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Shannonville Regional July 26th - 27th 2003

Rich Writes

Wow, my first race weekend. However not my first race read on to find out more.The Thank You's: Before I babble on about what I did and didn't do I would like to thank Pat Boyd, Dan Henri, Brian Robitaille, Yves and Michelle Dagenais and Jason Haine. They all took time to help me in a different ways and I am not sure they know how appreciative I am of this.Pre Race: I will start with some history on how this all happened. Pat has been suggesting to me that I attempt to race for a while now. He almost had me convinced that I should go to Mosport and give it a try. After further thought it was decided that a national weekend would probably not be the best place to start. Pat suggested the regional race at Shannonville Motorsports Park on the July 25-27 2003, however Pat was scheduled to go to the cottage with his wife.So that was it, I was going to think about it. A few days later I get a call from Pat telling me that he as rescheduled his personal life and he and his wife would not be going to the cottage and we could go to the races. Wow, how can I back out now? So I guess I am going racing.

Some Background Info:

Now I will digress for a bit and explain the bodywork problem. I was told that the bike must be painted yellow; prior to being painted I thought it would be wise to remove all existing stickers. I found a 3M abrasive wheel to be the easiest thing to get the stickers off, however it did not leave the smoothest surface and that was even more evident when the parts were repainted. I could have put more effort into this but to be honest I did not care. Painting turned out to be a bigger project than I had envisioned. Prior to painting I did some fibreglass work to fix some cracks and ensure that the lower fairing would hold fluids. Once the fibreglass was done it was off to Canadian Tire for yellow paint. This is where my troubles started. The 'dude' at CT suggested that for the best results I use a specific brand of spray paint. Mistake number 1, I listened to the dude. I did not read the label on the can and that is my fault. Now I did realize something was wrong when the paint would not dry.No worries I thought, I will just take some time, and maybe I put it on too thick. Ok after 24 hours later the paint should be dry! Now I take the time to read the label. I see the part that tells me it is NOT FOR PLASTICS! Minor panic sets in, what do I do? How will I get it off? Well it was back to the 3M abrasive disk in my drill and off came the paint. Now off to Home Depot and I ask the 'dude', He pointed out the proper paint. Krylon  paints are intended for plastic and worked really well, and to top it off I liked the shade of yellow better than the non-stick paint from CT. So now I have a yellow bike, and the real story begins:

Loading the Bikes:

Pat Boyd shows up at my house Friday July 25, 2003 to drop off his bike. The plan was that we would car pool to Shannonville on Saturday morning. Upon arriving at my house Pat starts to berate my bike! He is telling me that the bodywork is in rough shape and it does not really look as good as his bike. I explain how this is the 3rd string set of bodywork on the bodywork scale and I really do not care. He continues to complain about the bodywork until he spots the Gatorade that I was planning to bring to the track. Once I gave him a Gatorade he shut up about the bike. With Pat's bike loaded he returned to my bike and started to ask questions, this turned out to be a good thing. He asked how it started and I tried to show him. It was at this point that I realized I had left the ignition on all week and the battery was dead! I immediately put the battery on bake and hoped I did not kill the battery. Pat left and I unhooked the trailer, then it was off to the bank, this racing thing can get expensive! With cash in hand it was back home to load my bike. Luckily I was able to get my bike started and loaded up onto the trailer. Then it was just a matter of loading all of Pat's other shit into the truck. With the truck packed and the bikes loaded it was time for bed, after all Pat would be returning to my house in 5 hours.

0 Dark 30:

3:30AM is way too early to get up. But I am up because I would like to have a shower and Pat will be at my house by 4:30AM at the latest. I am out side by 3:50am to get he trailer hooked back up and pull it out of the garage. I checked the load on the trailer to make sure nothing will be lost on the trip. I found that my neighbourhood is quite quiet at that time of the morning, every loud exhaust I heard sounded like Pat's piece of shit Ford Escort, but Pat never showed up. Around 4:15AM I was starting to get worried, when would he show up, should I call him? Well the phone wrings around 4:20AM and guess who just woke up? If you said Pat, you win a prize! He tells me that he is an hour away that that he will get to my house as soon as possible. He Arrives: 5:20AM, this time I can see the piece of shit Ford Escort and Pat pulls into my driveway. With more stuff to load in the truck! We load up and we are off. We made the short trip from Kanata to the 416, I think we were passing Hunt Club when Pat asked were we were stopping? I felt like telling Pat that we would have had plenty of time to stop had he been on time, but I bit my lip and said we would not be stopping. Not even for gas he asked, he was shocked to learn that the tank was full. Pat then broke the news that if I did not stop, I would be forced to bankroll the entire weekend, as he had no money. Bank machine here we come!

