A First Hare Scramble Blow by Blow

Discussion in 'Racing' started by gun 4 hire, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Sometime in 2010, I first heard the words "Hare Scramble" uttered by a buddy. I laughed out loud and said "Really ???? Hare scramble? WTF is that ? " Then I got sucked in. I went and saw just 2 races last year. I just observed and took pics. It awoke in me an ancient desire to race. The desire rose like an iceberg re-surfacing from the depths of my youth. The Berg broke the surface when last month I sold my xr650l and bought a yz250f and all the best protective riding gear I could find. Then I read and read and read ADV and FTR and TT forum posts about racing until my lady begged me to turn off my iphone so she could sleep. Everynight for 2 weeks this happened i think.

    I'm 45, 210lbs. I'm in reasonable shape. My riding history: I have been on street bikes since 2004. I got my first dirtbike an xr600r, in 2010 at age 44. I have since done several 10 to 30 day extended offroad trips with it. In '09 I rode the TAT on my Buell Ulysses. Last year I went to Highland Park Ga and got some great practice riding several different sizes and flavors of bikes on the 85 miles of awesome, safe one way trails there. I had a quad for a couple years when I was in my late teens.

    Here's what I wrote to my buddy a few days after experiencing my first race in Bartow Florida. The race was put on by the Sunrunners...a fine organization within the Florida Trail Riders. My buddy Greg (fellow adv'r) is the one who prodded me to post my story as I told it to him in an email. It is pasted below. I hope I dont look too foolish.....here goes. Thanks to riding buddies Brent, John & Ivor for their help and support. Big thanks to my buddy Chad Newman for taking the awesome pics.


    Here's my Email:



    Greg, Haven't written in a while... so I thought I'd catch up and give u a rundown of a first timers experience racing ftr...

    I looked forward to my first ever Ftr scramble like a kid looks forward to Christmas.....excitement and anticipation that never lets up and even increases as the day approaches.

    [​IMG]

    The biggest worry I had was getting past the first big turn, where a mass of metal and footpegs and bark busters funnel down to a narrow path. I was taking a new to me machine to do something I have never done. Scary. I spent 4 weeks gathering all the best info and protective gear. I got just about everything, except my leatt neck brace. I ordered the best / carbon fiber brace and it's back ordered for weeks.

    I'd had the bike for 4 weeks. I test rode it for 5 minutes, then purchased it and since then I rode it once up in sugarloaf on the busted bridge road with our riding buddy Ivor. It is fast, light,strong. I am not dialed In on it, but neither are guys who rent a bike at the races and go for it I figured. After one ride, I'm going to race on a Sunday as Super Senior #90. I chose to skip beginners/saturday class and go to C /Sunday. Sunday's races are longer and tougher than Saturday / beginners.

    A mix of respect and anticipation washed over me as I waited for all the preliminary motions including prayers and the national anthem before this "Salute To Veterans" race started.

    [​IMG]


    My reasoning for doing Sunday/C class ?? Brent's buddy Doug came to a race I was at last year and borrowed some gear, rented a bike and went for it in C class. He finished, was last on the course, tired but with a huge grin. He did two laps only, but finished.

    Doug had about the same offroad exp as me I think, maybe less. He has a dirtbike out West like me that he rides occasionally. He was my benchmark. My goal was simple: finish 2 laps in C class and not come in last and not get hurt.


    Race Day / Bartow - 11/6/11

    The weather was cool, breezy, dust was a minimum. Nice.

    My super senior class line was huge.

    27 bikes.

    As the gun fired I walked to my bike as the others ran. I did not want to be in the middle of that mass at the first gate/turn. The yz started first kick (Shit) and I was off, I wheelied second gear by accident, got thru the first few turns with 3 guys trailing me. Whew

    #90c rounds turn 3 ....

    [​IMG]

    I was excited and a bit shaky.....I had three guys behind me, the rider in front of me was roosting me in the face on the first three up hills so I backed away cause It's a bit challenging riding with your face pointed at the ground so the visor deflects all the dirt. I was determined not to ride over my head, not to be pushed. I felt good throughout the first lap. I felt like I was going slow, but the riders behind did not pass too often. I wasn't tired, and I even passed a few guys that were wrecked or were resting 20 minutes into first lap. A few people passed me and it tempted me to squeeze the throttle and get closer to the edge.....but quickly I would then back off and settle down.

    Further on the first lap as the mile markers went by very slowly, I saw some good wrecks. One even closed the whole MX track section. We rode by slowly, respectfully, slowed down by the flagmen and women who frantically waved us to slow down and take the path next to the mx section...

