Mon, 19 Aug 2002 15:17:45
Team Ika, your Idiot race team, was at Portland Int. Raceway for another Sounds of the Past series appearance. Pit Chief Don Marr was absent, but the lovely and patient Pit Betty extrodinaire, Lynn P was at her post.
Sunday morning was cool and cloudy, but sun was on the way. Your Rider, Mark Etheridge, was determined to figure out the Portland curse and beat it. In past appearances, Team Ika was forced off the track by a novice, ending up in a grass ride that fractured an intake manifold on the Ducati. This was the first "disaster" season. Despite the best efforts of Darryl R., Shibumi "Master of Adhesives" and some good Juju, that track session was over. This season, Team Ika slid out of turn three, a decreasing radius left hander during practice and then high-sided in the same turn in race two that day, scaring the crap out of everyone including the rider.
The first practice session of the morning found Team Ika taking a slow lap around the track, trying to crack the 1-2-3 combination. One is a right hander at the end of the *Really* long PIR straight. It is a "How much cojones do you have" turn, passing a kink right again into the set for a hard right into two. It is top gear all the way to the apex of two and then down shift for the sweep right to set up for the decreasing radius of turn three, a left. In both two and three the pavement ripples and there are concrete sections set into the asphalt. Mark managed to hang with a few of the P-town riders to get a better view and this really helped. With only four laps in practice, there wasn't a lot of time to work, but we made the most of it and really smoothed things out. Speed was not the order of the day however.
Race One was a basic start with a dash down the long straight at the end of the pack. Traffic bunched hard through the 1-2-3 but Ika looked good, though far off a winning pace. We were, however, upright, which is progress. The back side out of 3 is a right hander at 4 through the slight kink of 5-6 which is almost straight on our little bike. Down the back straight into the 7-8-9 which is a fast as you can go left right down shift once brake hard and then hard right to the finish line. This section is paint to paint, hitting the red and white tiger teeth at every apex. You can do this section WFO in top gear if you have just the right hang to the Cojones and you don't look close enough to see the face of God. In fact, you can shift and go through 9 without brakes as we found out later, but you may cause the flagger at the opposite paint to soil himself if you do.
Team Ika finished Heat One far back from the pack, having lost the draft which is crucial to any kind of placing out here. We did, however, come away with a far enhanced knowledge of the racing line for Portland.
Second heat went off with a better start but the realization down the straight that in it's unmodified form, the Team Ika 160 is lacking the pull that the other much more modified 160's have. No matter, into the 1-2-3 as good as we have ever done it and deciding that despite the ripples and bumps, 3 is really not trying to kill us. Two laps of chasing the mid-pack resulted in our best line/times ever at PIR, but not much else. Lap three brought a little grass excursion from the 160 ahead of us as the rider left the track too hot in 4 and was heading for Vancouver the last time he was seen. Lap 4, coming into 1, Seimo, #123, got to the inside of Team Ika, so we ended up in a more outside line, coming into 1 hotter than we have ever tried. At the apex to what would be the 1A, or kink, with our knee solid on the ground and the peg as well, looking for the shift point for 2, our wee 160 broke loose at both the front and rear tires and we started sliding, full on the throttle at full lean. Thoughts that should have been in our head, Like "Oh, so this is what GP bikes feel like, Cool!" were actually more along the line of "Mayday, mayday, we're going down". And then the Avons hooked up and we continued our ride, a little wider than planned, but going into 2 just as we should.
This sliding bit was flat amazing, and proof of what can happen if you keep your posture, focus the eyes where you want to go and let her slide if she wants. Every damn survival instinct says "Chop the throttle!!" which is an instant high-side.
Team Ika finished the Second heat by coming into the 7-8-9 as fast as we have ever done it and then forgetting our brake marker when we were surprised to have survived. Still one turn shy of the finish we managed the shift but not the braking and ended u almost taking out the flag, instead of taking the flag. No one noticed but Team Ika so no blood no foul.
Team Ika posted an 10th and an 11th place for the two heats, nothing to brag about. Still, look for a far more aggresive and fast Team Ika performance at Vintage Days in Portland in October. This will be the time to come out for racing as the Grids on Saturday will be all Vintage, broken up by Class. There will be a huge grid for 250 Vintage, well worth a trip to the track!
Team Ika's next apperance is at Spokane on Sept. 1st. A fast track that Team Ika loves, look for some hot finishes and points from Your Idiot team.
Following Spokane is Vintage days in Seattle, which will be a Saturday and Sunday race, all Vintage on Saturday September 28th. This is the premier Vintage racing day for the Northwest and will bring out huge grids and the best riders. Look for Team Ika to be hot that day.
Come out to the track to root for Team Ika. Remember, race hard, race well and Go Team Ika!!!!!