Retros in historic racing

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AHRMA has expanded it's race classes to include post-vintage non-current racebikes. Many of the guys who owned and raced Manx's and 7r's and the like are dead or the bikes are museum pieces. And most of the people who do are using repros, either part or all. When it comes to 500 GP 2-strokes, they're all pretty much junked (used up) and too expensive to reproduce. Most other dedicated or converted racebikes available for public consumption were built to last more than one season and are still safe to rebuild if you can find parts, old magnesium wheels notwithstanding. Chronic issues are well-known and watched carefully. That doesn't mean a race is never stopped to clean up oil on the track after an engine blows.
 
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Re; clean oil of the track - most Manxs had exposed rockets with only sponge regularly changed by their owners to prevent oil dripping down onto the tarmac. That is until someone came up with a rocker cover for the DOHC bike.
 
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I always referred to the absorbent felts as "puke blankets" a rather inelegant term.

I believe the '37 Manx campaigned by Alex McLean for Norton Manx Racing is an exposed-valvegear model. All competitors are required to run a bellypan with enough capacity to contain any dripping or busted sump disasters, but the occasional oil cleanup does occur.
 
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AHRMA has expanded it's race classes to include post-vintage non-current racebikes. Many of the guys who owned and raced Manx's and 7r's and the like are dead or the bikes are museum pieces. And most of the people who do are using repros, either part or all. When it comes to 500 GP 2-strokes, they're all pretty much junked (used up) and too expensive to reproduce. Most other dedicated or converted racebikes available for public consumption were built to last more than one season and are still safe to rebuild if you can find parts, old magnesium wheels notwithstanding. Chronic issues are well-known and watched carefully. That doesn't mean a race is never stopped to clean up oil on the track after an engine blows.

I think one of those Indian Enfield 500s would make a good race bike, with a bit of modification, if raced against the Manx Nortons and G50s. Most of our race circuits are licensed to run about 30 bikes in each race. I once watched a race which was made up of 3 bikes - one Velocette and two Indians. That was the day when I went home early, in disgust.
 
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Re; clean oil of the track - most Manxs had exposed rockets with only sponge regularly changed by their owners to prevent oil dripping down onto the tarmac. That is until someone came up with a rocker cover for the DOHC bike.
Modern riders have become very tyre-dependent and probably a bit more paranoid about oil on the track. If you use extreme angles of lean and have the tyres on their limit, it is easier to crash on oil. In the old days, Manx Nortons did not have 18 inch wheels and modified frames to suit, so the bikes stayed more upright and were probably just as fast.

 
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Modern riders have become very tyre-dependent and probably a bit more paranoid about oil on the track. If you use extreme angles of lean and have the tyres on their limit, it is easier to crash on oil. In the old days, Manx Nortons did not have 18 inch wheels and modified frames to suit, so the bikes stayed more upright and were probably just as fast.

I don't understand your reasoning, at vitally all the race circuits all over the world the rider who cranked it over furthest hit the next straight faster and consequently was further ahead to the next rider behind him/her. Some riders didn't have the fastest bike on the grid, but still won because of their "full on" riding compared with other competitors.
 
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"compared with other competitors" A very telling phrase. The better the rider is, the more he can gauge risk as speed rises, and smart ones will go as fast as necessary without pushing their threshold of too much risk, if possible. When you see a large margin of victory, the rider was just having too much fun to go any slower.
 
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"Modern riders have become too tyre-dependent" I love this.

If you were reincarnated as a contact patch, I'm sure you could make the guy on top do anything you want.

Classic racers went 160-170 mph or so. MotoGP bikes crack 215 mph if the straight is long enough. Nowhere near as fast anywhere on the track. Tires are part of the difference. MotoGP riders are more electronics-dependent than tire-dependant. Tires are just something to be engineered around. Electronics keep riders from launching themselves into the traps on exit. No tire would hold 250bhp pushing 500 lbs without them.
 
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I don't understand your reasoning, at vitally all the race circuits all over the world the rider who cranked it over furthest hit the next straight faster and consequently was further ahead to the next rider behind him/her. Some riders didn't have the fastest bike on the grid, but still won because of their "full on" riding compared with other competitors.

