2002 – Part One

Army Of Darkness has been contesting the WERA National Endurance series since 1993 with a Middleweight Superbike. After failing miserably for a number of years the team achieved success in 1999, winning the Middleweight Superbike Class Championship and successfully defending it the following two years. Join us now as the AOD pursues:

The Intentional Destruction of
Laboriously Engineered Artifacts: 2002

by Sam Fleming

Army Of Darkness had won its third consecutive WERA Middleweight Superbike National Endurance Championship by the end of the 2001 season. Of course, with racing, it’s not what you’ve done that counts, but what you are going to do.

In January of 2002 we knew the AOD riders were going to be Mark Crozier, Jim Williams and myself. We knew Tim Gooding would once again be building the engines, prepping the chassis, building the quick-change wheel systems and administering the entire system at the track. What we didn’t know was who our competition would be and that made it difficult to gauge how prepared we were for the season. Most things in racing involve a compromise with the heavy side of the scale often being financial considerations. It would be nice to buy expensive forks and wheels but it is best to avoid it unless absolutely required to win races. And, with every modification comes the itinerant danger of component failure or installation mishap.


From Left: Mark Crozier, Nolan Ballew, Jim Williams, Tim Gooding, Sam Fleming

 

2002 – Part Two

North Florida Motorsports Park.
Jennings, Florida
April 19, 2002
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Two weeks after the initial round at NPR we appraised our equipment, found it lacking in nothing, changed the oil, wiped down the windshield and drove to NFMP.

NFMP was built by Borge Larsen, a professional pilot and motorcycle enthusiast who decided it would be fun to have his own racetrack. He bought the land, raised the capital and built a nice flowing track. Knowing the damage that cars can do to racetrack pavement Borge has tried to structure a business plan that can support the debt payments on the track solely off the revenue from bike events. They have a rider’s club to cater to the burgeoning track day market, host races and rent the track for testing and development. Unfortunately for us one of the teams that had rented NFMP for off-season testing was Vesrah.

2002 – Part Three

AOD Crew Chief Tim Gooding cringes when I say things like "nothing can go wrong now" or "we’ve won our fourth Championship" after only three rounds of racing. Tim works for the Smithsonian Institute in the natural science department. He gets to work with fragments of Mars and the Dead Sea Scrolls, has dredged meteors off the bottom of the Atlantic ocean (that’s a long cable, by the way) and built his own plasma oven for boiling chlorine out of iron meteors. He is a science guy through and through so I am always a little surprised by his superstitious side. It turns out that his stunning ability to make logical connections also explains his raw knuckles from knocking on wood.

2002 – Part Four

Talladega Grand Prix Raceway
Talladega, Alabama
June 14-15, 2002
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Due to the scheduling of races we only had six days between the utter and complete failure of our engine at Roebling Road and the next event. This led to a fair amount of consternation on our part but, in Tim’s wisdom, we had a back-up engine from last year ready to go. This engine was basically stock and had only about six races on it.

2002 – Part Five

There are a number of different schools of philosophy which try to explain human nature and motivation. You’ve got your straight philosophical types which do the Hobbs and Locke argument about whether man is inherently evil and is kept in check by civilization or that man’s nature is basically good and society corrupts.

This sort of chicken-egg debate gets old pretty fast. The economists will weigh in and say that the whole good-bad debate is moot because people will act in whatever way best serves to maximize their "utility" (in non-economist terms, utility roughly translates to happiness or, in many cases, cash).

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