In need of Cash:

We got onto the 401 sometime just after 6:00AM, we had just passed Brockville and decided that we would stop at the next road side truck stop and Pat would use the bank machine. When we were about 4km form the rest stop we notices a motorcycle stopped and parked on the left hand side of the 401. Pat and I both commented that it was an odd place to stop; as we got closer we saw that it was a yellow and black 6R, when we got even closer we notices that it was stopped at an emergency vehicle turn spot. That in itself is not that odd, but the fact that the guy was sleeping on the ground with a road map pulled over himself made us think. Wow you really have to be tired to sleep on the side of the 401. Especially when there was a truck stop 2KM down the road! We stop at the truck stop and head for Tim Horton's, Pat informs me that the "no name" bank machine will just not do. We grab coffee and doughnuts and head for Kingston. After stopping in Kingston for the bank machine we are only 50KM away. Exit 566 and Patricio's bend are taken at a slow rate of speed. We are almost there. Now the butterflies start. I am getting nervous. My nervousness is increasing, as we get closer. We arrive at the Yamaha registration building and stand in line. While waiting one John Dunlop strolls by and laughs as we are waiting. He is quick to tell us that there was no line on Friday evening when he showed up. Dan Henri #711 dropped by to pick up a race schedule and say good morning to everyone.

I need a RACE license:

I explain to the woman at the counter I require a race license and I would like to enter one class. Pat and I decided on amateur open sportbike prior to arriving so that is what I signed up for. The race license was quite easy to get, I must say that I was very surprised. I gave them a copy of my FAST certificate and filled out a form. That's it now you can race, she tells me. Once the paper work was done it was time to select a number. Now I was prepared for #401 as that is what the DOCC had issued me back in May, however this time I was given the opportunity to select from a list of available numbers, I was undecided. The first number that was available was #46 and when Pat heard that he yelled, "HE'LL TAKE IT" So that is me reduced to a number, AM #46. Pat explained how lucky I was to get #46 as some people wait years to get a low number like that. All I was thinking is how am I going to get three 6's made up?

Riders meeting:

We were lucky enough to get a special invitation to the riders meeting from Chris over the PA system. It was pretty uneventful but I am glad I went, as I wanted to experience everything. Pat and I walk back to the truck and Dan hops onto his bicycle, mental note bring some sort of pit bike next time. Time to unload the bikes, and head for tech inspection. Prior to going we must remove our side stands so there is some time lost. I am then informed that I must have numbers on my bike prior to tech, and all I can say is I do not have any 6's! Out comes the red duct tape, I new it had a 1000 uses well there is one more. I quickly fashion a 46 on three sides of my bike and push it up to tech inspection. Where Pat starts to comment on my ugly bodywork and bad looking numbers. I had no Gatorade to shut him up, so I just took the abuse.

Tech Inspection:

Tech went quite well I only had one request and that was not too bad as it could be fixed with silicone. I push back to the pits. Pat is there waiting for me and again starts commenting on how bad my bike looks and how ugly my numbers are, it is almost as if he forgot he said all of this to me not 10 minutes ago. Pat helped out by removing all of my duct tape numbers and then telling me that it was time to go out for our first practice. I am at this point busy cutting number out of vinyl and I cannot go onto the track without numbers so I miss the first session.As I said before I was ready for #401 so I had three 4's pre-made, I did take heat that they were not the same font that Pat had used, but when I pointed out the 4 on the front of his bike was not the same as the 4's on the side he let it slide and told me I must be ready for next time.How to make a 6? I was lucky enough to have the 0 without the centre cut out, so I had something to work with. I quickly made 3 6's and Pat cut out some white backgrounds for me. I think he was a little upset that I would not let him apply the white backgrounds to the bike for me, but I had a plan. Secretly I though I should just let him do it as it may shut him up for a while, but I had a plan. My plan was to apply the numbers to the white background and then apply the entire unit to the bike. This worked well on two of three sets of numbers and all I could think about was I should have let Pat do it, I would have had someone else to blame then!

Time to Ride:

We are now suited up so we head out onto the track. It was not as bad has I had thought it would be. I felt pretty comfortable out there and I had a few firsts, first time touching my left knee on the ground, first time touching my toes on the ground as we went around corners. I must say that this is where Pat was a big help. He took the time to allow me to follow him and get the proper line on the track. This was a big help. After the first two sessions I was able to push harder through some of the corners than I had ever been able to before. However I was also able to determine that my suspension is not set up for me. I am probably pushing 60-70 lbs more than the rider I purchased the bike from and it showed. I ground away another lower faring and the bike did not feel comfortable in the corners. So I now have something to work on. I have to get my suspension set up for my weight, looks like I need to take a trip to MD Motorcycles. I would like to blame the suspension for what would happen next, but I am not sure I can. I got my line screwed up in turn 4, and went wide. No big deal I thought I can save this, however the grass was not very forgiving. I think a couple of things went wrong and the biggest one was rider error. I was off of the pavement, I was leaned over, oh yah and I touched the front brakes to try and slow down. We all know what happens next. Can you say low side crash? I knew you could. I was uninjured and that is a good thing. I counted to three when I thought I had stopped moving and then got up. I ran back to the bike and picked it up. This is when I realized that my front fairing stay was very badly bent and I could not turn the bars to the right at all. I tried a few times hoping that I could get back out onto the track but I knew I needed to inspect things a little more closely. I could not stand beside the track forever and I had to back away as soon as I could see the other bikes entering turn 1. So I dropped the bike and walked away to a safe distance. Problem is that when I dropped the bike I dropped it onto the right side and ended up damaging my exhaust pipe in the process. So now I have damage on both sides, left from the low side, and the right form me being stupid. But I learned some things and I had a good time. Also I am glad that I experienced this at the racetrack than on some local road so for that I am thankful.

