2002 Race Report

Race #5

6/1 - 6/2 BlackHawk Farms

If you'd like to see the track layout and how to ride it, check my 2001 race reports.

Friday 5/31:

The weather is FINALLY gorgeous.  It's hot and sunny with no wind.  I picked up my forks from Ed Kwaterski of Trackside Engineering on Wed night and got them back in the bike.  I had him re-valve them as there was literally no rebound damping left in them.

Friday practice didn't go bad.  I wanted to break into the low 1:18's and maybe 1:17's, but it just didn't happen.  I spent the most of the day playing with the suspension to get things sorted out right.

I mounted up some fresh rubber late in the day and headed for home.

Saturday 6/1:

Another gorgeous day, but perhaps too hot?  It was HIGH 80's with no clouds in the sky.  What a dramatic change from the previous race weekends.

Amateur GTU - 30 Minutes:

I was gridded on the inside of the front row.  This is the PERFECT spot to be at for me.  I got an excellent launch and flew down the straight.  A guy outbraked me into turn 1 for the lead, but I followed him around the track slipping slowly back from him.  I lost another place each lap for the next few laps until I'm passed by my buddy Eric Custar on his ZX6.  I've been faster than Eric all season, but he finally put things together and came out of nowhere to cut some extremely fast times!  I'm happy for him because he said that beating me was one of his goals, and now he's done it and raised the bar for me!

I'm following Eric who is right on the tail of Mike Chachere.  The game plan is to stay here until the 1/2 way mark and then pass back up to 3rd or better.  

I'm on Eric and we sail down the straight into turn 1.  Eric brakes late and goes VERY WIDE.  My attention goes to him (bad move).  I *know* he's not going to make it so I need to make sure I'm under him, but give him a few inches of track just in case  he does make it.  I'm already bent into the corner and wanted to leave him some track left, so I tipped it in just a wee bit further.  I'm on the gas, dragging knee, calf and boot, and that's all she wrote.  The front tucked and down I went.  

I slid across the track behind the bike, it hit the side and did a nice "roll over and play dead" move.  I got to my feet, picked the bike up and wheeled it out of the way.

Bent fairing stay, bent clip-on tube and clutch lever.  Some bodywork damage to the stuff that had already been repaired once or twice too many times. 

I got back to the pits and the wife helped me for the next few hours in putting it all back together.  Thanks Babe, you're the best!

Talking later to Eric, he DID make that corner, and apologized for messing me up! Like it was his fault?!?!  He said I slid about 4 feet in front of him, so I'm just glad it all worked out and nobody got hurt.

Sunday 6/2:

Cooler temps with rain on the way.  It was around 70 deg, perfect for racing!

I went out for practice and was feeling good.  About 2 laps in, that changed when I went to shift and there was nothing there!  I pushed the lever down again and bam, into gear she went.  Hmmm...  Well, I downshift fine, 6-5-4-3-2-1 one click each, but upshifting is another story.  It goes into 1 fine, but takes 5 pushes of the lever to get to 2, 10 or so to get to 3, and by then I'm too far around the track to worry about any other gear.

DAMN!  I wheel it back into the pits and where a friend of mine Kent was waiting.  He came up to buy some tires and cheer me on.  Little did he know his day would be this busy.

Kent immediately tore into the bike trying to see the shifting indexer behind the clutch.  We never did get the clutch off, but the indexer looked fine.  Put it all back together and still nothing.  My first race just started without me.

If you don't believe in God, you should have been walking around with us...

We were walking around talking to people about rebuilding the tranny.  One guy promised to have it done by the next weekend, but at a price I could not afford.  Just then, it's like the clouds parted and divine intervention came upon us in the form of a crash truck.

In comes an expert on a 2000 F4.  He's pissed.  Wheels the bike off of the truck and screams "I hate this F'n thing, I'm selling it right now!!!".  "Oh really?" I reply, and the details were soon worked out.  Now I can't go explaining all of the slight details which made this a truly incredible experience, but suffice it to say if I were to tell you, you would likely not believe it.

Kent went back to wrenching.  New plan, put my forks on his bike and replace the busted clip-on tube, and RACE!  Well, the more we got into it, the less comfortable I was with this plan.  Something on the front just didn't line up right (I later found it to be a bent axle), and there were loose bolts EVERYWHERE.

I settled for just wheeling the bikes into my already stuffed trailer and filled the van from bottom to top with the rest.

Huge public thanks goes out to Kent and Jennifer for all the help!  Jennifer is used to wrenching on my messes, but Kent jumped in like a man on a mission and really helped me out.

My work is now cut out for me.  On top of my normal 8-5 M-F, and buying a house, and keeping up with everything else, I have to pull the motor from the new bike and get it in my bike.  I'm parting out the rest of the 2000 F4 to pay for it all, so if you need parts, CONTACT ME NOW!

There's a partial list of parts available in the Forum 

Direct link to parts

Well, no new wood this weekend, but a new bike might help me for the next weekend at Mid-America the end of this month.  I'm sure my standings will drop dramatically, but it should even out as Robert Borowicz and Andy Feusthaler are back and balancing out the points leads.

Until then...

Thanks to everyone for your support, life wouldn't be the same without this, and you all help make it happen for me.


See all of my pics at www.sliderphoto.com.  Just pick an event and rider #42!

If you have comments on this race report, please leave them in the new Forum!