Big Gun MX - race report - 4/21

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#1
After a late night of school and final bike prepping, I hit the sack at 12:30am. I woke at 4.5 hours later, loaded the bike, and hit the highway. The owner of the track (Waylon) had signup at 6:30-7:30am, thus the early start.

I arrived at the track without any trouble. Waylon had taken the trouble to put up professionally made directional signs from the Interstate - nice work. As I pulled in the gate a guy on a 92 KX500 pulled in behind me. Good, some competition ;) After pulling in and getting everything settled with signup I went back and did some last minute bike prep, then walked the course.

The track reminded me of what I used to ride on as a kid on my old XL100. It was just a great big pasture on rolling hills, with yellow caution tape lining the track. Truth be told it looked pretty good, like some of the european tracks I've seen in the magazines. There were a few terraces to hop up or down, but the track was mostly made up of corners and straights. I wondered how some of the other racers who were used to 60' doubles and stadium whoops would react to the track. It would be interesting...

I made my way back to my trailer, watching where I was stepping all the while (there were some pretty nice sized cow patties laying about). George and Wade stopped by to introduce themselves as I was getting ready for practice. They arrived a little before I did. Of course, things were running a little late in the morning... If I had known I would have picked up an extra hour of sleep :) 250/Open practice was first on the schedule of events, so I finished gearing up and headed down to the starting gate. -- continued --



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Mike / 1988 KX500 / www.georgiaoffroad.com
 
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#2
There were probably 50 or so 250/Open bikes in attendance - the 40-man gate was full, plus there were several waiting behind us. After 30 minutes of waiting patiently Waylon comes over and starts signaling riders to go.
As expected, most of the guys threw caution to the wind and headed out WFO.

Within the first few corners I saw three people fall down. I hung loose and found a break in the pack away from everyone. The grass provided decent traction, though when the rear tire broke loose it was like riding on ice. I made 4 laps and pulled off. I could tell I would have a good time.

2 hours later I was at the line again for my first moto of the day. I signed up for two classes - Unlimited Ametuer and 250-D. This moto was for the Ametuer class. There was an older gentleman on a YZ426 next to me. Somehow he didn't look very much like an ametuer (yz tricked out, hydraulic clutch, ect). No worries, I knew I'd be bringing up the back of the pack anyway :D
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb11-startline.jpg

The gate dropped and I was a little slow on the throttle.
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb13.jpg

Ah, but perhaps it was a good thing that I wasn't quick on the draw. To my left I saw a KTM (647) and Honda(116) collide. The pack was drifting to the right, which was right towards me. :o
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb14-intofirstcorner.jpg

I was pinched off from the first corner. If I kept going straight I would have blown through the corner and T-boned someone pretty hard. I braked hard, but the grass didn't hold. The back end slid out and so I went ahead and let the bike fall to the low side and slide. Better that than ruining someone else and their machine.
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb15.jpg

I got up and joined the race in last. There were a good 50 bike lenghs between me and hte next guy. It was good that I was away from the rest of the guys - it allowed me to clear my thoughts from the first-turn spill and concentrate on what I was doing. The KX was working very well on the old-style track. I suppose bike for bike I was on an even playing feild for the most part.
 
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#3
By the end of the first lap I had a couple guys in sight. I knew I couldn't make a lot of time in the back section of the track (fairly tight and whooped out, plus a few off-cambers) so I held on and waited till we came out of the low section to the front side of the track. There would be plenty of places to use the KX's engine to hopefully motor by the two YZ guys. It took a couple straights to get them in sight, but I finally made it by them as we passed the first corner...
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb2.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb18passingyz.jpg

The next bike I came up on was an older XR400....
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb17belowtree2.jpg

We were together for several corners before I zipped by in a straight coming out of an off camber turn - mine bit, his spun :) I put a several bike lengths on him, but I blew it halfway around the track. One of the off-cambers was getting rutted out. It was so chewed up it that the ruts were worse than the off-camber turn itself. I must have stabbed my rear brake at the wrong time and killed the engine. Doh! It started up in gear on the first kick, but as soon as I released the clutch (as XR400 guy rode by), I stalled it a second time. This time it took 4 kicks to light. :mad:

It took me another lap to catch back up to the 400. We were on the last lap, so I thought I had a good chance at passing him and moving on to the vintage 78 YZ250 in front of us.

Strangely the 400 pulled over and stopped on the side of the track. I eased on by and set sights on the old YZ. A few turns later I looked back and didn't see the XR anywhere (I later learned that he had to umm.. purge himself - guess the heat got to him). I made it to the finish line, but still a good 50 feet behind the air-cooled YZ. It didn't surprise me that the vintage rider was doing so well -- there were no jumps or whoops that really called for long-travel bikes. Obviously his bike had plenty of juice to motor him around quickly.

