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Old 10-18-2010, 01:25 PM   #811
MortimerSickle
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I miss round headlights.

"When I was a young man, I liked to race my horse...." -
G.H.W.S. 1878-1962
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:58 PM   #812
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I miss round headlights.

"When I was a young man, I liked to race my horse...." -
G.H.W.S. 1878-1962
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:06 PM   #813
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Originally Posted by bk brkr baker
Joker Machine's display tracker.

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Old 10-26-2010, 04:23 PM   #814
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:05 AM   #815
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I was SO high, I could have hunted duck with a rake
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MX stuff isn't my cup of tea, but falling down the side of a mountain is
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:03 PM   #816
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donzzilla
I believe that bike is a replica or tribute to the Astrodome winner.
I doubt the motor has all the original parts but this is THE bike that won that race. It was owned by Jimmy Nichols in Tucson for many years before he sold it to the guy that brought it back to it's original appearance.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:18 PM   #817
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I miss round headlights.

"When I was a young man, I liked to race my horse...." -
G.H.W.S. 1878-1962
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:16 PM   #818
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Back in 1981 or 82 my uncle decided it was time for me to get into the "big leagues". I had been racing flattrack for a few years, first on a 50cc Roncino, then a 60cc Yamaha. But the time had come to move up to a framer. We knew a family with a kid a little older than me who had been running a 125cc engine in a mini Starracer frame that he was outgrowing, so one weekend he raced it, they pulled it into the pits and yanked his engine, and we bought the rolling chassis. A shiny air-cooled Kawasaki KX80 engine was put in it's place and within a few weeks we were ready to rumble. At the time I was wearing a snazzy pair of second-hand leathers, black with white stripes and red stars. So my uncle painted the bike to match, and it was hot shit.

I hadn't been running it for very long when we had a race at Niles, Michigan. Coming out of the fourth corner during practice it started to headshake, which turned into a full-on tankslapper, which resulted in me being pitched over the bars and the bike cartwheeling down the track. Both ankles were sore but I thought I could keep riding. We bent back the tweaked bars as best we could and I went back out for my heat. I couldn't finish. The pain in my ankles kept getting worse and I had to pull out. Off to the hospital for what seemed like an eternal wait, x-rays, and a diagnosis of two severely sprained ankles. That was it for a while.

Once I was well enough to ride again it was off to another track. That bike never felt settled for me, like it was always just a little squirrely. I'd probably chalk it up now to just me being freaked out, but my uncle and others all said the bike never seemed to track straight when they would watch it going down the straightaway. My uncle went through the thing from stem to stern, replacing all the bearings and bushings, aligning front wheel with back, but nothing ever seemed to help. In the end we pulled the engine out of the Star, put it back in the stock frame, and hung the star on the wall of the garage. It hung there for over 15 years.

So fast forward. I only raced a few more years after that before the equipment and travel just started getting more and more expensive to the point that we had to quit. Grow up, go to college, get a job, and start getting nostalgic for the olden days. One day I call my uncle and ask him if I could get that frame, because I had it in my head to build a replica of the old race bike and use it as a display in the house. "I wish you'd have asked me a month ago" he says. Someone had come asking about the frame and he had sold it, figuring it would do more good back on the track than hanging on his wall.

I was a little bummed, but figured that the net would come through. It took a year or so, but I eventually found another mini Starracer frame for sale in New York. I was living in Tennessee at the time but I swallowed hard and pulled the trigger, shipping and all. It was rough but rideable with some kind of late model Honda 80cc engine. I terrorized the subdivision a couple of times and then parked it, waiting for the right time to do the restoration. Life being what it is, it was another seven years before I touched it again. When I moved out of Tennessee to go back to grad school, the bike went into deep storage back at my uncle's place. Finished school, got a new job, and more importantly a house with a garage.

