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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

89th Annual Loudon Classic – Bike Week 2012

Kevin and I headed up on Saturday to watch the motorcycle races.  I bought infield passes and drove my truck through the tunnel to the infield. had a portable dynamometer trailer in the infield used to test and tune motorcycles under load.  We watched the black Ducati Diavel being put through its paces.  I asked Rob about the most hp and fastest bike he had tested.  He said it was a 348hp CBR1100 Black Bird turbo with a top speed just under 200mph.  I would like to have seen that dyno test. 

There are stands set up in different areas of the infield to watch the races.  13 races were scheduled for the day.  There were many different motorcycle fields including Vintage, Sidecar, Supersport, Supertwin, Middleweight, Unlimited Superbike, Formula 40, etc.
There were crews set up in the garage area and throughout the infield working on the motorcycles.  As with skydiving parachutes I like colors and many motorcycles were impressive.  My favorite was the Orange bike at the top of my blog. (My wife hates orange but loved the bike).  I felt I was impartial even though I was wearing a bright orange AMA Hillclimb shirt I bought a couple days before.
We walked around the garage area looking at the bikes being worked on.  This was the first time for me in the garage area so first thing that caught my attention was the dressed up tires.  I start thinking socks, mittens, a take-off on a man bra, little booties … no … no … no … and no … the only name I heard was electric tire warmers. 

I had to ask and was told they warm up the tires to around 180 degrees so the tires have grip from the start and they can set hot tire pressures for the race.   You need traction immediately because of the aggressive riding and many corners on the course.  Who knew!!

There is a 5 minute call for riders to assemble on pit row waiting to go onto the track.  Riders are given 1 practice lap before they line up at the Start/Finish line. 
From the infield I crossed over the pit wall, crossed pit lane, and was able to lean over the inside race wall of the track to take pictures.  I remember the NASCAR cars doing 158mph on the straight going into turn one.  The layout of the road course is a bit different.  I should have asked how fast they go on the front straight before breaking for turn one.
Coming out of a corner onto the back straight the riders go very fast.  We were in the stands watching.  Some riders were very aggressive with speed and braking before a sharp right turn to go up the hill in front of us.  I thought several times someone would miss the corner.  At the last second some applied the brakes so hard Kevin and I saw their rear tire come off the ground.  EEK … If the difference between winning and losing is approaching a corner so fast and breaking so hard your rear tire leaves the ground, I would lose! 
The track goes up a hill to a crest then descends to a big left hand corner.  We saw several front ends off the ground coming off the crest descending down the hill to the big left turn.  It was a good place for pictures. 

They come off that curve and snake their way to another corner.  They go the rest of the way down the hill and go by where I parked my truck.  When I parked I backed up to the chain link fence so we could stand in the back of the truck and get a better view.  A great move …

When the race is complete riders take a cool down lap and show their appreciation to the fans (wave, feet up, wheelies, tricks, etc.) before going back to the garage area. 

We headed back to the garage area to look at more bikes.  One rider just finished a race and pulled up next to us.  Kevin and I watched the heat waves pouring from the engine.  It was HOT … If you like motorcycles it is a good place to see them being worked on.

We headed home late afternoon.  Kevin was disappointed we weren’t going back for the final day.  Tough to say how many spectators attended because the place is so big.  I will plan better next year and take the whole family, a grill for a cookout, etc.

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in Loudon Classic to see past posts.

Loudon Classic - Motorcycle Weekend - 1985

In 1985 my roommate and I liked riding motorcycles so we decided to head north to watch the races in Loudon, NH.

Race weekend had a bad reputation.  The campground was a scary place.  No police, ambulance, or fire would go in.  Anything happened in the campground and you would need to be carried to the ambulance waiting at the front entrance.  

Up on Animal Hill we saw cars on fire, motorcycles on fire, lots of drinking, and guys jumping Harley's over burning bikes.  One guy went up a makeshift ramp, over a burning motorcycle lying on the ground, landed in the gravel and cracked up.  His arm, shoulder, and chest was all torn up. (no shirt or helmet)  They slowly took him to the ambulance.  It wasn't the safest place to venture. 

I wanted to take pictures of the racing and get close to the track so we headed in.  I took pictures at turn 4.  We were close had a great viewing point as the bikes came off the turn.  I am still scavenging to find more pictures.  No digital cameras back then.
Several years later they cleaned it all up.  NASCAR was talking about racing in NH.  It would mean tearing everything down and rebuilding the track, stands, etc.  If the track events and the track reputation didn't get more family friendly NASCAR would go elsewhere.  

The track was rebuilt, new stands, etc. and the events were cleaned up.  NASCAR now races here twice a year.  The motorcycle races are the last weekend of NH Motorcycle Week and much more family friendly now. 

I wish I could find the rest of my pics ...

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in Loudon Classic to see other Loudon Classic posts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

AMA Pro Hillclimb - 2012

It’s raining … the weather report said we should receive an inch of rain by late morning then it will clear out.  The hill climb was moved to mid week and is now part of Bike Week as a "ride to" event.  This was the last week of school for Kevin so I decided to go myself. 

I arrived around 11:15AM.  The rain stopped … humidity was high … the clouds moved in and out  … it warmed up ... and I got a sun burn on my neck.  It turned out to be a nice day.  There was some mud around mainly in the parking lots but the hill was in good shape.  No dust which was good.

Many bikers showed up.  Good crowd … nothing wild … still kid friendly … although I didn’t see many kids around being mid week near the end of the school year.  There were some excellent motorcycles parked in the lots.  Next year I will take some pictures of them.

The Verticross has 2 riders in each heat.  The first one to the top advances.  The final had 3 riders.  If you end up behind another rider the rocks and dirt being kicked up at you must hurt.

They had the Pro Sport Class (under 450cc), Xtreme Class, and the Unlimited Class.

Because of the paddle tires or chains on the rear tires previous bikes leave big ruts at the starting line.   The teams roll their bike to the line and pick a takeoff spot.  Many Xtreme and Unlimited bikes are started in the pit staging area before being rolled to the line.  I like the rooster tails at take off.  

During the nitro racing there was a very loud bang in the pit staging area.  One of the motorcycles exploded.  Bike parts went flying but no one was hurt.  Running nitro methane means the crews and riders need to be careful. 

The riders come to the first small jump right off the line.  This keeps their initial speed down so they can set up for the bottom section of the hill.

Huge acceleration to the next jump causing “Big Air”.  These bikes have long suspension.  With speed and big air I saw hard landings with shocks compressed and skid plates dragging on the ground.  It’s pretty easy to say that bottoming out may cause your feet to get knocked off the foot pegs and loss of control.  After that landing more speed for the charge to the finish line and final jump to the last part of the hill and over the top. 

Last year the finish line was after the final jump in the middle of the last part of the hill going over the top.  Going for the win, riders were charging over the top experiencing a very hard landing.  They moved the finish line to the top of the last jump before the final part of the hill.  That was a smart move to be safe but there were still several crack ups throughout the day.  

I headed for home after the last race but many stayed to listen to the 3 bands playing. 

Kevin and I have gone to some fun events through the years.  He will tell you his favorite is the hill climb so he really missed going this year and I missed having him with me.

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in AMA Hillclimb to see past posts.