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Discussion in 'Racing' started by DirtyDog, Oct 17, 2012.
Man this was a great read. If only it had been finished!! :huh
Yeah come on DD lets have the final chapter please
Ok, ok. I'm currently in Kansas riding, so it'll be a day or two before I can begin to finish the write-up.
Spoiler- both the KLR and I survived the season. I'm riding the KLR today, but it is retired from racing... But I'm not.
So you bought a 950 to race right? 650 get boring?
Great read can't wait for the final chapter!! I raced my 950 at a local hare scramble last weekend and had a blast. Can't wait for the next one.
Ok, I know I never finished this report, so I'm doing my best to recall the last race(s) in as much detail as possible... When I last left you, there was one BlackJack race remaining in my first enduro race season and I was riding a behemoth KLR650. As I'm recollecting this, I'm flooded with some mixed and conflicting emotions- confusion, pride, pain, and general self-doubt such as "why the hell did I do this again?" Oh well, I had a lot of fun, and judging from the responses received in this report, it was all worth it.
Well, at long last, it's the final race of the season in Oklahoma City and hosted by Oklahoma Dirt Riders at Draper Lake, an OHV area.
Due to the proximity to home, I was able to convince some local inmates to ride in the race with me. Newner (XR250) and RedDirtJoe (WR250) joined me in the slow race while Crash217 (XC250) rode the big boy race. This was my first time to ride at Draper.
I trailered the KLR to OKC with my swanky van and scoped out the area. The region had received a significant amount of rainfall recently and more was forecast on the night before the race. When we arrived, we were met with some uncertainty from the hosting club as to the probability of a cancellation. We crossed our fingers at Crosstimbers.
That afternoon, the clouds from hell spewed the evil tears of the damned in a thorough attempt to ruin our weekend. We cowered in my leaky van, as there was little else we could do but wait. Late into the night, there was still no final word on the status of the race, as the club was in a tough spot because there was some sort of governing body for the OHV area that was allowing the race to be held by Okie Dirt Riders. I witnessed several phone conversations and tried to stay optimistic. Apparently, a compromise was met, and although the race was not completely cancelled, the course was dramatically altered (shortened), and the key time was pushed back to allow the ground to dry as much as possible.
Scheduled as a timekeeper, the last-minute changes to the course resulted in basically a hugely simplified format with only two checks. We did two short loops and it was a mudfest. My first loop was pretty easy and though traction was an issue, the KLR plowed through everything pretty well. The dirt in central Oklahoma is infamous for its qualities. The area is known as red dirt country and it's no exaggeration. When the red dirt gets wet, it basically turns to a sticky paste and actually stains the aluminum on your bike. A power-washer can't completely remove it (at least not mine), and you have to manually scrub away the red film. Needless to say, it presents challenges when riding, and you can get out of sorts pretty easily even in the simplest of sections. I'm sure I was perpendicular to the course on numerous occasions.
Here's what our bikes looked like after one loop. Modest patina of red clay.
The second loop was a different story (as usual) with increased difficulty, extended fatigue delays, and I had a pretty substantial get-off. The brief respite from mud included a grass track and it presented its own challenges. I must have been going too fast, or fatigue was getting the best of my reflexes, but I got crossed-up and highsided the bike eating a facefull of turf. After miles of slipping and sliding, the red mud had impregnated the brakes making them all but useless, coated the chain, and basically made the countersprocket cover look like a play-doh machine. But all of this was a blast. I had a great time at this race, finished with a sub-par time and enjoyed my first official enduro slogfest. Newner was having trouble with his XR and it didn't help his race much. The mud was causing his air-cooled bike to run too hot. October in Oklahoma can still be a bit balmy, and with all the rain, it was a muggy bitch. RedDirtJoe was having a rough day of it too with 50/50 kenda tires, but all three of us finished the race. Crash217 is a high-class rider and all this shit is a breeze for him.
This image ws featured in a KLR calendar assembled by an ADV inmate.
Yes, those are van running boards that Newner uses as a ramp.
Not much cooling happening here.
I needed a solid score to keep my place in season points. I went into this race sitting in 2nd place somehow, but that wouldn't be the case. I placed 7th in C Vet, beating only Newner, who was having bike issues. Within BlackJack, I secured a 4th place finish for the race and that put me barely in 4th place for the season.
I can't really complain about getting 4th place in an enduro circuit while riding a KLR, but I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit disappointed. But look at the point separation!!?? I was one point away from a tie for second. Oh, the what ifs!! What if I had trained a bit harder? What if I had just been only 10% more aggressive? Would that have made the difference? Or the real question- What if I were simply riding a lighter bike?
At some point after I took that screenshot above, there must have been some modifications to the scoring after the season had ended. When I look at the scores now, they read as follows:
I asked about the modified scores, but it was too late. For those of you that understand enduro scoring (while I'm no expert) should be able to plainly see that something is wrong here. The ultimate result is the same (4th place), but it makes no sense to me why the scores are a bit wonky for Hardwood Hills and Train Robbers. It certainly opens the gaps between me and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers and I don't think it truly reflects how close the class was for 1st - 4th.
