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Brainerd 2003

The road to Brainerd

This was the happiest day of Chris Life, he finished High school today. June 25th 2003
To add to his excitement he was going to another AMA national, life doesn't get any better.

Chris's last exam, Chemistry 30 was finished at 1:00 and off to airport. An exciting flight to the beautiful city of Winnipeg. That's where Uncle Bill and I picked up Chris, we drove for 12 hours from Calgary.
As were driving up to the airport, I've got Chris on the cell phone and never having been to the Winnipeg airport I asked," where should I pick you up." he said," Wait right there, I can see you from the airport," the airport isn't that big.
We rush to the border and when we got there at 11:59 p.m. the customs officers say's , " What, are you doing here?" I was taken back by his question, and said, " going to the states." I had this confused look on my face and he said, "did you know that were closed in 30 seconds?" That was the problem, we were keeping Mr. Custom man away from his sleep.
Anyway, we made it through the border and off to Brainerd we went.
We arrived in time and went right to the track and found a beautiful spot, to pit. Most of the spots are beautiful at Brainerd.

The first thing we had to do was get the gearing changed. I asked around to the Erion team (they've become our consultants, without pay) I hope Kevin doesn't read this.
They said go with 16/43 , Brainerd is a very fast track, with lots of straight-aways and almost no corners, actually there are corners, they just look like staright aways. No problem we thought, we'll just change those gears and off we go. The chain had to be reduced by one link, piece of cake. We took out one link and the gearing didn't fit, it was way to tight, so we put a link back on and it looked like we added 6 links. Either someone was changing chains on us or we were losing it. Bill and I looked at each other and we didn't know what to say. How'd that happen, take one link out, it's to small, add one link it's 6 links to big?
After trying to figure this mystery out, we gave up. Off we went to our free consultants,.
The Erion team said, you have to keep changing chains for every track, because the swing arm and shock are so close together, there is very little tolerance between the the two, normally you can go up or down 2 teeth, on each chain. Not now.
It was pretty funny, one of those, "this is going to be funny, in five years funny, but now, it's not funny"
Anyway, it was our first set up with the bike, so now we know.
The thursday, friday and saturday sessions on the track were flawless, everything went as well as you could imagine, he was setting constant times in the top 15 and that's were we suspected he would be. I really don't have anything to write about, it all went great.

Sunday morning would not be as great as the previous three days.
Sunday practice the bike starts to chatter in the front, but because we still had saturday qualifier tires on, we attributed the problem to tires.
For the race we put on a fresh set of tires and off he went for the parade lap, the problem was still there and with our limited experience, we just had to let it go and tell him to do his best.
He had a great start and was running about 14th when he said he hit something going around the curb at the bus stop (we now suspect it was his crash guard) and the bike flipped over on it's other side. To bad, he had such a great weekend up to that point.
We still had the 750 race to go and we started to get the crashed bike ready for the 750 race.
We changed the body work and cleaned it all up and then decided to use the "B" bike instead.
We took the bodywork off the other bike and put it back on the "B" bike. Then we decided to use the "A" crashed bike. We put the body work back on the "A" bike and change the tires. When we put the tires on, the front tire didn't fit. The front end had been tweaked. Off with the bodywork again, now we have about 10 minutes before the race starts, and we're rushing around again. I'm changing tires while Bill is doing everything else, Bill is always doing everything else. The "B" bike had not been set up yet. Chris was riding his "A" bike all weekend.
We finish in time and make our way to the grid, when it's time to take the tire warmers off for the warm-up lap, Geoff, from Erion Racing sees me struggling with the tire warmers because the front rim seems to be very sticky. Geoff comes over and say's " you've got the front tire on backwards" This probably sounds pretty stupid. It is. Poor Chris, it's hard to say that with any sense of seriousness. We all want to be Chris, just without me as a tuner.
Funny five years from now, not funny now.
We tell Chris, get off the track after the warm up lap and we'll change the tire, you'll miss the start but you can go out for some laps.
Chris misses the start and comes in after 5 laps and say's there's something wrong with the bike, it's not handling right. We assumed he was just upset and left it at that. What we did find out just before Laguna, the next race was that the bolt for the shock had come lose and was about to fall off on our drive to Laguna.

That's life, not a great race day but a fantastic weekend for learning.
It was the sort of weekend that can be best descried as,
" the operation was a success, but the patient died."

By the way, if you hate driving, try and get Bill to go with you. He won't let anyone drive, it's great. The only problem is that when he's driving he bosses Chris around alot. After 12 hours of Bill bossing Chris around. Chris was hiding in his bed and Bill asked, where is Chris? Chris, popped his head down from the bed and said, he was hiding before Bill asked him for his Kidney. Very funny.