Saturday Rain Out
Sunday – Race #1 GTL Race #6 LWSS Race #15 Thunderbike Race #18 ULSB
To be fair – we knew the rain was coming. The weatherman had been forecasting a downpour for weeks and boy did they deliver. Thankfully – knowing this was coming, I changed my schedule around to move all of my races form Saturday to Sunday. The forecast for Sunday was much more favorable. I had a new bank of carbs mounted onto the SV which finally kicked the intermittent issue that had been plaguing me for years. None the less, I unloaded Friday morning to help Nik Heid through his track day, but didn’t even start the bike until Sunday morning.
It was fun watching the rest off the LWT crew mount up their rains and slough out into the wet mire on sat as I scooted around on the old reliable 90cc pit bike while covered in rain gear. My task for the day was to keep my wife Jen from disapproving of the wet too much, keeping our gear dry, and keeping the guys ‘in the points’ motivated and out there to chase the checkered flag.
Sunday morning practice was hardly ideal as the rain left some great dark patches on the track and there was no rubber left on the racing line from the day before. I settled into a good warm up and settled in for the first race of the day “GT Lights”. I specifically remember the words I told my wife before I put on my helmet. “This is just more practice. The real racing starts this afternoon when the track dries out.” Boy was I wrong.
I got a fantastic start in the GTL, but after being swarmed by the pack in T1, I settled into a good consistent rhythm of 1:25s laps while my closest competitor “Dangerous” LWT #215 hovered a few seconds ahead. As we approached the half way flag, I noticed that my laptimes were sticking in the 24s and I was edging in closer and closer to Dangerous with each lap. 7 laps before the end – I pounced.
The Speedwerks motor certainly gave me a great advantage down the long straight at Summit and pulling out of the fast corners. We proceded to spend the next 5 laps going full tilt with each other. It was obvious Dangerous was faster in T2/T3/T4, but I had a great advantage in T9/T10/T1. Draft passes, inside block passes, you name it – we both tried it. In the heat of the battle I got down into the 1:23s [01:23.963], but on the second to last lap, my rear tire had reached its end. Each time I would go into a right hander [T9/T10 especially] the rear would start to step out as the tire gave its last legs for the race.
It was heart breaking to see Dangerous grab me on the front straight and then slowly pull a 1/2 second lead on the white flag lap. It was then I remembered what I had told my wife. Better to mount a new tire and challenge him in the next race. Still – I felt saddened, right up until I turned the blind corner of T5 and watched Dangerous waving his arms frantically as he pulled off the track, his bike empty of fuel. After taking the checkered flag only 3/4 of a mile later I made sure to laugh maniacally at #215 as I rode past him on the cool down lap. I guess sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Sadly – my mechanical stupidity would end up using up the rest of my luck for the weekend.
My new bank of carbs needed some minor adjustment and in between the GTL race and my next LWSS race I had a long enough break. I cracked open the airbox and began to work. Unknown to me as I was working on the carb I was accidentally flooding the slide boots with fuel, coating them, and causing them to deform beyond working shape. This would be the end of my competitive weekend.
Over the next three races with 10 less hp than the races before, I would get my lap times back down into the 1:25s, but that was the best I could do. I still had a blast playing around the track, but I didn’t get a chance to dice it up with anyone for the rest of the weekend. The silver lining is that Speedwerks was great at diagnosing the problem and I will be back out there this weekend for the AHRMA vintage racing at NJMP.
Thanks again to the family and friends of LWTRacer and Speedwerks for giving me the right equipment and then fixing that equipment over and over again with each screw up of mine, and thanks to Katie and Knock Out Photography for the picture.