Racing in the rain, over coming the fear.

Discussion in 'Racing' started by plasticweld, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. plasticweld

    plasticweld You break it we fix it

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    UP State New York
    A story I wrote this spring about racing in the rain at Summit Point this spring.

    No Fear. By Bob Brown

    Across the gas tank are the words “No Fear” below it is the cross of Christ. The steady rain beads up on the tank and the water runs off it.

    It is raining and I am afraid.

    Motorcycles and rain don’t go together. Motorcycles, racetracks… and rain equal insanity. Or so goes the little voice in my head.

    I am looking at my race bike, looking at it in a different way; maybe I should take a picture of it while it is still all together. It might not survive the rest of the day, certainly there is a good chance it will not look the same. The same can be said of me. There is no amount of false bravado that can alter the reality of broken bodies and smashed bikes at the race track. It happens in the dry but more often in the rain.

    All right, I might be being a bit dramatic here, but so goes the little voice in my head.

    It is possible to go well over 100 plus miles an hour on a motorcycle on a rain drenched track and live and not crash, they do it all the time. They also go off the track, and riders get hurt.

    I am at Summit point WV. Getting ready for my very first race in the rain.

    Joe my partner on the Christian Sport Bike Racing team, gives me my pep talk.

    “You can go hard on the brakes, about 80 percent of what you would do in the dry. Keep the tires cool, find water to drive through to keep the rain tires cool.” “The rain tires are heavily grooved to channel the water away and are a very soft compound compared to the race slicks we normally race on.”

    “Keep the bike as upright as possible, lean off as far as you can. Be smooth on the throttle,” he then added

    “Stay off the dry patches,” he said it sternly

    Joe loved racing in the rain, while most riders hated it, he loved it. It is all about courage and your faith in those two credit card size patches of tire touching the pavement. How well they will stick. How much notice do they give you when they break traction.

    I was nervous… I was afraid.

    At the track, they start the race by announcing the calls. First Call is a five-minute warning to get ready for your heat. They announce which race it is and what category. Second Call is a two-minute warning. Third Call and final call is the call to report to the pit out area to do your warm up lap before gridding up for the race.


    “This is your third and final call for lightweight, super bike,” The announcer said over the loud speaker in his rich baritone voice.

    I pushed the bike off the stand and headed out to the pit out area, weaving my way through the normal congestion of other racers and support people. We were waved on to the track to do our warm up lap and got a chance to view any changes to the track from the last race; it is also a time to put some heat in our tires. I make a point to not look at all the spots where other riders went off the track.

    Racing is a game of confidence; it is the other guy that crashed, that screwed up or somehow got tangled up with another rider and went down. Not me… Not me. It is the mantra of all racers, not just me.

    I look at my grid position where my starting position is for the start. It is written in pen on a piece of tape on my gas tank, 11 A it is just above the words “No Fear”

    I am gridded in the front row of the Amateur racers; the experts are in the front. There are about 30 of us out there braving the rain.

    We all worry about the start. Turn one in any motorsport at the start, is always a white knuckled event. Today the rain only adds to that anxiety.

    The flag drops.

    The throttle and my adrenaline are both maxed out.

    I have a great start. Before turn one I have caught a bunch of the experts.

    I am hard on the brakes coming into turn one. From over a 100 mph to just over 30mph on a rain covered track all in a matter of seconds. I out brake a lot of other riders, passing them going into and out of turn one.

    Chaos is the only way I can describe those first few seconds of a race.

    I decided in that moment when the flag dropped to trust my partner and his experience-- not my fears.

    I was burning up the track with a new-found confidence…the bike stuck. I passed one rider right after another as I made my way around the track. Each corner gave me confidence, each pass reassured me that both I and the bike could do this and do it well.

    On lap 4 I caught and passed two riders going through turn 4 at a little over a 90 mph. In front of me were 3 other riders who had slowed down to take turn 5 which is the slowest corner on the track. In a split second, I had to choose between passing all three of them or going hard on the brakes and tuck in behind them.

    I decided to pass.

    Going on the outside of the corner, I did the best I could to make the corner. Keeping the bike as upright as possible with as much as my body hanging off to keep it in balance. Smooth on the brakes and throttle.

    With an ever so gentle slide of the front wheel I was on the ground. Impacting on the pavement, the bike and I both on our sides sliding on the tarmac.

    The normal phrase left my lips.

    “Shit!”

    As the bike and I slid through the corner my life vest inflated, the bike went one way and I another.

    As I lay on the track with bikes narrowly missing me. I was smiling. I had just ridden one of the best races of my life.

    My mantra has changed a little.

    “I love racing in the rain.”

    “No fear.”

    “Not me.”



    Even though I crashed out of that race, I took 3 first place finishes that weekend

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    Bigger Al, Glov3r, BadgerDog and 2 others like this.
  2. craigincali

    craigincali Just hanging around

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,937
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    A town called Hell
    I won every rain race I have entered. I ride the same as in the dry, just at about 80%. Everyone else is scared, I just (used to not anymore) would go for it at 70-80% for the first 3 or 4 laps and then just cruise around.

    I dont like racing in the rain but I like it better than not racing at all. It also helps when your bike is not too expensive to just replace it if you total it.....Actually, this is the key to rain racing.
    #2
  3. plasticweld

    plasticweld You break it we fix it

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    UP State New York
    There is certainly a mind set to wining. Push hard...harder than the other guy and be willing to risk it all. I think the same applies to life and business when it gets right down to it, which is one reason I think the racing community is so tight. Only another racer would get that.
    #3