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Mezzanine Dork
11/16/18 1:50 p.m.

Ooh, bet your dad can offer all sorts of old-school flat track dirty tricks!

Can't wait to hear how it goes this weekend - I'm really hoping those new skins really improves the whole program.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/17/18 10:14 a.m.

I spent last night banging out a quicky hot shoe out of some scrap 16ga.  I don't expect it to last forever, but it is a decent stop gap.  It has about 3/8" of crown side to side, maybe a little less than that fore / aft.  I think it's a pretty decent attempt considering I have never actually handled a hot shoe.



At any rate, my GWAR cosplay get-up is coming along nicely.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/18/18 8:26 a.m.

Full breakdown later, but suffice it to say that the front tire and hot shoe were revelations.  Total game changers.


Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/18/18 11:13 a.m.

Dad flat tracked a 360 bandito.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
11/20/18 6:44 p.m.

Race report #2 


I skipped practice Friday night as I had to be at work at 6 A.M. on both Saturday and Sunday.  I thought it would be best to conserve my energy and get a full night's sleep on Friday rather than cannonball back and forth between Salem, home, and work two days in a row.  I spent Friday night in the shed banging out the hot shoe and getting the bike ready to go.


The gas tank I had on the bike for the first event likes to weep in a few places.  My old man asked me to preserve that tank, as it's the factory one that came on the bike, and it's in pretty nice shape overall.  I don't want to destroy it in a crash.  I have a spare tank that is really ugly and a leaker, and probably not worth very much.  I threw a Caswell Coatings kit at it to seal it up and baked it in my lab oven at 140*F for 4 hours and let it sit around for another 15 hours or so at ambient temperature before dumping fuel in it.  I cleaned out all the threaded holes, tossed the petcocks back on it, installed it, the seat, and the old pipe and called it a night.


The caswell kit seems to be well worth the money.  Tank is still ugly, but it is totally leak free now, and I think that coating is ethanol safe (not that I am going to risk it).  I paid about $40 for the kit on one of those eBay deal days.


Saturday I left work, loaded up, and rolled south to Salem, arriving just behind my buddy Landon.  I signed up for two classes to make up for my lack of practice on Friday; Vintage 250 and Vintage 250 30+.  We had a few minutes before the riders meeting started, so we attacked the ugly tank with some masking tape.

It's almost convincing!  Totally factory stripe package.  laugh

This week we had 11 guys sign up for the vintage 250 class, and I was in the first heat instead of the second like last time.  I got second or third pick on the line and had a really, really good launch.  I rushed into turn 1 with my first ever holeshot!  berkeley yeah!  I was able to hold onto first for the first three laps before running wide into turn 3/4.  I held second for the rest of the race and didn't let the winner completely embarrass me.  Well chuffed with that!

Here's the view from T4 and exciting commentary from Brad and Aaron. (I'm number 19, bright yellow helmet):


There was 7 of us in the 30+ class, including two guys on TT500s.  We line up 8 wide in the mains, 6 wide in heats.  I got last pick, so I got to be the lone soldier on the second row.  I didn't launch very hard as I didn't want to pack it into the back of the guy in front of me.  I spent the whole heat battling with one of the TT500s and finally put the pass on him with a lap or two to go and managed to hold him off until the checkered.  Not a great result, but I wasn't dead berkeleying last, the main group didn't walk away from me, and I put a pass on a much faster bike.  No footage of this group.


The regular Vintage 250 Main was tough.  I had a decent start, having gotten 4th pick on the start.  There was a big high-side at the back of the pack coming into turn 3 on the first lap, and the guy wasn't getting up.  We all shut out bikes off, stood them up against the armco and waited patiently for the medics.  Things we're pretty tense.  After several very long minutes the hurt rider was able to get to his feet and make it off the track mostly unassisted.

It was a pretty harsh reminder that this is dangerous E36 M3.  I wasn't wearing a chest protector, or spine protection, or any sort of neck restraint.  Just some padded dual-sport pants, a leather jacket, and your typical gloves/boots/helmet.  I very nearly just pushed the bike off the track, and I would have done just that if they had taken that guy off in an ambulance.

