The Polka Dots MC put on the 33rd annual Prarie City GP the weekend of January 15-16, with kids racing on Saturday and adults on Sunday. This was the first cross country race in the D-36 AMA SR Championship Cross Country Series & BC Series and Motion Pro Youth Cross Country Series.
I ran this race last year under rainy skies and needless to say it was a challenging experience. The weather this year really cooperated with clear skies leading up to the race weekend and the course conditions were really good. There were the requisite muddy pits, slick rocks and ruts, but compared to last year it was heaven, there was great traction in places and the club even threw in some challenging endurocross type sections with rocks and logs.
I talked my friend Randall and his son Larsen to come along for their first ever CC race and we hit the road early for the 2hr drive to PC. Upon arrival we ran through all the requisite check in procedures, geared up, teched and sprinted to the start.
Last year I rode my cr500 and as these races use a dead engine, Lemans start (riders run to their bikes, hop on, fire them up and hit the course) my 500 of course decided to not start until my line was long gone, leaving me kicking furiously in frustration. This year I brought a crf250x, figuring the e-start would save me from the embarrassment of last year and I’d actually get to mix it up with the riders in my class. Boy was I wrong. Prior to loading the bike on Saturday night, I made sure to fire it up, check the fluids and tire psi, etc... What I didn’t count on was what leaving the bike on the trailer overnight in freezing temps would do to the battery. The e-start groaned and gave up when I first went to warm up the bike in the morning, not a good sign. I kicked it to life and let it run up until we were staged at the start. A quick shut down and restart had me feeling good about avoiding catastrophe. I was wrong again. The shotgun went off, I jumped on the bike, hit the button and was greeted with a brrrrrr and then nothing. Out comes the kickstarter and what is usually a one kick bike takes about a eight stabs to light up. By that time my group was already through the third turn, wonderful.
Laps were around 12 miles and my performance the first time around could be rated at barely passable to crappy. It took me almost the whole lap to get it together, relax and get in the flow. It would be uncharacteristic of me if I didn’t drop it a couple times in ruts or rocks for good measure as I really value the chance to make the folks behind me feel a sense of accomplishment.
On the second lap things started to coming together nicely, I was feeling good and starting to pass some people and make up time, then I caught a rut and packed it in like a boss. That fall was followed quickly by a couple others, totally spoiling the progress I had made. I switched to have fun and finish mode and rode out the rest of the lap to the finish.
Randall and Larsen had a great time on their first CC race, Larsen crashed and broke his front brake lever completely off but persevered to finish. I was a bit bummed on my crappy start and falls, but at least I wasn't riding a nearly bald trials tire like Randall!
The Polka Dots did a great job with the race and have a bunch of photos up on their site: http://www.polkadotsmc.com/