VIR Labor Day Weekend 2003

We planned to head up to VIR to take adavantage of our annual local AMA Superbike venue, but not without enjoying a spirited ride and a liesurely triDoD breakfast at the Good Times diner in Roxboro. The ride was good, delivering us to VIR with no rain, and only one gravel induced low-side.

Before getting set for the race we looked around the parking lot a bit and saw a great variety of bikes, and a portable dyno trailer, selling dyno runs for a mere $25. On a lark I said, "I think I'll dyno the KLR", and quickly decided it was too much trouble. But the Jeff and the gang liked the idea and talked me back into it, putting their money where their mouths were, so off I went to get the KLR.

I was sandwiched between two four cylinders, the one after me being a Hyabusa. The swing-armed-stretched Hyabusa dropped out of line when the owner realized he had broken 7 teeth off the rear sprocket trying to pull wheelies, not smart on a bike with a ludicrously stretched swing arm. I Wonder if he found a new sprocket and made it home? No pity.

Any way, the mighty KLR pulled 40.7 horses, you can see the dyno run here

One of the best things about going to a motorcycle event is browsing the parking lot looking at all the interesting and sometimes beautiful bikes that have been ridden to the event. VIR proved to be no different.
In attendance were new bikes with cool paint schemes (Hyabusa with spider man), old bikes with turbos like this CX650T, Old bikes with bad paint schemes like the Malibu Ken job on the KLR, and what would a show be without a Ducati girl?
Keith Code's crew was on hand displaying his track tool bike with outriggers, a new Moto Guzzi Breva showed up along side an old Honda 400 "supersport", and just about every other bike imaginable.

After browsing the parking lot We split up, some of us heading over between turns 3 and 4 and others setting out to find Don and Bob over on the straight after turn 6(?). After what seemed like a long time they finally started the practice session for the supersport race. On the first lap a honda blew a seal or line and dropped oil on the track for several hundred yards and disappeared into a fantastic cloud of smoke.

The lull gave me and Tom a chance to head up the track in search of the other half of the group hanging out at Bob's RV with Don the others. We hung out for a while before heading back over to our chairs to watch the action. We spied what may have been a better spot on a grassy noll but were too lazy to move our gear.

This is what we saw for about two hours. Track workers dumped absorbant on the track for several hundred yards, scrubbed and swept it off. Repeatedly. Several racers came out to look at the track, on lap was tried, and the track workers were back out cleanin. This is a interesting shot of the track workers from a photography standpoint ... I have never used digital zoom before because it is "snake oil" zoom that some marketing person came up with. But, the workers were to far away for me to get otherwise, although in theory I could have used photoshop to crop and blow-up and non-digitally zoomed image. Nevertheless, this image was shot at 3X zoom plus 4X digital zoom and sharpened just and tad. Not bad considering the tractor is maybe 200 yards away.

After the second round of cleaning some of the jockey-esque racers re-appeared in VIR's Cadillac CTX to check the track again, and not long after another practice session ensued. When no further evernts marred the practice session they began a shortened 12 lap race (vs the usual 17). The action was great, we saw several lead changes from our vantage point. For a short quicktime movie (7 Mb) of the leaders hitting turns 3, 4, and 5 click here.

I was struck by the lack of Hondas among the leaders, the only significant Honda being the one that puked on the track causing hours of delay. Fortunately the supersport race was great once it got going, becuase the Superbike race was to be called due to rain. As you can see we spent a little time sitting around watching other people get wet and hoping for a break in the rain, or a change to rain tires. Neither happened. But all in all it was a fun trip.

Photo hobby-ist note: The new camera worked great on its first outing. A Minolta Dimage XT 3.2 megapixel the size of a pack of cigarettes. Most of the photos were pretty good, the movies were great. It is an excellent travel camera, provided you take two spare batteries. Taking one hundred photos (most with the LCD panel on) consumed one battery to the point that it would not take movies, relenting only after I tried a new battery in the absence of any kind of error notification. The SD card allows the camera to be small and those small spare batteries don't take up much room in a pocket. The images are not as good as my Olympus C3030, particularly in low light, but I've only really shot a few shots that needed the kind of clarity and "blow-up" ability I get from the the Olympus. Ask me about my 20"x30" moth posters some time. I am very happy with the Dimage XT and it will definitely be in my pocket on all future motorcycle trips.

After cancellation of the Superbike race for Sunday, Tom and I hurried back to the bikes and joined the rush to leave the park. A fairly uneventful ride home on 57/501/70/540 delivered us home slightly wet but pleased with the trip.