Got back home yesterday after an almost 2 week road trip to race at Blackhawk farms raceway in S Beloit, IL and Gingerman in S Haven, MI. Haven't done a back to back before. First "covid" races but had good turnouts.
Though the Triumph fought me for 2 weeks before leaving it ran great at the races. Decided that I wanted to try the 5 speed gearbox, however I couldn't get it working the way I wanted and wound up at the last minute putting the 4 speed back in. Funny enough, it worked better than it ever did in the past. Who knows?
Got to visit my daughter in downtown Chicago on the way to Blackhawk. Always an experience driving my big rig in narrow city streets...
Blackhawk is slightly under 2 miles, and is a fast track. Times for the 650 and the B50 were in the 1:30's. You need a big handful of brake at the end of the straight but other than that, the corners flow nicely. Had good races with Patman on his Daytona and Tim Terrell on his Yamaha 2 smoke. Wes Goodpaster was too fast on his 650 Norton, about 5 seconds per lap faster than me, never saw him after the start. For the weekend, I took a 3rd and 2nd in lightweight and a pair of 2nd places in 650.
Made it to a state park near Manitowock, WI Sunday night and caught the SS Badger ferry across Lake Michigan on Monday. It's apparently the last coal fired passenger steamer operating in the US. Really nice trip, beautiful day, the lake was flat and the old Badger maintained a stately 15 mph into Ludington, MI. From there I proceeded to an old friend's hunting and fishing camp for a couple days of fishing and R&R (beer drinking and lie telling). Caught a big mess of bluegill and perch for (near) future consumption. From there, headed south to Kalamazoo, MI to visit my son and his wife and do the between race service on the bikes. Thursday night arrived at Gingerman, set up pit and welcomed my wife, Barb, as she flew in to watch racing and have a mini reunion/ visit with her cousins who all live nearby. And a fish fry. Mmmm.
I have a love/ hate thing for Gingerman. It's a challenging track, lots of fun, but last year there was a place in turn 7 that I'd hit that would turn the Triumph into a bucking bronco. I put it down to too much tire on the front and over the winter went from a 100-19 to a 90-18 on the front. Also fashioned a fork brace The combo worked great at Little Tally a month ago but was again unhappy at Gingerman. Tried different lines, found one that I could get through ok but still couldn't carry as much speed as I'd like. Friday evening was walking around and saw Tim T chatting with Stickboy, the tire vendor. Got into a long discussion of my dilemma and came up with a band aid plan to run the front tire pressure to high 30's and see what happens. Well, it made a big improvement. Probably 70% better. Still chattered but not nearly what it did before. Confidence returning.....
Saturday races- Race 1 lightweight production- got my usual slow start, let the crowd spread out a little and begin to pick off the bikes in the turns. The B50 excels at finding a way around corners. At 26 stomping horsepower I don't expect much on the straights. Got around Tim T about 2/3 through the race and didn't look back. Took the win.
Race 11- Classic 60's 650- single wave start with Classic 60's in front of us and 250 GP behind us. Probably 16 bikes on the grid. I hate killing my clutch so slow start again.... Got by Dave Spanger on the 2nd lap and tucked in behind Patman on his 500. Pat's bike is down on power compared to mine but he can make it hustle through a corner. Watched his lines for a couple laps and decided to try a move under him in 5, a tight decreasing radius left. It worked and he couldn't keep up after that. So wound up 2nd behind Wes G. Turned 3 laps under 2 minutes that race, faster than I've done at that track.
Saturday night, rained all night, Sunday morning saw a lot of carnage on a slippery track during practice. Being old, and having had what I considered a successful couple of race weekends, tired, dirty, Barb and I packed up and pointed the big rig south toward home.
Next- CMP Labor day weekend!