Scott Vile on Vintage Motorcycle Racing

“Motorcycle Roadracing is the best time you can have with your leathers on. Motorcycle Roadracing is better than drugs, sex, or money. This is good, since you need to give up all three to do it.”

Robert Robillard

Vintage roadracing. I saw my first race at the Gunstock Ski resort in July of 1998. I had arrived a little late, which was ok since I was driving a car, and 99 percent of everyone else attending rode a bike, 80 percent of which were Harley Davidsons. By the time I paid the entrance fee and got to the track (a “road” prepared out of the interconnecting car paths through the resort), the first two races were over and the supervintage heavyweight class was running.

As the first wave of riders passed the finish/start line, the sound was deafening. These old bikes scream. There were two 750 Nortons in 1st and 2nd place, and a Triumph in 3rd. All the riders take a lap after the checkered flag and then the first three place winners stop in front of the grandstand to be interviewed by the Marshall. When they took off their helmets to be interviewed, that’s when it hit me:


And man were they having fun. They’d been riding bikes for years, some of them since they were in their teens. And I figured if these old guys could get these bikes running and racing, I could do it, too.

So during the fall of 2002 I purchased a 1972 Honda CB350, safety wired and tuned for vintage racing. It’s the bike that most racers start out with, as the engine is bulletproof and the geometry of the bike makes a good road holder. I also decided to start, as a winter 2002-03 project, to turn my recently rebuilt 1972 750cc Norton into a vintage racer. I originally purchased the Norton as a basket case cafe racer, and after restoration, I realized that it was not a good “road” bike, but would make the perfect vintage race bike.

After many engine modifications and safety wiring, the bike should be ready by March of 2003. Then it’s off to Vintage Roadracing School at the New Hampshire International Speedway at Loudon in May 2003. And yes, I do have all the leathers and safety equipment!

Spending time with some of the gentlemen who race has confirmed several of my suspicions about them. 1. They are all having constant mid-life crisis. 2. They all love the thrill and adrenalin rush of going too fast. 3. They love to work on older bikes, because they know how they work and want to keep them running. 4. Their families love them for doing it!

Scott Vile on Ink & Paper

Scott Vile on Bookmaking

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