This weekend I’m going down to the old Texas World Speedway to work and watch some of the very best club racing around.
While the riders are a varied mix of talent levels and not every bike showing up is backed by a powerhouse racing team sponsor,every heat will still be a showcase of how racing at the grassroots level is done.
I get a front row seat on the track as I will be working corners in case a rider has a bad day just like many other lucky fans. One of the things I am looking for is to see up close how the best riders handle being in fast traffic through the corners. Never an easy sport, road racing is a paradox of ever changing conditions. I am just a raw rookie when it comes to the details of handling a race machine on the track. But even I can see how the track conditions can become different in a matter of minutes. Texas World seems to be a track where the rider needs to be closely aware of the weather… from one end of the track to the other.
Turn one could be dry and sticky concrete but by the time the racer comes through turn seven the bike is looking to slide across the track on asphalt dampened by a spot shower… such is the weather in Texas. How the riders adapt and how they interact with other riders as they enter and exit the turns… that is what I hope to find out. I want to see the lines they take and where the braking points are… where they exit and when they get on the throttle..these too are some of the things as a rookie I want to find out. I need this time to learn if I ever am going to be able to do what the seasoned rider do so casually.
Casually! I say that as if there is any truth to it! But I’m positive that even those racers with years of track time get prickle hair on their necks when things get hairy in a off camber curve. I’m sure that when a liter bike starts to tuck or threatens to high side even the best get kind of goosey… and the face shield fogs a little with a little faster heartbeat and breath.
So I hope to learn a little. I will be looking to the grids and to see how filled they are.. will Formula 3 be hosting a bunch of cool rides? Who will step up in the big bike endurance round to knock off the champs? I can’t wait to see how the Formula 1 session pans out..who will be on the podium this time around? And the mini sprints! I love watching the mini’s!
And now I hear that former Motogp champ Kevin Schwantz and Blake Young will be possibly running in the big bike endurance rounds!!! Wow! That’ll be exciting! and to top it off the perennial 250 class champion of WERA and AFM fame, Brian Bartlow will be bringing his riding skills to Texas to participate in the E superstock and formula 4 classes! It’s like getting a pro race in your backyard!!
It seems that in my short time of being around the scene that it has become even more to me than what I ever thought it was about. A casual observer will see of course the racing,the sights and sounds.. but I now see much more. To me the tracks are very much alive. And the people are more than just a group of racers. I have read so many forum posts and racing stories. The folks in this series seem so animated and full of respect for each other. I swear the vendors I have talked to and read “thank you” postings about seem like that if it was possible they would do what they do… for free…if they could!. I have watched an endless amount of club racing video and all the while I’m thinking “how can anyone NOT want to be a part of this?”
But hey, I’m not a fool wearing rose colored glasses. Sure there’s hard cases that are not always making things easy but they really seem so far and few apart that it’s no big deal from where I stand. People are people and all that jazz. Whatever.
As for me well at the moment I’m looking like a poser. I only talk like I want to race… but if I learned anything in the past few months it’s that it’s just flat out not easy to be a road racer. It’s expensive. It’s a detail obsessed sport that can be unforgiving. You spend a lot hours on the road and there is a whole lot of things you gotta do that ain’t fun just to get to point where you can ride for about 15 minutes! But I think if you ask anyone in the paddock what they like to do they would tell about all the neat hobbies they have and places they have visited on vacation and things like that. But ask them where they would rather spend a weekend…. and you’ll most likely get a “are you stupid?” look as they tell you ….”Right here”.
So I’m going to Texas. And while I pose and watch…while I take some pics and try to fit in…and while I hang out this weekend…. I want all you racers to know something…
You rotten sonavaguns… ya’ll know who I am as you ride by me. I’ll be the pissed off jealous looking dude!!!! Now go and put on good show for me!