Saturday, December 8, 2012

White Lightnin' XC MMXI

Ton Up N*C Chad's round barrel BSA 441

Vintage Cross Country (VXC) is a staple in the Ton Up N*C racing program and the annual White Lightening VXC race in South Carolina is one of the first scheduled events of the year on the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association's (AHRMA) calendar. The race has taken place for that past couple of years on Marvin Grant's old farm in Chester, SC.

Cross Country Riding is how motorcycling began, because roads were very few and far between when motorcycles were born. As the motorcycles and roads improved, the riders still challenged themselves with off road competitions on acient Roman roads in Europe and "cow and wagon" trails in the USA. Eventually, the competitions organized into ISDT type reliability runs in Europe and Enduros and "Hare and Hounds" in the USA. Further organization and land closure issues brought the closed course  Hare scrambles to prominence (AHRMA).

Beno Rodi's collection of XC bikes. Beno participates in excess of 100 races a year.
The Ton Up Fla. transport van and machines: Triumph TR5T and the AJS Model 20
Chad and I headed five or so hours south for the two day event early on the morning of Saturday, March 19, 2011. I was along in the role of "Pit Monkey," while Chad was intent on racing his two BSA 441's in the Classic 500 division. The weather was warm and clear when we arrived at the farm.

The 441's. Chad had recently overhauled the square barrel he is seated on.
Chad at the starting line.

Here's Chad's race report on Day 1 of the 2 day event:

It took me a few kicks this time to start the bike which was rare since I installed the PVL (German-built electronic ignition system). After firing it up I headed out on the very challenging and long (5.5miles) course. After 2 laps I noticed Scott (Ton Up Fla.) off to the side after start/finish and decided to join him and to inspect my bike which started pinging again and losing power. According to the pre-registration list I thought I was all alone in my class so it made sense at the time to save the bike and save myself for day 2. Then I noticed a TR5T ride past me. It was another rider in my class and he was already a lap ahead with only 15 minutes remaining.

I completely screwed myself in race 1 and learned a valuable lesson in racing. Whether you're racing against another rider or yourself, race hard and never give up.
Scott rounds the corner on his AJS.
Post-race pow-wow day 1: Beno, Scott and Chad.

Here's Chad's race report on Day 1 of the 2 day event:

After my boondoggle the day before I prepped the dry framed round barrel for racing on day 2 and despite not seeing the TR5T on the line I decided to race like he was there anyway. I knocked out 4 hard laps with good and consistent times which improved with each lap. The bike ran solid the entire race and I crossed the finish in 1st.

I realized after the second race how much I really like the round barrel. The engine feels de-tuned and very forgiving. My only complaint is the shortness of the swing-arm and the terrible front Triumph suspension.

Max (Ton Up Fla.) buzzes the check point/finish tent on his Triumph...

Chad takes the checkered flag.
Don't call it a comeback, Chad took 1st place on Day 2.

Ton Up NC = Riding, Restoration and Racing of Vintage Motorcycles

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