In historic racing, most guys are playing with less than 70 BHP. That means you can use much more aggressive trail. When you do that the bike tends to oversteer as you gas it around corners and it stays more upright. It means you are powering earlier coming out of corners. In about 1993, the MotoGP bikes were not so highly powered ad some changed their handling to tighten their lines in corners. John Kocinsky in particular used to power through corners whereas Aaron Slight on a similar bike was always slower with 'point and squirt'. If all the bikes have over 200 BHP, there are fewer handling options and they all end up doing the same thing with the same extreme angle of lean. There is no advantage for anyone.
Have a look at that video I posted, that explains it.
 
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"Modern riders have become too tyre-dependent" I love this.

If you were reincarnated as a contact patch, I'm sure you could make the guy on top do anything you want.

Classic racers went 160-170 mph or so. MotoGP bikes crack 215 mph if the straight is long enough. Nowhere near as fast anywhere on the track. Tires are part of the difference. MotoGP riders are more electronics-dependent than tire-dependant. Tires are just something to be engineered around. Electronics keep riders from launching themselves into the traps on exit. No tire would hold 250bhp pushing 500 lbs without them.

With less angle of lean, tyres are not as important. When you lean the bike right over, the sideways loading is at it's greatest. If you hit some oil, you are more likely to crash. If you change your bike's handling so it stays more upright in corners, you can also make it oversteer slightly which stops you from running wide, so you can use more power in the later stages of the corners. A genuine Manx has excellent handling. They can be ridden extremely fast - much faster than any home-brewed special. Back when they were raced, the tyres were absolute shit, and all bikes dropped oil. But a Manx only had 50 BHP. If you have over 100 BHP and you set your bike up to oversteer, you get the hi-side much more easily. The rear end steps out and the bike shoots you up into the air. The other thing about getting your bike to oversteer is that as you go around corners and get on the gas earlier, with a high powered bike, the front end gets lighter and you can lose the front and crash.
 

Chris

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All the cars at Goodwood are original. Really! No not really.
Some people race original bikes & run them hard but you learn. If you run a Commando Al,
more than twice a year! & run them hard things break. They did back in the day.
You cant justify replacing old standard parts with new standard parts. You are always going to upgrade/strengthen them.
The problem comes when the rule makers bend the rules or riders do. You keep bleating on about big bore methonal Hondas but they were allowed in & it's to late now to change it.
If you want to change things take a leaf from Steve Adlems book. He tried to get a points based system ie the more original the bike the more points you get aka as per the Landsdowne series. All you need to do is contact everyone who raced the type of bike your after, everyone who may have one in the shed & persuade them to bring it out.
Good luck with that.
When I joined Crmc 501 unlimited pre 73, my preferred class, ran with pretty much a full grid. When grids started to dwindle we were down to a dozen as most proddie bikes had disappeared along with all the 650s.
Now we are down to 3 or 4 bikes. Maybe someone will roust everyone to get out there again.
Or not
Or mainly just moan about it!
Chris
 

grandpaul

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The fact of the matter is, people who race in any type of series racing represent less than 1% of the motorcycling community as a whole.

People who race historic/vintage represent MAYBE 10% of the m/c racing community. (probably more like 5%)

So, trying to stir up enthusiasm in THAT small a crowd, spread across the globe, is a monumental challenge.

Now, try to do the same with the 10-20% of THAT bunch that actually cares about originality in class...
 
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I have found another video which touches on what I have been saying about handling. However neither of the videos explain what happens when the bike oversteers.

