Whiplash 2007, Race #4: Ft. McDowell 5-20-07
I was racing in the 300 quad class which was the last race of the day. We were scheduled to start at 10:15 but I think we started at 11:15 it was nice and toasty!
I headed over to the starting line about 20 minutes early and all of the 300 class was already gathered in 2 rows so I just parked behind them assuming the starters would line us up according to some sort of order. After 15 minutes everyone fired up their engines and the starter just walked around and wrote down the numbers where everyone was. I did not want to get stuck on the back row like I did at firebird so I asked the starter if I could move to the left of the front row even though it was pretty full and he said sure. So I lined up kinda off the track on row 1.
The green flag dropped and it was a bit slippery over where I started so heading into the 1st turn I was back around 7th out of 10. Heading into the corral section my goggles were already covered in mud. It was pretty slippery and #365 spun out over the rhythm section and instead of waiting and staying on the outside and coming back on the track he decided just to go WOT into traffic right in front me. Lucky I slammed on the brakes otherwise I would have t-boned him. Everyone made it over the tire and we were off to the hills. Now I didn't pre-run the course so I had no idea what I was in for. Holy crap was it whooped out. I was actually laughing because through the silt I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me and I was blindly cruising over giant whoops, I thought I was going to fly off the quad. One of the silt beds was so bad I couldn't even see my handlebars, but I trudged on at about 2mph since I had no idea where the course was heading. It was pretty fun.
The high speed sections were awesome and I made up most of my ground through there. The wash was very whooped out but it was also pretty cool because you could choose one of 2 lines in about 4 different spots. I think the right side was a bit faster than the left. Now we were headed towards the BMX park and I spun out in the 180 degree corner so I coasted down the hill backwards to get pointed back in the right direction. There was nobody around and I was hoping my family and friends didn't see that part. :) (turns out they did)
So after the 1st lap I think I was in the top 5 but I really didn't anticipate finishing very good in this race because I knew all the whoops were going to drain me. So for 4 more laps I tried to keep a steady pace, I was behind the same guy for all of those laps, I think he was 319. He would put some distance on me in the whoops and I would catch up in the high speed parts. Parts of the track were like a minefield with all the stuck quads. I never saw any wrecks but there were lots of people high centered / stuck / pointed the wrong direction, it was wild trying to get around them in some spots. I even passed the points leader who was stuck in the wash. On the 5th lap I finally passed the guy I had been pacing the whole race because he was starting to tire out.
Once I reached the finish line on lap 5 they waved the white flag for the guy who was right in front of me. I had no idea if this meant I was in 2nd or not especially because the guy they white flagged (#380) was not going very fast so I assumed he wasn't in 1st. I let it all hang out on the final lap and I passsed #380 in the hills. My hands were getting really tired and I went through the high speed section as fast as I could and then I heard someone flying up on me. It was #380, he was entering the hairpin after the high speed stuff way too fast and he was going to wreck me so I went off the course and over the berm and drove over 3 of the course markers to avoid the wreck. He must have used all his energy to catch up because he was really slow in th wash and he was holding me up, I made my way around him on one of the spots where you can go right or left, I chose the right and never saw him again. Heading towards the finish line the flag man was signaling me and I was pretty sure he was asking if I got the white flag last time around and I was excitedly shaking my head like a crazy person. There was no way I wanted to do another lap. So they gave me the checkered and that was it there was nobody behind me for about a minute. I am pretty sure my last lap was my fastest lap too!
Larry Beshaw (sweep rider, longtime racer) assured me I had won the race unless someone from one of the rows behind me finished closer than 20 seconds behind me but I knew nobody was behind me. I still didn't want to get too excited until I saw the results printed on paper, you never know what can happen with the scoring. When the results were posted they had me in 17th place, I was pretty disappointed until I saw the finish time was 11 hours. There were 9 other people with 11 hour finishing times so I knew something wasn't right. I talked to Sabrina and she was very nice. We went through the raw data lap by lap and it was clear I had actually won. Turns out there was a key punch error for everyone on the 1st row so they had the wrong start time. Of course once that was corrected it bumped down a lot of people who thought they had finished higher. This pissed off a lot of folks, Sabrina grabbed the mic and tried to calm them down and she also mentioned all future races will use transponders.
I had a great time, the course was tremendously rough and it changed throughout the race with the watering and drying out. I finally won a race thanks to some good luck not getting tied up in any of the pile ups and just keeping a steady pace. Thanks to Eric for the stickers and to the Neidhardt/RSD crew for the humorous stuff written on the race board each time I came by. :)