My 40th race season wrapped up in Alabama at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. Invited to race a Ducati 350cc ‘springer’ by Ed Sensensig from Pennsylavania.
I’d visited Barber a few years ago to learn the track, it has been resurfaced since, and now the circuit is great to ride. It was lovely to meet Ed, who was accompanied by some of his extensive family, Tyler, Jonny, Will, and Wayne. Everyone brought their own bikes, and had a great time enjoying everything that the Vintage Festival has to offer, bikes, bikes, and more bikes. In fact probably the most bikes in any one place that I have ever seen in my life!
Ed had raced his bikes for many years, they’re totally original and unmolested, and he now invites others to ride them.
It was lovely to be in a family style environment, with everyone enjoying being at a race track with Ed and his bikes. For practice I spent a lap or two getting used to the right hand gear change, but I could feel that there was something not quite right between 3rd and 4th.
For the next practice I suggested that we gave the spare bike a run out, should we need to use it. I was flat out in top on the back straight, there was a cough, a splutter, a clank and then a big long skid off the back wheel. That was the end of the spare bike…
Although having posted the quickest time, the grid was made up from championship positions, and I was allocated on the third row. From the start I worked my way through, from mid-pack, as I was vying for the lead, when the top of the carburettor unscrewed, and brought my race to an end.
After lock wiring the carburettor top, I made a couple of adjustments to the gear lever to hopefully help the changes, and lined up on the grid expecting to have a great race. Unfortunately as I “roared” away from the line, the throttle stuck open in to turn one. Not wanting to touch the clutch, and rev the bike to destruction, I hit the kill switch, coasted off the track and then pulled the clutch in, once the motor had calmed down.
It was disappointing to not get a race result, but it was great to have been invited, to spend time with Ed and his family, and for my race credentials to have been accepted by AHMRA to compete with them.
Who knows? I might even get an invite back another day…
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