Thursday, July 22, 2010

Industry Speedway July 21, 2010

Here we have ten days left in July and the temperatures are up for a while then it cools off. The traffic was a typical suck of a drive with out any accidents, fire trucks, just too many cars and loads of people driving and texting and not looking where the hell they are going.
As I pulled into the pits the parking lot looked rather bare and the rider count was down. Charlie (always a threat) Venegras and Russel Green were absent in first division. Second and Third had six riders each on the program and then to smooth out the program four second division riders were put in with the first division and five riders started at the tapes instead of four as listed on the program.
An additional change was made for second and third divisions where as each race was scored: 3,2,1,0 and the four highest scores went to the main. This made ever race count and didn't give anybody a free ride to the main when in the past seven rider were placed in the main without any eliminations or real heat competitions.
It is extremely difficult to put on a race program when you have a shortage of riders. Motors break, bodies take time to heals after crashing and wallets take even longer with so many out of work or working only parts time.
Please understand I am not shaking my finger at the decision to put some second division rider in with the much faster ones as the slower ones will be back at the rear very quickly but it now become a motor version of dodge ball.
The track surface at Industry varies every week depending on what other events take place there during the week. Cleaning my tires after the first race I noticed some hay material stuck to the tires so I am guessing from the steel calf chutes lying outside they must have had a rodeo there. A combination of cooler temperatures, too much watering, created a sluice like slip and slide. I watched the juniors before me and when two young lads on two-fifties repeatedly fell in the same bend I knew it was slick.
Knowing that the track was going to be slick in the corner is good to know but you have to try and beat everybody to the first turn and I got the jump at the tapes and slid through the corners without going down and stayed in front for all of the remaining laps winning going away as out brilliant announcer said. As long as he says nice things about Sugar Daddy he remains brilliant in my eyes.
Tyson Talkington showed up with a new number on the back of his leathers.

Kevin Johnson blew up his motor before the races started when he chucked half a bearing while warming his bike up. That can be costly as I did something similar a few weeks back.
Brandi McElroy, who rides the rear of the number 2 sidecar went down hard last week in a crash where the wall remained standing. Her and Brian Motis were back again for more punishment and won the crazy sidecar main event.
One reason there was a shortage of second division riders was the Tim McGrath was hurt Saturday night at Victorville and required an operation on his knee. After the races I offered to sell him my knee but he politely declined saying he didn't want an old worn out one.
Last Saturday night there were two separate track running on the same night here in Southern California. Now one could wonder about the reasoning of this happening with an acute shortage of riders here but I will not dwell on it.
Last Saturday my lap top quit and now is getting well in a repair shop in San Pedro. So I started to use my son's super duper Dell that he abandoned when he switched to an Apple for editing his bmx videos and it when down in flames with the dreaded blue screen after getting hit with a virus. So the pictures included in this blog were not adjusted for exposure.
Buck Blair left his cell phone charger in my Nissan last week and the charger has wound up missing. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of it please let us know. Bucky has won three main events in the last six days: Friday at Costa Mesa at the Fair Derby, Saturday at Victorville and last night at Industry but his lovely wife still would like her phone charger back

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Industry Speedway July 14, 2010

Well I missed last week's speedway racing at Industry. My bike quit in the main and I thought the problem was with my carburetor. Some where in the past it had been modified and another fuel line was added to the air/fuel mixture and at various times the throttle will not shut off. So after screwing with it on the Friday after the last race I let it sit during the Fourth of July weekend. When it came to load up and go to the races after the long weekend I restarted it before loading up and the motor had lost compression. The needles in the bearing on exhaust valve rocker arm assembly  fell on the garage floor when I took off the valve cover.

I may have had time to load up and go chase parts before heading out to Industry but my bank account said nothing doing.

So that gave me another few days to soak by swollen leg in my ice chest in hopes I could get the swelling down enough to wear some much needed shin protectors. So this Monday after relaxing over the weekend on my boat I set off to Cody's shop to get the square bearing replace with a more efficient round one.

So the small bearing was pressed out after grinding off the swagged pin and I figured that I would get off easily and have enough money left over for lunch from my lonely twenty hidden in my wallet.

Well that wasn't the case as after the pin was removed a new bearing could not be reinstalled as the hole for the pin was damaged from the pounding and a new rocker arm assembly was needed.

One who is not familiar with cost of speedway racing and the burdens of a limited production motor such as the Jawa need not know what a rocker arm assembly costs. But you could buy a rebuilt small block Chevy for a pair of these small rocker arm assembles.

