My son's first year racing GNCC.

Discussion in 'Racing' started by GoGo Gadget, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. RichBeBe

    RichBeBe All Hail Seitan!!!

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    As a former roadracer and a first year enduro racer I am psyched to read his story.
    I know the sacrifices you are making for your son will be something he will remember and appreciate forever.
    #41
  2. YnotJP?

    YnotJP? Long timer

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    Good for the effort of the whole family. These are times that you all will remember for all times. If he ends up at the top of his sport or not it will not be for lack of support by you and your family.

    This is what it takes now a days to be a champion.

    Good on you...
    #42
  3. stk0308

    stk0308 Long timer

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    Doing good. I'll admit I looked at the GNCC schedule if there was one out my way. Suprised it's a mostly east coast series. Was going to offer a stop over place if you didn't want to haul all the way in one day kinda thing.
    #43
  4. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    My wife wrote up this report. The video at the end is pretty short as mud covered the lens completely after about 30 seconds. Spliced in some video from teh handicam and the whole thing is under 3min.



    Apr 19, 09 GNCC Round 5 - Hurricane Mills, TN


    With the forecast calling for a chance of rain, we packed up and headed off to Hurricane Mills, TN, and the home of the famous Loretta Lynn Ranch. The drive through the scenic areas of southwestern VA and eastern TN was, as always, a nice one. The Appalachian Mountains may not be as majestic as the Rockies, but they have their own beauty to offer. Late into the night, we called it quits in Crossville, TN, and caught some Zs.
    Saturday morning dawned with a time change for us since we passed into CDT. We thought having that extra hour will help us out Sunday morning because our bodies will think it's 730 instead of 630 AM. After a hearty country breakfast that only Cracker Barrel can provide, we hit the road for the remaining few hours of our trip to Loretta Lynn's, arriving just before lunch time.
    Since registration didn't start until 2 PM, we had a few hours to kill. Might as well get some maintenance done on the bike and, of course, the most important of all, get the new portable grill assembled so that we can cook our steaks.
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    With a quick lunch, we headed off to watch the start of the 1 PM Pro ATV race. Can-Am was making an appearance with demo rides on their ATVs. But we were suprised by the appearance of the Spyder on the starting grid of the Pro race.
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    No, it was there for display purposes only. But Todd did wonder if they'd let him demo ride it. He never did ask.
    ATV racing is pretty interesting. Watching these guys "steer left to go right" made Donovan think of the Pixar movie Cars. And it was interesting seeing them get off the seat much like you would on a 2 wheeled vehicle.
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    By now it was nearly 2 PM so we headed off to Vendor Row to find registration. We made a quick stop at the TN National Guard display which netted Donovan a pink camo TNNG rubber bracelet and left Todd and I wondering when they started letting babies join the military... or maybe we're just getting old.
    The rest of Saturday was fairly uneventful. Benny managed to break loose of his collar (buckle broke) when trying to run to play with another dog. He did enjoy swimming in the creek near where we were set up. Wilma was just a cranky old girl and didn't want anything to do with the creek. A drizzle did begin but it was intermittent. The steaks and baked potatoes were wonderful. It was especially nice being plugged in to power so there was no concern about running the generator (using gas) or draining the batteries. However, as we settled in for the evening, the rains came in... and stayed throughout the night.
    Sunday morning dawned warm but wet. The downpours had continued all night long. We decided to lower the air pressure in Donovan's tires because this was promising to be a mud event. Little did we know what was coming our way.
    Donovan headed off to the line up along with the 137 other youth racers who were braving the elements to go for the gold.
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    As each row got it's start, the rows behind them were pelted with mud and muck. Umbrellas that normally were used to keep the rain off were used as shields to keep the mud off.
    Donovan got a great start for a change. The bike started without incident and he was off and running. Coming off the starting grid and into the first right hander, he was starting off in 5th place.
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    However, with all of that mud flying around, he needed to remove a tear off immediately (you can see it flying behind him in the pic).
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    This was the situation for each and every child. The picture above of the single blue ATV... notice the ground conditions he had? Remember I said it poured all night long? This is the same section of track after the rains:
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    It had become a complete and utter mud bogging event.
    We went to our pit setup to await Donovan's arrival for pictures and video opportunities. The kids were all so muddy you couldn't tell who was whom out there. We actually missed seeing him coming until he passed us and we saw 690 on the side of the bike. Luckily we had set up just before a hairpin so we were able to snap a couple of pictures and a little video of his mud adventures.
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    Yes, we have said in the past that if we saw him without goggles, we'd stop his race right then and there. But no, we did not follow through with this. We figured we'd catch him after the next lap and give him a set of fresh goggles that we had with us. But this was never to come to fruition. Shortly after he disappeared around the bend, he said his bike bogged down and died. Then it would not restart. Changing the spark plug (thinking with the water and mud, that maybe it was toast) did not help. His race was over with only 1 lap credited. So the 10 hour drive out to Loretta's netted Donovan a broken bike and a muddy face.
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    It was very disappointing that he could not go on to at least earn some points. For those who don't know, a racer must complete one half the number of laps of the class winner in order to be awarded points. Mr Austin Lee (number 123 with the red mohawk) completed 8 laps, so Donovan's 1 lap earns him 0 points.
    The bike is at the mechanic's now. Even if it's not ready, we still have another fully prepped bike available so there's no anxiety over whether or not we'll make it to Lafayette, TN, the first weekend of May for GNCC round 6. See y'all at the races!
    Race Results
    Points Total Helmet cam video. This is a small video since the camera was useless after the first few turns. It's about 10 MB in size.
    #44
  5. stk0308

