Talladega in Hindsight

As I write this entry, I have already completed the last of the North Florida circuit. And, since I am writing this now, I must have made it through safely. I just wanted to put into perspective the distance between my memory and Tally August 2010…


Weather was warm in the early sun rising morning of August 21st. I had not preregistered. So I had to stand in line and fill out paperwork. The faces were becoming more and more familiar. New bike riders and vintage guys were beginning to have names associated with faces.


Coffee was kicking in, so my awareness was more than that of the road we travelled for two plus hours since 6 AM Atlanta time.


Our 10 new favorite pits were taken up by two motor homes in the most inefficient manner, near the ambulance entrance to the track. So, we backed off to the other side of pit lane and unloaded. Doug and James were just a few spaces away. Jamie was clear on the other side of the track. Everybody else (vintage) was scattered, covered, and smothered with early morning humidity.


We were behind the curve with a lax arrival time and registration time. So, the first practice session was a bit of a scramble. I believe that was when Keith had one ten minute lap time. Seems that he went out on the track with a weak battery, came directly back after the first almost full lap and returned to the pits. He then replaced batteries and returned to practice session to have the longest running single lap time recorded at Talladega Grand Prix.


The Maroon Monsoon was still being shaken down to see what else would fall off but it ran poorly. Sad, considering that it had performed so well at VIR (for my first run there). The second practice session was no better. It just seemed "detuned". Like someone had just come up with a way to make it run at 60 percent, somehow.


James mentioned that his bike was still having issues. So, I offered to teach him how to time his ignition. When complete, as all the tools were in my hands, I decided to do the same for my bike. Both set of points were, like their owner, retarded. The good news was that made for an easy fix. I rotated the points plate to make the left cylinder fire correctly and the right cylinder landed right on the money. I was hoping for a bit more performance. I was also keeping in mind that the rear tire could have been changed before this race, but still had one more race day left in it???


With video cameras rolling on mine, Keith’s and Jamie’s bikes, I was hoping for some good footage to edit together. Since we, all three were amazingly close in our performances recently this would offer a good finished product. We gridded up in the heat of the day. 90 plus degrees was the rule for this El Nino, La Nina, and Da FunRun racing summer we have had so far. The wait at the pit out area was hot and we rode around at 10 MPH just to create a breeze. Finally, after the track crossing, we were allowed to take our warm up lap. Don’t crash on the warm up lap…


We all had a good start and received the thrill of turn one. More than a dozen bikes leaning and accelerating through the most banked turn of the track. Still accelerating toward turn two, only to hammer down on the brakes and lean left…

Fun scenes I do recall include following a new kid to vintage racing. Donovan Gravlee entered the scene with a bit of a dust storm. Seem he ended up with a cheater bike from a previous racer that was since sold to a third party and it made it’s way back with Donovan. He’s since restored the bike to stock specs and having some fun on the track with us. He’s a former EX500 racer with some experience that is now showing us older guys how to make the old bikes behave. So, when I realized I was following him through turn three, I was paying attention.


Donovan’s natural abilities show with his comfort factor. He began to pull away as we entered turn four and my aspirations of making the AMA circuit faded with him. In the meantime, Keith and Jamie were already pressing me, and I wasn’t even tired yet.


The rest of the race included me going off the track … twice, Keith stalling before the finish line, and Jamie finishing in front of both of us. Go Marine!


My story telling is not as exciting as the video. Enjoy



Race 1 left me apprehensive as my 45 year old brakes with 45 year old shoes were not to be trusted on the hot, brake fading day.

No narration could surpass the video. Check it out!



The results of this race did not affect my standing in the North Florida region were I was to go towards Jennings, FL two point behind my race partner, Mr. Keith Bennett in the GP500 class. After the Talladega performance, I needed to up my game.


I can’t say that I have been the shining star in my sponsor’s lineup of sponsored racers. Just gotta figure out what it take to shine… Thanks for hanging in there with me, Martin. SCI has been very good to me this year. Check me out on their web page. If I am not obvious, just refresh the screen until you see the Maroon Monsoon.  http://www.siriusconinc.com/


Stay tuned…




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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2 Responses to Talladega in Hindsight

  1. swamp says:

    hi jack ,
    donovan gravlee here.
    just stumbled upon this.
    thought i would say hi .

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