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Sears Point Raceway 04-14-02
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Where do I start. What a weekend!. If you have not read my first race report from Buttonwillow, maybe you should to get a better Idea of the big picture of events.
Click Here for the first race of the seaon at Buttonwillow.
Wink brings the race bike back Thursday afternoon, just in time to load up. I rode the bike down the street a little ways to see how it felt. It wheeled in the first three gears!!! I didn't try for 4th. It seemed to be everything I wanted, MORE POWER.
Friday : Kelly, Sue, Terry and I meet at the track about seven fifteen Friday morning to find the place a total disaster area! After almost getting the whole damn rig STUCK in the old pit area, and then some more fussing around we found the spot right next to the entrance way driveway and I backed the 55 foot rig up with only a foot or two to spare as the 250P crowd was already setting up their tents and equipment. There was just a moment or two of discussion about saving spaces but we worked it out and I think no one was too upset with having a rig the size we do you can understand my maneuverability and park options are limited. The area we were in was pretty small. BUT we saved space since we pitted 12 bikes in our pits.
Saturday : A horror!! Not nearly enough room!! Get paperwork! Get in line to tech! Thank you Kevin for the new rule so we can leave our equipment at the pits.
Practice was uneventful until the last practice, coming into eleven the bike would not pull past 12 grand, if I would have been positioned correctly I would have come in. Being out in the middle of the track I decided to go on. Exiting eleven the bike pulled fine into the chicane so I just figured I hit a head wind with the powerful motorcycle :-). I went TWO MORE LAPS clipping off my fastest three practice laps with a motor going south!! 2:14.9, 2:15.1, 2:15.9. When I came into pit lane I could here the notorious TICK TICK TICK of a major problem :-( . Last time we were on the full course my practice times were the same and I turned a 2:12.5 during 250 production, so I was feeling pretty good except I was now OUT for the weekend with TONS of money invested over the Winter AND a whole GANG of racers pitted under the shadow of the FunMover. I felt SO DOWN. :-(
I decided I was going to race whatever! I consulted Terry and Dave to see if their angel wings were still on, then called Kathy to ask THE FAVOR. Terry and Dave are angels and Kathy is my GODDESS :-). I called G&B Kawasaki in Petaluma and asked for my main man Rob Brown as I needed ONE MORE angel to make this thing happen. He had a 2000, 250 with about 10 thousand miles on it!!
Terry and I loaded the race bike headed for Petaluma and picked up the new street bike. We headed for the house where we "Pit Bulled" both bikes and started the process. This time I tried to help as much as possible because Terry's back is bad and he would not say so some times.
Started at 5:30 PM and at 9:30 PM we had a race bike!! This is what was left of the new bike. The motor, the frame, the swing arm and the pipes (Brand new shinny pipes bad omen).
EVERYTHING else came from the race bike, Tires, wheels, shocks, forks, tank, body work everything.
SUNDAY : Practice went as well as expected maybe better I get the STONE STOCK bike down into the 15's with a 2:15.5. My goal for this year was 2:11 or even a 2:10!! Not gonna happen this weekend. :-(
250SB : I was gridded 30th even though I finished 22nd at Buttonwillow. hmmmm. The start was the usual wild Oklahoma stampede into one, entering two a rider falls right in front of me! I had to "Drive" around the sliding body and was so lucky to get by and not hit someone else! Coming out of five and starting to drop into the Carrousel another rider decides to try out the tires stacked on the outside of six, it looked pretty hairy and I fixated on him for just a moment and lost my line and drive out of the carrousel into the straight to seven, damn! Two or three 250SB novices motor by me and as we start to brake for seven they REALLY park it!! They are three wide and nobody is around me that I could see, So my first thought is to follow the middle rider around and try for a late apex or exit pass.
The out side rider decides to get on the gas and motor on by the middle rider. The middle rider spooks and STANDS THE BIKE UP AND APPLYS THE BRAKES!! Not leaving one bike length for every 10 mph I was to close and tagged his rear wheel!! Down I go!! I just bump him and give him a push .. he does not fall. The crash was not bad we were going Mach Chicken Slow! The bad part was getting up and seeing 40 some motorcycle bearing down on me!!
CORNER WORKERS : Somehow they all clear me and the corner works (These people are SO under paid!!) pick the bike up as I am kicking at the air and say bad bad things!. MY first words to the corner worker were "ARE THEY GONNA RED FLAG THIS RACE?" Since the two other accidents looked bad and this one, the third one on the first lap. He said no they are ok and the race will go on. No chance for a quick pit to fix the broken foot peg and get back out :-(. The corner worker was SOOOO cool, he said no fluids leaking start it up and see if it will run. So I start it and she runs, a little flooded but ok. After removing my tech sticker from my helmet and bike, he said .. Park it, Take off your helmet and enjoy the race. I will let you go on the cool down lap. So I did.
