Destination: Krowdrace! – Hookie Co.

Destination: Krowdrace!

Since almost exactly 7 months to the day, the dream of building a “Race Only” Flat Tracker for our personal enjoyment started with a Triumph T100R, which arrived in our garage in a less than ideal conditions. Since then, having rebuilt the engine, frame and changes to majority of the “non” running system, we were ecstatic to see the Triumph running and making a statement of “Play Hookie” at last week’s Krowdrace in Hofheim am Taunus, 20km from Frankfurt.

 

3 Guys, 1 Truck, Destination: RACE!

With some knowledge of what is ahead, the Hookie team packed up the truck for what was to be an awesome weekend of racing, camping and general funny business. And it’s not an awesome weekend without a good dose of camping along side many other fellow racers. 
Having arrived and set up late afternoon Friday, we had a chance to catch up with some familiar faces in the bike builder world such as the Loose Screw Crew in Munich and our own Hookie Ambassador – Maximilian Funk, as well as some of the regional racing peers. With participants coming from across Germany, Netherlands and England, as well as factory representations from Ducati and Indian Motorcycle Company. Both of which had some excellent show models on display as well as putting them in the race action. 
Our goal for the T100R was really first and foremost, to give it a good solid test run on a track. Since the complete rebuilt, a good number of testing was done, but this was the first time it has tasted dirt, and ohhh did it taste dirt! 
Saturday – Getting Scru’ed, Free Practice Madness, Quali and Race! 
With any racing, may it be weekend racing, or professional racing, all participating motorcycles are required to go through what’s called “Scrutineering”, which meant that the motorcycle is deemed safe for the type of races it is to be taking part in, and this was when we ran into our first hurdle.
 
