DC950 and Gaspipe Go Woods Racing

Discussion in 'Racing' started by DC950, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Based on the interest in my other thread, it seems some folks out there are interested in the Why's, How's, and Results of two middle aged guys going racing in the woods. It's hard to write that phrase "middle aged" but at 41 for me, it's true, and probably has something to do with why I'm doing this. Gaspipe too I imagine. We'll try not to bore you too much over the next few months.

    I really appreciate the input and comments so far on the other thread. I hope that everyone will keep doing it on this thread. Like I said, the reason we're making this thread is to:

    1) encourage others to try woods racing
    2) help those interested learn from our experience (mistakes!)
    3) help all of us learn from the experienced racers who will hopefully chime in with plenty of wisdom


    But why are we going racing period? Why do I want to abuse myself, my bike, and the trees I hit? Homer believed a good story should start in media res (the middle) but since we don't yet know how it ends, we'll start in the beginning with Why?
    #1
  2. neduro

    neduro Addict

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    If I can make a recommendation, you can save a lot of time by getting dressed up, climbing on your garage roof, and diving off. Then, knock the bike over on both sides, and burn a $100 bill.

    Way faster than racing and the effect is roughly the same. :lol3

    Seriously, though, I'm excited for this thread.
    #2
  3. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Ah, I see - that's what dirt racing is. What I used to do is ride around, stop at every storm drain entrance I saw, and throw money into it. We called that roadracing.
    #3
  4. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I finally broke down and joined the AMA again. Tossed my SCCA cage racing stuff in the trash - now there was a place a fella could really lay waste to the kid's college funds.

    Neduro described ergos in a thread from a while back. I also subscribe to that theory. Everybody is different, and there's a particular way I like my bike to feel - seat, bar, peg relationship. Second, is the suspension. I like it to be certain way for certain riding. This isn't necessarily for absolute speed or control, but for a level comfort vs control. Everything in life is a compromise.

    And that's what it is about for me. A certain level of comfort - that let's me ride much longer at the same pace than a bike that just doesn't work for me. I'm still fiddling with my WR250, trying to get to that place.
    #4
  5. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Why am I doing this? Lot's of reasons. I am fairly competitve by nature. My biggest competitor has always been myself. I seem to have a deep seated need to push myself. Some might say I have been repressing something that has to get out.

    Quite possible since like a lot of kids, I was raised by my mother. She's about as far from a risk taker as one can get and was always adamant that I not do things to hurt myself. I nearly always acquiesced to her fears, even in karate, something that I truly loved and that really changed me for the better. I was quite good at it as a teenager, but she was terrified of me fighting in tournaments. So I didn't and got hurt anyway (a knee injury that bothers me 25 years later).

    Add to that a father who repeatedly stated I'd be disowned if I ever rode a motorcycle, and it's pretty easy to see something had to give eventually. Naturally, after I got out of college and into the USAF I bought a motorcycle. Remember the Harley-Davidson $3995 883 Ride Free Guarantee? I still have that Sportster.

    In 1988 I saw my first roadrace, at the old Loudon NH track. A couple of years later I went back and was amazed to see Sportsters racing. No matter what the race fans thought of pig racing, everyone loved the sound. I never thought I could be one of those racers. I assumed these guys were some sort of demi gods who had to be full time racers. Little did I know.

    Fast forward a couple of years and I was in L.A. There I discoverd the Angeles Crest Highway and went to a lot more roadraces. I gradually changed my Sportster from a fringed saddle bag equiped mini tourer to something closely resembling an AMA 883. Every Saturday morning I could, I'd hit The Crest by daylight. I learned a lot on that road and the Malibu hills. Unfortunately, I suffered under the delusion the Sportster really was sporty. Passing a Ducati 851 in anger one day below Newcombe's Ranch didn't help any.

