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Round 2, January 22, 2000 - Phoenix, AZ - Bank One Ballpark

I had full intentions of hitting the race - but new plans came up and just seemed like a LOT more fun!

With Pace first dropping our class, then having only six of thirteen people showing up at Houston AND loosing Friday practice, my attitude about the races had changed drastically.

I arrived at ATV's doorstep bright and early Wednesday morning, ready to fix the Moskito and get out and do some testing. I should have seen the writing on the wall. As the day progressed, I ended up doing work for ATV. Jay was working on a new car called a Drakart (keep an eye on ATV's site - as the bugs get worked out, the car should become awesome. A section on the Drakart will show up soon. - (6/21/01) note, the Drak was a FAILURE....) The guys were swamped with work and it just happens that I can run a lathe and mill, so before I knew it, I was turning and machining parts for Jay and the Drakart. The work day was gone in a flash and I hadn't done squat with the Moskito. There was always tomorrow.

The following day I set my sites on a plastic supply house, purchased a foot long three inch diameter rod of UHMW plastic and turned down* a couple of "pucks" that fit inside the rear hubs to keep the axles from traveling outward and pulling apart the inner CVs. I was hoping that until I could get home and rework the drive train that this would cure the problem I was having with the inner CVs.

*Anyone that can hold a tolerance on that old lathe deserves a medal - Gary, you're "da man"! (Sorry Neil - I HAD to say it!)

I pulled the hubs off the car, pressed the pucks into the hubs and put it all back together. Never even had to unload the Moskito. (Boy I like the new trailer - there's no way I'd ever been able to do that in the old narrow one!) The car was finished and ready to run.

But, the Moskito was never to be pulled out of the trailer for the rest of my trip.

End of the race series you say???

Yup! After the way Pace changed everything (dropping our class, no Friday practice), the fact that people that said they were going to show didn't and general lack of enthusiasm towards Pace's series I was pretty miffed. I had full intentions of going to the race on Saturday and then I started hearing something about "the dunes trip" at ATV.

I found out that Neil, Jay and Dottie were planning a trip out to the Imperial Dunes in Southern California and were going to stay at Glamis. They already had a motor home set up and were going to take three cars out to the dunes and do some testing (playing?). There was also going to be the "First Annual Pilot Jamoree" and being that ATV specializes in Pilots, they wanted to be there.

They had Neil's old stadium car - an EXTREMELY modified Pilot for Dottie to drive - I think the lower half of the frame and the tranny were stock, but the rest was pretty much hand made, a seriously fast Pilot, for Jay, that's been stretched six inches with a twin 600cc snowmobile (120 hp!) stuffed in it (all the long travel suspension mods too) and the new Drakart that ATV's going to be selling soon, for Neil.

The idea of the trip was to do some major shakedown work on the Drakart's suspension and reliability testing of the Twin Pilot - and enjoy ourselves too. I couldn't pass up the chance. I had Neil get a paddle tire for my YZF and we left on Friday after work. I wanted to try running the Moskito, but we couldn't find a set of 13" paddle tires. I figured that I could try it with the cut tires that were on it anyhow, but I knew it would be at a major disadvantage.

When we got up on Saturday morning, I think that Jay and Neil were a bit tentative about me riding on a bike in the dunes with them in their cars. Both of these cars are capable of 90+ mph and were able to go UP the face of ANY dune we could find. (some of the dunes out there are over 300 feet high! - Jay was clocked at over 60 going up the face of a dune called Oldsmobile Hill.) They didn't know that I used to live on South Padre Island in Texas and rode on the beach all the time. I had a BLAST. I was able to stick right beside them anywhere we went and I would even pass them if the opportunity opened up. (I'd always drop back after making the pass, though, because I didn't have a clue where I was!)

The YZF with a paddle tire was just plain amazing. Even in the really deep soft sand all I had to do was twist the throttle and the front end would come up out of the sand and skim along the top of it. Running in the huge bowls was killer. If the bowl was big enough and I was running fast enough I could lay the bike down so that it was horizontal. It was pretty wild, because if I stayed in this attitude long enough, my perception of up would get tilted over and it was like riding in a loop. There wasn't anything that I couldn't go up or down.

As it turned out, taking the Moskito with us was a life saver - for Jay and the Twin. The slipper clutch in the tranny of the Twin Pilot began to slip and eventually completely died. We pulled it back to camp and steal the clutch out of the Moskito. When Jay pulled the clutch out of the Twin it was a steel blue color. I knew it had gotten hot, but I figured that the basket was already that bronze heat treated color. To my surprise, the clutch in the Moskito was a nice light sandblasted metal color. Talk about some HEAT!!! It was decided that what made the clutch let go was running through the whoops at 60 to 80 mph. Throttle on, as the car leaves contact with the ground the entire drive train is allowed to spool up with no resistance. Then, as the wheels catch the top of the next whoop, the entire system goes through a huge shock load. The tires are slowed down, the drive train's still spinning away. Something has to give. It's nice that Honda's integrated the clutch into the tranny. No broken parts and about 15 minutes of work and we were back on our merry way. I've abused the drive train of the Moskito (when it was in the Pilot) and there were absolutely no signs of wear and tear on it's slipper clutch. The only other slipper clutch failure that I've ever heard of was in Denise Wittman's Pilot. I don't know the cause or circumstances, though.

Well, that's about it for my Stadium Lite racing. Don't know what the future's gonna hold.

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