Hurtle Goes Racing - Part 2: Getting Some Pieces Together
Author: Dave Roberts Date Posted:22 July 2015
Having committed myself to the season’s racing, I had to start getting details into place. The form of racing was chosen because I figured I have very little experience and skill, so a format that encourages me to learn was a necessity. In Western Australia, the Historic Competition Motorcycle Club has a reputation as a friendly and helpful bunch who take racing seriously enough, but who would rather work with the newbies to get more people into the sport, than just make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed.
The bike was chosen, let’s face it, not because it is the quickest, or that it’s going to win races, but because I’m a Ducati tragic, and this looks like fun and sounds gorgeous. The bonus in my mind is that I’m more likely to learn on something that’s quick enough, but where I’m not approaching the end of the long straight at 300km/h, petrified and focused more on not dying than on sorting out my technique.
I’ve got myself sorted out with a membership to the HCMC. Got lost trying to find the clubhouse, but nothing that couldn’t be sorted. Bought myself a set of leathers. It’s not my main thing but I found them at a great price on a forum. These were bought from a guy who had bought them second hand. Maybe next year I won’t be doing so much and I can get some beautiful new ones, but they’re sound and they fit me OK, so saving the money is worth doing.
Taking the bike off the trailer, it seemed that the best way forward was to ride it for a moment, get to know it. After all, only weeks from bringing it home I expect to be wringing it’s neck at a track. Best we have some familiarity.
Turns out that’s a good move. Either the day we loaded it or the day I rode it first, I broke a throttle cable. The trip to work on it was pretty unexciting, given I’m now out and about on a 250 single. Just the same, the trips were enough to give me the clarity that this is a nice, tight package. After the station wagon bike (which is great but a bit of a barge), this is light, tight and pretty sharp. And it’s got Brembo Brakes. The good news is that there are spares in a box that was handed to me with the bike, so we’ll replace them and be set to go.
Also a matter which has turned up instantly, there’s an oil leak coming from the Clutch cover. The bike’s 30 years old, so it took a little looking to find a replacement part. There’s a name that’s been pretty prominent in Ducati circles for the 30 years I’ve lusted after them, and it turns out a call to Gowanloch’s was worth making. Not only were they helpful, but they had the parts I needed and they dispatched them quickly.
Time to find some positives. When I agreed to buy the bike, I was appalled at how heavy the clutch was. The internet’s pretty cool, and anything I read suggested that this is just what you get. On getting the bike home and on the road, I found that the problem in my case was probably related to a “shorty” lever, and that it had been cobbled together at the lever end rather than adjusted at the motor end. Another call to Gowanloch’s, an hour of grumbling, and we’re up and running.
Checking the crash knobs - will the engine touch down?