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Chapter 19

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Jan 14, 2012

Shifting Gears

Hello readers, It’s been 3 months since my last post and I haven’t done a darn thing to the 650 Triumph who’s rolling chassis is in my shop and who’s motor is (mostly) with the mechanic up the road.

What have I been doing all this time? Well very little on the 650 Triumph end, obviously, but I’ve not been idle. A whole bunch has happened in my personal live, including a major attitude-shift once I noticed turning 60 was not so bad as I always feared. I’m younger than I’ve been in years – my acupuncturist cured all my arthritic aches – My wife and I are more in love than when we were teenagers –  I’m working out, eating better and losing weight.

Why do I want to be in better shape? Well… do you remember what event triggered my being given permission to acquire this Triumph 650? That’s right. I pouted when my wife got to go to Copenhagen an I got the bike as a consolation. That was two and a half years ago. This October she went to Paris for 10 days and guess what I got? Permission to go racing!

That’s right. Racing, just like it was 1969.

Just a few miles up the road there is indoor flat track racing in a covered arena at the Salem Oregon Fairgrounds. My wife and I went to see if this might be a good idea and we discovered it was fantastic. Inexpensive to participate and it filled me with nostalgic joy which she could see on my face. I know a guy who’s been a professional flat track racer all his life and  on my next visit to the track he let me take a few laps on his 55hp Kawasaki 250 – back in the day, my Kawasaki 250 put out about 24hp – my, how times have changed…

Here’s some pictures of racing in Salem, my new bike (bought it today), the race bike we’re going to build and the whole story of how were going to turn the Triumph 650 street tracker project into a blistering-fast vintage 2-stroke track bike…

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Here’s me pulling on the leathers in my friend’s van before going out for some hot-laps:

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Here’s a picture of the indoor racetrack in Salem Oregon

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Here’s some of the riders queuing up for their turns to take practice laps:

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Here’s a picture of a bike we hope to build – A YZ490 Yamaha engine in a custom scratch-built frame:

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The first step in resurrecting my racing career is applying the new decal to the window:

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Meantime. I bought a $375 1973 Yamaha 250 to practice getting sideways on (fits the wife too: -)

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It ran when I bought it and it ran for about 2 minutes at my house… now I have even more hours of fun ahead : -)

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So… This tale of two Triumphs becomes hijacked into a story about building a Yamaha flat tracker? Not so fast… there won’t be any money to build the flat tracker until the 650 Triumph is finished, sorted out, licensed and sold. Tall order considering it’s taken more than two and a half years to get this far. Being realistic, this may never happen, we know. But… as I have mentioned earlier, my relationship with the mechanic up the up the road is repaired. My choice to do the right thing, offer myself to be of service (an AA thing to aid in releasing resentment) has benefited me greatly. He is a race bike builder who’s been there and knows what he’s doing. He is excited to be working on this racer project. He has asked me to bring the Triumph to him next Saturday so it can go on the lift and get finished. I trust this will happen and we can move to the next phase; building the race bike – but even as unexpected delays arise, I will have the new 250 to keep me entertained.

Will the next chapter be about assembling the 650 in the shop of the mechanic up the road? Check back and see : -)

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