Motorcycling17 Mar 2008 11:13 pm

(Archived – original posting 11/27/06)

“Rain rain, go away, come again on a Zoom Zoom day

Rain was a concern this past Monday as Francisco, James (Andy) and I hoped for one last track day in ’06. And we got it……rain, not track time

You may also deduce (correctly) that I’m not the biggest Zoom Zoom fan, after butting heads with a couple of employee/donkeys there 2-3 years back. But at least I’ve relaxed my personal “I’ll never solicit them again” stance, in the interests of being the mature party (more truthfully, in the interests of more track time…if other friends are going too).

Francisco has his own truck now and that was good because Andy was putting in a rare track appearance (thanks to yours truly, paying back a big favor from months past) and needed to get his bikes to Sears Point. Yep, bikeS. We loaded his ZX7 in the trailer with the 675 and he rode his (wife’s) new Hyosung 250 to the track. Francisco trucked his recently-repaired, Sharkskin-shod beauty of an R6 in his T100.

Frankly I was hoping for Noah’s flood-level rain within an hour of being at the track but it was not to be, hence I was not to ride. Some of you know that I augured my cbr900 into the Sears Point T7/8/9 muddy hillside some years ago (probably due to overconfidence and a degree of “lemme put a lil gap on Dean”) thanks to rain. And more recently I threw my beloved RC51 down in T4 the millisecond a rain front assaulted the track. Well today I felt like there were 3 strikes available and I had all 3 against me – wet track, very cold, and brand new Pirellis. I figured I wouldn’t make it even to pit lane, let alone break the tires in and stay upright.

In the a.m. the sprinkles came and went, incl a massive sideways-sheeting downpour that lasted 5 min but thoroughly soaked everything. Francisco, James and I huddled inside the trailer while James spooks us with mention of lightning (nope, just the flimsy trailer roof rumbling under the power of the wind) while a large flat metal roof hovers 6” above our heads. <:-0 But the rain was not frequent or bad enough for Sears to have mercy and close up shop and offer a 50%, 25%, 10% or even 1% credit. And so bikes took their chances.

So I hear, from James’ eye-witness experience, the LEADER of a sighting lap went down on the 1st lap. No more than a couple hours later I saw someone else sitting in their pits digging mud out of every crevice on the right side of their bike with a screwdriver. And more. I don’t –think- the meat wagon ever had to roll though. As the day droned on, more dry than wet happened and more bikes took their chances. For a few moments I even considered going out if someone could confirm a dry line was there. Bottom line – nope. I’m not into omens and such but when your bike starts with no problem……and then suddenly won’t, you start to kinda look skyward. The 675 started at home…..and in the trailer (don’t remember why I fired it briefly in there) but when I got it outside and wanted to tech it wouldn’t do more than turn over 4 rotations and stop. Hmmm, some goofy British fuel pump that makes the whole bike act strange when low on fuel? Add fuel… it won’t turn over once. All fuses check good, no other obvious mechanical or physical problems. Oh boy, is this the dreaded Triumph reliability demon rearing it’s head? No dummy, it’s a dying battery from lack of (riding) use. Lance loaned us a portable jumper and she fired up immediately. But that event plus the 3 strikes meant I was gunshy now, and did no more than roll down to pit lane and tech the bike and ignore Cra1g

James did a few laps on his Hyosung and declared the track scary, Francisco and I spent the day wavering between “ride” and “don’t ride”, with the latter taking hold. It was fun to sit right at the wall on the front straight and watch the bold adventurers come off T11 and zoom by, wave and thumbs-up at James as he went by, etc. For a period of notably-wet-surface time, there were 4 bikes only on the track. Two were slow (incl the leader that had fallen earlier, kudos to you for getting right back on the horse) and two were stomach-churning fast on an amateur level. Literally, I got queasy every time particularly one of them came off T11, blasted by and went into wet T1 WAYYYYYY too fast; the other rider too though not quite as fast. By the end of that session I’d decided I had to go see up close who these two were. Both had #s on their Hondas and both also had……….rain tires. Ah ha!!!! We talked to one of the riders and he and the Dunlop guy (who’d also come over to check on him) emphasized how truly amazing rain tires are. He even let us feel on his……tires (so nasty-sounding). The tread was sticky like touching a surface that had syrup residue or something equally sticky on it; it was weird. And softttttttttt. Hmmm, rain tires….maybe sometime in the future we’ll (notice how I throw y’all in there with me) have to try them.

Eventually we packed the bikes back up around 1:30-ish. Francisco went home, James and I went to Denny’s, then had the trailer latches replaced (from the theft event) and then home.

About Cra1g; dude, I’M SOOOOO SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would never knowingly brush you off. Lance announced you among others as present in the meeting, but I didn’t see you in his crew. It wasn’t until much later that I made my way down to pit lane for a tech. If that’s when you called out to me, I kid you not that I heard nothing. I was distracted, hoping the battery had enough juice to start the bike so I didn’t have to push it back. Later when Francisco and I came down to watch the front straight, he said you were down at the finish line area. Again I got distracted by the two rain tire riders and ran off to go pay homage to their skills. So sorry my friend, just some old age and dense brain matter here.

About the 675, yes a graphite one. Bought used from a guy in Martinez who put a little over a thousand miles on and decided he wanted a speed triple instead to go with his Mille and FZ1. I sold the ZX10R and this replaced it. It’s an interesting bike. I didn’t think anything could get more narrow than a Duc superbike, this one did. Also at certain rpm the 3-cylinder configuration takes on interesting engine notes. Not bad, just…….different. Overall it’s a very easy-to-ride bike, more low torque than an inline-4 600, but still willing to spool way up high like an inline 4 vs. pooting out at high rpm. Bottom line – I like it!! But most of you know how I am with bikes. You’d swear I thought they were underwear. As a matter of fact, whats on the chopping block now?  J