By the end of the race I placed 9th out of 12 riders. Considering the mess at the start I thought that was ok.

250-D was 9 races away, so I decided to head back to my trailer for lunch and maybe a quick nap.
 
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#4
George and Wade were ran the +30 class, which was probably the largest class of the day. They gated well, sliding somewhere up in the middle of the pack.
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd4.jpg

For the first couple laps George was on the gas hard. I'm not sure how many people he passed, but it seemed like he moved up in the pack.
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd15.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd7.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd6.jpg

Wade was running a couple spots behind George. He was by himself for most of the race...
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/wade2.jpg

Midway through the moto George stalled his 426 (which is probably the only downside to owning one of these nice machines). By the end of the moto he slipped back a couple positions, but rode well throughout the entire 4 laps.

Due to things getting started behind schedule, George's crew unfortunately had to pack up and go home early. I think we will see them in attendence at the SF next weekend.

It was a different type of track than what most of us are used to, and the off-camber corners made it a little tricky. I figure the older riders and off-road guys may have had a slight advantage on the younger MXers. Regional enduro rider Michael Grizzle was there and took 3rd overall in the 250a class.

The sound system was working great for the first several hours. An announcer called the next class to the staging area well before their race began. I got used to hearing it so I decided to listen out for 250d and take a short 'snooze'. Some time later a couple guys came by to introduce themselves. They read some of the bbs's online and saw that a group of us would be at the race. We talked for a little while, when I heard the unmistakeable sound of 400cc thumpers heading down the starting line. hmm..

I know I was listening out for the staging announcement... what class was it??? I threw on my helmet and gloves and headed to the start line. Sure enough, it was 250d that just started. :( (I later found out that the sound system failed for a period of time, which is why I didn't hear my class being called)

Once again I headed out in dead last, but this time the field had half the track on me. Oh well.. I'd ride and have fun anyway.

On my third lap I saw a couple bikes ahead, apparently I'd caught some of the other back-lappers. I passed one guy riding a RM, then came up on another fellow riding a CR. I tailed the CR guy for several corners on the back side. We were on our last lap and there was only one decent straight that I knew I could overtake the guy on, but it was right after a real powdery off-camber - this section was also the part leading to the finish line.

It was a make or break situation. He took a sweeping outside line, and I opted to come to almost a complete stop and take a sharp inside line. The CR rider exited the corner a little ahead of me. The scoring tower/flagman was 200 feet ahead. I sat back on the seat to get better traction, and gave it all she had. I over took the CR250 20 feet before the finish :D
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb4.jpg
 
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#5
Everyone was hoping we'd see a different water truck come in during intermission, but no dice. After the 30 minute break, the racing started up again. I pulled up to the line for my third moto of the day. We were behind the peewees, so they had to make sure all of them were completely off the track before letting us start. This was a good thing. A rider next to me asked if I'd noticed my front tire... I looked down and it was nearly flat! :o Quickly I rode back to my trailer and filled the tire. I figured it was a slow leak as it was full 3 hours before. I made it back to the line moments before the board went up.

This time I had a slightly better start. I think I was 4th or 5th going into the first corner. Two straights past that the dirt was like flour, very silty and VERY dusty. I had to go on faith that I wasn't throttling into or over someone. By the third corner the air cleared somewhat and I managed to pass someone on a RM. I thought I was doing alright. Maybe I shouldn't have thought at all -- on the very next corner I stalled the 500. 6 people rode by as I started the bike. :mad: :mad:

For the third time all day I found myself basically starting in dead last. I was tired. My right hand began to cramp. I pulled it off the throttle tube in a straight to stretch it and it wouldn't open up! I dealt with the discomfort and kept riding hard. I caught and passed a few guys by the end of the moto, but I was beginning to get a little frustrated with myself for not doing better.

An hour later we lined up for the final race of the day. In order to save time they put the 250 a&b riders in with the 250d riders (staggered start). THere were a few less riders in the 250d class the second time around. I think I remember seeing 7 or 8 pulling off the start. I reached the corner in 3rd place and fought the dust storm that the leaders stirred up.