So after depleting my food budget for the next few months I went home and put the motor back together. Not knowing the valve lash setting isn't a problem if you know where Buck Blair's garage is and I do. So yesterday I left early before the races and headed over there to finish the motor. It didn't take long for Bucky to dial it in and we were off to the races.
I had the honor to haul Buck along to the races and leaving from his house was a new route with maybe less traffic and a shorter drive time if you did not include the time it takes to get from my place to his.

Again the curse of a lack of riders to fill second and third divisions to make the racing really scratch racing continues. With more riders you have to earn your place in the main event by winning or at least finishing second in the final heats. When six or seven riders are automatically placed in the main it becomes a handicap race and a form of demolition derby trying to get from the back line through the traffic.

In handicap racing here in California riders are placed at different ten yard line chalk marks starting at the tapes and going back to the forty yard line at ten yard line intervals. The fastest riders set farther back. Also the lap count is increased beyond the normal four laps. Back many moons ago at Costa Mesa this made for great racing as Rick Woods or Steve Bast tried to overtake those who started 40 yards in front.

So in my main event I got to start at the tapes, not in the back and stand on the podium with Eloy Medellin and Bobby Schwartz. The smiling Bruce Penhall shown in the midget was part of a demo using four wheels instead of two or three as the crazy side cars do.

Charlie Venegas missed the action after missing a flight back down south and this put Aaron Fox into his first first division ride. It also saw Austin Novratil in the main event too. And Buck Blair made the main event again the hard way my wining the last chance again.

Give Schwartz the pole
Then give him the checkered flag.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 30 Industry Speedway

Last day in June. Last night was the fifth Wednesday running speedway this month at Industry.

I leave at three in the afternoon and when I arrive an hour plus maybe 15 minutes later several riders are already setup. Kevin Johnson drives from a different direction and has farther distance to travel but gets there first as he is coming into town and doesn't hit the traffic.

The pits are on one side of the Grand and the food and refreshments are located at the other end. There is a full service bar available for those who prefer firewater over beer. My cooler has Gatorade, a Starbucks iced coffee and bananas. My riding is shaky and can you imagine what it would be like after a few olives chilled with gin.
Each week there are various displays set up in the patio area for the fans to see. Tonight's treat was a blown Rambler from Prolong.

Besides the bar there are several other options for eating and a nice patio.

The staff at the Grand keeps the place spic and span.

And of course the roof keeps the hot sun off of you but when the sun starts to set bend three can be really blinding and as you head west.

If you arrive early you can unload your bike and kit without a lot of unnecessary carrying. Since I pull a trailer and there is room to turn around in the pits I really like this. You also have a choice of dirt or payment to setup on. Recently my choice has been under a nice shade tree that has benches under it.

The racing program is split with PEE WEE and Youth Heats followed by a couple of Division two and three races before the National Anthem. There are always no shows and last minute sign ups so the pre-printed program usually bears no resemblance with the final working program. Before the Anthem is played the riders have a parade.

AAron Fox was placed in second division and he was set back in a handicap version of racing yet managed to win.

My first race was in event 3A and in the back straightaway I was in second place when I was whacked from the side. In third division that happens a lot as this is third division. My handlebars got turned and the peg dug in then and I left the bike and it decided to punish me by hitting me for leaving. And I do know that my kill switch does work.
The line in the track picture shows my peg digging in, then a sharp turn to the right for the bike while I flew left. Now you don't want to lay in the track as there are riders behind you and a still target is easier to hit. So I got up went back to my bike picked it up and slowly rolled it to the wall forcing a restart with the red flag.  At the restart and I am put back on the ten yard line and of course I complain, even Bucky who jumped over the wall when I  first when down, complained to the starter.

After I parked my bike back in the pits I noticed that in falling I had ripped my right glove apart and most of the skin on one finger was gone. So a quick trip to the EMT on the track infield for a couple of band aids to stop the dam thing from bleeding. Good service and no cover charge.

No damage to the bike and after the rider's parade I was ready for event 7. Someone bumped me off and when I was riding up to the tapes I noticed that my left leg refused to lift high enough to rest my steel shoe on the peg. This is great, so after the race I went back and discovered my sock was soaked with blood half way up my shin and my calf looked a lot larger that it did earlier in the day. So another trip to the ER station for a sharp scissor to cut open the pant leg so I could apply ice directly to the injury. Again great service and no charge.

Applying ice to the injury wasn't any fun but it did help and in the next race I finished in second place which put me in the main. Not sure what happen in my main but after one and a half laps my trusty JAWA quit. Well I did make the main. Now Buck Blair did it the hard way and made the main by winning the LAST CHANCE.
In the first running of the Division Main two riders crashed between turns three and four which brought out the red flag and a complete restart. At the first start Charlie Venegas was leading when the red flag stopped the action. In the restart Bucky from the wall got the tapes up and lead for a well fought finish.