Squirrel Circus Round 2 Race Report
Going into this round the weather looked like it was goingto be another cold wet PNW race weekend. Saturday, I only went out for 3 lapsin just one practice, track had dried out and I had a new set of Pirelli raintires on and didnít want to burn them up. Back at the pits and changed over tothe Dunlop slicks. Then proceeded to watch every cloud and go back and forth onif I was going to change them back. Finallysaid screw it and just leave the slicks on.
Saturday Alex Schramm had a very lucky high speed low sideduring practice. While on slicks he hit a rain squall in turn 1 at a very highrate of speed causing him to low side. He walked away with only his spirit bruisedluckily. Will Smithís batteries where died in his magic wand for this one andit wasnít going to be repaired in time for his races.
First race for me was MWGP twins and had the usual suspectson the grid from the SV group. With a dry track and slick it was going to be agood race. I had a good start and pushing hard around the track, hot of DustinWalbonís heals. Will Beebe gets around me and then Cliff Beebe. Figure Iíllkeep on Cliff and make a move after the halfway flag. Cliff has some majorpower down low on his SV but it seems to be lacking on the upper mid-range and Ican slowly reel him back in by being extra late on the brakes and keepingcorner speed up above my comfort level. Coming out of turn 2 Cliffís rear tirepicks up a sizeable object from the track and throws it up in the air. I hit itwith my left forearm, now that got my attention. Jeremy Johnson #98 motors byme on the straight away. WOW his SV has some HP. My EBay motor canít come closeto keeping up with him. Wish I had my A motor fixed and installed, then I couldgive both of them a run for the money. With the white flag out I come through turn 7to see Dustin on the ground not moving.Because I have corner worked both T7 and T8 I know that can be a badspot for the corner workers to see a down rider. So as I go up to T8 I pointback down the track at the corner worker station, maybe not the right thing todo while racing, oh well. As I turn to put my head down and keep on runningCliff down T9 pulls the red flag. I put an arm backup and get to the outside ofthe track. Cliff and I come to a stop on the outside of the track. We both knowthat it isnít a good idea to keep rolling around the track. Colt comes walkingup and gives us the ok to do a U-turn and head back to the pits. With the redflag that gives me a 4th place finish.Best lap time of 1:38:298
650SS race, Had another good start, however Cliff Beebe hada bad crash and red flags came out again. Hope Cliffís foot heals fast so hecan make it out for the next round and play with us.
Sunday morning. Weather calls for 70% chance of rain today. Wakeup to it raining out, I pull the slicks off and put the rains on. Get out for a few laps of the practice justto get the blood pumping.
With rain/sun on and off I was not going to change tiresover and over again. So I left the rain tires on as I headed out on a dry trackfor 650SS race. With Dustin and Cliff out I looked over at Will Beebe thinking Ihave a shot if my tires can hold up. Board goes up, Board goes sidewaysÖ..Light goes outÖÖ. I get a killer start and I have no one next to me going intoT1, and continue to push hard every corner until the rear tire startsoverheating. Coming down the hill intoT3 it takes all I have to keep the back tire remotely where it should be. Iknow I canít keep this pace up and finish the race, by lap 4 the rear has overheated and Iím looking for the water that stands just outside of T4 as the onlyrelief the rear can get. It doesnít last long and by the time I get back to T9its greased out and sliding mid corner. Smiling,laughing in my helmet corner after corner, this is why I love racing theSV.Iím keeping an eye on Will Beebe as I come outof T4, he is closing the gap. Coming up on the back marker of the Ninja 250s, Itake a pass before T5. Hoping traffic will help slow him down, but with hisskill he makes fast work of any 250 that I can throw at him, and he finallygets around me with 1 Ĺ laps to go. I have 1 last shot at him, however comingout of the bus stop he takes a 250 on the inside and I go for the outside. It pushes me out too far and I have to rolloff to keep on the track losing any drive I have. I take 2nd place.I had a great run, I more at the end of the day.
Lunch time and another rain cloud covers everything up as ifthe sun never was out just a few minutes ago. Vintage racers go out rightbefore our LWSB race, its dry and Iím thinking Iíll be in another tire temp warwith Will Beebe. But just as the vintagecrew is on their last lap it starts to rain. They come in and itís a full wetrain race. My rear rain is not in the best of shape after the dry race but Iíllgive it a shot.
Another good start but Will gets me this time and takes offas the rain starts to get heavier and heavier. I come into T5 to a wavingYellow, in the gravel I see a 39 of Willís bike facing me and he is standingoff to the side, I see he is up and ok so I go back to the task at hand. Iknow, a bad habit but I always have to make sure a down rider is ok. Just when Ithink it canít rain any harder it does. So much rain, the puddles are gettingbigger and deeper at every corner. Somuch standing water on the straight-a-way that I cannot make out my tip inmarker, or the center white line. I cannot go full throttle without spinning upthe rear, all I can do is hang onto the bike with my legs and let the bike doits thing. At this point I cannot tell if Iím heading into a deep puddle andthe bike keeps kicking, spinning and pushing the front end in every corner. Theclouds at the end of the straight are starting to clear but this is a very badthing. The sun was making it so hard to see in the rain that I cannot see thestart/finish flags. Iím went from race mode to survival mode at this point, Iímgetting so wet and cold that Iím losing control of my fingers for braking. I am keeping tabs on Krister Fast , keepinghim out of striking distance, and keeping my bike upright.Finally get the white flag as I go through T2one last time, there are now waves in the streams of water coming off the corner.Dirt/water coming down between T3 -4, and more water than I can ever rememberin the dip before T5. I finally cross the line for the win.
It took 17 years of racing to finally get a win. This one I hadto work the elements and stay ahead of the pack of SV wet racers. I couldníthave done it without my wifeís support, Will Smith, the Squirrel Circus racerspits. Pirelli tires, Skagit Powersports for all the help with keeping me up onparts and gear. Barry at KFG, the setup is still going strong. All of the WMRRAstaff for putting on another great weekend.
See you all at the next round,

Paul R Gienau