Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jeff Leighton's "Born Free" build promo

Got to know Jeff while living in LA some 10 plus years ago. He's a hell of a nice guy and extremely talented. Heres a promo for a bike he built for the upcoming Born Free 4 rally in Cali:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Gratz Flat Track Reunion.

Saturday, May 19th, 2012: Deep in rural Pennsylvania, just north of the Appalachian Trail lies a dusty old half-mile horse-track that saw rubber for the first time in over thirty years. Flat Trackers from as far as Alaska came to participate at the dormant district 6 AMA dirt oval. Old and young, modern to vintage, the grandstands were full, and the competition was fierce. Gratz is a legendary place in AMA's rich PA history - just check out these testimonials (yeah, I really don't have anything to add other than it was a spectacular day with friends and flat track racing is really one of the most exciting motorcycle competitions to spectate live):

"There was no place like Gratz. It was the one track you had to run. Even Nixon came to Gratz. there were all kinds of tracks around district 6 back then. Scrambles, TTs, all with their own quirks, but Gratz was the jewel. Gratz was the one to win.." -Doug Bowers #82

Everybody ran Gratz. Eves and Schaeffer, Gary Deel, Serbu, Bowers, Johnny Ward, Gary Fisher, the Varnes, The Texters, Bob Holmes Luke Zechmann and so many other guys. Everybody had a story and everybody wanted to win. It was what we all lived for." Joe Park #75

The britbike.com crew came. Probably the only English bikes at the event that weren't competing.

Show stopping Norton Flat Tracker!

The most stylish race-bike hauler of the day.

Gentlemen, start your engines! Heart racing yet?

A Triumph stuffing it into the corner. Time warp!

River City Cycle is a Triumph shop in Alaska that sponsored the event.

Olivia gave me the diet cupcakes and kept the good ones for herself. Just look at that devilish grin!


Classic Yammy

This Triumph only goes left. Check out the box-swingarm.

Jake Shoemaker of Glenmoore PA, shows Mike Lawless his newly constructed bike.

Bugs worked out at Gratz, paint to be applied after the cinders of been cleaned off.

Jake putting his 4 stroke parallel twin to the test.

God damn look at this bike....

Just too many great classics to include. Having a pair of matching racers must be nice.

Thanks to Gratz fairgrounds for allowing the bikes to basically destroy the horse track for the day. Hopefully this reunion will become a regular part of D-6 racing. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Triumph T100 Grand Prix for sale at Oley AMCA swap meet, 2012.

Triumph motorcycles was reluctant to enter the world of road racing - it just never interested Ed Turner. However, right after the war, a surplus of generator motors Triumph built for the Royal Air Force turned out to have the key ingredient to solving the Speed Twins over heating problem when highly tuned - a square all-alloy barrel and head. The first T100 to employ the generator top end was entered in the manx Grand Prix and took first place - raced by Ernie Lyons and built by Freddie Clarke. 

Triumph released a version of the bike for the years leading up to 1950. The Grand Prix (named after the race it won on the Isle of Man) had more success but when 3 machines were entered in the Senior TT, they failed to finish. Ed Turner's racing enthusiasm wained and the bike was discontinued in 1950 when a racing kit was added to anyone who wanted to build their own competition machine. 

Dual carbs, oil filter, sprung hub tach driven from generator gear.

Square alloy cylinder first used in gasoline powered generators during WWII

Open primary, BTH competition magneto, remote float off the GP carbs

Racing tach, racing bars and silver painted gas tank.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Barn Find: 1932 32c Harley Davidson Side Valve Single!

1932 Harley Davidson 32C (30.1 cubic inch single)

When New York State EMT, AHRMA Racer and cabinet maker Randy Hoffman got a visit from a neighbor asking him if he was interested in an "old motorcycle" her family was trying to sell, he had no idea what to expect. Old is a relative term, especially when one doesn't know anything about cycles, so this barn-bike could've been an 80's Honda for all Randy knew, but like any collector, he eagerly went over to see what they had for sale.  Inside the rustic old shed in Eastern Long Island, Randy was shocked to find an old relic of a pre-war side valve thumper. "It's a Harley Davidson" He told the grand daughter of the bikes original owner. "How can you tell?" she asked, bewildered and slightly impressed; "It says so on the tank!" Sure enough, the old bike, which at some point had been painted John Dear green, had the faint remnants of the original HD artwork. "I had never seen one like it so I didn't even know what was a fair price to offer" Randy recalled at this years Oley, PA - AMCA swap meet, but to be fair to the family, he researched it and found out that it was a relatively obscure and somewhat unpopular model versus the v twins of the same era. "I made what I thought was a reasonable offer and they accepted".

The bike was all original except the paint, though it had been done prior to 1945 (the last year the bike was registered before being parked) so it seemed appropriate to leave it as it tells so much of the bikes days as a farm vehicle in the once rural town of Wainscott, NY. 

The Harley Singles were re introduced to the Harley line in 1926 (previous single being available until 1918). The new, beefier one-lungs were available in both 350 and 500cc as well as a small run of overhead valve machines, designed for competition. The production runs were small as most of the market wanted the larger V-twin models and the singles were ultimately discontinued in 1934. The ohv did do pretty well on the racing circuit though, as they were much lighter than the twins.

After a year of fiddling with the bike (which suffered from a bent valve) Randy decided it was time to pass it along to someone who could appreciate the bikes history - and hopefully finance the rebuild of one of Randy's several British post-war production race-bikes. It sold for around the price which Randy paid, which he was fine with. "I liked the bike and it had a great story to go along with it" Randy mused " but I really didn't have time or money to put into it, with all my other bike projects going on. It needed to find a new home, one where it would receive the proper care". And that home was found, as a friend of the Wheels through Time Museum purchased the bike on the spot. Hopefully it will get a valve job and also be on display for all to enjoy. For now, here are some great detailed photos of the long forgotten farm-machine from Long island:

Original paint is listed as Olive Drab, though the over spray indicates this was touched up.

Faint but there: the Harley Davidson insignia.

Rusty but complete.

The single pipe splits in the rear with two balance pipes.

The add-on speedo was driven by this gear attached to the spokes!

Left side Jockey shift

Couldn't resist - better than a boardwalk "vaudeville photo"