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DATE: September 7th, 2002
Planet X-treme (www.planet-x-treme.com)
Although the bone on my shoulder blade is not completely healed up, the doctor gave me the OK to race back on August 23rd. This race was exactly 7 weeks after the one that I broke my shoulder blade at. This track was also the place that it happened.
The last time my bike was raced (Aug. 10th) it stalled twice for no reason and developed a small radiator leak. So in preparation for this race I did a couple of things. First I took apart all the electrical connecters, blew them out, put some dielectric grease on them and zip-tied them in place to keep them from moving around. I also replaced the stock Cannondale disc-type fuel filter and put on a NAPA Gold #3011 which is equivalent to the Fram G4164 fuel filter, now used by Cannondale as stock. I didnít do anything to fix the radiator leak but I did buy some new radiator fluid and mixed it 70/30 with Motor Cool in it. I also adjusted the idle screw and backed it off a little bit. I was running my idle higher to be sure to not stall the bike in the corners. The other thing I noticed even before the bike was raced in August was that my left fork seal must be bad because the fork is leaking oil. Itís a good thing the race season is soon coming to a close for me. Iíve got to replace the radiator and Iím planning to have my forks rebuilt this winter.
The weather for the day was hot. My truckís temp sensor said 101 but it was probably in the mid to upper 90ís. I chose to run only one class because of the heat and I didnít want to over do it with my shoulder. I raced in the 250D class, which had three other riders. There was a YZ250, a YZ426F and a CRF450R.
Moto 1 Ė After practice, which was wet, sloppy & slippery, I checked the radiator fluid level and had to add some. The level was down to the fins. I also topped off the fuel. I always race with a full tank of gas to avoid any possible stalling from the fuel pick-up line bouncing around in a half empty tank and possibly sucking in some air. I didnít have any problems with starting the bike at all that day. I donít have any proof but I feel like the bike started easier because I backed off the idle screw some. I wonder if I had the idle set too high. I lined up on the starting gate so that I would have an outside line in the first turn (left-hander). I started in 2nd gear. Once the gate dropped I clutched it out over the gate and then just pinned the throttle and shifted to 3rd w/o using the clutch! The only other rider I could see was to my left and the closer we got to the turn the more it seemed like he was fading back. So, I cut inside on the corner and straightened it out and hit the throttle hard again. I wasnít quit sure at the time but the videotape showed that I had just achieved my first holeshot! Since the track was quite a bit drier than it was in practice I was feeling very comfortable on the bike. I like a dry track as opposed to a wet one. Despite a leaking radiator and fork seal I felt really good and comfortable on the bike and my confidence was high. Then came the section I crashed in, a set of 4 jumps about 15-20 ft. apart. I was still in the lead but worried about getting caught. I decided not to tempt fate and I jumped them one at a time, no doubling them on this day. About ĺ of a lap is where I lost the lead to the YZ250. It was a long rolling whoops section and I was much slower through them than he was. I found after the moto that the CRF rider stalled his bike right off the gate. But I didnít care, I finished 2nd, my best so far this year.
Moto 2 Ė After the engine had cooled down I checked the radiator again and added more fluid, the same as before. I also topped off my fuel. This time at the gate I lined up a little closer to the inside in hopes of getting another holeshot. The gate dropped and I pinned it and pulled my 2nd holeshot of the day and of my Ďcareer.í This time I had no doubt that I got it! After making the turn I then pulled about a 30-40 ft. lead on the other 3 riders! I was pretty pumped! But the lead only lasted until the first whoops section in the track a couple of turns later. The YZ250 was doubling them and I was only rolling them so he passed me pretty quickly at that point and pulled away from me. I was still excited about being in second and trying to hold onto it. I had several friends and family cheering me on so I was having a great time! In fact, to celebrate my 2nd place finish in this moto and overall I pulled a nice wheelie across the finish line at the end of the moto to the amusement of my Ďfans!í
This dayís experience with my Cannondale X440s was all positive without any negatives. I love this bike more and more each time I ride it. Iíve also been increasing my novice skills each time and am doing things now that I didnít think Iíd be doing when I started racing 4 months ago. I think that the quality and craftsmanship of this Cannondale product has a lot to do with that!
I canít wait to race it again at Lincoln Trail Motorsports on 9/14/02!
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