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2002 Race Season
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Buttonwillow Raceway 07-21-02

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Gerri Grindle 618
Date: Wed Jul 24, 2002 5:02 pm
Subject: Grindle's BW Jul Race Report

My worst nightmare came true:

Turn 1 at the green flag, 40 bikes all trying to cram themselves into a space that is too small and all maneuvering for position. Then the unthinkable happens - one bike has to take action to avoid another that has swooped across his front wheel and down he goes causing a chain reaction that is total mahem.

I saw the first bike go down and held my line, temporarily, waiting to see where the pieces would fall. There's an opening - great! - I'm home free. Wait - oop - there's another bike and rider in the air. From that point on I'm not quite sure the sequence of events. I know I got hit twice on the right. One of the hits almost knocked me over (actually ALL of the hits I took almost knocked me over, but one in particular was especially hard). Either before, or after, or between those two hits that I took on the right side, there was a helmet directly in my path (I found out later that the helmet contained Raghus head!) I took sudden and urgent action to the left to avoid a direct hit but I knew at the time that I had managed to at least graze the helmet. In taking the evasive action, I came in contact with another bike - then there was contact with yet a fourth bike on my left, I'm not sure who hit who, but it doesn't really matter, not one little bit. All I could think of was getting out of there, getting away,

Aaaaarrrrrrrrgggtggggghhhhhh ---
I'm going to be killed, or I'm going to run over someone --- aaaararrrrrrrrrasgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!! HELP!!

Then my bike stalled right in the middle of the track, in the middle of all the mess and flying riders and tumbling bikes and the carnage that was left behind and smoke and flames (not really, it was just dust, but it FELT like smoke and flames). Just as my bike stalled and came to a halt

someone hit me from behind. Aaaarrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhh --- HELP!!!!!!!!

As I'm trying to start the bike I'm looking furtively over my left shoulder, there are bikes out in the dirt and behind me are two bikes which looked like they were piled on top of each other, one rider was jumping up, or rushing over, or something, to pick up the top bike. I didn't know if there were other bikes bearing down on me so all I wanted to do was get away. Thankfully my bike started and I had an opening - - away I went. I think I was the last one to leave the carnage behind, or so I'm told.

On the way to the red flag stop I became aware of a huge pain in my right leg. I looked at my boot and saw nothing, not a scratch, but boy did my leg hurt. It was directly under the hard plastic part of my boot that covers the shin. I have a huge bump and bruised area, . . . but, hey, don't take that as a complaint, far be it for me to complain about my personal outcome of that melee. After getting hit 5 times and not going down, and not running over or otherwise injuring anyone, and after hearing about how badly Dale was injured, believe me, I'm not complaining.

It was 15 mins, at least, before warm-up lap #2, and that gave us time enough to check out the bike to see that it was still track-worthy. It was, and, in the end, I had a really fun race with the little bike.

It seems that it would be an anti-climax to try to describe my two races of the weekend. I'm going to describe some of it because I had so much fun in both races, of course the 450SB race is ALWAYS fun. I didn't get a very good start in either race, but I was happy with how I was riding and just had a great time.

In the 250P race, Mr. RKA showed me a wheel and I managed to fend him off until the horseshoe, where he made a very clean, smooth pass on the outside. Mr. GForce showed me a wheel and I fended him off until the entrance to the horseshoe. Even my defensive, inside entrances to corners didn't stop him from passing me on the inside right at the entrance of the horseshoe. It surprised me, because I didn't feel like I left enough room for anyone to attempt a pass, but, like Mr. RKAs pass, Mr. GForce's pass was clean and smooth - I was impressed. I'm just going to have to work on my 2 weakest corners - T2 and, obviously, the horseshoe. Gradually I worked my way up to Mr. RKA again and, had there been one more lap to the race, I could have given him a run for his money at the checkered - but, it wasn't to be. That's ok, it was a good race, and I DID manage to stay ahead of John Anner after fending HIM off by tossing things back at him, such as my transmitter. He was sufficiently intimidated to stay away until the finish!!

As everyone else has done, I send out my best wishes to all of those that were injured this weekend and hope for a speedy recovery. Take care of yourselves, we want you back in our group at the track as soon as possible.

-Jerri Grindle. (#618)

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