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Waiting for godot


Ottawa Safety Counsil

Parts Canada Superbike Championship

Round 1
Shannonville Motorsport Park - Pro Track
Shannonville, ON
May 20-23, 2004

Friday May 21, 2004, 03:35

I get the morning wake up call from Pat, once I find my phone and answer I am greeted with Pat saying to me “You probably don’t have to be up this early!” All I can think of for the rest of the day is why would someone call me and tell me when I have to wake up?

I am on the road at 4am to meet with Pat, Dan, and Yves somewhere on the 416. Pat was driving Dan’s van as he was too tired from being awake all night working on his bike. We all knew that this day was coming; however it would seem that most of us left things to the last minute. Dan just pushed the envelope a little further. Dan picked his bike up on Thursday evening and still had to prep it! This means Dan never slept on Thursday.

The drive was pretty uneventful for Yves and me, although I did feel like stopping for a nap more than once we made it with no problems. Pat however tested Dan’s ability to sleep in a moving vehicle by hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road on more than on occasion.

We arrived at Shannonville Motorsport’s Park about 10 minutes before registration opened so found a pit location. It was in fact quite nice, the very end of row 4. The best thing about this location is that we were not blasted by the PA system. We had nice neighbor’s lots of space. With the pit location decided it was time to go to registration.

The registration process was simple and relatively painless, Pat and I signed up for our National respective classes and the Heavyweight Sportsman class. This was fun; however it required Pat to bring twice the amount of stuff. Boy did he have lots of stuff. This in itself would not be too bad, had he driven his own car or towed his own trailer. As it was Yves and I hauled all of Pats stuff for him.

We all gathered at the riders meeting around 8AM and it was pretty uneventful, the day’s activities were explained and we were made aware of track changes or issues that may be of concern to us.

I missed the first my first available practice but I was not worried about this. I would rather get things done correctly rather that rush things.

Next up, my first practice session, I was a little nervous about this, as it was a brand new bike. We are talking 0KM and so I was a little unsure about how I would be breaking in the engine. Well by the second lap I missed a shift and found a false neutral, hit the rev limiter and never looked back. The next challenge was to learn how to ride a V-Twin vs. a 4 cylinder, managing the torque proved to be a challenge. I was shocked at how different the two motorcycles could be. Oh yah and my lap times, I was shocked at how slow was. I started out running 1:34’s and sources say that is slow! Over the weekend I was able to chisel this down to a 1:23 but this would still be 10 seconds off pole!

Saturday May 22, 2004

Saturday saw two morning practice sessions, and I tried to get more comfortable with the bike, slowly things started to improve. With both practice sessions done, it was time for lunch and prepare for the upcoming Heavyweight Sportsman Race. I was on the last row of the grid as they were using registration times, to create the heat race grid. At the end of the 4 lap heat race, I was not last! This was an improvement on last year so I was not too worried about it, and I qualified for the final so that was not bad either.

With the race over it was time to get back to the pits, get out of the leathers, and get ready to help Pat and Yves with the AM600 qualifying. These meant getting Pat’s F2 ready with intermediate tires, and get it to pit lane. The bike had to be in pit lane when qualifying started because if Pat ever got to a position requiring his bike to be check on the Parts Canada Dyno both bikes would be required to go. Lucky the chances of this happening were low. The AM600 session was stopped due to a RED flag with about 6 minutes on the clock. Once the 2 minute warning was given I told Pat to get back out there and try for a better time. Just as the warning clock reached zero it started to rain. Pat chose to not go out, but Yves made one last effort, this proved to be only an out lap as everyone immediately returned to pit lane to wait out the last 6 minutes. The qualifying session ended with about 6 minutes left on the clock when the rain started.

The day would end with SV Cup timed qualifying. I was tired, hungry, and I chose the wrong visor on my helmet; all of this and the uncertainty of rain led to a qualifying time of 1:27:199. Sources say that is slow. But hell I am in the show and that’s all that matters. As soon as I got back to the Team Shouldercheck pits after qualifying it started to rain.

Sunday May 23, 2004

After a night of rain, it finally stopped just before the riders meeting, however with at wet track I chose not to go out for the heavyweight sportsman morning practice. I did decide to head out after the Dan returned from the Pro 600 race and told me that it was a dry track. Morning practice was pretty uneventful and I am glad I went out. Even if it was for 4 laps, I then parked the bike for the rest of the morning and enjoyed the warmth of the sun trying to make its appearance.

After lunch it was time to suit up for the Heavyweight sportsman race. I got an unbelievable good start and from the back row I was able to pass a good 7 to 10 bikes. The torque of the SV is very impressive. These places gained were short lived as everyone except one passed me by turn 4. I was however able to hold off that last rider and not finish in last place. This has been noted as my best finish so far! The race was pretty uneventful until lab 6 or 7 when I did a shoulder check in turn 5 to see where the traffic was and two riders passed on the right side, and Pat chose to pass me on the grass!!!! I have no idea how or why he thought that would be a good idea! With the race over it was time to relax, Pat jumped off his F2 and on to the R6 and he was off for the AM 600 races. I stripped off the leathers and I was off to get a Gatorade. I really did not care that I was missing the start of the AM 600 race, by the time that I had purchased my Gatorade and arrived at the stands the AM 600 had been red flagged and Pat and Yves were very thirsty both sobbed uncontrollably until I gave them each a Gatorade.

With the AM 600 over there as nothing left to do but start to pack up and wait for the SV 650 race. However with minutes to go before the start of my race Pat and Yves were heard saying “I can not believe the rain held off!” Well you know that jinxed me and sure enough it rained.

I got the rain tires installed and it was off to the grid, I was pretty nervous about the rain race, but it did not end up being that bad. Except for the big oil slick in corner two [ Thanks Dr. Walker] and my visor fogging up at what seemed to be every corner, I made it things very challenging. Oh yah my lack of conditioning did not help that much either. I was able to put together a 1:38:774, but I finished. I secured 22 nd place of 24 riders. Again as with the heavyweight sportsman class I am happy with my finishing position, but I will try to improve for the next round.

Rich Peillard


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