What a weekend - immersed in fast and furious action, testing the limits, grinding everything in sight, and even murdering defenseless little birds - it was motorcycle mayhem in Spokane, Washington for three days at Spokane Raceway Park!
Thursday - Brook, Carl and Andy Raber at the Sully class, gurued by the Northwest master himself. Raber, described later by Sully to me as maniacal, a madman, the perfect guy to take into two-wheeled battle. He ground down his footpegs, other people's boots, and when he wasn't satisfied with that, he took the life of an innocent bird at over one hundred miles an hour - he was brutal. I can still see Sully twitch when he talked about it - the horror.
And then there was Brook, using his superior abilities as Zen master of everything two-wheeled, not content with the run-out in between turns 9 and 10, drives in deep and carves another inch out of the hill with his bare turn signal. Stopped, he scoffs at the mighty hill he has permanently disfigured, spins it up and rips down the straight at over 160 mile an hour, the farming implement that was formerly his turn signal, dangling by its life-blood of wires. I'll have this guy with me down any dark alley, anytime.
And Carl, scoffed at for his over-weight, ghoulish-green track weapon, simply clicks, and lets his riding do the talking. Ripping it up, he becomes nearly untouchable.
Friday - Raber has to head home, the Spokane Ornithology Institute has lodged a formal protest. Ah, but the rest of us show up...Positronic Johnny , Alan the TLR Killer, Darren those medium guys are slow, myself, and Andy Graham - racer who drags his knee. It was the seven of us, with fifteen thousand horsepower between us. We were so intimidating, the starter would only let us go out as our own group, preferring us to not embarrass the other riders. And it didn't take long for us to show our our metal. Darren the true road warrior he is, uses one of the oldest tricks in the book to evade would be passers - he ejects his oil fill plug at one hundred miles an hour, casting anyone close into a cloud of doom.
Back in the pits, on numerous occasions we toy with our rocket-sleds, tossing them around the pits, only to catch them at the last minute, striking terror into the hearts of mortal racers and street riders alike. They ask me, "...where did you find these guys?", and I only reply "...We are Some Clowns Racing."
On Saturday - The real business is at hand, Andy - racer who drags his knee, practices for the first time with hardened racers with centuries of experience. Progressing, learning, zoning himself into faster and faster laps, he gets knocked off the track at turn eight at nearly one hundred miles and hour. Collecting himself, he resigns himself to the gravel trap, but that trap would not get him today! Instead, he turns on the jets, and throttles his way back on to the track, leaving only a 6 inch deep furrow, over a hundred feet long in his wake. His next lap is 3 seconds faster - nothing like like a little motivation, is there Andy.
On Sunday - Andy need only survive for two race heats. The weather is spotty, with intermittent rain, and gusts of wind. As team leader, I had fresh Dunlops mounted the previous evening. The first lap of the first heat is carnage. A rider goes wide at turn 1. Unable to slow down, he torpedoes two other racers in turn 2, one of which collects a fourth. Go here to see video of the carnage... Andy, maneuvers through the wasted plastic and aluminum and evades harm. Back on the grid, they restart after cleaning up the mess... It's a good start. He hangs on to some inline four riders to pick up the back of the middle group. His times come down. The goal is 1:55... He starts 1:59, 1:56, 1:54.10, and 1:54.17. He drags his knee for the first time...
The second heat, 7 laps this time, Andy is eager. New found confidence. The start is good, again he latches on to some inline fours. His lap times are consistent - staying at around a minute fifty-five. This heat he races two others though. This heat he drags his knee several times - once in plain view of his team as they watch in turn 11. On the last lap, fatigued, he still manages to pass two of his rivals and makes it stick. Ah racing, in the end, it just comes down to bragging rights. Yeah - it was a fair weekend...
Below are pictures of the prep in to getting our rigs ready... Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures full size... Follow each day's event by clicking on the day above, or the links below.
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