I didn't push nearly as hard after the restart.  I was able to get my head back in the game for the most part, but I was definitely more concerned with my safety than getting another plastic trophy to hang in the garage.

Still, I had a decent run into the first turn, going into it in second and coming out of T2 in third.  I got picked off again by T3 and settled in to my typical fourth place.  By lap 3 the bike was running like poo.  I went wide to get around lap traffic and got split off on the inside of turn 4 again, same spot as last week.

I pushed back a little on Todd, who had just passed me.  We were down to the last lap now and he had a good wobble going into T1, but my wounded turd wouldn't pull on him down the straight.  He started braking really early going into T3 and I tried to dive in on the inside.  He cut in and I dabbed the rear brake pretty hard to scrub off enough speed to not crash the E36 M3 out of both of us.  We had a little contact and it stood both of us up pretty good.  I made one last desperate attempt in T4, but lacked both the traction and power to do any good.

5th out of 11.  Not my best performance, but two more fast guys showed up this week.  So it's pretty much 3rd place if you asks me.  wink

Here's the view from T4, including the crash.


And the Burrito-cam footage from the left fork leg from the restart.



The bike barely pulled itself back to the pits and shut itself off when I got it back into it's spot.  For the first time ever the bike wouldn't restart and when I finally got it to fire, it ran even worse than before.  I feared the worst. 

I apologized to Todd for trying to use his foot as traction and he reminded me that I had come to bang bars with the boys, and that it was all good.  Totally swell dude. yes

I noticed that the rear exhaust bracket had sheared off at some point, and I made a half ass attempt to safety wire the hanger back together before going to work on the carb.  After a few minutes I noticed that the rest of the vintage guys were gearing back up to go race the 30+ main.  I tossed the carb back together, grabbed a beer out of the back of the truck, and went and watched the rest of the night's racing with my Dad and Wife.  I was almost relieved that I was done riding for the night.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/20/18 8:14 p.m.

I said earlier that dad raced flat track. 

My uncle ran an ossa, dad ran bultaco. He said it was the only racing he ever did tgat scared him. It was a wood track, a single lightbulb at either end, and open bar......

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
12/2/18 10:35 p.m.

Race report #3


I spent most of the week fiddling on the bike in hopes that I could get it sorted enough to make practice on Friday night.  Naturally I came up against some problems and had a mad scramble to even make Saturday night.  More on that later.


Track prep was fantastic as usual and felt fast.  They've changed the practice arrangement around, unfortunately.  The first two weeks we went, it was essentially open track for an hour before the heats started.  Now you get one practice ticket for every class you are running, redeemable for one 8-10 lap session (depending on turnout).  That really cuts into the available seat time for us newbies.


Anyway, the one practice session I got went well.  Bike was running pretty well, track was still fresh and a little greasy, and the hole that's usually low on the inside of T2 seemed to be gone this week.  I went out on track with my buddy Landon on his hopped up xr200 engined CRF150 and was able to put a pass on him on the inside after a few laps, which was refreshing.


Pulling back into the pits I noticed that the exhaust seemed loose.  Upon closer inspection, it was obvious that the exhaust had sheared off both of it's mounting brackets.  At the last race it broke one of the mounts off the frame, which I promptly welded back on.  It's a real bummer riding back into the pits to find your E36 M3 broken.


We brainstormed a few different bodges and settled on "Big Old Hose Clamp", which we had none of.  Luckily there's 5 (yes, five) hose clamps on this bike between the jug and the air filter.  Luckily two of them were the same width and I was able to link them together and lasso the pipe up against the frame.  Sorted!


Our group was a little smaller than usual this week, I think 9 of us total.  There was a gnarly highside early in the night in the Vintage 30+ heat, resulting in 7 broken ribs (!), so we were down to 8 in our heat.  Which meant we all got to start on the front row.



