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  #1  
Unread 04-26-2015, 08:29 AM
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Thanatos Thanatos is offline
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Default Laguna Seca

At the encouragement of tzeggy... a "blast from the past", more than 30 years ago. Was never "someone special", but... might have been confused as being "someone", before those two truculent step-sister bitch goddesses Fate and Karma devolved me back to NO ONE... This is not intended as patting myself on the back, but more as observations from one of the supporting cast that made up the rest of the field while the FAST GUYS put on their visual demonstrations of virtuosity.

Tzeggy thought that some here might enjoy reading about "what it was like" in relative prehistoric times, on the far side of the world from your own current reality. I had relayed a few experiences to him in our Email exchange as I was attempting to justify his adding me as a member to your site... Truth be known, it has been 20 years since I last rode a motorcycle... the ravages of time, disease and injury have taken their toll. But the smell of Castrol R in the air still evokes a Pavlovian response within me, an itch that I can no longer scratch...

I'll break this story up into several separate posts on the subject so as to give some background... a season of frustration, culminating at the AMA National at Laguna Seca. If you guys enjoy reading? Are entertained? I'll continue. But... feel free to tell me to shut up and take my tales elsewhere. This is your site, not mine... And this is 30 years past, not in the current time.

I had always had sponsorship, at least from when I had ordered my brand new TZ250-C. Guess I had shown sufficient potential competing with an archaic TD1-C against TZ250A and B current bikes that it prompted the dealer to lend a hand with the new in crate C bike... But... nothing like the investment of the newest sponsor: I walked into Steve's Yamaha with the #1 plate from the local club, I owned the DKG chassis with a TZ250-G motor in it, and I had a plan. Bob Work, head of the Yamaha Motor Canada factory team would "backdoor" me a TZ350-H motor, and lots of technical assistance. I needed money for upgrades to the DKG. Steve Folkstadt owned five dealerships, and had a checkbook in his big pockets. I left with a check to cover my laundry list of parts.



The DKG chassis'd bike was an instant success with the TZ350-H motor... it won a heat its first time out at a regional championship race at Westwood up in Canada, and would win every time out after that for the rest of the season, competing against TZ750s and 1000cc Superbikes. Weighing only 211 pounds (without fuel), it was a flyweight. And "tweaked", it produced a healthy wallop connected to the right wrist. It had been radar clocked at 173mph in the braking markers on the back section of my home track, and was 500 rpm faster at the end of the 3800 foot front straight. It gave me a hunger for truly front line machinery. I was already past 30 years old; a factory ride was out of the question. Besides, at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, I was not horse jockey sized like the other riders. But having been a middle distance runner earlier in life, and currently bicycling a minimum of 50 miles every day, I was in far better physical condition than the norm 30+ years ago...

Folkstadt was getting his money's worth from me. Newspaper ads. Television ads. Personal appearances at each of his five shops across the Portland metro area. Lots of promotional time in return for the check he had written... and an expectation of winning. Not just doing well, but WIN, every time out.

At the first race on the home track, winning meant that after being pushed off the track by another bike hitting me when he crashed, while I was lapping him, taking me off track at Turn One, a high speed decreasing radius bend... I squeezed the fuel tank so hard between my knees to keep from endowing the bike as it motocrossed across the wet grass at well over 100mph, almost up atop the berm and into the slough, that it popped a seam in the fuel tank. No time to leave the track, find someone on a Sunday afternoon and heli-arc the tank, then return to the track... we attempted the impossible. Drained the tank, pressed SuperGlue into the fractured weld, push it back together, then cover it with silicon seal. Let it all cure for a couple of hours, before the second heat. Fill it with fuel, and... hope. Who coulda thunk? The repair actually held, but... not the OTHER smaller leak that we had missed. No time for repairs as the 5 minute board was up. Duct tape a rag to the tank to cover the leak - a visible stream - like a diaper, conceal the rag with my right leg pulling up to the grid, and let's see how long we last. Won that heat race as well, beating the TZ750s, but the rag only stemmed the flow for a couple laps. The bulk of the race was ridden with a stream of premix flowing down from the fuel tank onto the right side footpeg, then to the pipe, and onto the rear tire. When I set the motorcycle lap record at P.I.R. as in the image below... it was running on my own self contained oil slick.



You can't really see it, but... the bike is slightly crossed up and the rear tire stepping out. It was not really the dirt racing experience that was coming to my aid, but more all of the winters that I had ridden street bikes on the ice and snow... And that is precisely what that bike felt like, as if it were riding on ice.

The winter following that season, I came in with another plan... My TZ250-E was getting very tired, even with all of the upgrades, including a G top end. It had been developed as far as I could take it, and the TZ250-H bikes were beyond its reasonable reach. I wanted a brand new TZ250-J. Folkstadt agreed to put up half, and my credit union would cover the other half. Upgrades to the bike would come out of my pocket - driving a forklift at a glass bottle factory.

I also wanted a TZ500-J, at the same time. The DKG had merely whetted my ache for horsepower and speed. Back in the early 1980s, 180mph was some very serious speed... especially on tracks that had never benefited from safety upgrades. But... "too much is never enough" was so very apropos when it came to horsepower and speed.

As for Folkstadt? He had more plans of his own, for me...

