Race Report #1: Menasha

Race Report, Saturday, July 8, 2006 – Superweek Stage 1 – Menasha, WI. 50 miles, 84 degrees  On our way to this first stage of Superweek in the RV, my excitement for racing was soon replaced by frustration as we had the first of many vehicle mishaps. As I passed Sun Prairie and headed toward Columbus on Highway 151, a very loud thumping began on the left rear of the RV and the vibration forced me to pull over quickly. Sure enough one of the inner tires of the dual rear wheels was flat and throwing tread. 

Without any real idea of what to do, I pulled out the jack, and the crowbar, and wriggling far underneath the 30ft vehicle I proceeded, on the hot tarmac, nose inches from the radiating heat of the transmission and exhaust, to jack up the 11,000lb vehicle, bashing my knuckles on the oil transmission, and burning my forearms on the rusty hot exhaust pipes, and blinking away years of rust flakes that were coming down like a July blizzard directly into my eyes. I had a strong feeling of claustrophobia so far underneath such a massive structure balanced so precariously on a 1 inch round jack. 

2 hours of sweating and straining later, blackened with grease and exhaust, and covered with rust chips, I had removed both wheels, swapped the spare tire, replaced both wheels and stowed the flat on the rear of the vehicle. Finally, as night fell we were ready to hit the road, with 2 ½ hours of driving still left to our destination – High Cliff State Park. 

We pulled into the campsite at high cliff state park at 11pm. Instead of taking the time to back in, I just pulled in straight because it was so dark and so late. I turned on the internal fans, but didn’t run the generator as I didn’t want to be rude to our camping neighbors.  

After a restless and sticky night we decided to head to the bottom of the hill by the beach to cook breakfast and run the AC. Only then did I turn the key to start the RV so we could head off. But of course – there was no power. The fans had pulled too much juice from the battery. And, of course by pulling straight into the campsite, there was no way to get anywhere near the battery in order to jump start the RV.  

An hour of walking around like a derelict later, I had borrowed two sets of jumper cables and found a camper willing to drive over the small trees near the vehicle to get close enough to jump start us.  

We headed on our way, stopping at the bottom of the hill to cook breakfast, only to suddenly hear the generator get 4 times louder. Sure enough, the muffler had fallen off the generator.  

So I spent another hour in my now usual spot underneath the RV, crimping the C-clamp of the muffler to an even higher section of rusted pipe coming out of the generator.  By the time we made it to Menasha I was mentally exhausted by all the tribulations, and had almost no time to warm up.

With clouds obscuring the heat of the sun, the temperature was pretty manageable and 70 laps and 50 miles later, I came in second in the field sprint (3 guys got away) to finish 5th. An auspicious start to the racing, if not for the general logistics of travel…