Submitted Race Reports
Season Opener at Harpers, Greenwood Missouri
MOVMX March 20th 2005
Submitted by Randy Smith
Leading into the Missouri Vintage MX series I was doing my normal wrench-a-thon trying to get all of the bikes going. I had ended my 2004 season with a lower rod bearing failure when my 1974 Super Rat developed an air leak around the intake manifold. This caused a lean condition that coupled with a miss shift caused a super high RPM which was the kiss of death on the bearing.
Fast forward to March 2005 and Paul at Strictly Hodaka sent me out a new rod kit that I ordered and a prototype of a new designed intake manifold to try out for him. The new manifold is made of a new material that makes it more rigid like the originals and I will tell you that the part was a success. I only wiped the mounting area with a thin layer of wheel bearing grease and it passed the leak down pressure test no problem. I used Nylock nuts and the stock washers to hold it on.
We were leaving for the races on Saturday afternoon so I of course waited until Thursday to put together my bottom end and Friday night to finish it up and get it into the frame and running. Not only did I have to build my own engine prior to the races, I also was finishing up my son Austin's 1982 Yamaha YZ100 for his first race with it and I built a large shipping crate that I put two Suzuki TM 125s in and those were then shipped to El Paso Texas. Also the Motorhome had to be de winterized after having a new windshield put in it the same week. You don't want to get too much sleep prior to a race you know <grin>
This trip was a short haul for us only being 1 ½ hours away so that was uneventful. We arrived about dark and it was getting cold out so we walked the track real fast and Sherry my Wife, Son Austin and his Buddy Jake (first time racer on a 1976 Honda XR75) and I ate supper and played a board game in the Motorhome. We ran the generator all night as it was going to get down to about 29 degrees and that furnace felt real good. As I lay in bed somewhat curled up I straightened my legs out to be rewarded with a cramp in the back side of my left thigh. Man did that hurt. The RV doesn't allow ample room to get up and walk it off and it was too cold outside so I lay there and rubbed it and tried to tough it out. Little did I know this would return at the wrong time on race day.
Sunday morning there was a knock on the door at 6:50 AM as the land owners needed their entry fees. After about two weeks of minimal sleep, that came all too early. Soon we were up drinking coffee and here comes Silly Philly driving in with his Super Combat and KTM 250 in tow. Then came Mark, Tena and Veronica Jarecki with his White Lighning Super Combat. Dave, Laura and Hannah Wiebler with his pair of CR 480s and Muck showed up with his CR450 soon there after. It wasn't long before Bob Garner with his wife and son showed pulling Bobs 100cc racer. Tom Fox was there with a YZ100 and Hodaka 100 and here came Tim Carpenter who pulled a 3 rail cycle trailer from St Louis to deliver to me. I bought the trailer over he computer and Tim was kind enough to drag it to the races for me. Thank you Tim!!! Andy Lippert was there with Michelle and kids Drew and Andrea. Notice all of the spouses and kids that were there. Vintage MX is such a family sport. Very cool.
It was cold out and the track was redesigned having a larger faster layout with an added jump. Some sections were disc up and watered and we were warned prior to practice that due to the temps and water, there possibly might be ice in some of the sections so be careful during practice. As Mark Jarecki mentioned I caught up to him on a long tricky downhill and gave him a few revs just to let him know I was back there then zipped on by. I sure liked the track. It was technical. Some mud, some powder, some grass, several small but sharp jumps and one step up jump that had you landing in a hairpin corner and a finish line that has you jumping out of a gully wide open in forth. Oh did I mention the monster uphill that was a real steep and fairly long. Very cool. Thanks to Curtis Harper and Family for such a cool place to race on the family farm. Its beautiful there snuggled in a valley along a creek bank.
There were 190 entries and 19 motos that would run twice. With all of the buddies and kids racing we had someone on the track nearly all day. It warmed up to mid 50's I think but I wore two jerseys most of the day. (They also helped hide the winter fat). This year there is actually four 100cc classes. Novice and Advanced in both Vintage and Post Vintage. Austin (age 14) would be racing Post Vintage Novice on his YZ100 and I would be racing Vintage Advanced on my '74 Rat. Austin's class was all Yamaha's except one Suzuki RM 100 and he got two thirds which was good considering his kept popping out of second gear. He beat Tom Fox (one of our goals, sorry Tom) who was also having some problems with is YZ. My Moto was all of the Vintage 100s both Novice and Advanced and a few Novice 125's. There was about 7 or 8 Hodaka's on the line and all had orange tanks, not a single chrome Hodaka was raced that I know of.
In both of my motos I pulled the holeshot on all of the bikes lined up (even the 125's) as my Strictly Hodaka, Harry Taylor, Works Performance, Pro Flo, Michelin Tire Hodaka Super Rat was running sweet. (Notice I have been watching how the Supercross guys always work in their sponsors and even though I really don't have a sponsor I can pretend can't I? I have been practicing putting my goggles around my neck with the name facing the camera <grin>) Anyway I was running in the clean air with Bob Garner haunting me all of the way. I never saw his wheel but I could hear him and an occasional shadow would raise my heart rate a bit. Bob was relentless and he was only a gear miss away from passing me. In moto one about lap three we both looked back and all of the other bikes were no where near us. It was quite a show I guess as I had many people come up and comment how good of racing it was.
In moto number two I was setting on the starting line waiting my turn and as I raised my left leg to put my foot on the peg I felt that leg cramp coming back that I had the night before. I put my foot down quickly and thought "OH NO" and lifted it again and sure enough I started cramping. Too late, it was time to go. This time I got a even better holeshot and went up the monster up hill with no one even close by, I couldn't even hear anyone else. As it turned out Bob Garner had stalled when he was passing a guy after a so, so start. Bob was using the oil injected version of the Road Toad engine which allows him to start it in gear with the clutch pulled in so he was back on the move in a heartbeat. I was all by myself and here came the cramp full blown with pain. Being my left leg and the track being really rough, I couldn't stand up as much as I wanted and I missed a gear, then another and you don't give guys of Bob's caliber chances like that. Before I knew it he was back on me like a mouse on a cheeto. On the final lap I missed a gear and ended up too high then too low and he all but passed me. I was able to pull it back together and I ended up winning both motos wire to wire. It was really fun and look forward to our next battle.
In closing highlights I saw our Phearless leader Phil running in last place on his Hodaka Super Combat then put an outside pass on Mark Jarecki only to DNF later. Phil then rode his 1980? KTM 250 like the wind. He was in a heated battle of his own but pulled off the win. Possibly his first win in Vintage MX?. Mark Jarecki rode well but will need a few more ponies to make his move to the Intermediate Class worth while. Former Super Combat Racer Andy Lippert rode his 1983 Yamaha YZ250 very well. He beat Dave Wiebler on his 480 Honda which was a goal of his I am sure. Andy was heard many times talking about how you need to respect the power that 250 has. I am not sure how Tim Carpenter did as he was on a borrowed Combat Wombat of Bob Garners but I do know he was right behind me on my first holeshot in moto one and I think he liked that a bunch.
The bottom line is no one in our group got hurt. No one broke anything major on the bikes. All of the women hung out in the RV in what we called the Box Seats facing the track and talked girl talk. We all did pretty good for our first time out this year and most of all, we all got together for another day of dirt bikes and friendship. It doesn't get any better than that. Next race is April 10th.