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Dirty Girl's 2008 Racing Season

VRRA Quinte TT June 6, 7, 8 2008

It's taken me until my 4th season of racing to get organized enough to have most of the supplies and equipment I need at the first race with me. The only thing I forgot this year was my notebook. Sitting down to make notes after the racing weekend is hard, since I'm left mostly with the impression of the exicing final laps of my final race, overwhelming the recollection of the three day event.

Thursday we arrived in time to get both my NS and Tim's TZR though tech. We had just set up camp when the skies opened up with a deluge. Friday morning practice featured a stream that meandered across the track in the last few (slower) corners, forcing many riders onto new and creative lines. My bike was running great, and I was looking forward to the weekend sprint races, but even more than that I was looking forward to the Friday afternoon endurance race on Laura's CBR 250. I had the chance to ride it briefly at Cayuga, and really enjoyed the accessible four-stroke power and generous 18,000 rpm redline.

2008 VRRA Quinte endurance race start
Laura started the endurance race, she did really well in her first standing start! The endurance race got off to a safe start, but the clock was counting the wrong direction making some extra confusion for the timing and scoring person on each team. I rode second, so when Laura brought the bike into the pits for the rider change, I happily scrambled aboard the CBR for a 20 minute shift.

Quinte TT Endurance race Andrea on Laura's 211 bike
VRRA Quinte TT endurance race - Laura's CBR 250 # 211
VRRA Quinte TT endurance race - Andrea on Laura's CBR Endurance race rider changes for the 211 crew

Quinte TT Laura on her CBR
The CBR250 is easy to ride, but the short laps of Neilson and the sweltering heat meant I was quite ready to reliquish the bike to Tim V. after my session. Laura and I both got our second stints in, but the poor CBR was starting to overheat, and it quit under Tim just before the two hour finish to the endurance race. He managed to ride it off-track safely, just before the dramatic count-up to four on our clock. The poor little CBR was done for the weekend.

Tim Voyer on Laura's Honda CBR 250 for the final session of the endurance race
Andrea & Laura, after the endurance race at the Quinte TT
Even though the CBR was sick, Laura and I were pretty happy after the endurance race.

Tim S and Tim V; Gary's got two mechanics
Tim S and Tim V, working on Gary's bike... a theme of the weekend actually.

Pieces of Eight pit area
Laura and Tim V. are pitted next to Tim and I making up the far end of the Pieces of Eight row.

The P4/F3 (mostly) group 'Pieces of Eight'
Looking up the row of 'our' pits... probably time I park my bike away for the night like everyone else

Saturday practice I found myself in traffic most of the time, with faster bikes passing on the straights and slower bikes collecting in the corners, traffic seems ineveitably to clot up on the Neilson circuit. I started the heat race without too much difficulty, but my standing starts definately need work. Midway thought the race I was distraced by my tach needle parting from the rest of the gauge. What I imagine is a uniquely vintage failure, all of the tach parts still work, but the long end of the needle broke off, making the gauge nearly impossible to read. I spent several laps trying to estimate the rpm's from the wrong end of the needle before I gave up and went by ear. Needless to say it wasn't my most inspired race.

Laura's CBR 211, Tim V's 840, and Tim's P4 bike re-taped with Laura's racing number Tim & Tim, consulting over Gary's Bike
Tim V's 840 temporarily converted into Laura's number 211 Q - how do you make 840 into 211? A - Duct tape
The group of racers that Tim and I usually pit with have become known as the 'Pieces of Eight', seen here in our pits between races. Mostly P4/F3 bikes, we're spreading out to cover more classes each year! We've got two new racers who worked hard all winter preparing new vintage race bikes. Laura prepared her CBR250 with Tim Voyer's help, and Justin prepared his CB750 with Scott, Jeff and Harry's help. While Laura's first racing weekend was a bit damped by her bike's failure, the loan of Tim V's FZR400 let her complete her first round. Justin's bike ran well all weekend, and so did Justin, running strongly in the midpack of the P3 heavyweight race; passing a rider or two and gaining strongly on the rider ahead of him at the end of the race.

Finally, a photo of the pits without someone's underwear hanging in the picture Scott #617 and Justin #412 - Justin's first racing weekend!
Quinte TT 2008, the Pieces of Eight pits Quinte TT 2008 VRRA round 1
My final race on Sunday started well enough, I was far back on the grid in the second wave of the start, but I could see the lights well (on Saturday we had a flagged start) although it didn't help me get off the line quickly, and the bikes around me pulled ahead before the first corner. One bike in front of me I managed to catch a few laps in, but I wasn't able to make much progress after that. About half way though the race my front brakes started to fade. Nothing felt wrong, the lever wasn't squishy like fluid was escaping, but the bike wasn't stopping, and the discs were barely warm after an entire race of squeezing that lever for all I was worth. I locked up the rear trying to slow the bike enough to make the corner, managed to make it around and spent the rest of the lap thinking about what went wrong. I slowed more gradually for that corner the next lap, and still my brakes weren't working. I contemplated pulling out of the race, but I thought I could manage with the rear brake only, if I rolled off soon enough, and I've never quit on a race yet. I slogged my way thought the final laps, expending much more adrenaline than I enjoy and about a season's worth of rear-brake-pad wear. Turns out I shaved a second off my previous best lap time too. A good learning experience, but not a stellar start to the season.

Tim working on Gary's bike Tim spent a lot of time this weekend working on Gary's Bandit

Since the Quinte TT my front brake pads have been replaced, and my leaking fork seal dealt with again - the fork is bent, straightened and corroded and may consume seals at a furious rate until I can find the NS a new fork. At least my brakes are working again, and if I can keep the forks from oiling my brake pads into uselessness. Pack extra brake cleaner for Mosport!

The Vintage Festival at Mosport August 15, 16 & 17 is the next round of racing for me. Laura and I are planning to run the 'Dirty Girl Team' as we did last year, on my NS - her CBR is still waiting for parts at the moment. Mosport is my favourite track, and I'm really looking forward to the chance to get the NS out on the big track. I really enjoy the endurance racing aspect of the vintage racing series, and the chance to run for two hours at Mosport is something both my bike and I enjoy.

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VRRA 2008 Racing Season:

  • Quinte TT - June 6, 7, 8
  • Mosport Vintage Festival - Aug. 15, 16, 17
  • North Bay Runway Romp - Sept. 6, 7

Vintage Road Racing Association - Motorcycle Vintage Racing
For more information on the Vintage Road Racing Association please visit www.vrra.ca

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Come out and watch the racing at Mosport in August!

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