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T


he Army of Darkness finished the 2014 WERA National Endurance season in strong form by winning the last three races of the season and, as it was, the last three races of the series. After decades of continuity,


the evolving socio-economic climate of motorcycle racing overtook WERA’s national endurance series, and there would be no endurance events in 2015. Since our team had “officially retired” from racing a decade prior in 2005, we probably should have taken the elimination of our favorite series as a strong hint that the AOD should hang it up. However, we still had two fully-prepped


S 1000 RRs, and although we had a tumul- tuous relationship with Brunhilde and Eva, their transmissions were not chipped, their cam chain tensioners had not dissolved, their valves had not dropped onto the pis- tons and their steering head frame welds were uncracked. We had a trailer full of potential in search of a venue for expres- sion. Some of my less fiscally-minded team- mates suggested international contests, which I rationally declined by diplomati- cally pointing out that they were delusional. The Central Motorcycling Association


(CMRA), defying the gravity of the collapse of motorcycle racing, teamed up with WERA in 2014 to field events under the U.S., National Endurance (USNE) banner. Although late in announcing, the CMRA continued the USNE series for 2015, but as the races would all be held in conjunction with CMRA rounds,


all the events were at CMRA tracks. CMRA tracks are by and large far from Washing- ton, D.C., and don’t make the top 20 list of tracks in the U.S. unless you sort by “biggest pothole on a race track.” Due to scheduling conflicts created by


most of the team being on a dive boat in the Galapagos Islands and a general lack of interest in racing at Texas World Speedway, we skipped the first round entirely. Appar- ently we missed eight hours of rain. Although the BMWs are plenty fast, they


are not particularly enjoyable to ride. The chassis are stiff and uncompromising, which makes it really tough to relax into a bumpy turn. This being the U.S. and CMRA, there were going to be a lot of bumps in the track. We decided to try out some fork car-


tridges from K-Tech in a good-natured attempt to get some sort of feel out of the front end. Steve Breckenridge, one of our old competitors from ten years ago, was now doing suspension work and built up the forks for us. We loaded up the bikes and headed off to a track day in New Jersey. New Jersey Motorsports Park has two


racetracks, Thunderbolt and Lightning. Thunderbolt is the unremarkable AMA racetrack, and Lightning is wholly inappro- priate for motorcycles at speed as it is sur- rounded by unprotected Armco barriers positioned close to the track. It didn’t dawn on me that the track day would be at the crappy track and worse yet, we would be sharing the track with leaky


amateur track day cars—and we would be running it backwards. I ignored my own little voice and told myself, “It's just testing, and I’ve ridden far worse bikes in far more dangerous environments.” I rode a few laps to figure out which way


the track went, and we determined that the forks were low on oil. That fixed, in the sec- ond session I trailed the front brake into the last turn at about 80 mph. I blew through the fork springs, bottomed the forks, and the front tire tucked. I let out the brake and tried to hold it on my knee, but the rela- tively slick pavement was not going to give it back to me, and for the first time in a dozen years, I was going to eat dirt. I balled up my fingers into fists and


crossed my arms across my chest, but grav- ity was too strong for me to pull my knees to my chest. My fateful apex was at the top of a hill so the track and grass fell away from me, which meant I would have been slow- ing down gradually if the track designers hadn’t lined the track with Armco barriers and if the track day organizers had put the air fence in the right place. As it was, I tum- bled straight into the unprotected metal guardrail. Fortunately, the bike did not follow me in. Lucky would have been having the front


tire regain traction and making it through the turn, but if we start counting after I was on the ground, I was lucky to escape with- out bones poking through my leathers and with


June 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS


73


Kyle pulling out a lead late in the race.


Army of Darkness Ministry of Information. Students of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance will appreciate the symmetry of a BMW motorcycle repair being enacted with a piece of scrap metal.


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