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Behind The Board #7 - "QTS" and SX Hazards


Recapped By: Carl Hein

After Indianapolis, the traveling sideshow was on to Minneapolis

After Indianapolis, the traveling sideshow was on to Minneapolis. This past weekend was the first for the 125 east coast series, so Moto XXX riders Kelly Smith and Larry Ward made their first appearances of the year. After the race Doug Stone who is Larry Wardís mechanic and myself headed to Chicago to stay with our friend Denny Hartwig. Denny works for the promoter of the SX series and is in charge of public relations. Also one of our sponsors, DGY motorsports is located there so we could kill two birds with one stone. I had never met Doug before this weekend so I was a little apprehensive of living in a van with him for a week, I mean who knows what kind of guy he is y'know? One thing he did have going for him was that he is Canadian and I am also Canadian so right away we could talk hockey, Ross Pederson and beer.


Everything turned out ok with Doug, turns out heís just a farmer from Nova Scotia who kind of fell into the "parts changer" gig. Heís a good mechanic though; he just has to refrain from the stories about how to artificially inseminate a cow. I donít really want to hear about the shoulder-length glove thing anymore while Iím eating, ok Doug? We got to Denny's Sunday night and slept in a little on Monday morning before heading down to DGY. Downers Grove Yamaha has been around for like 20 years or so and they have always been into racing, many people will remember that riders like Jimmy Button, Doug Henry, Chad Pederson and many more rode for team DGY back in the day. They are one of our best sponsors as they are responsible for the bikes and the parts, so obviously they are a huge dealership. First we had to wash our bikes.As I was standing in the car wash in 30 degree temperature freezing my butt off I was thinking that this wasnít such a cool job after all. From there Corey Hutter set us up with a shop to work on with solvent tanks, air, presses and vices. It was pretty sweet, being on the road isnít the easiest thing but when I can get a good place to stay and work on the bike then Iím a happy camper.


The week went well for us and we headed up for Minneapolis on Wednesday, the total driving time is about seven hours, after about three hours of me driving, I asked Doug if he could drive and he said sure. Well about 45 min later Doug pulled over and pronounced himself tired. This brought Doug a new nickname from Denny-"QTS".The acronym was born-ďQuarter Tank StoneĒ. So I got the remaining four hours. Thanks Doug. That was great. We pulled into the hotel around two a.m.


Thursday was goof-off day for us as our bikes were done, and the riders didnít get in till that night. Doug went to the mall of America and I just got some van work done. Friday I met the other mechanics and we went to the dome to get ready for practice. Minneapolis is another one of those races where all the mechanics have to haul all of the stuff that we need down into an indoor pit area. It really sucks.It was funny though watching Alan, Kyle Lewis's mechanic trying to keep a cart from rolling out of control down the tunnel, only to have it, all the parts and oils tumble to the ground. ha ha ha. Nick and I walked the track Friday morning, and I have always thought that somehow, AMA should let every fan down onto the track so they can walk it also. You can't believe the size of these jumps when you actually get down there; these guys are incredible at what they do. So next time youíre at the race and Billy-bob is sitting behind you with the mullet and the beer flowing laughing at the guy in 15th in the LCQ, tell him how brave that guy is as well as how much skill he has. Then beat him down in front of his wife and 8 kids. Anyway the track was pretty basic, or so we thought, there was one section where it looked like there was just one fast way to do it.Then 199 and 14 came out to practice. After riding slow thru the section a few times, Pastrana and Windham pulled over to the side and engaged in a game of paper, rock scissors to see who would jump from the landing of the jump-off all the way over a double to the next take-off, effectively eliminating a whole part of it. Windham lost and then attempted the huge leap, coming up short in the process; Travis tried it next and ended up clearing it. This jump was huge, let me tell you, it ended up not really being faster in the main but still, once again, huge props to these guys.


Nick was happy with the practice and we arrived at the race on Saturday ready to go. During practice we tried a couple of different pipes and ended up going with the original one. Itís good to try these things during the race, as sometimes during testing, the rider doesnít always ride the same therefore affecting the results of the test. Everything was ready for the night show. After practice I went up in the stands to watch the daytime qualifying sessions.


Hereís where I feel I have to speak up, the last two weeks we have been in the states where the winter prevents a lot of the local guys from riding much, actually judging by some of these guy's riding something has prevented them from riding at all in the last five years! There have been some guys the last couple of weeks that are downright scary. I mean how in the world did these riders get their pro licenses?? I watched a guy in Indy roll every jump except when he tried the finish line table top and came up short of the top, Iím not kidding-rolling every jump! How do I know? Cause on Friday Nick almost landed on him all 18 times he lapped him. Also guys, if you were going to roll every jump and not even try anything, would it be too much to ask that your gear be made in the last 5 years? The fox "spider-web" pants arenít exactly the latest trend. So anyway in Minneapolis, I watched some guys again roll everything and not even come close to making the night program. It makes me wonder what these guys are thinking, Iíve raced a Supercross once and it is cool, but you would think their pride would tell them to stay home if they are going to be a track hazard. Itís a free country I guess.


The opening ceremonies are always special to be in, youíre down there with your rider hanging out with the cool guys, watching the pyrotechnics go off and hearing about how great America is in this time of war. So onto the heat race we went, Nick went down in the first turn and worked his way up 9th or something and we had to go to the semi. In the semi he got around Voss but it was too much to catch Ron-Ron, we just ran out of laps and settled for second. The main event didnít go much better for us. Nick lined up on the 2nd gate from the far left side, Heath Voss was next to us on the inside gate and if you drew a line from his gate to the first turn, you would hit a tuff box. I knew he had to turn right to get any kind of start. I also knew that Nick wasnít going to give in so something bad was going to happen to one of them.


That something bad happened to us. Voss got the jump and cut over on Wey, thereby forcing Nick to shut off and go into the first turn in last. Just for good measure he grabbed too much brake and ended up on the ground also. I think it has been five out of the seven races that Nick has been 17th or worse at the end of the first lap, thatís not a good recipe for success if anyone is wondering. Again just like last week and the week before and the week before, He rode well and his lap times were better then the guys that finished in front of him but we cant keep giving these guys a 10 second lead all the time. We finished 12th which ended our streak of 11ths.Thank god for that; huh? So that is it for this week, we are 11th in the points, 1 back of Huff Daddy, or H-diddy or Stuff-happy or whatever he calls himself this week and onto Atlanta we go. Hopefully our luck turns around soon, I think it will, we are both working hard enough so good things are bound to happen. Again if anyone had any questions or comments or anything of use to say, drop VRM a line at vrm@vrmweb.net and I will try my best to answer them all, (via e-mail as before) Thanks for reading!!!


Steve Matthes


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