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Posted on Friday, July 30 @ 01:42:32 EDT by administrator

Rally News

Sunday afternoon arrives too fast! By that time, the activities on the track start to wind down, the swap-meet will close at 3:00 p.m. and a constant procession of bikes, motorhomes and other vehicles towing trailers loaded with bikes begins to pass by our spot outside of Turn 13, the “Carousel”. The exodus has begun.

We have just experienced three days of sheer “motorcycle bliss”, the 2004 edition of the annual event called AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

If it wasn’t for the track, the town of Lexington would probably be nothing more than a speck on the map, but because of this facility and the relative proximity of AMA’s (American Motorcyclists Association) headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio, this little town, once a year in July, turns into the “Woodstock” of motorcycling. Literally! With mud, campsites and all!

But not so hasty! Let’s not talk about the fact that it is all over already, without letting you know what happened. This year, CBXWORLD was there in full force with three of our editors mounted on CBXes, properly representing all members of our exciting site. For three days, we shared a spot with some key AMA Field Representatives and joined them and a contingency of the Classic Goldwing Club for a great cookout party on Saturday evening.

It all started a little bumpy, though. First, dkrager, flying into Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, missed his flight departure in San Diego and had to sweet-talk the airline to re-route him through Nashville in order to still make it to his destination on the day planned. Then, on Thursday, when we had agreed to meet at around 2:00 p.m. at Gate No 1 to all enter the track together and claim our parking spots for the weekend, dsz1 was delayed by two hours traveling from Kentucky to Ohio. And to top it off, EMS did not have his information correct, when he completely missed that the gates would not open until 7 p.m. except for swap-meet vendors, racers and AMA personnel. All cursing and screaming did not help. We were stuck in front of the gates. After using some connections to the AMA, track security positioned us in the first row at Gate 1 and agreed to reserve a spot in our desired area by marking it off with some cones! So we started AMA Vintage Days with a 5-hour in-front-of-the-gate-tailgate party, using supplies out of the coolers that we brought in the towing vehicles. The 81 model, which was not hidden in a trailer, drew some attention of the other enthusiasts around us and sparked lively conversations which led to opening the trailers to allow everybody a look at the two red 79s we brought also.

Finally, 7:00 p.m. arrived and they let us in. As promised, Security had "secured" a spot for us and everything was fine and dandy. The only bitter pill was, that it was now too late to get a first peek at the goodies in the swapmeet and acquire potentially valuable CBX parts for the CBXWORLD members before they would fall into the wrong hands. So the only thing left to do was to establish camp, mount the bikes we had designated for the commute between the track and the sleeping accommodations, which were at EMS' home, and ride back North for about 80 miles.

Returning to the track on Friday morning, the first order of the day was a visit to the extensive swapmeet. The overflow area that was added two years ago seems to grow every year. It would be a futile attempt trying to describe the size and diversity of this place. You just have to see it yourself. Unfortunately, it is obvious that the internet (ebay?) has taken a fair bite out of the business of selling parts in a live swapmeet, but still, there was plenty. And of course, there were CBXes. From a $1,600 basket case, which was so bad that we were wondering if it had $1,600 worth of parts on it, to a low miles, excellent condition '82 for $4,800.- One specific piece of interest was a rough '79 with black painted bodywork, a "handmade" exhaust and an alternator that had been rebuilt for $800.-, according to the seller's list of moneys invested. He obviously hasn't heard of Stefan Jung's alternator (or even Louis!). Maybe that's why he was asking an exorbitant price for the thing. As far as complete bikes offered, we all agreed that the pick of the litter was not a CBX, though. It was a 1980 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo in excellent condition. Very clean, no rust or blemishes anywhere and the seller asked $5,500. A deal, no argument here.

After a little lunch break back at our base camp with beer and bratwurst grilled on our own equipment, we rode the three CBXes across the bridge into the infield to the accessory vendors area. Some deals were found: dsz1's wife Barb picked a new riding jacket, dkrager found a steal on riding boots and ems secured a Schuberth concept helmet for 50% off retail. In addition, the usual souvenir t-shirts were acquired. While the three bikes had been parked at the side of the road at our base, they had already attracted many visitors, CBX people and others, but riding them through the crowd was, of course, something else. Almost everybody's neck seemed to turn to rubber, people stopped in their tracks, fingers pointed, faces smiled. Everywhere we stopped, taking a look at merchandise, the auction tent, small groups of people assembled to look and talk about the Sixes. Especially on the way back when we decided to take a break at the official concession stand and left the bikes illegally parked ( oh my!) at the side of the road, they drew quite a crowd. No matter how much new and exciting technology or old and rare equipment is out there, the CBX is still a major eye-catcher. Anybody who owns one has good reason to be proud of it! Trying to continue on our way back to camp, dsz1's pristine condition Candy Glory Red '79 demonstrated that CBXes are "Primadonnas". The starter started to act up. Diagnosing a stuck starter relays, dsz1 asked dkrager to take over the passenger load (his wife Barb) and "limped" back to our facility, heavily playing throttle and clutch. Arriving back there, he surprised everybody by pulling out a spare relay from his toolbox in the trailer.

