New bike, no blues
randygrein at comcast.net
Sat Aug 16 10:19:26 PDT 2008
It's Alive! It's Alive!
Those who have been following the saga of Randy's messed up racebike
the past couple years will have an inkling of how great this is.
Hopefully it's all behind me now. With big assistance from Zoran, Dan
Zlock, Brett Prindle of Motobits and my endurance partner Damon Monwai
I was able to transform a pile of parts friday afternoon into a
functioning racebike by Sunday. The crappy silver paint job didn't
matter, the mistake in rearset mounts didn't matter - not even the
inconsistent tach reading could get me down. Nothing mattered but that
sweet Zlock prepared motor and the surprise that comes when the your
suspension settings are pretty much on after much guessing.
I won't detail all the stuff - a missed TPS plug, the aforementioned
rearset snafu, the thousand and one parts that developed legs between
teardown and assembly in a garage far too cluttered - let's just say
it's racing as usual. I missed Saturday's practice but the tight
schedule and usual accidents meant rescheduling 650 SS twins, so I got
my 3 full races. I got up at 6 to make the final fairing brackets and
change tires before hitting registration and tech - all done before
the riders meeting for the first time in years. A good sign.
First practice showed that Brent was correct about the footpegs being
too high. I could barely move around on the bike during practice, but
I was able to quickly get from medium slow to somewhere in the
ballpark in a few laps. I was gratified that 1:40s came quickly and
were passed, eventually settling in the low 1:39 range. Not bad for
practice when I'm this rusty. I came in early to switch the pegs
around and check on my son who has also had a run of bad luck with his
vintage bike. We had just enough time to switch them around before the
first race, 650 SS Twins.
Naturally I'm gridded 3rd row (not raced the class all year) but I
generally get good starts and 2nd row conveniently gridded to one
side, giving me a clean shot. When the light went out I got the
holeshot, moving past the entire 2nd row before the clutch was all the
way out; a competitor later said my front wheel was a foot off the
ground when I passed. I got lucky with a few passes around turn 1, and
entered turn 3 in third. That didn't last long and I settled in to a
close 5th place, concentrating on hanging on to the fast guys for the
first few laps. I was mostly successful until the red flag came out at
the end of the 3rd lap. 6th was nowhere in sight when I pulled over at
the busstop to chat with the other guys.
The restart didn't go so well. Officials had wanted to grid the
restart by place instead of the original grid, but couldn't make it
happen. (Good thing too - good idea, but flat against the rulebook.)
So back to the third row I go. I tried to warn the guys in front that
I was likely to come through again, but the starter misinterpreted it
as a joke and didn't relay as requested. That's what I get for a
reputation as a joker! This time the start didn't go as well - my hole
in the 2nd row closed up enough to make blasting through dangerous, an
attempt to back off and pass outside in turn 1 was balked, and just
about everyone passed by the outside on turn 2. I got stuck behind
some slower riders and spent the next 2 laps trying to get by a pack
of 4 who seemed to miraculously anticipate my every move. The
frustration was intense but I wasn't about to punt myself AND another
rider off making a hairball pass for what I figured was 10th place,
and I watched the fast group disappear into the distance.
Finally an anger-fueled outside pass in 8-9 broke the group apart and
I put my head down to get some serious laps in, dropping from
frustrated 1:43s to 1:37s. Nobody was in sight ahead, I quickly left
the crew behind and circulated by my lonesome with only my lap timer
and an awesome new bike for entertainment. After the race I tried to
check my finish, but someone had apparently absconded with the sheet.
I was not to discover my 4th place finish until Monday. I did, however
discover my left knee and thigh and right hip were sore already.
Apparently nothing quite substitutes for hanging off a motorcycle.
The next two classes, Lightweight Superbike and middleweight GP Twins
were similar without the blockage problems. A faster group of riders
turning 1:35 or faster checked out leaving me to circulate on my own,
contemplating lines and the mistakes not racing much for a few years
cause. I slowed by a second in LW superbike trying too hard (for 8th)
and got it back in Middleweight GP for 7th, but was pretty wiped out
by the end of the day. The next couple of days I spent figuring out
what to do next race; there's 2 seconds a lap just in riding smoother
and easier - and I'll never last a 6 hour burning energy at that pace.
Best part was that I had not a bit of problem with the bike all day.
Big thanks to Zoran for help with the pipe and shock work, Dan Zlock
(yes, THAT Zlock) for the killer motor, my wife Lauri for buying me a
new bike, my son Justin for helping in the pits when he was having
such a crap day, Brent Prindle of MotoBits for better rearsets and
some clever ideas for fairing mounts. Also can't forget the other
sponsors - Lockhart Philips, Riders for Health and Performance
Coatings. It's great to be back!
Randy Grein, WMRRA #41
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