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Chilly’s Blog – Racing Mx on the ’92 KTM
The great thing about having my own website is that I can write my own press releases. Now let’s see, as long as no one actually looks at the race results, I should be able to convince everyone how fast I am!
As you can see in the our other race story, I wanted to go watch the two stroke racing at Glen Helen. With such a great line up of riders and bikes, it was a day well spent. But it is hard for me to go to a race and not compete, so I pulled the old bike out of the garage and gave it a good cleaning a few days before the race, with the idea of actually competing on it.
I have not had the 1992 KTM 250exc out for about 8 months, so it needed a full carb clean and once over. I mounted up a late model 19″ wheel on the back for moto. With everything ready I took it along to Pala Mx last week while testing the 350xc-f. I have ridden the old 250exc on the track a couple of times, just to see how she felt, but I have not actually raced a motocross with her. As it turned out, I had such a blast at practice, that I spent more time riding the old bike than I did on the new 350xc-f.
After making a few jetting adjustments, the old bike was feeling pretty good. Not good for an old bike, but just good overall. After a couple of laps I was clearing everything on the vet track. My lap times were not bad either. I felt good, but more important I felt safe on the bike. It doesn’t do anything bad, even if I hit something wrong or a little too hard. Let’s go race!
I tell people how good this bike is and they always politely agree with me, but I can tell they don’t actually believe. It really is a very good motorcycle. Yes, it has a lot of special, one of a kind, attention from when we built it for the Mexican 1000 and I would not want to have to pay the retail price of doing all that work again. Externally it looks nearly stock, a great sleeper she is.
With an afternoon of moto practice and getting everything dialed in, I felt ready to go and race some real moto. The Glen Helen course has two very distinct elements. The first is that the design never has any “do or die” jumps, everything is very safe for all levels of riders. Second, you can always count on the course getting very, very rough. One lap around Glen Helen is a real work out, there is never any let up.
I decided to enter two classes, four motos, to get a full day of racing in. So I signed up for Open intermediate and Senior Intermediate. I got a couple of laps of practice in and the bike felt very good. The rough terrain is perfect for me, nothing more than a good off road race would have. The jumps were fine, but I couldn’t do the larger ones, just had to roll them.
In the first open moto I got a great start. I struggled with my overall speed. It still took me most of the moto to learn a really good line around the track. I was still working my way up to some of the jumps and rough spots. But my biggest issue was corner speed. The exc is sprung a little soft for off road and it rides low in the back. On the flat or rutted corners I had trouble holding a line and keeping the front end under me. I felt woefully slow. I would struggle with this all day.
On the good side, I was really fast on the rough straights. The hill climbs were mixed. On the shorter one, I got excellent drive and made a number of passes while climbing. On the bigger climb, I found myself stuck between gears. My choice was to either over rev the motor, or shift and abuse the clutch to the top.
By the Senior first moto, I had the track figured out and was up to full speed, my full speed anyway. I felt good. I was really kind of riding around in the back of the pack, but I made a few passes and turned a few heads. As the day went on, I felt better and better. By the final moto I put together my best laps of the day. I didn’t win anything, but I guess I passed a few guys and had a great time racing.
In the open class I finished 4th. In the senior class, they somehow ended up scoring me with the experts, not the intermediates. Want to guess how I finished against the experts? Yes, last place it was. I think I would have been second or third with the intermediates. I have to give a hand to Sean Finley of Digital Throttle who won the Int. class, he was flying right along.
Overall it was a great day of racing and everyone had lots of fun. I didn’t fall or break the bike, so it was a good day for me. I have a few sore muscles today, but it was good training for me. We have a 100 miler in the desert this coming weekend and I should be already to go again by Sunday – Chilly