2005 – Chapter One
Our tenth consecutive season of endurance racing was to be notable for a number of reasons. Tim Gooding and I have been racing together since 1989. We began endurance racing in 1993 and began contesting for the national championship in 1994. After winning six consecutive titles (1999-2004) we discovered that we had run into a problem of diminishing emotional returns. From 1994-1998 our team pretty much sucked. We blew up regularly. We rode too slow. We had poor pit strategies. We didn’t focus on the right aspects of the sport to improve.
2005 – Chapter Two
May 20, 2005
On the way home from Joliet Tim and I devised a plan for recovering our momentum after blowing up the engine and our disastrous finish. We needed to be 100% ready to race in about ten days. We had one bike with a destroyed motor and another bike with, at this point, unknown reliability.
We decided that when we arrived home Tim would autopsy the motor to determine the cause of the failure. In the meantime I would make sure that we had all the parts inventory that we would need to rebuild the bikes for the next round.
Tim determined that the failure was our fault. In the past we had used exhaust cams with slightly more lift than stock with good result so we had installed them in these 2005 motors. With the new bike’s lighter valve springs and the higher redline the spring was becoming coil bound with the increased lift leading to failure. It was our own damn fault. Strange as it sounds, Tim and I were relieved that it was something we had done because in the past the Suzuki’s have blown up repeatedly just due to shoddy materials and poor design so we were hoping this was not going to happen again.
2005 – Chapter Three
July 15, 2006
After winning the three consecutive races at VIR, Willow Springs and Las Vegas we had just about climbed our way out of the points hole that our engine failure had excavated in Joliet. I had figured that we really only needed to win two more races out of the next six and finish the remaining four in second to win the championship. An enthralling sense of optimism permeated our pits since, after winning 4 out of 5 races to date it did not seem that much of a stretch to win two more out of the next six. However, these are forward looking statements and past performance is no guarantee of future returns.
2005 – Chapter Four
September 10, 2005
After our three straight losses there was a dark mood permeating the AOD HQ. Turning to our history we tried to find solace in the idea that, at one point, two seconds and a mechanical failure would have been the apogee of our season.
In order to take the championship we would have to win the next three straight races. Faced with such a circumstance and, feeling betrayed by the metallurgical shortcomings of Suzuki, one temptation was to emotionally distance ourselves from the contest. If we cared less about the victory then it would not be so bad if we did not succeed. Additional physical and emotional effort to attempt to win the races would only invest us further into the season and, should we not come out on top, make the disappointment that much more bitter. Although the statistics did not seem to be on our side we figured we would try our best to win the races and love like we’d never been hurt.