Saturday, August 29, 2009

IMS August 28

Hot day, hot night. I checked the weather before leaving and it was a mere 103 there at the track. Something was clogging the 91 Freeway in Corona and as I use the toll road to try and save time to get from Orange County out to 909 country I spent twenty five minutes coasting from the top of grade down to the 91 Freeway in a giant floating parking lot.

Before I tried using my IPhone for a ocean depth finder I could check the traffic flow on the screen and cuss at the red blockages on the south land traffic arteries. Now I first try the radio for information which usually isn't forthcoming or call someone for sigalert updates. This doesn't allow me an alternate route where you can get off the freaking toll road but it does tell you that there is an ambulance responding at 6Th Street in Corona.

I would surmise that no matter what freeway you use on a Friday night in Southern California you encounter stop and go traffic. This gives the occupants plenty of time to look at the endless miles of automobile, RVs and trailer lots that line both sides but the crappy economy does seem to be eliminating some of these businesses and
their ranks grow smaller every time I pass through.

When I did get to the track I found the parking lot looking like last week with a zillion trucks and trailer belonging to the mini-sprint cars parked in such a mess that the off-track betting lot looked inviting. The little cars help pay the bills and they have to park outside the normal pits so although they are a pain in the ass IMO, they make it possible for the track to operate.

There is plenty to do after you get to the track besides the effort of getting your bike, tools and kit from the parking lot into the pits. Speedway at one time paid enough in purses to allow for riders to quit their day job. I was reading on the Internet where Mike Bast was making 50K a year when speedway in Southern Cal was booming and that when a lot way compared to today's dollar after inflation. So the time before races is spent repairing the bikes and getting ready again as that is the only time for some to do it.

A lot of time is spent changing the rear sprocket and switching which side of the tire is used. As speedway bike only go left the sprocket side of the tire wears and the other doesn't. So you flip the wheel over or install another wheel as the night goes on. Most of the top level riders have two bikes because they tend to quit when you least expect it or they go slamming against the wall or through the wall like Jason Ramirez did last night. He made a nice hole in the wall and his crew were able to repair it before the next race and send in back out. He was not able to restart after the crash as he doesn't have a backup bike. He could have used someones else bike as many riders share in a situation such as that but the crash was in a "Last Man Out Challenge" and that payout didn't warrant risking a bike that might be needed for one of the two remaining mains.

I don't have a spare bike and last night I needed one. Mine quit after crossing the finishing line in my first race and I had to push it back. It had been running really good then I backed off on the throttle in turn one and it just stopped, no bang, or mechanical noise. I promptly took off my helmet and tried restarting. Steve Murray, who helps me out, pushed me but all I got was a little half -ass pop out out it. My ignition went away at the Perris long track races and it is like new. I pulled the side case and checked the ignition and it had not moved, tried another plug and all the wiring, disconnected the kill switch, took the carb apart, Buck came over had started to help and offered me his backup bike. I declined as his gearing and mine are worlds apart. Buck and I used to have two bikes, a short and a long stroke, and several times we switched bikes. back then I was not nursing my recent injuries and there was no reason for we to go out and wad his bike.

There was sufficient time to work on my bike but all of our efforts came up without any results. I was already listed in the main as when the program was made up there were not that many riders but at race time there was eight and I was starting on the twenty. It is obvious to me that I would have won easily as I watched from the wrong side of the crash wall.

There is no instant replay in speedway or sideline protests and challenges such as they have in pro football (American) and when some one touches the tapes at the start the referee is the law. In the scratch main more than one touched the tapes but Buck Blair was sent to the pits. From my point of view looking at the start from an angle but very close to the tapes Faria touched first followed by Shaun Harmatiuk but Buck got the heave oh. Buck did argue with Steve and so did I. Look at the picture and see how difficult it is too call. My shot does not show Buck's front wheel as it is blocked from view but his body appears to be behind the gate loader and to the rear of Shaun and Mike. My call is obviously not objective and that is why I started the "Buck Got Screw Again" Foundation...

Now it is back to trying to find what the hell is wrong with my motor and to remove what is left of the king size mattress I ran over on the freeway last night. It is bad enough dodging Beach Ball but now they are throwing mattress at me.

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