Now that the dust has settled…

Road Atlanta is not only the closest track to my house, but it is also the one I enjoy the most.
 
June 26th proved to maintain all expectations…
 
 Corinne and Dean made it out to the track on this sweltering hot Saturday afternoon. After getting caught in an hour and a half traffic jam/block party on I-85, they strolled on in a couple hours after racing started. No problem though, we had the sixth and ninth races to run. Drinking enough water to put out a five alarm fire, still wasn’t enough to keep me cool.
 
Staying under the canopies as much as possible, we fanned ourselves, soaked cold water onto towels, and just about anything else we could think of to keep cool.
 
Practice went well. The timing adjustment seemed to have my bike back on track. The carbs weren’t my prime set, but showed no difference when the timing was off.
 
So, down to the races… GP500 included a Triumph 650. Yes, that’s right. We raced in the same class as a Triumph 650 twin. Do keep in mind that the GP500 is our bump up class, that allows us to run in two races with only one bike. And yes, the GP500 is a 500cc limit with very few exceptions. This particular model of 650 seems to be included in the GP500 for its unimpressive lack of power. Is there any advantage in running this Triumph? He did take first place…
 
But that is only a small part of the story. With cameras running on Jamie’s, Keith’s and my bikes, I was hoping for some good footage. With all that I have going on, I rarely get a chance to edit the video, let alone post it when complete. Either way, the time to capture the footage is when the bikes are on the track.
 
Everything seemed to be a normal day at R.A.  We took to the track and had our first warm-up lap. I said first warm up lap, because we were destined to take another, before the official race, and then another…
 
Amongst the contenders on the track was Charlie Young. V1 racer whose bike was still coming back together, but not yet complete. So, Charlie was running on a borrowed bike. A bike that re-entered the WERA Vintage scene with a bit of questionable legality. More on that as time goes by. Brad Padgett was making his way back on the track, after a meatball flag at Talladega. His exhaust system back in tact and Brad was ready for the speed trip.
 
Waiting for the green flag, we revved our engines and stared at turn one. Our "father on the track" Mr. Chuck Edgeworth, was not at R.A. that day. Don’t know why, but look forward to seeing him again soon. The young man who filled Chuck’s shoes was ready for the job, or so I thought…
 
Turn one was a snug pack of racers all climbing toward the "bus stop", a one bike at a time bottle neck on the track where passing is easily avoidable and not recommended. Shortly after the b.s., were racing down hill through the esses (a series of switchback curves that are best run straitened out and clip each pex as late as possible) and up toward turn five (an off camber left hander that has a nice set of rumple strips on the back side and should not be exceeded).
 
For me, the start was all I could ask for. I was second in the pack and receiving some pressure from Jamie approaching turn 10a. He passed me. I passed him back with a late brake deep into 10a.  We headed into the front strait and toward turn one. I actually had some distance between me and Jamie and went cleanly through turn one and began to climb. The bus stop was clean and clear and no sign of anyone behind me. Down the esses and up through turn five. No one showing me a wheel as I entered turn 6, then 7. Pushing hard out of 7 and toward 10a (turns 8 and 9 at R.A. are very subtle, non-discernable on a 30 horsepower, 40 year old, two valve per cylinder running with stock CV carbs and points ignition systems).  Jamie began to push again when we both had to ease up and raise our hand for the red flag. The race was over and would restart when the track was clear.
 
 Seems there was a collision between Charlie and Brad. Different vantage points revealed different opinions on what happened. You too have the ability to see what happened and make your own opinion buy watching the camera from Keith’s bike and decide for yourself what really happened. If you are worried about watching such a video, keep in mind that Charlie and Brad both raced when the race was eventually restarted. Watch the video at this link…
 
Other portions of video that you could see if I had the time to work with them would include the fire!
 
After we had all returned to our pits, refueled, and water refreshed, we had about 10 minutes to sweat and get back on the track. We began our second warm-up lap for the GP500. As we finished our second warm-up lap and came around turn 12, we say a cloud of white smoke rising from the pits. Looked as if it was in the vicinity of Doug Bowie’s pit area. We were waved off of the track and we grouped across from the pits. Flames rose up fast and furious. Clouds of extinguisher power filled the air and eliminated the flames. Sweat running down our faces and shouting through our helmets, all the racers wondered what was next on the schedule.
 
A few minutes after the flames vanished, we were waved down the track AGAIN! That’s right, we were sent out for our third warm-up lap on the hottest day at the hottest track in Hotlanta.  The start of the race was nothing like the sweet spot I landed in first time around. As a matter of fact, after hearing some of the reviews of the collision, I found myself steering clear of one of the parties involved. Sure enough, I was stuck behind him climbing toward the first lap’s run for the bus stop and the majority of the pack was in front of him.
 
It was a beautiful view seeing the pack as a string of riders fanning across the esses, weaving back and forth my field of view. The only sad part was being in the back of the pack to see the view…
 
I did have a race and a racer to contend with. Like many previous "most excellent races" I have ever experienced this one was with Keith. Mr. Keith Bennett, my long time friend and Norton based biker buddy was on my butt and I was in his finishing spot. We traded places and tried to close on the rest of the pack. Days later, during our bench racing review, we both agreed that Road Atlanta’s long strait runs gave lighter racers an advantage that made many seconds differences. We began to drift back over the duration of the race while we pushed the limits hard. I finished in front of Mr. Bennett. Keith was only two and a half seconds behind me at the end of the race. Each of us experienced our best times at Road Atlanta… until we went back on the track and pushed it again…
 
Showing up late to the rider’s meeting meant not hearing that race 7 and 8 were combined. Our race 6 and race 9 gap was shortened to only one race between ours.
 
Back on the track for the GP350 and feeling kinda warm to say the least. Doug Bowie, who was getting used to the fact that his truck now has a monster charring one the gas tank filler side of the bed, was in our class again. He was ready to win, as usual. His Ducati production race bikes are not only winners in the day when they were new, they were also ridden by Doug back then and ever since.
 
The GP350 was fairly uneventful. No crashes, no flames, and only one warm-up lap. Keith and I had a very similar great race. Trading places by passing in turns. Braking late to maintain our speed through the curves and any other tricks we could think of to out do the other. Finally, I messed up coming out of turn 5 and Keith took the lead. I trailed and drafted. Kept on his tail. Took my time watching Keith’s techniques. Watched for him to make a mistake. I pushed for the second half of the race and was surprised when I got the checkered flag.  Keith had beaten me.
 
I up righted my riding position and began to salute and blow kisses to the corner workers. I noticed that Keith had really put some distance between us at a point where I wanted to literally pat him on the back while going down the track. I could not believe how fast he took turn one, just like he was still racing. He had to have seen the checkered flag, right? Then, as I leaned into turn one, single handed and waving to the corner workers, Jim Hinshaw blew by me like I was in a parade and he was in a race. I thought to myself how rude that was to do in the cool down lap? Things weren’t making sense.  So, I decided either I was seeing things or the race starter made a mistake when he waved the checkered flag at me. I had my last lap chance taken away by a green, green flag guy…  Stuff happens.
 
Next race is to be at Kershaw, SC. Keith wont be there, so I will have to up my game to find some competition.
 
stay tuned…
 
 
 
 

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About videojackster

A freedom loving libertarian who really enjoys experiencing that freedom on a motorcycle, on the race track, as often as possible.
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