 
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All the cars at Goodwood are original. Really! No not really.
Some people race original bikes & run them hard but you learn. If you run a Commando Al,
more than twice a year! & run them hard things break. They did back in the day.
You cant justify replacing old standard parts with new standard parts. You are always going to upgrade/strengthen them.
The problem comes when the rule makers bend the rules or riders do. You keep bleating on about big bore methonal Hondas but they were allowed in & it's to late now to change it.
If you want to change things take a leaf from Steve Adlems book. He tried to get a points based system ie the more original the bike the more points you get aka as per the Landsdowne series. All you need to do is contact everyone who raced the type of bike your after, everyone who may have one in the shed & persuade them to bring it out.
Good luck with that.
When I joined Crmc 501 unlimited pre 73, my preferred class, ran with pretty much a full grid. When grids started to dwindle we were down to a dozen as most proddie bikes had disappeared along with all the 650s.
Now we are down to 3 or 4 bikes. Maybe someone will roust everyone to get out there again.
Or not
Or mainly just moan about it!
Chris

Chis, I don't care what the other guys ride in historic races unless it is a two-stroke when I am riding a four-stroke. That is idiocy. What we should be aiming for, is full race grids to the extent of the track licence. Then the overall costs would come down and the competition would be better. Those methanol-fuelled 1100cc CB750 Hondas are at a distinct disadvantage on a tight circuit. If I ever race against them again, I will convincingly beat them - not a brag, just fact.
 
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The fact of the matter is, people who race in any type of series racing represent less than 1% of the motorcycling community as a whole.

People who race historic/vintage represent MAYBE 10% of the m/c racing community. (probably more like 5%)

So, trying to stir up enthusiasm in THAT small a crowd, spread across the globe, is a monumental challenge.

Now, try to do the same with the 10-20% of THAT bunch that actually cares about originality in class...
If I had my way, we would all be racing 500cc single cylinder four-strokes and mainly retros. It would be like 125cc MotoGp. Otherwise, I would simply buy myself a new table tennis bat and do that.
 
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Historic racing destroys good motorcycles. A retro is a throw-away item. It does not matter if you destroy it, but genuine Manx Nortons and G50s cannot be replaced. A 961 Commando is a retro.

A Gus Kuhn Seeley Commando 750 has more value than my Seeley Commando 850. And I am not talking about price which is probably the same for both bikes.
 
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ALL racing destroys motorcycles. Motor racing is based on disposables. Go to a Top Fuel dragracing event and hang around the pits. They give the bent valves, burnt pistons, fried clutch plates and other disposables to fans during 1-hour engine rebuilds. Easier than carting everything to the scrapyard. Repros exist because original parts don't exist and original machines are too clapped-out to compete.

The only thing retros have to do with repros is the need of some folks to have something old-looking because they can't have the real thing because it's too rare or too expensive, usually both. Without repros, parts and whole machines, older racebikes could only be experienced in a museum. Unless your name is Iannucci.

With repros, an old racer can run indefinitely, but at what point is it no longer old?
 
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I like Molnar Manx Nortons and Walmsley G50s because they mean the real deal is not being raced by ham-fisted idiots. The guys who own genuine Type 35C Bugattis usually save then up for special occasions, such as Goodwood Revival. To me that is sensible. But to take a genuine 1962 Manx and race it against the rubbish found in most historic races, is the ultimate in stupidity. If you checked all the bikes which are raced in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy at Goodwood, you would probably find that very few are genuine. Most of the guys who ride there are top line, and probably have good sense of value. I had the opportunity to buy a good 1961 Manx in 1973. I could not do it justice. The guy who bought it was a millionaire and he lovingly restored it and made it nut and bolt perfect. Imagine if you had that first Matchless G50 which was raced by Jack Ahern - could you really bring yourself to race it ?
With my Seeley 850, if I blew it to the shithouse, I would simply rebuild it. It does not matter, it is non-genuine. But doing it to the genuine 50s and 60s racers does matter.
 
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I have a few works of art hanging on the walls in my home. They are all prints. I have no ambition to own anything better.
 
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"Modern riders have become too tyre-dependent" I love this.

If you were reincarnated as a contact patch, I'm sure you could make the guy on top do anything you want.

Classic racers went 160-170 mph or so. MotoGP bikes crack 215 mph if the straight is long enough. Nowhere near as fast anywhere on the track. Tires are part of the difference. MotoGP riders are more electronics-dependent than tire-dependant. Tires are just something to be engineered around. Electronics keep riders from launching themselves into the traps on exit. No tire would hold 250bhp pushing 500 lbs without them.
 
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