|Feeding the Flame at MASSs First Race
Mykrrrr is faster than you and hes representing Team2StrokeBuzz in the Mid-American Scooter Sport scooter racing series.
Four of the MASS racers gear up (L-R, Andrew Miller (Chicago, IL), Joe Kokesh (St. Louis, MO), Mark Andrews (St. Louis, MO), and Rob Hodge (Elburn, IL)
The downward spiral started one day when I received an e-mail inviting me to join an eGroups group named "MidAmericanScooterSport" from an e-mail address that I didnt recognize immediately. Little did I know that it would spark a competitive fire within my 2-stroke clouded soul. I naively joined MASS (as it would later be lovingly referred to), sat back and watched the action unfold. within the first few posts, I realized that MASS was a new scooter racing organization started by Joe Kokesh of Hard Luck S.C. fame.
The pilot light started the burner being the motorsports freak that I am (Ive even been known to watch NASCAR when I get desperate), I got all excited about the idea of racing my Lambretta with a Taffspeed TS1 kit. Luckily, Im surrounded by a couple other racing geeks, Moe Moe and Mr. Miller, and they joined MASS also.
The flame was getting a bit brighter Ill skip the specifics about getting started in racing (perhaps for another 2SB article) but lets just say youve got to sh#$ or get off the pot and I took that proverbial sh$#. Our first MASS race was close to home at Blackhawk Farms raceway. Blackhawk Farms is known to many scooterists as the home of the first Screw City S.C. Rockford, IL rally. The race was the same weekend as the 2nd Rockford rally so it killed two birds with one stone.
The track is a 1.95-mile road-racing course with a good combination of technical and sweeping corners. Our original racing group consisted of Joe Kokesh, Andrew "Moe" Balazs, Andrew Miller, Rob Hodge, Mark Andrews, Tim "Chim-Chim" Olson and myself; unfortunately only Joe, Mark, Moe, Rob and I got to race due to mechanical difficulties (Hey, give us a break, they are 30-year-old machines). Our racing day consisted of two races with a practice session before each race. I was super-nervous before the first practice am I going to die? Is my bike gonna crap out on me? Am I gonna be competitive? Hows my hair look?
Once I fired up the TS1 and got out on the track I felt like a fish in water. I asked myself why didnt I do this earlier in my life? It felt natural and good. I took it easy the first practice to find the racing lines and see if I was up to the task at hand. I must have had the biggest grin on my face when I pulled into the paddock.
The internal flame just got a bit hotter The first race was looming and the pre-race jitters started to creep up on me. When we got out on the track, it all went away. I got a decent start and it was W.O.T. from the drop of the flag. Joe and I were 1 & 2 with Mark, Rob and Moe battling it out for third. When youre out there the outside world no longer exists world hunger, polar ice caps melting, the latest Ronco product, it all disappears and what is important is whats in front of you.
The race ended 6 laps later (too soon if you ask me) in the following order: Joe, me, Mark, Rob and Moe. We all came back with smiles on our ugly mugs. The collective racing fire was burning bright within all of us.
The 2nd practice was after lunch and it was a bit more nerve-racking, not because of pre-race/race nerves, but because of technical problems. Coming off the long right-hand sweeper and onto the short back straight, my bike just died, no power, no nothing ahhhh. I pulled off the track and headed back to our makeshift paddock area (envision grassy field with a truck). The flame just got a bit smaller.
Once I took off my side panel, I found my problemthe spark plug decided to wiggle its way out of the head and say hello to the outside world. Luckily, it didnt strip out the cylinder head and I put a new plug in the dimming flame just got a lot brighter! The second race was much like the first. Joe and I took off from the rest of the racers and it was cat (Joe) and mouse (Me) for the remaining 5 laps. Joe actually didnt know I was so close behind him until the last corner on the last lap when he heard me behind. The results of the second race were similar to the first race: Joe, me, Mark, Moe and Rob. Rob went off the track somewhere but I didnt see the action. The collective/personal flame was now on HIGH!
I invite ALL interested scooterists to check out scooter racing either at a MASS race or an ASRA race out in California. Its not that expensive (safety gear being the highest initial cost layout, but well worth it) and its a TOTAL BLAST! Its nothing like riding your scooter on the street, forget everything youve acquired to stay alive on your 8" or 10" beast. You can ride as fast as you want and use the entire (even more if necessary) track
Photos (top to bottom) Andrew Miller (666) passes Rob Hodge (111) in the first practice, Mykrrrr (555) on his TS1-kitted Lambretta, Moe Balazs (242) on his cutdown Lambretta TS1, Mark Andrews (617) on his water-cooled Vespa P-series, Rob Hodge (111) on his Allstate monster bike, and Joe Kokesh (999) on his custom-framed Lambretta.
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