2001 Race Reports
June 10, 2001
Crab Orchard, Illinois
The Little Egypt guys really know how to put on a race.  Lay out one of
the longest loops an Illinois hare scramble has ever seen, and make it
tight.  Add a few sections of grass track, keep the rain away, and you've
got an incredible course.

But to enjoy all that the course has to offer, you have to ride smart.  I
made a silly mistake that ended my day early and set me back a few
bucks, but I'll get to that later.  Before the race I walked a small portion of
the 12-mile course and got back to the staging area just in time to see the
emergency helicopter land in a grassy area smack in the center of 200 or
so parked cars and trucks.  They don't land those things in real life the
way they do in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.  This one came in low and
slow and right over about 10 pop-up canopies, which are not exactly
designed for the 100 mph winds kicked up by a 30-foot propeller.

Only three bikes raced in the Open B class, and at the start the other two
guys jumped out ahead and I never saw them again.  Was I really that
slow?  The results would later show that the class winner placed 9th
overall, out of 130 bikes.  So a Pro rider decided to race the Open B
class...bet that was a satisfying victory, friggin' sandbagger.  The first lap
was fairly uneventful as I tried to remember how to ride in tight woods.  
Crab Orchard is an old strip mine, so there are some steep ridges, often
in series, that we climbed and descended over and over again.  With 12
miles of tight woods, lap times were fairly long.  I completed my first lap in
about 40 minutes and was halfway into the second lap when I slowed
down for a gully, applied the front brake as the front wheel dipped into the
gully at an angle.  The wheel came to a quick stop at the bottom of the
gully, causing the motorcycle and I to do an Olympic-style somersault
(judges score: 2.35 with no style points).  As the back end of the bike
began its "death flip" I had visions of White City in 1999.  Only this time it
was all in slow motion.  While lying on my back in the bottom of the gully, I
had time to give the back end of the bike a swift kick that deflected it away
from my rib cage.  Bodily harm averted...the gods were smiling down on
me.  I picked up the bike and began to start the engine, but the brake
lever assembly had rotated down around the handlebars.  As I smacked it
back up into position, I saw that the clamp holding the brake assembly to
the bars was missing.  The brake assembly was still attached to the bars
(barely), but the lever was pretty much useless.  I finished my lap with no
front brake, riding a nice C-class pace.  At the scoring tent, the white flag
was out and I actually considered finishing the race, but then decided not
to risk getting hurt on some of the steep downhills.

Back at the truck, I discovered that the throttle housing had also broken
during my 2 mph crash.  I called it a day, drove home and searched for
motorcycle parts on the internet.

June 24, 2001
Marshfield, Missouri
3rd of 11 in Open B Class
The KaTooMer bike maintenance (or lack thereof) program struck again.  
On Saturday, after spending an unbelievable amount of time tweaking the
brake lever clamp and new throttle to fit properly, I discovered during a
tire change that my rear wheel bearings were failing badly.  Naturally I
had no 6005 bearings in my extensive inventory of useless bike parts, so
I figured what the hell, I could get one last race on the bad bearings and
then replace them.  When I arrived at Matt's place at about 7:00 a.m., he
took a half-second look at the wobbly wheel and described the disastrous
consequences of riding on bad bearings.  So rather than risk destroying
my fancy-dancy Talon hub, we pulled out the old bearings and put in
Matt's two spares.  One minor problem, though: the Talon hub uses three
bearings.  I carefully evaluated the alternatives, which consisted of: a) put
in two new bearings and leave in a crappy one; and b) ride on bad
bearings and buy a new $250 hub.  Took me about half a second to
figure that one out, and 30 minutes later we were ready to go.

So I had already been a pain in Matt's ass first thing in the morning, but
that would only increase as the day went on.  The drive to Marshfield is
long, but I figured we would shave some time by cutting off 15 or 20 miles
on 2-lane roads to the race site.  O.K., so the map sucked.  We got there,
alright?  Too late to do a practice lap, but hey, how much does practice
really help anyway?  At least the line for signup was short.

The word from the riders who did the practice lap was that the course was
very tight, a bit damp, and full of logs.  Perfect.  Off the start I was about
5th and quickly moved into 4th, with Matt somewhere behind.  I followed
the guy in front of me for several miles before he bobbled and I got
around.  After that, I didn't have much company for the next couple of
laps, except for an occasional pass by a faster B rider in one of the
classes behind me.  The first few miles of the course were extremely tight
and muddy, actually rivaling the Roselawn enduro.  Many of the logs were
a foot or more in diameter and at an angle to the trail.  On the second lap
I came around a corner and saw one of those logs too late and did a nice
get-off.  Somewhere in that lap, some tree branches grabbed at my
goggles hard enough to rip out my brand new roll-off's, leaving a long
streamer trail of roll-off tape.  I finally took off the goggles on the third lap.

I never did see the lead guys in the Pro class pass me, which usually
happens about 2/3 of the way into the race.  I did see an unfortunate
rider in the women's class drop her bike down a ravine.  With the
exception of my single crash, I rode fairly well and completed 4 laps.  Matt
did three laps and already had his bike loaded up before I got back to the
truck.  He wanted to go home right away but I made him wait until the
results were posted.  With my third place finish, I earned a trophy and
made him wait another half-hour through the protest period, then made
him wait some more while the trophies were distributed.  Man, was I ever a
pain in the ass.
Crab Orchard, Illinois
Marshfield, Missouri