Your job is to decide if it is "Fact" or "Fiction." Which is it?
The Final Run
"Well, guess we should suit up." Ken said. "We'll be called for staging soon." I put down my soda thinking I get to open a beer soon. No alcohol was allowed in the pits until after the last run of the day was completed. I heard a small car launch as the light tree went green for him. Almost two seconds later I heard a big block growl out, then there was the familiar sound of street tires chirping as a Ford truck in the high school class spun his tires fiercely.
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"When he learns to drive he's gonna do well." I heard from behind. I turned around to see Marcus smiling at me. "You ready?" Marcus asked. "Just keep doing the same thing and you will be fine." "Motorcycles to the stage lines for finals. Motorcycles to the stage lines." The loudspeaker squawked as the bigblock Ford throttled down after crossing the traps at the end of the 1/4 mile run. "That's you." Marcus said.
We walked over to my bike and made sure that my jacket gloves and helmet were all there and started pushing my Suzuki to the Staging lines. It had been a fun day. I had one of the best days I ever had racing. It was also my first time in the finals.
Two years earlier I had been helping Marcus to build a car into a drag racer. I had only been to drag races once, many years before, and didn't watch much as I was there for the car show so I didn't really see the racing.
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I had not planned on going to the races as I knew I didn't have the money so I was surprised when the night before the race Marcus said. "Pick you up at 6. Be ready." "What?" I asked. "You are going? Aren't you?" Marcus asked. " I guess so." I said and thought "Cool."
It was a fun day. We were out in the sun. Working on hot engines. Trying not to get burned while tuning and adjusting the engine in time to make the next run. It was a very interesting experience. Then the loudspeaker squawked, "Motorcycles to the staging lines." My ears perked up. "Motorcycles?" I asked. I told Marcus "Be right back!"
My attention was grabbed by the first bike to fire up. He rode around the water box and then backed in until the back tire just barely got into the water. Then the whine of a 1100cc Suzuki pierced my ears. Chills ran up my back and I felt my face flush. "They drag race motorcycles." I said in disbelief. I had been riding motorcycles for close to eighteen years and never knew they did this. "This is Awesome!"
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The rider inched forward out of the water box. Smoke started to grow from the rear tire as if it were on fire. He cut the gas and coasted forward. The racer came to a stop at the staging lights and adjusted himself on the bike. The bike in the other lane staged and the lights indicated they were ready.
The lights flashed and both bikes roared to life. The one I had been watching jumped forward and took off. The two bikes were doing time trials so it was a head to head run and not actually a race but I still found myself hopping up and down like a toddler when his birthday cake arrived. The two bikes shot down the track. The went faster than any cars I had ever seen. I went back to Marcus and asked, "Did you know they raced motorcycles?" "Of course." Marcus said. "Now hand me that 9/16 box end."
After that night I went to a few more races and would hang out at the motorcycle pits whenever I could. I asked question after question after question. I'm sure that they started to get annoyed with me. It didn't take long before I had found a bike to race. I built it up slowly. Started by stripping it of anything it didn't need, then lowering it, then finally modifying the frame and getting slicks.
"You're up" Marcus said and I blinked out of the past. I was now in my first finals. I had raced all day and was going to get, at worst, second place. It was a good day as I reflected on the bike I had built from an abandon rusty road bike to the missile I was preparing to ride.
[Above images found on web]
Firing it up, I became aware of the intensity of the power between my legs. My fingers tingled as I rapped the throttle a couple times. I sat down and rode around the water box and then straightened out lining up with the track. I backed toward the box as Marcus guided me. "Right there" he yelled over the engine as it idled. I grabbed the front brake and sat down.
I put the bike into second gear and wound the up engine. Quickly releasing the clutch I felt the bike try to lurch forward but with the front brake on, me pulling back and the water, the tire broke free easily. Smoke started to flow out from the tire and Marcus gave me the signal that it was ready. I had other plans though, I always wanted to "Do a Force" like John Force so I just let it run.
The smoke started to billow around from behind. The sweet smell of the race fuel mixed with the acrid smell of the smoke drifted into my helmet. Marcus made a big sweeping motion to me that I could go, but I just smiled. He couldn't see me through my mask, but he understood immediately and smiled back.
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Finally when I was fully engulfed in smoke and thought I might asphyxiate myself I inched out of the water box. Soon I was not able to hold the bike back as the hot slick grabbed and pushed forward. I dropped the throttle and grabbed the clutch just as the tire started to chew its way toward the starting line.
Those chills ran up my back and my face flushed yet again. I could feel my heartbeat throughout my body. I inched forward to the staging lights. The first one lit, then both lit up as I settled in. My friend Ken was in the lane to my left. I had pestered that guy for a long time before I finally showed up to the races with a bike and he mentored me the whole time. I was finally there. I was racing against the first motorcycle drag racer I had ever seen. Ken staged and I throttled my bike up ready for the green light.
I could feel my adrenaline course through my veins as my heart pumped. I breathed as calmly as my body would allow as all my muscles tensed in anticipation. The three yellow lights lit and I dropped the clutch. Before the bike even had a chance to react the green light flashed. The rear tire grabbed the sticky ground and the bike lurched forward.
My feet, barely touching the ground at this time, felt like they were jerked back as the bike jumped. I felt the wheelie bars slap the ground to prevent me from doing a back flip. Hanging on for dear life I squashed myself down against the tank. Everything turned into a blur as I took off like I had a rocket tied to my ass.
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I shifted into second gear and felt the wheelie bars roll behind me. My front tire only touched the ground briefly as I changed gears and I felt the wheelie bars slap again. My vision focused down the track as I listened for the tone of the engine for the next gear change. I started to feel the wind push against me as I accelerated. I shifted into third gear and felt the bike settle back on both wheels.
As much as I wanted to look over for Ken, I knew that could be fatal. He was running a much faster bike and wouldn't leave for almost two seconds. Fourth gear came and I pressed myself tighter to the bike trying to merge myself to it. I focused on the finish line as it got closer; quickly! The RPM's increased at a slower rate with each gear change giving me time to think between them.
All the races of my past came to me. From the very first run on my Shadow where I pulled a huge wheelie. (This was after I said "Don't worry, I'm gonna take it easy." Then the light changed and a monster was born.) To the run on my Magna that I did for Bike Week. I rode a wheelie through first and second gear going the entire length of the stands. That was big crowd pleaser.
I passed 80 mph and I shifted into high gear. The cool air was pushing in through any opening I had as I shot past 90, then 100, quickly approaching my goal. The traps were right there. 110 came and went! I held my breath for the last 50 ft, waiting for Ken to pass me. I shot though the traps as Ken passed me. Who won? I couldn't tell. He passed me at the same moment that we crossed the finish line. It was a perfect match up for us.
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He had slowed down for me on the return road and we rode back side by side. I asked him if he beat me. "I don't know. That was a close one."
Time for that beer.
Like I did on this day, what ever you do...
Enjoy the journey...
Oh yeah, I won!
Question: What is the wildest thing you've done?