by alx torres-mori
Some Things Never Change…
It has been five long years since I have been to The Isle of Man, sometimes life gets in the way and you just have to keep the faith that things will get better. Well they have and now it’s time to return, there is a long tough road ahead to get there though. In 2004 I raced a 1999 R1, in 05 a Suzuki GSXR600, both years there were complications that were overcome.
So the first item on a long list is a motorcycle… where to get one of those? Already the news is good. Wade Boyd has said he can return to the Isle and race in The Manx GP, hooray the team is back! For various reasons he was no longer allowed to race the TT due to rule changes and bad luck. So, at a party for our pal, Subculture Lisa, we looked at the Honda CBR400RR race bike that Wade had sold to her, after he had raced it in 04 at the TT (in 07 we brought it back with my R1 when times were tough) Well now she will accept a trade for it and we have one race bike, cool. It has a Joey Dunlop paint job so you know where it belongs.
My thought has been to race a 400cc at the Manx GP in August. I raced a Yamaha FZR400 for many years, many years ago. I figure since I was rushed in my last IOM races due to technical difficulties to learn the course and qualify (8 laps the first year, 4 laps the second) I could use a break so to speak. At a max speed of 145mph for a nice 400 it will be a lot easier to learn the course proper at a slower top speed that I know I can handle rather than hanging on for dear life. Sometimes you need to go slower to become faster. This is a good case, don’t you think?
It just so happens I know where an FZR400 is. Subculture Racing Chad had bought Subculture Jack’s motorcycle a few years back. A 1988 FZR400, it has just had the head reworked and the motor feels strong. We are at Bender’s Bar and Grill (a proper motorcyclist hangout with no fucking hipsters) when I mention wanting to return to the Isle. “Yeah yeah Alx I have heard that since I met you 12 years ago the fact that you actually went doesn’t make you crazily obsessed, just crazy.” I mention Wade can return and has the Joey bike. Chad sponsored me his 400 on this news. He also said it would be fitting that we take Jack’s bike. He passed away a couple years ago and was a great supporter of our endeavors. He was also Illegal Soap Box Derby champion and winner. So karma is on our side. Chad is also buying many new parts so we will look like a spot on team even though we are just raggedy men.
Cue a Samuel L Jackson voice over… “The history of our FZR started 8 years ago when Jack did some work for a dealer of drugs, since the dealer was short on cash Jack got the bike as payment. Six years ago Chad wants to buy the bike. He meets Jack at the closed ship yard and finds the poor FZR with moss on the chain and a small tree growing through the front wheel. Returning with a battery and fresh gas the mighty FZR fired up. After kicking the moss off the chain and putting air in the tires it did 120 on the freeway”…One tough bike.
Next on the list is my licensing and paperwork. It has been many years since I have officially raced, even though I did race and win at the Argentine TT last year. To qualify for an FIM International Race License, I am going to need an AFM, WSMC, AMA license as well as insurance. I should also renew my regular driver’s license and passport as well. Shoot, maybe I’ll even shave. In order to accomplish these tasks time must be my ally. All this has to be done by May so the clock is already ticking.
Since the FZR is fairly close to racing condition it is being prepped for WSMC at Willow Springs Raceway, for our first race in November. I figure Willow is the best place to start, it is a wide open 9 turn course, they don’t call it the fastest track in the west for nothing. It may be raining as well which doesn’t bother me, but equals the playing field for those it does. We figure to race “The Squirrel” which is what Chad has named his FZR through January and tear it down for a 1mm rebuild and refresher. Wade says when you go to the Isle everything must be new and fresh, after all you spent everything to get there and a two dollar part isn’t worth your life. He is wise he is. So I need to find a pal from the past who built my 1990 FZR400 racebike, Daryl Klingerman, AFM racer tuner extraordinaire. (If you have seen him do let me know). We figure to budget $5000 when all is done for “The Squirrel”. So it begins wish us luck.