Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AHRMA at Daytona 2011 - Racing the way it should be, the old time way!

Most people have some interest in history, and like to know how the world of our fathers and grandfathers worked. If you fit that mold you have to attend an AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) race meet. The racers of the past built and tuned their own bikes at home and went racing on the week ends. They loaded their bikes and tools in the back of their truck or on a trailer, picked up their buddy who served as pit crew and mechanic and headed for the races. They raced a circuit that included National Championships at places like Milwaukee, Springfield, Laconia, Langhorne and Dodge City. In between there were races every week end at local tracks and county fairs. Once a year, since 1937, there has been the big race at Daytona.  An AHRMA race is as close as you can get to those good old days of racing.

Daytona Beach, FL - October 2011: I have been attending the Daytona AHRMA races for over 10 years. I have a formula for having fun and catching the excitement of motorcycle racing the way it used to be. Just walk around, look, listen and above all talk to people. Talk to other spectators, officials, mechanics and riders. It is the people that make the sport.  Some observations gathered from walking around Daytona International Speedway on Oct. 15th, 2011........

Nobby Clark: It was good to see the Nobby in the pits working on the bikes again. Illness caused him to miss several events this past year but he tells me he is feeling much better and back on the circuit now. Nobby is arguably the greatest motorcycle mechanic and tuner to ever turn a wrench. His bikes earned 13 world championships and 4 Daytona 200 victories. He has worked with the motorcycle legends of our time including Kenny Roberts, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and many others.

Dunlop Tires: I asked the Dunlop tire man “Can you comment on the Daytona 200 tire controversy?” Dunlop is the exclusive supplier of tires for the Daytona 200. Last March the race was plagued by widespread tire failures that caused serious crashes and resulted, long delays, a shortened race and a questionable winner. The delay enabled a racer with a blown engine to install a new engine and ultimately win the race.  “Multiple situations led to the less than satisfactory performance in the 200. Our scheduled December tire tests were set for 3 days but limited to one partial day due to rain. The tests were especially important because the track had been resurfaced. Also, to change from a night race to day resulted in an increase of 30+ degrees track temp.  We are working hard on the tires for Daytona. We will have it right for the 200 in March 2012.”

Pat Mooney: Pat is known as AHRMA’s Mr. Daytona for his multiple victories in several classes over 10+ years. Approaching Pat on Saturday morning, his comment “I haven’t won a race yet! But today will be a better day”. Pat went on to win the 500 Premier after a thrilling duel with Tim Joyce and Doug Polen. Mooney pulled away on the 11X Manx Norton after Joyce went wide into turn 1 and hard charging Polen and Canadian Nick Cole could not keep up. Pats son, Pat Jr also won his Battle of Twins Formula 3 race so it was indeed a better day for the Mooney family.  

Ron Hulloman of Titusville, FL racing his Suzuki GSX 100 in the Championship Cup Series: I asked, “How’s it going, Ron?”  All he could say was, “This thing is FAST, I’m having fun!”

Richard Chambers always gives a stellar performance as the PA announcer who is everywhere at once! Think that is impossible, you have to see and hear it to believe. A former racer who knows and loves the sport, Richard covers the action and interviews the participants with his portable mike and a Vino 125 scooter. It would be difficult to replace his one man show with 5 others.

David Aschenbrener, David & Mike Carter at the International Horseshoe
Infield: A great place to watch the races and hang out with old friends and make some new ones. I watched several great races with David & Mike Carter of the legendary Carter Brothers Garage, custom tank fabricator David Aschenbrener. Jacksonville publisher Sam Taylor provided lunch, bratwurst on the grill, chips & dip, cookies and beer.

There are always the crashes, that's why you can't go racing without CORNER WORKERS!

That's the way it was, October 15, 2011 AHRMA & CCS racing at Daytona.

Learn more about AHRMA at their web site: http://dev.ahrma.org/