    stk0308 Long timer

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    The adventure continues. Sorry to hear about the DNF. Maybe this gets all the bad luck out of the way for a while.
    #45
  6. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    Heard back from our mechanic today and the adventure may come to a screeching halt. The engine is fried. I thought it might have been the top end, but he said it looks like the entire thing overheated. Kinda odd since it was 50deg and raining and he only ran for 20 minutes.

    This was a used bike we bought to use as a back up. So we still have his original bike. But if anything happens to the engine or transmission on it, we are done. We'll be crossing our fingers every race hoping for no major mechanical issues. Our current schedule has us doing other series races just for seat time. I am wondering now if I should back off on some of that to save the bike?
    #46
  7. RichBeBe

    RichBeBe All Hail Seitan!!!

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    You know I am not speaking for others but if you wanted I bet we could start and ADV "sponsorship" by all of us chipping in a buck or two to a fund. With 100,000 members bet we could buy you the engine parts you need for the main bike.
    Just post a PayPal address and let's see what happens.:D
    #47
  8. stk0308

    stk0308 Long timer

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    Puting an ADV sticker on the pannels is worth atleast 3-10 HP I hear :D
    #48
  9. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    mtwithrow@yahoo.com every "supporter" gets an autographed photograph. :D

    I'll have to look around. I think I might have an ADV sticker somewhere, other than the one on my bike.
    #49
  10. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    May 3, 09 GNCC Round 6 - Lafayette, TN


