Idle Thoughts by Pat Childs
Life in the fast lane can sure be hectic sometimes. During the last month I've been back and forth across the country twice and down and back a couple times too. It's been alot of fun traveling around and seeing neat stuff like the Bonneville Salt Flats, the beautiful hills of the Monterey Peninsula and having dinner at the famous NASCAR hangout called "The Sandwich Construction Company" in Charlotte. It's kind of funny, but I haven't been to an SCCA event in all this time.
I had never attended an AMA (American Motorcycle Association) event before, but back to back weekends at Laguna Seca and Charlotte Motor Speedway, quickly familiarized me with this type of racing. Its amazing to see those guys flying around road courses which I had only seen cars racing on before, their bikes lifting the front wheel as they accelerate with amazing speed. The people involved in this sport are not really any different from those we see at any SCCA event, which was quite a surprise to me considering I had the "biker" stereotype of scarred up, semi brain damaged hoodlum in mind before the trip started. They have almost the same cross section of Americana that has made my years of association with the SCCA so interesting, with miscellaneous doctors, lawyers, successful business types, as well as those who seem only to survive race to race on hand outs and favors.
what sums up what these folks are all about is what
happened at Charlotte. We were
sharing our paddock space with Michael
Myers, an underfunded 250 GP rider, who, though not lucky enough to have all the latest equipment, made
the best of what he had.
This skinny blond kid would drop by once and a while and
help him out, making suggestions on set up and which racing line was the fastest. I just figured that he was with one of the other teams and was just trying to help. It wasn't until saturday afternoon that I found out that the unassuming young man was not only another rider, but that he was Colin Edwards, II, considered by many to be the next superstar of motorcycle road racing. Kind of reminds me of Scott Sharp, when he would hang around our pits, back when he co-drove with Pepe Pombo in the Escort Series.
I also have been fortunate enough to have worked a COMA event down at Hallett, Oklahoma a few weeks back. They are akin to what we know as the Midwest Sports Car Council in this area. Their rule book tends to be rather liberal in interpretation, with some of the most unusual racing vehicles I have seen. It's truly amazing to see a Chevy S10 battling it out with a couple of bizarre winged BMW 2002ii spyders(?), refugee Camaro short track oval racers (steel mesh windshields and all), a Gremlin(!), a BMW 633i (built to some kind of IT spec), some sort of whacko BMW 3 series based GT car and its stablemate... some sort of whacko 280 Z based GT car. Interspersed in this group were a number of regular SCCA type Production, Showroom, and GT racers, all competing in the closed wheel group.
The open wheel group was rather tame in comparison, with the exception of the Formula Vee 1600 cars, which competed in the Club Ford(?) class, with Formula Ford sized wheel/tire combinations optional on the large motor Formula Vees. The rest of the Open Wheel group was pretty much as we have grown used to.
The highlight of the weekend was the Pro Spec Renault (no, I didn't get it wrong) Shootout, with prizes going to each and every starter in the 18 car field. A number of top SCCA National shoes made the trip, with Rick Houston of (where else) Houston, Texas taking the win from Keith Sharf, the Silver Medalist from the 91 RunOffs. They even worked in a NASCAR type, 3 lap full track caution period, for the television cameras of the Prime Sports Network. Oh yeah... Did I forget to mention that they had this event televised to approximately 500,000 homes?
well... gotta run... I'm going down to Texas
World Speedway for an AMA
show in the morning.