From the end of the previous post: “…Tucking down behind the camera and making the smallest profile I could, I raced across the finish line. Less than 2 seconds after clearing the line, my motor just gave up all power… and my next race was just one race away.
I looked back to see Bucky fly by me only to realize I didn’t raise my hand or show a leg to acknowledge to other racers that I was having difficulties (my bad). With nobody else behind me I cut to the left side of the track, just past pit out. The corner worker came over to help direct me and push me towards the ambulance access road where Scott Hayes had is crash truck ready to load my bike. Just a few minutes later, Scott had me unloaded and was on to his next racer assist, thank you, Sir!
I put the bike on the stand, pulled my helmet, gloves and chest protector off and hit the bathroom. Upon my return, I found my bike had fallen off the stand and broken my front brake lever. First call for GP350, V1 and Formula 500 race! Up righting my bike and placing it more securely on the stand, I had also discovered that my technical difficulty was nothing more than having run out of fuel. I had more fuel and clutch lever that I could use as a brake lever. Second call for GP350, V1 and Formula 500 race! Filling the tank and replacing the lever, I donned my gear, started the camera only to find out the chip was full. A quick scavenge through my stuff I cam up with a chip and powered up the camera and my bike and took it for a quick test ride on my way toward pit out. Third and final call for GP350, V1 and Formula 500 race!
With all appearing to be performing as it was supposed to, I joined the rest of the grid taking our warm up lap. Nothing felt wrong with Black Bullit so I was ready to go. We filled our grid positions as Ed Bargy, on his 70th birthday directed the number board from 3 to 2. Shifting our bikes into gear, we poised for the countdown sequence. The 2 was replaced by the 1 board, it was rotated sideways, then the green flag ripped through the air.
I had timed my bike revs to match the count sequence and smoothly let the clutch out and pulled ahead. This was followed by a clean shift to second gear, then third and fourth as I leaned into turn 1 noticing there was nobody in front of me. I proceeded to turn 2 waiting to be over taken but riding in a manner to prevent being overtaken. Down the mini gravity cavity, up the hill and through Charlotte’s Web and nobody passed me. The long straight that followed the web, I knew that someone was bound to pass me.
Doug Bowie was nursing a broken bone in his hand, but Bill Johnson and Bucky Sexton were bound to be battling it out for who was going to pass me first. As the window had closed to be safely passed before the museum hump, I lifted off the seat and landed from the hump jump and leaned into the right hander that followed. It was here that I realized that I hadn’t started the recorder, so I did.
Shifting and accelerating, I headed for the first set of zigzags. Once cleared, I looked back to see a serious gap to the riders behind me. All I remember thinking was “I can make that gap larger!” The first lap completed and all the curves of the Barber race track behaving well for me, I continued pouring it on. This was the Grand National Finals GP350 race and I could change my standing with the doubled score of this race’s outcome.
I was nicely hitting the apexes late for each turn, just clipping the edge of the track. The second pass through the zigzags I climbed up the off camber hill and leaned right into the turn and it began. At about a 40 degree angle in the midst of the right hand sweeper I experienced a wobble in my steering. It was as if my little six season tired motor with now less than 26 horse power was experiencing an internal healing and refortification causing the front tire to become light and not sticking to the track… and I was down! Both I and the bike had cleared the curve and were in a short section of straight track, sliding forever.
The race bike then became a well choreographed platform for the camera which caught me in a back slide while it was rotating in an upward rotation (in relation to the bike) which then slowed and changed direction back to a downward rotation just in time to catch Bucky Sexton racing past. Cue Doug Bowie as the bike and camera came to a halt pointing further down the track where the rest of the GP350 bikes were going to be passing shortly. Cue Jamie Brenton who followed shortly after Doug. Then, cue David Hurst from stage left to center as my race bike was lifted by the corner worker.
I immediately hopped on the bike inspecting the damage. Everything looked in good order. I inadvertently switched the ignition to off and try to kick start it. It was then that I noticed the throttle did not rotate. Looking closer I realized my Magura 1/4 turn throttle’s outer body had melded with the inner cable slider. My race was officially over and I had a blast. It was so much more incredible when I got home and saw the footage that Black Bullit had recorded.
Got a lot to do this off season and hopefully I’ll be lighter and the bike will be quicker. More soon.
Check out the video of what occurred in the excitement: