Mon Jun 24 09:52:00 2002
Unbelievably, the sun shone on a full race weekend, bringing out the hordes of racers who would not brave the first three wet sessions this season.
Saturday practice was great, lots of time to work on shift points with the new gearing. We went up one tooth for the longer track at Spokane and left it in to try it at SIR (Now Pacific Raceway). All the shift points have changed and because the track was dry everything was new. Lots of crashes due to dry track speeds. One of our own, #500, Tom, went off in turn six and broke his scapula.
Anyway, Team Ika was looking good, working the bike right to the lean limit. We had the knees, boots, pegs and levers on the ground. On a 160, the next thing is the tires leaving the ground. Lap times for the practice sessions ended up at 2:16.8, best ever. The ever beautiful and patient Pit Betty, Lynn, was there for support and to listen to my endless babble about turns and going faster.
Sunday racing was great!! The grids for vintage were huge! The biggest I have ever seen. WE had over 15 160's, the Canadians brought the Arremachis, and all the big vintage bikes were there, Nortons, Team Obsolete Triumph, Big Hondas, probably over thirty bikes in all.
First race I took a pathetic start, really bad, and had to pass all the way to mid pack the first two laps, really riding well. Finished without incident mid pack. Lap times were 2:13.8!! This was in pretty heavy traffic.
Pit Chief Don Marr was there, checking tire temperatures coming off the track. Getting a good 10% increase in pressure and hot tires.
Second race was a one wave start, as time was getting short. I got a slower start, not as bad as the first, but immediately made it up, running into the pack before turn 2. What a thing of beauty!! 30 vintage bikes all roaring into a fast sweeper at full whack! Help me get a witness, I'm a junkie!
I passed the usual guys and then mixed in with some modern bikes before getting untangled and finding my rival, Brian H. On the second lap we were close. I went back into turn 2 for the third lap and stuffed a modern bike out of my line. That felt so good, cutting him off inside and showing him the little ass of the 160! My line buddy! I got a great drive out of 2, passed Brian inside and dropped through the downhill 3/4 combo better than I ever have.
I knew I was *it* through the back side, but the chicane was absolute chaos, with 8-10 bikes entering the narrow chute all at once. I got bumped left but rode through with the bunch. Out of the chute and down the straight I was as small as I could possibly be, perfect shifts down the straight, hearing another bike right there and knew Brian was in my draft. He moved on me and we finished absolutely elbow to elbow, six inches apart and front tires even. Even though it was a battle for ninth and tenth, it felt like first place at the Isle of Mann!!
Out split times were identical but they called it for Brian off the video. What a race!! In Olympic scoring Team Ika picked up 8 points for the day. So far points for every weekend, including 40 points for a combined first. Team Ika got it's first podium award yesterday, a nice medal and ribbon to hang on the wall for a second place finish back in April, in a monsoon.
Thanks to Lynn and Don, a great weekend. For next time it is Portland, next Sunday, June 30th. Two sprint races. Long track, not the best for small bikes, but we are there anyway. Things to work on: Better Starts and calmer shifting. It is possible to shift through two gears if you hit the little honda too hard. Gentle shifts and better starts will shave at least two seconds off the lap times.
Go Team Ika!!!