I passed a Suzuki 250 in the second straight, but was passed back by a third guy on a Yamaha thumper a few corners later. On the second lap our positions remained the same. The 400/26 rider went down in one of the corners and me and an RM250 went by both of us. I knew the thumper was a quicker rider and would apply pressure as soon as he started his bike and caught up to me. Going into the final lap I noticed he was around 20 bike lenghts behind. I bobbled in a rough straight, but held on. I rode sloppily and made a couple mistakes as the finish line neared. With 3 corners left he was 4 bike lengths behind me. All I could concentrate on was not stalling or falling. The last corner was tricky. I erred and came in too fast and had to take a sweeping outside line. Opened the door wide for the YZ rider to pass. I held it open hoping the guy was a little further back than I thought. Luckily I reached the checkers in the lead. The Yamaha pilot fell back in one of the last corners. Woohoo! A third place finish!

I headed back to the trailer and loaded up. I was exhausted and had a pretty mean case of monkey butt too. :o At the closing 'ceremonies' I was stoked -- the guy I beat at the end of the last moto finished first or second in the first moto. That put me on the record as finishing Fourth overall in 250-D, and I got a neat plaque for my meager efforts. :)

I never thought I'd do as well as I did - I planned on finishing dead last in every moto. In fact I was so tired at the end of moto #2 that I breifly considered packing up and going home early. I'm glad I stayed on and raced all 4 motos now.

Finishing those races was a good thing. I completed a goal I set a couple years ago when I returned to the sport - I entered and completed two motocross races. Anything beyond that was just icing on the cake :)


More Photos:
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd15.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb-600pxw.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd6.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb8-smwheelie-roost.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd7.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/wade2.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/byrd4.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb1-600pxw.jpg
http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb18passingyz.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb17belowtree2.jpg http://www.georgiaoffroad.com/Gallery/biggun_4-21-01/kb4.jpg

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Mike / 1988 KX500 / www.georgiaoffroad.com
 
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#6
Awesome ride report, as usual, Kawboy. I wish I could have made the trip. It would have been nice to ride on a track without skyscraper jumps on it. I raced at Calhoun on Saturday night, in the 250D class. I got a 4th and a 5th for fifth overall out of 12 bikes. I did get the holeshot the second moto and led for a lap. There is one tabletop that I don't do and that's where I got passed. I have to get the nerve up to do it. I think if I could improve 2 to 3 seconds a lap I can give the front runners some competition. Maybe we can hit one of the races at Breman on a Saturday night, not as many big jumps, which fits my style better.
The one big double at Calhoun claimed some more broken bones on Saturday. Gomer knows the jump I'm talking about. Thats the fifth time in a row that I've been there, practice and races, that somebody has left in an ambulance, from coming up short on that jump. This time a guy on a 4-wheeler broke his ankle. Needless to say, I don't do it.

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#7
Great report Kawboy!

Man, I knew I should have drove up just to watch. But that early start up there is too early for a Sunday of not working.

The photos were very sharp, nice job. I like that fact that there weren't sky jumps, real natural. Maybe I will even get on the GP old style course at MM.

See you there and congrats!

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...faster than a speeding..., well not really.
 

wrench

'00 Flappin' Fender [Ret]
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#8
Fantastic ride report!!

I really wish I had been able to make it. :(

See you at the SSF. Get in touch with me about a caravan, we are going to leave Friday morning from Gwinnett Place.


wrench

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#9
Thanks fellas :)

You guys would love the track. It is a great place to ride/race. Maybe we could arrange a little get-together at the next event there (may 12 I think). The place isn't far from the GA/SC border, and just a few miles off of I-85.



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Mike / 1988 KX500 / www.georgiaoffroad.com
 
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#10
Great ride report, sounds like a lot of fun.
The race they have on May 12 sounds interesting. What do you think about the track for the 50cc gang. My son is wanting to race all he can, but I don't want to take him to a really hard track just yet. Got to keep the confidence high. If it isn't a real bad track we might have to make the trip. Heck I might even grow the grapefruits enough to run my KDX. Again great report and please let me know what you think.

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#11
Great report Kawboy, very well written. It was nice to finally meet you. Thanks for taking the pics for me they looked great. Im still going to southern SF just havent decided if it will be Fri or Sun. see ya Here are a few more pics from Big Gun MX http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=1245924&a=12687888&f=0&sp=0
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"Every man dies- not every man really lives" William Wallce

[This message has been edited by Byrd Man (edited 04-23-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Byrd Man (edited 04-23-2001).]
 

Lemming

Looking for single women!
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#12
Great report and photos. Looks like it was a lot of fun.

See you boys in a few days at the Monster. Lots of off-cambers on the vintage track.

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Tim, '99EC200, '01TXT200
 
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#14
Thanks Kawboy.
I will most likely be there May 12, as long
as the $$ is available and the weather is good.

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