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It's a long story, but it was quite an eventful weekend at WSMC.

When I showed up Sat morning at Willow Springs it was pouring rain so hard I couldn't even get out of the truck. At that point I felt like I had made the wrong decision to go there instead of doing the weekend at Fontana with all my friends from the forum. At least I could have been bench racing with you guys in a nice comfortable garage! For me, however, my biological race clock is ticking (some might say it's already stopped) and I really feel like I need to see what I can do while I can still do it, ha ha, so I went there for the October WSMC weekend. Besides, a crash at Fontana in April had prevented me from racing all summer and I had improved from placing 18th in August to 10th last month after the Freddie Spencer school so I felt like things were starting to come together. That was my first top ten in Open Novice and I knew I at least had enough points to be gridded 10th or better this month.

Anyhow, the rain seemed to be slowing by late morning and the track officials actually let everyone out on the track in their cars and trucks to try to help dry it out. One guy in a transport went out for a lap, but as a joke they black flagged him. It was a funny moment in an otherwise miserable morning. Some blue sky was starting to appear, however, so I decided to take my ever so patient wife and not so patient kids out to lunch and hope for a dry track when we returned.

The weather cooperated, and after lunch managed to get through tech and get out for a practice session. My R1 felt a little loose, however, so after the session I went by the Pirelli booth and had them look at my tires. It was my third month on this set of tires and I was starting to worry, but they said they were wearing good and that I just had too much air and dropped the pressure.

I then went by Lindeman Engineering and had Jim Lindeman check my suspension. He found a couple of problems that I needed to work on and luckily my buddy Brent who wasn't racing this weekend showed up just to hang out so I immediately put him to work. I missed one session, but we got everything back together in time (I thought) for the last practice session only to find out that was it. The only thing left was practice starts so I went out for those. I had lowered my gearing from last month and all three practice starts went really well. They usually let us run a few laps after the last practice start so I was going to make the most of them. I was passing two guys in turn three when the red flag came out. Nothing was wrong, the track officials just thought it would be a good exercise. Their timing couldn't have been worse for me, just when the bike was feeling great. Oh well, packed up and took Brent to dinner to thank him for the help.

I left for the track Sunday morning while it was still dark, determined to get in both morning practice sessions. By the time I arrived, the sun was up and the sky was crystal clear. It was going to be a beautiful day!

The first session went well, but the gas light came on after a few laps (duh)so I had to cut it a little short. Fueled up and got out for the second session and really started getting up to speed. I completed the session, but a big slide going up the hill out of turn 3 and then a little dirt tracking along the front straight convinced me that I should finally get new tires before the race. My event was next to last anyway, so I needed something to do all day while waiting.

The riders meeting that morning was quite emotional. (For those who might not know, WSMC racer Jesus Amezqua was killed last month on the last turn of the last lap of the 250 race when he and three other bikes went off in turn 8) After a moment of silence during the riders meeting, a friend of Jesus rode his bike around the track for one last lap while a girl sang a beautiful version of "Amazing Grace" alternating english and spanish. I doubt if there was a dry eye in the place. It is times like this that make you realize how special and close the racing community is.

Well, I got my tires and checked the grid sheet. I was gridded sixth, middle of the second row in an 18 bike field. I was starting to get optimistic, but when we did our warm up lap and I came to position on the grid, I couldn't see the flag man clearly around the first row! I had to lean way over so I could get the start signal. Nevertheless, I got a pretty good start and came close to bumping a guy in the front row but I came through turn 1 in third place and just pinned it, but could not catch the two guys fighting it out for first place. I got in four decent laps, but got passed by an RC51 that was getting a little better drive than me out of the corners and I just could not get back around him. Darn, I thought, that guy just took my plaque!

In the final lap, however, the yellow flag came out in turn 3. Somebody had gone off, and it looked like one of the two guys that had been battling for first!!!!! Was I back in third? Just after passing the turn (and the last yellow flag) a guy on another Yamaha passed me, but this time I was having nothing to do with that and passed him back on one wheel going over the hill at turn 6. It wasn't until I got back to my pits that I found out from my screaming son that I had indeed finished third. The guy that had crashed was pitted right next to me and both he and his bike came back OK. I was sorry he crashed but thankful for my first podium.

Sorry for the long write up and I hope to catch you guys at the next track day, but as you can tell I had a great time at Willow. Just seeing the pride and excitement in my son's eyes made it all worth while. He's my #1 fan!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, UK, US, and France. Global recognition. I guess MotoGP must be right around the corner :D

Randy, I just wish I could learn things a little easier, ha ha.
 

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Sounds like a great time!

Kudos on bringing along the kids for the experience. My father was the person who introduced me to bikes, albeit in the dirt (he's unfortunately not a fan of street bikes due to the danger factor). We still ride in fact and he just turned 66. Great times!

If you don't have bikes in the genes already, then your father showing you the ropes is a close second for initiation.

Have you seen the "kid" trackbikes? They make a couple with some rather serious build quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. My dad raced Enduro and I am definitely passing along the genes to my son. There's nothing I enjoy more than going dirt bike riding with him. He thinks he's the next Travis Pastrana (although he's running Chad Reed's number 22). Here's his latest exhibition:
 

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Chris,

Entery fee: $250
Tires: $300
Gas & transport: $100
Bike prep: $350

Picture of your kid holding your trophy: PRICELESS

Congrats!

1:32's - That Spencer stuff works.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Alex, great response as always! Thanks also to Greg for the Jesus links. WSMC is giving out decals with Jesus's number. If anybody wants one, let me know.
 
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