Zero Dollars Racing Does Summit Point (and Summit Returns the Favor) Zero Dollars Racing rolled into Summit Point in May, auspiciously arriving so early the four wheelers had not yet left the track. We had even successfully pre-registered. Summit had been repaved over the winter and initial reports were positive. All was good. We set the pit up, and headed to dinner. We arrived at the track at a suitably casual hour on Saturday morning, being pre-registered and all, and with the luxury of being in practice group 5. As we prepared to head out for first practice we fired the mighty Hawk up and it rumbled happily along. At first. Then it began to run roughly, stumbling, backfiring, refusing to take throttle and stalling. Hmmm. Fuel was flowing. We checked and tightended various electrical connections, to no avail. First practice had now come and gone. Deciding that perhaps the battery had gone south we headed into Winchester to Shenandoah Honda who not only had the battery we needed, but provided a racer’s discount and a rapid charge. Big ups. We installed the new battery (no small task with the funky battery box and subframe arrangement on the bike – dumb on my part) and fired it up. Same same – runs fine for a couple of minutes and then goes south. Hmmm. I pull plugs and the rear cylinder is fine but the front is black and fluffy on the plugs – way too much fuel. Hmmm. The bike has had a history of float bowl height problems, so I start there with an adjustment, clean the plugs and try again. Again, same same. Crap. We begin to hunt for the problem. Maybe the choke is hanging up – snip go the choke cables! No luck. I am now beginning to run out of ideas when I realize I have not adjusted the valves since an off season freshening of the top end. Perhaps I have an intake valve not closing properly and letting fuel into the intake. Unwilling to de-plumb the radiator, necessary for access to the front valves, I decide that I will limp though the weekend as best I can. We have now missed both practices. As they call my race I clean the plugs, and wait until the last second to start the bike. I roll around for the sighting lap and realize that in the repaving all of my braking and turning reference points are gone. So it goes. I roll into my grid slot in the middle of the front row and promptly kill the engine so it doesn’t load up, earning a quizzical look from the grid Marshall. To my left is Scot McKee on his FZR 489, basically a destroked 600 in a 400 frame. Brand new motor, fast bike, fast rider. Great. To my right is a rather ominous sounding Kawi EX 500, but I had had no problem with that rider at VIR so I focused on Scott. At the one minute board I restarted the engine and kept the revs up. As the flag flew I got a clean start, one of those blissful moments when the front wheel just floats a few inches above the ground through first gear. This is pretty typical for me, but what happened next wasn’t typical; Scott didn’t come storming past into Turn 1. Apparently his jetting is not yet right on the new mill (thanks for that!) and suddenly I am into T1 all alone, and realizing I have no idea what do as all my reference points are gone under fresh asphalt. I muddle through and then Scott comes by into three. I slot into his tracks and follow him a few inches back all the way to start/finish, where I am feeling pretty good about my ability to stick with his new motor. Then I realize the motor won’t rev past 8500 rpm. Jeez. Not sure what is going on (like mechanical expiration, maybe?) I pull off into Turn one and look around. I then remember the float bowl adjustment. Doh! Fuel starvation. Once convinced I wasn’t blowing anything up I got back onto the track, long after the 14 bike pack was gone. I put my head down and began to work my way through the pack, with some folks wondering how in the world they were getting lapped by lap 2. And by me, no less. Though I was giving up a good chunk of the front straight I was slowly getting a decent line through Turn 1. By lap 6 I was up to third and barged past the #2 bike – that EX – on the entry to T6 (sorry dude, stood you up a bit). I put my head down but never even got Scott in my sights, unsurprisingly. Still to start not just at the back of the pack but in the next county over and get second wasn’t so bad. By then the weather forecast had turned to 100% chance of rain the following day, with 2” of rain forecasted. Rain tires were selling like hotcakes. My primary competitors Scott and Shig Honda and I, mature gentlemen all, looked at each other and en masse loaded bikes back into trucks and trailers. Secure in the knowledge that our relative standings would remain unchanged, we trundled off into the howling rain, all thinking “I’ll get those suckers next time”.