In keeping with what has become a time-honored tradition, I packed in the rain.
And the forecast for the weekend looked pretty grim to boot - but frankly, I was just happy to get away for a few days and hang out with the lads at Calabogie Motorsports Park. It was the first Ducati Owners Club of Canada event of the year and my first opportunity to run the Ducati TT1 in anger.
So, after a first session to remember how to ride a bike and where the damned track went, things fell into a pretty nice rhythm and in the second session I had enough comfort to pay attention to how the whole package felt at speed. The bike was everything a TT1 should be - in fact; almost underwhelming because the bike just simply worked. The brakes could be better and Calabogie’s tighter turns were telling me that a few more teeth on the rear sprocket were in order – but overall, great machine.
But, a couple of years away from the track meant that for the first time in maybe 15 years, I couldn’t catch my riding buddy Fran McDermott on his TT. Some credit has to go to Fran; the old fart’s been racking up the laps and finally got around to dragging his knees last year. Bottom line is that he’s faster than me now and I can’t help but feeling pissed-off.
And with a Bruce Meyers-built 840cc motor heading his way, by the time I finally do get up to speed, I’ll be out-gunned and looking for more beans again. It never ends. We’ll likely be at it until we can’t ride bikes on the track – and then perhaps we’ll be trading paint on those geriatric electric things.
But it was a treat to ride a well-sorted machine that I’d built from the frame-up with a lot of help from Lou Saif, Gary Palmer, Mike Weber and Bruce Meyers.
I had the opportunity to finally meet Gilles LaChance – a Quebec City based F1 owner who had bought and exhaust from me and carried on a great on-going email and phone relationship related to his unique F1.
The first official owner (Luc Brouillette of Ste-Catherine de la Jacques-Cartier) of this gorgeous F1A bought it directly from Frank Romanelli, and the F1 was modified with many Montjuich components and raced during a very short time period during the summer 1986 (although non professionally) before being sold to be used on the street.
The original race prep included:
Verlicchi swing arm, Marvic magnesium / alloy 16” wheels, Montjuich camshafts, 41mm and 36 mm valves, Malossi 41mm Dellorto carbs with velocity stacks, and Verlicchi riservato competizione megaphone. As well, the machine has the floating Brembo rotors, Goldline front calipers, dry clutch conversion and race bodywork.
The machine had been registered it for road use in 1987 and 1989 and Gilles bought it during autumn 1999. Since then, he’s been bringing it back to its new life as a track bike and it works beautifully.
You just don’t see original racers like this that often – let alone on the track.
Mosport’s up next – maybe a rematch with Fran on the Bimota DB! Racer.
We know what the weather will be like when I pack the trailer..