Salem Flat Track Vintage Race Recap Roundup: 11/25, 12/16 and 12/30

Salem has had 3 races since my first report of the Salem Speedway indoor races, and I’ve been to them all! I fell behind on the race recaps but I do post a video of each race after they run. You can watch for those here on the blog, or subscribe to the Last Moto YouTube channel to get them as they are uploaded.

There is a lot of ground to cover and video to watch, so let’s get started!

honda-elsinore-chevy-truckQuick update on the bike: it’s running great despite a few electrical hiccups early on and ongoing tuning that still needs to get done. My initial thoughts about a rectifier being the cause of the no-spark issue were proven wrong when I finally pulled the stator and found that the the a wire from the winding on the main coil had come loose. A little soldering and it fired right up — so now I have a load of electrical spare parts for the next voltage-related breakdown.

My rear shocks are losing it, but mostly because they never had it to begin with. I’m on the hunt for something that’s adjustable and stiffer.

Overall I’m still very happy with the bike, and I feel like my skills are catching up to the potential that the Elsinore still holds.

Race Recap – November 25th

This was the race immediately following the electrical fix, and I was a little nervous that my weak soldering skills were going to hold the stator together. While the bike ran fine, the track was slick and I wasn’t borrowing a hot shoe this time – so the entire race felt a little shaky and I wasn’t as confident in the first heat as I thought I was going to be. That being said, other than a few washouts and a very slick turn four, I was pretty happy that I made it through the first heat and the main event.

Casey Him (@gandhcycles) wore the GoPro for the Main Event, and he suggested that he put it on his back. SOMEHOW I ended up eating his dirt almost the entire race — I just couldn’t catch him. It’s a cool angle and I’d love to get more cameras going for interesting shots like these.

Race Recap – December 16th

This race was another slick one, and turn #4 kept being a problem for a lot of riders. Todd Marella (@oldtooold) went down on the troublesome turn and I saw him early enough to avoid him.

flat-track-close-call.gif

He was up and back at it by the next lap, but an engine cover was blocking his shifter so he couldn’t get it out of 1st. Props to him to keep riding in the first heat after going down like that. Cory Churchill was running hard this race and I believe he ended up in first or second overall.

This race felt slow for me, and I think I figured out why. I was definitely having clutch slipping issues which I ended up figuring out by the next race… but on this one it wasn’t as apparent. I thought I was winding out in 2nd gear so I would bump up to 3rd where I usually find a sweet spot, but I just couldn’t catch Korry who I ended up trailing during the 1st heat and the main event. He’s a great rider so I really just chalked it up to my inexperience as a racer, but man the bike just felt SLOW.

You can hear it in the video… the bike was just slipping and I didn’t have the power. I thought it was time to start messing with gearing so I could find the power between 2nd and 3rd, but luckily I sorted this out by the next race.

Todd wore the camera in the main heat and no one kissed the track on that race. However it was  still slicker than snot in some spots… at least for us vintage guys. It was a smaller turnout for the vintage classes that night, but it was a great race with a great group of riders.

salem-flat-track-conditions
Turn #4

Race Recap – December 30th

And this brings us up to speed with the last race of the year. This was a fun one! During practice my clutch was slipping even more and I had no power once I twisted the throttle. Back at the pits, Casey loosened up my cable which was way too tight and the bike woke right up. 

Korry Fitzpatrick (@k_fitzpatrick_) showed up with a spare engine installed in his Yamaha but he still had shifting issues. Turns out his clutch plates were frozen up pretty good, but a quick teardown of the clutch basket with a scuff up of the friction plates and he was back in business… right down to the wire.

korry_clutch_issues
Trackside repairs right down to the wire.

This rang a bell with me when I was thinking about my slipping clutch issues. When I first got the Elsinore, I realized the clutch was frozen from sitting so I broke it loose by jamming it into first. I haven’t touched the clutch since and it’s probably time to pull that basket and see how the plates are doing.

The track was in great shape and a lot less slick. Nick (@dinojesus_) wore the GoPro on the first heat, which features his newly-patented BeardCam Filter(tm) which will be a real viral sensation any day now.

I felt great in the first heat, and I ended up taking first place. The bike felt alive, the corners felt sticky and I was a lot more confident going into them. I’m still not wearing a hot shoe (more on this a little later) – but my boot didn’t catch once on any of the corners and I could keep my RPM’s up enough to exit each turn in a good spot on the throttle.

I’ll be honest – I thought I was a real contender for 1st place in the main event. However, as the video evidence shows – Todd got out in front and stayed there to dominate the majority of the race. Word in the pits is that his RD200 front tire also dominated Casey’s foot in one of the early turns. You can see it at 3:45 in the video above.

foot-runover
Todd got a little of Casey’s foot in turn 4.

I feel pretty good that I held 2nd like I did, but I definitely felt the pressure behind me. Korry was trying to close the gap and there were a few times where I was sure he had me. But by the tenth lap the main ended with Todd taking 1st, I took 2nd, and Korry took 3rd.

robert-haydon-2nd-place.jpg

Everyone agreed it was a great race.

I’m really happy to be racing with such a great group of vintage enthusiasts, and I look forward to the pit time as much as the actual races. I’m working on doing some collaborations and write-ups of riders and their bikes — the pros are great to watch and their machines are mind boggling to me, but not enough is being written about the vintage class so I’ll work on changing that.

Tom Stein did a great recap of the pro races right here on his Facebook page.

So what’s coming up? 2018’s schedule is still packed with races, along with the 1 Moto Show in February which seems like it’s going to be pretty wild. As for Last Moto – expect more articles, more topics, and more writers. Are you one of those writers you? Hit me up!

Thanks for reading!

no-hot-shoe-yet

Next post: my hot shoe-less foot gets some steel strapped to it, courtesy of some pretty awesome friends.

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