The T100R first arrived to the Hookie garage with some of the best track tyres from the 70s, given though it looked a bit tatty and old. The Scrutineer we faced was from the German Motorsports Association, an official person who knows whats’up. Having gone through the T100R with a detail inspection, it was found the rear tyre had 11mm of tread, with a race regulated 10mm tread depth possible, which meant our bike was over the limit of grip by 1mm, YES! 1mm! We were declined a race permit on the spot, and was asked to come back until it is either fixed or we don’t race. A problem which was unbeknown to us as it was not clearly stated in the rule book sent to the racers, but this was not going to dampen our race weekend. We had 2 choices, either Nico does a massive burn out on the spot and burn off 1mm, OR we take it back to the pits and start cutting away at the tyre… he wasn’t allowed to do a burn out… so for the next hour, we sat in the heat in the crew pit, and started cutting block by block until it was within regulations. This was simple enough and was proven effective, as we were given an all clear within minutes of a second scrutineering. 
With the day passing and rain coming and going, the camping / pit area filled up truck after truck. The place was filled with excitement and the sweet aroma of petrol. Racers and their pit crews working and preparing their bikes, motorcycles roaming up and down the long field getting their bikes ready before the free practice begins. 
With a short announcement made by the race organiser, all racers gathered their gear and filled the entrance of the track, everyone was ready to get their first taste of speed and dirt this weekend! Though at times chaotic due to the lack of announcements by the race organisers, our T100R made it on the track with ease, and the first test run was underway. Nico blasted through what was a short but very sweet first proper test lap since owning the bike, and oh man, was he in for a treat! With no knowledge of what and how the bike will behave, Nico rode into the unknown, with carefully control and quickly learning the subtleties of the bike, he threw caution into the wind and gave it a hand full on the following laps. The Hookie T100R roared around the track with ease and the thundering sound from the parallel twin with its open exhaust, doing what it was built to do “Race Only!” With the free practice over, Nico’s reaction and smile says it all, the bike is ready for the afternoon races!
In between Free Practice, official practice and races, the weather came and went, rain, sunshine, more rain and clouds. The mood in the pits was a mix between excitement and anticipation to what could be ahead. The schedule started with different classes of bikes, from “Newbies” to the “Hooligans” and everything in between. 
The indian Motorcycle Company had a show case during the day, where they had a mental factory FTR on display doing flying laps on track. This was by far one of the best sounding engine and exhaust note on the track, but with a price to pay of nearly 85000Eu… It was a flying dream for a lot of us, but it was amazing to see a factory team doing the race thing with full hearted spirit and showing the crowd what a factory team is like when they put effort and money into the sport. So good job Indian! 
With official practice looming, the excitement was once again on a high. Nico and good friend Enrico from the Loose Screw Crew (Munich) are both in the same vintage class, so there was a race within a race for the boys! With the vintage class now all on the track, four bikes took to the dirt and did their initial laps to start qualifying. While Nico took to the track, he had noticed a strange wobble on the rear tyre. Thinking it was just the “new” cut down tread blocks, he plowed on and took his place on the starting line. With all four riders ready to race at the line, the flag dropped and gates went up! From afar, the initial start was good, all riders got off quickly, Enrico took off like a stabbed rat! But Nico was quickly left behind for reasons unknown to onlookers and fellow riders. Within a few seconds, it was clear he had a flat rear tyre… The curse of the rear tyre perhaps?! While limping back to the pits through the middle of the track, the race organiser advised Nico that if he could complete a full qualifying lap with the flat, then he would be legible to enter the race it self, given the tyre is fixed before race start in 3 hours. 
With this advice, Nico completed a full lap, slowly but gingerly with what was now a completly flat rear tyre. 
Once back in the pits area, the Hookie team sprung into action, taking off the rear wheel to find the issue quickly so the race won’t be missed. With a quick inspection, it was clear the inner tube from 1976 was no longer serviceable, a new one had to be found from other racers or try our luck at the local parts shop. 
Everyone had a task to do, one half went to the local parts store, the other half stayed to look for a inner tube. With a bit of luck and much effort from our Ambassador in the wild – Maximilian Funk, who was able to track down a 18” inner tube just an hour before the actual race time. The bike was put back together just as quickly as it came apart, with a lot of swearing and sweat of course! 
With the first races now underway, the sound of engines could be heard from afar, the crowd gathered around the track to see who would be their class champion of the day. Hookie’s ambassador Max took the chequered flag in one of his division with a strong win, while coming third in another class. 
Nico and Enrico took their race start in the late afternoon in their class of four vintage bikes. A field totalling easily 100 year of history in the making, Triumph, Honda, Aermacchi and BSA. With all four bikes lined up, the flag drops and gate opens! Nico quickly sprinted off to a great start, while unfortunately Enrico with his Aermacchi bogged down at the start and was left behind the field. The race went on, with the BSA leading most of the time, with Nico following close second, gaining at the corners, but the Honda engine showing its power on the straights. The race result came to BSA, Triumph (!), Honda, and Aermacchi. Coming in second means Nico is automatically qualified into the Sunday’s finals. 
With day end, all races finished and the party atmosphere began. Racers gathered to talk and compare notes, questionable loud music thumping from the Indian Motorcycle Truck in the back ground, and BBQs fumes throughout the camp site, all the while, pit crews are doing what they can to prepare for the next day of racing for those who made the cut. 
Sunday – Rained OUT. 
With another day of races ahead, many had anticipated rain and storm passing through the track throughout the day. As the first practice sessions began, the skies stayed grey, and the chance of rain was imminent. As the day before, Nico and Enrico joined forces to part take in the first free practice, taking one last run before the weather stop session on all practice and races. Within moments of free practice completed, the sky opened up, heavy rain means session stop became inevitable. With this in mind, a lot of riders retreated back to their trucks and tents. Nico decided to pass the final run, because the rear tire was not any more in a good condition. The side wall began to break it was too dangerous to ride. This meant we also made a dash for the East back home to Dresden, as the rain would have meant a long wait for perhaps no races in sight. But all good things must come to an end, a race weekend is not complete without a stop over for some junk food at the good ol’ MacD! Good Job Everyone! 

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