Zero Dollars Racing Does Beaver: Old Tires and Red Mist Zero Dollars Racing rolled into Beaver Run Motorsports Park with excitement and trepidation. Excitement because it’s racing, trepidation because it’s Beaver. We had only run Beaver once before, and between the blind downhill right hander with bumps (T7) and the two kinks in the back straight lined with Armco where everyone funnels into the same bit of asphalt the place gives me a bit of the willies. Saturday morning dawned damp, and the track was wet with puddles in first practice, so while I could remind myself which way the track went I couldn’t really remember lines or braking/turning points. By second practice a dry line had developed, tough there was still dampness and puddles off the line, and so I could begin to get up to speed a bit and remind myself how badly I had turns 5-7 sorted out (5 is an uphill right hander after a short chute. 6 is a quick off camber left at the top of that little hill and 7 is a blind right hander that plunges down a bump strewn hill, leading into said kinks flat out in top gear). My first event on Saturday was V6 LW, where I gridded up on the front row with Scott McKee on his FZR 400 something-or-other Superbike. Now Scott is a complex man – affable, fast, and cruel (as in he beats me too often). He also has a lot of Beaver track knowledge (see above re ZDR track knowledge) so I knew a fast start was critical. I got the hole shot and barreled into Turn 1. Upon arrival I realized I had no idea where to brake or turn in from a start (see above for ZDR track knowledge), and so did both incorrectly and with a wee bit o’ drama. That let Scott quickly get by me, and he checked out. I used the race to remember where the track went and brought it home a safe and lonely second. On Sunday practice was dry and I started to get a bit better rhythm going. My first race was D Superbike. I gridded up with Scott again, Steve Heilman on an Aprilia 550 (one of those damn SuperMotards with 20 more HP and 70 fewer pounds than my trusty Hawk) and Kurt Kearcher on his sweet red Duc. Scott left us for dead, and Steve got a good gap on me. I was slowly whittling that gap down to a second or two but didn’t think I would be able to close it entirely, and all the while Dennis Ergo was making time on me as well. On the white flag lap we were coming into turn 10, and I had consoled myself with settling for third. A slower rider on an Aprilia 250 was mid track on the entry to T10 and I went to go outside of him to ensure a decent drive out of 10. For inexplicable reasons he starts to drift left as I am coming up. He drifts left, so I drift left, then he drifts left, so I drift left, then he drifts left, and I am on the gator teeth and can’t slow down enough and so my brake lever makes contact with his left clip on. Now, to appreciate this moment you need to remember that this is the section off track with Armco off the racing surface. Yikes! When we made contact my front tire immediately locked up and I thought things were going to get unpleasant. Somehow I managed to wrest the front end free of his bike and keep upright. I rolled around and watched as Dennis Ergo, benefitting from my delay, rolled up the inside. As I gave chase the I saw the Aprilia out of my peripheral weave across the track and bounce over the inside curbing – not sure what he was about. With my drive blown I crossed the line behind Dennis a very frustrated (but at least not in the Armco) fourth. Next up was D Superstock. It was a small grid, and I got off the line well and checked out. After a couple of good slides, including as I laid it over for the downhill righthander T7, I decided to put it on cruise and preserve what was left of my tires as I had one more race on the day and no time to change my well worn tires. My last race of the day was Clubman. I gridded up with Heilman and a few others and off we went. Now, coming into this race I figured I would cruise around on these well worn tires and take a safe second. Great plan. As to execution…I found myself dicing with Heilman and the old red mist began to rise. Our bikes are quite different, so we are fast at different parts of the track, Around lap three I drove past him coming out of ten and beat him into one, and in the back section he repassed me. I got him again coming out of T10 and held him off for a lap and a half, which involved a lot of rear end slides but hell – I was racing and going for it! (Note to self, refer to original plan). Somewhere around lap 6 or 7 I was trying to gap him a bit and dove into T1 deep on the brakes and pitched it in at a pretty good clip. The front end didn’t protest at all….it just went away. With an undignified BOOM I was hard on the asphalt doing the earth-sky-earth-sky-earth-sky thing. The bike somehow managed to flip in a way that I trashed the rear sets on both sides but didn’t scratch the windscreen – sweet! And so my dreams of racing glory, like so many such dreams, ended up in the dirt with the left side of my body slowly turning a delightful purple color with bruises. Don’t worry – I’ll get him next time!