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Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/7/18 1:16 p.m.


About two months ago a few of my buddies and I were sitting around lamenting the fact that the riding season was nearly over and we would soon be putting the bikes up for winter.  We would all lose whatever progress we had made skills wise and gain a few unwanted pounds as we watched the cold months pass.  Someone mentioned in passing that the Salem Indoor Flat Track season started the first weekend of November, and it ran right straight through winter.  It didn't take much convincing (any, at all), we shook on it and made a deal.  This winter we are all going racing.  Properly racing; wheel to wheel, bumping bars while hanging it out sideways on a cold clay oval.

The plan was to buy or build very basic flat track machines to run in the Vintage 250 class.  Not necessarily to win or be competitive, but to get our toes wet and see what this oval stuff is all about.   That lasted one whole practice session.  We all immediately started looking for power, traction, and the will to brake later and turn in harder.  This is going to be a blast!

I, of course, elected to build up my beloved '74 Ossa Phantom.  It's got a lot going for it.  It's lightweight and a supreme handling machine, but the Phantom motor is gone and I have only a few pieces of the hot-rod motor it would have come with.  To get on track and running I stole the engine and a litany of other parts from my far-too-nice-to-be-parted Super Pioneer and stuffed it into the Phantom frame.  I know full well that I am down a good 10-12 horsepower from what the Phantom would have been delivered with, over 30%.  Still, low-power is better than no-power.  I had Jumper K. Balls turn out a pair of axle spacers to adapt my fathers old 19" Akront wheel, complete with cool guy spool hub and 35 year old tire, and proceeded to go racing.



More later...

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
11/7/18 1:48 p.m.

Dad did flat track in the 60s.ill have to ask him, but im pretty sure it was either a bsa or ossa.

thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
11/7/18 2:42 p.m.

Is that where the Moto1 show does their race?

Ransom PowerDork
11/7/18 3:30 p.m.

Totally Ossam! 

java230 UltraDork
11/7/18 3:37 p.m.

So awesome! Saw the pic on IG. Looks like a blast.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
11/7/18 3:51 p.m.

Yes please, teach me all about the intricacies of weird no-front-brake slidey bikes.

barefootskater HalfDork
11/7/18 3:58 p.m.

It is a good thing I didn't know of this sort of racing when I was single and could have made the time and money part work. 

Beautiful bike. I really dig how it looks. Keep going fast.

Mezzanine Dork
11/7/18 4:29 p.m.

Once again, you're the envy of the Build Threads.

Looking forward to hearing more about the hot Phantom motor.

bigeyedfish Reader
11/8/18 7:50 a.m.

This rules.  Can't wait to hear more about the bike and the racing.

2_3 New Reader
11/8/18 10:58 a.m.

This thread lacks a first person view of some hot laps, I want to see how you drive a bike sideways

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/8/18 1:14 p.m.

I'm going to jump over some of the build stuff and jump right into the first race report.  We'll be a little out of order here for the first few posts, but I'll catch up eventually.


Race Report #1.

Open practice starts at 6pm Friday night.  Getting through Portland on a Friday afternoon is a bear and can easily add an hour to the drive.  I skipped out of work a few minutes early and ran out to get the last few parts I needed to get the bike together.  It really came down to the wire, I really sure if I was going to be riding or not, but I was going to haul the bike down and try at the very least.

Due to my own procrastination, I hadn't actually started the bike properly yet.  I mean, this is a "known good" motor, and I had checked for spark, but up until Friday at about 4:30 I had only fired the bike on Ether.  The last time I ran this engine it was detonating really bad under load.  The carb was full of slime and I just kinda assumed that it was running super lean, trying to blow a hole in the piston.  So, Friday night, an hour and a half before I was supposed to be in Salem flat tracking for the first time, I rolled the bike out to the end of the driveway, splashed some gas into the tank for the first time, "tickled" the old Amal Concentric carb (Amals are... special), and gave the bike a good boot.  Fired first damn kick!  I rode the bike up and down the block to make sure I had 5 gears, one spongy brake, and no horrid knocking noises from the engine.  I killed the bike, loaded it into the truck, threw my gear bag and an odd assortment of random tools into the truck and boogied south to Salem.


I got signed up for practice and found my buddies in the pits.  I got all geared up, warmed the bike up and went out for my first practice session.  By open practice, they mean OPEN practice.  It's mayhem.  They corral the kiddos on small wheel bikes into one run group, but otherwise its completely open.  It doesn't matter if you're nationally ranked pro Sammy Halbert on a fire-breathing beast, or a guy in his 30's on a 20hp bike with zero experience whatsoever, you're in the same run group.  surprise


Immediate thoughts after my first time on track are:  Wow, those guys are berkeleying fast.  The track is at least twice as slippery as I expected it to be.  And the clutch is big-time anytime the bike gets on the pipe.


