MAY, 2000 EVENT DESCRIPTION:
This weekend was quite a disaster! I still had fun, but it was not a great weekend. It was cold and/or rainy most of the weekend. It ranged between cold and chilly all 4 days there. It rained most of the time. When it wasnít raining, it was trying to dry out, so some parts of the track would be dry & some wet. Then it would rain lightly or mist again & dampen the track again.
It was the worst crash-fest Iíve ever seen. I crashed twice (once on each bike, each day), BJ crashed twice, Doug crashed twice, Matt crashed spectacularly once, putting himself in the hospital overnight with 2 sprained ankles and a sprained knee, and destroying his bike in the process, Chuck crashed & tore up some ligaments in his shoulder, Mike Isabel crashed & broke his collarbone, Alan Quinn crashed & "de-prettied" his new SV, Micky crashed, Bruce Leung crashed. And thatís just the list, off the top of my head, of my closest friends who crashed. I saw the bike of someone else who crashed so hard he actually broke the front forks off. I got no trophies. I had 4 races, and I missed the start on 2 of them and crashed in 2 of them.
On the 2 where I missed the start, I had to start at the very end, after everyone else, even the Juniors, had left. In both of those cases, I rode like a madman and got about halfway up through the pack by the time the race was over. Sat races got started a couple hours late, and there were many delays due to red flags (racing stopped , usually due to crashes) that they changed all the races for the weekend from 8 laps to 6. One of the vintage bikes (as usual) put oil on the track, and that caused a big delay, and contributed to crashes, Iím sure. The reason I missed the starting grid on one of my races (GP Singles) was because they were trying to hurry things up, and they let the grid go earlier than usual. They didnít get to finish all the races Saturday, so Sunday was again a big rush, with added races left over from Saturday.
My "main" race, the big one that really counts for me, was Production Twins on Sunday. I got to the grid OK on time. When they released the grid for the warmup lap, every time I put the bike in gear, the engine would die. I was about going beserk about it. There is a kickstand safety switch that I had jumpered out, and it apparently was not staying shorted. So, by the time I got that sorted out, the grid had gone out of sight on their warmup lap, and they wouldnít let me go out. So, I had to sit there, insanely frustrated, cursing, beating my fists on the tank, while everyone else went to the start line and took off. I had to sit there through 2 waves of Experts, then 2 waves of Juniors, then they let me go. Again, I rode like a madman, cutting no slack, showing no mercy, passing everything in sight, trying not to go too nuts and CRASH. But it was only 6 laps, so I ended up about mid-pack again, with a 5th place out of 11 PTWN Experts. I had thought I might win it, as Doug usually wins it, but heíd crashed the day before & messed up his bike, so he was on a borrowed bike that, of course, wasnít properly set up for him. I really thought I might have a win in that one. Then he crashed in Turn 1 or 2 on the first lap, anyway.
Bill Martovich ended up winning it. He is 65 years old! Bob Perkins was telling me Bill was riding absolutely insanely, even going out in the dirt on one corner to get around someone. So, if Bill was that hot this weekend, maybe I couldnít have beaten him anyway. So, Bill not only got the 1st place trophy for that, he also got the 1st place trophy for the Masters Class Championship. Iíve really got to buckle down for the rest of the season if I want to win that championship. I am planning to take the 2 day Pro Riding School in June, to try to improve my lap times. Actually, probably Bob Perkins is now in the lead for that Championship, as he got 2nd both times. You can win a championship and never win a race. If Bob buckles down, he could be a contender. Heís been racing these EXs as an Expert for about 8-10 years, and this is my first season as an Expert. But he smokes a lot & drinks a fair amount, and often doesnít get serious about it. Heís the guy whoís been my mentor (and Tech Inspection boss) since I started racing.
One good thing; I am getting faster on the Ascot all the time. I am within a couple seconds of my EX lap times, which themselves are getting faster all the time. The old Ascot is getting more & more sorted out all the time.
Someone had gotten Mattís crash on video. It was in the Sportsman race. Doug & the guy next to me (Jesse Sandoz) on the front line tangled on the start, and as I went down the straight, I could see Doug tumbling on the ground next to me. Behind me, apparently Matt tried to avoid Dougís spinning bike, but hit it square & hard, sending both Matt and his bike tumbling end-over-end many times down the track. Mattís bike looked like was run over by a bulldozer. Itís only good for a parts bike now. When Matt came by the track on Sunday, he of course wanted to see the video, so we all watched it. Iíd heard it was a very spectacular crash, and it certainly was. A lot of people thought it was me, as Matt & I have identical leathers, white helmet, identical bikes with similar paint jobs, and heís #436 and I am #426. Matt can barely move now, but heís in good spirits and eager to get back at it, although he wonít be back for the June race.
Actually, Dougís crash in Production Twins was similar to his crash in Sportsman. He and Bill Martovich tangled bars in the first turn, and Doug went down and somehow Bill managed to save it and go on to win.
So, I guess thatís a sign of how much I love roadracing; it was a rotten weekend, crashing, friends getting hurt, no trophies, bad starts, cold, wet & miserable all weekend, intermittent rain (which is worse for racing than steady rain), but I still had fun! And Iím looking forward to doing it all again soon in June. Hopefully, the weather will be better then.
The most fun was Saturdayís Sportsman race. I raced against Micky in that race, and he said the same thing, for the same reasons. We were flying! I like it because I am up against faster bikes, but I still often do well against them. That was the first race where I crashed. On the last turn of the last lap, after an incredibly fun race! However, I still got a finish, because they red-flagged the race right after I crashed, because there were so many bikes down at that point. I heard there were 6 down just in Turn 11 with me, and 9 over the entire track! I crashed there because I went off the track to avoid the leader, Jesse Sandoz, who crashed right in front of me. I was in 3rd place at that point, behind Sherry Landry. I went off into the wet grass, but it was all muddy & my front tire sunk in & I went down, sliding through the water, grass & mud. When they red-flagged it, they reverted the standings back to what they were at the previous lap. So, it was good that I got a finish, but bad because that last lap had been my finest effort of the weekend; I passed 5 or 6 people on that last lap alone, including Micky and Jack Axl, who was Class Champion in that class last year. Micky crashed in Turn 12 right after I crashed in T11. I had passed Bruce Leung on my flying last lap, and I looked up from where I was in the grass, and watched him do the same thing I had done; go off the track to avoid all the (increasing) carnage all over the track, then go thru the grass until he got to where it was soft and deep, muddy, rutted, and standing water, then SPLAT!, down in that! Well, at least it was soft landing and easy sliding!
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