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Waiting for godot


Ottawa Safety Counsil

Thurs Night

Is it possible for Peterborough to sink? With this much rain (about 80mm overnight) the residents of Peterborough were about to find out.

Sat Morning Practise

It's been a stellar year in the fact that I haven't crashed yet this year nor have I scared myself on the track. Now, however, is a different matter. With the dicey weather, each practise session must be treated as qualifying since we don't know what will happen this afternoon. If it rains in the afternoon, there's a strong chance the morning practise times will be used for the grid. That means go fast!

Riding the new R6 has been an adjustment but last Sunday's track day

really helped me come to grips with the bike. I've just passed Ed Wood

#97 but he drafts by me on the back straight. He's holding me up in the next few corners so I take an outside line in Turn Two, a scary downhill offcamber fast left turn. The turn sounds like this: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH". I've yelled in my helmet so much, my throat is sore. My underwear is also soiled. After getting through the rest of the lap unscathed, the lap timer rings out a 1:33.055, my personal best. That's enough speed for now. If I can't qualify on that then I may as well quit now.

Sunday Race

I've had dry tires on, changed to rain tires, put the dries back on but now the rain tires are getting slapped on the bike in a hurry. Yves Dagenais is tense before the race and I tell him to relax. "There's going to be a red flag within two laps," I tell him. Us Amateur 600 riders are good at buggering things up and the mayhem that will unfold guarantees a buggered start.

Extensive off-season tire testing has me selecting a tire combination

that only a genius of a racer would choose. I am now trying out my free set of odd-ball tires received from another Ottawa Safety Council instructor (who received them from a previous instructor, who previously received them from a new instructor). I have a six year old new Michelin front tire and a seven year old used Dunlop rear. Who am I to turn down free tires?

The warmup lap is an indicator of how the race will go. Most of us take the warmup lap cautiously but on the back straight three riders blow by me in a hurry. I watch as one rider forgets to brake for Turn Eight. He slows down a bit but, oddly enough, puts his right foot down in some sort of 100 km/hr Fred Flinstone attempt at stopping and rides straight into the gravel trap with his foot down. He crashes. Silly fool.

The light goes green and I suck. This is the worst start of the season, I'm thinking, as I hammer the shifter from neutral to...neutral and neutral yet again. Two more tries and I finally have it in second gear so I can leave the grid in nearly dead last. A horrible start meets a slow lap as I gingerly ride around the wet track waiting for the red flag.

No red flag as I round the start-finish line so I pour on the gas. Exiting Turn One I see a familiar yellow machine on the ground sideways on the track and the rider is on all fours crawling to the edge of the track. Yves!! Yikes, when I told him there would be a red flag, I should've specified that he didn't need to cause one. I stop pouring on the gas.

One more corner and the red flag is out for Yves. We regroup in the pits and Rich Peillard (#46 SV Podium finisher) shouts some words of encouragement; "Goddamn you're slow! Pick up the pace!"

Rich is right. I suck. But, Alan is slower on his dry tires. Alan skitters down pit lane and goes on about all the incessant sliding he's doing all over the wet track. And he paid how much for those tires? Hmm, my free tire bargain makes me happy.

They put us in exactly the same position for the restart. This gives Yves a second chance, which really doesn't do him any good cause he's still pretty shaken from his crash.

The light goes green and I'm off with a normal start. I make it through Turn One cautiously but I pass three people on the outside of Turn Two. This is comfortable. I follow single file through the rest of the lap until Turn Two again where I pass four more people on the outside. On the next lap I pass another three people on the outside of Turn Two. I hope Rich is watching me and is beaming with pride.

After the halfway point, the rain has stopped and the track is starting to dry. I found out later I made my way up to 9th place but at this point riders start to pass me. I give it more gas exiting Turn 5 but the back end now starts to spin. I cautiously pass two riders back. Pedro Sousa #32 has caught up to me and passes me. I spend the last two laps chasing him down and, in the last two corners his brother Marco passes me just as I'm relaxing to finish the race. I squeeze inside the last corner and we drag race to the finish line but a little wheelspin on his bike gives me the advantage and I meet the checkered flag about a foot in front of him for a 12th place finish!

This is great. I now have a good amount of points in the AM 600 series which may help me at Tremblant if I don't make qualifying. Plus, I've tested my free tires and, well, have I ever had a free set of tires I didn't like?

Pat Boyd AM#48


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