    [​IMG]

    I stopped for one dude by a tree who wrecked with 2 others but had the worst of it. 10 riders stopped. I took off. Sobering. I went on and started lap two. I had no idea what time it was. I passed a rider or two, and was getting passed more now by the lead racers. On a sandy tight uphill with a sharp left entry and then a sharp right exit, I was passed by a good rider in a frenzy to squeeze by before the right hander at the top. I lost my line. I went up on the right side bank and crashed back onto the track. I was about to throw the still running bike back up but saw a few riders coming around the blind left to discover me.... I stayed down, two riders went around me and a third ran clean over my right leg. The sidi protected my leg 100%. The dude looked back and screamed sorry ! I waved him on... "Im oK..go get em " was my message I guess. I got up and going. I was followed by a couple C riders and i was changing places with a Red C class rider on a Honda 250f. I was breathing good, no where near exhausted....I kept drinking water. I was ok.

    [​IMG]

    2/3rds thru the second lap we were up in a woods section. Sandy, tight, dark. I had no experience in these tight tree sections really. There were three lines and I think i was on the upper. All of a sudden there was a tree, right there and I had a second to think...I had no choice but to hit head on...no time to deflect...which would have thrown my head / shoulders into another tree a couple feet away anyway. I squeezed the brakes and basically did a stoppie on the tree....My front tire hit, my front fender climbed up the tree until it split and turned inside out. The back of the bike came way up and whacked my left rear thigh, my helmet visor hit first as I bent my head down....so my face didnt get hit by a branch i guess... I felt my spine compress a bit...helmet made contact with right shoulder and then i was thrown right. I remember thinking.... "WOW that was fucked up" whichwas followed by...." shit I feel ok I think" On the ground I started up immediately removing my gloves and hat. I think i removed them to force myself to do a check up and rest. A rider sat there talking to me...asking if i was ok...and if he should send help etc. I picked up the bike and punched the front fender back into the right shape and told the guy to go ahead...thanks alot...I was ok I think. He stopped for at least a minute or two. He told me I hit the tree pretty hard. I looked at his # and tried to remember it. I wanted to thank him after. I never saw him again.

    I got my shit together and took off after a bit, the bars were a little tweaked. Front fender flapped. My rear thigh had a bruise in a weird spot. I rode a but more cautiously. I had a long way to go still. I still passed others who were stopped, wrecked. I thought hmm,,, I can do ok just by staying in this thing....It gave me a good feeling. Still no idea of the time but felt like I was really behind everyone. I always had good long distance endurance so maybe I was good after all. Back to race.....

    I got to the MX section at mile 8.5 and this time did some small jumps.

    [​IMG]

    I thought the bike felt a little different but i pressed on. When I got near the end of Lap two, I was still a bit shaken by the crash. Before I got to the chicane I envisioned being flagged off for going too slow....and i made peace and felt ok with that. I felt it was time to stop...I did my two laps.....I made my goal and was still riding. I crashed pretty bad, but was still going. I didnt want to crash again.

    I got to the chicane and this mid-aged woman was waving frantically and I heard her say "PIT PIT !!!!" ... I surmised that I was too slow...and thank god, they were taking the decision from me...I had to stop. Cool.

    I pulled in and saw a girl that was with Brents buddy Justin standing by a gas can in the pits. She was in our camp, she was Justin's student, she wants to learn the whole deal. SHe asked if I needed gas. I took off the helmet and said "shit I was just waved off for going too slow",,,,, She kinda looked at me funny. I sat there and asked where the others were ...she said they went by, and were still racing, but Justin was done with an injury from a crash into a tree. I sat there and watched people go by. I Sat there and finally asked Kayla, hey what time is it ? SHe said about 10 to Noon......I said, do you know when we started? She said after 10:45 for my line. That meant I was only 1 hr or so into the race ! I had 2 hours to race ! I was doing way better than I thought ! ! I went over to the ladies by the start line and asked why the lady waved me off the track..... They weren't sure what happened. I went back and thought shit, WTF ???? I was doing 30 minute laps...why did they call me off, Then a lady ran over and said "Im so sorry..but the lady who made you pit was waving at her daughter right behind you at the chicane...." She was really really sorry. She and Kayla told me to go back and race..... I said you know what ? It's meant to be. Im done. I felt good that I did two laps in a bit over an hour. I really needed to stop. A few minutes later, a guy pointed to my rear tire. It was nearly flat. Had I gone back out I would have been in trouble. I'D have to walk back or ride 10 miles with a flat on a race course with really good riders lapping me. Thank god I stopped. Later, Chad's photos revealed my tire was flat all the way back at the MX track. No wonder it felt weird.