    *SIGH* What a weekend. With everyone off on May 1st, we had grand plans of leaving home by 10 AM and making it down to Lafayette, TN, by dark so that we could relax on Saturday and watch the ATV races. So much for grand plans. The RV generator was getting repaired and wasn't ready until late Thursday afternoon, which meant we had to run and retrieve it Friday morning. well, we weren't too far off. While thinking about the forecast for rain (again), we departed in a drizzle around 1130. We headed off to the grocery store to restock the fridge. However on the way, we realized the front brake(s) on the RV were grinding! Our local RV dealership doesn't do chassis work so they couldn't help us. Calling around, no one could tell us what brake pads to buy. The only way to get new pads was to remove the old ones. Sitting in a parking lot with the RV up on it's jacks trying to remove the brake calipers in the heat... not fun. The caliper bolts were stuck. The shop parts guy was more than helpful... wish we could say the same for the service department. After bending our breaker bar and not being able to get a hand from the service department, we just bought the pads that they thought would work and limped back home so that we could use our air tools to change the brake pads. However, that didn't work either. (It wasn't until we took the RV to the shop a few days later that we found out the bolts had overheated, expanded and seized.)
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    Normally, we'd just swap everything to our F150 and head off, but a friend of ours had borrowed the truck so that she could move. Our Pilot is incapable of towing the trailer so we thought of our options. Option 1, the Pilot is capable of towing our open trailer, so we could load the 85 onto that trailer and head out. The problem with that is that we would have none of our tools, fluids nor the spare bike parts just in case something happened. Option 2, call another dear friend of ours and see if she would lend us her new Tahoe to tow our trailer. Luckily she loves us dearly and had no problem swapping her Tahoe for our Pilot for the weekend. However, she was working and wouldn't be done with work until nearly 8 PM, which would put her at home and ready to swap vehicles around 9 PM. By the time we got the Tahoe hooked up to our trailer and headed out, it was nearly 10 PM. Yay, we were on the road! Well, we were until we realized that we'd left our money in the RV! We had stopped at the ATM and instead of putting the cash into a wallet, we had tossed it onto the center console! So we turned around, went home and got the money. We finally hit the road by 1030 PM... only 12.5 hours later than we had planned on leaving; but we were definitely on the road. However, we soon discovered that the trailer started swaying whenever we approached 65 mph. Without a brake controller, we didn't want to push our luck and kept our speeds around 60 mph. Swapping drivers and taking cat naps got us to Wytheville, VA, around 230 AM where we stopped in for a nap. And what a small world it is, we saw Jason Greer's trailer and van parked in the lot since they, too, were on their way to Lafayette, TN.
    Saturday morning we woke early and grabbed a quick continental breakfast in the motel lobby. Then we hit the road. The trailer swaying seemed to be getting worse. We attributed it to the rain, wind and a heavy load. It wasn't until lunch time that we realized that one of the tires was low. We topped the tire off and continued on our way. The trailer was tracking just fine and we arrived at the race site around 3 PM (local time; we had entered Central Time). The pros were still racing but we saw the participants of the 10 AM amateur race leaving the site. The appearance of the vehicles was almost comical. Some of these competitors looked as if they had raced their trucks instead of their ATVs. We were informed that they were only allowing 4x4 vehicles in at that moment. Unfortunately, they should have also specified off-road capable tires. The Tahoe on it's own would have made it through the mud and muck, but pulling that trailer hampered it's off-road ability. We ended up having to allow the farm tractor to pull us into the facility. At this point, we were thinking it was a good thing that we did not have the RV with us.
    While Dad started on the job of switching the 85 from SuperMoto trim to dirt trim (and testing out his new beverage holder), Donovan and Mom went off to Vendor Row to get Donovan registered for his race.
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    The mud was insane. Vendor Row was under water. In front of registration, someone had hand written a sign that said "No Wake Zone!" (unfortunately we never made it back to snap a pic). Yes, it was that bad. By walking around the sides, Mom managed to only sink up to her ankles.
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    Upon their return, Donovan helped complete the transformation of the 85 and then set off to go to Tech Inspection. We wondered if it was useful to have cleaned and sprayed the bike with silicon lube prior to any of this. We learned that it was... somewhat.
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    Donovan came back from Tech Inspection looking like he'd been racing.
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    Worried that the mud would negatively impact the chain, we started the prep work all over again, cleaning the bike as well as we could without a water supply and/or pressure washer. With everything finally done, we had a moment to relax and look around a little. But the view was a little dreary.
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    But that didn't dampen Donovan's spirit. Are we sure that he is only 11?