{to be continued}

Last edited by Thanatos : 04-26-2015 at 10:11 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 04-26-2015, 02:09 PM
170plus 170plus is offline
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More please.
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  #3  
Unread 04-26-2015, 05:25 PM
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Thanatos Thanatos is offline
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So... the TZ250-J was ordered, and I continued talking to a lumber broker for a national lumber company (that shall remain unnamed), as well as Hanna Carwash Systems (the parent company of Rub-A-Dub Carwashes), working to raise the money to fund the TZ500-J. Missed out with Hanna... they signed some actor guy by the name of PAUL FUCKING NEWMAN... cost then a shitload more money than I was asking for, and what they got was a bit more name recognition. I mean... really. AN ACTOR? Sheesh... Like an actor can race cars... The Friday afternoon handshake wasn't worth spit come Monday morning...

The TZ250-J arrived, sans fairing (as they ALL were sold in the USA at that time). Damn... forgot about that, as the past few TZs I had purchased new were sourced through Yamaha Motor Canada and Bob Work, specifically. But Stevie Baker had retired by that time, Bob Work no longer was dealing quite the way we had in the past, and... "that was then, this is now" applies in many moments, including bringing dreams to fruition.

When the crate holding the TZ250-J arrived, I excitedly headed to the shop in Aloha to open it up, pour pre-mix into the tank, check fluid levels, and... light it up. I didn't think much could happen to mess things up; I was only going to ride it a couple hundred feet in the parking lot, just to satisfy everyone's curiosity... then truck it home and strip it down every last nut and bolt and carefully reassemble it.

When I got back to the house, inner city residential area, could not resist lighting up the new bike one more time before stripping it every nut, bolt, pin and washer. Bump start, rev the engine, loft the front tire, run it up over 10,000 rpm in the short city block, tentatively touch the front brake lever ever so gently with a single fingertip, and...

Quicker than you can think oh, fuck me... the rock hard front slick locked, and the motorcycle was upside down, sliding down the wet pavement. Not even a couple hundred yards on this bike, barely an hour our of the crate, and... crashed already! There I was, wrapped around the bike to protect it from pavement rash, no helmet a short sleeve sweatshirt, and sweat pants. Not my finest moment. But escaped with only beveling the master cylinder cap on the right clip on. Flesh grows back. Metal costs money.

Tore the bike down, photographed everything... Kevin Cameron had not yet written up a tech report for Cycle Magazine... had it in my mind that perhaps I might beat him to the punch...



Then painted everything, reassembled, and got myself ready for the "maiden voyage" at the season opening club race.

And the sponsor? Wasn't happy with just the freshly painted, cleaner than from the crate TZ on his showroom floor...


Last edited by Thanatos : 04-26-2015 at 05:28 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 04-27-2015, 06:42 AM
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tzeggy14 tzeggy14 is offline
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.
This is good.
This is real good!
Thanks Steve!
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Check out the 350 page book I wrote a few years back covering every Yamaha TD,TR,TA and TZ made between 1959 and 1982 by clicking here:
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NOTE: There are now a handful of A5 sized copies available for sale once again. Email me at tzeggy14@yahoo.com.au Be quick!
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  #5  
Unread 04-27-2015, 06:50 AM
Bud Bud is offline
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We're enjoying your great stories. Keep them coming.

You would have spewed dropping your brand new TZ250J, on the street in front of your neighbours. They were pretty expensive compared to the outgoing TZ250/TZ350 A-G models as well weren't they?
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  #6  
Unread 04-27-2015, 05:06 PM
Peter Hinton Peter Hinton is offline
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Keep it coming please Steve. Great tale so far.
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  #7  
Unread 04-28-2015, 03:58 AM
170plus 170plus is offline
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Always wanted a 250J...it was the next new model when I realised I needed something better than a 250C with a 350B engine in it...couldn;t effort one, so it never happened.

At least you got the first crash out of the way! Something that was always a consideration around our way, when turning up with a new bike or new leathers...
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  #8  
Unread 04-28-2015, 07:12 PM
KMAN KMAN is offline
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Stop teasing us.keep the story coming.
Great old school pics to
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  #9  
Unread 04-29-2015, 06:51 AM
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tzeggy14 tzeggy14 is offline
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.
Quote:
Stop teasing us.keep the story coming.
lol!
Patience Kman, patience!
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Check out the 350 page book I wrote a few years back covering every Yamaha TD,TR,TA and TZ made between 1959 and 1982 by clicking here:
http://www.tz350.net/yamaha_two_stro...orcycle s.htm
.
NOTE: There are now a handful of A5 sized copies available for sale once again. Email me at tzeggy14@yahoo.com.au Be quick!

Last edited by tzeggy14 : 04-29-2015 at 06:53 AM.
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  #10  
Unread 04-30-2015, 05:39 PM
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Thanatos Thanatos is offline
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There I was, typing away... a LOOONG post, and... the frogging computer developed a case of diarrhea and ALL that verbiage went off to the cyber Netherworld. Don't you just hate it when the computer crashes???

Of course... being ever so prepared, of course I was creating it in a Word program, to be cut'n'paste here when I was finished, right?

Not so fortuitous.

{sigh}

Over being pissed off... will start typing it out... again.

But then... this story is about a season of frustration leading up to a specific moment, so... guess it all fits together in some way that pleases those two truculent step sister bitch goddesses, Fate and Karma.

Last edited by Thanatos : 04-30-2015 at 07:50 PM.
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