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Beez' Blog of Moto Greatness - Vintage races at New Hamshire Speedway


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This entry was going to be a little of my history on motorcycles but I want to also keep things timely and on Labor Day I went to watch some friends race old bikes so that's what this is about.

I got rolling around 7am and like an idiot I missed the correct ramp for 128 North which meant I was headed straight for Boston and nowhere to get off The Pike for several miles. After I back-tracked and got on the right road I was half hour late to meet my friend Huck for breakfast. The ride to the track was nice and there were few cars on the road to impede our speed.

First we said hi to Andrew (#91) and Mike (#280). They both race BMW airheads and Mike also races a Yamaha FZR400. They both seemed relaxed and well prepped, they didn't even have their tools out. Then found my co-worker Kevin (#730) who would be doing his second race ever on his Honda CB160. His bike had an oil leak and a few other problems but his plan has always been, get the bike racing then sort out the problems. Besides he is guaranteed 2nd place because there are only 2 riders in the 160 class.

Next we went in search of Ken (#375) and Jeannine (J9), father and daughter. They are also co-workers, MSF instructors and track day coaches. J9's mom also rides and have been doing family vacations on bikes since J9 could sit upright. She was not racing today, just being an umbrella girl for her Dad and her boyfriend the day before (non-vintage racing) who won both his classes and it was his first time racing. Go Matt!

Ken was racing a Honda NT650 Hawk in the classes that allow the more modern machinery, late 1980s! He won both his races by a wide margin and one of the reasons he's so fast is he's mental. I don't mean mental as in crazy, careless or "pin it or bin it." I mean mental as in he's a thinking rider. Everything he does on the track, every line he takes, there is a reason behind it, a how and a why. If you want to ride into middle age and old age you have to be that way, your body is just not going to take learning everything by mistakes. If you want to learn more check out Ken's blog, http://www.ridinginthezone.com/the-zone-blog/.

Huck and I met up with another non-racing friend and waked around the track taking photos and watching the racing. We came to the conclusion that there are two types of vintage racers: those who want to win and those who want to ride their favorite vintage racebike and don't really care about their result. It reminded me of GTA racing, there is no way I would own a Pigalle or a Gauntlet even though those are the best cars in their class. I'd rather put GTA money into something I really like, make it mine with mods and race that. The guy racing the BSA Victor 441 knows he isn't going to win against the faster bike but he doesn't care, he's a BSA guy and he loves his bike.

If you like old bikes the vintage races are a great way to see them. The atmosphere is super relaxed, spectators have full access to the garages and you can talk to the racer/mechanic and even touch them and you get to hear them racing in anger. Try that at the stuffy motorcycle museum.

Only problem is now I want an old race bike.

See all the photos here: http://beez.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Vintage-Races-at-NHIS/44060752_KWngQp

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