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    Saturday afternoon, evening and through the night, the rain continued to come down. Donovan's spirit was starting to be as dreary as the weather. He was not looking forward to another mud race. And then he realized the worst thing ever. He had left his goggles at home in the RV! He could not be on the starting line without them. It's an AMA rule. We searched and searched the town of Lebanon, TN, (where we had a motel room) trying to figure out what to do. We picked up a cheap paintball goggle set and hoped that would work.
    With the rain continuing to fall and the conditions absolutely miserable, the officials decided it would be best to cut the race from it's usual 1.5 hours down to just 1 hour. We decided it wasn't worth putting the helmet camera on him since the video wouldn't be more than 10 seconds... much like last time. The paintball goggles barely fit over his helmet, but they were certainly better than nothing. While Donovan went to the starting grid, Dad decided to make one quick pass through Vendor Row... and returned to the line with a set of brand new goggles loaded with tear offs. One of Donovan's competitors, Cole Kirchoff, and his father Scott noticed the brand new goggles and asked what was going on. A quick explanation to him resulted in them loaning us another set of goggles complete with tear offs. That way the paintball goggles would not be our only back up pair. A big thanks to Scott and Cole even though we ended up not using the spare goggles.
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    They took off and zoomed down to turn one and the holeshot award line. Notice how his number is already mud coated? And the kids were learning fairly quickly that the mud is slippery. With his rear wheel locked up, Donovan entered the race course in 3rd... finally having a terrific start.
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    The poor kids were working on their laps, getting more and more mud covered. They were slipping and sliding all over the place.
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    This is not Donovan. This poor racer got a little too sideways in that same section.
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    Donovan was racing so quickly that he made the trees appear invisible!
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    However, that fast pace didn't last long. The mud and weather was taking it's toll on all the racers. As Donovan came around to take the checkered, the exhaustion was evident on his face.
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    He actually got stuck in that mud rut, stalling the bike. It took a few kicks to get the bike restarted. Frustration caused him to blip the throttle a bit too much, wheelieing his way out of the rut. And yes, we once again broke our rule of "no goggles = no racing." These conditions just weren't cooperating.
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    Donovan finally crossed the finish line taking 8th place in his class. But he was in tears. He was tired and sore. His ankle was hurting from a crash into a tree. He was upset, frustrated and feeling absolutely awful. In a burst of emotion, he told Mom that he wanted to quit racing GNCC... that it wasn't worth it... that it would be better to go back to the local series where he knows he tends to finish a lot better and can win a race or two. Mom, knowing this was his emotions and frustration talking, made him look her in the eye and listen to a little speech. This was a tough race, with awful conditions, and he's racing against some of the top kids on the east coast. As long as he did the best he could do and felt he had given it his all, Mom and Dad are proud of him. And that he should be proud of himself because he was out there doing something a lot of people only wish they could do. Feeling a little better, Donovan went back to the trailer to peel off his mud-soaked gear.
    After cleaning up as best we could, loading up and starting out, we were again reminded that a 4wd vehicle with street tires really doesn't do well in the mud. Alas, we had to be towed out with the farm tractor. As we headed on down the road, the trailer started swaying yet again. We found a self-serve car wash to hose off the Tahoe and trailer a bit. We thought we'd just put some more air into the tire but discovered that there was a nail in the tire. We now also think we may need to carry our Hi-Lift jack in the trailer since we didn't have an easy way to jack up the trailer. Luckily there was a hill down to a drainage ditch and there was just enough clearance to be able to change the offending tire.
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    And more pouring rain allowed for most of the remaining mud and muck from both Tahoe and trailer to clear away on the drive home. Luckily the only remaining misfortune we had on the way home was the undercooked pizza we were served for dinner.
    So far TN has not given us good memories. Round 5 at Loretta's resulted in a blown engine. Round 6 wasn't as devastating for Donovan but certainly held a lot of stress. Regardless of the past two races, we are definitely looking forward to the next race in Somerset, PA. See y'all there! Race Results
    Points Total
    #50
  11. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Just my opinion, but if its not fun, its not worth it. In my experience young athletes are pretty good at knowing where they are in their sport. Emotional response or not, I'd say your racer is onto something constructive and if that means going back to local events you should probably listen. Its all about seat time anyways, and newer racers need to feel competitive to keep going.
    #51
  12. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    Wow...you guys just keep soldiering on !!! All this experience in the mud will pay-off one day.
    #52
  13. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    Him saying that he wanted to go back to the local races was just him expressing his frustration with all the mud he had to fight through. Other than chores, I have never made him do anything he did not want to. Once he had some time to decompress after the race, he retracted his earlier statement.
    #53
  14. stk0308