Riding the Gator:

I must say this is not as much fun as it looks. In fact it is a ride of shame . No one wants to be picked up in the gator, but about the only thing I could have done was ride in left circles and that is not all that much fun either. Upon my arrival back at the pits Pat put the camera down long enough to say "This will make great footage for the year end party". Time to remove the bodywork, less bolts had to be removed to get everything off the bike. What used to be 1 part was now 3 pieces. Now it was evident that the front fairing stay was bent pretty badly; this was causing the steering problems after the crash.Pat kept on telling me that it was no problem all I had to do was bend it just like this! This would be the time that Pat broke the pipe wrench loaned to us by Jason Haine AM #669 [Thanks for the help Jason]. When I told Pat he had just broke the guys wrench he did not believe it until I pointed out the big crack that was not there before. Pat kept telling me hurry and how he had this magical jig to put the fairing stay in to get it straight. Great bring it on, where is this jig? At home Pat tells me. No need to explain how it was of little use to me there he will figure it out eventually I thought. Did I mention that I had 40 minutes to get all of this done for my heat race? I made the decision then and there that my weekend was done. My head was starting to hurt and my back was getting sore, so that was it.

Get that Bike on the Trailer:

After getting an Advil from Dan I was starting to feel a little better. This was when Dan told me, "you will feel worse on Sunday and even worse on Monday" great so I have that to look forward to! It was like an episode of Survivor, and my bike got voted out of our pit area in favour of a small plastic picnic table. I guess this was not too bad as it was one less thing to load later. I loaded up the bike and Pat claimed to be making burgers. Great I thought a good burger would really hit the spot now. Turned out to be some sawdust tasting veggie burger. I knew I was eating something, I was chewing after all, but there was no taste, one veggie burger down and no more to go. I was not about to eat another. Off to the truck, I had luckily brought some 6" subs from Subway with me, and I had one for dinner. Making fun of the Veggie Freak: With dinner done, Pat got the TV and VCR.Pat went off to get some gas as he has already drained my supply; Yves and I watched the British MotoGP race, the one that Rossi wins. Have you seen the race yet Pat? After watching MotoGP it was over to see one Johnny Vintage. He was in reasonably good spirits even though none of his bikes were running, but he had beer so everything was good. We spent the hour or so making fun of Pat after I told them about the veggie burger.

Sunday:

Sunday was spent on what seemed like endless tire changes. It was raining all morning so I spent my time helping Pat and Dan get their wet tires installed on rims and then installed on the bikes. This was done about three times; at least both Pat and Dan had spare rims. Watching the people that did not have spare rims was borderline painful. I have to commend both Yves and Michelle for doing the swap as many times as they did. Who is that on #48: With the wet tires on and the track drying Michelle and I thought it was time to take our spot in the stands. I filmed some of the racing action, as I had nothing else to do. It was good to see both Dan and Pat do well until lap 4. Three times before we saw Dan and Pat, Dan and Pat, Dan and Pat, then just Dan, but where is Pat. We looked to the back of the pack; no he was not there. Well there is no way he could be up at the front of the pack, but we looked anyway. No he was not there, turns out Pat was trying out for the Flying Wallendas on the back straight. He got a 7.5 for artistic merit and 8.5 for height from the Russian judge. I explained to Michelle that I hoped Pat was ok, but I would not be unhappy if his bike was damaged more than mine.No Gator Ride for Pat:  When the race was over I left the stands hoping to get a front seat ride in the gator, but no such luck. The RACE staff told my Pat was riding the bike back under his own power. I pleaded with the staff to not let him do that. I suggested that they tell the corner worker to kick the bike over so that it could not be ridden back; I wanted to get everything on film. With no possibility for a ride it was back to the pits, and here comes Pat. He puts the bike up on the trailer immediately and I think well at least we get to leave early.Pull Pole: If you recall, I said before that we brought a lot of stuff, well let me tell you the teardown takes longer than set-up! It took us about an hour to get everything packed up and loaded into the truck. Prior to leaving we stopped by the Flair Photo trailer and Pat got a CD of memories. Our drive home was quite uneventful and that is how I like it. We went through some rain as we made our way down the 401, but that was ok, we were dry. We arrived in Kanata at about 6pm and sure enough no one stole the piece of shit Ford Escort from my driveway, so I guess it was not a great weekend. All in all it was a good time. Now I just have to fix fairing stay, do some fibreglass repair and get my suspension fixed and I should be ready for the end of August.

Rich

AM #46

 

 

   

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