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From the Isle of Mann to Gregory fork road in the blink of an eye.....
Just one more lap… throttle hard against the stop ..body tucked in to hide from the air. Just …one more lap! We hurtle down bray hill looking for more and more speed. How much speed? All we can get and more. The 100 mph air stream tearing at my leathers and buffeting my helmet making it difficult to see. Eyes are watering but mind is focused only on more..and not getting lazy and giving back the 7.2 second lead that has been “earned “ with sacrifice and courage over the last three laps of the mountain circuit.
The island is like that. Demanding ..unforgiving..yet so alluring that it is impossiable to stay away. It is conceivable that I may die at the island . many before have perished and yet ……can’t stay away. Something about the island.
The bottom of bray hill is bumpy . it is worn from time and the scars of countless battles. It has always been so. The battles between competitors and riders and their bikes..against the very road upon which the battles take place…internal war waged against yourself and doing what you have to for victory or survival.
Then ………….nothing! struck fast like an electrical gremlin ….no sound ..none at all. Just the”BIG LET DOWN”….HEY WHO STOPPED THE MUSIC??! Then the realization that this was not to be the year when you stand atop the podium. Just the sound of the wind of speed; conspicuous in its silence. And confirmed by the oil smoke leaving the exhaust in big waves.
The big single coasts down to quarter bridge its day is done and its race is over. You can take solace in the fact that next year will bring yet another opportunity. A chance to race on the most famous venue of all . to follow in the footsteps of racers that for the last 100 years have known the pleasure and the disappointment of racing the TT.
You coast to a stop at the side of the road thinking about what might have been if the big single had not perished………you bite your lip as the adversary you have dueled with for three laps floats thru the corner with the footpegs and pipe just kissing the pavement ..throttle at 100%...heading for victory.
Maybe next year……
Wake up ! fool..you killed it !! it is most surely dead
What happened? It was a wonderful day and a wonderful ride. I was out paying bills on my Yamaha xt Norton manx. The weather was superb and I was strolling pretty good on my “isle of mann” road. This in itself is interesting ..the road charges up hill and down . it is twisty and features two crested turns that dive steeply downhill just beyond the apex. It is a glorious ride and big fun. It reminds me of the isle of man and it varied challenges.
THIS is interesting in that I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO THE ISLE OF MAN!! That means it is a fantasy based upon preconceptions and probable misconceptions. It is quite fun and very entertaining and it probably has nothing to do with how things really are!?!?!? Owning 41 isle of man related videos not to mention all the books can help…..BUT!
So there I sat on the side of Gregory fork road just outside of richlands nc. The bike is dead..i killed it. I miss it already. This is the first and hopefully the last bike I will ever blow up.
The bad news got worse. I was due to pick Katie up at middle school in about 20 minutes and the possiability of me “hoofing “ it home is nil. So I did what people do when In a bind..i did not call superman and I did not have my “BAT”signal on me at the time so …………..i called my friend cliff Everett.
Cliff answered the phone in the cheerful agreeable manner which gives insight into his positive helpful character. After exchanging pleasantries I made the inquiry” what are you doing right now”? the last time I called him and said that he came and bailed me out of jail. Cliff was laughing heartily…I quickly responded “no I am not in jail”. When I told him I was standing on the side of Gregory fork road next to a stricken Yamaha xt AJS7R. cliff told me to sit tight and he’d be there to rescue me.
Cliff has got to be tired of rescuing me. I have a debt of gratitude and friendship that I cannot even began to balance out. The guy has helped me and my family in so many wayz and so many times in the last 10 years that I have lost count. I like to think that if cliff needed some help that I would be available and have the good timing to be able the reciprocate the kindness. But couple of things 1) cliff is thoughtful and extremely self reliant 2) he is not left handed and born in janurary (aquarius) 3) compared to me ..he is normal ..mostly.
With help on the way and nothing to do but wait. I found myself a nice spot in the soft dry grass on the other side of the ditch and lay down to contemplate thingz…and life. I lay there with my hands relaxed behind my head looking to the heavens. Wow thos clouds are really moving way up there. That military jet is moving fast as well…but I note the clouds and the jet are moving in opposite directions? Now that will eat up some fuel. The clouds are beautiful and they are really really mov’n. I wonder how fast?
Some construction workers stopped to see if I was dead or something. They thought I had crashed my bike. yeah I crashed it and then I got up and parked the bike on the sidestand and then crossed the ditch to lay in the sun before succumbing to the effectz of the crash?!!?
I thought it but did not say it. I thanked them for stopping and waved good bye…they ruined my analysis /consideration of wind patterns ..flight ..jets. .beauty. darn! Oh well.
I started a plan of action : first step get home. Second step get Katie at school . third step get motor out of frame 4th step “FREEZE”
You see I have another xt 500 complete with motor. I am also buying an sr500 yard ornament with a motor whose condition is unknown. I would like to put the sr500 head on the xt motor as it has bigger valves that flow more air. Or I can send the sr 500 head to germany to kedo performance and let them work their 50 hp magic on it. Meanwhile I install the other xt motor in the xt 500 norton manx bike. lots of possibilities.. or I buy a 540cc hi comp piston and megacycle cam (I have two) and maybe have “RESTER OF RESTERS RACING give the ports a clean up using talent and experience that has earned 169 world and national IDBA championships.. oh the possibilities?!!
Maybe I talk rick ,chris,murf,mike, marc ,or ,glenn into selling me their sr500s? (this is a collection of enlightened individuals who understand and can exploit the gifts of the “thumper”)
Maybe I go straight to the expert: mike cummings built some really fast thumpahas in the day. He and rick lee both were dominant in WERA racing in the south east region years ago. Rick with inspired riding and mike with home grown engineering genius and creativity.
Is owning a Yamaha xt/sr 500 like joining a cult? Uhh no …. A secret society ? maybe
The trick will be to minimize the work/money/time to get my bike rolling again. Also to not unnessacarily depreciate any more of my assets than necessary..
IRONY: after arriving home and downloading the bike and Katie I checked the mail. The small box contained the anti reversion cone I purchased to help bike have the best of both worlds. The down pipe I have on the bike at this time is a white bros 1.75 inch head pipe. This pipe has a theoretical advantage on top end at the expense of the low end and mid range. The anti reversion cone will increase the velocity of the exhaust flow and should boast midrange significantly.
The stock sized high pipe head pipe is much smaller and generally works much better. It is absolutely better on the low end and mid range at the expense of top end power.
The anti reversion cone was going to be a way to have my cake and eat it too. It is ironic that it arrived the day I “popped” my thumper…..
I really really really love this bike and it will roll again! For summer is coming and I just HAVE to take it to the mountains and dance the dance.
Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm50 rwhp in a 285 lbs unit with big leverage? An absolute recipe for a good time!!
SO that was my afternoon. Went on a ride and blew up my thumper. But you know…….if it had not blown ;I would have won!! And coming over the veranda on top of mount snaefull with the panoramic view of the north sea opening up before me at wide open throttle on the Yamaha manx …..that experience cannot be topped.
It WAS such a good day! For a while kinda sort of.
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