Image]004

With two pretty damaged shoulders and a spine that will lock up before too long. From racing? Hard to tell. My legs are great. Try keep up with me on my daily walk with the pooch!

Something to consider. Racing is just as addictive as heroin. When you stop, be ready for that. I gradually got into competitive bike restoration, but not before I did a lot of damage to myself and others trying to sort out what was wrong with me.

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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Little Trials Action:


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Last edited by Alan_nc; 06/30/18 8:36 pm.

Alan
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2014, the first time the bike I built and ridden by my friend Lyjha Wilton was on the LSR track in Ohio....Off the trailer the bike set a new track record.. I'm not the guy on the bike..............

[Linked Image]


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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Originally Posted by HawaiianTiger


I currently look just like this.

[Linked Image]004

Cheers,
Bill



Bill,

I just realized it has been 10 years since I was out in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks on what the Army calls TDY and we talked about me meeting you at your home on Kauai at the time. Unfortunately at the time, it just wasn't feasible for me in the short time I had allotted for such a trip. I still kick my ass wondering if I could have made it happen or not and not being able to meet up with you. Maybe and hopefully one day Brother !


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1968 T100R Daytona 500
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1970 BSA A65F 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1971 BSA A65 650 - Project
1972 Norton Commando 750 "Combat"


"Every time I listen to AC/DC, so do my neighbors"

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I've always kept a spare room available for visitors. Not many have taken me up on it, but a couple of folks have visited me here in Hawaii in the last ten years and it was a pleasure meeting them.

I'm in the process of re-locating and I'm not sure where I'm going to end up. I hope to be able to offer the same hospitality as before.




I've posted a number of times regarding Speedway Grand Prix which I keep up on. We're right in the middle of the season and I can't image how great it would be to attend one of these and see, smell and hear the things that make this racing so exciting.

The racing today is faster than in my day, the riders more talented and the racing is ultra competitive. Often you could throw a blanket over all four contestants in any heat. The tracks are just perfect compared to the tracks I rode with dry dusty conditions, blue grooves, or huge holes the track. Those never seem to happen anymore.

This video is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. These two are going all out and they are so evenly matched, you won't know who will win until right at the end.

Cheers,
Bill

Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 07/01/18 6:02 am.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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Sorry, I can't resist it! "You must be famous, you're surrounded by all your fans!" (Groans from the audience.)

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1977, I'd just fallen out of the old Dear! Never had the racing bug, though I used to Mountain Bike as a Nipper. Keep the pics coming Chaps!

Rod


And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth'

An interesting point given recent events.

TJD #740381 07/01/18 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by TJD
Sorry, I can't resist it! "You must be famous, you're surrounded by all your fans!" (Groans from the audience.)

laugh clap thumbsup
That was a good one!
B.


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
HawaiianTiger #740388 07/01/18 11:23 am
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There's two dirt flat tracks within 45 minutes of where I live...One does have Speedway bike racing... It's only 10 bucks for a spectator,


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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There was a flat track race at the Fair grounds here Friday night, it was never advertised but I could hear the bikes from my back yard. I drove past there on my way home from work and there were no cars there but the racers pit on the other side of the barns.


When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
HawaiianTiger #740455 07/01/18 10:41 pm
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The vast majority of Speedway Racing in the US is concentrated in Southern California where I used to live. The Cost Mesa track was about a couple of miles from my home in the 70's and I could hear the bikes (straight pipes then)
from my house. There is a track in Seneca New York active this year as well as Oswego.

I raced Costa Mesa, San Bernadino, Ventura, Ascot and Irwindale race tracks. One season I rode with the AMA at Eddie West Field in Santa Ana. One of the biggest problems in racing there is the lack of an organization that could represent the riders effectively. AMA just turned all that over to the promoters who were ruthless money grubbing dicks for the most part, especially Harry Oxley. Loathed by all the riders, but without this guy, you basically couldn't go racing. Riders were "invited" to go racing. That is, the promoter decided who could ride, and who didn't. I got some track time by going as a reserve, but that could all be for nothing as no one was allowed on the track, even for practice until the first race and then someone had to blow a motor or break a bone before you could ride.

If you crashed in your heat, or didn't make the semi's, you wouldn't be "invited" to the next race meet.

I liked Ascot. The debutantes hated it because it was so dangerous and hard on your bike. However, I got to ride every Thursday night, so I went for it. I only fell there once, which was a high speed low side. Even those could be fatal as the adobe track was sticky like glue and grabbed at your leathers and could easily give second degree burns right through layers of protection. You ended up tumbling most of the time and breaking bones. I saw some gnarly crashes there with guys who didn't get killed only by luck, I think.

