at the Oil City Nationals!
Even though it's been several weeks since the last
CMDRA event, Ethan and his team were regularly testing at
local tracks; making sure they were ready for the Oil City Nationals
at Castrol Raceway.
No major changes were done on Barkley's 500 HP turbocharged GSX-R1000
"Eleanor" but the new boost controller tunes were refined to be
even smoother than those used at previous events. The Castrol Raceway
track was in great shape and Ethan wasted little time in making
and stunned his competitors with
a 7.58 @ 187 MPH on his opening test pass. The rest of the field
about a second behind as they struggled to make clean
runs. Ethan opted out of the second test opportunity Saturday morning
as he watched the others racers struggle to make mid 8 second runs.
In the first qualifying session Ethan left the tune relatively
conservative and kept things moving in the right direction with
a 7.55 @ 188 MPH run. There was a hint of wheelie which forced
Ethan to roll off the throttle slightly but he was still almost
half of a second ahead of the nearest rival. Just prior to the
second qualifying session began the clouds opened up to a light
drizzle that didn't let up, forcing the postponement of qualifying
to Sunday morning.
After a rather dark and stormy night the teams awoke
to very chilly conditions and a gusty northwest wind. This was
completely different from Saturday and would take some serious
tuning to get the bikes to run correctly given the sudden change.
and his team worked all morning to get the tune-up for the second
qualifier sorted out. Unfortunately the cool dense air allowed
the motor to make just a bit too much power and Ethan had to chop
throttle. His 7.55 from Saturday would be more than enough to take
the #1 spot in qualifying.
In round one of eliminations Ethan had the bye and
elected to see what the track could hold and turned up the
boost down track. He had a clean launch and the 60' time of 1.25
was excellent the bike began to pull the front wheel higher and
higher. Even with Ethan modulating the throttle as best as he
could the gusty wind (which was now in excess of 40 mph) was just
too much as it got under the bike as Ethan clicked into
3rd gear, forcing him to abort the run and coast through the finish
Round two had his lined up against fellow EB Speed
Rider Danny Green. Danny took the win at the pervious event as
Ethan spun hard at the line. Trying his best not to make the same
mistake twice Ethan softened the power delivery on "Eleanor" and
decided to play it safe. As the lights flashed yellow Ethan was
off like a shot while Danny had an unusually slow reaction time.
It's a good thing he did because Ethan had his hands full as a
main engine seal had blown out at the 300 foot mark spraying his
left boot and subsequently the rear tire with oil! Not one to
give up he kept hitting his shift button and narrowly beat Danny
to the finish line. Amazingly Ethan kept the bike upright and still
ran a 7.91 @ 175 with almost no rear grip!
Before the team could think about the finals they
had a major mess to clean up. It was all hands on deck as Ethan's
team feverously worked to get the bike rinsed off and determine
what caused the seal failure. Once the team dug into the bike,
the news wasn't good, the head gasket had failed, causing a healthy
dose of coolant into the CMDRA mandated overflow containment system
which worked great with no coolant reaching the racing surface,
however the catch can's excess pressure prevented the crankcase
to relieve its regular pressure build up and pushed out the
sprocket seal. So it was back to the drawing board to get the bike
ready for the finals. A bunch of hose was cut and a pair of makeshift
containment systems were made in very short order. Ethan knew the
motor was hurt but he had to go for the win at all costs in order
have a lock on the championship. Everything was going good, the
burnout was normal and the temperatures were stable at the starting
line. The bike left cleanly but a few feet after the start things
went from bad to worse and Ethan couldn't make up the lost power
and narrowly lost with an 8.07 @ 174 to Aston's 7.80 @ 174.
It was a challenging weekend considering the conditions
and also the less than perfect motor for the last two passes but
Ethan came away with bonus points for #1 qualifier and made it
all the way to the finals on a hurt engine. With less than 12 days
until the CMDRA season finals in Mission B.C., Ethan has a 43 point
lead in the Championship standings.
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Photos by: Seven62
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