I had a good start, but I felt like the guy to my right had jumped a bit.  Race officials agreed and we got a red flagged and lined up for a restart.  On the restart, I wound the bike up pretty good and pulled out the holeshot.  I learned my lesson from a few weeks ago and slipped the bike into 4th, skipping 3rd gear almost entirely before exiting T2.  I was able to hold on to 1st for almost the entire heat before running a little wide and letting Chris slip past me on his new framer.  That bike isn't a rocket in the straight, but damn does it rotate well.

I was able hold 2nd for the rest of the heat and proudly rode back into the pits.  A 2nd place finish in the heat with the full crew out on track put me in good place for the Main.  I might finally get my podium!

I checked the plug after the bike cooled back down, just to make sure it wasn't super lean.  It's certainly a hair on the lean side, but I'm running the largest jet I have for the old Amal carb and the needle is on the full rich position.  I told myself if wasn't full thermo-nuclear meltdown lean, and slapped it back together.  The exhaust was still attached this time, too.


All prepped for the main, I got 2nd pick on lane choice and absolutely ripped it off the line.  We rushed into T1 with me out ahead again; my second holeshot in a row! 




A few laps in and I was still out front.  I was breathing heavily and fogging up my visor something fierce.  Where was everyone?  Why am I not getting pushed out on the inside?  A few more laps and I took a cheeky little peek behind me.  Chris was close, but not within striking distance.  Another lap and another peek, he was definitely closer, but the white flag was waving.  I grinned and beared it and ripped the poor old Phantom a little harder on the last full straight.  One more turn and he's still not on the inside.


Holy E36 M3!  I berkeleying won!  Legitimate, wire to wire win!  surprise



This was our last race for the next 5 weeks.  Which means I get gloating rights until January 12th.  smiley


Lots of work to do on the bike between now and then, but I feel like I am really getting into my groove now.



(Having trouble getting the YouTube videos embedded.  I'll try again when I'm not on my phone (apparently YouTube embedding is still broken.  Sorry folks))

AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/2/18 10:49 p.m.

Hardware, bitches!

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
12/2/18 11:14 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

Hardware, bitches!

Stacking plastic!


I forgot to mention.  I think I might be points leader right now.  The rest of the front runners have at least one DNF.


I am hooked and am officially joining the Vintage 250 Arms Race.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
12/3/18 1:19 p.m.

I mentioned earlier that I had a few pieces of the original Phantom motor.  The two parts I have are probably the most important; the cylinder and the head.  The porting on the Phantom isn't quite as aggressive as the factory short trackers, but certainly more aggressive than the enduro cylinder I have been running.

Here is the stock Pioneer porting I have been running:


Versus the stock Phantom porting:


As you can see, the largest difference is in the exhaust port.  The transfer ports get raised and widened slightly.  The intake port gets lowered a few mm as well, along with a slight cut off the intake side of the piston skirt.  These changes, along with more compression and better mixing with the Phantom head, are supposed to be good for a 13hp increase over the Pioneer.


The cylinder I have is in pretty good shape.  All the fins are intact and mostly straight, the bore was a little scabby looking but cleaned up with a quick hone just fine.  Unfortunately, the cylinder was bored out to 74mm at some point in it's illustrious life.  73.5mm being the accepted final oversize.  To go 74mm you supposedly have to remove some mass off out of the bottom end to keep the piston from bottoming out somewhere.  The other problem is that nobody makes a 74mm piston for these anymore.  Sure you could ring up Wiseco or JE and have a custom piston made to your standards, but that is neither cheap nor quick.


The other option is to resleeve the cylinder.  Still not cheap if you're paying a machine shop to do the work.  But then I remembered that I have a very crusty stock Pioneer jug in the basement that is nearly worthless, and it happens to be on its virgin 72mm bore.  The factory service manual I have outlines the process of baking out the cylinder liner when you've reached the final oversize.  I figured it was worth a try to bake out the liners from the two cylinders I have, port the Pioneer liner to match the Phantom liner, and drop it back into the cylinder housing before dropping it off at a local machine shop to take it out to it's first oversize of 72.5mm.