So the bike followed me home. The years hadn't been kind, everything was corroded. My uncle and I worked together to repaint the bodywork, just like he had. I stripped down the rest and scrubbed everything with WD40 and Scotchbrite. The engine got a fresh coat of paint, and before I knew it everything was coming back together. I even had a set of old numberplates that my uncle had given me in a box of other things. They weren't the ones from my Star, but they had been on one of my racebikes, and had been painstakingly hand-painted by my uncle. Why he chose to trace the number decals and then paint instead of just using the decals I don't really know, but I retouched where the paint was flaking and installed them.

Now, I have a lovely little showpiece, a nice piece of memorabilia from a great time in my life, and a tangible reminder of probably the greatest man I've had the honor of having in my life. Thanks Uncle Bill.

Back in the day, we looked like this:




I bought the Star based on this picture:


And now she looks like this:




You can just see in the picture on the shelf above the bike what the original looked like when it was all done and ready to race. This isn't a perfect replica (it still has the water-cooled Honda, and I know there were some decals on the seat that we don't have pictures of and no one remembers clearly), but it's damn close. And I'm happy!
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:04 AM   #819
EvilClown
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Great story! Thanks for posting it.
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:39 AM   #820
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TheOtherBart

Enjoyed your story.

I raced in Niles,Michigan in the mid-70's. I believe the place was named Victor Park. They had a motocross track and a flattrack. I raced a series of Mx bikes, my brother flat-tracked on a Noguchi kitted Yamaha GT80. My buddy up in Michigan still has that GT80. I think I'll bring it home.

Good times. Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:30 AM   #821
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I had an uncle like that. He sat me on the back of his BMW R90S when I was 9, it was the 1st time I'd been over 100mph!!!! Damn was my dad pissed off when he heard about it! Loved bikes ever since......and my uncle.

A quick off-topic question please. These tyres I see on so many off the tracker photo's, are they replica's of back in the day? Do people use them because of that, or class regs, or do they really have a lot of grip cranked over? Is it just that tyre tread design gives a good "feedback", and is easy to judge traction?

Having zero dirt track experience, I would have thought the "trials" type pattern would have more grip, without chopping up the track surface. That's what they use here in Oz.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:35 AM   #822
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorcyclefanatic
Enjoyed your story.

I raced in Niles,Michigan in the mid-70's. I believe the place was named Victor Park. They had a motocross track and a flattrack. I raced a series of Mx bikes, my brother flat-tracked on a Noguchi kitted Yamaha GT80. My buddy up in Michigan still has that GT80. I think I'll bring it home.

Good times. Thanks for reminding me.
I loved that track at Niles, second only to the half-mile fairgrounds track in Goshen, Indiana. I've been fighting the urge to kit out an XR100 to run some maddog races but so far my wallet has made it an easy battle.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:49 AM   #823
TheOtherBart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MODNROD
I had an uncle like that. He sat me on the back of his BMW R90S when I was 9, it was the 1st time I'd been over 100mph!!!! Damn was my dad pissed off when he heard about it! Loved bikes ever since......and my uncle.

A quick off-topic question please. These tyres I see on so many off the tracker photo's, are they replica's of back in the day? Do people use them because of that, or class regs, or do they really have a lot of grip cranked over? Is it just that tyre tread design gives a good "feedback", and is easy to judge traction?

Having zero dirt track experience, I would have thought the "trials" type pattern would have more grip, without chopping up the track surface. That's what they use here in Oz.
It's been a while for me, but my impression is that trials tires are a little too aggressive. There's actually a fine line beyond which you have too much traction and it gets hard to be smooth through the corners. Plus it depends on the track. A trials type tire might be the shit on a deep cushion but wouldn't work well at all on a grooved track.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:47 PM   #824
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An old beater I've been fooling with-

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Old 11-15-2010, 02:25 PM   #825
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Laugh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richy
An old beater I've been fooling with-

It looks like you've got plenty of flatness to try her out on.
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