ZDR Does Summit and Beats Biagi 9/19-20/09 ZDR rolled into Summit Point on a late September evening with a distinct hint of fall in the air. The forecast was for perfect racing weather – dry, sunny and in the mid ‘70s. After a quick pit set up we went off for a bit of pasta and Chianti and a good night’s sleep. The day dawned as promised, with a refreshing chill in the morning air. Having failed to get preregistered in time (one day late dontcha know) we didn’t make it out of registration in time for first practice. We got out in second and the track was, ahem, a bit of a mess, with multiple colors and textures of pavement in T1 and T 6 and dirt everywhere. At one point I came up on a guy in T1 who turned out to be going much slower than I thought, and I ended up going around him on the outside. Hoo boy, let’s not do that again! Not so much bumpy as troughy and ditchy. Not the place to be. First up was V6 Lightweight, against Scott McKee. Occasional readers will know that this has not been a good year vis a vis Scott, as he has about a 50% horsepower advantage this year vs. my trusty Honda Hawk and has not forgotten how to ride by an equivalent amount. I have yet to beat him this year, and have only been somewhat close when I have managed to beat him into T1 and scrape him off on a big pack of SVs at the same time, forcing him to get through them to catch me (see Beaver and VIR). We were on the front row, so no miring him in the pack, but at least I would have open track and could push as hard as I wanted. I got the holeshot and beat him into one, and on the run to three I heard the familiar banshee whine of his FZR as he blew by me. He quickly built about a second gap, but it stayed there for a couple of laps, and then he began coming back to me, and then he began balking me in the carousel and T10. Aha! His shagged tires=my good fortune. I stayed all over him, glued to his rear tire in the carousel, up beside him through T 9 and T 10, but he would always motor away. Somehow, when I would get beside him, and he would begin to motor away, I had an almost irresistible urge to shake my fist and mutter, Snoopy-like, “curse you Red Baron!”. On the final lap I decided to make him at least work for it. I was glued to him throughout the lap, and rather than let him balk me in T 10 I took a wide, late line and let it hang waaaay out. I ran it in so hard that I drifted out over the painted gator teeth onto the unpainted macadam apron. At the end of the gator teeth I rejoined the track and the seam there caused the bike to do 2-3 quick lock to lock headshakes. I don’t know if it slowed me much, as I never backed out of the throttle, but I was later told it induced corner worker indigestion. All was, of course, for naught, as Scott motored me and took the checkers o.6 seconds ahead of me. The only consolation was I turned the fastest lap of the race, though we were only in the high 1:24s. I resolved yet again to pull one of his plug wires. With the day done we retired to another round of pasta and Chianti with Quentin, Dr. Mike, Dave and a newly minted mature racer Walter. No nicer dinner companions to be had. Next time you are at Summit check out the Venice Restaurant in Winchester, by the way, perfect for polishing your racing exploits over linguine. Being the thoughtful souls we are we all told our most horrendous crash and injury tales as the blood slowly drained from Walter’s face. It’s a funny thing. When you are 18 the crashing sounds like part of the glory. When you are 50 with two kids, a mortgage and a responsible job it seems a bit less so. Despite out thoughtful counsel Walter went out and raced successfully the next day. Welcome to the wonderful world of Zero Dollars Racing, Walter! Sunday dawned cool and lovely. I spent practice trying to pick decent lines through the variegated pavement in turns 1 and 6. When I checked my grids I noted that in my last race of the day I would be racing with Biagi. Hmm, seems his career really is tailing off, but nonetheless it seems a bit unfair to have to race against him. I put that out of my mind. First up was D Superbike. I was gridded at the front of our class with Scott and his FZR and Chad Hinton and his Duc 800 Superbike. On the start we got up into the SV pack ahead of us. I tried to get up the inside and scrape Scott off on the back of the SV pack but he chopped my front wheel off and balked me. By the time I caught the pack again Scott and Chad had gotten up with the lead SV pack, while I got tangled up with the back half of the SVs, getting balked in the corners, walked on the straight and struggling to get by. I picked a few off, finishing third in class and 5th overall in a 20 bike grid, but well behind Scott and Chad. Next up was D Superstock. Without Scott and Chad in my grid I knew I could relax a little, which was good because my tires were starting to squirm a bit and I had two more races to complete. I got a good start and began to work my way through the LWT SB SV pack in front of me. Around lap 5 or 6 I glanced back as I entered the braking zone for T1 and saw the two lead bikes from the Novice SV pack battling down the straight behind me. As I tipped it into T1 I heard the telltale chirp of a locked front tire immediately behind me, and prepared to be launched into orbit. Nicely, that didn’t happen. Immediately a red flag flew and then an ambulance flag. Crap, I knew what that meant. Coming off the track I stopped the other SV rider and asked what happened, worried that somehow I may have contributed to a crash. He told me that he and Canolli were battling for position, that Canolli got in way too hot, ran up on my rear and grabbed the brake. Down he went, doing the old collarbone-scapula two step, I think. Sorry you went down C, but thanks for not collecting me along the way. I appreciate the consideration involved, and hope you heal fast. So the race was ended and I took a comfortable first place. Last up was Clubman, and this is the race in which I experienced the highlight of my racing career to date – beating Biagi. I got a good launch and was trying to hunt down the 125s in the lead wave. I eventually caught and passed Biagi on my way to the win. Biagi Ali that is. Still, I did beat Biagi. Not everyone can say that! So all in all a great weekend. Two wins, a second and a third, two great dinners with friends, welcoming a new racer to the crew, and beating Biagi. Good way to end a season. See you next year!