Hey...I bet Chris's bike has got the suspension setup just right for him, good tires, good brakes. I've seen his work, he's not riding a piece of crap regardless of what it looks like. He knows what he's doing and never struck me as someone that compromises much.
Look at the guys that win consistantly, Roper's Aero, Turks Bulto, Yanerilla's MT, Evan's Hondas, Nichols Triumph, Pritchards Ducs, Pete T's Ducs, all bikes in excellent tune, excellent shape, with all the right parts on them. Yeah a great rider can win on a pretty crappy bike....but a great rider on crap won't beat a great rider on a good bike.
Rider skillz will change with time, can be improved, honed, altered. A skilled craftsman knows good tools can improve his work, same with bikes...if you are fast on crap...you can be faster on something good. I see several guys right now that are good, but I know would be considerably faster on a well tuned, well setup bike. Guys like Steve Baker, our own Tim T., Tex, Hirko to name a few. Guys that are pushing their present setups close to the limit. Guys that if you could shave 40 lbs off their bikes and setup the suspension just right, and give them all the brake they can use...well they'd be quite a bit faster....yeah, most of us would with those changes...but some could step right in and really USE the changes.
Anyway....I find it frustrating sometimes looking around at some of the riders and seeing the innate skill that a lot of USCRA riders have but can not fully explore because of the lack of top notch equipment.
A good example once again is what Zack did on Mary's bike in 200gp. Zack is very fast, I put him on a bike that while not exotic, was very well setup, very balanced, with no real weaknesses. Very light, stable, tractable. Good suspension, good tires, decent power. He thrased it to what I'm sure is a new 200gp track record at Loudon. That's what can be done with both good rider AND a good bike.
Basically what I'm saying is a lot of you guys short change yourselves. A lot of you are BETTER than your bikes are, a lot of you could drop seconds by just getting anal and precise about your bikes. I think guys like Evil can tell you just how much a decent bike can improve your overall skills and confidence.
Old timers love to say...hey it's all the rider... course they say that, makes them heros, gives them all the credit. I'm kind of an old timer and I'd never say that. I think I'm pretty good as a rider...but I can tell you straight out, the main reason for my success is my bike, it's a freakin killer bike, just plain tons of time and money...the BIKE is what has put me on the podium more often than my own skill. I know for a fact Zack could get on my bike and drop 2 seconds a lap off my times.
Gotta be honest with yourself if you want to improve. And that means if you really feel you can go faster than the bike is allowing you....you probably can. Most of these vintage bikes are being run way over their design limits...it's quite possible that you've reached the point where you are exceeding the limits of your bike.
It's also possible you're just an average rider...which is also absolutely fine...but you gotta reach down and be honest about what you feel is holding you back.