    stk0308 Long timer

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    I was hoping that was the case. Hey, 8th place is still pretty good for his first year in GNCCs, especially in those conditions. Hopefully the next one will be a fun one and these past 2 will just be experience under the belt.
    #54
  15. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    Once again, another mudfest.

    May 17, 09 GNCC Round 7 - Somerset, PA

    With Somerset being a relatively short drive for us, we were able to set up just before dark Friday night. Saturday dawned warm and sunny. A beautiful day for racing. We watched the youths flinging their small ATVs around the course... which prompted the thoughts of Donovan racing an ATV on Saturday as well as a bike on Sunday. That will have to bear more thought... The pros were certainly a lot more aggressive with their ATVs!



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    Along with the ATV races, the typical Saturday activities included last minute maintenance on Donovan's race bike.


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    This also happened to be one of the locations that opted to host a UTV race. Unfortunately for the UTVs, the cold front and associated storms decided to make a very forceful appearance just before the start of the UTV race. With lightening flashing through the sky and rain coming down in buckets, the UTV machines and racers were soon indistinguishable. And Donovan groaned "Not another mud race!" As we cooked dinner, we saw many of the ATV racers getting their rigs towed out of the mud by tractors and volunteers with 4WD trucks. With hopes that the rain would just miss us and the winds would help dry the course overnight, we settled in with homemade hamburgers, homemade potato salad and the company of two friends who came to cheer Donovan on. Alas, that was not to be the case... as we drifted off to sleep to the sounds of pouring rain.



    As we knew, this was a cold front that had come through. We knew we were expecting temps in the 40s. What we didn't count on was the wind. It was hard to believe that it was mid-May seeing everyone bundled up as if it were January. At one point it felt like we were camping on the Artic tundra with the wind howling across the mountain ridge and the temperature dropping.


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    We've noticed that Donovan's bike is finicky in the cold temperatures. It showed it again when the starter's green flag flew. The bike started right up, but promptly stalled as Donovan let the clutch out. Then Donovan was left kicking and kicking and kicking while the rest of the group took off for turn 1. Finally getting the bike started, Donovan pulled away from the starting line in last (17th) place. As he rounded turn 1, he discovered that 2 of his competitors had gotten tangled up with each other and were still trying to sort themselves out so he moved up 2 spots into 15th. It didn't seem to take long for the racers to become covered in the cold wet mud. As we watched for Donovan after his first lap, we wondered about how well he would finish since he does not like mud and since it was cold. He appeared to be giving it his all as he came past us; the rear end slipping and sliding through the muck.



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    At least he seemed to have enough traction through the corners.



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    He was thankful to have on his raincoat over the top of his gear. With the mud flying, he would have been soaked to the bone fairly quickly.



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    Helen went to the scoring tent to see how he had progressed after the first lap. Donovan had moved up to 13th after the first lap. He was making headway. After a few more laps, Donovan pulled into his "pits" to get a fuel top off, a fresh set of goggles and to inform his crew chief (Todd) that his ankle and wrists were sore.



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    But he fought on and took the white flag in 9th place. We all moved on to the finish line to wait for our young man to take the checkered. Much to everyone's delight (especially Donovan's) the scoring tent showed him an 8th place finish as he took the checkered flag.



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    And of course, the end of the race is when the sun decided to make it's appearance... threatening to dry the mud into cement on the bike.



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    Given that he started out in 17th, and that he is not a mud racer, he was very proud of himself, his performance and his finish. And it's needless to say that we all were proud of him, too. With this race, we are half way through the GNCC season and Donovan has now moved into 6th place in points. From here he can only move forward and hopefully he'll get at least one podium (top 5) finish this year. We know he has it in him to do it. Next week he has a local race and it will be interesting to see if racing at the GNCC level has taught him anything that will improve his finishes at VCHSS.



    Race Results


    Points Total


    Helmet cam video. Fair warning... it's a little over 62MB in size.
    #55
  16. stk0308

    stk0308 Long timer

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    Way to go Donovan! Glad to see even in those conditions you can learn and get faster.
    #56
  17. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    Not GNCC, but a local race he did 2 weeks ago. I think the helmet cam video came out pretty good. :D

