Reno Results, Photos, Sunday

Sunday morning was windy. Mike and I both hate wind. It chaps your lips, makes your eyes and teeth gritty, and dehydrates you faster than you can get water in your system. The only nice thing was that it was overcast, keeping the temps. down in the 80’s and the sun hidden for the time being. Mike borrowed a helmet from Bill Becker and we suited up to go out for first practice. Toward the end of about 12 laps I noticed the sidecar rig start to behave funny, I wasn’t getting the drive out of corners and the engine was spinning up. Mike pounded on the body to let me know to pit, and when we rolled in the hot pit he yelled, “CHANGE PLACES”. He hopped into the cockpit and I jumped on the platform. I should point out at this time that I hate riding on the platform, I do not like that feeling of no control despite Mike saying he has as much control as I do when he’s on the platform. So of course Mike dumps the clutch and lights the rear tire up for about 50 feet getting back out on the track and I’m holding on for my life for two uncontrolled hell laps around the track. What Mike lacks in smoothness and agility with the CSR he makes up for with brute force and binary throttle inputs. I pounded on the body between 3 and 4 to let him know enough was enough and he dropped his speed. We pulled into our pit and he said, “The clutch is slipping.”

If you had read the blog earlier, you’d know that we just made a major change to our clutch before coming out to Reno. We’d installed the Yoyodyne slipper clutch. I asked Mike if he thought the slipper clutch was the problem. He didn’t seem to think that the slipper clutch would eat up a brand new clutch pack that fast. So instead of working on the clutch he went straight for the clutch master cylinder. At this point I’d like to mention the guys at CRG were nice enough to spot us two brand new roll-a-click levers to try out on our stock CBR1000RR master cylinder. Mike had installed the ‘short’ lever Saturday morning and I’d been using it without issue since then. Mike said, “I don’t think this lever fits right, it’s not letting the clutch fully disengage.” He pointed out to a tab on the CRG lever that was hitting the clutch master cylinder. He then pulled off the CRG lever and swapped our stock lever back in place. Mike then did the fastest clutch pack swap I’ve ever seen in my life. I swear to you he had the CSR in the air, the side cover off the engine, the clutch pressure plate off, the ruined pack out, and a new pack in, and everything buttoned up with no mistakes in under 15 minutes.

We made it out for next practice and everything was perfect. I ran about six practice laps to make sure everything was working fine and pulled in to the hot pits. Several of our friends from BARF and the Vampires MC came out to Reno to watch us race, and we’d lined up taxi rides for the more crazy of the group. I needed to save my strength for the race, so Mike hopped in the cockpit of the CSR to take people for some hot laps around the track for the rest of practice. Cygnus, Alicia, Dave, and Planegrey get the hero award for being brave enough to get on the platform with Mike on the throttle of the CSR.

The Sunday race was staged at 2PM, and Mike had a better vantage point than I did, I was too busy racing, so I’ll let him tell the story.

The race came at 2PM, we got in our warm up lap, gridded, and Doug stood on the wall as the starter, he threw the flag and Sarah got the best launch she ever has and we shot right up the inside of 1 with the pack, Gary Wolf from Portland nearly trading paint with us as he fought for the line, Sarah had me in the gravel to stay in the groove and on the power. For the next four laps she ripped around the track holding a solid 7th position with Leon behind us on a F2, and Redneck Racing tucked behind Leon.

I was on the back making myself as wide as possible in the lefthanders to try and keep Leon from even thinking about going by when it would look like he’d think about passing. After three more hard laps holding off Leon Sarah started to fade. I could feel her cornerspeed start to go off and the rig drifting out of the exits which ment she was starting to lose upper body strength. Leon closed on us out of 5, got by, and Redneck Racing used it as a slingshot to make a move on the both of us as we rolled out onto the front straight jumping from 9th to 7th.

We were back in 9th and now chasing Leon for all we were worth. I knew Sarah was tired, but I was still screaming in my helmet “GET HIM GET HIM” and leaning as far out and forward as I physically could to get the weight down on that front wheel so she wouldn’t have to put so much effort into getting the CSR turned in. A couple laps later with Sarah trying her best to chase down Leon and grab another position we took a respectable 9th place out of 12.

This weekend, Sarah learned how to go fast.

We had an excellent weekend all things considered. Given the mechanical issues, Mike’s minor mishap, the crummy weather, and other little gremlins we still had a great three days of racing with some of the most professional roadracers you’ll ever meet, and we still placed in the top 10 both races.  I’ll take the 9th place finish today, no problem there.  Bill Becker and his son finished first, Dave and Jamie took second,  and Mark/Bobette snagged another third.  Our 8th and 9th place finish bumps me up to 7th in the Driver standings, and Mike to 6th in the Passenger points. Next stop is Miller Motorsports, and we will kick ass out there.


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