Mark E.  
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1998 Racing Photos and Narrative

April 1998:
Loosing the front end in turn three
This photo was taken on the second lap of my first heat race of the 1998 season.   I ended up breaking my wind screen, bending up the exhaust, scratching up a side cover on the motor, trashing a pair of gloves, scratching some paint and breaking the end of my little pinkie!  The crash didn't do a lot for my confidence either.  My lap times had not been any better than they were the year before when I was a novice on an old 1986 GSX-R750.  Now that I was racing a 1993 CBR900RR, I should be at least several seconds a lap quicker.  I wasn't.  The crash was not something I needed.  The good thing about the crash was that I crashed trying to go around someone on the outside.  That at least meant that I was as fast if not faster than other bikes in my class.

May 1998:
Turn three in a light rain
As you can see, it rained in May!
Turn three in a HEAVY rain
And then it rained some more...
Turn three with a fairly dry track
Although we did get some dry laps.
I had a blast racing in the rain!  I enjoy riding in the rain on the street so it didn't frighten me to go out on a wet track.  I can't afford rain tires so I race on my normal DOT racing compound rubber. The thing that suppressed me the most about racing in the rain was how slick it was.   I have ridden in the snow several times in the past and that is exactly what racing in the rain is like.  Both the front and rear tires slide all the way through turns.  I felt like I was on a carnival ride and not at a race track.  Although it was a lot of fun, it seemed kind of pointless.  The guise with rain tires would go around me like I was standing still.  When I did come up on someone who was slower than me I didn't feel like passing them in the turns in fear that they might crash.  So, once again I didn't get a chance to learn how to go fast on the new race bike.

June 1998:
Turn three Turn three
Although I had a blast racing in June my lap times were still in the 1:20s.  I was starting to get disappointed that I was not going faster.  I knew what I was doing wrong:  Breaking too soon, not leaning over far enough, and not getting on the gas soon enough.  (It kind of sounds like I was not doing anything right)  However, I was still having fun.  I was just questioning my choice to race the big 900RR.

July 1998:
Turn two
Everything changes in July.  July is the F-USA weekend.  That means we get to race with the pros!  Last year I had graduated from the novice class on that weekend so I was looking forward to it again this year.  I ended up with my best lap times ever!  I was faster than all of the other slow guys in my class and I did a lot of knee sliding.

August 1998:
Turn nine

I turned my best lap time ever, 1:15, during the Open Supersport race. Unfortunately, I crashed on the warm-up lap of the Open Superbike race. They tell me that the bike did flips behind me. And from the looks of it, I believe them.

After crash!
It is a good thing I enjoy working on motorcycles!

September 1998:
The whole family at the track
The whole family showed up to watch me race...

Turn three, the wright way!
Turn three without crashing!

After crash in turn seven!
After crash in turn seven!

My sister and her husband decided to fly out from Ohio to watch me race in September. Since we see so little of her, the rest of the family also decided to come watch me race that weekend. We had a blast! Although I made a lot of mistakes, I had a pretty good weekend. Unfortunately, once again I crashed before the day was over. On the last lap of the last race I entered turn seven a little hot and ended up loosing the front end at mid turn. As I was sliding along I could see the bike flipping at least fifteen feet in the air doing more flips than I could begin to count. While sliding on my back at over 50mph all I could think of was how much this was going to cost me! At least my sister was able to see a really cool crash before flying back to Ohio...

Due to injuring my wrist and the cost of rebuilding the bike, I ended up missing the October race. Even though I crashed three time during the year, I felt like the year was a success. My lap time were better than I thought they would be even after several years of racing. I never imagined I could finnish 17 out of 60 in my class my first year of racing out of novice. I can't wait until next year! Wish me luck...

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Last modified 1998