There's no better way to spend a weekend than taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of vintage motorcycles racing. From a outside perspective, we've watched the vintage road race scene gain more and more traction with organizations like WERA, and AHRMA These organizations have done the best they can to recreate the golden years of vintage road racing and we tip our hats to them. Walk through the pits of one of their vintage events and you'll feel like you hopped in a time machine and went back to the 60's-70s. With these events you tend to see a trend of motorcycles that participate like the Honda CB160, CB350, Triumph daytona, Ducati Desmo, but one bike you don't see often is a Honda CBX. We caught word of a local racer in the suburbs of Columbus, OH. who is the son of MRCBX, If you're into CBX's then chances are you know who we are talking about. Through a local vintage motorcycle facebook group we connected with Robby Ringnalda to get the story on how road racing a CBX came to light.
Let’s start with the basics, what’s your name and where do you reside?
Robby Ringnalda. Hilliard, OH.
Take us back to the beginning, where did your love for motorcycles start?
I got a 1980s z50 when I was 5 years old and have been riding ever since. The love really kicked up a notch when I flew out to Salt Lake city at 16 years old and road my new 1997 honda blackbird home.
What got you into road racing?
I got into road racing after I went to the dragon 8 years ago and was introduced as a racer by one of the locals because I was faster than most locals that went down to ride. I started track days on my black bird and after damaging the belly pan because I went low enough to do so i decided to buy a 2007 cbr600rr track specific bike and started doing track days.
How long have you been racing for?
I started racing 4 years ago on the cbr600rr which only lasted 2 races because i was convinced I needed a r6 to be competitive. I now race a 2017 r6 with ohlins all over and about every mod you can buy.
On top of racing modern super bikes, you also race a CBX. How did that come to light?
My dad wanted me to race "sweepings" because he was convinced vintage bikes are safer to race little does he know the vintage guys are just as fast and way more experienced!
Fill us in on the current CBX race bike (year, upgrades, etc.)
Well the bike, “Sweepings” was built by my dad and Geoff Smale, his buddy from the UK for the Vintage Days event in 2009. It's a 1979 CBX with a 1981 engine, they built it in 2 weeks and have been having fun with it since then periodically racing it. I raced it for the first time at Mid Ohio Vintage days in 2018, and we started preparing it to be more competitive in 2019. The bike now has more modern wheels and tires, a complete CBR F3 front end with traxxion dynamics front extended forks to improve ground clearance, better brakes. The rear has a CBR F2 wheel and ohlins rear shocks maxed out as tall as they can be. The key is to improve the bike but ensure it stays ‘legal’ for the Original Superbike Heavyweight class.
I have to imagine going from a modern super bike to the CBX took some getting used to. Was there a big learning curve when you first started on the CBX?
Not necessarily a big learning curve, I just have to be sure to separate the CBX and the modern bike. If I use my modern brake markers on the CBX I crash simple as that, it is also quite a pain right now because the CBX is standard shift and the modern bike is GP.
I can’t image there are many people road racing a CBX, I’m sure you leave some guys dumbfounded on the track when you pass them on a beefy 6cyl bike. Do you have get any looks or comments before or after the race about the CBX?
At laguna seca myself and Joby my CBX teammate and modern teammate plus best friend both took the hole shot, we were behind 9 new generation ducati twins making them all a little dumbfounded. Also, last year at barber I led 80 percent of the first lap causing a-lot of the pros to come over and find out who the kid on the big six was.
When it comes to racing in general, there is always the ups and downs. You had mentioned to us that earlier this year in Laguna you had a serious issue and ended up having to split the cases leading up to practice. Could you give the readers a run down of what happened? (Feel free to go into detail about the trip, getting out there, etc.)
That was a memorable trip in many ways. We had refreshed the engine, but never had a chance to start it before leaving for Laguna. Once we got there, we started the bike and discovered a huge oil leak, caused by a cracked seal on the final drive shaft. As the seal has a securing lip, the only way to change it is to split the cases, which is normally an engine out job. My dad made to decision to try to change this seal with the engine in the frame, just dropping the lower case about 5 mm to allow the new seal (sourced from 4 into1) to be fitted quickly. In the AM we lowered the case, our driver arrived with the new seal at 1:00pm, and at 4:00 I could go out to practice. Good job too because Saturday morning practice was cancelled because of fog! We had a blast for the rest of the weekend, which included letting Mark Morrow ride the big six around the iconic circuit; which he posted on his YouTube feed.
Anyone who has a passion for racing knows it’s extremely competitive on the track but in the pits it’s like a giant family. Do you have have any good pit stories where someone helped get you back on the track or vice versa?
Yes, at Barber last year we helped the TimsCBX race team out by loaning them a transmission to rebuild their bike. Then on Sunday they beat us in the race. It’s all good though! We had an Iconic CBX 1-2-3 finish at Carolina Motorsports Park last year. That was Eighteen cylinders on the podium!
What are some notable memories from your race career so far?
This year I got my first few wins and it was awesome mixing it up with experts. I am currently first overall in both circuits I race for modern and hope to get the expert bump next year. It was pretty memorable for me to race at roebling on stock cbx wheels because it was backing and fronting into all the turns sliding all over the place a real racers challenge.
Any future race plans, or is just track days until things open back up?
I am still racing wera this season but vintage racing doesn't start back up for me until next year.
Lastly, let the people know where they can find you (social media, website, etc.)
www.mrcbx.com and mrcbxstaff on Facebook we are mrcbxohio on Instagram.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and share this incredible bike with us, we hope to see you and the CBX on the track at Vintage Motorcycle Days next year!
Bike Photos by Zane Cook
Racing Photos by Etech Photo