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

First Person/Opinion:

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.

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