I got to the track late Thursday night with AJ & the Kid. They both started racing weekend 1, but that entire weekend was a PITA for me due to bike issues, so I never did a writeup. Perhaps I should have, considering the cause for my problems was a family of mice in my airbox. Suppose it makes a funny story, but I was too annoyed at the time to see the humor.
So, back to weekend #2 – AJ, Kid and I show up at the track late Thursday night. It’s spitting rain, so AJ decides to grab a spot in my garage. The rest of the garage is OK with it, so he’s in. Sweet. Joe was kind enough to let me crash out in his B tramper, since mine still isn’t ready. That was awesome of him, and it made my weekend far more enjoyable – although with the end result of the weekend I would have had fun if I had to sleep outside, in the bed of a truck, in the rain.
Friday morning I breeze through tech, as usual, and head out for practice one. The evil gremlins that had been haunting my bike are STILL there! I could not have been any angrier had the world cancelled beef jerky, and trust me, that’s not a me you want to be around. I tore the bike apart again, and got some input from Dana on what the problems could be. One of the things he suggested was to look at the end caps on the spark plug wires. He also said he’d come by and look at it if he could, so I’m hoping he can figure it out. At some point AJ picks up my carb cleaner.
AJ: “Dude, you cleaned your carbs how many times with this?”
Me: “Like 5″
AJ: “You’re doing it wrong. You should have used this can to do it once. Let me show you how I do this.”
So, AJ shows me how he cleans carbs. It’s a lot different than how I’d been doing it. Now I’m stoked – the gremlins may finally be gone! Suddenly, they’re calling my practice as being up soon. Dana never made it by, and my bike is apart! Crap! So, in a panic I throw the bike back together, leather up and get out there – hoping my bike problems are finally gone and I can get back to working on me. I get out on the track, and the first time I whack the throttle, I feel as though I was whacked in the stomach by Chuck Norris, with the only noticeable difference being my body was still in one piece – the bike is STILL not running right. It’s still down on power, feels just like before. DAMNIT!!! I almost pitted in, but figured I’m already out there, why not run a couple laps.
After practice I get back into the garage, and am sitting around dejectedly. I have no idea what to try next. Suddenly, like a rabid spider monkey shot from a cannon, it hits me in the face. I DIDN’T PLUG THE RIGHT SIDE SPARK PLUG WIRE BACK IN!!! My next practice is again up in a couple minutes, so I rip the bike apart, plug in the culprit wire, and throw it back together, going back out just in time for my next practice.
I’m on the grid feeling a bit uneasy. Is that going to fix it? That solves my issue from last practice, but still not the issues that’s been haunting me all season. Did I put the bike back together right in my rush? I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t even have my warmers on, I was done for the day until I realized I had forgotten that plug wire. Why am I even on the grid? My tires are cold – it’s not like I can work on corner speed if the bike still doesn’t run right. Coming out of Pit out, I whack the throttle open at the T2 apex, expecting nothing. BRAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPP!!! HOLY SHIT! WHAT WAS THAT? I HAVE A MOTORCYCLE!!!! THAT’S WHAT THIS FEELS LIKE!!! It was such a difference I’d forgotten – the bike had not pulled decently once all season. To hell with cold tires, to hell with everything, it’s time to ride this sumbitch. And ride I did.
I don’t remember what my practice times were, but they were not impressive. 1:34’s or something. I didn’t care – they were sub-40. My bike was BACK! Now it’s time to work on me. And I spent the rest of the day doing just that.
Saturday AM, practice, I just worked on remembering how to ride the track, now that my bike was functioning. Again, nothing impressive on times – think I turned a couple 31’s. Now it’s coming back to me, and it’s time to get to work on the times. So work I did.