I didn't take many pictures during the bake-out process.  I was busy handling 550*F aluminum pieces and trying to not burn myself.  The Pioneer liner dropped right out of it's bore on it's own accord.  The Phantom liner put up a good fight.  I think the problem was that the Phantom jug had been ported slightly at some point in it's life.  That meant that the liner had an almost knife edge where it met the cylinder housing.  It was a joyous hour of slowly inching the Phantom liner out and while trying like hell to not let it dig into and cut precious material out of the cylinder housing with the very sharp port windows, naturally stopping often to reheat the entire assembly in my little 110v lab oven.


The Phantom liner was pretty sorry looking by the time I got it out, but it was intact enough to provide me with the information I needed to get the liner ported.

I made a few quick stencils to see just how much material I was going to be removing. (These are not the lines I cut to, just a tool to help visualize the differences)


After that I did some layout in America's favorite marking solution, Black Sharpie, and started cutting.  This little brake caliper piston compressing tool I made a number of years ago came in very handy for holding the liner.

The whole process went way faster than expected.  I was able to match all the porting on the liner in about two hours.

After giving everything a very thorough cleaning, I dropped the liner in the freezer and placed the cylinder housing back in the oven.  After an hour of waiting for both pieces to reach their respective temperatures, I dropped the liner into it's new home with absolutely zero fuss.  I had about 10 seconds to get the port windows aligned how I liked before it stuck.

The transfer ports lined up great!

The Intake port looked pretty good, too!

The exhaust port need just a little massaging, but otherwise looked more than acceptable.

A new 72.5mm piston was sourced and cut to factory specs and I sent the hole lot off to the machine shop for boring.

Here's another good visual of the differences between trail bike and race bike.  Which do you think has more cooling capacity?


As it sits now, I have the Phantom jug, head, and cut piston on the Pioneer bottom end.  I fought and fought with the new carburetor seen in the last picture, but absolutely could not get the bike to run worth a E36 M3.  I ended up sticking the old Amal back on the bike and running it that way this last race.  The bike is definitely quicker than it was before, but it's still lacking that big two stroke punch when it gets on the pipe.  I think a 32mm column of air vs a 36 or 38mm column of air might have something to do with that.  I am also running 25:1 premix for the first few tanks to ease the new rings into their home.  I think a bigger carb and a little less oil in the mixture will have a big effect on top end power, or at least I hope it will.

Ransom PowerDork
12/3/18 1:39 p.m.

This thread is so awesome. The excitement of racing and the geekery of 2-stroke tuning side by side!

bigeyedfish Reader
12/3/18 2:12 p.m.

...supposed to be good for a 13hp increase over the Pioneer.

Is that a typo?  If not, that is a crazy jump in power.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
12/3/18 2:36 p.m.
bigeyedfish said:

...supposed to be good for a 13hp increase over the Pioneer.

Is that a typo?  If not, that is a crazy jump in power.

Nope, not a typo.  They claimed 21hp for the 250 Pioneers, and between 33 and 35 (depending on your source) for the Phantom.

jfryjfry HalfDork
12/3/18 2:57 p.m.

I heard (read: worth less than zero) that more oil in the gas = more power, up until the point of plug fouling.  


Very cool to see how you swapped sleeves!

Mezzanine Dork
12/3/18 3:46 p.m.
Ransom said:

This thread is so awesome. The excitement of racing and the geekery of 2-stroke tuning side by side!

It's a potent combo indeed. I'm pretty ignorant of 2-stroke, so I'm enjoying the education.

bigeyedfish Reader
12/4/18 12:16 p.m.
jfryjfry said:

I heard (read: worth less than zero) that more oil in the gas = more power, up until the point of plug fouling.  


Very cool to see how you swapped sleeves!

The extra oil effectively leans the air-fuel mix, correct?  Seems to make sense that you could gain a bit of power as long as you don't foul plugs or overheat.  Actually, I'm not really sure how the extra oil would effect temperatures.  Would it run hotter, colder, or depend on more variables?

