Mon, 29 Jul 2002 13:07:02
Team Ika is now an International race team!
Dateline: Mission BC, Mission Raceway, between a swamp and the Fraiser River.
Team Ika arrived solo, without pit crew or pit betty, for the Mission Raceway stop on the Sounds of the Past Circuit. A small part of Group W racing was there along with the Canadian vintage riders and two riders from Portland, Team Duff. In all there were seven Honda 160's, some 175's and some bigger stuff including Nortons, Aerramachis and big hondas. Also present was Nick Hart, one of the premier vintage racers in North America and a gentleman to boot, as we shall see.
This session was a double header with Saturday and Sunday identical, one AM practice, a seven lap qualifier and then an afternoon seven lap main. the SOTP scoring was based on Sundays ride.
Mission is a very tight track suited for small bikes. There is very little run-out and much of it is very solid concrete walls. The back side is very rough pavement in spots. Turn 1 is a hairpin right at the end of the straight, a double down shift into a short straight to 2, a hard left hander with walls and moldy hay bales as cushion. There is a short straight to 3, a wild 120 plus degree turn with a step and drop at the apex. Yes, the pavement comes up entering the turn and then drops away at the apex. Sharply. A drive to a very fast left hand turn 4 and scrub all your speed for turn five which is a mixture of asphalt and concrete all of which is pockmarked with bumps and holes. 4-5-6 makes up a chicane with the 5-6 part making up the sphincter alignment check area. a short straight down the back to a double down shift into the 7-8-9 comb which is a left-right-left and broken as all hell, mixed concrete and asphalt and just plain scary. Smooth as you can be in second and bang the bike from side to side. Down the front straight and do it again. All of this is packed into 1.5 miles. You have absolutely no time to rest or think. None.
Saturday was learning the track in practice and a medium pace for the qualifier. Weather was great and aside from missing some of the double shifts and generally looking like a beginner at a track, which I was, Team Ika had a great day. We also learned to avoid the "Rolling Chicane" a Vintage Beemer racer on a 100/7 which sort of bobbled about from time to time at half the pace of a Honda 160. Added bonus points for missing him.
The qualifier went well, aside from a pitiful start, which we are trying to work on. I worked through the start, racing with Vintage only. Yes! Oh happy day. I was working on line and brake/shift points so the other Team Duff guy, Patrick and I diced up as a sort of mid pack race. The other four 160 riders had all been here before and all have several years on 160's under their collective belt. They made up the front pack excluding the big vintage guys, who have their own race. I ended up taking fifth as a qualifier, letting Patrick by me as I completely muffed the double down shift at turn 1 on the last lap.
Idiot Bob Loblaw showed up for the Main, along with his lovely wife. Good to have the support and company!
In the Main for Saturday, I had a much better start, passing the beemer chicane in the hairpin, way too close for my comfort, but there you go, the rest of the race was Patrick and I again with several relay good passes. Picked up a couple of the lead guys and then lost them again, ending up with a Fifth again. Not bad for a new track.
Westwood MC Racing put on a hell of a show, complete with a real podium and awards, even for Vintage! We were treated like royalty the entire time. This club is great. Sunday qualifier was a pathetic start, but great drive. We also had more bikes show up from Seattle. I nipped the beemer guy again, got out ahead of mid pack and basically followed the leaders for seven laps. No mistakes and a clean ride. I took a fourth for that race and felt like I was ready for some charging. At the end of the race, Nick Hart lapped me just as we entered the front straight. He took a checker and then they held the flag, as we exited turn 1, Nick pulled of the race line and gave me the big wave by, "Go get 'em little bike" so I could finish my race. Good on him, a real pro, and I got to finish my lap and get a checkered.
The main was set, grid on. This was the Points race for SOTP. I got a hot start and hit the hairpin with the main pack. Through 2 and 3 I was right on Mike C and Brian H for a battle of mid pack. The leaders were only a second ahead. The whole first lap was tight as hell and no errors by anyone. Down the straight to begin lap two, I set up for a pass on Mike, but couldn't late brake him without hitting the dirt in 1. I settled for wide and a drive next to him. We all hit two wheel to wheel and I got a drive out of two. My plan was to late brake at three and slingshot both Mike and Brian or at least Mike and take Brian at 7, where I had been having some luck. I came into 3 hot, good input and sight line and as I crested the rise I rode the bike right off the tires. It was funny as hell as my body and eyes were still focused on the turn exit, bike the bike had left town. No harm to anything as I was knee down and just slid, tired to re-enter the lap but the handle bars had touched so it was called a crash. I watched the rest of the race from behind the wall, bumped the bike and rode on it.
A great weekend of racing, although I was a DNF for the main and got zero points for the series. Next time at Mission, Team Ika is set to blaze. We will be bringing another pair of pucks too, as the whole lap is on one knee or another.
Look for Team Ika at Seattle on August 11th, race only and at Portland on August 18th, Race only (no practice day on Saturday.)
Team Ika Stickers will be ready about first week August and will be mailed the second week or get on at the track by showing up. Team Ika pit is easy to find, look for the VinTrash area, my canopy has Prayer Flags on it, a Team Ika sign and a Squid Mobile made out of Cocktail Squid and Safety wire.
Race hard, Race often, Crash well and Go Team Ika!!!