    At this same time I owned a BMW R100GS. I suffered under the delusion it was a dirtbike. For a long time. I also first started trying to keep up with something called Paris-Dakar

    All of this motorcycle riding meant I wasn't exercising much. To keep the USAF happy, I started riding mountain bikes and really got into it. I was one of those guys who felt like if I didn't bleed on a ride, I didn't have fun. My wife said I always came home bloody. Only half true. But I really did push it on the bicycle, to the point that I had a horrific crash one Sunday moring in Palos Verdes, nearly destroying my face. Two plastic surgeries later (including reattatching my lips and building me a nose) I was fixed up and ready to go. But that was pretty much it for my mountain biking career.

    So it was time to do something safer. Roadracing!
    #5
  6. duckbill

    duckbill Been here awhile

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    You forgot to mention that you should have your wife beat you with a broom handle while dousing you with buckets of ice cold water and yelling to get the f*ck out of the way.
    #6
  7. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    since the AMA had a class that raced Sportsters, I had one, and I was under the delusion it was sporty, I decided to race mine. At the AMA races I went to, I spent a lot of time talking to 883 riders and tuners. There was a real camraderie among them and everyone to a man was glad to answer all of my noob questions.

    By now I was out of the USAF and working in San Francisco. I figured learning to race with the AFM at Sears Point was a sensible thing to do. Overweight, underpowered bike, dangerous track, Ducatis. Good idea.

    I learned a lot racing a Harley. Mostly I learned to be a good mechanic. Helping a racer push his bike back to the pits at Pomona should have been a clue to what I was getting into. Suffice it to say, for every hour on the track, I spent 10-12 on the bike. New rings every other race, burnt valves, etc. I missed half of my second season due to breakdowns at the track.

    Still, when it ran it was fun. Another thing I learned is that it usually is the rider, and not the bike. Every guy I ever beat was on a better bike, but I was never out of the bottom 25%. Trust me, I'm the guy you want to pass because I've had a ton of practice being passed. I have no problem with this either, so 14 year old girls and 70 year old men passing me in the woods won't bother me a bit.

    [​IMG]

    Turn 11 at Sears Point. That's about as far as a pig will lean.

    So I took a year off, moved to Memphis, and since the geniuses at the AMA canceled the 883 class (the place where the Bostroms, Zemke, and others got their starts), decided to go vintage racing on a Moto Guzzi. That's seems kind of like going from the frying pan into the fire, but it's really not. The Sportster was a Pig, the Guzzi is a Buffalo.

    [​IMG]

    Road Atlanta, 2001, complete with muffler shop exhaust. Hey, it beats being black flagged for noise again.

    [​IMG]

    Road Atlanta 2003 with my racing friend Ken on his Honda. This pic almost makes me want to forget woods racing. Good thing Road A is 440 miles from my house...


    The Guzzi is a lot of fun. It's very fast in a straight line and handles better than the H-D (which isn't saying much). Just like racing the pig, I met a bunch of great guys racing vintage, including Cactus Dave. I had a lot more fun too since the Guzzi always ran. I even learned to pass! Not that that happened much, but I did win two races the Perfect Weekend.

    The birth of my two sons, money, starting a business, and the tracks being so far away meant I never roadraced as much as I needed to to get good. Even racing two classes, you only get a couple of hours on the track per weekend. Reluctantly, I decided to hang up roadracing for now. The Guzzi is in pieces, with a perfectly shimmed, race shift gear box ready to go (in the Guzzi world a gear box that shift backwards and well is about as rare as hens teeth).

    But something happened during my last roadrace, and it wasn't finishing last again (killed it at the line). I was used to finishing last from my H-D days. No, something clicked and I went faster than I ever had. It seems I had become a racer and not just a guy who rides around on a track during a race, and I knew I had to do something about it.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that roadracing is dangerous. After having kids, the thought of getting killed on the track did weigh on me on those long drives alone to the races (my wife is bored to tears with roadracing and doesn't come with me. The once or twice she did go I asked her about it and she said "well, you went by and I knew you'd be back by in a minute." :snore ).