    May 24, 09 VCHSS Round 5 - Reddy Hole - Surry, VA

    Looking forward to racing with all of his old buddies from VCHSS, Donovan helped us get the trailer packed up for a local race. By "local" I mean one that is only 100 miles away instead of 700 miles away. So no time zone changes for us this weekend. We get down to Surry, VA, get him registered, a new transponder since he misplaced his from last year and off he went with a buddy to check out the course. We hosed him and the rest of the family down with a liberal application of "Off" in hopes of keeping the chiggers at bay this year. Last few years we were eaten alive by the pestilent little crawly things. I even got some stuff designed to be sprayed around the house to keep bugs out and treated the grass around the RV and trailer. I guess it worked as we were chigger free after the weekend. Since this is a different series, we had to remove the GNCC 690 numbers off and replace them with the VCHSS 69D numbers. I originally planned on just covering the 0 with a D for this series, but then figured it would look tacky.
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    The sun set as we were working on the bike, replacing body panels, brake pads, etc.
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    Afterwards, I asked Donovan how well he thought he would do and if racing in GNCC would help him with this local series. He was unable to give me a definitive answer.
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    We were able to sleep in a bit as this series starts a 1/2 hour later than GNCC. This was a good thing as the drunken revelry from some fellow campers kept us up a bit longer than I would have liked. Tip of the day – Always bring earplugs. So we were meandering about in the AM, not in any rush and enjoying our morning coffee. Donovan went out to get his bike on the line as we finished gathering cameras, radios and other minutia that we use for a race. His buddy stuck his head in the RV and I told him that Donovan was out on the line. To which he replied, "No he’s not. He’s back there trying to start his bike." Ugh, just what I need. So I go back to check it out. It will start with the choke on, but will not run without it. Me being the mechanical genius I am, thinks "Hhhmm, I wonder if the doohickey that goes in the whatchamacallit is messed up?" My son, understanding the extent of my mechanical prowess asked, "Should I get Joey’s Dad?" After hitting it a few times with carb cleaner I said, "Yeah. I guess you better." So with 30 minutes before the race start, we are pulling the carb to clean the jets. That did not work, so we replaced the jets, then we replaced the tank and carb using the parts bike as a donor. We thought he was going to have to run the race with the choke on, but finally it started running ok off choke.
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    With tools and bike parts scattered to the four winds, he takes off for the starting line. We grab our gear and hop on bicycles to pedal up to the line. I made it there just in time to get the camera out and film his start. Helen did not make it to the start in time as she got waylaid by a friend so I described how when the starting signal was given, Donovan kicked it over, popped the clutch and promptly launched it into an impressive 12 o’clock wheelie. He kept it from launching end over end backwards, as he clutched it in and flopped over sideways perpendicular to his desired direction of travel almost taking out the gal with the 30sec board. He got it straight and off he went at the back of the pack negotiating the grass track section before disappearing into the woods.
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    Off into the woods slicing and dicing amongst the trees trying to find the fastest line. He and the other riders flowing through the trees reminiscent of a battle a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Watching the helmet cam video, I kept expecting some Imperial Stormtroopers and Ewoks to pop out of the trees. The track is pretty tight. No ATV racing in this series, so it is almost all tight single track. With helmet and barkbusters banging off trees, he came around after lap 1 in 5th out of 8, so he made up some time after his bad start. He dropped a spot to 6th on lap 2, but then gained two spots on the last lap finishing in 4th. He bobbled a few spots in the woods, but no major get offs. Over all he did well but could have done better... still proud of him for doing something a lot of people only wish they could do.
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    Helmet cam video. It's 40 MB in size. Enjoy!
    #57
  18. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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    And then last weekend's race in Millfield, OH.

