2000 Race Reports
June 11, 2000
Jonesboro, Illinois
8th of 8 in Open B
What a difference a week makes.  A bonehead mechanical oversight put
me well out of contention less than two minutes into the race.  Matt and I
raced together again on a typically hot June day in Southern Illinois.  We
walked a small part of the course beforehand and the trails looked to be
in great shape.  The starting point of the race was an open field that had
been laid out with wood stakes and yellow ribbon, into a series of
180-degree turns before dropping into a creek and then heading back up
through the woods.  I made it into the woods ahead of Matt and suddenly
discovered my clutch didn't work.  I pulled over and saw that the bracket
had come loose and the clutch perch was flopping around.  Fortunately I
was only a couple hundred yards from my truck and made the repair, but
it took me about 10 minutes to get the job done and get back onto the
trail.  Too bad, because the course was excellent.  I didn't try too hard to
catch up to the rest of my class, especially since the race was shortened
to 1.5 hours due to the heat.  I used the race for practice, more or less,
and worked on my passing skills.  Matt finished in 4th place and took
home a trophy, while I finished dead last for the first time in a long while.  
About 30 minutes after the race ended, the skies let loose and poured
down rain for 20 minutes.  A week later I opened my toolbox and found an
inch of water and many rusty tools.

June 25, 2000
St. Joe State Park
Park Hills, Missouri
5th of 11 in Open B
This race set up the way it was years ago when it was known as the Flat
River Grand Prix.  The object was to do 6 laps (100 miles), but I figured I
could get in 4 before the pros got their 100 miles and the rest of the field
was cut off at the finish line.  But two days before the race I came down
with a cold and didn't feel 100%.  The race started in the little town of
Park Hills, just like in the old days, with each class lined up on the main
downtown street.  Before lining up for the start, all of the motorcycles
paraded from the setup area in St. Joe State Park all the way through the
town--probably a two-mile slow-ride of 150 or so bikes.  At the start, a
4-wheeler "paced" each class before pulling off to the side and turning
the riders loose into the trail.  To get to St. Joe park, the trail wandered
through a wooded area before going across a highway overpass and
down into the main part of the course.  They wanted us to go slow over
the overpass and had a bunch of orange plastic barrels spaced very
closely.  We were supposed to ride between the barrels, but I knocked
over about five of them.

After two 16-mile laps I stopped for gas and a long rest.  My cold was
sapping all my energy, but I still wanted to get in 4 laps.  But after the
third lap I couldn't take anymore and called it a day.  I felt horrible for a
couple hours, and most of the drive home was pretty bad, sort of like
Kahoka last year.  When the scores were posted on the Internet, I could
see that if I had just done that 4th lap I probably would have placed in the
top three in my class.

July 9, 2000
Tebbetts, Missouri
8th of 11 in Open B
Now matter how hard I try, this race leaves me incredibly frustrated.  
Tebbetts is the most wide-open race in the Missouri series, but somehow I
just can't maintain the speeds necessary for doing well here.  Matt and I
drove out together, and at the start he jumped out ahead and I didn't see
him again until the end of the race.  The course was nearly identical to
last year's race with the exception of more jumps in the wooded
motocross track.  My favorite part is the fence crossing, which was two
ramps on each side of the fence that met over the top.  You ride up one
ramp and down the other, praying not to stall right at the peak.

The mile-long creek bed was challenging as always, and this time I didn't
fall over, thanks to the steering damper that kept me going in a straight
line.  The day was extremely hot, but I had been doing a little bit of "heat
training" on the mountain bike during the prior week, which mostly
consists of torturing myself during the hottest part of the day by riding
10-15 miles without stopping.  When I finished the race, I saw Matt
completely changed into street clothes, and I couldn't understand how he
finished that far ahead of me.  Actually, he quit after only three laps
because of the heat, so he ended up in 10th place and was as ready as I
was to go home and recover.
Jonesboro, Illinois
Park Hills, Missouri
Tebbetts, Missouri