When you’re good, you’re good. And Ron Wood is good. He’s been building winning flat-trackers for 30-plus years, so it should come as no surprise that his latest creation, powered by the inclined-Twin from BMW’s new F800, was right in the ballpark handling-wise, right off the workbench.
A shakedown run by a national-number rider at the Willow Springs dirt-track went like this.
Wood (to rider after 10 laps): “What’s she need?”
Wood: “Well, go out and burn off another 20 laps, ride it hard.”
Twenty laps later.
Rider: “We’re done. It’s good.”
A regional race in Tucson with a no-name rider in the saddle led to a DNQ, but last month against a field of mostly national riders on Harleys and Suzukis, the Wood-BMW finished fifth with up-and-comer Brandon Bergen doing the honors.
Next up was a bigger test at the Pomona “Pacific Coast Nationals” on November 10, Bergen again at the controls. First practice was promising, but one downshift too many pegged the tach and dropped a valve. Done for the day.
Right now, new cams are being ground. These, along with larger valves and a port job, should get the motor up to 100 hp. Wood is convinced that his bike is a top-five threat. Unfortunately, BMW has yet to green-light his sponsorship proposal for the 2008 AMA Grand National Series, and Wood is well past the point of needing to prove a point with his own money, so it’s up in the air if the Beemer dirt-tracker will see action next year. If not, that would be a pity.
Oh, yeah, if you read the print story in the December issue, the part where I was amazed that 70-year-old Wood in six months could have taken this bike from drawing board to the startline, doing virtually all the work himself on weekends and afterhours? Er, my bad. Ron just turned 80! And what did your granddad do last summer?