Here's your Britbike content.
[Linked Image]WeslakeMotor
I met with some US Speedway riders at a world qualifier in White City, London in 1979. (Ronnie Preston captain of the Poole Pirates, Scott Autry 2nd in world and captain of Exeter Falcons and Steve Gresham who rode for Swindon) I arranged to buy a Weslake motor for my Jawa two valve. I needed more power for Ascot. Steve Gresham sold it to me and had his wife carry it in check in baggage all the way to California. I paid 1500$ for it, and man was that a great motor.

The Jawa two valve was great also. It dominated racing for a decade. It was only after a number of four valve conversions came out, one from Weslake, did it gradually get replaced.

Here's what looks like a bone stock Jawa two valve. I think it was called the DT500
[Linked Image]Jawaspeedaybike

These run on pure methanol and have compression ratios in excess of 15:1. 50bhp for the Jawa and 60 for the Weslake. 170-180lbs soaking wet. So hp to weigh ratio is in the "fun but dangerous" category.

Bikes have changed a lot over the years. Once you're pretty good, you pin the throttle and just leave it there using body English to hunt for traction. The motors rev out to 7 grand and sort of bog down to about 6 in the corners. At least they did. I suspect they're turning more "R's" these days and making more power.

[Linked Image]Speedwaybike

I'd love to throw a leg over this bad boy and take a hot lap. You betcha.

Cheers,
Bill


Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 07/01/18 11:33 pm.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
HawaiianTiger #740463 07/01/18 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiianTiger
. There is a track in Seneca New York active this year.





Besides Seneca, there's also tracks in Owego and Batavia NY. The track in Batavia running speedway for about 45 years...Jason Bonsignore,retired pro hockey play, now owns the facility...I don't know much about speedway but it looks like a pro setup..
NY Speedway

I actually sold a Speedway bike to Bonsignore around 2001...My friend bought a JAP powered speedway bike right in this area for 750 bucks.It was leaning against a tree with a for sale sign... He brought it over to me to have a look.Not the first speedway bike I saw around here so something was going on .The bike appeared complete but probably not run in many years.The engine was free, the mag sparked but no attemp was made to start it..My friend's decision was to sell it on my Ebay site..Bidding was intense, the bike sold for $3200... Bonsignore won the auction, picked up the bike and explained how he just bought the track and was starting up speedway again but improving the old track ...He said the bike was good for vintage racing..


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
HawaiianTiger #740465 07/01/18 11:53 pm
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Odd that you should mention JAP. That was a grand old British racing engine that also dominated Speedway racing for years.

Once at Ascot, I had a mechanical problem with my Weslake. I saw old man Vorhees in the pits with his OHC four valve converted JAP long track bike that his rider crashed on just the week before when "Bad" Brad Oxley (yep the promoters pussy son) had stuffed his rigid footpeg into the guy's front wheel causing him the endo down the front straight at about 90mph.

It was this motor.
[Linked Image]JAP
He was looking for a First division rider to try out his monster bike. I told him I was riding in First Division (I'm sure I didn't mention that it was my first ride in First Division) and he let me take it out for practice.

Stop me if you've heard this story before.....

Anyway, it was set up for a guy about 6 inches taller than me and I could barely reach the handlebars. We tweaked it as much as possible, but it was awkward as hell to ride. I got off well in the start of my heat, but I was having a really hard time in the corners. I just couldn't manage a cross up...my arms weren't long enough. But I had massive power down the straights, so alternatively, I dusted off the other guys down the straights, and they caught me in the corners, sounding like a bunch of angry hornets back there. In one corner, I gave it the gas to try to make them disappear, but the front wheel just shot up into the air. I had good instincts so I just gave it the rest of the gas and the front end slowly descended to the ground and I was off again.Then, as the checkered flag was in sight, the bugger quit on me, like turning off a switch. The rest of the guys went by me, zip zip zip and after the last one passed by, the motor started up again and I cruised across the finish line in last place.

Damn.

I was really happy to get back on my Weslake after that experience.

Cheers,
Bill

Get out there and see a Speedway race. It's addictive.
B.

Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 07/01/18 11:54 pm.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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Bill, any chance you knew a guy named Rick Workman? He was from Ohio, and was one of the better speedway riders there. He move to Socal, and raced there for a while. He also had a bunch of British bikes. Good friend, and we worked together for a while. Cancer got him quite a while back.


Hugh: Proof the Dodo is not extinct
1974 Daytona project
A couple others
HughdeMann #740482 07/02/18 5:02 am
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The name sounds familiar. Do you know about what years he raced?

Cheers,
Bill


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1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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Very cool thread.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, a BSA, & some Japanese
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
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There is speedway in the US of A?

Used to be very popular in the UK, although I prefer grasstrack racing. Sidecars!

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