The Final Sunday…

Sarah and I were greeted to mostly clear skies and dry asphalt when we woke up in the motel Sunday morning.  This was promising because we were going to race today even if it meant we were going around the track in the driving rain on slicks at 25 miles per hour till we saw a checkered flag.  We were going to finish our season, we were going to finish our race.

At the track they had a backhoe out and were clearing off about eight inches of mud and rocks from various sections of the asphalt.   The threat of rain had subsided and it was shaping up to be a nice day to finish the season out on.  A voice came over the PA announcing that even at it’s best we’d be lucky to hit the track at 10AM, and that there would be a single rotation of practice for everybody, not two as per usual.  So we’d be racing today with no Saturday practice, and a single short 20 minute session on a dirty track.  Nice.

The track was cleaned as good as it was going to get with the efforts of the WSMC staff and membership, lots of shovels and brooms, blood, sweat, and tears.  And as I am used to now, they sent us out first to act as hoovers to dust off the racing line.  Things were not as bad as I expected they would be.  There was still a little dirt on the track, but traction was not too much of an issue.  Sarah was really poking around the track and sitting up high in the cockpit getting a good look up the road to see what was going on.  When the wheel did spin up I was able to control it without issues, and the only wet spot on the track, the turn 13 exit onto the front straight actually seemed to clean the crap off our tires for the drive up the dusty front straight.  I’m 200 pounds, I make traction happen regardless of what lateral forces or the motor might have to say otherwise, there will be no  argument.

Our race was staged race seven, right after the 20 lap ‘tag-team’ event, so that put us out at about 2PM for a race time.  Which was not bad all things considered.  And in what seemed like no time at all our race was up, and we were rolling out on the track for our warm up lap.

We were gridded outside second row behind Rick.  Rick and Bill were on the front row, with Wade next to us.  Sean behind us with Leon across from him, and many other angry sidecars behind them… a packed grid.  Given the pressure for time they didn’t waste no time at all once we were staged and set.  The two board was out, one, sideways… the engine RPM’s came up and once more Sarah launched like a bomb went off when the flag dropped and my jaw was left open as we found ourselves drag racing Rick and Bill up the hill into turn 1.  Rick and Bill went around turn 1 two wide and we followed, Wade caught us on the inside and made a quick pass on the inside into two and we dropped in behind him.  I looked up as we slid around the crest of two and was greeted to a beautiful sight.  A whole pack of seven sidecars chasing us up the hill.

Head back in the game I dropped down for the turn three left stretching out forward after Sarah got it turned in to keep that front wheel planted.  We proceeded to boogie with the leaders staying 1/2/3/4 right there with them for a good three laps before they really started to wick up the pace as their tires came online.  We came around the bottom of three again and saw a standing yellow flag.  At the top of four Wade and Christine were pulled off to the outside of the track.  We were up to third again.  After the five/six/seven esses I glanced back as we powered through the bowl  and did not see anybody behind us.

At the top of two I glanced down and saw Hans flying up into turn one at a wicked pace, he was obviously on the drive to catch us.  Passenger math told me we had two laps to go and there was a good chance if Hans stayed on his current drive that he would put us down unless Sarah could kick up the pace or Hans made a mistake.  Sure enough coming into the turn ten Hans had closed the gap and I could hear his Suzuki behind us.  His favorite passing spot was on the inside of thirteen around the skidpad, and I didn’t know how to telegraph to Sarah to stay tight.  She ran a little wide and it was all Hans needed, he snuck under us mid double-apex with his line pushing him wide onto the front straight.  Sarah wasn’t having it and retaliated by using the explosive power of the CBR1000RR to walk Hans down the front straight past the white flag and just pitched the CSR sideways into one and through two.  I brought us around two and made sure we had a nice exit for three and Hans pulled a banzi balls-out inside pass with his passenger John lawnmowing the off camber left hander from the chair.

We tucked up on Hans and now we had lap traffic to contend with.  It was the last Streets race all over again.  Gary was in front of us on the back straight and well off pace due to a damaged front suspension mount.  Hans slipped by on the tighter line and we were forced to take the long way around Gary on the outside and drive for the checkers on Hans’ butt.

A well earned fourth place finish, some excellent dicing at the end with Hans, and more than enough points to secure our third place ranking in the 2008 SRA West Coast Challenge.

We’d like to thank all of our Sponsors who made this possible for us.  We’ve come so far in the two seasons we’ve been racing professionally, and it would not have been possible without your wealth of help and assistance to make it this far.

Sarah & Mike

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