I'd been putting Art Chamber's 1976ish bevel drive 900ss Ducati together for some time. Kenny would do something to the heads and we'd shim the desmo stuff in a few minutes. It's amazing at how fast you can do the shimming on bare heads after the 20th different valve train setup.

That's where we learned things like how to whetstone down high spots on desmo cam sets and why it's important to have OAL valve measurement jigs and a surface grinder with a fine pole magnetic table.

So - the story of how a debatably moderately talented AFM rider ended up dicing with AMA pro Richard Schlacter at Ontario Motor Speedway.

There we were, AFM 6 Hour Endurance Race - Most of the local fast guys and some AMA guys were there. We were sure we wouldn't win, but figured we'd have fun and maybe get lucky.....

Well, they start the race and I guess Art started and settled down into a respectable "non-pro AMA " pace - as in a couple of the "really, really fast guys" had, well, more lowend, midrange, topend power and a surplus of talent.....

So - Art's stint ends and I take off out of the pits.

The Ducs were different than the inline 4 Kaws and Suzukis. The Duc's didn't accelerate as well, as they made less power, however, they were more aerodynamic than the inlines. So - you could find yourself in a perpetual battle with an inline, as they would yank past you out the 1st gear last turn before the front straight, but, by the end of that long straight, you would have repassed them and lead them into T1 sweeper.
Until they repassed you, exiting a corner in the (confusing) infield. And you'd pass them back, too.

So - anyway, as my stint progresses, I'm doing my "pretty fast for an amateur AFM guy" pace and in the infield, I let off the gas and roll into a corner and Richard Schlacter, on a 900ss Ducati slithers by me. "Oh! That was cool, I should try to stay up with him for a corner or two."

Then, I thought about it..... it's not my bike, I can't afford to fix Ducati priced crash damage, we traveled all this way to race and  Art might be slightly bothered if I crashed trying to keep up with a "really, really, really fast" AMA racer......

So - I let him go and just hope that I can watch him for a bit as he pulls away.

I guess I'm about 50 ft behind him in that last 1st gear turn (T19) and expect to have him pull away up the straight.

But, that was not to be. At the start/finish line I must have had 5-7 mph on him and if I didn't change my ways, would repass him 3/4 of the way up the straight.


But - wait - If you know me well, you know that I'll often confuse "accomplishing a task" with "learning something".

 I make some quick mental notes.... taking advantage of the info that racers used to share (it was "us twin guys vs. the inlines") Richard's George Vincencio 900ss and I have almost the same bike, the same endurance slick tires, the same fork springs and the same rear shocks with the same damping and spring rates - and for the first time that I could remember, I had more power.

All I had to do was acc when he did, shift when he did and brake when he did. Yep! That's the ticket! I just have to do what he does and I'll keep up and learn!

I decided to follow Richard. I rolled off a bit and tucked in tightly. (Old inline guys remember that it was nearly impossible to draft a Duc back then).

Well....... How'd that work out?

So into T1. Maybe 150-155? Watching his hands and feet.

"Pre Richard", I "was", apparently(!) only rolling off the throttle, and downshifting a couple gears, making that 180 degree turn and dropping into the infield.
"With Richard", we went 30-40 feet deeper into T1 (which I did), grabbed 2 downshifts (which I did) and then, totally unexpectedly (to me), Richard aggressively rolled the throttle back on in 3rd (which I surprisingly did, too).

I'm guessing that everybody who has done high speed, 2 wheel drifts on a motorcycle, probably remembers the first time... I certainly do.

Tucked in, just to Richard's inside, we did an unforgettable, side by side drift all the was back up to the outside wall, then we both rolled off and dropped into the infield. Then I tucked in behind and in order to learn, followed him through the infield

Ok - who am I fooling..... I followed Richard, at about 104% of my proven skill level........ If it was Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist idea of a quarter's worth of attention, I would have taken out a 30 year student loan at loan shark interest rates and I'm still repaying.....  and I was just praying that I didn't make any mistakes that my extra power couldn't make up for on the front straight.

No mistakes in the infield. Go up the straight.

Apparently, they hadn't invented pit boards or blackboards and chalk yet - so, our pit crew was jumping up and down, waving their arms. Hmmmm...... I wonder what they mean? Awesome? Great job? You better not fall down? Idiot, slow down? I really had no clue, but I'm behind Richard Schlacter and 2 wheel drifts are almost orgasmic.

Into T1, side by side 2 wheel drift. This time, I figure I'll at least get up even with him in that 1st infield decreasing radius righthander. I knew that he'd pinch me off at the flick point, and he, very politely did. Thanks, Richard.

About 1/2 way through the infield, discretion overcame valor and I let Richard go - and got back to safe riding, so we could finish a race.

Next lap, the pit crew, still doing jumping jacks. Ok - I'm still not sure..... You want me to catch back up to Richard? Are you serious?? Next lap, they are still doing jumping jacks and I decided to ignore then for the rest of my stint.

I finally switch to reserve and come in and the other rider goes out. Then they all start congratulating me for my ride. I apologized that I could only hang with Richard for a lap and a half - "We don't care - look at your lap times".


I dropped 3-4 seconds that full lap with Richard and "Post Richard", (feeling like a slug), I only went about a second slower.

I have to finish this - very rough 1st draft - anybody have any comments?



November 2013

Well...... a postscript to my memorable "lap and a half".... entirely possible due to Facebook.
I retold that story on FB and Richard Schlacter was relayed the story from my point of view.

Richard remembered that race, too. While our bikes started out with the same endurance tires, they had switched to the sprint compound slicks during the race......... Had I have known that, I don't think I would have been so bodacious....... lol!