Tue, 13 Aug 2002 11:36:21
Team Ika continued the Vintage Race Season with a Sunday only appearance at Pacific Raceways in Seattle. Just back from a week long dual-sport ride in Idaho, rider Mark E. logged in 760 miles on Saturday with the trusty KLR beating road to get to the track.
Sunday was clear and hot, with some sore ass. First practice went well, with Team Ika hanging back and testing the new brake lever and adjusting to being back at the home track. The grid was huge, with all of the Portland Mad Bees and Viscous Cycle guys in attendance. The grid for 250V was 18, not counting all the other vintage in 500 and open. We had one bike off in practice, buggering his new fairing and a lot of squirrely stuff going on. It was a portent of things to come.
First race was gridded without incident. Team Ika got a bad start in traffic but no incident. Following the pack through turn two, things started sorting out. Turn three, a long downhill to a second gear right hander was packed with bikes, all tacking different lines. Mark has been working on dropping through the chute on this one and it is starting to pay off. Instead of the often used late apex, he is dropping in early and often stuffing a pass in the process. First two laps was picking up toward our usual mid pack spot. Again, I was dueling with Dave on a Sachs powered Penton and Tom K., just back from a broken collar bone. I double drafted Dave after he passed me on the straight, taking the draft back from him and then sling-shotting into turn two. For the first time We were able to hit 2 WFO, knee down without *any* throttle blip. The bike performed great and I didn't see those boys again on that lap. We started having a few bikes off the track here and there, but the zone was upon us and that was trivial information. I picked up Mike C on the back side, but the little bugger squirted into turn nine just ahead of me. We went through nine inches apart, right through the bus stop chicane in front of the stands and then down the straight, where I let him draft me and then let him make his move. He went too soon, allowing me to double draft for the sling pass into turn 2 again. I took three sport bikes on the outside, gave them the ceremonial cigar ash flick and then did the three four combo cleaner than ever before. I had cleared my way an open space on the last lap and then heard another bike in nine on the last lap. I knew I had a drafter but the track is short at that point to the finish. Munns from Portland moved on me at the end and got me by a tire. Team Ika took a Tenth place for the first race.
It is interesting to note that in this race, with the fastest guys in the class, Team Ika posted its fastest lap time and fastest overall race time ever and still got 10th place. That illustrates the caliber of this class right now. We posted a 2:13.1 lap time, down a full two second over our previous best.
After a morning of hanging out, The grid for race two was set and we went off hard, getting a really good start. Into two with 30+ vintage bikes all in a huge pack and Ika in the middle. Coming downhill into three I was closing on Brian H. as he set up for his apex. I was going to take him in the exit to three. Charlie from Portland came outside with a late apex and crossed Brian's line. They slammed together hard, right in front of me, hung for a second and then Brian went down hard, sliding out of the right hander and, unbelievably, leaving Charlie upright. I passed them and hit the back side as the red flag went up. WE stopped at seven and were directed back to grid.
Regrid was fast and off we went again. This time the start was hot and Ika was in the pack. I cannot begin to describe how tight the racing was. At any given time, there were three or more bikes within inches of each other. I passed like a wild man on the back side through 5-6-7, always setting someone up in 6-7 and then taking them uphill with their own draft into eight, an easy left. I was passed into eight by a sportsman on a modern, but hung with him all through nine into the bus stop, tire to tire. The last two laps was a race between Tom K and Mike Colins, both on 160's. By this time, Geoffrey had gone down in turn six, bad high side, Dave was out on the back in a mechanical, Bill was dirt tracking on the backside and Brian was out in four. There were bikes going everywhere. Mike was giving me fits with his 135# little self. I have 50# on him and on the 160 that is huge. I would nail him on the back side and he would draft me into eight and then we were side by side into the bus stop, a wicked chicane with a broken surface that is wide enough for two bikes if you are willing to touch. Twice I had Mike in the bus stop but both times would have meant stuffing him off the track, literally. I had the tire and the inside both times, but I held back because I am not knowingly going to cause a crash. I saw what had happened to Brian four laps earlier. The second time out of the bus stop with Mike was the last lap and he got me at the finish. It was a great race and i was exhausted by the end.
Big thanks to the Lovely and wonderful Pit Betty Lynn Potts and to Pit Crew Chief Don Marr!!
The new emphasis for Team Ika is smarter racing, being cagey and racing close. Places to make better times are the bus stop chicane and turn three. Things that are still a problem are miss-shifts from 2-3 under a load, a common 160 problem, but one in which we are seeing a lot of progress. Overall, things are very bright for Team Ika. Right now we were 7th overall for season points in 250V. What is also of note is that Team Ika has a very respectable standing in overall points for the club as a whole. Also of note, is that Team Ika is running an almost bone stock machine against the Mad Bees/Viscious Cycle bunch who have all modified their bikes much more. This winter will see the building of a faster bike with a small fairing which will add speed to Team Ika. That, couple with ever increasing skill level aquired through lots of track time will raise Team Ika's standings in the next season.
This weekend, a 10th and a 9th for Olympic scoring of 8th for the day. Next appearance for Team Ika is Portland, this coming Sunday only, two races, one AM and one late afternoon. Come see Team Ika on the long track!
Race Hard, Race Often and GO Team Ika!!!!!