They’d opted for two classes – “conventional” and “step through” – 40 of each – and a simultaneous Le-mans start. Needless to say, it was “joyful chaos”. By the time we’d got to our bikes, we were laughing so hard at some of the antics employed by some of our fellow racers that we hardly noticed our bikes had been trampled in the rush. A couple of the riders weren’t doing so well at that point either, but it was all taken in the spirit of the game ………
The first few laps were chaos, as every time we’d pass the start line there were still a few people desperately trying to start their bikes. We’d merrily plough straight through the carnage, trying to avoid “static obstacles” (as they subsequently became known as). Eventually, it all levelled out, and became a game of “whack the slow ones out of the way”. Have you ever played “Road Rash” ? - It was like that, but without the nunchucks.
At some point, another rider went down in front of me, and I hit the anchors - hard. Courtesy of the “recently improved dynamics” of the bike, to wit, the tail being higher than the front, I went straight over the top of the bike and on top of him. Soft landing, though I’ll never forget the look on his face. “Rabbit caught in the headlights” just about sums it up.
Having uttered such curses as are appropriate at times like this, (I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t pretty), I got back on the still running bike, and suffered the body blows of the inconsiderate gits passing by. (In retrospect, I should have tried zig-zagging – might have dropped one or two).
Well – three quarters of a lap later – and thanks to that crash, the exhaust had shaken itself so lose the thing was a trip hazard. I wouldn’t have minded if it had simply fallen off in front of everyone else, but by now it was only useful as a bird scarer - and the vultures up my arse were unlikely to be impressed.
Fed up – I pulled into the tire wall half way down the straight – stuck the stand down, and ripped the thing off the bike. It must have guessed what sort of mood I was in, and came away cleanly. I shoved it into the tire wall, and got back in there - in no mood to take prisoners.
With absolutely no exhaust on the bike – my lap times reduced by 2 seconds – there was enough of a bend where the exhaust port exited the cylinder head to produce a back “reflection” and keep it all working as it should.
We came 32nd in class – had a blast – and f****d over (racing) as many as we could along the way. We may have died – but we died with our swords in our hands.
The moral of this tale ?
Next time someone tells you that some kind of fancy exhaust will gain you anything – don’t believe it for a moment …………………….