RichardNZ New Reader
12/4/18 2:01 p.m.


You need to be careful fooling around with the ratio of oil to gas. Oil burns hotter than gas which can lead to cooling issues. On top of that an oil rich mixture is thicker which, if you don’t rejet the carb, leans the fuel/air mix leading to even more heat. The old two stroke pejorative "zip, zing, seize" comes to mind :)

My 2011 Ossa, although it has nothing in common other than name with the older ones, runs 90 to 1 oil ratio, the later ones upped that to 110 which always seemed a stretch too far.

Loving this thread ...

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
12/4/18 2:43 p.m.

In reply to RichardNZ :

I take it you have an Explorer?  Those are super cool bikes.  I totally dig the love-child of a Trials and Enduro bike thing.  One of my riding buddies has a Beta X-Trainer and it is by far my favorite modern bike. 


I am planning on running five gallons of the 25:1 mixed fuel through the bike before switching to a slightly thinner mix, probably around 42:1.  This is what the piston manufacturer and machine shop said to do, so I'm going to follow their advice for now.  I'll be jetting a new carb from scratch around that time, too.  I have heard it both ways about premix ratios.  I can understand the reasoning behind both ideas.  More oil makes more power because of reduced friction and better ring sealing.  Less oil makes more power because there's, well, more gas.  There's diminishing returns at both ends of the spectrum.  I believe the reasoning behind the very lean mixture in the modern oil injected stuff is just as much about environmental impacts as it is power and engine longevity.  


This is one of the things that I really am looking forward to learning more about as I go on.


@peripheralphoto on Instagram got this great shot of me leading the pack into T3.

RichardNZ New Reader
12/4/18 4:14 p.m.

In reply to Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado :

Almost... I’m a trials rider, too old to want to go fast now, and I’m currently hopping between the trials Ossa (TR280i), a Beta 125 and a 1976 Yamaha TY175. 

A friend has the Explorer and swaps tank and plastics to ride events with us occasionally - nice bike but has lower spec suspension and brakes, not that I’m good enough to appreciate the difference :)

Keep up the good work!

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
1/6/19 8:04 p.m.

On Christmas day I was sitting on the couch doing some idle googling trying to find more information about the factory short track effort OSSA put together with Dick Mann back in the day.  I happened across a PDF of a scanned letter between an OSSA rep and a Short Track Hopeful like myself from 1972.  In it, the OSSA rep described the difference between the Stiletto MX and Stiletto TT, and how to turn your MX into a TT.  The port maps is something I already had, but the crown Jewel of the document was a dimensioned drawing of a Stiletto TT pipe.

Now, I have always wanted to build an expansion chamber from scratch, it's something I have been working towards for a long (see sheet metal work on rusty old Fiats).  This is exactly the kind of project that excited me.  As such, it took zero pressuring from friends and the following Sunday I drove down to Eugene to hang out with Jumper K. balls and roll some cones in his ridiculous facility.


This beauty hangs out not 15 feet from his toolbox.  Like I said, ridiculous.


Stacks of CADboard.


And of course three pieces of future Ring Dinging Boomtube.


The following day I started scabbing the chunks together and stitching it all into one continuous piece.


I opted to cut the head pipe off of the old Phantom pipe to save myself the trouble of building another from scratch.  The Phantom pipe has had a long history of tearing it's mounts off of both itself and the frame and I did not feel comfortable selling it to another person with that in mind.


I was very careful and stuck to the dimensions in the PDF.  That meant cutting back the header and the divergent cone to keep everything kosher.

I had to cut the pipe near the end of the divergent cone and added a small wedge to it to point the pipe up and out to clear the frame and chain.


After that I moved on to the mount.  Mounting locations are severely limited, especially so now that the exhaust is on the wrong side of the bike.  I still need to add another, but I am fully in analysis paralysis mode on it.


Someday I will have a mill, until then coping saw and files will have to do.


From there I was able to fabricate and attach the stinger.

Then everything was fully welded, scrubbed back to flush, and given a bitchin' coat of flat BBQ paint.



