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more stop over the course of the race. We needed to consistently run at least two sec- onds a lap faster to win. In the asymptotic nature of race lap times, two seconds a lap is almost an impossibility. Ben was still not up to speed in the last


practice and needed to drop four seconds into the race. He knew the 600s would carry better speed through the many tight turns, so his plan was to get out front, attack on the straights and then block the 600s through the turns. The grid was based on points, and we


gridded last since we skipped the first race. It didn’t matter. Ben used his drag racing chops to go from last on the grid to the lead on the first lap. Three fast 600 teams swarmed around him like angry bees, and the racing was axle to axle for the first hour. Periodically, one of the 600s would squeeze through an impossibly small door, but Ben responded by retaking the spot on the next straight. Eventually the pace started taking a toll. One team fell out with a broken shift linkage. Another fell off the pace. At the end of the first hour it was just AOD and Village Idiots up front, just as we anticipated. Michelin brought some leftover, fancy


European endurance tires for us to try, and they were giving us a full hour of perfor- mance and still looking great. We rolled out from our pit stop behind Village Idiots, but after their pit stop, we were in the lead and pulling away. We needed a big lead for the closing stages of the race; Kyle got it done by stretching out a 1.5-second-a-lap lead. A red flag reset the grid and our 30-second lead


vanished. We jumped out front at the restart, but


the Idiots (who were also pitted next to us) wouldn’t let us go without a fight. We stayed out front, but not by enough to cover the extra pit stop we knew we would have to make. The heat was oppressive, and all the riders on all the teams were starting to fade with dehydration under the unrelenting Louisiana humidity.


Finally, the rear tire on the Idiots’ bike


started slowing them down, and they stopped to change it. Their pit stop was long enough for us to get a full lap up—probably all we needed to come out in front at the end of the race. The Idiots had no challeng- ers behind them to defend from, so either they decided to put it in cruise mode or the heat was too much for their package, and we started pulling out three seconds a lap for the next hour. Running that pace in the heat with our big, heavy, fast bike wore Ben and Kyle down. Chris roused himself from his sick bed to step in. He had not ridden the bike at all for six months. He hadn't eaten any food for 36 hours. His last vomit- ing episode was only six hours prior. The Idiots put their fastest rider back out


to finish the race, so I knew their pace and the extent of our lead. I told Chris he needed to run a pace of 1:52 or better, but that he had to immediately get down to it. Sometimes there is just no substitution


for innate talent, and Chris hit the pace on his second lap despite being as weak as a kitten. He took the checkered flag with a stand-up wheelie and a two lap lead! Kyle thanked us sweetly during the


podium celebration, saying, “These guys don’t look like much, but they run a tight race!” We departed late on Saturday night for


Kyle’s clinically annotated x-ray.


the 1,200-mile drive home. Just before we got home Melissa announced that Kyle had crashed twice during his Sunday races. In the second crash, he totaled his R6 and broke his leg.


June 2016


BMW OWNERS NEWS


75


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