One more bonus race and a recap coming soon...
Glad you are finishing the RR report Jason. As I told you before, that was a really big accomplishment and something you should be proud of.
Yay the next installment!!
I tip my hat to you and that KLR both..
Oklahoma Gold Rush 2012
Well, my inaugural BlackJack Enduro Circuit season was officially over , but the bike and I still had a bit of life in us, so we gave it one last hurrah. I had heard tales of this race called Gold Rush and was intrigued. It is held at a local Hallett Speedway approximately 40 min west of my home. This speedway has track days for bikes and cars and is nestled right next to a highway that I frequent, but had never stopped.
What was interesting about the Gold Rush race was the fact that it utilizes different surfaces to make a hybrid race. They basicaly added paved track sections and an MX course to a harescramble. They have class races for bikes, quads, and UTVs, so why not a KLR? I knew a couple friends were racing. I didn't make any firm plans, but decided to give it another go at an ironman enduro (harescramble, really).
I put the highway gears, mirrors, etc. on the KLR and got all kitted out for a DS trip over to the raceway. Paid my entry and prepped the bike alone in the pits. Swapped out my counter-sprocket from a 16 to a 14, shed the mirrors and luggage (except the tank bag), and got myself ready to race. I signed up for the beginner / vintage race, and of course I got a fresh series of the typical questions "You're racing on what?" :huh No big deal. Been there, done that.
The harescramble dead start was a new one for me- bar to bar in a dense line of bikes, straddle the front wheel with hands on the grips facing backwards. Right in front of the starting line was a face-high berm that was psyching me out from the get-go. I took a slow start and sort of worked from the back of the pack, letting the torque do the work. I rode a steady race and never had any serious mishaps or crashes. A few typical minor stalls and drops, but nothing chronic. All the obstacles and technical sections were doable for me and the KLR. Shit, if a UTV can do it, it should have been cake, right?
All images below courtesy of inmate Silver. I definitely owe him a beer for taking so many pics of me in the race. I didn't know it till after, but I was beeping my horn and waving at him and other paparazzi while riding the MX track. I couldn't see his face behind the camera.
Fellow inmate Celtazon
Pics are from silver, but I laced a few into an animated gif.
What makes this race so cool and interesting for me is the mixed surfaces. It has woods, grass track, MX track, plus a few miles of curvy pavement. I probably passed more riders on pavement than on the dirt. The 650cc was tough to match WFO in the straights. The knobby tires were a bit scary in the curves though.
Celtazon has way more track experience than I.
Inmate Celtazon again in the woods section.
Jumping a KLR is sketchy at times, but it can be done. Fortunately, the pictured jump managed to catch me in decent form. I nosed-in and assed-in several times, but never crashed. Jumping MX isn't something that I really had much experience in, especially on a 400 lb bike.
Yes, I have modified suspension, but nothing too exotic. I have Progressive springs in the forks and have my sag set with custom preload spacers. For the rear shock, it's actually a stock shock body with a heavier Progressive (brand, not wind) spring. I forget the spring rating.
Technically speaking, it was way easy compared to an enduro. Way fast and open. The woods sections were DUSTY 2-track. The MX section was pure fun with huge jumps. I skipped the water obstacle... maybe on purpose the first time, but every lap after that was just maintaining the same line and trying to get better. The grass tracks were fast with plenty of stutter bumps and jumps. The paved track was a good change-up and required a completely different set of skills. They had a radar set up on the long, uphill straight section, and I got clocked doing 76mph with my offroad gearing. I don't think the bike had much else to give, as I was using 14/47 stump-pulling gearing. I bet I was at redline or close to it in 5th gear. According to Gearing Commander, my top speed with that gearing is 80.7 mph.
Results of the Gold Rush 2012 were modest for me, but I wasn't pushing it too hard. I really enjoyed the race, probably more smiles per mile than in any other race I've ridden. I just really liked the diverse format and it was challenging enough to test you, but open enough to allow for some major speed. My first lap was pretty slow and I was just getting the feel of things. I progressively turned on the speed and rode a pretty clean race. I never rode too aggressively, but I know for sure I could have passed several more people in the last lap alone. Maybe I was feeling a bit of self-preservation and just enjoying the race rather than taking it too seriously. There were only a handful of plated enduros in the field; nearly every bike was a true dirt bike.
I finished middle of the pack, which I think is still respectable considering my bike and racing experience level.
If I had to list one negative, it would be the ridiculous $20 gate fee I had to pay to ride my KLR through, race, and then ride out. No discounts for the ironman.:ddog Most expensive race I have ever ridden.
I also rode Gold Rush in 2013, but on my KDX and in the team race with a dude I met in the registration line. Planning to ride it again this year.
Thanks this was and is a great story of man and machine prevailing against the odds lol. Thanks for bring us along for the ride, job well bone sir.
that Gold Rush seems like my kind of race! I won two vintage class roadraces at Hallet a decade or so ago and would love to do this race.