    And now we'll finally get to the point of all this rambling and begin to learn what happens when one decides to trade the possibility of death on the racetrack for the near certainty of maiming in the woods.
    #7
  8. flyingbeard

    flyingbeard Long timer

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    Great Start:clap . Keep it coming.....:D
    #8
  9. Carlos M

    Carlos M www.motoxplorers.com

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    :D


    :clap :clap :clap

    :lurk :lurk :lurk
    #9
  10. Oni

    Oni Ronin

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    DC

    Great story!!! I used to ride the Crest on a little Honda Hawk. Slow but handled great in the tight stuff.

    Looking forward to reading more!!! :clap
    #10
  11. Hawk

    Hawk Pretentious Fukwit!!

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    Bruce,

    As I mentioned to you, I bought a dirt bike (YZ125) about 8 months ago, sold it 2 months ago and bought a CRF250X. Me and the telephone guy you never go to meet raced in a Buddy race on New Years Eve, rained 4 inches the day before. We were able to pull off a 9th place overall, first in class (special old man class). So if my fat ass can do this, I KNOW you can.

    Shoot me a note and I will come join you guys or cheer you on. I can show you amazing arm pump from hell and all.

    John
    #11
  12. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Jeez - I just realized I had things in common with both Gaspipe and DC:huh . Not a good thing my mother would warn.

    Used to race desert motorcycles but broke waaay too many ribs, collerbones , rotator cuffs, etc so decided that roadracing was safer. Or more importantly I did not have to train physically as hard to last the race distance. Roadraced motorcycles (expensive as DC states) then decided to roadrace cars (ala Gaspipe) as I would not be in the hospital as much when I could not bring it back from a wicked slide. Sadly I did not figure I would be pulling one of my co-drivers lifeless bodies from a wreck during a race(R.I.P. Billy). Bottom line car racing makes motorbike racing look affordable. Waaaay too much money but loads of fun.

    So full circle back to dirt bikes. Cheap (relatively), and what the hell, am I a curator for well kept bodies:huh . To hell with it, when I pass on i want to squeeze every last drop of excitement out of this aging, out of shape body and get my monys worth.

    So DC was enjoying himself round the full circuit of Sears Point (Infinion) with Zemke and the boys whilst the Nascar boys deem the track too dangerous and cut off the challenging bits when they come to town. Gaspipe was strafing apex's, buzzing 12a motors and dealing with SCCA politics. Then time brings us all back to our roots.

    Bring it on GP and DC!!!
    #12
  13. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    thanks!

    Oh yes, the 883 and I were passed by legions of Hawks in AHRMA BOT 3 (Battle of the Twins) races.
    #13
  14. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I did some desert racing out west when I was living on the west slope of Colorado - in the early 80's - on a Krause Racing modified 1981 CR125R. It was Honda's first crack at a watercooled bike. No pics :cry That thing was faster than my XT550. I explored thousands of miles of dirt roads and singletrack in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico on that XT550.

    Then there were some road bikes, including a trick VF1000R that I spent a few laps on, as well as a GS750ED. Very few pics in that era either :cry

    [​IMG]

    Then, I started adventure riding again, but somewhat briefly, on an '86 Moto Morini 501 Camel. That was an awesome bike, and I went many places on it. No pics in that era :cry [can you see the trend?] I unfortunately ended up in NYC for a decade, and I got bored with bikes when I was there - hated riding in traffic and tolls. And I sold the Morini and most of my bikes, but not all of 'em, and still did some riding.

    In the early 90's, my wife was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer, and to deal with the stress, I went racing once again, but in a rotary Mazda. Some SOB in timing and scoring with an evil sense of humor saw fit to give me #43 - and it stuck. I found myself on the podium numerous times, on many tracks - Nelson Ledges, Watkins Glen, Pocono, VIR, Mid Ohio, Moroso, Sebring - and a bazillion laps around Summit Point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I got into enduro racing, winning some 6 and 12 hour races, and then getting into 24 hour racing. This was much more fun for me than the 45 minute sprints.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Along came a '96 KTM RXC and life changed once again - adventure riding took on a new meaning for me. I threw in the roadracing towel in '98, and started back into Adventure riding one more time. I've ridden Lord only knows how many miles of dirt since then.

