The true end of the season is now here. As I look around the garage, the evidence of that is all around. My practice bike is on the stand completely in pieces. The motor is out and still with Mark being rebuilt. Remember that I did major damage to it at the race in Rhinelander. The parts are strewn about the garage waiting to be put back together. That is ok, because the bearings and everything need to be greased and reassembled anyway. My race bike is still weighed down with 15 pounds of mud from this past weekends Enduro in Illinois. That bike needs the same breakdown and rebuild as the practice bike does.
This past years season started out as a hope on my part. We put together the plan to do the GNCC series. We collected gear and sponsors, we built bikes, we planned and organized and then I roached my knee. The fall and winter became a recovery and rebuilding effort on my part. First the ACL replacement surgery and then hours and hours of rehab and rebuilding to get healthy. I did manage to get it rebuilt, but as much as I wanted it to be the same as before – it was not. I have learned that to truly come back from something like that, it is a full 12 months. I am just now to the point that I do not think about my knee and feel that it is just as versatile as it was last year.
As a result of the knee, I never really felt as fast as in past years. I had some good moments, mostly in local races where I knew more what to expect than in a GNCC race. I did have a couple of good GNCC races – St. Clairesville and Crawfordsville come to mind. And, all in all it was a super fun season.
Our sponsors were super supportive and a joy to be associated with. Our friends and family were super supportive as well. They tolerated all the travel and time away to do the dream season.
As I look at next year, I am really looking forward to a few things.
– Racing locally. I always enjoy racing with my friends, at lower key events and at venues that I know. I will go and do a few big races next year, but mostly I want to race close to home.
– We have a new series in Wisconsin. It is in it’s infancy. It is going to need all of our support. It has been organized by the former D16 representative – Rick Anschutz. (You can find a link to his site on the right side of the page – RPAoffroad). I will be doing as many of these as I can, to make sure I do my part to see it make it past the first year and into the future.
– Enduro’s. The last event of the year that I did, the Enduro down in Illinois, has completely captivated me. I had so much fun, that I cannot wait to do more. Although there are a few enduro’s near by, unfortunately most are in neighboring states.
I am so excited about enduro’s, that I have made a decision to keep my second RM250 and turn it into an Enduro bike. Here is my plan.
My enduro bike (the 07 that I raced in the GNCC series this year)
– stator that will run a head light, from Moose. The Baja Design guys said that will allow my bike to power a headlight. It may also effectively add flywheel weight. If that means I have too much fly wheel weight, I will adjust.
– Baja designs enduro headlight and number plate. Sort of a generic design that comes in the colors that match all brands.
– Bars cut down 1” on each side. I don’t know this firsthand, but I am told that most enduro’s (like the one last week) have way tighter trees than HS racing.
– G2 throttle tube. I need all the help I can get in controlling all the power of my RM250.
– Magura Hydro clutch.
– Skid plate
– Pipe guard
– Factory Connection suspension that is set up softer than my HS bike. I need it set up softer to help with all the logs and rocks and roots etc…
– 110 rear tire. We ran 120’s this year, and I think I want to go back to a 110 as it feels just a bit lighter, and courses here are not rocky.
– Q muffler. Some enduro’s require sound check and spark arrestor
– Gnarly pipe. More durable and hopefully less power, which will make it easier to ride in really technical stuff.
– I might try running a 14T counter to get a higher top speed
– Large tank
My HS bike (the 06 when I get the motor back, as this is the bike that has been my favorite for HS racing)
– Same motor set up as this past year on the 06. Blue JD needle, heavy steahly FWW, G2 throttle tube
– Fatty pipe, stock silencer
– No pipe guard
– No skid plate
– Same suspension set up as this past year, but I will send both ends to Factory Connection to have them refreshed
– Small tank. I do have a 2nd big tank, but I want to experiment with the small tank. I might be able to squeak by with the small tank for 2 hours, or may need to stop and take a quick splash of gas. But, either way I think I ride better at speed with the smaller tank.
– Hydro clutch
– 110 rear tire. Again, I want to go back to a 110 for weight, and counting on less rocky courses.
– 13X48 gearing
– Standard bar width. leverage is what this is all about.
Of course both bikes will have Vortex drive parts and bars, both bikes will have a GPR steering damper and both bikes will have Cycra plastics all the way round.
I had planned to just campaign 1 bike next year, as I thought it would make life easier from a maintenance standpoint. That is probably true. But, I learned this weekend that the bike set up is completely different for enduro’s than HS racing.
Now it is time to get a training program going and to enjoy the winter with my family.