Sunday, April 23, 2017

A FUN TRIP TO THE VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE RACES

Sometimes a short trip can be just perfect. This weekend a good friend of mine, Jeff Koskie and I rode our motorcycles overnight from SLO to Willow Springs Raceway for the annual AHMRA vintage motorcycle races. The weather was perfect for riding, the roads we took were virtually all back roads with little traffic and Jeff is a very competent rider so he was fun to ride with. (Did I mention he was a professional motorcycle rider so slightly more than competent.. ;))
One rule of motorcycle trips is when men get on the road unsupervised they tend to eat somewhat less than healthy.. So a weekend of burgers, Mexican food, corned beef hash and other non American Heart Assoc.  recommended delights were the rule of the day. 
The races are fun for several reasons.. First I love old motorcycles so a day of seeing vintage motorcycles racing is great. Second they have a nice motorcycle show and swap meet which is always fun. And third being in this hobby all my life I have many friends that I only see at these events. An extra bonus this year was I must have met at least 20 people that I knew through FACEBOOK but had never actually met in person. All we shared on-line was a love of motorcycles. The technology of the Internet is one of the great technological events in my lifetime.. I actually remember the time before Email! The Internet has been such an amazing force for both good and not so good. As with any tool I guess it is how it is used but I really enjoy the Internet and I don't abuse it.... except for maybe a few to many purchases on Ebay?
Part of the weekends events was sidecar racing.. There is the driver that is actually in control of the machine and then there is the "monkey" who is only there to shift his or hers weight around to balance out the machine.. Imagine hanging off the side of the hack, only an inch or so off the ground that is passing under your butt at 130+ MPH.. It takes a certainly bravery or serious lack of imagination to do this...
As a side note my
 youngest daughter Jessica is a professional graphic artist and she has taken it upon herself to get my blog looking more polished. I am excited about it. The new blog will have three story lines. My life with cars and motorcycles, My life of traveling, and My life of food.. I am going to add food critic to my career titles... I travel, I eat, why not write about it? Look for the unveiling of the new format in the next month or two. And this summer I will be off on another ride with lots of motorcycling, travel stories and food... :)

Jeff posing at the track




Sometimes when they won't start all you can do is push.













One of the rarest and most interesting motorcycles every built. Completely hand built by an engineering with a passion for motorcycles in New Zealand. His dream was to build great motorcycles and he was certainly off to a good start but unfortunately died rather young from cancer before he could complete his dream... 





You see and meet very colorful people at any motorcycle event. By nature motorcyclist are a different breed.









This was a race for old classic motorcycles,,, did I mention the riders are old classics too?





The height of class, arrive in a classic Ferrari to race your classic Ducati..



Lots of cool hand built parts for sale.


My score of the weekend. I am restoring a 1959 Norton International and parts are hard to find. I was just thinking about finding new knee pads for it when I man was walking around the swap meet offering to GIVE these new knee pads away to anyone who could use them.. SCORE!! :)






I am sure a hearty breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, and home friend potatoes will be excellent for my waste line and cholesterol?


The last stop of the trip was The BURGER BARN.. Real biker food.. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Very Special XK120 Built by XKs Unlimited

LT-1 Jaguar

I have always been a life long Jaguar enthusiast and frustrated car designer. It has been my goal for a while to build my own car from scratch. I thought this would be the best way to combine both my passions. Build a semi-modern sports car with basic Jaguar components and style it to look like a Jaguar.
The Jaguar factory built a few light weight alloy racing bodies for the XK120 chassis which I thought would be a good basis for my car. I started with a basic LT-1 body shape and added details to it that I liked. The side exhaust, the head fairing, the extra air opening in the front gave it a more aggressive look.
Then I started designing the chassis. The basic structure is loosely based on a C Type chassis but much stiffer and with modern all independent suspension both front and rear. The rear uses a Halibrand style quick change differential with E Type axles and up rights. After that the rest of the suspension was custom fabricated by XKs Unlimited.
In the front I started with XJ up-rights and lower a-arms and an E Type steering rack and then fabricated everything else.
All four corners are suspended with custom alloy fully adjustable Koni racing shocks and coil springs.
The interior I tried to capture the factory racing look. The dash shape is a modified D type and all the gauges are Smiths gauges styled to look like the original D type racing gauges.
The heart of any performance sports car is the engine and of course I started with a 3.8 liter E Type motor. I did the usual performance modifications including Carillo rods, JE forged pistons, big valve head, and custom camshafts from XKs Unlimited. Induction was classic Weber 45 DCOEs and ignition was a restored original Vertex Jaguar racing magneto.
The headers and side exhaust were custom fabricated at XKs Unlimited. They sound aggressive and look great. When the car has been run a while the exhaust leave a nice dark pattern down the side of the car that looks like a WWII fighter plane!
The wheels are Dunlop reproduction racing wheels that would have been used on a D type or racing E Type.

To see the car in action with Jay Leno go to:






























www.xksmotorsport.com

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