The #27x bike in the "Class C-Hand Shift" class was
listed in the vintage racing program here at the Daytona
International Speedway as a "'71 Honda CB," which it
obviously wasn't. But its pilot, Ross Tuffli of Lowell,
Michigan, is better known in the American Historic
Racing Association (AHRMA) as the reigning champion of
the Production Lightweight class on his '71 Honda CB350
Twin, so that's what they typed on the entry sheet.
|Definitely not a CB350! Tuffli (left) and
Faber with their Harley racer, kind of a
Frankenstein’s monster with a ’39 WLDR motor and
’41 frame and fork. Photos: Rick
Tuffli's Daytona racebike was actually a
Harley-Davidson WLDR of various vintages. Builder and
bike sponsor Tom Faber of Faber Cycle & Machine of
Greenville, Michigan, explains: "We have an antique
motorcycle club in Grand Rapids, and the guys in the
club donated a lot of extra parts to put together a
racebike for Ross. He's been riding hand-jammer
flatheads for 25 years—the only Harley-Davidson he's
ever owned is a 1933 VLD flathead, and that's his
everyday bike. So we figured he was the perfect guy to
put on this bike. He was a little out of character on
the 350 Honda."
So how did the bike do? "This thing hadn't even seen
the pavement until we raced at Roebling and Savannah,"
said Faber, referring to the traditional pre-Daytona
warm-ups. "It took a fourth place and a fifth place, and
we're happy with the way things have gone. A couple of
pieces bailed out on us; we lost a bolt out of the
clutch pedal and didn't finish one race here (in
Daytona), but otherwise it did really good."
Ironically, it was the new stuff on the bike that
caused grief, not the 65-year-old parts. "At Roebling,
Ross got a fourth place and our front brake wasn't even
working," says Faber. "It was an aftermarket replacement
part. It just didn't work. We were worried that it would
lock up, so he just backed off the adjuster and hardly
used it all. He just used the rear brake, which is
dangerous. When we finished at Roebling, we went through
a swapmeet and found a used front brake—an original
Harley piece—and installed it."
Vintage racing: Behind the colorful machinery and
characters, it's as competitive and tough as racing can
be. This week's racing at Daytona proved it.