In the News: AHRMA at Barbers PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Tuesday, 29 July 2008

In the News: AHRMA at Barbers, October, 2004.

Article by Dave Sheckler            

Rain clouded our visions of sunshine and the sounds of thunder other than the that heard from above.  It was mid morning when hopes of competition became real as the skies gave way to sunshine.  All fluids and fuel are checked and filled.  A pre-inspection of the machine, as rigorous as the pre-flight of an aircraft, is performed.

A quick bump start with rider ready to go brings the 1939 R51 to life.  With Schleicher road race cams, 9:1 Arias pistons, 28 mm del Ortos, and a four pound flywheel the engine can barely maintain a steady idle.  This bike was made to be switched on or off, full gas or brake,  pick one.  This engine was built to run up to 8,000 rpm, and it likes it!  The horizontally opposed twin brings a sound like no other, casting what seems like heavenly tones.  Last call to the track brings seasoned veterans like Norbert Nickel and Rolf Auer to the ready.  All bikes in formation and ready for a flag are accompanied with convoluted sounds of different machines raring and ready to go.  The flag is waived and they’re off.  Motion seems as if time were slowed perhaps not to the spectator but for the rider.

The “zone” is as near as every motion, every movement is planned and carefully calculated to a science.  The hips are rocked to the right as the first long turn is approached.  With fuel tank nestled gently in the crook of the knee, the opposite is stretched and laid to the ground.  Gentle input of throttle gives way to greater lean.  At a speed of nearly 100 mph a blind hill is approaching.  A repair in the track is the only marker of where to go.  The Apex is reached and vision is regained followed by a quick but smooth downshift to second.  A hard lean to the left with gentle throttle completes what seams to be a 180 degree turn rolled out with plenty of throttle.  This track in particular has been designed extremely well in regards to smooth wide surface, but most importantly, to tantalize, as well as trick the rider.  This gives way to the series of turns that lie just ahead.  A quick jog to the right then left and right again.  WHOA!  It seems like too much but at a closer look, just as some ancient genius said, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” The coming series of turns is taken straight and down rocketing the rider to a tight but smooth right, a few gentle lefts and more rights leading to the final puzzle just ahead.  A long turn to the right in which speed is critical just to find a very sharp heading, correction to the right again and finally to the left much like a Z shape brings way to the final destination, the long straight away where we started.  Throttle precision, acute braking and lively reflexes are all key to successfully competing in what could be the most exhilarating sport on the planet…..Racing at Barbers Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama.

Dave Sheckler



Above, David Percival (left) and  Tony Bakker (center) look on as Norbert Nickel sumps the tank during a make ready inspection just prior to a race. The bike is a modified 1938 R51, a 500 cc machine. Below, David Percival and Rolf Auer spend some idle time between races.



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 July 2008 )
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