    I stayed to watch the others come in. John did 3 laps, Brent did 4 !

    Later we saw the Elapsed times. I did 2 laps in 1:09:54. I was 24th out of 27. 11 points. I averaged 34.5 min per lap. That includes crashing 3 times and stopping a while after the tree hit. Time wise, guys who were alot better, and came in way before me, averaged about 27 -29 min laps. I didnt do too bad for the first race on a new to me bike after all !


    In Retrospect:

    The trees. They are something to reckon with.

    William St Laurent, was the only guy I spoke with before the race..He was the guy next to me in my line at the star. He is an excellent rider....he came in 4th. It happened that he was behind me when I wrecked on the tree apparently because at the end he came over and said "Dude you hit that tree hard I saw the whole thing ! " Sobering.

    Right after the race I knew that I needed time to digest to decide if i would do it again.

    BY the time we were 1/2 way home, I was looking up parts I needed to get for Myakka in December ...new tires, tubes, wheel bearings, 7 other things....... and oh yea. Never again will I race with out a neck brace.

    My neck still hurts today.

    I must be nuts to want to do it again !

    Steve
    Super Senior #90 c
    #1
  2. Monday

    Monday Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    267
    Location:
    West of Indianapolis
    :thumb

    Thanks for sharing. A friend of mine wants to start doing hare scrambles and we have a few areas to ride and practice for them. I've always raced cars or things with 4-wheels, after seeing your pics I kind of want to give it a try now too!
    #2
  3. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Just found out this should have been in RACING..... Sorry for the misplacement. Moderator moves it I guess ?
    #3
  4. IDRider

    IDRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    232
    Location:
    Back to God's Country - nurturing my soul!
    This was an awesome story - Thanks. :clap
    #4
  5. brent tex

    brent tex Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    Southernmost City. Flatistan
    Looks like Ive created yet another monster.
    42c.
    #5
  6. blimpman

    blimpman Fla Trail Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    707
    Location:
    Lake County Florida - The Flatlands
    I moved to Florida about a year ago and have been racing the FTR hare scrambles and enduros since last Jan. I am addicted...

    I am slow but getting faster little by little race by race. I do have one heck of a lot of fun!! The thrill factor beats the heck out of my golf passion.

    You will have more fun every race. I will watch ya from the Master C row behind you. ( BTW, that is me in the red standing behind you in your picture)

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Yes , indeed I believe u have Brent. Good people, good racing, good fun, awesome challenge.
    #7
  8. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    You will have more fun every race. I will watch ya from the Master C row behind you. ( BTW, that is me in the red standing behind you in your picture)

    [​IMG][/QUOTE]

    Small world ! I hope to say hi in Myakka. I have everything except the leatt and I won't
    Race again without it . Crossing my fingers I get it delivered by Then. Interesting spot for your gopro !

    Steve
    #8
  9. NVTS

    NVTS stupid hipster dufus

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    746
    Location:
    Big Lick Virginia
    The HS thing can be addictive. I might get down to my Native state this winter for a race.:D
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. gregneedham

    gregneedham I seem to fall often

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    856
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Fantastic story. Thanks Steve. You inspire....
    #10
  11. JeffS77

    JeffS77 cheap bastard

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,377
    Location:
    Riverside , CA
    good job getting out there and having at it :thumb

    I raced my first grand prix last weekend and had a blast...this stuff is fun
    #11
  12. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,362
    Location:
    Tampa
    Great job Steve! You've got the right idea about trying to relax and have fun:1drink See you guys at Myakka!
    #12
  13. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    7 days before my second race to be in MYAKKA FL, I was doing one last bit of routine maintenance when all hell broke loose...... I went to change the NGK SPARK PLUG left in there by the PO. I had no idea how old it was cause this bike is new to me so I figured I should start fresh......

    Well it was frozen in there good. REALLY GOOD. Instead of shooting PB or WD in the hole and walking away I let my buddy use a breaker bar on it.....I know I know....stupid. Well it sheared at the threads flush with the hole. YUCH. :muutt

    [​IMG]

    Tried to drill it out and got a nice straight hole thru the center without hitting the threads.

    [​IMG]

    Turns out the hole was holding water and must have let a ton of corrosion develop on the long fine threads this plug /head have.

    With the next race 7 days away I had to act fast. After checking around, It was determined that I'd have to fix it myself.

    With the help of the forums at Thumper Talk, and the guidance of a mechanic friend Justin via phone, I got a manual and studied online videos on YZ250f head removal and reassembly (very cool).

