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Written by: Joe Rarey aka "LapTraffic"
Date: May 19th, 2003
HORN RAPIDS HARE SCRAMBLE
Well, this race almost did not happen for me. It was a horrific battle getting everything ready; working out of state has few pluses and MANY minuses!
I got home Thursday night, Friday morning found me in the garage with a completely disassembled quad. A motor in a box a new HMF pipe and a Denton steering stabilizer. I have to leave for the race tomorrow (Saturday) which means Iíve got to try to get the bike running and in for a re-map tonight (Friday) -a Re-Map is what they do to customize the fuel oxygen delivery. This is a fuel injected 440cc 2-wheel drive ATV. Rather than tuning the carburetor you hook it to a computer and reload the fuel parameters. Pretty neat.
I spend the next 5 hours getting everything back together and it looks to be perfect. Roll it out of the garage and after a few cranks she fires right up! I call the wife and let her listen to the roar of the engine. It's running for about 4 minutes and I give it some gas. HUGE flame coming out of the exhaust pipe. Rev-limiter is hit almost instantly and then this popping flame. Man, Iím going to need that re-map. I smell gas... Look down and there's about a 1/2 gallon a minute running onto my engine (flame coming out of the tail pipe) my blood runs ice cold and I shut it down. When installing the radiator I had knocked the clip off the injector line from the fuel pump, the pressure eventually blew the fitting off.
I went inside and finished filling out the bike's insurance papers, put them in the mail, and then went back to work. No further problems. I got it running (though not well with the cannibal map and HMF pipe) and drove to the dealer for my scheduled appointment for re-map.
Drive 1 hour to the dealer after 30 minutes of working on the bike the owner comes up and says, "Not gonna work, my computer wont interface" ĒHUH?! So what now? I canít run it with the flame coming out of the back like that...Ē "Oh, I know guys that run em like that all the time, but as for the re-map you're SOL" and he walked away leaving me with my jaw hanging in my lap.
I got a hold of my wife and she called all the dealers in the state (my cell phone died) and I drove home in a complete panic that this was not going to happen and I'd be screwed. I got home and she informed me that a nearby dealer had me scheduled for a 9 am re-map, it would be free and they were looking forward to seeing me. YES! Iím not dead yet!
I got there at 9am and wheeled the bike in; the tech hooked up the laptop and went to start the bike... nothingÖ Not a damn thing, the bike wouldnít turn over. "What the?!" Iíve never had an ounce of trouble and now the bike wonít even turn over to get the map loaded!? The tech left the shop and came back a minute later and said that he called his Cannondale guru who was off that day; heíd be there in an hour to help us out. Kim and I left to get something to eat... dejected. There was no way I was going to make this race.
We got back and there was the guru and my bike. I walked up, sure that he had drawn a big fat zero, and then I smelled the heat off the exhaust. "It works?!" Yep, you had a loose ground, map's loaded up, had to make a few adjustments (lot of tech talk that blew right by me cause I was not prepared for it to be working) and he shook my hand, bade me a good day, and good luck and got in his car and drove back home. The amazing part is that they wouldnít let me pay them for the work, which was considerable to get the moto-speed map loaded. Talk about customer service!
We loaded it all up and got ready for the drive; a friend of mine was a last minute addition to the drive over. So we're getting ready to leave and I ask for the map so I know how to get there. "Not to worry my friend says, I know how to get there" 6.5 hours later on a 3 hour drive in what could only be called "The Scenic route" we roll into the RV park. 1:30 in the morning!
Got up at 6:30 to get everything ready, registered, did my final work on the bike.
I still have not ridden it with the changes / updates and have only started it at the dealership.
Here I am at the track getting the last minute stuff done
A few quick test laps on their practice track, everything is working great, gobs of power! Then Iím off to the rider meeting. No real information, still a lot of questions, we're waiting on the guy who normally does the rider meeting and the ambulance which is late. I step out to flag Kim down, I need gum, can't race without gum, Iím talking to her when all the bikes fire up and head to the start line... I run to the bike (no gum) and race about ĺ of a mile to where the start will be.
A couple guys are nice enough to make room for me on the line. I shut it down and we wait for the ambulance. I ask around, this is a 4 lap race, with a checkpoint, laps are 10+ miles, there are some groomed areas and some pretty bad whoops.
