Guest Blog

No Waiting in the Rookie Line

Rookie Run

After four years of going to El Mirage crewing for Ralph Hudson, this weekend I became a licensed LSR racer with the SCTA and I don’t want to take my yellow arm band off.

It was a very busy weekend and week leading up to the event preparing. On Friday early afternoon I arrived to the lake and started the registration process. By Friday late afternoon I still hadn’t passed tech but attended Rookie Training. I was the only female racer out of approximately 50 people.

Saturday morning came quick. After finishing up bike notes Friday evening I was ready for final inspection and registration. I was able to complete that between Ralph’s starting procedures with the 1000. It was an especially busy weekend because Ralph brought two bikes, the 1000 and the 600, and Ted (the Crew Chief) had a broken foot.

After a couple trips back a forth from the line to registration the Little Italian Harley and I were ready to go. Even though as a Rookie I was able to start from the shortest line without much waiting, I decided to go after Ralph’s run with the 1000.

Here Come the Butterflies

Ralph completed an awesome but disappointing 238mph run on his 246mph record. As we were picking up Ralph on the return road we ran into Kristin my Chase Truck Driver. It was really great timing and really great to see her. Only a great friend would come out to the lakebed to help and put up with the extreme elements for two days. We all headed back to the pit together. There are so many elements to get in place in order to run and Kristin and I started to go through the starting procedures. We went to the starting line to watch and discuss starts and were able to see a lot of friends take off like Eddie Marlen in the beastly Corvette he was racing for the first time.

By now the butterflies in my belly were really starting to take off too so I knew it was time. We loaded up the bike and got in line. It was late in the day so there was no waiting in the Rookie line. I quickly got suited up and ready and went to the front of the starting line. Looking down the cones outlining the edge of the track for the first time as a racer is something I hope I never forget, it’s just pure exhilaration and happiness.

I gave the bike a few kicks and it finally exploded to life with a growl. We rolled up to the edge, waited for the point from the starter, then put the bike in gear and took off.

I had been told firmly to take the 1st pass easy. It was my first time racing and first time riding the bike. There were quite a few new things to take in and respond to. Even though those words were in the forefront of my mind, it didn’t seem like it would be an issue since I accidentally started in 2nd and the bike just wouldn’t rev over 7-grand. Even though our top speed was only 76MPH, those double cones and balloons marking the timing tower at the end of the track really come up quick. Before we knew it, it was all over and all I wanted to do was get back in line.

Rules and Procedures

We had the opportunity to get back in line the next day at the end of round 2. After Ralph ran both bikes I got the go ahead to get into the Record Line instead of the Rookie Line. Once at the front of the starting line the starter questioned me why I was in the Record Line instead of the Rookie line. After a little more deliberating at the front of the starting line, with the wind really picking up, it was determined that I could run from the Record Line and if I went fast enough to make a record we’d work out the details later. There are lots of procedures and rules in LSR and I just rolled with it.

By this point, it was very late in the day and suddenly I became the last vehicle in line. The wind was blowing and picking up all kinds of dirt off the broken and used up lake bed and watching the dust clouds I couldn’t help but feel a little like Dorothy with Smokey barking, Ralph helping, Shinya holding the umbrella with two hands, my Dad and Brother cheering me on, Ayu running around snapping photos, and Kristin in the red truck ready to follow me out, and it felt real good. It’s just an incredible feeling when everyone comes together with support and almost without talking, chips in, and takes care.

I did my best to breathe and stay calm and remember what I was supposed to do. I revved the bike which sounded so good and strong.

OK, one down, three up, it’s not GP shifting Stacie like on the Honda, stay calm and breathe,” I repeated to myself. Everything was ready and the course was finally clear, I got the point and shifted down into 1st, rolled on the throttle and let the clutch out.

Tapped-Out at 7500

As I came off the line, nothing was there. The bike slowly moved off the line but it just bogged. So I gave it more gas and feathered it into 2nd. Finally going a bit, I just tucked in and twisted the throttle as much as I could and the bike started to pull more. It was pulling, and the revvs were climbing, OK! I shifted into 3rd, and the RPMs dropped and bogged, shoot! Shifted back to 2nd and then it pulled again. OK! Let’s do this! Twisting the throttle, we sped up again, and I watched the needle climb slowly. But tapped out at 7500. Really!? That’s it?! Then all of a sudden the double cones and balloons came. How’d that happen? Those sure do creep up quick!

After my first run I was convinced I could go faster the second time. Now my second try was over and it was hard to believe that my first run was faster! Oh well, that’s racing I guess. Can’t control the elements and the weather. The goal was to run the bike and get my license and that’s what we did. We were able to take it further, and we now have a check list for the June Meet. Everyone said running a stock bike would be challenging and it was! But I’m really happy with the decision to run it stock the first time, because now I know what it’s like and have a base to compare everything else to. We are off to a great start and this 1967 Harley Davidson (Aermacchi) Sprint 250 SS and I have started our LSR racing program.

It was an incredible weekend and I wouldn’t change a thing, except I do wish one of Ralph’s bikes had made it to impound. Thank you to everyone who helped and encouraged me to this point. Especially Ralph, without who’s help, support, and late nights at the shop none of this world be possible. It’s been awesome and overwhelming and I can’t wait till June.

On the Car Stories Podcast

stacie-london-ridingFrom the CarStories Podcast (brought to you by the Peterson Automotive Museum), Stacie talks to Kyle to talk about being a woman who not only rides motorcycles in LA but someone who is making huge strides towards increasing female ridership in general.

Stacie is best known as one of the founders of the amazing East Side Moto Babes motorcycle club in LA.

She’s an avid road racer on her incredible “Triple Nickel 555” Honda race bike and she’s getting into land speed racing. All this and she’s only been riding for 8 years.

Photo Credit: Kristin Rademacher 05/21/17
Bike prep: Ironwood Racing
Equipment provided: Deus Ex Machina USA
Racing kit: Alpinestars
Helmet: Bell Powersports
Ceramic Bearings: Worldwide Bearings
Work boots: Red Wing Heritage Women
Support and hugs: East Side Moto Babes
Previous post

Bellflower Touring: Salsa and Whipped Cream

Next post

Drawing Cars: Finding That It's All in the Details

The Author

Stacie B. London

Stacie B. London

1 Comment

  1. July 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm — Reply

    […] …El Mirage Round 2, continuing from No Waiting in the Rookie Line. […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.