Saturday, Race 8, Ptwins: I get a really good start. I fully expect preteen to pull me off the start into T1, for a few little reasons. He’s ~100lbs lighter than me. With proper gearing for the track, something I don’t have. And he is good at starts. You know, little stuff. I go into 1 hot, waiting for him to get by me. He never does, and things feel OK, so I put my head down and go to work. I ran the first 6 laps by myself, and started getting cocky – I’d looked over my shoulder a couple times and never saw him. This is going to be my first win, and it’s a cakewalk, I can feel it. HOLD THE PHONE, WTF WAS THAT? Preteen is trying to pass me! Where’d you come from dude? Well now, we can’t have that, can we? So, I did the only thing that could be done, I put my head down and went to work to preserve my first win. And preserve it I did… Until T3, lap 7 of an 8 lap race. See, I’d been working on improving my line and corner speed through T3. This involved turning in earlier. Suddenly, the front of the bike is gone. Bars waggin’ like a tail on a dog left home alone for a week, sliding like I was in a cartoon and hit a banana peel. I’m not sure how, but it stayed upright. (I found out later, courtesy of a spectator, I’d hit the rumble strip in the apex of T3 with my front tire). However, as I flew off-line and stood the bike up, preteen managed to slide under me. By the time I figured out I was still upright and sorted the mess in my shorts, he was too far ahead – there was no catching up. End result: ANOTHER FREAKIN’ SECOND PLACE!!! SONOFA…
Times from that race:
And on to Sunday – LWSM:
I went into this race with some very clear goals. I’m either winning my first race, running some 28’s, or throwing the bike down the track. It’s time to get past this flat spot and start making time. I know where I’m leaving it on the track, and there’s no good reason not to go get it.
The green flag flies, and I dump the clutch. For some reason they decided to start multiple races same wave, with the race in front of me in row 1 and us on row 3. Normally we’d be on Row 2, which is nice, because the rows are staggered. With us on 3 instead, we’re directly behind the bikes in front of us. No big deal though, I’m behind a 1200cc Buell – not like I have to worry about him getting in my way off the start. Right? No, not right. In fact, wrong. Very, very wrong. The bike bogged on the start, according to my buddy. I though it stalled, to be honest. Somehow I managed to avoid rear-ending him, which was nice, and off I went into T1. Way in the back of the pack – there’s clearly going to be some work to do here. So once again, I put my head down and went to work. The Buell is behind me. There’s some red bike, SV maybe? Make the pass, forget them. They never existed. Now it’s time to get past the fast girl on the Motard. Got her, but that can’t last, can it? She is fast, and on a motard – not an EX500. I have the feeling she’ll be back, but I keep picking off the traffic. Ahead I see preteen. Really? Maybe I get a second shot at this dude after all! Time to go to work, folks. Problem is, there’s an SV between us.
[This part gets confusing - I guess I was in a "cavern of concentration" (fast guys, rich guys and idiots - check it out). Anyway, the only bike I passed and ever saw again was an RSP SV650. I was a bit faster, but not enough. Problem was, I had to pass him. No choice. So I stuck it on the inside of 3, and went in hot. Too hot, blew my line completely and he went back by. So I chased him for another lap. At one point we swapped positions again, but I don't remember where. So now we're coming into T3 again. This time I know his speed into T3, so I try to calculate something faster than him and not so fast I blow it like last time. I did it, and it stuck. I'm ahead and checking out. Of course, I'm still assuming preteen and Lori (the girl on the motard) are clipping at my heels, so I stayed riding hard. White flag. Good, just gotta hold the lead. Another lap. Another white flag. WTF? Stay in it, Dan. Another lap. Still in the lead.] CHECKERED FLAG!!! And that’s it – I won my first race. Not only that, I did it in LWSM against a dirt bike and SV650s. In fact I even beat 2 of the 4 bikes (all SV’s) from the race in front of us! Hell yeah…
What an awesome feeling. I got it done, just like I told myself I would. And I’m pretty sure I clicked off a couple 28’s in there, which would beat the hell out of my personal best of 1:29.1 or 1:29.2, depending if you count practice times. So, let’s review times for that race.
3 27’s, with a new PB of 1:27.4. Funny, Friday I had considered 27’s damn near unobtanium. Now I’m gunning for 26’s next weekend. And 25’s soon. My bike is back, and so am I!