Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Project. With a Purpose

"Your fingers would remember their old strength better... if they grasped your sword." -J.R.R. Tolkien

It was surprising how well the bike actually ran. All the gears were present in the gearbox and general mechanical condition was good. That discovery would dictate the next course of action: scrape the rust off, throw on a coat of paint and race the son of a bitch.

Obviously there was more to it than that. Front and rear suspension required rebuilding, brakes were rebuilt and the system flushed, carburetor overhauled, valves adjusted, chain, brake pads replaced. I figured out how to change tires using a bottle jack and the bumper on my truck so that I wouldn't have to pay $40 a pop for someone else to scratch my wheels.

I threw myself into the project with the goal of having it track-ready within two months. Everything that could would be done in-house (i.e. by me). It could not be a long drawn out process. I've met wanna-be racers that are always "building" their bike, they are full of excuses and totally lacking in action. I aimed to complete the task to the best of my ability, with function certainly well ahead of form.

There was another reason for choosing the two month time-frame, I found out about a "track day" at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia late September. I had never been there, but it was only a three hour trip. I wanted to ride. The question still loomed whether my wrist and hand would hold up to the rigors of hard braking and operating the clutch lever repeatedly, it seemed silly to jump right back into racing without knowing for sure. A track day, a paid open practice broken up into groups according to skill level, seemed like a non-committal way to see if I still had the chops, or if I even wanted them.

Dollars were spent, hours invested combing the information superhighway for the best deals. Thankfully I still had my old leathers and a good helmet, other gear was sourced mostly from Craigslist and that crappy auction website that shall remain nameless.

I was pulled in a little deeper...

Starting Point


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