Sunday, May 31, 2009

Race Day MMP May 31, 2009

Ben Spies wins two great races - more photos to come but.........Mick Jr finds he has both hands full!!!

Wendy and Brot Parkes

Xaus contemplates the race.

Luca Scassa and Wendy - Luca was to crash in race 2 heavily - still awaiting outcome.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

MMP Saturday WSBK May 39

Rocket Ron Haslam and Wendy - my man from Nottinghamshire.

Yes it's Ron's son Leon. We first watched Leon over 12 years ago when he was around 14 at Donington and now here he is doing brilliant in WSB - a certain chip off the old block.

Wendy and Mr. Tardozzi!!!

Wendy and Larry - what a man.

Fantastic Fabrizio with Wendy

The Troy Corser now with BMW.

Wendy, Mick Jr. and wild card Jake Zemke.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Barber May 2009 - The Texas Tornado was not there but!

Well we made our third trip to Barber Motorsports for the Honda Superbike Classic weekend and it was wet - the title of this piece will make sense later if you were not at Barber this weekend if you were there then you need to read no further.

We travelled Friday p.m. and met up with a nice guy, Jim on an '02 ZZR 1200, from Fayetteville, NC. We had just past him approximately 50 miles east of Atlanta heading west on I20 when we saw then signs stating long delays over the weekend on I20 through Atlanta that would extend for over 20 miles!

Within 10 miles there it was - the dreaded tail back with zero movement. We rode off I20 on a ramp that fortuitously appeared just before the rear of the 'jam'. I stopped on the exit ramp and commenced the 'detour' selection on the GPS. No good, it took me off I20 for about 3 miles and spat me back onto it. So the next plan was to program the GPS to 'avoid interstates' and bang, there we were good to go BUT instead of a forecast arrival of 17:30 in Trussvillle, AL, where we had booked to stay the weekend the GPS now stated 21:50 wow!!

Just at that time the ZZR 1200 pulled up next to me as he noticed us on the ramp, and of course he wanted to avoid the traffic. We exchanged names, etc. and offered 'Jim' to follow us, he accepted and off we went.

The traffic on the alternate route was pretty busy but at least we were moving. Then about 10 miles into our detour I was crawling in a line of 'school traffic' when I heard this strange 'crackling' sound when I was balancing the "Conc" at walking pace with handlebar corrections! Now when I picked up the bike the preceding day after having new PR2's fitted (Very good by the way, nice tires) I noticed that my driving lights led was not on showing the normal 'green' on the dash switch when the lights are off. I had just assumed the mechanic had disturbed something when he changed my tires and was not so concerned about it.

So while 'Walking the Conc' it dawned on me what the 'crackling' might be and I looked down at the lights - oh dear they were switching on and off by themselves. I immediately pulled over on to a driveway and killed the ignition. I pictured flames appearing quickly and the smell of burning fairing - I hope I had caught it in time!!

Wendy got off and Jim asked what was wrong - I explained. I quickly stuck my hands into the faring and pulled out the wiring loom for the spot lights. I untaped the connectors, etc. but could see nothing wrong. Due to the time, etc. I decided the best policy was to disconnect all I could and leave the fault finding for another day. I did the disconnections and taped up all ends with insulation tape. Upon switching on the ignition, moving the bars from side to side, all seemed good - wow that was a close one. So off we went again.

The GPS was now showing an ETA of 22:05 - this was not good. As we cleared some of the traffic I decided to review the GPS and reconfigure back to interstates. Good move, I75 was 10 miles away, we could do about 6 miles on I75 north, go onto I385 west for 15 miles or so and then get back onto I20 west of Atlanta and hopefully miss a lot of the Atlanta traffic.

It worked out a dream, ETA Trussville now 17:50.

So we left I20 at the Trussville turn off and Jim continued to his weekend abode - we agreed we would hook up at the track the next day following a nice little recreational session with a Nissan 350Z but, for the fear of incriminating ourselves, I will say no more apart from the fact that the GPS has now recorded a top speed more than the previous top speed!

We checked into our hotel and preceded to clean up ready for dinner. Jim called and advised that he heard a funny whirring noise from the back end of his bike when he pulled into the parking lot. He checked the back end and there was white metallic shavings/powder over his back wheel and he could move the wheel from side to side - VERY worrying - bearing failure was the order of the day.

Incredibly, notwithstanding how lucky he was to have not had a catastrophic failure on I20, remember the 350Z, on Saturday morning the Kawasaki dealer in Trussville not only had the bearings to replace the damaged ones, they fitted them, balanced the back wheel and Jim was at the track by 13:00 - tremendous and a big thanks to the dealership.

So after an interesting Friday Saturday went good, see the pictures below. Additionally we bumped into Johnathon Green, the Brit who does the commentary for WSBK on Speed, etc. and had a nice wee chat with him so that made the day too.

Then of course Sunday happened, well didn't happen depending on your view point and hence the title of this little piece. After doing the rider presentations the announcement came on the PA - tornado warning - all must seek shelter immediately!!!

Wow, Jim called and we agreed to meet up at the museum. Things were getting bad. We went to the bike fortunately parked at the museum parking lot and commenced to remove our jackets and helmets off the bike to take into the museum. No sooner than we got in there and met up with Jim, and his mate Jamie from Illinois, we were told to go downstairs into the basement - no options here, the police ordered all to seek immediate shelter - this was getting bad.

Darkness came and the heavens opened with terrific flashes of lightening, sirens could be heard. My poor 'Conc' stuck out there - what would we be met with when we would eventually get out, how would we get home, what would be be riding through if the 'Conc' survives - all these horrible thoughts running through my head?

After about an hour the 'all clear' was given - fortunately we had 'won a watch' so to speak, no tornadoes had touched down at the circuit but we later found out that one had not far away.

After a chat, and still the weather looking foul, we decided to get dressed up and run for it. I checked the radar and it showed that further bad weather was coming in from the West but that the event that had just passed us was going north-east so I concluded that if I got away pretty quick I would not ride into the bad weather as we would be travelling easterly on I20 just scooting south of the tornadoes, etc.

The decision was a good one. We went through a tremendous downpour approximately 20 miles from the track and a lot of tree debris on I20 but after about 25 miles we were clear and it was dry and relatively bright for the remaining 320 miles.

So Sunday was not good but turned out a lot better than it could have done and we have another experience to savor in our old age!

Mat Mladin

Blake Young

Josh Hayes

Tommy Haydon

Ben Bostrom

Larry Pegram