As I sat on the ’57 Triumph waiting to be waved out on to Calabogie’s gorgeous twenty-two turn course, I wondered about brakes.
There’s some pretty serious braking done on the F1 and the 52 year old 650 was awfully shy in that department. Halfway through my first lap I came to realize that I wasn’t going to be travelling fast enough to need brakes – but ground clearance was going to be a really big problem. So was my constant laughter. As it was, the Triumph simply went where I pointed it and the 3.05 miles of Calabogie just sort of slid by in slow motion. I even passed a trio of slower riders who were still trying to figure out which way the track went.
It’s interesting how the Triumph has become my favorite ride and the bike just gets better the more I ride it. Once I got the generator working, fixed a bunch of leaks, sorted the clutch and carb, put oil in the forks, changed all the other fluids and switched to the small diameter Siamese system that was standard on the TR6C, the bike just sort of came alive. It’s perfect for riding in my neck of the woods and now reliable enough to fire-up on a whim and take the long way to the store for a pack of smokes.
But taking the Triumph out for a couple of laps wasn’t the high point of the mid-week event. It was riding fast and pain free for the first time in three years. Given the injuries and the 100 degree weather, I decided to keep my sessions on the F1 to 10 – 15 minutes and that proved to be just the ticket for an excellent three days of riding. I was at an event known as “Show up, Shut up and Ride”; the brainchild of John Scholl, the man who put the concept together at Grattan eight years ago. SSR is one of the most efficient and laid-back track events I’ve been to due to the close-knit, referral-only group and loose structure. It’s an honor system; self tech, self regulated and with an onus of care for fellow riders that you just don’t see anywhere else. I haven’t been to the Grattan event for four years and although I turned John on to the concept of running a round at Calabogie, my schedule kept me away until this year. As usual, it was a fabulous experience and although the lads were crashing more than usual – the event ran smoothly and offered more than enough track time.
That’s what made taking the Triumph out for a few laps so easy. Even with the crazy speed differential, I knew the bike was safe and that those on the track could get around me with ease. I didn’t have to consult with anyone and everyone was delighted to see me out on the machine. SSR is one of those rare concepts that shouldn’t work, but does. With only two rotations, the usual stress of trying to get as much track time in literally disappears. With that urgency eliminated, people show up at pit out relaxed and smiling. “After you”, “No, no – after YOU”, No I insist!”
The F1 was as usual; flawless - and for me, 10 minute sessions were perfect, given the blistering heat and healing body. I seem to run best in short bursts. I remembered back in my vintage racing days saying that if races were only 8 laps long, I’d win ‘em all.
And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
The "F1" is based on a 1988 Ducati 750 F1 that now displaces 853cc. loudbike is a state of mind, a weblog about fast, loud Italian motorcycles