Zero Dollars Racing rolled into VIR for the WERA August double header excited about the opportunity to race this great track and with a little trepidation about the weather. As the years go by my tolerance for high heat seems to diminish, and VIR in August can have plenty of heat on offer. Saturday started well – fast and smooth in practice and the bike running well. After an experiment with new carbs I had gone back to my old faithfuls, and I was trying some new brake pads. The pit was pretty empty Friday night so I bedded the pads in the paddock. It has been a long time since I bedded new brake pads but the EBC instructions were so bloody elaborate that I felt compelled to at least approximate them. Saturday dawned sunny and hot. I mean really hot. We rolled out and quickly got to decent and consistent times. I was getting through the front and back esses pretty well but I continue to struggle with the entry to the hogpen. I had a nasty high speed front end fandango there years ago and my lizard brain doesn’t want to let it go. My mid corner speed and exit are good but I tiptoe into the entrance. First up was D Superbike. Scott McKee and his Yamahzilla and Ben Vest on his Aprilia lined up with me behind the expert SVs with the novice SV pack behind us. It was great to see Ben back on track – his first opportunity to race since last year. He and his dad are really nice folks. When the flag flew the Hawk got its usual stout launch and I got up into the SV expert pack into turn 1 and tried to get as much gap on Scott as I could (his 40 horsepower advantage can be a small problem, as well as can his annoying ability to ride so well). He apparently got a decent start as well as he caught and passed me in the first two laps and he and I then proceeded to dice our way through the SV pack. Ben’s 250 gives him fewer opportunities to pass the torque heavy SVs and he got mired in the pack. As always seems to be the case at VIR a couple of yellow plate SVs came storming through early and checked out. I stuck with Scott and he and I finished 1 and 2 in class and well up in the SV pack (I finished 8 of 19 bikes in the pack and Scott got by a couple more than I did). It was fun but temps were working their way up to 100 degrees and the humidity was up there as well. We had time only for a splash of gas and water and out we went for the next one. Next up was D Superstock. This was just Ben and I and the SV horde and it played out much like D Superbike, my getting up into the SV pack and Ben getting held up. I came up inside some poor AMA guy on a Harley 1200 into turn 4 (the hard left hander) and I don’t think he expected to get passed on the curbing. The bike was starting to run a bit rough but we secured 1st and finished 8th out of 15 bikes. Again we had time for a splash of gas and a slug of water (given that it was 100 degrees it was getting hard to hydrate enough) and out we went for Clubman. This is about as sweet as it gets – just Ben and I on the track. No other classes – two bikes head to head. And guess what – he kicked my butt. I got a good launch and off I went. Ben and I run pretty equal lap times and each have strong and weak points on the track. My big weak point is the entrance to the hog pen, where I check up way too much, and on the second lap Ben came slicing past me in the pen – he later told me he was caught out by how much I checked up and was trying to avoid punting me – and I got back under him and took off. He stick close and on the next lap, the halfway point, he got me in the hog pen. I tried to stick with him for half a lap, but he had better speed, the bike was now breaking up so much that the announcer could hear it on the straight and announce it (!) and the heat was starting to hammer me, so I checked up and cruised to the finish, with Ben stretching a several second lead by the finish. Congrats to him for coming back from a long absence and whupping me. He and I were both spent after the race – it was damn hot. As I mentioned at the top I struggle with high heat. When we arrived at the track the next morning I was feeling more than a little woozy. I hopped on my mountain bike to pedal around and clear my head – and found after a bit of exertion that I was dizzy and ready to throw up. Heat exhaustion is funny stuff. Deciding that I would be a hazard to others if I raced I let discretion be the better part of valor and we headed on home. Thanks to WERA and all of my friends and competitors for another great event.