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RACE PROVEN RACE WINNING PERFORMANCE!

Building a Honda CB 350

Roebling road by F Melling Daytona on a Shoestring Daytona, FL,Mar 6, 2001





DAYTONA, FL, MAR. 6, 2001 (AHRMA)
Frank Melling places 8th in Formula 500 riding (67 Suzuki Cobra 500)
Eric Kalamaja places 10th in Formula 500 riding ( 71 GP T500)

The morning dawned early. the track opened at 7am and practice started promply at 8. Frank was no where to be seen and I still had to prep his bike, get race gas and have it ready for practice should he be here on time. Gas was nearly half a mile away on the other side of the track and my pit bike was immobilized to to lending a piston to Kevin Fletcher and Les Trotter for the Seeley Suzuki 500. So a long run and very winded upon return. I just barely got the bike ready and suited up for the first practice after two laps had been done already. This was really the first time I had ridden the bike on track and was pleasantly surprised at how much like a fourstroke it ran. Frank finally showed up for the second practice and out we went on both the bikes. I stayed well with him but never really gained any ground on him. Third practice and out we go again. Near the end of that practice Frank had pulled in and I figured that he was happy how the bike ran and called it quits to rest for the race. Not so. As we both came into the pits he informed me the bike had seized. What bad luck. We pulled the bike apart to determine the problem and found the left piston with a hole big enough to drive a truck through. On further inspection it was some grass the blew into the tank due to the high winds on refueling and clogged the main causing it to lean out and seize. As fortune would have it Kevin Fletcher who I had given a standard piston to had a 0.5 over piston for us and back we were in business with the help of Les Trotter and my Friend John Aylor from New Mexico. We were now ready for the race. Warm up lap and we are now gridded. Frank on the inside of row three and me on the outside of row five. Green flag drops and...the outside rider on row four wheelies falling off the seat still holding the throttle wide open. The back of his bike hits Frank nearly knocking him off the bike as the rider falls into the riders to his right. I narrowly missed them having to go into the grass to the right and off we go. We stayed in a tight pack coming into the International Horeshoe. As we neared the Horseshoe a rider on a Yamaha passed me with no where to go. He cut across in front of me going for a small hole in the pack and couldn't hold his line and ran into Frank nearly causing him to crash again. This caused the pack to go wide leaving the inside line for me to cruise through. Off we were with Frank getting tagged again in the Dog Legg. All was well until we got into lapped traffic on lapp 3 1/2 where I caught a rider in the chicane. I followed him into the chicane planning to pass him on the short straight. I had to wait till the exit thinking that he would hold a line to the center. He did not and came all the way to the left. Causing me to go into the grass and up on the banking. I was getting closer to Frank on the other Sundial Suzuki and passed him just over the start finish line. But he was much better on the brakes and passed me back going into turn one. There he stayed in front of me till the end. I had also passed my friend John Rickard as well but he also got his position back. I never learnt to hang back and pass on the last lap before the start finish line.
Maybe next time
.