So, back to the pits to clean my underwear and look into the clutch problems.  Cable adjuster backed off all the way on the bars and the clutch is still slipping like a bastard.  Nobody in our group brought a proper selection of tools (seriously, none of us brought a 13mm socket...) and we couldn't get the jam nut on the push rod adjuster broken loose through the tiny inspection cover with a box wrench.  We we're able to split off the whole left side cover without losing too much gear oil and make the adjustments that way.  It felt like a very proper classic race scenario, breaking into a hot motor in between heats.  laugh


I pushed the forks through the trees another half inch or so and dropped the tire pressures down to 20psi, both wild ass guesses.  Second practice session was much better; clutch was holding power now and the front end wasn't trying nearly as hard to wash out.  I was getting more and more comfortable on the bike and was starting to pick up some speed and work on my form a little bit.  I felt like I had graduated from "Drunk Toddler" to "Six year old with a solid buzz".  Countershaft seal started puking at some point in the night, I was having too much fun to stop, so I just kept an eye on the gear oil level between sessions.  The rest of the night was pretty uneventful.  I probably ran 6 sessions in the three hour window and was getting consistently faster  and more comfortable on track.  We packed it up a little after 9 and went to find some much needed beer and food.  I rolled into my driveway around 12:30am, totally beat having been up since 4:30am for work.


I spent all Saturday morning fixing and tuning on the bike.  I was able to get the countershaft seal revert back to it's typical European weep instead of the full-on sieve from last night.


Got to the track around 3:30, just in time to register for the nights racing.  Found my buddies in the pits, made some last minute fixes, and walked the track a few times.  Rider's meeting at 4:30, and straight into the practice session at 5:00.


I was in one of the first run groups on a freshly groomed track.  Turn two of lap one of the first practice session and it finally happened.  My very first low-side.   Went out onto track with a fast group, eager to show that I could hang with them, bit off a little more than I could chew and found out pretty quickly that the rubbered in track we left on Friday night was gone and it had been replaced with a gooey mess.  It was a very gentle if not majestic crash.  The rear end came around and I just kinda rode it off into the infield and stepped off the bike as it came to a rest on it's side.  No harm done to me or the bike, didn't even get dirty, but a lesson was certainly learned.  Fresh Track = Slippery Track


Here's some onboard video of the practice session directly after my little oops.  A little gun-shy, but still keeping up with the rest of the Vintage guys.


Also note how berkeleying fast the fast guys are.  surprise

Maybe I am still a Drunk Toddler.  I rode in 4 or 5 sessions and parked the bike.  I was back up to where I was the night before and felt comfortable going into my first heat.

Overall we had 12 guys in the Vintage 250 class which was the largest class of the night, I think.  We got split into two heats of 6.  I had a really great battle for second in my first actual wheel to wheel event with Kory F. who rides a Champion framed YZ with modern rubber.  We traded spots back and forth a few times, but he ended up in front of me in the end.   I was still absolutely overjoyed with 3rd place and the confirmation of not being totally out of my element.


I got to start on the front row in the main, high on the outside.  Had a good start in second gear (the Super Pioneer trans has a very short 1st gear, and I have massive 56 tooth sprocket on the rear right now) and ended up in 3rd after the first two turns thanks to a crash on the inside.  I have never felt more focused.  I spent most of the main reeling in the guy in second and caught him by the 7th lap of our 10 lap main.  I couldn't quite make it past him.  I could cut in on the inside and get up even with him but he would just walk away on the straight.  Need more power!  I really tried to make it stick coming into turn 3 of the last lap figuring it was now or never, had a little bobble, ran wide, and Kory F. (my new nemesis) slipped past me on the inside.  Fourth place in my first Moto.  I'll take it!

Here's onboard with my buddy Aaron, who unfortunately crashes out after a few laps.  I'm high on the outside with the yellow helmet and the power rangers looking gear.  laugh


I'm not exactly hanging it out at full lock, but I am backing it in a little bit.  I am super amped up to get out there again on the 17th.  Hoping to go back with more power and tires from this century.  I'm really going to work at getting on the podium next time.  Can't wait!

And of course the obligatory track-shot!  Full on Circus Bear mode.


Overall it was an incredible weekend of riding.  I got to do something I have never done and have always wanted to do, I didn't die, or blow the bike up.  And I earned my first piece of hardware on two wheels.  smiley


Pushrod New Reader
11/8/18 2:01 p.m.

In reply to Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado :

Great first effort. Flat track racing is a grand American tradition, and now you're part of it! This is how Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, et al got their starts. (No pressure or anything!) Sounds like the Salem program is pretty well organized.

Ovid_and_Flem SuperDork
11/8/18 6:26 p.m.

In reply to Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado :

AWESOME...memories of my youth.  Ran a Bultaco Astro in my yute in early 70s..  how about giving us some close up shots and details on your ossa

java230 UltraDork
11/8/18 8:13 p.m.