    Jun 7, 09 GNCC Round 8 - Millfield, OH

    Round 8 finds us packed up and ready to go. I had everything pretty much set on Thursday, so instead of taking all day off on Friday, I worked a half day. Hopefully I do not run out of vacation time before the season is over, I really should sit down and figure that up, but am afraid to. We headed up the road to Millfield, OH. Mapping software wanted us to take Rt 50 across WV. Being in a gas powered 35’ RV towing a 16’ trailer, I did not think that would be wise. So we stuck to the interstates for the most part until we got on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains then got on Rt50 from there. It was a nice, pleasant drive and like every time we travel through the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Great Smokey Mountains we start talking about buying some property there for retirement. We stopped for the night in Clarksburg, WV, and had a nice breakfast the next morning a little ways down the road at the Mountaineer Family Restaurant just outside of Parkersburg, WV. Ideally we would time our arrival so we get there as the majority of the ATVers are leaving. At Somerset, we got there on Fri night, set up in a great spot right next to the track, then realized the next day that the youth course did not use that portion of the track. Get there early on Sat and the place is crowded with ATV racers. This time, we got there midday as the amateur ATV race was wrapping up. However, the section we were directed to seemed to be filled with pros, so we parked it and meandered around until a spot opened up. Right after setting up our spot for the night, Donovan and I headed out with our bicycles to ride the track. You are not allowed to pre-ride the course on a motorcycle or ATV, but you may walk or bicycle it. We have reconnoitered portions of the course before, but this time we were going to check all of it. While he would not be able to memorize every line, he could certainly get a feel for it and be comfortable knowing that there are no unusual tricks waiting for him. Since having my left knee reconstructed twice in the last few years, I am not nearly as fit I used to be or should be. So instead of mountain biking, I mountain hiked while pushing a bicycle on the uphill sections. Meanwhile, Donovan practiced his stoppies, wheelies, bunny hops, etc.
    The starting line was a mile away from where we camped, so we were still walking up as we heard the Star Spangled Banner playing over the PA system. I usually stand on the line with Donovan until the first few rows head out and then get set to take some photos of the start. This time, Mom picked up the pace to get there with his starting stool and I just stayed at turn 1.



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    He had a decent start with the bike starting immediately with one kick and was in 6th when he disappeared into the woods. I headed down to the motocross track to take pics while Mom headed down to a mudbog with the video camera. I pointed her in that direction after discovering it the night before. I figured she could get muddy this time. Down at the track, I watched as a few 65cc bikes showed up. No big deal, there are a few kids who can really fly on their 65’s. This being Donovan's first year on the 85, I sometimes think he might be faster on his old 65. Then several more 65cc bikes showed up in a pack, so I knew it was not just the fast kids. I later learned from the guy camped next to us that Donovan had crashed hard in a turn right in front of him. He said the bike gouged the hard pack dirt pretty good as he thumped down, but he was a trooper and got right back on the bike. As I was trying to get in touch with Mom to see if she had seen him, he popped up onto the MX track.



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    He is not a motocross guy, he rides in the woods. So I thought he was doing pretty well.



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    The night before, I pointed out a double step up that was pretty shallow. I told him that was not much different from the jump we have set up for him at home and that he could clear both easily.



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    He flew right over then approached the next set of step ups that we had NOT discussed doubling. He jumped about 35’ of a 40’ double and hit like a sack of wet scatological material. He and his bike bounced and tumbled coming to an ugly halt about 15’ later on the edge of the jump. He lay there unmoving as I ran to his side. With the flagger over us, I cradled his head and supported it since he was partially over the side. He does not remember the landing and says he blacked out for a few seconds, but he was responsive when I got there. The flagger asked if we needed the medics; I told him to hold off while I assessed my son. Not the first time I have put my EMT training to use on him and it certainly will not be the last. When he was able to talk, I asked him what hurt. He replied, "My chest and my nuts." Then later he complained about his back hurting as well. After a minute or two, he decided take a break, catch his breath and composure, and then get back to racing. I really wish his helmet camera had been working, it was quite a spectacular crash. After he got back into it, I went to the RV to get set for any pit stops. Mom missed the crash, and did not know about it, so she trekked back to the MX track and scoring to find out if he was out of the race since she had not seen him come through after seeing a few other kids twice. She saw him departing that section to head back into the woods, so she stayed at the MX track to film him there. It was very boring footage since after his crash he was simply rolling over the jumps like an acrophobic rider.



    Back over in our pit, our neighbor came over asking if I was the Dad of #690. Then he told me about the big crash he was in. "Oh yeah, the one on the MX track?" I asked. "No. One right there." He said pointing over his shoulder. I started moving in that direction to see how bad it was when he grabbed me and corrected the misunderstanding. He meant a crash on the first lap before he got around to me for his failed double jump. Whew! There was a nice spot for a photo opportunity not too far from where we pitted. I was going to get him some more gas, then roll over there to get some more photos. I stuck my head in the RV and asked my oldest son to come out and help me, then as I turn back, Donovan went roaring by. Argh! So as I wait for him to come around again, Mom texts me to say the white flag is out, final lap.



