2001 Race Reports
March 18, 2001
Finger Lakes State Park
Columbia, Missouri
6th of 13 in Open B
Finger Lakes plus Springtime equals Mud.  Which is actually a welcome
change from rocks, so after a muddy practice lap I was actually excited to
ride the slop.  The course was pretty much the same as last year, starting
on the motocross track and heading into the woods through a section that
was one solid rut.  After passing through the main checkpoint, the trail
opened up and had some fast sections winding up and around the old
strip mine hills.  On the first lap, there was a section on the other side of
the overflow staging area that was swampy and getting worse by the
minute.  I tried some "creative" alternate routes, and at one point I
decided to blast through some willow-type trees.  Worked well until I
noticed I was dragging about 10 of them along with me.

On the second lap I made a bonehead mistake that I should have known
better.  At Finger Lakes, the best rule you can follow is that if there's
standing water in the trail, stay the hell away from it.  Some of the ruts are
incredibly deep, and I found an innocent-looking one, fairly narrow, but my
front wheel fell down and disappeared in the water.  So there I sat,
providing amusement for the 20 or so spectators standing around in the
woods.  A course marshal finally came and helped me lift the bike out of
the rut, a two-man job for a motorcycle that was about 30 pounds heavier
with mud.  The only other place I got hung up was a nasty section parallel
to U.S. 63 that the ATV's had torn up badly.  Again I received help, this
time by another stuck rider.  Despite wasting some effort on mistakes, I
did four laps but fell one spot out of trophy contention with my 6th place
finish.  Had I not dropped my front wheel into the rut on lap 2, I probably
would have trophied.

I did learn a valuable lesson after the race, but this time from someone
else besides me.  Helpful Hint #2375:  Remove your cooler from under
your truck BEFORE loading your motorcycle(s).  I got a good laugh while
helping lift up the truck parked next to mine, so the cooler could be pulled
out from under the frame.  Sometime in the future I surely would have
learned this lesson myself, so thanks guys.

April 8, 2001
Steelville, Missouri
4th of 15 in Open B
Today's race was a reminder that the perils of our sport can reach
anyone, whether it's a beginner or an experienced racer.  On the practice
lap, one of the good guys of the MHSC, Everett Shinault, was seriously
injured after his throttle stuck and he suffered broken ribs and internal
injuries.  I do not know Everett personally, but those who do say he is a
smooth, careful racer and is a consistent top-5 finisher in the Senior
class.  We hope to see Everett back on the trail very soon.

As for the race, conditions were just about perfect.  The course was laid
out similarly to previous years and included such familiar obstacles as the
20-foot straight-down drop into a creek with a hairpin left turn at the
bottom, a jaunt through a manure pile (although I was disappointed that
the manure level was considerably lower than in previous years), and an
off-camber trek up the side hill that is always wet no matter how dry the
rest of the course is.  A new part of the course was a section of boulders
that resembled an explosion of the Statue of Liberty.  Exact same color
(only would you find this in Missouri).

At the first corner I was 5th or 6th and gained a position or two on the first
lap, then settled in for what was a fairly uneventful ride to the finish.  For a
change, I made just a few mistakes and did not dump the bike a single
time.  Other than whacking a tree with my knee, I was free of bumps and
bruises that are a common part of my post-race aches and pains.  The
unseasonably warm weather began working on my body on lap 3, which
fortunately was my last lap.

In terms of percentages, my 4th place finish (of 15 in Open B) was my
best in a Missouri race.  Had to be the duct tape.
Columbia, Missouri
Steelville, Missouri