    A recent trip to Thailand, and an impromptu entry into a local Enduro there rekindled it one more time. I came home and bought myself a leftover '06 Husqvarna WR250, and here I am. But I have to ride a few thousand miles in Baja first :lol3

    When I get back, DC950 & I are going racing.

    :webers
    #14
  15. bikewanker

    bikewanker Adventurer

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    :rofl Anybody want to see my $25,000 EBC racing jacket ?
    #15
  16. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    I've never seen any of your racing pics before. Cool, very cool.
    #16
  17. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    Way to go guys :thumb This is an awsome thread. It might even get me off my arse.

    Bruce,
    I had a VFR1000F with a 1000R motor. That bike was a kick in the pants. It didn't handle very well but it went like stink (for it's time)


    Nate
    #17
  18. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    while all this roadracing and canyon carving business was going on, I owned a couple of GS's. I have no idea why, but the first time I saw a GS I was gobsmacked. It was in Italy and was a very early one with "Paris Dakar" on the tank. In 1990 I got a new Bumblebee R100GS. I really thought I had the ultimate bike and would be able to go anywhere and do anything I wanted :rofl

    It didn't take long to realize my dirt experience (zero) and 500 lbs were not going to get me very far (except in an ambulance). But I perservered and got dirty wherever I could, mostly under powerlines and such. I'd ride the same little areas over and over, experimenting and falling. It never occured to me to ask someone for a few tips. Instead, I bought an R1100GS.

    Believe it or not, I was "better" (boy is that relative) in the dirt on it than the R100. I used to ride up an down a long piece of land parallel to the 880 freeway in Oakland for hours on that thing. I taught myself how to slide and how to crash mightily. So I figured it was time to suit up in my Aerostitch and go to the Off Highway Vehicle Park (Carnegie for you NorCal types).

    Showing up there made me feel like I just landed from Mars. Guys would actually stop their bikes and stare at me. I had a lot of fun the couple of times I went, only broke a few bike parts and no body parts. Say what you will about that bike, but if it hooks up, it'll climb a hill like a scalded cat.

    During this whole time though, I was becoming a Dakar junkie. I could've cared less about Motocross, Supercross, Baja, or any other dirt racing but there was something about Dakar you all understand. The internet changed Dakar from something in a magazine months after it was over to something real. Right now real. Jimmy Lewis and John Deacon (RIP) on their boxers were the stuff of my dreams. I had such a jones for one of those bikes I contacted HPN about it. Good thing they said no.

    Every year the Dakar addiction grew. With it came the acceptance the GS wasn't a dirtbike. My delusions were finally beginning to crumble. I had to do something. The thought of a bike I couldn't ride on the street, when I already had two racebikes in the garage, didn't make a lot of sense. Dual sport it would have to be and I settled on a KLR after riding one on a pre-kid Edelweiss tour in Mexico (two up no less - what a girl I have :deal).

    Oh no, yet another delusion - the KLR is a "real" dirtbike. Compared to a GS it was, at least in my sorry hands. So the search was on for a KLR.

    Thank the good Lord two things happened instead: 1) Gaspipe, who I had already met because of our interest in Evil Black Rifles, found me here; 2) this showed up on flea bay at a KLR price:



    [​IMG]

    Good thing too, because by this point some guys named Meoni, Roma, and Caldecott had pushed Bostrom, Biaggi, and Corser out of my head. Throw in the aforementioned Mr 'pipe and a guy named Fletcher, and I was inexorably being pulled to the Dirt Side.
    #18
  19. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    What kind of series are you all going to ride?
    #19
  20. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I recall a time, in an unmentionable place of fowl warfare, in central Mississippi, where we were discharging said Evil Black Rifles, wherein we discovered each other had a KTM. Imagine the surprise. We started riding together soon after.

    ****
    Nate - my VF1000R has big carbs, Megacycle cams, Kaz Yoshima heads and a hand made Kaz 4-2 exhaust. It HAULS BUTT, but always handled like a fat guy on a ladder in a wheelbarrow. I still have the thing. It's HUGE.
    #20