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Waiting for godot


Ottawa Safety Counsil
Mont Tremblant National August 8th - 10th 2003

Alan Writes

This was my first experience at running a National round this year. Pat was kind enough to let me use his 'B' bike (1991 Honda CBR 600 F2) for this event, all I had to do was get it ready. That meant changing wheels, tires, rear shock and lot and lots of fibreglass, bondo and paint work. After Several late nights including the night before leaving, the bike was ready. I was full of nerves as I and everyone else was going to experience the new Mont Tremblant circuit. I didn't get much sleep on Wednesday so Cathy did the driving on Thursday morning at 5:00 am as we followed Pat and Dave to the Masson ferry.


After a bumpy ride on some very gnarly roads we arrived at registration and I emptied my wallet to pay for the entry fees and transponder pouch that I would need to run the national 600 event. As we drove up the access road we got our first view of the Fabulous Tremblant circuit. The grass on the sides of the track was trimmed and smooth, not at all like the hay fields we are used to seeing. We found a pit location right at the hairpin pit entrance. 

The first Practice session out was really confused as no none knew which way the track went. The organizers had placed signs around the track to let us know which way the turns went as many of them are blind but people were still all over the place trying to find the proper lines so lap times were really slow. I have to thank Yves Dagenais for loaning me a laptimer to use this weekend. I had to pull of before the 30 minutes were up as my old tired body and battered wrists could not last the distance on the physical Tremblant circuit in the 32 degree heat.

The track is incredibly smooth but the heavy braking and multiple corners were taking their toll on my wrists causing my hands to go numb and the brakes on the bike to fade after about 7 laps. I spent a lot of time this weekend bleeding brakes and changing pads and rotors to try and solve the brake problem. The second session in the afternoon was faster but again I had to pull off early as my hands went numb again.

Then it was off to our Condo that Pat had arranged for the weekend. It was an amazing place to stay for a race weekend. It was very relaxing to sit in the air conditioned room and watch the news coverage of the blackout that had affected most of Ontario and the north east U.S. while Cathy prepared a sumptuous meal of Shish kabobs and rice.


I made a bunch of changes to the suspension to try and eliminate some violent wobbles i was getting when exiting the corners. The morning session was faster again than Thursday but I was still 3-4 seconds of the pace of Pat and Dave. I made a few more suspension changes and was anxious to try them out in the afternoon. Then we got word that the day was done as the airfence had been severely damaged when a bike crashed into it in turn one. The scramble to change tires was on as I wanted to mount a new set of Michelins for Saturday practice and qualifying. Thanks to Rick and Chris from Moto Hyper-Sport for the speedy tire change. Then it was back to the Condo for a meal of Tacos and Enchiladas.


Rain..... Drat. I had been contemplating entering the ASM Superbike support class for some more track time but the morning rain changed my mind as I had no rain tires and no $$ to buy any. Of course the rain stopped almost immediately but the decision had been made and I didn't enter. I was much faster on Saturday morning on the new tires but so was everyone else. The suspension was better but still not right and the brakes were still fading badly after a few laps. It was obvious to me that I needed more time on the bike to get my self and the bike up to speed. Pat's many races this year really showed as he was very quick on the same bike as me.

Timed qualifying was a new experience to me and the plan was to follow Pat and Dave around to get a tow and some speed. That went out the window almost right away as we ended up in a group of riders and Pat decided to back off and hope for some clear track. I tried to follow Dave and stayed with him for a few laps but he eventually left me behind as the R6 was much quicker on the straights than the F2. When I pulled in to pit lane I discovered that the laptimer had not recorded any of the laps because someone had removed the only beacon. I also found Pat there with a badly busted up bike. It seems he had crashed in the hairpin in front of his family while trying to set a faster lap. I did my fastest lap of the weekend in the Qualifying session but it was not quick enough to make the main event so i was done for the weekend.

Back in our pits we began to remove all of the good body work from my bike to put it on Pat's bike so that it would look good for the ASM event on Sunday. While we were working on the bike the Parts Canada officials came by and informed Pat that because he had points from the Shubenacadie round he was getting one of the promoters option starting spots and would be competing in the National event after all. After we got Pat's bike together we headed back to the condo for spaghetti and meat balls.


I took Dave and pat to the track and then headed back to the condo to help Cathy pack up all of our stuff. We spent some time wandering around the New Tremblant village before we headed to the track for lunch. Sunday was a day of watching for me as only Dave and Pat were racing. Pat was running okay in the national round but on the last lap his bike sputtered and he slowed as he was starting to run out of gas. He finished the race in pit lane but was scored as a non finisher by the officials. Just before the start of the Pro superbike race it began to pour rain and Pat and Dave were thinking of skipping the ASM Superbike race at the end of the day. We convinced them to enter and myself, Rich Peillard and others put the rain tires on the bikes. During the Race Dave and Pat had no idea what positions they were running in and they didn't understand the hand signals they were receiving from the pits so they just kept waving back. Dave was in 2nd and Pat was in 6th. Many of the front runners had crashed so it was hard to know where they were on the track. They both said that they could have gone faster but thought they were way back in the pack and didn't want to risk crashing in the rain at the end of the weekend.

I just want to thank Pat for loaning me the bike and I'll have it in even better shape for the Shannonville round in 2 weeks.

Alan Burns

AM #113


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