Remember Kathy? My wife. She was up on turn three and only knows I did not come around on the first lap.
Kathy. Thank you so very much for your support!!.
NO foot peg!! I had removed all my spare parts from the trailer when we went to Fontana AMA races, The filleted race bike was at home in the garage!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! What do I do?
Of course LISA my girl with all the parts. She comes up with a left peg, we put it on the right side. I rush over to Tech and Tom Dorsey re-techs the bike making sure I calm down a little by asking me if I am ok for sure! These guys know that the adrenaline is running strong at this point :-). Back to the pits and John Anner shows up with Richard Rossi's right foot peg and we change them out. Thanks Richard! For whatever reason you had to leave I hope it was not serious.
NOW I relax for the 250P race.
250P : I am gridded 22 although I finished 19th at Buttonwillow, hmmmm .. ? I get a great start but when I let the clutch out no bodies home!! The stock bike is a pig, but hey I am an improved rider and I will just ride it harder ;-).
After I open my eyes after the start the first thing I see is Mike Norman and Adam Fernandez, NO NO I can't let them go!! . They are gone, no chance, I try and try and they fade into the sunset. :-( Then there's Mike Ritter and Jer, I am gaining on them!! "Gotta get Jer Gotta get Jer, rushes through my mind." Jer blows turn two BIG time and carries Ritter out and both go way wide, I get Ritter into three and out power (Read Carry more speed) over three "A" and out brake her into four!! I got her! I got her! I am thinking I am home free the weekend is not a waste! :-).
If this is your first read of my racing go back and start from the beginning because I want you all to understand "Jer" is not only a beautiful young woman, She is fast and furious and takes no prisoners! I am sure Jer was off her game this weekend and I hope the problem gets solved soon! You Go Girl!!
It's not over folks three laps to go!! Jack comes by in the carrousel!! Damn, and then Raghu comes by on the outside like I am a sitting duck!! Damn again, Wait Raghu!! He can't pass me AHHHHH !! So I get on Raghu's ass and push him in every turn he cannot get away but I cannot get by him either! I thought I was riding slow for Raghu to pass me
Raghu is riding like a champ and believe me I know because I had the catbird seat :-) Coming into eleven I out brake him big time! Great I am back by him done deal!!! We come out of the chicane and "Winks" motor and Raghu's smooth style and speed through the chicane motors right on by me past the start/finish and into one!! Same thing happens on the next lap, motors right on by me past the start/finish and into one!!
White Flag lap!!!
If this happens again Raghu beats me!!! I try and try to no avail to get by him BEFORE eleven and demoralize him :-) NO WAY Raghu is not making a mistake anywhere!! Soooooooo we come to eleven, I KNOW what Raghu is thinking, he knows what I am thinking!! No brakes no brakes the wall is coming up!! No brakes!! I say to myself Raghu if you don't get on the brakes we're gonna meet at the wall guy!! Finally he brakes and I shoot up the inside of him!! But in the process I did not go through eleven the way I would like, ... waiting until time stopped to brake! :-). Raghu Raghu Raghu!!! He does it! Out of the chicane he motors right by me beating the old fat man for the first time! GREAT RIDING Raghu!!!!!! You were awesome!! How close was it? My best time was actually faster with a 2:14:406 to Raghu's 2:14:643.
Why am I so excited? JEEES we were racing for 26th position man what do you mean!! :-) This is what racing means to me. This was the most fun I have had, ... dicing with Raghu! To see him get better and better then motor by me was not a downer for me but a GREAT upper!! Of course I want to win and do the best I can, guess what? ?. I was!
France : Great to have you with us. I think I saw a 2:17 in there somewhere; you are on my look out list :-)
Andy : Mr. Newbee, I DID see you pointing your finger at me coming out of 6 on the cool down lap! You are now officially on my look out list :-)
I just may have to relegate myself to the "Jack Walshe" position, a target for the newbes. :-) Get the old fat men and you are doing pretty good. :-). I would be proud to be Jacks partner and live with that position. :-)
Wink : maybe my bike failed but it looks like Terry did pretty good holding of Mic, and Raghu ... well what can I say. Wink drove up and down the mountain many many times trying to make sure everyone was happy even if it was scary ... as he is not on the same schedule as the rest of us :-)
We have a few really fast guys that pit with us but ride BIGGER bikes and are better riders, I just want to say HEY we are glad you are part of the group.
Kelly spend the whole weekend working on his TZ
Dale just went fast and didn't say much (For an engineer :-) )
Jon ..., Jon is our newbee who is so fast it's unbelieveable! While running third in the twins race he high sided the "TILLER" in turn 10 ... The fastest part of the race track!! He is fine as the photos show and will be back next time. Jon ..... YOUDAMAN!
Everybody else : What a gang!!!! Thanks for the support and friendship. There is nothing better.