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    We are about 1 mile from the scoring/finish line. So when he gets to me, he will only have 3 miles left in the race. Instead of gassing him from the big jug, I get a pint of fuel ready for him to quickly drop in just to make sure he does not run out of gas on the last lap. Been there, done that. As he comes over the rise, I am standing on the side of the track holding the fuel up pointing to it. He roars by with a look of intense concentration on his face. Shrugging, I turn to my oldest and say, "Well. If he runs out of gas, it is on him." After awhile, I get a txt saying he came in 7th. Woohoo!!! Oddly enough, his best finish so far in GNCC. I was very proud of him shaking off his crash and continuing. He cowboy’d up and stuck to it. Looking at the lap times, he ran a 15:42 lap 1. With his crash, lap 2 was 23min, lap 3 was 19min, then 16min and his last lap was his fastest at 15:13.


    He is the fastest slow kid in his class. There is a quantum leap between him and the kids finishing ahead of him who had lap times from 11min to mid 13’s. GNCC is running a 2 day training session before the next race at Snowshoe, WV, and he is now signed up for that. He's also tentatively signed up for some instruction with Eric Bailey the weekend before Snowshoe. We are also looking at sending him to Rich Lafferty’s 4 day youth camp this summer. Hopefully, during the professional instruction, he will have an epiphany and things will start to really click.


    After packing up, we hit the road to head home. Mom hit the "Go Home" button on the GPS. I rolled with it forgetting that I had hand selected the route there and meant to pull that up and tell it to reverse the route. Garmin does not differentiate between paved roads and not so paved roads.



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    Eventually, after getting past the family of geese, we made it to a paved road.



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    Of course we were still an hour from a MAJOR paved road, but whatever. I can’t tell you how many time I have found some beautiful motorcycle roads, only to be in a 35’ RV at the time. I have thought about packing my bike along in the trailer, but somehow I think asking my wife to drive while I ride the nice twisty road home would float like a lead balloon.


    Race Results
    Points Total
    #58
  19. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,286
    Stay tuned for this upcoming weekend. SuMo racing on Sat and then local HareScramble on Sun.
    #59
  20. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,286
    I am way behind on race reports. I have video to edit from the SuMo race. No video for the last local HS as the camera was acting up. I sent it back to the factory and just got it back last week. Not in time for the last GNCC race in Snowshoe WV. He did not make that race anyway. :( He attended the GNCC University riding school they offered before the race. I was worried about him breaking the bike and missing the race. He did, but it was fixable. Unfortunately, he is not as easily fixed.

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    My 12y/o has been to the ER more times than anyone I know. This was his first actual ambulance ride though.

    He was racing through a meadow and hit a rock that was hidden by the tall grass. He pegged it in 4th gear, he and his bike cartwheeled across the meadow.

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    He hit it hard enough to split the rim.

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    Luckily, he was wearing his EVS neck brace, a SixSixOne pressure suit, knee braces, etc. He hit his lower back hard enough for the rivets on the pressure suit to leave bruises. So I can only imagine how bad it would have been if he had not been geared up.

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    The bike got wadded a bit as it tumbled, but nothing I can't fix. Actually, I already fixed most of it as he was hopeful that he would still be able to race on Sunday.

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    Dr discharged him as just being bruised, but he cannot walk without crutches (4 days later now). I think he dislocated his right hip during his tumble. When he came to, he could not feel his right leg at first and it is very painful to move now. The Doc took Xrays and a CT scan, said no breaks so it must just be bruised. We'll try to get an MRI done this week to see if it shows anything more.

    I really appreciate the paramedics being careful, especially since he said he could not feel his leg. But did they really have to cut $600 worth of gear off? I can understand the pants and jersey, no big deal. But the neck brace has the buckles right there in front. How hard is it to unsnap it. They cut the straps right at the buckle, not like it was hidden or anything. EMT Edward Scissorhands, sheesh.
    #60