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Waiting for godot


Ottawa Safety Counsil

RACE Rd 1, Shannonville Nelson Track May 1-2, 2004

Normally I skip the first round of regional races due to the frigid weather but 2003 left me yearning for more racing and after spending March in Daytona, I was ready to race no matter what the weather.

New for 2004 are Sportsman classes, aimed at making a decade old 600cc bike useful on the track, once again.  As I'd been racing my 1991 CBR 600 F2 for four years in the modern 600 class, this was a welcome change.  I was anxious to race my F2 in Middleweight Sportsman and I jumped into Heavyweight Sportsman not knowing what to expect.

Yves Dagenais (AM#514) was nice enough to pick me up in his new 6x12" enclosed trailer and off we went to Shannonville Saturday morning.  Early registration had me on pole position in all my heat races but my nerves got the better of me and I opted for a back of the pack start in AM 600.

I blew both starts.  Actually, I wheelied very badly in the Heavyweight heat race.  Steve Walker, Jim Proulx and about five other riders flew by me very easily.  By the second lap I was composed and I actually passed a few people.  I finished the heat unscathed in 9th place.

The Middleweight pole position start was not to be.  When I arrived on the grid to claim my position, some other rider had taken my spot.  In the confusion, I backed up a row and found an empty spot.  Just as well since our overcast but dry day turned to nasty sun showers and we were all on dry tires.  I didn't want to do the first lap without at least 5 riders in front of me to dry the line.  I made it through and finished in 9th.

The Amateur 600 race was crazy, as always, but I got through okay. After starting back of the pack, I was able to pass a few people in the first two turns and there things pretty well stayed until the end of the short four lap heat race.

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

A wet morning. Our practice sessions were on rain tires but that wasn’t to last. At 11am, I showed up on intermediate tires and, thinking I was missing the warm-up lap of my Heavyweight Final, I ran onto the track--into another class’ race! One lap told me this was not right and I pitted immediately. I sought out the officials in the pits. Chuck had a laugh. No harm done.

Yesterday I started on Row 1 but today was Row 3. Still, I don’t think I’d ever started so far forward in a final before. I’m so used to being on rows so far back that they’re not marked by pylons. Green light and we were off. I stayed with the pack into turn One but at Turn 2 I dropped behind two bike lengths. Just as well. Steve Walker’s front slick slipped on the damp pavement and he lowsided off the track. Steve got up okay (I saw him on the second lap) but did not continue the race.

After finally getting the better of a pro rider on a 650 Hawk (whew, finally!), I counted the riders in front and realized I was in fifth place. That’s $50 in Michelin money! It was not to last, though, as I got passed by two more riders on the closing laps. I finished in 7 th place. To my surprise, though, the leaders were only three turns ahead of me

Indecision about tires continued as the weather turned to rain and then dried. I ran out into the Amateur 600 race with a dry rear but an intermediate front due to time constraints. Yves was so late changing his tires in a panic that he almost missed the warm-up lap.


AM600 anarchy ensued. The 10 lap race had about eight riders crashing. Some down and out, others got back on the track. I finished in 17 th place and Yves came into the points at 12 th place.

Fellow TEAM SHOULDER CHECKer Rich Peillard saw me off to the grid in heavy rain for my premiere class, Middleweight Sportsman. Unfortunately, Rich’s warm, dry car was beckoning more than the fame and glory awaiting me on the track. Rich left before I started so he did not see me score a top five position. I got 4 th place in the first ever Middleweight Sportsman. A podium would’ve been better but I just wasn’t fast enough in the rain. Truth be told, I got passed for 4 th and if that rider hadn’t crashed two turns later, I know I would’ve finished fifth. I just wasn’t fast enough to gain any more spots.

The rain continued and Michelle and I watched Yves’ Superbike race in the rain. He was riding really well…until the high speed high side in Turn One. The pass for fifth place had some nasty consequences and his bike got badly damaged. Couple that with the shittiest pack-up experience I’ve ever had in a full rainstorm/mud bath that our pits became and I was more than ready for bed that night. TEAM SHOUDLER CHECKer Alan Burns, fresh from a weekend of anniversary marital bliss, stopped by as we were packing up and helped out.

Next race is May Long Weekend at Shannonville. It’s the first National and TEAM SHOULDER CHECK should have nearly full representation as we’ll be racing in AM 600, Pro 600, Pro Superbike, Diablo SV Cup and yours truly in Heavyweight Sportsman.

See you there!

Pat Boyd

AM #48



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