This morning's speed runs were mostly an absolute fucking shambles. The start order on the ground bore little or no resemblance to the one posted last night, so I'm not going even to try to get it right. In the qualifying runs, Sergei and Mike Mowett decked multiple times, while Damjan made a faultless launch only to blow a front tyre a mile into the run. Mike later had another attempt with one of the Toronto PSOs as launcher and got away successfully. Dave Sianez made a satisfactory run - his last of the event as he has to go back to work tomorrow. And Vortex, variously ridden by Calvin Moes and Cam Robertson, was its usual reliable self.
Then we moved out to the five mile start, which takes ages. The first heat went off pretty well, with Thomas, Calvin, Florian and Graeme all making it through the traps successfully. Florian fell at the start but was relaunched; Graeme was a whisker under 51 mph but the wind had picked up to illegal levels. He went over while approaching the catch area.
|Graeme and Beastie wait at the start. Now with a single 300" gear!|
Also the wind at the start had picked up significantly, though it was OK further down the course. Cam Robertson piloted Vortex through OK, but Sergei dropped Tativa several times and pulled out. David Verbroekken came very close to hitting the trailer of Primal's chase vehicle, which had been parked in totally the wrong place. The rule that chase vehicles at this point of the course have to be parked behind the STOP sign has been in force since the event started. David eventually gave up, while Team Primal decided not even to bother trying.
The third heat was cancelled.
We are allowed to close the road until 10 am. At twelve minutes to, the road was still open. It would have taken - assuming a clear run - about four minutes to drive the course. Even if the bikes were all ready to roll the moment sweep arrived, a run down the full course can take six or seven minutes. There was no way it could be done in the time available. Results of this morning's runs are here. Thanks, Jun!
My suggestion that we bribe Steve Nash or Hans van Vugt to get up early was made in jest, but now I'm not so sure. Alternatively those having problems might like to think about hauling their machines off to Muleshoe Road outside town and practicing.
The meeting was due to start at "when everyone gets back". This was well before 11. At ten past eleven there had been no Dissemination of Useful Information to the assembled throng. I left before I said anything I might later regret. I'm told that things got a little fractious towards the end, so it was probably one of my more sensible ideas.
I'll update this entry after the evening runs.
Except that there weren't any. At 15:30 it was flat calm in town. By 15:45 it was blowing half a gale and the mountains to the west were invisible behind the rain. Optimistically we all trooped out anyway, but the consensus among the riders was a resounding "no". Of course, once they'd all left for town the rain stopped and the wind dropped; conditions were absolutely perfect.
However it was raining on the way back to the Super 8 and didn't look like it was going to stop any time soon. And some of us remember the occasion in, I think, 2002 when after heavy rain in the early afternoon, the road was completely dry. Three bikes went down in quick succession at the same point on the course. Diesel spill, perhaps, or just goop rising out of the asphalt after a prolonged dry spell. No-one wants to join the Highway 305 Flying Club if they can possibly avoid it. And the forecast for tomorrow is Not Good either. Arses.