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1,429 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The results:
1st of 5

The booty:
AHRMA national championships in BOTT F2 and F3!

The sortid details:

This final race of the AHRMA season was expected to be a largely
uneventful one for me, as I had all but sewn up the points race in F3 and my
closest competitor in F2 had told me he wasn't attending (never trust a
competitor in these matters...). I had a few simple tasks to perform: Finish
fourth or better in F3 saturday, finish no more than 2 places behind Matt
Winnacker both days, have fun on a new track, and DON'T CRASH. I was
successful on all counts, but things did not go exactly as scripted.
Winnacker didn't show, denying me a final chance to beat him this year. Jan
Svensson DID show, all giddy about having solved his mechanical woes (you
gotta worry about a guy who MAKES his own valve shims, I can't even CHECK my
own valves!). A mere handful of points separated Jan and I in F2; I would
have to beat him either saturday or sunday.
Friday's practice gave me little indication where I stood- Jan is far too
crafty to let me follow him around and study him. This new track is quite
challenging to learn- there are few brake markers or curbs to reference, and
there is a wide mix of turn radiuses to decipher. The first turn is fairly
fast and constant radius, then from turn 2 to the end of the back straight
it's pedal to the metal through a few kinks. From there things tighten up,
and I spend all day asking myself "is this the turn that tightens up on the
Saturday's first race is F1/F3, giving me the chance to shadow Jan
without having to race against him. I get a good start and soon leave my F3
competitors a comfortable distance behind. Al Charles is leading F1 by a
good margin, and Jan is chasing Julian Poczatek on his RC51 with me close
behind. I try to beam my thoughts into Jan's helmet... "pass him, let's see
what kind of times we can do here". Jan gets the message and squeaks by the
RC. Now it's my turn, and I try to get close enough to draft Julian down the
back straight to set up a pass in the tight stuff. Instead, I get a front
row seat to a rather ugly crash. The RC pilot had been swinging rather wide
for the last fast left each lap, and this time he just appeared to lose
concentration and drift too far right into the sand at 100+ mph. The bike
got swallowed up by the sand trap, and Julian tumbled quite violently on the
pavement, catching a couple feet of air in between impacts. I could not
believe it when I saw him later that afternoon, only a few bloody bandaged
fingers and a slight limp worse for wear; I was sure he was headed for an
expensive hotel room with a Craftmatic bed and lots of folks in white
running about. Anyway, seeing this reminds me that I have nothing to gain by
going fast in this race so I back it down a notch and cruise a couple more
laps in solitude to collect the win.
We line up for the first half of the F2 showdown, and Jan gets a blazing
start. I wasn't worried at first, I figured I could reel him in slowly and
pass on the last lap. I became more concerned with each passing lap as he
opened up more of a gap, almost too far to overcome by lap 6. The white flag
flies, and somehow manage to get close enough to draft the Swede down the
back straight. My SV feels strong in the clean air, and I have just enough
momentum to slip past entering the tight section. I'm sure I have the race
under control, my only thoughts are on controlling my adrenaline in the last
few turns; crashing is not an attractive option at this point. Just as I
straighten up on the exit of the final turn, Jan blasts by on the outside
and a moment later pumps his fist in the air as he crosses the finish line
in first place. I feel like I stepped off the bus from Kansas to NYC-
MUGGED! Surprise evolves into determination, and I make a bold prediction at
the evening's award presentation: "have your video cameras ready for
tomorrow's F2 race!".
Sunday morning rolls around, and I'm pumped for the big showdown. Pat
Mooney and Derek Keyes show up fresh from Daytona, adding a possible twist
to the plot. Derek is a good 2 seconds faster a lap in practice than I was
in saturday's race, so he should be far ahead and out of the way of the F2
Deathmatch. F3 is up first again, my plan is to follow Derek and Jan as
close as possible for a few laps then back off and conserve my tires.
Despite a glacial reaction time I get a good start, complete with a lovely
THREE gear wheelie that touches down with a bark just in time to turn in for
turn one. I'm surprised to keep Derek in sight for two full laps- either he
was saving himself for F2 or Jan and I were getting faster. As Jan
approaches the final turn on lap 2, I'm following closely, trying to spot a
weakness. It seems like he's sandbagging a bit, not wanting to reveal his
evil plans for F2, then it happens... at the exit of the turn his Ducati
slams down on it's side, and Jan tumbles after. It didn't look as bad as the
other crash I had witnessed that weekend, but as I came around again Jan was
lying motionless on his back with EMT's looking over. The red flag was out.
I felt ill. Several minutes later I'm relieved to see him limping away (with
2 guys helping). They restart our race and I go fast for 2 laps to try and
clear my head, then back way off and cruise to second behind Keyes.
In F2 Keyes and Mooney blast away to battle each other while I slither
around on my spent slicks. I should have just skipped that race, but even
after all the drama track time is track time, right?
In conclusion (yes, finally) 2002 turned out to be a pretty damn good
season. After just 2 race weekends in 2001 (my first year racing) I was
fortunate enough to take the #1 plate in both my classes thanks to
consistant improvement and keeping the rubber side down. A big THANKS! to
everyone who made this possible: sponsors Lockhart-Phillips and Bridgestone
tires, friends from Columbus- especially Solace, Gerwin, Guzman, Syar,
Thornton, Hatten and Hord. Plans are very much up in the air for next year,
but don't be surprised to see me show up at a racetrack near you, sporting
that #1 bullseye on my back!

1,429 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Dad, and thanks to blackkaw for coming to watch. My races were kinda boring on sunday, but it seemed like he was having a good time anyway.

364 Posts
wife and I had a GREAT time!

The whole weekend was quite a bit of fun. I always wanted to visit that track in north Fla. and when I heard you were racing there... I wouldn't have missed it for the world.Hope things go well for you next season, if you decide to have a go at it! Hey ride and race well.. and reading your race re-cap makes me feel like I am right there on the track!! :eek:
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