Nancy and I got back to Marquette last Sunday after our 5,650 mile trip to
World Finals. I'll try to limit this novellete a bit, so if I forget to
thank someone -- Thanks.
First of all, John and Brenda Szaly showed up without the motor home - and
instead spent the whole darn meet helping in our pit and on the line and
driving to fetch Nancy or me at the end of the course. All of you should be
lucky to have help like we did. Thanks!
Next to us was the Russ Mack w/Bill Smith pit. They even got us to eat
Mexican food at the truck stop, which is a story that I'll not tell here.
Thanks for the help and everything else, gentlemen.
And on and on, from Tech to Registration to not at all least, Dave Newby and
the others at Land's End.
So to the story: We planned to grab a record for Nancy on her Ninja 250 --
the rule book listings of records showed no record at all in her class. All
we did was pipe/jet kit safety wire, and I flipped the shift lever to make
quick shifts easier ((first is UP, now, with everything else down). She
made a couple of runs, with a 103.9 or so her best. Turns out, though, that
there were records -- just not shown in the rule book listing. Damn...
But you shoulda been there to see all the guys at the start getting a kick
out of seeing a (female) rookie make her first run(s). They didn't pay
near so much attention when later I drove one pass on the bike, a mile
slower -- that's all it would do, although it was an absolute hoot of a
drive. I'd slip clutch off the line until the motor wakes up, which is
someplace above 7 grand. Then pin it, wait 'til 13k or so, feather the
clutch just a tiny while pressing down and then you're in second without
ever letting up off the stops; repeat for third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
WFO for three miles -- like it says on my truck, "...open 'er up wide open
and see what she'll do..." Damn, that was a fun ride.
To get my bike through tech I had to lower it a couple of inches (tail
section was 2" too high), and by the time that was done -- Nancy could touch
the ground for the first time. A couple of hours of considering later --
she made her maiden run on my bike. "D" license (139) on her first run, "C"
(159) on the next, and then the reversed shifter on her bike (but standard
on mine) caught her. She went down the course using first, first, first,
and so on -- Ooops for Jon, that was a part of the pre-run rundown that I
didn't think to mention that one time. Whatever -- next run was about
ten-thirty Sunday morning, and I knew she'd likely only get one more --
anyway, she was somewhere above 170 when she had some "handling concerns",
so backed out and finished with a 171. No "B" license this time, but a
less-than-perfect run offers learning opportunities that one with no flaws
You should have seen, though, how when she was drifting over toward the
right side of the course, how damn near everyone at the line was watching --
and helping her by leaning toward the left. Either that or the Salt tipped
sideways for a moment. A sight to remember, for sure.
By the way, her reaction after her first run on MY scooter? "Hey, my bike's
Nah, we gonna do some more on it and campaign the dickens out of the 250
class, even if it won't get the 155 that it would need on the Salt. Maxton,
however, is a different story...
Oh, yeah, I can't forget to tell you about when Nancy and I visited two
remarkably alike-looking brothers at their place of lodging when we saw what
really did appear to be motorcycle tire tracks, in salt, from trailer to
inside the motel room and back. The bike WAS in the trailer when we
arrived, so we can't say for sure. Oh, don't worry, fellas, we won't tell
anyone who you were. Thanks for your help and support.
PS They had a huge NOS tank right next to the washbowl in the room. For
cleaning toothbrushes or something, I think. But I still won't say who they
Thanks to the timers who helped Nancy (and me) through her first runs and to
Ed and Cris, and to everyone -- gee, thanks. It was great.
I did a 195 or so on the bike, but it'll have the new body on it before it
appears again -- then maybe I can go fast.
Which might well be in a couple of weeks at El Mirage, but that's another
Finally: Rest in Peace, Nolan. Lucky guy -- where he is now, every run's a
Jon E. Wennerberg
Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing
#436 M/PS/G 1340 CC
2001: 200.471 mph - 2002 GOAL: 220.554++mph
Marquette, Michigan 49855
(That's Way Up North)
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