Racing 2000

April 30:  Race One at Mountain View

     The day started at 4:00 in the morning with temperatures in the 30's, and snow falling at Jay's shop up in Woodland Park (elevation 8500 ft.). We swept the snow out of the back of the truck, loaded the bike, tires, compressor, and all the other stuff, and headed to the track. Jay's daughter Larissa (7yrs old) rode with us as we drove the 150 miles up to Mountain View.
    The weather there was dry, but very cold and windy, with rain clouds threatening. We arrived a little bit late, but, still managed to cram the truck into a tiny open spot in the pits. The pit area at Mountain View is limited, to say the least. Checked in at registration because my 2000 race license and number had not arrived yet. Julie, the lady at registration said I was all set and gave me the 2000 stuff, and told me that I had been assigned # 30 for the rest of the season, but that it was OK to run # 138 today. So far so good.
    We had full wets on the bike and ran the first practice with them, but, it was obvious that they were not going to hold up unless there was more moisture on the track. Jay and I changed to a YCX (soft) rear slick and YCY (ultra soft) front between the first and second practice. We also put new EBC brake pads in. Went out for the second practice and everything was working good.  I think Jay put in richer jets because of the cold weather.  There were several red flags for crashes in the early sessions. Did I mention it was COLD!
    This one guy (# 90) was right in front of me in the second expert fast session. He was coming up to speed fast and came off of turn 5 (which is an uphill left), and got launched into the stratosphere off the high side. It was pretty ugly and we got red flagged. Then in the last session,  I saw Tracy Schram on his RS125 on brand new shiny tires lose it in the same exact place. Anyway we made it through practice and we were looking pretty good for the races.
    In the Formula II race I got off the line well and led into turn one.   My tires were still not warm so I was a little bit too careful going into turn two, and Tyler Wadsworth on his '96 TZ 250 stuffed his way past and the race was on!  I picked up the pace, but he was still gapping me a little bit each lap. By the halfway flag we had checked out on third place and it was just the two of us that were in it for the win. I don't know if he was backing out of it a bit, or getting tired or what, but by the next lap, I was reeling him in under braking and down the "Dragon Slide" into turn nine. We split some lappers and I definitely was gaining on him. I thought to myself, "I might have enough time to win this thing yet!"
    With two laps to go I caught up to him in turn six, and I was pushing as hard as I could. His bike was accelerating really well, so I came on the gas pretty early and got the rear lit up pretty well on the exit, and I had him in my sights.  I got an excellent drive off the corner and was planning to really crank it through the dragon slide and onto the main front straight. 
    I made up about 3 bike lengths on him on the down hill, and threw it into the right hander at the bottom going in way deep. The front started plowing, I kept it up on my knee for a moment and then it folded... I slammed to the ground and was sliding with the bike on top of me, pushing me along.  Something really hammered my left foot and then I was free and rolled a few times... I came to a stop outside the corner in the grass, and I was kinda rattled for a couple seconds.  I just sat there like a dumb ass and let my head clear.  Meanwhile, the corner worker was yelling something at me as the bikes raced by. " Are you OK? Do you need the ambulance?"  "No", I said just give me a minute and he moved me away.
    My left foot felt like it had been hammered, which of course it had been. The bike didn't look bad, and I began thinking that I could still have a chance to make the other two races, if I could get back to the pits. I hobbled to my feet, and picked up the bike and started pushing. About this time a guy who was watching the races came down and offered to push the bike. I will be forever grateful to him. I have seen him around a lot, but for the life of me, I can't think of his name. Thanks Dude! Anyway, we started back towards the pits and John Fisher came along and helped push as well.   Jessica, the new MRA track marshal was really helpful too. We got to the pits and a lot of the guys I know were asking how I was and all that.  It made me feel pretty good that these guys that you race with DO give a shit about your well being.   Thanks, John, Josh, Mark, Waldo, Gabe, Don!
    ... Jay and I looked the bike over and he pretty much turned it around. New foot peg, throttle, tape up the bubble, brake lever, all the usual stuff. Got it re-teched and we were ready for race two.
    In Formula Colorado, I got off the line in second behind Mark Erickson on his KX 500 (on slicks!). We got up to speed and I was still a little bit de-tuned from the earlier crash, but, things started falling into place and the bike felt the same as ever. Mark kept looking back at me, we have kind of a gentlemans agreement that at some point I will be coming through and he generally obliges me by giving me plenty of room to pass ( He always takes the hole shot). Such was the case and and I went by in turn two.
    By this time Tracy Schram was buzzing around my heals on his RS, so I put my head down and ran some pretty strong laps. The MRA have a twins class running off the same grid so we were cutting them up pretty good.  I got some lucky breaks in traffic and managed to pull off the win without too much trouble. I was pumped!
    I was really happy to win because Jay had put so much work into the bike. I just wanted to make things right. By this time my left foot had plenty of time to start swelling.  I didnt dare take off my boot or it was gunna be all over for me. It was kinda throbbing and all that, and I was sort of hopping around the pit on one leg before the last race.
    In Lt. Wt. Superbike, Jurgen Wimbauer and I wheelied off the line. I caught about a six inch hop in second but Jurgen was still pulling a two footer and moving out on his healthy SV650 twin. He beat me into turn one and I settled into second. After a couple laps we had gapped third place by a bunch, and I could see that he and I were going to the wire in this one.
    I was having a really hard time getting around the left hander, and Jurgen was really putting the hurt on me there. I would make up time on other parts of the track, but pretty much lose it all back in that corner. We circulated with a few bike lengths between us for most of the race. He kept looking back at me and would see me right there, then he would try to gap me, but there was nothing in it. He was riding well and didn't make any mistakes. We had a pretty hectic last lap, and we went though the flag with him winning by about three bike lengths...I took second.
    So, there it is. We got through the first race.  We sustained some battle damage, but I guess it could have been worse...
Later, C.W.