An Operating Guide to the Army Of Darkness
and Neighbor of the Beast Endurance Teams (2001)
Racing is hard on the little things....
2001 – Part One
by Sam Fleming
Army of Darkness spent the early winter months of 2001 pupating, and in February, molted from beneath its thick carapace of 1997-2000 GSX-R600s to emerge, innocent and naive, into the world of 2001 GSX-R600s. This process is far more painful than many would assume, because:
- The vast spares collection has to be liquidated.
- New spares have to be secured for a model of which none have been crashed.
- Racing parts need to be secured, and yet, few if any of the providers of these parts have any experience with the bikes yet.
- We haven’t a clue about what the proper set-up is for the new bikes and will have to rely on the judgment of our suppliers. This is always a precarious position.
2001 – Part Two
Talladega Gran Prix Raceway
May 26, 2001
If we had TV coverage with Grand Prix commentators for the WERA National Endurance Series, they would have mentioned that Talladega is AOD’s test track. AOD had visited Talladega with the new racebikes in late February to shake down the riders and the equipment. Jim and I had both been rewarded with lap times that were faster than the previous year’s race lap times. We were both, perhaps, a little over-confidant about our chances for the Talladega race.
2001 – Part Three
Putnam Park Road Course
Mt. Meridian, Indiana
June 2, 2001
If the joy of racing motorcycles had to be reduced to a single element, I would say that it is exceeding expectation; one’s own, and particularly those of others. Winning races can leave one feeling hollow if the victory does not feel earned. At Talladega we fought a rear-guard battle with our ill handling bike and, although triumphant, left Alabama with a bitter taste in our mouths.
2001 – Part Four
There is a point in every endeavor where you meet the point of diminishing returns. This point makes itself brutally evident in all sorts of aspects of motorcycle racing. For instance, you might be able to improve your laps times by two seconds switching from a $3,000 motorcycles to a $10,000 motorcycle but then it might take another $10,000 to get the next half second. And then you reach the awful point where more money does not yield improvements at all and you have to rely on improvements in talent or skill. For most club racers this is about halfway through their second season as an Expert. The realization is usually coupled with retirement from motorcycle racing.
2001 – Part Five
Summit Point Raceway
Summit Point, West Virginia
August 4, 2001
After the Portland round and its related travel time, crash damage and emergency rider substitution we were all looking forward to the Summit round, its short travel time from DC and the return of an uninjured Brian Stokes to our rider roster.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
2001 – Part Six
Everyone has a story about where they were and what they were doing on 9/11/2001. Melissa and I had watched the Tower Two hit on the news in the morning. Jim and I had been exchanging e-mails about the likelihood of DC being the next target. Most of downtown DC is built on the flood plain of the Potomac river. Most roads leading from the North (where we live) into DC slope gradually (or steeply) downhill. Melissa and I were riding our pair of GSX-Rs down one of those roads when my cell phone started ringing. Without even answering the phone I knew somewhere in DC had just been hit.