BARONA RACING

by Joe Michaud

June 7th, a few of us went to the Indian res to watch some racing and to pit for a newly transplanted San Diego resident and SDAMC'er "Ton-up Texan" Larry Reiter on his 250 Beeser StarFire. Folks built a quarter mile flat track with a TT section in the middle and we arrived around 1PM to help Larry do some plugchops and lend moral support. Well,we paid our $10 entry fee but balked at the $20 pit fees. Dang, I can go to Willow Springs and wander the pits for free! Whats up with THESE guys? Larry and his friend Jamie paid the usurious fees and entered the pits. We---Frank Vaughn, his grandson Pete and I-- -groused and refused. "Insurance requirements," they said. Sheeesh.

We dragged our coolers, sammiches and assorted photog gear into the bleacher seats around 1:15 facing an interminable wait for practice at 4pm and watched the water truck inundate the track surface.

This track was originally an eighth mile "bowl" and has been filled and widened to its present config as a quartermile flat track. Nice bleacher seats, good lighting and the decomposed granite soil has been amended with a healthy dose of clay adjunct.

Now, I'm no soils engineer but that water truck began to make pass after pass over the oval adding water. Frank and I looked at the obvious puddles and wondered how they could possibly dry the surface in time for the TT as the turn-in corner for the jump was clearly a swamp by 3pm.

Practice was alledged to begin at 3pm...then 4pm...finally at 5ish, the dwarf cars began to fire up and they began a slow, slippery tour of the slimey surface. Traction was negligible. Soon, every available pit truck was directed onto the track and a two-hour parade was organized to drive the water out of the clay- DG miasma. Yucko.

At least the P/U truck guys were having fun driving some crossed-up laps chasing the flagmen through the gumbo. Nothing like watching a brandie-new Chevy duallie sliding sideways through the turns while being stucco-ed with dwarf car roost. It looked bleak for the two-wheelers since the turn-in corner to the jump was like oatmeal with an inch of free-standing water on its surface.

For almost two loooong hours, the truck parade rolled the surface until a tractor appeared and began grading the surface pulling and pushing the slime hither and yon.

We began to have serious doubts as to the outcome. But, the surface began to come up slowly.

We napped, drank a few beers, whined about the pit charges and generally bitched.

6:30---LETS GO RACING!

The outside line was dangerous as one Triumph rider quickly discovered when he did an immediate faceplant on a front-end washout in the second corner of the first lap...OUCH. He lay still for a long three seconds before he shook off the impact and attempted to restart his bike. 60+ years is a bit old to get spit off that hard...Yikes, tough man...Johnnie Apple, an old racer friend of Franks. We had met him earlier the day and admired his very nice Triumph. His bike returned in later events with a different rider but appeared to have trans problems due to the crash.bent shift forks from the rightside crash damage, we surmised.

Larry Reiter rode well considering it was his first non-motocross event even though he was outgunned with the little 250 Beezer...no one else rode his class except some wickedly fast Bultaco Pursangs. The little 4-stroke thumper stayed close to the fast line letting the Big Boys sling roost into the crowd. Knobbies were allowed and threw gobbets of mud far and fast.

Larrys lap times got better with each event and his bike added a distinctive thumper sound. However, the big Triumphs had the best racing since their torque and sprocket choices were spot-on for the tight corners. Their riders merely had to chuck 'em down a gear and screw on the gas. The newer monoshock bikes got better 'air' off the jump but the vertical twin grunt and Brit sound was GREAT and a real crowd pleaser.

Lotsa club folks showed up...Dave Miller and his 4 year old son, John and Donna Mulrean of Lake Cachuma Rally fame, Gordon Menzie brought Rob North and Bruce Sandford (both of whom had heart surgery one month ago ON THE SAME DAY....NO more sausages, you guys!!!))

John and Donna managed the Lake Cachuma Rally May28-31and cooked continously for the assembled masses---200 people! Great event, we heard....1500 meals, 2000 eggs over the three day span. Lotsa work for the Mulreans...good folks and dedicated Brit folks. Kudos, J&D.

The warm breeze during the day turned into a cold breeze at sunset and we shivered in our SoCal clothes until around 10pm when the last bike event was finished. We bailed before the quads and dwarf cars took the track for their final and got home late...tired, windburned and sunburned.

Good times? Yeah, except for the pit charges. Would we go again? Sure, but I would certainly avoid the 5 hour wait watching the water truck.

Racing is racing. There's fast and FASTER but it's ALL good. My sinuses are still full of two-stroke smoke and my ears ring a bit from the dwarf cars. Good stuff. Where were you? Where were you?

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