Eric Kalamaja's Suzuki 500

Date: Sat, 17 May 1997
From: "Eric F. Kalamaja"
Reply-To: [email protected]
Organization: Sundial Moto Sports
Subject: Another T500 Photo

Hello Murray,

Here is one from Daytona 96 3 days after I crashed it at Roebling Road, Savannah, Georgia at 110 miles an hour in practice after one of the british bikes blew up and the rider went all the way around the track to pit out. Depositing oil in all the corners on his way. He never heard the end of it at that race and Daytona as he was used for an example. Several bikes went down that practice, no major injuries but alot of made people and messed up bikes. the Norton that was passing me on the outside also was taken down by me and for some reason held a grudge against me the whole day long. And he raced the next day. I couldn't even move my throttle hand or left ankle. My bike was a mess; no seat, no windscreen, no brake lever, right exhaust tailsection smashed, dents all over the tank. My helmet was destroyed as were my gloves and my new AGV prexport boot were very well broken in.

With the help of my friends, some beer and lots of aspirin I was ready for Daytona 3 days later.

Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998
From: Eric Kalamaja
Organization: Sundial Moto Sports
To: [email protected]
Subject: Hello

Hi Murray,

Long time it's been since I have written you. My T500 Vintage Racer in a modified RD400 frame is coming along just fine. Hope to send you some pics of how it looks soon. Because Daytona is not far off and all I have at the moment is pieces. But I work well under pressure.

Couple of things to note: The letter from the guy in Texas on the cost of pipes from John at Jemco Pipes is $350.00 US not $250.00 and theses pipes are well made. I ordered a set and got them in a week. Built from scratch. From experience they work well. Gregg Bonelli won with a set on his street based T500 in Formula 500 at Daytona last year with a real TR500 just behind him in second. They are also on the one in my picture.

I'm going no nonsense on mine for the wins this year. Wish me luck.

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998
From: Eric Kalamaja
Organization: Sundial Moto Sports
To: [email protected]
Subject: my new bike


I just finished my new project and have raced it at Daytona placing 13th of 35 bikes out there. My best finish so far at Daytona and this without having sorted the bike out before I raced due to lack of time. It was done at 2am in the morning of my first race at Roebling Road in Georgia the friday before Daytona. We had departed Orlando Florida at 4am and arrived at the track by 11:30am with half a practice day left. The bike ran well though a little rich and the gearing was not correct. After having set things up fairly well considering the time and specs available all was going well when going down the straight to turn one the bike quit and the rear wheel slightly locked, I managed to pull the clutch in and coast to a stop figuring the bike was toast. Upon returning to the pits and further checking it turned out to be a ground on my new Motoplat, whew! Couldn't afford to lose that! the race the next day on the starts were great as I got about six wheelies on the start and at least fifth of 20 bikes going into turn one. But was soon passed up as the brakes and carbeuration was not very linear and the bike would shut down under 6,000rpm. Gotta work on those carbs. Brake master cyl was not compatible with the calipers and had to pull it halfway before brakes would catch. Lots of chatter too so some suspension tunning is in order. But it was much faster than my old bike and turns in quicker and no hinge in the middle feeling either. In the RD400 frame the bike now has a wheelbase of 54 to 55 inches depending on gear selection.

In the Daytona race I cracked a head severely during the race with no noticeable loss of power and no sign of seizure. I replaced those with less severely milled heads for the next days race. With lower compression the bike was faster and pulling Ducati 750s. But alas due to the bad carberuation and brakes and having to rely on the engine for braking going into turns at 7,000rpm to be able to pull out well I broke something in the motor. the bike still will idle and rev but is quite noisy. Maybe a bearing. I run the pump on the second notch and use 32:1 in the tank. Will let you know what went wrong when I take the motor apart.

Here is a picture of me at Roebling Road, Georgia on the new bike. I am doing a "How to" book on it for MOTORCYCLE SHOPPER MAGAZINE.(Ed. I hope a copy comes our way)


Eric Kalamaja
Sundial Moto Sports

Copyright reserved: M Barnard 1997 and Eric Kalamaja

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