Racing 2000

May 21: Race 3 at Pueblo Motorsports Park

    This weekend the 3rd round of the MRA season was held at Pueblo Motorsports Park.  This is the fastest track in Colorado with probably close to a 1/2 mile long straightaway.  There is no substitute for power and top speed in a place like this, so Jay and I worked at his shop to set the bike up for the track.  Jay modified the cam belt tension rollers so that it would retard the timing about a degree or so from what we had been running.  I changed the gearing to 19 x 35, and we did all the normal prep on the bike on Saturday.  During the week, Jay had already done some fiberglass work and welded up some weak points that needed reinforcement
    My wife Jan and my two boys (Alan and Jeff) came out to Colorado with me to do the race weekend. Jan's parents met us in Woodland Park on Saturday.  They had been on a vacation and decided to stop by for the weekend on their way back to Oklahoma.  We all went out to dinner Saturday night and ate at a casino in the town of Cripple Creek.  Cripple Creek is a converted Ghost Town from the gold rush days.  It sits at 10,000 feet, and ever since they legalized gambling there a few years ago, it has turned into a real tourist trap.  We had fun and plenty to eat at the buffet.
    Jay and I arrived at the track at about 7:00am and set up the pits.   We ran 3 sessions of practice and everything went fine.  The key to Pueblo is to carry your top speed as far into turn one as you can.   I would guess we were geared for close to 135 mph prior to braking for that turn.  It's a long sweeper that almost goes 180 degrees back on itself.  Keeping the bike well balanced when transferring the weight bias from braking to loading the front at the entrance is the key to getting it right.  The rest of the track is a typical road race layout with some elevation changes, a couple of blind corners on an uphill, a couple of medium length power shoots going into 90 degree rights, and then the run back onto the front straight.   Not too technical but just a matter of maintaining momentum. 
    Our first race was the Formula II class.  It was not too exciting.   I took the hole shot, but halfway through the first lap Russell Stroubridge came by on his TZ250 and I tried to hang on to him.  I really didn't have anything for him and he continued to walk away.  I just settled down, and finished the race in 2nd place.  It was kinda lonely.
    In Formula Colorado, after the green flag and through the first three gears, I was behind Mark Erickson and Chuck Shettsline heading down the straight towards turn one. Chuck swung across the track suddenly, to move to the outside to set up for turn one, just as I was pulling up next to him.  It was kinda close, but no contact was made.  I moved underneath him, stayed on the gas, and managed to go in a little deeper, and got past both Mark and Chuck before cranking it into turn one.  I ran some good laps and never saw anybody from my class after that.  I was cutting through backmarkers in the twins class that had gridded ahead of us so that kept it interesting.   Towards the end of the race I caught up to these two guys on Ducatis having their own battle.  I got past one guy under braking on the last lap, and was hounding the first guy on the last couple corners. He must have thought I was a twin, and we came off the last corner, and ran to the checkered flag together.  It added a little spice to the race.  Anyway, we won the Formula Colorado race and that felt good!
    Our last race of the day was Lt. Wt. Superbike.  I have been running second to Jurgen Wimbaurer on his SV650 in the the first two races of the year, and I had no reason to believe that today would be any different... But it was.   After a couple of fairly sedate races today ( I use the term loosely) this race would be different.  At the green flag I got a tiny jump on Jurgen and we ran side by side all the way down to turn one.  In my mind, this might be the closest I would run to him, as he has proved to be a tough customer in our previous races, and in fact would be again today.  Anyway, it's like we are going to have a braking contest going into turn one, and basically I was rushing in at waaay high speed.  It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done, and I was leading.  Now, the problem was to control the race because he was all over me like a cheap shirt.  From what Jay told me afterwards I guess there were a couple places where I had him covered, and other places I was holding him up.  All I know was that I was pushing as hard as I could.  I mean, he was sticking his front wheel up on me almost every lap, yet, somehow I was managing to stay ahead.  Maybe Jay had found something in this engine.  What I was trying to do was run the tightest lines I could and still run the same lap times as I was earlier in the day.  It was working because he couldn't run outside of me, so it was really close the whole race.  I was really running the front hard at the entrance and lighting up the rear at the exit because of the protectionist lines I was running.   I didn't have the luxury of using a normal wide entrance, so it was all done with lean angle and sliding.  It was pretty hectic and I thought I was gunna lose it a couple times, but I held on through the white flag.  Now I was getting really aggressive and with this style I made a few mistakes.  I was out braking myself and ruining my drives and stuff.  I actually, thought to myself "This is crazy, I've got to settle down".  So, I'm still leading with two right hand corners to go. I could almost taste the win.  Ok, only one more corner.  I ran way to the inside of the last corner, and out onto the dragstrip on the run to flag... as I had every lap before.  Jurgen must have figured this out because he got an excellent drive and ran up beside me on the outside as the track opened up onto the wide dragstrip.  I was under the paint, behind the bubble with the engine revving to near destruction as we raced side by side to the flag... But it wasn't enough and he nosed ahead to just take the win. So, just like that it was snatched away.  It was a great race however; and I guess I learned a few things.  That's racing.
    After the races, we said goodbye to everyone.  The kids had a good time playing in the dirt.  I gave Jan's parents the 1st place trophy from the Formula Colorado race to take home as a souvenir.  Everyone was sunburned.  It was really hot and the beer tasted good.  Mark Erickson gave us a ride to the Denver airport, and we caught a plane out with literally a minute to spare. Thanks Mark!  I think Jay was planning a trail ride with Davey Durelle today (Monday).  I mowed the lawn and chilled...
    Next race is in 3 weeks (June 11) at Second Creek.
Later, C.W.