Saturday, June 4, 2022

4th of July Coming


So, with less than a month left to prep the Beast replica for the yearly 4th of July drag racing extravaganza, I finally finished addressing the most prominent of the teething pains that were revealed last year. That would be my inability to get my feet onto the pegs in time to hit second gear.  It really tends to slow you down when the force of the launch sends your legs into a lay down position and you need to pull them all the way back to the sit up position to shift. By the time my feet were on the pegs, it felt like I had almost slowed to a stop (slight exaggeration but you get the idea).  Whether the culprit behind such unplanned acrobatics was old age or seating position, the solution seemed clear enough: convert the bike from sit-up to lay-down riding position.  And so, I did. The job was slightly complicated by my being unwilling to do any welding on what was last year a freshly painted frame.  

No air shifters for us

And a rear brake may come in handy at some point


I must say that a task like this is much easier with all the equipment I have now, that I didn’t have back when I took racing way to seriously.  Now I have a lathe.  Now I have a mill.  Now I have a TIG welder.  And now I have a band saw. 

That last little item, the band saw, brings back memories of days gone by though.  I distinctly recall somewhere around 1990, after Jimmy Cee and I had teamed up with the high expectation of conquering the AMRA Top Gas class with a supercharged Knuck.  But before we could do that, I needed to sell my old Pro Stock bike to help finance the transition.  About that same time, Jimmy brought on board a young friend of his that went by the name Pup.  Yeah, that was his “biker name” and it fit him well; still wet behind the ears, and I’d guess he had yet to see 20 summers.  I couldn’t honestly claim that I had socks older than him, but it was pretty dog-gone close. 

In any case, as part of plan, we would revamp the Pro Stock bike, put a Shovel top end on it (you just can’t go selling dual carb Knuck heads when you’re certified Knucklehead fanatics) and some cosmetic changes as well.  One of the things I did to “pretty things up” was to rework the fiberglass rear fender so that it filled in the area between the seat and the fender.  That meant it would need new fender struts, and guess who was the low man on the totem pole tasked with cutting the struts out from plate aluminum.  That’s right. Pup.  Remember that what I said about a band saw earlier?  Didn’t have one then.  What I did have was a coping saw.  Now, I’m pretty sure that a coping saw is a woodworking tool never meant to cut aluminum plate.  But Pup, God bless him, was so eager to be part of the team that he cut out those struts with an amazingly small amount of griping on his part, thus proving himself to be a valuable asset to the team. 

Seriously, a coping saw

The Pup's handiwork -the struts, I mean

Too bad the tank shell didn't make it into this pic

Well, Pup is still known as Pup to his old friends, though he grew up to be a bit of a bulldog (I say that with the greatest respect).  Another of those unforgettable characters brought into one’s life through the magic of drag racing. Hoping to see Pup, Jimmy Cee, and YOU at the 2022 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion!