randygrein at comcast.net
Sun Oct 7 23:25:16 PDT 2007
It's been a long time coming, but I finally got out on the track this
weekend on the SV! My wife has been more than patient with the effort
(and money) it's taken to get it running as a superbike. A few
highlights from the weekend at Pacific Wetway - er, Raceway....
Out in 1st practice trying to handle all the new power and see what
it did to the new front end - and if the changes in the rear were
right. And I noticed the clutch was slipping - a lot, like every time
I'd crank the throttle open. Check the adjustment, go out again, no
change. Check with Dan Zlock (Yes, that Zlock), put in a spare
clutchpack and some heavier Barnett springs he just happened to find.
Out in the 2nd vintage practice in the rain, sorting things out and
seeing how fast I could go on our CB160. Oops - not quite that fast
in 5! Tucked the front just over the crest with a knee down and
couldn't come close to saving it. Bike flipped from one side to the
other in the gravel, I was surfing on my butt trying to avoid the
flippie bike thing. Someone has pictures, I 'm dying to see them. I
felt a bit better when I noticed a light sheen of oil on the track,
nice to know how fast is too fast, and there's a reason (besides
stupidity) for a crash. Total damage - windscreen, clipon bar, and
clutch perch. A few hours cleanup and we were ready to go.
Middleweight GP twins. The frustration of realizing it was later than
I thought while changing from rains to slicks and missing the start.
Not as bad as my buddy Gus Denzler who tore the knobs off a set of
rains in the same race; he got to race but also got to pay for new
tires. My son worked like a champ with me to get things ready, and I
would have missed the next race without his help. And that's AFTER
his bike went T.U. again!
Lightweight superbike. The realization that a big storm is coming in
a half hour - just in time for the start and I get to change tires
AGAIN. Some quick work and we were ready for what proved to be a
torrential downpour, but not the worst of the weekend. I've never
hydroplaned on a bike before (even slicks at over 150 mph!) but this
was a new level of uncomfortable. The only option was discretion -
let the nice racer by and follow behind, maybe I'll pick up
something. Something turned out to be 3rd place and finishing in one
piece, as well as purse money.
Formula 160. A friend sold his class champion last month and I just
couldn't resist. Only problem is that Tom is about 6'4" and skinny,
so he pushed the seat WAY back. A lackluster 6th in the dry convinced
me to move it forward so I could sit down. That and another bout of
rain were just what the doctor ordered, and I walked away with the
2nd heat win for a 2nd for the day. I used yesterday's crash to good
effect, knowing exactly how much push the front end would take in the
rain. I pushed the front (and rear) quite a bit but never had a
moment. Several riders were convinced another crash was 'just a
matter of time'....
Formula Thunder - Thunder was the only thing missing! The rain
started hard enough to scare off a fair part of the grid (or maybe it
was crash damage). I came up from a 2nd row grid to 3rd place in the
first corner and held it the entire race. The rain swamped the track
everywhere; the leaders clearly agreed to not push it to hard and had
fun dicing in the corners and easing up on the ugly sections. If
anything the front straight was worse than every at the beginning,
and then went downhill. Somewhere around lap 6-7 a rider went down in
turn 1 - normally a full throttle 180+ almost noncorner. His tires
were overwhelmed despite a very cautious pace when the rain suddenly
became a torrent. Gusty winds and solid walls of water hit, lakes
appeared on the pavement and a river ran through it. Officials threw
the red flag, and rightly so. It was fun, but I mean really - 4th
gear was too fast in those conditions!
I'd like to thank Lockhart Phillips, my wife for supporting my habit,
my son for wrenching effectively (while learning how!), Riders for
Health, and a big thanks to Dan and Dale Zlock for putting my bike
back together and giving me enough education to keep from blowing it
up (again). I'd also like to thank Bridgestone for making a great
vintage tire, and Pirelli for building the most kick-ass rain tires!
Randy Grein, Master CNE, CCNA
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