2000 – Part One

First Person/opinion: The Intentional Destruction
of Laboriously Engineered Artifacts

You'd think after 10 years Jim would be able to drag his knee for a photographer.
Photo by Louis Gagne/In Your Face Photography.

In November 1999, an emergency convention of the best theoretical physicists in the world was called in Munich. This meeting was required to revise the axioms of the universe. The basic physical laws of nature had been called into question because Army Of Darkness, after four years of trying, had won an endurance title.

Attempting to win an endurance Championship is a little like a space shuttle launch. It takes a vast amount of resources that propels the participants with a momentum well beyond their immediate control. That compelling thrust, once removed, creates the disorienting effects of weightlessness and the classic symptoms of vertigo and nausea.

2000 – Part Two

Sam and Jim practice at AMS. One of them must be wrong.
Photo by Louis Gagne/In Your Face Photography.

Atlanta Motor Speedway
May 19-20, 2000

Since we had utilized our spare trailer tire by the side of the road on our way home from Texas I thought it would be prudent to replace the spare tire and the second axle's tire which had born half the weight of the trailer for a considerable distance.

However, I quickly determined that there was only one trailer tire of the appropriate specification on the entire East Coast. After various amounts of effort the trailer was outfitted, on the right side, with one new tire and one punished used tire, with a spare of the wrong spec (but that had gotten us home 400 miles the prior weekend) stowed in the trailer.

2000 – Part Three

Blowing the motor at IRP brought back all the trauma of racing motorcycles that I thought years of therapy had erased. I thought I had finally put the terror, the humiliation, the impotence, of broken power plants to rest when we forsook Yamahas. Alas.

The broken motor also ate considerably into our points lead over Paramount. Watching that hard fought and hard won points lead erode had a corresponding increase in heartache. We were striving to beat a team which was clearly more than a match for us. We were barely succeeding, and then, our efforts were betrayed by an eight dollar part. The mood in the van was understandably dark as we dieseled through the night from Indiana to DC. We had, as I saw it, two tasks to complete before our next race, conveniently scheduled two weeks away.

2000 – Part Four

The most common question I am asked at the track is "How much are the T-shirts?" The second most common question I am asked is "Why don't you have better-looking paint jobs on the bikes and bodywork that isn't cracked?" The third would probably be prefaced with "Can I borrow a ________?" Then, tapering off into the realm of "Aren't those black leathers hot in the sun? You aren't really devil worshipers, are you? Is Mark riding with you this weekend? Etc." Some of these questions have relatively simple answers where others are much more complex. For instance, the T-shirts are $13 to $15.

2000 - Part Five

The 24 hour race is primarily an exercise in logistics. It requires a massive scale-up from an ordinary endurance race including additional riders, different bodywork, the addition of lights, rebuilding and refurbishing most systems on the bike and making the difficult decision about engines.

The engine decision comes down to the age old trade off between reliability and power. Most tuners favor reliability in a 24 hour motor and last year we won the race with a stock motor. This year the only piece in the motor that was giving us concern was the valve spring retainers. For the 24 hour we installed a new set of retainers (actually one race before) in our high powered motor. NOTB considered various engine choices but ultimately decided to just run the motor they had been running for the whole season.

The GNF and into 2001

Although we had all but locked the championship at the 24 we wanted to have a good finish at the GNF since we had not finished well at the GNF in years. We have taken to calling this event the “WERA DNF”.

Once the trailer arrived back on the East Coast from the Willow 24 we did an inventory of the crashed and the broken. Tim stripped down the broken motor from the 24 and found that another valve spring retainer had broken. This time we were more fortunate in that the valve and piston survived intact, my ill advised extra laps apparent causing no additional harm after all. This was very fortunate because that particular motor was the culmination of everything we had learned about the pre 2001 GSXR 600 motors and produced a great deal more horsepower than any of our other GSXR 600 motors.