Willow Springs 2011

Willow Springs 2011

Members of the Venice Classic Motorcycle Club in LA bought, in 2010, a motorcycle chassis for a Honda 750 which I had built in the 1970s. The chassis was brand new, the original owner never got around to building it up. The new owners asked me to go over to the US to aid with construction and to ride it in its maiden race at Willow Springs. They also wanted me to design and fabricate a set of leading link forks similar to those that I made in the 1970s. Instead of using springs surrounding the shock bodies as I did on the originals, I wanted to lengthen the damper rods and fit the springs in-line to reduce the overall fork leg diameter. Paul Thede at Race Tech was of huge assistance in getting the special shocks made, although due to the shortage of time we had to be content with over hard springs.
Kiyo and Yoshi at the Garage Company worked hard to get the bike assembled and up and running with no time to spare before Willow. Unfortunately, their efforts almost came to nothing because the secondhand engine had not been checked over properly and it turned out that the gear box was scrap. I found in practice that it would jump out of top gear, fortunately into a neutral. Further inspection revealed many broken teeth. I decided that the bike was not safe to ride but Kiyo had ridden to Willow on a 750 Honda and he graciously donated his engine. Kiyo worked like crazy to change engines and finished with only seconds to spare. Kiyo’s engine was quite tired and had a lot of clutch slip but it did allow the bike to be ridden. As a thank you for their efforts I gave up some of my rides to both Yoshi and Paul Thede. It was Paul’s first road race. The bike was slow but Yoshi and I each managed podiums in our races.
I also got to ride “Goldstar Ron”‘s bike, a GoldStar engine in a Norton featherbed. I really liked riding that bike but I took it easy because Ron had warned me that it had to be crated up and shipped to the IoM straight after the event. I didn’t want to crash it.

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