Roebling Road, GA is 2.02 miles of throttle twisting, brake burning petrol head loving asphalt just begging to be ridden. It has 6 corners and is run in a clockwise direction. Located in quiet area nestled between trees and acreage thats home to all kinds of wildlife, it’s a unique in that it is open only to the participants and their guests. It has an air conditioned registration build with a 3-store timing and scoring tower along with a covered tech inspection area. (Thank God! That heat can be brutal!) It also sports full concessions, camping and hook-ups and hot shower facilities. In other words, it’s a racers dream!
The track was designed by John Rueter and held its first Sports Car Club of America event June 11–12, 1960. The track was financed by and named after SCCA supporter Robert Roebling, great-grandson of John A. Roebling and hosts events more than 300 days a year. Everyone from pro-teams renting the track to test their latest creations to media groups calls this track home on a regular basis. It’s also a major destination for SCCA racers as well as the BMW Car Owners Club of America, the Porsche Club of America, the North American Sports Car Association, and the Vintage Drivers Club of America.
Our racers weekend started with an early morning rise as the westward sweeping wind rocked the trailer they were hunkered down in for the night. After wiping the sleep from their eyes they noticed the extra blankets they’d pulled out from their bags automatically during the night and upon looking out the window, they understood why. Frost and ice was all over everything. What a nice awakening for our two sun loving Florida boys, right?
Once their bones were warm and bellies full of hot coffee they got to setting up the DCC paddock area that they would call home for the weekend. Front and center was Scott Turners 2013 Championship winning CB350 along with Martin’s virgin CB175 and “last-minute” Thruxton-cup speed machine. At the back of the tent was Scott’s trusty B-bike, a stout little CB350 that serves as backup for his A-bike and has never let him down. A bit of a motley crew, but in the end they delivered!
The weekend started early with practice all day on Friday. Scott noted that the track felt really good. It had been some 15 years since he’d been to Roebling and from what he could remember, not only was the track in better condition, the track managers (who were new) had a much better handle on how things went throughout the weekend. As far as his times Scott was pulling consistent 130′s and 131′s and felt very confident he could shave another 2 seconds off his lap time on race day. Being more of a relaxed rider (note his videos where takes a hand off the bars on the straight aways!) Scott prefers to take it easy during practice and use it as a time to identify lines and find the places he and his little lionhearted 350 can pick up the extra corner speed they need to pass his competition.
For Martin it was a very similar situation, have only been to Roebling 14 years ago for a half day he really had no idea what to expect. Running two bikes this race, first up was the virgin 175. Martin quickly realized that Roebling was a track that allowed for very high corner speed with it’s long flowing corners. What this meant for his little 175 is that he needed to find his markers and stick to them staying on the throttle interrupting inertia as little as possible in order to keep his laps times in check. He noted that find the right markers was key to being able to pull ahead.
On the Thruxton though, it was a totally different story. The 400lb behemoth rev’d much faster than he had expected and based on the track layout he was able to build serious corner speed quickly and on the straits crack past the TON. Unfortunately though, do to some issues with suspension and steering keeping the bike in check on the track was less than safe or easy. At one point another rider actually shouted in the pits “Hey man, how the hell are you keeping that thing on the track and finishing as fast as you are!”
With a few practice laps under their boots and their tires broken in and melded to Roebling’s beaten and charred surface it was time to re-treat to the DCC tent, setup the Christmas lights and tell stories of past races and future exploits to be had with friends and family from all over.
Saturday came all too quick and within what seemed to be faster than Mike the Bikes’ fastest recorded lap time at Daytona, Turner was on the track in the 350 Sportsman class. Other notable riders such as Mike Mathews from Team Hansen also turned out and joined Scott on the track for a terrific day of racing. At the end of his first race Scott road away to the pits with a successful 2nd place win and was right on target with his practice estimate of being able to shave 2 seconds during the race.
In his Sportsman 500 class race he pulled third place which is quite impressive considering he was jockeying for positions with rides the likes of Dave Rutherford on his legendary BSA B50 and AMA Pro Racer and Endurance champion Brad Phillips on his powerful BMW 500. For Scott Turn 4 was by far his favorite on the track and after running it a few times he found a groove that harmonized with his 350+cc speed machine so well to the point that he was actually able to build up enough overall track speed to pass Rutherford on his B50 while coming onto the straight away. Unfortunately, Rutherford got the upper hand when Scott got held up by a lapper and the old Beezer smiled and sang “God save the queen!” through it’s exhaust as Rutherford passed by taking second place leaving Scott with a still well accomplished third considering the competition.
For Martin he noted that the Lemans 160/175 race was just plain. “To start like that with a run up on your bike to just push it an go man, wow! So cool!” Apparently “cool” works for Martin because he finished the race in 1st place! Not too shabby for the virgin run on the little blue 175 that could. After talking with him it was clear that it all stemmed from picking the right lines on practice day. He a magic line too that allowed his little 175 to pull ahead of everyone in very short distance leaving a nice gap between him and the second place winner. Way to go Martin!
Up next was his 200GP race (you must race in 200GP in order to run in 175 Lemans) and he was up against two strokes, we’re talking legitimate track-bred wallet busting “out the back door of the manufacturers” race machines as well as 350′s against his little stock CB175. All things accounted for, the rider prevails – he actually placed 6th and while not a podium stand, considering what he was riding was pretty impressive. But that’s nothing, wait till you hear what he did in 200GP on the second day!
We caught up with veteran racer and motorcycle test rider Neale Bayly to ask him what he had to say about this track and our guys odds on these vintage and modern classics machines and here’s what he had to say:
“I love RR….it’s a real rider’s track. Fast, flowing, with plenty of grip and a super smooth surface. To put a good fast lap in, you have to get it all right from the moment you enter turn one. A turn you enter at extremely high speed. From here you barely use the brakes, except lightly brushing them to settle the bike in a couple of turns, and this is what makes the track so much fun. Possibly my favorite racetrack.”
Next up was his Thruxton Cup race and like with practice he had to hold on for dear life and in Martin’s own words “develop an on-the-fly riding style” just so he could keep the bike on the track and hold a decent position. Again, tweaks were needed that couldn’t be done outside the workshop but despite that Martin adapted and was able to pull 4th place. Pretty good for a stock bike and his first race against guys with fully built machines with a full season under their belt.
To take fourth he had to fight with not only the instability of the bike but the fact that the gearing wasn’t properly setup and the bike rev’d far to quickly. He was held up by another class on the track, Vintage Super bike and finally, after 5 turns of ok lines but a slower rider in front, he took the chance and made a squirrely pass coming into the straight away. It was there that the torque and British grunt of the Thruxton made the difference and allowed up him keep that four place spot. Go Triumph!
The second day for both Scott and Martin was a success for Scott taking 2nd again in 350 Sportsman and 2nd in Sportsman 500. For Martin he pulled out all the stops and took 1st again in 175 Lemans, pulled an amazing 3rd in 200GP and held on to the 4th spot on his less-than-perfect-put-together-at-the-last-minute Thruxton.
All in all the weekend was a huge success and DCC is proud to be associated with these two individuals. We look forward to the rest of the season and hope to see you all at the track! Remember, anyone can race it doesn’t’ require the finances of a king or the speed of a custom Ducati. It’s all about just having fun and meeting new people and adding to the two wheels culture we all love, motorcycling.
For the full photo gallery follow [this link] to Facebook and be sure to stay plugged in as we’ll be heading to NOLA at the end of March for the second race in the season!