Monday, August 31, 2009

NEMM round 4

Holy cow, what a good race day. Perfect weather, small entry list but the people that raced made up for whoever didn't show. The practice sessions went well, my XR100 ran flawlessly. Bill was having some minor issues but got through them by the time the heats started.

The Sport Cup heat was great, I can't remember the details except that Bill won, and I think I came in 3rd. He's been upgrading since the last race, and that bike is the business now...

note the fresh low pipe and that stonkin' silencer, and a couple BBR stickers...I think he doubled his BHP, but he's also riding better, a tough package to beat.

The XR100 Cup heat race was a surprise too, after a red flag on the first start, I had a decent re-start and was running in 3rd behind JD and Donald (I think). They crashed at some point and I held the lead till the end. At least I think that's what happened, anyway I started on the pole for that feature.

The Sport Cup feature went pretty well, I had a good start from the second row and was in 3rd behind Donald Newbegin and Ron Phinney (who was actually racing in another class, so really I was in second). I couldn't gain any ground on them, and I heard bikes right behind me but they weren't able to show me a wheel so we finished in that order, which gave me a 2nd place.

Next was XR100 Cup Feature, I had a crappy start, wheelied it, and JD and Rob Opiela (Unga Wunga) took the lead with me in 3rd, squandering my pole position! Once again I wasn't able to improve on the leaders but nobody was able to shove me out of the way and I wound up 3rd, which I was kind of proud of because this is a tough class. One mistake can send you back a couple places easily, and I've made some mistakes that I've paid for, but I got a decent podium finish this time.

I'll skip the Premium Cup 'cause I didn't race in it.

But I did race in the Enduro, this time with Rob Opiela and we rode Ron Phinney's KX85. The Enduro is a team race, two riders share a bike. The format is a 40 minute race divided into two 20 minute sessions for each rider. I wanted to try it on one of the "Premier" bikes and Ron Phinney generously offered his KX up since he would be teamed with his brother on the CR85.

Rob went out in the first group and managed to build a 3 lap lead in his 20 minutes. There was quite a bit of confusion at the rider change, not all the riders changing on the same lap etc. Anyway, I got on and tried to get up to speed without doing anything stupid (like crashing) and Aaron pretty quickly caught me and passed me, so now he was only two laps down. I got into a fairly good routine after that, figuring which gear to be in at the critical sections. Rob had told me 1st gear over the jump when we did the rider change and I agreed with that. Since Aaron was in front of me I could watch his progress pretty well and I was able to get into a pace that I thought might work out for a 2nd place overall. I got the 10 minute sign and was still feeling OK, about a lap later the red flag came out. Aaron and JD had tangled bars on the front straight, trying to pass Bill, and had a helluva wreck.

Click the photo

That ended the race right there, so Rob and I won the Enduro.

One of the highlights for me was trying to pass Bill, who was racing the NHF XR115, teamed with Steve Baker. Bill was running a real consistent line around the race track, which happened to be the same line I liked to use. I had to follow him for a bit to see where I could show him a wheel. That didn't work so I decided to use the 2 stroke power to my advantage, coming out of the "carousel" I down shifted to get the engine on the pipe and we had a drag race to turn 1, which I was pretty confidant the KX would win.

It did, but the whole thing was cool, I'm not used to having that much time to think about race strategies during a race.

I'm sure more photos will become available on the NEMM facebook page. All the racing photos of me are courtesy of Johnny Branson, the crash photo was taken by Sonja and lifted from caferacer.net.

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