    I posted the whole saga with close up pics here: http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1027762

    I ended up having to miss the Myakka race due to this problem, but after some patience and guidance, a good manual and torque wrench, I was able to get it all back together perfect.

    Waiting 2 months for the next race has been agonizing...so I spent the time doing a whole bunch of upgrades in the spirit of Christmas... Black Friday rocked! I got my Leatt, Tires, skidplate, brakes, and a bunch of other goodies.

    In the end, It cost me under $100.00 to fix it and that includes the micro torque wrench that i now have. I also know the torque specs for every last bolt and found the motor was cherry inside. It runs & starts better than ever now so its all good.

    The end it took three of us to get the threads out.... One holding the head, one guy on each side cranking on 2 diff easy-outs at the same time.... One top one bottom.
    [​IMG]

    Cant wait for the New Year and the next race in Brooksville FL. :clap

    Fingers crossed ....

    #90c
    #13
  14. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Update: going into my third season racing FTR in October. Now racing a 09 Ktm 300. Still have the Yammie as back up bike.... Can't wait for the season to begin.
    #14
  15. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1377642212.481213.jpg

    My 09 300.... Getting dialed in at Croom Motorcycle park in Florida.
    #15
  16. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,372
    Location:
    India Wharf
    Good thread. Last weekend my youngest son did his first dirt race called J Day. Two 30 minute motos. I think there is a motocross section too. He rides a KTM 200. His experience was missing the first moto due to a mechanical. He was hoping to use it to learn the track and understand what kind of pace he needed. Then actually race the second moto.

    He went out for the second moto and got a surprising start. Of course he didn't know how fast to go so he waited to get passed and followed until the guy would get away. Then he would slow down again and wait for the next guy and grab a tow from him. And so on. He said the tows were everything. He is anxious to try it again.

    J Day has a pretty popular series up here in New England. The laps are shorter than a hare scramble and the races are shorter too. So it is sort of a cross between HS and MX. In any event, it seems a good place for trail riders to learn to race a little bit.
    #16
  17. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Pantah, there are so many cool things about racing... One that surprised me the most is what a mental game it is. Using other riders to learn from by following them is huge... As long as you don't ride too far past your skills .... I also find that I may loaf along by myself out there but when another racer is near I get a whole new push.


    All who wander sure as heck ain't lost
    #17
  18. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    Update & Recap:

    About to go into my 3rd season racing FTR Hare Scrambles. Yep, I'm still at it. Still in the C class (Super Senior). Starting to near the top of the class now, especially since some of the best in class have been moved up to B.

    Haven't ever scored a trophy, best finish has been 6th so far.

    The first season I got 6 or so races in with my Yamaha 250f. The first season was about survival only. I hit a tree head on in my very first race, shook me up good but I kept on going....never ride again without a leatt brace.

    Second season started off with a bang after practicing in summer and trying to keep fit.
    First race I was having so much fun actually RACING for the first time....no more just surviving or finishing like the first year. I was realizing finally what it was really like to bang bars for position...and not let up due to fear of crashing or lack of skills.... I was having too much fun actually and learned a good lesson....I was having such a blast that I didn't want to stop even after a guy crashed me out at beginning of lap two, causing my radiator to steam..... I was having so much fun I kept riding wanting to finish the lap. I knew it was losing antifreeze...I smelled it...saw the steam... but since I really wanted to get scored for the lap cause I thought i was doing so well and wanted it written on the scoresheet...I kept going full bore. The motor didnt like my decision to try to go 8 miles without coolant. It stopped running 1 mile before the end of the lap. That 3/4 lap cost me alot of time, money and big big frustration

    [​IMG]

    It was 3 months, 3 mechanics and $1200 to get it running again... By then I missed so many races. In January my overheat issues were finally solved, about 4 different things happened to the motor which made it complex to diagnose. Once it ran again it was like new. In the mean time I
    #18
  19. gregneedham

    gregneedham I seem to fall often

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    856
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Total admiration. Keep it up and keep it fun.

    Greg
    #19
  20. gun 4 hire

    gun 4 hire FTR SSR #90b

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Key West
    ..... Also never let the usual excuses like travel or bad weather keep me from my gym training (upper body/core) and my sprinting on the mountain bike for general fitness. If it wasn't for the upcoming race season is prolly be 8 lbs heavier and have way less of a muscle/fat ratio.
    I've lost fat but put on muscle so total weight is only down 5-9 lbs.

    This season I will see how the changes in fitness and training have paid off.

    I hope to give a good report after race one this weekend.

    Steve P
    SSR 90c


    All who wander sure as heck ain't lost
    #20