New Year’s weekend ice report – Lily Lake

by Bruce Hayner

It was sunny and clear last Sunday on Lily Lake. The shores of this pond, which is about one fifth the size of Camp Lake, are forested, slope upward noticeably and have housing all the way around, so this location is less susceptible to wind. There was no snow on the ice, which was quite smooth. There were about eight bikes with number plates, but they were never all out at once and those that were out rode with consideration for the non-racers. The two fastest of this group were clearly pro’s and were amazing to watch. There was both a long oval and a short oval. The quad’s stayed on the short oval, so there was no quad/bike mixing. Two fellows brought cherry vintage bikes, a Bultaco and a Montesa. It is very nice having a tavern right there at the end of the ride. Red Stag warms one up nicely. Anyone go to Camp Lake?

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The Moth’s Ride Home from TWALD ’08

by John Saporta

The ride home, brief:  left around 9:30.  Rode the alphabet letters towards Dodgeville in pea soup fog.  Towards the end, the bike was really slogging through the hills:  knocked it down to 3rd gear at one point to get by, ouch. Ignition suddenly stopped.  Thinking I was out of gas, I flipped to reserve and bump started off of my forward momentum.  Was able to stop at a farmhouse, and continue on a few more miles to the outskirts of town.  There, the engine suddenly stopped and would not restart.  It did not seize, thankfully.

Triage in the field: fuel line checked out okay.  Points looked okay.  Got picked up: thanks again to all who helped!  Spark plug wore down the center electrode: telltale signs indicate pre ignition per the book, and per a more experienced biker at work.  Lots of cooked oil on the plug too (blow-by, damn).

Examination (today): Timing shifted to an advance position.  How did that happen? Valve clearances not right: front 2X spec; exhaust 3X spec.  Point gap okay.   Cam did not jump the chain (yaay!).  Compression is very poor, a bit of oil in the cylinder improves it by 10% (never mind the numbers, it clearly justifies further work, see below).  I dare not
test my lawnmower for it may make me cry.  Starting is very hard versus my former one kick and smirk.  Tons of blow-by for the rare times I get a little sustained running:  so much smoke out of the crank case vent, I can be an extra in a stoner movie.

Prognosis: open Moth surgery.  Overhaul the engine:  top end and rings.  More
work depends on what I see inside.

Looking forward to TWALD ’09.

This summer has been a fun trip for this newbie.  I for one, can’t wait to crack open the engine and survey ghu knows what lies inside. The journey has been its own reward.

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The Moth’s Ride of a Lifetime

by John Saporta

Kudos to the following for the Moth’s ride of it’s lifetime (so far): Bob, Jennifer, and MegaBeth for their clear and warm encouragement when I self consciously introduced my cycle-less-self as a guy working on an old, small displacement bike. Bob again for his crazy challenge, and direct confidence on making it happen. Jordan Leibman for his technical support and encouragement.  Mike Blanchard for his encouragement, and Gung HO attitude. Rick for unsolicited “slaps on the back”, Trig for making the wheels more straight. Many more whom I am forgetting at the time of this writing who have kind words and deeds. Chad S. for the “you gotta be nuts to do this” camaraderie. Shells for her camaraderie and laughs: here’s a Harley rider who is willing to follow a small bit of Jap Junk around the countryside for a while and be nice about it. MegaBeth for her charity during the “slow” ride as the pack drifted out of sight. MegaBeth and Fred for their ride home after the Moth lost the ghost outside of Dodgeville on Sunday. The real nice 80-something farmer who let me use indoor plumbing to answer nature’s call. Godfrey, Bob, for hooking me, and the wounded insect, up to the Fred and Beth search party. Several new friends (bear with me, I am bad with names) who I got to chat with this weekend. Everybody who has replied to my questions posted to this list – You helped me make it to Boscobel (under my own power, and safely). ALL The Crazy fans of old and weird rides who gave me a standing ovation when I rolled into the Sands parking lot before the sun came down!!!!

Ewan McGreagor (sp?) in the documentary Long Way Around was remarking after his cameraman had to leave his BMW (computer fried during a weld repair job on the Asia continent) and replaced it with a small displacement cycle: (loosely paraphrased)  These small bikes are used everywhere, and can go anywhere. They are the standard motor cycle of the world – except America. This was more inspiration to ride the Mighty Moth into new territory.

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Sante Fe Speedway

By Diamond Jim Viverito.

It’s been kind of quiet on list for a few days, so I figured I’d regale you youngsters with a motorcycle tale from back in the day.

In the ’60′s, ’70′s and into the 1980′s, Wednesday nights in Chicago meant Short track motorcycle races at Santa Fe Speedway. Santa Fe had three track layouts for motorcycle racing ( they added a stadium MX course at one point in the ’80′s, but that don’t count), the 1/4 mile short track, the TT Steeplechase, and the Long track oval, referred to as the 1/2 mile. It really wasn’t big enough to rate an AMA sanction for a 1/2 mile to run 750′s on, so it was officially a short track with L O N G straights and very tight clay corners that were kind of intense because of the straightaway speed you carried into them.  It was especially eyeball popping prior to the AMA allowing the dirt track bikes to have brakes. The racers just called it the long track, and nobody liked it, but Howard Teidt, the owner of Santa Fe and the promoter, paid an extra $300 in the official purse, and an extra $100 in the “B” program purse, so your chance of making a few bucks was greatly improved.

The long track was run once a month for the four months of racing every year, and the events were called “Classics”. In May , June, and August the “Classics” were named after 3 riders who had distinguished themselves at Santa Fe, George Mack, Pat McHenry, and Carroll Resweber, the latter being a 4 time Grand National Champion.

The July “Classic” was titled the “Patriot Classic” and was always run on the Wednesday closest to the 4th. The show included a big fireworks display that brought in a big crowd, many of whom were not motorcycle racing regulars, but were usually quite impressed with the leather clad, steel shoed, racers and the show they put on.

It was during pre-race practice for the 1976 Patriot Classic that I had one of the worst crashes of my racing days. A racer from Michigan on a Bultaco and myself were having a private “mess with each other/race”, all in good fun of course, during a practice session. He dove low and squeezed me off the groove and passed me, no foul…that’s the way it’s done…anyway, I went high and tried to “diamond” the turn, that is to go to the top of the track right at the apex of the turn, turn sharp and point your bike down the straight, and pass everyone on the straight with the extra speed you built from the maneuver. It would have worked, ‘cept for the guy on the OSSA from Wisconsin (darn cheeseheads) who didn’t see me until it was too late coming from the high side onto the groove. He T-boned me with his front wheel right under my left leg, which thankfully was off the peg and in flat track 3 point stance. It cleaned me off the bike, and I did a slide on my butt to the hay bales. The worst part of it was my leathers split and for a good portion of that slide, there was nothing between my butt and the track.

The ambulance took me to the infield, where the EMT cleaned my wound(s) and bandaged me (and I mooned the crowd from the back of the ambulance!)

I walked side ways back to the pits, got in my van and repaired my leathers with good ‘ol duct tape, ran a dismal 7th in my “B” program heat race, and enjoyed the fireworks before I packed up and went home.

I found out a few days later I had a bone chip off my tailbone and I carried a pillow with me wherever I knew I was going to be sitting for any length of time for more than a month.

I sure do miss Santa Fe.

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