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Friday, December 17, 2004 - 08:18:24 AM PST

by Mark Underwood, contributor, Dragbike.com

Out of the Dog House


Less than a week from our scheduled date of departure for Gainesville 2001 and we are almost ready. Snicker.... Well, much more ready than many past years. I should write about February 1999... Finishing the bike in Florida on the way, heck it was warmer working there anyway. That's another story in itself, but I may be doing it again this year.

We don't have any motors together, and part of my body is missing in action, but the Alltel Pro Superbike will be there! My sister says I wouldn't feel right if I wasn't thrashing late nights at the last minute. I'd like to try that sometime to see... She is more excited about the street bike.

We should have been ready. We had all winter. Am I alone? nah... I know tonight, in shops all over the country, porting tools are whirling, degree wheels are spinning and heads are being scratched to find that last couple hundredths of a second. Or a better way of doing some minor little thing which could make the difference between winning and losing. Refining the combination, the process, the sum of hours, months and years of work which makes up a few seconds of adrenaline art, which we call a race.

I had a running bike ready to turn it's first seven second pass in October. After blowing a motor in Atco Prostar, and the back up motor in Norwalk IDBA, we had pretty much blew our racing budget for the year, but I did get it together in time for the World Finals just in case we changed our mind. We had decided after Atco, to skip the last race and get a head start on 2001. We were stuck in the #4 position for the year with nothing to gain or loose. Win or stay home. We couldn't stay home though.

We made a few dyno pulls and totally disassembled the bike after we figured out the crazy little detail which cost us our last two motors. Then set out to do everything I could to the bike early in the winter. We've got a bunch of new pistons, 3 sets of cylinders ready and shipped my heads out for all new valves and a real valve job as opposed to what I have been doing to them on my own. Sounds like we got our stuff together. Even had time to polish everything up. 

Well, we ran out of money... Ha! Surprised? Me either. Thankfully our sponsor came through for us at the last minute and somewhere in Georgia, one of those garage lights is aimed on our heads with 32 new valves being fit. In the mean time we are getting every detail checked and finished on the bike. Our new 1 quart catch can installed, which looks like a good place to tie in an evac system. Couple hundredths? More work? Maybe we can fit it in.

I've learned to run a mill and a lather over the last few weeks trying to make a bunch of Kick-Pegs to have in Gville. The demand is obviously there, only I am having trouble getting them made. I have been working with a CNC shop locally and I hope we can get it together. I am way too slow at that stuff, but I have been able to get a few pumped out. Kind of proud of them.

We have a friend from Ft. Myers meeting us in Gville for the third year, only this time as he has threatened for the last 3 years, bringing a bike to race in his first ever drag race. I told him this isn't the place to learn, but he just wants to do it! He always said, "I'm gonna get my old 600 running and come up and kick yer butt!" He called last week and said it's on. I traded off an old S/G roller for an old street bike to race with him. A real contender for ugliest bike award with a black spray bomb paint job. I cleaned it up and discovered it was a Honda Interceptor. Should run high 11's since I spent the afternoon scuffing up the well worn clutch, removing mirrors and 10 pounds of crud. I can't wait! Runs OK in the snow! Like the old days when I started on another 700cc Honda 15 years ago. Give me that big spot on the tree... 

I've gotten a lot of email asking about a beginners, how to kind of article. Instead of just hacking out a bunch of words, we'll just do it and tell you how it goes! Sounds more fun to me anyway. Maybe we can get a couple pictures of two old guys on old street bikes racing with the big boys. If I'm not thrashing on the Superbike, I'll try to peck out some bits from the pits. Maybe we can get it up on the site during the event with the other results. You have to root for Alan Rich to get by the first round on an 86? Kaw 600. No pressure Alan... people will be looking for you in the results section.

That's all the jabber for now, I gotta get some sleep so I can go stalk the UPS man in the AM.

I always welcome your suggestions for subjects which interest you. Send your suggestions to underdogracing@dragbike.com I plan to do something on getting started in racing, sponsorships, bits from the pits at the events and some good old Ohio gossip about the many teams around here.

Happy Motoring!
Mark Underwood
www.underdogracing.bigstep.com

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