Your videos made me Google flat tracks locally..... 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/8/18 8:31 p.m.

I love reading about this. Thanks so much for writing it in detail. I just read a bunch of it to my wife and admitted that flat track is one of the few motorsports that terrifies me. 

dropstep UltraDork
11/8/18 8:38 p.m.

My teenage years were spent 3 houses down from a family that raced flat track harleys then Suzuki's and man do they fly. I'm not about to try it myself but I really enjoyed the few times I went with them and watching them tune the bikes out in the park.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/8/18 8:45 p.m.

In reply to java230 :

Puyallup has an indoor Short Track that runs opposite weekends as Salem.  It's a 2.5 hour drive for me, but I will probably come up at some point this winter to try it out.  It supposed to be even shorter than the Salem track.

java230 UltraDork
11/9/18 9:37 a.m.

In reply to Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado :

I have seen that..... I have a 250 4stroke dirt bike..... Hmmmmm

2002maniac Dork
11/9/18 11:00 a.m.

That looks like such a hoot!  Our motocross tracks have closed for the season and I've been pretty bummed since that was my main source of motorized entertainment this year.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/10/18 12:41 p.m.



Going to quit my day job and cash in on some of them internet fame points.  wink

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/13/18 10:36 a.m.

I have been looking for a proper Phantom exhaust for this bike for better than 5 years.  An OEM one will come up every few years and sell for $500 if not totally taco'd and dented all to E36 M3.  You can get new ones from a few different places now.  Those will run you $380-800 depending on who makes it and there is usually a 12 week lead time.  Fabricating an expansion chamber from scratch is totally within my skill-set, and something I really want to do, but that's a time commitment I am not prepared for at the moment.


I traded too much money for the only stock Phantom pipe I have ever seen come up in my price range.


Its all there, though.  Pretty sure it's a factory job that has seen plenty of war.  It's dented, bent, and modified in the most egregious manner.  The stock silencer is gone and has been replaced with a Supertrapp megaphone unit.


I started off by trimming off all the extra brackets and straps that had been added over the years and marked out the worst of the damage.


Then I sent some quality time straightening out the surrounding areas with a combination of hammer/dolly work, fire, and the shrinking disc.

Then fit up a fresh section of 20ga to fill the hole.  

Welded that in.  This pipe has my name on it. wink

And then rinsed and repeated on the backside of the pipe.



After that I gave it a coat of bbq black on the hot-rod wheel barrow and bolted it up to the bike.

Not perfect, but good enough to strap to a race bike that will surely get crashed at some point.  And it was at least $200 cheaper than the next option.

Naturally, the new exhaust arrived yesterday.  winkwinkwink

badwaytolive Reader
11/13/18 11:06 a.m.

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!


Ovid_and_Flem SuperDork
11/13/18 1:29 p.m.

Love it! Especially the old school wooden wall shop. Perfect backdrop!

bigeyedfish Reader
11/13/18 2:14 p.m.

The wheelbarrow paint rack is genius.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/16/18 1:12 p.m.

Spent a few days down in Texas and have been fighting a cold since I got back, so progress has been very slow.  The new front tire arrived; a Shinko 267, 130/80-19, medium durometer.  Entry level flat track tire, but at $75 shipped I really couldn't say no.  Probably could have gone with the softest durometer, didn't really think it through.  Pretty soon we will be racing in 30*F temps, a softer tire might have helped, but it's too late now.  Hopefully the front end wont be so apt to washing out now.


The vintage Pirelli I am running up front is really pretty fresh, it's too bad it's rock-berkeleying-hard and is starting to chunk like a first term Freshman pledging to his first Fraternity.



Honestly, the tire has been here for a few weeks now.  I rolled it out into the garage when it first arrived and was a little overwhelmed by it's girth...


I realized that the unmounted tire had nearly 5 inches bead to bead, and if I pinched the beads in to match my skinny little 1.85" wide rim, the contact patch narrowed up considerably.


It barely fit between the forks.  Like, one Mediterranean CH of clearance.


Naturally I attacked it with an angle grinder until it fit.  laugh

 No returning it now.  wink

Never thought I would post a whole page of junk dedicated solely to mounting a motorcycle tire, but hey, you get what you pay for.


Skipping practice tonight.  Gotta do some more work on the bike to get it ready to race tomorrow.  Hopefully this is my last race with the borrowed motor, but more on that later.

Got the action camera all charged up and ready to go, hopefully I can get more footage than last event.  Planning on racing two classes this week to get a little more seat time.  Vintage 250 for sure, maybe the Open Beginner or Vintage 250 30+ if enough guys sign up for it.  Hoping to hit the practice session pretty hard.  I really want to push myself to get the bike hung out, turned in, and sliding.  Sounds like my Pops might be coming, so it will be good to have an experienced individual to help coach me. yes

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