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Vintage motorcycle racing in the US


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#1 MPea3

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 01:00

Well, I've officially lost my mind. Following the old thought that "in order to make a small fortune in racing, start with a large fortune", I'm taking the plunge and building a vintage racebike. Of course, I'll be starting with a minimal fortune and going downhill from there. At 6-4 and 245 pounds however, I won't be the rider.

We started out thinking about running a very small bike in WERA, but in watching some racing, we decided that the vintage crowd was a bit more mature, not to mention the bikes interest me more. T54 will chastise me for going with a 2 stroke, but here's what we're putting together (fear not though, we'll have an EGT sensor in each chamber).

The frame is from an early 70's RD350, with an RD400 swingarm, and an RD Daytona Special front end. We'll also use Daytona wheels front and rear. The engine will be an RD400 that's being thoroughly gone through, rebuilding the crank, having the cylinders ported, modifying the original carburetors, and fitting a set of expansion chambers. We're having shocks built for the rear, and the front end redone. Custom springs matched to my rider's weight, original calipers front and rear, and smaller than original master cylinders front and rear for better feel. Hyabusa rearsets, a stock tank (required, the TZ style tank would have looked great), and a race seat/tail section will finish it off.

We'll be looking for about 70 horsepower and under 260 pounds. It will run in Vintage 2 in WERA, and Formula 500 in AHRMA. I'll post photographs as it get built, with completion sometime (hopefully) in late June or July. With WERA's mandatory rider schooling, the 1st race should be sometime shortly after that.

Has anybody else on here raced vintage bikes? It really looks like fun. :)

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 17:39

When we organized the first "Historic Weekend at Westwood" in 1980 we invited vintage bikes as well. (Let's not get into vintage/historic here!) . Partly because we wanted more entries to defay the cost of the weekend. The event ran every year until 1990 when Westwood closed and during that time the bike racing almost outgrew the car racing. Mission Raceway, which 'replaced' Westwood is not suitable for bikes and so we have lost the bike participation which is a great shame.
When you said you were going to build a vintage bike I had visions of a Triton or maybe a Domiracer but I suppose an RD350 is a just as interesting. Probably better if the rider doesn't weigh more than the bike too! Keep us posted on progress.

#3 MPea3

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 19:52

Originally posted by David Birchall
When we organized the first "Historic Weekend at Westwood" in 1980 we invited vintage bikes as well. (Let's not get into vintage/historic here!) . Partly because we wanted more entries to defay the cost of the weekend. The event ran every year until 1990 when Westwood closed and during that time the bike racing almost outgrew the car racing. Mission Raceway, which 'replaced' Westwood is not suitable for bikes and so we have lost the bike participation which is a great shame.


Sounds like a great time. Too bad the bikes can't still run.

Originally posted by David Birchall
When you said you were going to build a vintage bike I had visions of a Triton or maybe a Domiracer but I suppose an RD350 is a just as interesting.


I've always taken the approach to never race anything that you're not willing to throw away. If an RD400 ends up in the scrapheap, I can live with that.

Originally posted by David Birchall
Probably better if the rider doesn't weigh more than the bike too! Keep us posted on progress.


Fortunately, she's under 100 pounds in leathers. Power to weight ratio in her class shouldn't be a problem...