Road America, Wisconsin
I pulled into the track Wed. afternoon with a pile of parts and a twisted lump that resembled a motorcycle. After crashing at Pikes Peak and only being at home for 4 days between races, I only had time to repair and repaint the bodywork. The other parts were in a box in the back of the truck.
After setting up the pits, I began the long project of repairing the bike. At approx 1 a.m. the bike was more or less complete and I was exhausted. The next morning I awoke and was ready to ride. By the end of promoter practice my foot and hand were pretty sore but otherwise was ready for the weekend.
Friday a.m. was AMA practice and qualifying. Somewhere around 9 a.m. the crew rolled in - Joe Longbottom, Tom Spence, and the FNG Travis. Practice went off pretty much without a hitch and we were ready for qualifying. Qualifying was utilized to find an appropriate race setup. We were trying a different gearing and a rear tire that I had never used. By the end of qualifying we were somewhere around 25th on the grid with a time of 2:20.3. Not quite what I had hoped for, but we still had Saturday qualifying to get a better time.
Saturday we decided to try a softer rear tire just for qualifying to better our time. On the second lap I realized that was not the best decision I had made. The rear tire had so much grip the bike would chatter on entry and push the front in mid corner, looking back I should have changed the setup to go with a softer tire, but…so we went slower: 2:21.0.
Later that day was race one so we began the prep-work to get the bike ready. We were lined up on the inside of row 7 and were waiting for the green flag when the rain came. We were called back to the pits, the AMA announced a wet race, and on went the rain tires. After a short practice in the wet, we were once again waiting for the green flag. The race began and we were off with an ok start. After a hard charging opening lap in the rain, we were in a large group with Jimmy Moore, Eric Wood, Brent George, and several others.
Just before half way I had managed to secure myself in 13th place. Then the rain got serious and the lightning began. The lap after halfway it was raining so hard I was literally sitting upright on the straight trying to get the wind to blow the water off my visor. I ran off turn five (a downhill entry at the end of the middle straight) because I honestly could not see the corner of the middle straight) because I honestly could not see the corner…it was crazy. After gathering it up, I was back on track, but had lost two positions and was now in 15th. One lap later they threw the red flag because the conditions were too dangerous with the amount of rain and with the lighting. When all the craziness had subsided I wound up in 15th.
Sunday morning the weather report had said at 4pm the sky was supposed to open with hail, rain, 40-50 mph winds - the entire ball of wax. Because of this, the AMA moved our race to 2pm from 4pm. We began prepping the bike and changed the setup back to the dry setup. At 2 pm we were off and racing. Approx. 2 laps in, there was a red flag - Eric Haugo had gone straight off turn one with a mechanical (lost his brakes) and John Haner high-sided entering the back straight. Fifteen minutes later we were back on the grid and the light went green. We were off and running and I was in tow with Andrew Deatherage (aka Woody) - let me tell you something about Woody, he does not like getting passed! Woody and I went through the tightest part of the track (the entire chicane onto the back straight) two wide - I had never seen anyone do the before and two bikes really don’t fit, but we made it work (It was nuts).
Shortly past halfway I was in 15th catching Eric Wood and had a gap of about 25 seconds to 16th. On the last lap I went into turn five and the bike just snapped sideways on the brakes, my inside (left) foot came off the foot peg, and I nearly lost it. After doing everything in my power not to crash, I was heading up the hill towards turn six & looked down at oil dripping everywhere. The countershaft seal had popped out and the bike was leaking a serious amount of oil out the left side. I just put my hand up and rode around the last lap on the outside edge of the track so I would not put oil down on the race line. Jeremy Toye and Woody passed me so I wound up in 17th place. After crossing the start finish line, I just pulled over immediately and leaned the bike against the wall to avoid putting oil on the track. Two races and I wound up losing 2 positions on the last lap of each race…
See ya in Laguna!!!!!!!!!