It was now getting later in the afternoon and we prepared to leave for Ashland County Fairgrounds to take in some Vintage Flat Track racing. As this facility was located conveniently en route of our evening commute, there was no way we would have missed this. We had a great time watching the Flat Trackers as there was racing for position all over the track and not just for first place. Some of the best racing, if not the best of the night, was the show that the over 60 year old veterans put on. They were riding vintage 650's twins, most of them old Triumphs. Seeing a 71-year old racer barreling down the track sure would make you wish you'd be in the same shape and spirit when you reach that age. For some entertainment during the break between Heat races and Finals, the Triumph demo fleet had brought their Rocket IIIs and "raced" them on the track. Rider skill was visibly different as after only three laps, the eight bikes were spread over the whole track. Threats of severe thunderstorms and severe rain cut the evening short for us and we pulled out there by 9:00 p.m. to return to the sleeping quarters.

Returning on Saturday morning, we finished our tour of the swapmeet. Aside from the bikes we saw, there were not many CBX parts to be had. One vendor offered a bucket of take-off stuff from an ‘81 school bike. Valve cover, crash-bars, etc. and a front wheel with good condition brake rotors for which he was asking $150.-. he said he sold most of the stuff the day before, proof that you have to get into the swap-meet early. Dsz1 found another starter relays in the bucket and acquired it.

In the afternoon, we decided to watch some of the track activities, as we had a small grandstand right in front of our noses on the outside of turn 13. Unfortunately, the weather did not play and several light showers passing through, wetted the track just enough for the riders to take it really easy. Except, it seemed, for Jay Springsteen on an XR750TT and Gary Nixon on a BSA who were just running away from everybody else in their race. “Springer” had his motorhome parked right next to us and after we helped him catch his little Dachshund puppy, he insisted to have his picture taken with the CBXWORLD editorial staff.

We also saw “Dr. Tom’s” racing CBX in action for the first time, although the wet conditions prevented an exciting showing. Still, the sound of the exhaust going down the start/finish straight was clearly CBX. We decided to visit with his team in the garages. The bike is rather interesting. Front end is from a VFR1000, rear features a CalFab swingarm. Frame has been cut and modified to move the engine up and forward. Motor is completely stock and supposedly came out of a crashed bike. Only modifications are a set of 33mm smoothbore carbs. The bike retains its very specific looks and personality with the stock shape tank and tailpiece. The 6into1 exhaust is somewhat obscured by the AHRMA-regulation oil-catcher belly pan. Both Tom Marquardt and Wes Anderson seemed to have at least as much fun answering questions about the bike as they had working on it. Thanks to both for being so outgoing.

In the evening our camp turned into the hottest party spot in the whole facility. The AMA Field Reps and workers, the Vintage Goldwing Club and the CBXWORLD delegation all congregated for an informal BBQ put on by long-time friends and riding buddies of ems's, Keith Fletcher and his wife Norma. While Keith prepared the burgers, ems was enlisted to take care of the grill with the hot-dogs and he managed to do a decent job. There would have been no better place to be that evening: Friends, food, drink and motorcycle talk. “Can I ask you a question? – Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Mid-Ohio”The Field Of Dreams of any motorcyclist. Some of the Vintage Goldwings (1975-1979 models) caught dsz1’s wife Barb’s attention. One 1976 in particular, and he may have to make room in the garage in the near future. Considering the late hour, the weather and the fact that a few drinks were consumed, it was decided to take a car instead of the bikes home that night and back to the track on Sunday morning.

The last day, Sunday, brought an opportunity to wrap up some souvenir and equipment shopping. Also, a visit was made to the official “featured marque” exhibit, which this year, belonged to BMW. The manufacturer, with the support of the Vintage BMW Owners Club had put up quite a “museum”. Dkrager was amused to see that he, at that time, was riding a “museum piece” as a duplicate of ems’ 1990 red and yellow BMW K1 was featured also. Another attraction was an original bike in the crate, a 1930-something BMW R37, and remembering the discussion we had here on our web-site, we could not help laughing over the hypothetical question “How much would you pay for it?”

We did stop at the North American Triple Club (NAKTC) spot in the infield and said hello to YT, Owen and Killswitch on behalf of all the Triple fans at CBXWORLD. They had some really, really nice bikes on display. Unfortunately, none of us had a camera at that time. So, all you die-hards have to go to their site and wait for YT's report.

Finally, the afternoon brought some serious racing as now, the track was dry. Although finishing only 3rd in his class, Tom Marquardt’s CBX did a nice job keeping our attention focused on the race. One thing has to be said, though. The Harley Davidson XR750TTs, starting in a different class but sharing the track with the Superbike Heavyweights had no match. They were amazingly fast and were lapping most of the field. Wonder why the “Motor Company” has lost some of that expertise.

Slowly, but certainly, the end of the weekend approached. To say we had a good time is a vast understatement. It is hard to explain to someone who has never been there. The event and the activities touch and move you for reasons you just can’t fathom. “The memories are so thick, you have to brush them away from your faces.They built it and we came.” And we will come again!

This article was the result of a group effort of the CBX World editorial staff.

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