Zero Dollars Racing Visits VIR and Survives to Tell the Tale Resolutely ignoring all prior experiences, we headed to VIR for the early spring WERA race event (highside schmighside). We arrived Thursday evening, had a pleasant meal at a favorite local Italian place, and bedded down to await the dawn. We were greeted with bright sunshine and 40 degrees, yipes! We didn’t exactly rush to the track, and on arrival decided to let the morning practice/ice skating sessions pass us by. After lunch the temperature had warmed to a respectable degree, and we circulated for three practice sessions, remembering where the track went and which handle and lever on the bike does what. John Hovey had refreshed the top end over the winter, and the mighty Hawk seemed to be running reasonably well for the moped that it is, though it was stumbling on the drive out of turn 1. At the end of the day we mounted fresh Pirelli Diablo tires, which proved to be absolutely awesome. Saturday morning dawned again pretty and cool. We passed up the first practice session again, but felt pretty good on the second, cutting through traffic well and leaving white plate SVs behind. My one race for the day was lightweight Vintage 6. I gridded up next to Scott McKee on his rather prodigious FZR 460 something and young gun James Rispoli on his 16 pound 685 horsepower Aprilia super moto, which thoughtfully expired on the grid. I got the holeshot and lead Scott for the first lap. He motored by me into T1 at the end of that lap and I proceeded to hound him throughout the race. With the pace turned up I realized that the freshening of the top end must have discovered some long lost compression, and the bike was bouncing on the rev limiter by start finish (just what a 20 year old twin needs), so I was completing the last third of the straight on partial throttle. Dang. On the last lap as we headed into the bridge turn I was set up outside of him and suddenly realized he was going slower than I thought (dammit, should have been on the inside!). Making the best of it I tried to drive around him on the outside as we barged up the hill. He wasn’t having it and as we went side by side with me on the gator teeth it became a slow down or crash maneuver. Mustering all 3 of my IQ points, I let off a tad and resumed the chase. At the top of the roller coaster I tried to stuff it up the inside. Scott, knowing my tricks all too well, slammed the door so hard the handle fell off, and that was that, with him motoring me to the start/finish. All in all a hoot. I had not brought any gearing to the event, and Hawk sprockets are about as common as hen’s teeth at the racetrack, so I bozoed up a Kawi front sprocket and got ready for Sunday. Sunday was about 10 degrees cooler than Saturday, and first practice went out in 38 degree weather without me. Second practice confirmed that the gearing change was helpful and the sprocket didn’t fall off (all good), but I was still getting lots of roughness and breaking up below 6 grand. My first race was D Superbike. The first row of the class grid was myself, McKee and Sean Marston on his killer Duc, with Shig Honda with a fresh 800 motor in his Duc one row back. Shawn, Scott and Honda got me on the start, and we got into the SV swarm in T1. I goofed trying to get up the inside and got shuttled back into the pack. The next time round into T1 Shigeru got in a bit hot and ran a bit wide. This allowed me to get up beside him. With the rear tire hooking and sliding I managed to get by him and put my head down. Shawn ran away from all of us. Scott gapped us pretty good and I never managed to reel him in, so I finished third and Shig fourth. Honda-san, Rispoli (with a fresh motor in his man-eating Aprilia) and I gridded up together again for D Superstock. Rispoli ran away from us. Honda managed to scrape me off on a very slow expert SV rider entering the first set of esses, and that was pretty well the end of the story. By the time I got free of the meandering SV Shig had a gap on me that I never managed to make up. I would catch up to him by the beginning of each lap, and he would gap me through the hogpen and down the straight, so again finished 3rd. My next race was Clubman. I tightened the coil mounts to improve grounding (something I learned long ago on my Superbike Hawk as a cure for low end stumbles) and the bike began to run right. I jumped into the lead at the flag and led from flag to flag, crossing the stripe some 20 seconds ahead of second place. All in all a fun and safe weekend. Many thanks to WERA and my friends and competitors at the racetrack.