Approaching a Decade Long Ritual and Rite of Spring

The ten day forecast left bleak hopes for a spring like day. As the weather is a major part of it, the procedure was pre-registered as a die hard attended event. I had the opportunity to point it out to the long line of post-registrants whose wait in line was roughly half an hour.

We had traveled in rain from 5:45 AM from northern Gwinnett county, Georgia. By then, the forecast had us driving to the track as it stopped and that it would be raining no more…

7AM arrival was approximately 5 minutes after it had been determined that the wipers were no longer needed.

The crowd was visible and dense from Alabama 21. As we drew closer, the vehicles began to become recognizable by owner. Our predictable available pit area was waiting with the best truck unloading added feature. That where all the rain settled and pooled…

While Keith kept the rest of the late registrants entertained, I unloaded all but Keith’s V1/Sportsman 350/Formula 250 beauty. The canopy was removed from the bed of the truck, but never erected. We had one beautiful day for racing.

A few of us decided to socialize during the first practice session. Keith has noted the detriment to practicing in the rain and then racing on the dry. It’s contrary to what you just practiced.

At the end of the second round of practice we were all on the track and run dried by the sun and practice racers. Progressively going faster on the track with each lean from side to side, I had a rear wheel steering thrill to the left. Then I began to notice it on the right as well.

Re-familiarized with the lay of the land and verified nothing new to report, I was about to just ease my way back to the pits and see about the rear tire. Then, like Santa on Blitzen, Keith flew by me on the back strait. It was without thought when I twisted the throttle and hunkered down behind the fairing. “One more lap wasn’t going to hurt” I thought to myself as we twisted through “Russel’s Curve” and headed toward the start finish line.

Then I remembered what I had reminded myself about, not repeating last year’s “excitement”. Paying attention to the rear tire I followed Keith at his practice pace till the second set of turns. I slowed, he sped, I lined up for approach to Pit In as originally scheduled.

When I say how far my Avon Road Runner race compound wear pattern had evolved, it was no wonder why it felt like I was riding on knobbies. On the street, with street tire compound, the Road Runner is an enviable vintage bike tire. A rounded variant of the Dunlop K-81, until you put that pattern to soft racing compound, and you have a great race rain tire.

All I could do was to clip off the smeared globular lip that self-created with a wavy pattern that harmonically matched the frequency of gravel paved into the tarmac of turn 5. Taking the dikes in my bare hands (regret that today, even typing) and started snipping the overgrowth of lost tread. Minutes before the second call to “Racer’s Meeting”, I had washed the sloughing skin with a smile of accomplishment. Looked like the old, hidden tire pattern again.

It is easier to say who was missing than to cover who showed. Jamie is still in school to be a teacher. Truly what we could use more of. A Marine, an engineer, and one gutsy vintage racer. It would behoove his students to work with Jamie for both their sakes to educate our young Americans. James Walker is wrapping up his Roebling crash (see “James Gaulted”) and hopes to join us at the lovely campus of Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, Alabama. No word from James Stewart, a real possibility on the GP scene. Former Norton racer makes three on the WERA track on 350 Hondas, four when Dean Middleton was running with us. That left the occasional racers like Nick Bowie and the Adams brothers. Otherwise, the southeast was fully represented.

We also had the pleasure of the Kentucky Wrecking Crew start the season with us. Mike Wells and Wayne Moore added depth to the mix. Tennessee was represented by Mr. David Hurst on his beautiful DS7 Yamaha two stroke 250. It was official. we had a quorum.

A testament to our ever growing vigilance towards growing our vintage grids, our first race was the only two-wave race. We had some lovely grids filled with “mature” men and woman ready to have fun while playing nice.

To cover the pre-race departure, of course it was still winter, so I had not properly prepared in the weeks or days prior to the race. Due to technical difficulties with my work at home WinXP computer, upgraded to Win7 was not exactly refined project, I was working till almost 6PM before dropping everything to load for the race. I so look forward to the warming trend that will take place between Tally of February and the Birmingham race in May. Nuff said…

After the meeting, where we found out that 14 riders just went through the WERA race school, we headed back for lunch. Signs of a return to racing. Hope the trend continues. Ham, salami, cheese with mayo on whole wheat was comfortable in the tummy. Time to race.

Dealing with the pride of the pole position and the disadvantage of the inside lane for turn one at Tally, I really wished I had remembered to bring the housing for the camera. No video this time, sorry.

The GP350 race started in the second wave of race number 3. The riders school mock race and the minis had run, all without incident. Now it was our turn to make an impression on 2013. As we were directed between waves, I couldn’t help wonder what Chuck and Charlotte were doing just then. Sure hasn’t been the same since they retired. Definitely deserved it. Surely missed.

The one thing I can say about starts nowadays is that the green flag rips through the air, just like Chuck used to send it flying. It’s the time up to the green flag that will keep you guessing…

Green Flag! Time to go. I got a great leap of a start, but could not get my feet back on the pegs in time for the optimum second gear shift. Just before leaning into turn one, Tony Mirando flew past me from the back row starting position. The race was on!

Without the added tension of being in the second of a two wave race, the GP500 went right into rapid fire fun. Turn one was packed with racers vying to for their best chance position. Doug Bowie and Tony Mirando got out in front of me fairly early. Wayne seems to let his tires warm up before he puts on the “Hero’s pace”.

With 51 seconds between my time and the next GP500 racer at the finish line and with only 25 seconds between me and Tony BikerRoni,  I’m going to include myself as the back of the fast pack, rather than the front of the slow pack for this first race season of 2013. We definitely have a new set of contenders between Tony turning up the heat, Wayne running his GP bike like a V1 suped-up special, and Doug actually running in the GP500 class. The last time that happened, Martin was paying contingency money for whom ever won the class races I entered in. Doug ended up sucking up almost all the GP350 and GP500 assistance funding that year. Anybody else figured out why Doug was running the GP500 this time around?

Sorry about the lack of video this time round. Will have things up and running for Barber Motorsports Park in May. 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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