Saturday, July 25, 2009

IMS July 24

It was going to be another hot day in 909 area code Friday with temperatures close too the century mark but as I passed a sign just before turning on to the street where the track is the sign read 92 degrees. In spite of the heat there was a little breeze and it wasn't really that bad or maybe I was just glad to get there after witnessing a flipped over double trailer rig at the 60 interchange.

Everybody had to go around the big rig driver that had flipped over on his side after taking the corner to hot. This should have been a sufficient precursor of a what was going to happen later in the evening when eight third division riders were put together in the enlarged bull ring to make me do a u-turn on the freeway and head back home.

Shawn and his crew had been working all week on the track and the outside cushion wasn't there and as the night progressed the track became dusty specially down the front straight and a blue groove developed.

The rider count was low as three riders were in New York at Jason's other tracks showing the folks back east how we do it in California. Friday night the fixture in Auburn (approximately 400 miles north and a terrible drive) was running the North vs South which took another dent in the roster.

The race program is put together several days before race night and is taken from those riders that sign up on the board the previous week plus any additional call-ins. Six third division riders were signed up. Typically there will be two separate races of four or more and splitting six riders into two races of three each isn't practical.

One of the thing that is exciting about speedway is that how close the riders get to each other in a race and it almost becomes a contact sport. That is true with experienced first division racers. They know how close to get and how well the other rider can control there machine. They know how to lay the bike down to avoid hitting a fallen rider.

Last night there were so many new faces in third division it looked like the welcome wagon had arrived. In the first race half the field was set on the ten yard line and after that we were moved back to the twenty. Possibly the rational is that when they fall down in the first corner the rest of the field has time to avoid them but if the second line is farther back by the time they reach their fallen comrades they will be going much faster and some couldn't lay a bike down if the track was full of banana peels. Nobody holds a gun to my head and forces me to do this stuff. Maybe someone should take my truck keys away so I have to stay home where I belong. As I type this my son's crutches are leaning next to the desk by my laptop. He is so kind to let me use them though they needed to be adjusted as he has used them for a couple of inches. My second race was much similar to racing in a minefield as you never knew when the next explosion was going to take place. In turn two two riders went down right in front of me and I went to the right and jammed my peg into the crash wall. The wall did not give but my foot did. They red flagged the race and I rode over to the exit gate where Steve Murray who is helping me asked me if I was all right. I got off the bike and when I placed my foot on the ground I fell down as my foot wouldn't hold me up any more. Now I know after watching Any Sunday a zillion times is that after you hurt yourself you get back up and saddle up again cowboy. After the restart there was another crash in turn four right in front of me. The only way to miss flying riders and metal was to just stay in the pits. After that fiasco concluded when I returned to our slot in the pits Steve asked me if I was all right and I said "no" but we need to drop a couple of teeth in the rear to go faster.

One reason there is an excess of text as opposed to pictures is I could not walk much after I finished my main. My meeting with the crash wall occurred in my second race and although I could not stand or put any weight on it I was still able to sit on my trusty steed and ride two more races. If Buck Blair had not put my kit together and got my Nissan and trailer for me I would still be there. Imagine spending the night there if you choose.

One lesson for the reader: if you ever have to go to ER never (NEVER) tell the personnel your injury had anything to do with a motorcycle.

Once on the last lap while leading the main at Costa Mesa I was struck down from the rear by a infamous villain. The next morning while lying in ER everyone got to see the doctor before me even the drunk that had stabbed himself the night before. To get medical attention you tell them you slipped at the library while attending a poetry reading. (and always take your leathers off if you can)

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