100% totally enamored with the results.  I have been working on it for the last week solid.  I would not be surprised if I had 40 hours tied up in the pipe at this point.  Now that I have built one, I think $375 is an absolute berkeleying bargain!


HikerDan New Reader
1/6/19 9:25 p.m.

Nice work on the exhaust! Cool that you uncovered those specs and build your own.

I didn't realize that Dick Mann rode for OSSA at one point, I thought he pretty much rode British stuff. Got to see him ride at the ARHA races in Steamboat about 20 years ago. I'm not sure how old he was at that point, but he was riding something I'd never heard of - a late 50's Monarch - and just ran away from the field in the first race. It sure was cool to see him ride.

Looking forward to hearing more about your bike's evolution and the racing, great stuff!



Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
1/7/19 7:25 p.m.

The keen eyed of you may have noticed a few other changes to the bike in the above post.


I tore down the junk rear wheel that came on my Super Pioneer, sandblasted the hub, and had it laced up to a 19" shouldered Akront hoop to match the spool front I am using.  It came back looking great.

I immediately wrapped it in a soft compound Shinko 267 and a fresh 19" tube.

I also installed some NJB Ultimate boingers to replace the blown out Mexican Betor copies.

I cannot believe how much the 19" rear wheel and race rubber transformed the look of the bike.  It really took it from looking like a bike that I race, to a proper "race bike" if you know what I mean.

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
1/7/19 8:20 p.m.

The other big thing I have been working on is further development and modifications of the engine.  I have been a little underwhelmed with the power output of the motor the entire time.  I got a chance to ride my father's Stiletto over the holidays and it made the Phantom feel like Scooty Puff Jr.  Part of the problem was my super wide gear ratios in the Enduro transmission have been using.


I was able to talk my old man out of a crusty Stiletto TT bottom end he has been holding on to for 20-something years.  The M37 bottom ends are pretty rare from what I gather.  The only bikes that got these engines were the Stiletto TT and Dick Mann Replicas. 

The difference in gearing is giant.

(A+ cropping skillz)

My new first gear is taller than my old 2nd gear by a significant margin.  This is a much, much closer ratio box overall.  Perfect for circle track.  Doesn't have much of a gear spread between 4th and 5th, but I should never need it.

I was launching in 2nd with the old trans and running in 4th.  New trans should have me launching in 1st and running in 2nd, maybe 3rd.

I tore down the new-to-me bottom end and treated it to new seals and bearings, inspected everything, and reassembled it without much drama.  It did take me two tries to get the trans back together properly, but it went together fine in the end.

Made to make sure it had 5 gears before installing primary drive and clutch components.  Fool me once...

I stole a spare magneto, flywheel, primary drive setup, and clutch out of a junk pioneer motor.

And gave it a lick of semi-gloss black and stabbed it into the frame.

Then I cut another 4.5mm off the intake side of the piston skirt to match the TT/DMR specs.

I reinstalled everything and a set the timing to 3.25mm BTDC and added a new VM36 Mikuni for good measure.  We are 100% vintage legal now. laugh

Introducing Scooty Puff Sr. The Doombringer!


But does she go as good as she looks?  Oh God does she ever.  It makes my old man's Stiletto feel tame.  That big two stroke punch I was complaining about missing?  It's got that in spades now.  We're talking third gear wheelies when the pipe hits level of goodness.  Cut piston, new pipe, and big carb made a world of difference. It's going to be an absolute handful on the track and I am beyond excited.  I cannot wait for Friday night practice!

RichardNZ New Reader
1/7/19 10:28 p.m.

In reply to Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado :

Just looks betterer and betterer smiley Are you going to / do you need to run a muffler on the end of the stinger? If you are using one of the "straight thru can" type ones remember it counts as part of the stinger length. If it's only a little too loud you could always try the Gordon Jennings (of Two Stroke Tuners Handbook fame) trick of sliding the stinger up inside the reverse cone.

Cotton PowerDork
1/7/19 10:29 p.m.

Awesome,  anxious to hear the results!

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