The race starts with us all standing behind our bikes, engines off, they sound a horn, and we run to the bike, start and go! Itís about a 3/8 mile drag to the hole shot and then we come back about 3/4 of the way then left through a gate and out onto a track... there's more but that's all I retain.
Here's the line up, 2 waves, about 50+ quads
We see the ambulance come into view, there's also a helicopter for video purposes. We make last second preparations on the bikes I turn the key on and put it into second, it's warm, I know itíll start and I need the advantage against the kick-start 2-strokes. We back off the line.... we're all set, Iím running over everything I know, my first race, just finish, be conservative, donít get ahead of yourself, then the horn sounds and Iím Jessie Owens sprinting through the sand to my bike. I grab the clutch hit the starter... ITS RUNNING GO GO GO!!! I nail it outta there and we're flying down the stretch to the holeshot is getting close. I pass a 250r then a banshee; I put legs on and am blowing by bikes. Grab the clutch hard and slam the brakes into the holeshot I'M FOURTH!!!
We do the 180 and head back up the course I cannot see my hand in front of my face, nothing, my mouth is instantly coated with a thick layer of dust.
Iím in 4th gear and back off, almost ran off the trail on a quick dogleg. I start to put legs into it again just riding in the dust as fast as I can.
I can barely make out a chain link fence 3 feet to my left as I fly along its length. Then Iím through a barricade, the trail cut suddenly left through a gate and I missed it.
I slam on the brakes then decide to loop around to the right so I donít have to get off the bike. I do a quick loop in the choking dust and see three other bikes have overshot as well.
I just make to cut across the trail when a fourth bike comes through cartwheeling into the 3 guys trying to turn around. Then a brief pause, bikes are all slowed down and filtering through the gate. I go to make my move again and then from out of no where this bike comes rippin out of the dust, hammer down and slams into the mess of 4 bikes trying to untangle themselves. I cant tell you the color or make of the bike, but I remember the sickening 'thunk' it made as it slammed into the others. Thankfully no one was hurt. Everyone had stopped and I took the opportunity to shoot through the gate. I could see! I'd lost 15 positions in that very short time and had my work cut out for me.
Here I am coming through some traffic about a minute after the dust crash
Lap one was frenetic, I passed a lot of people, got passed by a few as well.
I realized something very quickly; my bike was not set up for the whoops. The rebound was way too quick and the compression wasnít sucking anything up, I slammed through them as best I could but they would take their toll.
Whoops are like washboard on steroids. They are about 3 feet tall and about 6 feet peak to peak. They are murder.
I was in good standing at the end of lap one and was feeling pretty strong.
Here I am getting my ticket punched followed by me hammering out of the check point
Lap 2 found me battling with another Cannondale. I passed him about mid way through, he wouldnít let up and down a pretty rough straight away edged in front, we were flying in 5th gear and he cut over to make a turn and clipped my left front tire sending me careening on 2 wheels about to get pitched off. Iím not sure how I caught it, it happened very fast, but I did and stayed on his tail until the end of lap 2. Lap 2 was for class (it was a 2 lap race) I finished less than 5 feet behind him and then we were off to lap 3 for the iron man portion of the race. He pulled away through the whoops which were now my most hated thing in life, they were just killing me, I donít know how many miles of those there were but it was BRUTAL. Lap 3 was where I started to see the course littered with bikes, out of gas, broken down, crashed, whatever. I caught up to a 250r, and snuck a pass in on a corner. I was dead tired by this point, a rag doll running on will alone and fought to hold him off, he passed me twice and I got him back, on the 3rd time he held me to the finish line where he literally ran out of gas and died.
Still one lap to go though and I was off on the last one.
Here's a picture of us duking it out before the home stretch
I saw no one on lap 4, I was alone with my agony of the whoops, I pounded through them for the last time and then raced to the finish line
Coming around to the final check point. End of the race. I need a beer.
When she saw these pictures my wife asked what the thing was on my lip... It's either brain matter or a chipped tooth. DAMN Racin is fun Evidently racing makes your head square too.
What an awesome time! I finished 10th in the Iron man, I have no idea of the class standings (I was 14th at the 1/2way point all quads counted) There were a ton of DNF's donít know how many finished at this point, the info is supposed to be posted on their web site soon. Iíve got some amazing video of the hole shot. I wish they had a radar gun for that! We were screaming! Figure 75-80mph based on the length of the run to the first corner.
Anyway, that's it. My first race, Iím hooked.
Joe Rarey aka "Laptraffic"
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