Against all Odds...
The “Fischereihafenrennen” (Fishtownraces) started from May 26-28th in 2007 for the 50th time. This traditional race took place in the old Fishermans harbour of Bremerhaven on the german Northseacoast and use normal public roads. Many helping hands converting the industrial area for one weekend to a motodrome…Bales of straw border the track and cover risky spots like telegraphposts or busstops. Over the iron manholecovers in the street they put bituminous sheeting to prevent the racers from slipping. All in all is this definatly NOT the place for whiners and talkers. If the flag drops –the bullshit stops, here more than on any other racetrack in continental Europe.
But the “Fishtownraces” are not only a race, it’s a big festival with booths, carousels, miscellaneous food and beverage –and of course stands with bikes and aftermarketparts from all leading manufacturers. This special atmosphere is absolute unique and make it for us to one of the greatest events of the year.
No raceevent let get the spectators closer to the race. It’s on the most places just a bale of straw between the racers and the 30-40.000 racefans who show up over the weekend and who push the riders with frenetic applause, airhorns and screaming to go to the limit on the 2.2Km (1,4mls) long track.
We arrived for the 50th Aniversary on Saturday morning 4.30 at the track to catch up later with our friends from the Internetcommunity XBORG Raceteam. They builded with a bit of our knowhow and help a Buell XB Racebike, we had our “Thors Hammer” Twincarb Racebike with us. Over the winter we had done some changes on the chassis and gave the bike the final bodywork and paint. The bike is now more or less finished, only our double S&S carburator setup makes still some headache in the throttle response. So we spent the last day before the race together with Alex Kucis on the new M-TeK Superflowdyno. The power and torque diagrams were looking great from the beginning, but as we started to run the bike against the eddy current brake, the A/F ratios and the powerband changes dramatical. Late in the night we choose a setup we had to life with for this weekend, because there was still a 4,5 h drive in front of us with the truck.
After a nap of sleep in Bremerhaven the XBORG and the Hillbilly-Motors crew shows up and we build up our paddock stuff. We had a free practice on the Saturday afternoon and 2 time practices on Sunday. The both races were set on the Pentecost Monday. The Hillbilly-Motors “Thors Hammer” was again piloted by Tommy Schuler, the XBORG Buell XB RSS by Mike Funke, a well known german motorsport journalist with more than 30 years of trackexperience. Both bikes are powered basically by 1200cc Shortstroke Attack M-TeK engines.
The bikes were well prepared, after the free practice only some smaller changes on setup and secondary ratio had to be done. Both bikes are signed in for the class “Fishtown Twins” an open class for Twins of any age and construction…. What means here our racebikeconcepts and our riders have to competete with the best the world of bike have. And this is even more than an aircooled 2-Valve pushrod engine. A view in the starterlist let us shake a bit – newest Apillias, Ducatis (including 1098), Honda VTR´s, etc. make the main pack. 2 valve aircooled bikes we find 3 more… 39 Bikes can join the training, but only 32 the race…. and the Fishtowntwins are full booked, what means that, if nobody give up, 7 of the guys can go home after the time session…. Ok. we are no whiners, we have a well prepared bike….. with Brembostoppers from the early 80th and a pushrodengine ”what was constructed before Yamaha was founded” (Steve Mc Laughlin in Daytona 2006). So we have to find the speed or pray for rain. ….
Sundaymorning , Mike and Tommy go out for the first timesession, there is rain in the air, but the track is still dry. The time is short, but both find a quick lap. Suddenly the cellphone is ringing “Mike is down” SH##!! But he is okay, have a abrasion on his ellbow and got a hit on his hip. The bike is not hard damaged, Christian the chiefmechanic from the XBORG Team repair the bike quick, and Armin and me prepared “Thors Hammer” for the second timesession. The first practice brought the 13th place for Tommy and Mike managed the 15th before he go down. Not so bad for two guys over the 50th with 2 valve pushrodengines…. Okay the stress is gone, we have for both bikes the start. But Mike want more, he say ”I think we have to go under the first ten”. In the late afternoon both bikes are raceready for the second timesession. Tommy go as late as possible out, try to get a gap between him and the field to find a open lap. Mike choose the other way and try to go in front with the quickest bikes…. and after a couple of hundred meters he went down on exactly the same spot than in the session before. But now, bad luck, a Aprillia rider behind him find no gap, Mike try to get up to jump over the strawbale, but the Bike hit him hard….. The Apriliarider went down too, but he is okay. The ambulance is quick there, but than the time expand like in a bad movie. 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. Memorys coming up from the 1000Km of Hockenheim 8 weeks ago and the loss of Holger Turni. After a long time the Ambulance drive slowly away and we got the information that the bike is confiscated by the stewarts of the meeting for investigations…. no information about Mike. 2 minutes later I arrived at the raceoffice and took the racedirector beside to hear whats up with Mike…. and he is alive but they are not sure how serious the injuries are. It took 5 minutes to finish the “investigation” the bike is 100 % in function. It tooks hours to get an clear information that Mike have a lot of broken bones but will get 100% okay. The bike is badly damaged, because of the Buell Trackday on next Tuesday, where the Bike have to get tested by youngsterrider Jessica Baruth, Heiko and Christian took the bike and drive home to change the broken fork and get the bike trackready.
We stay at “Fishtown” another night, because tomorrow is the day of the races and Tommy is keen to get “Thors Hammer” under the first ten….. I took some more beers and fall into a big sleep.
Mondaymorning, dark clouds but the track is dry, okay lets wait. The race comes nearer and there are still dry condition, okay that means the hard way. We start the Bike and Tommy ride the bike to the prestart, I follow with the starterengine, just in case the engine stops. After Mikes crash they finished the practice for that day, so we are still on the 13th, what is on the right side… Tommy got a great start and go on 10th, in the next 2 laps he was able to pass another 3 competitors and was hanging behind an RSV Mille with a chance on the 6th!!! Its amazing, the bike goes out of the corners like hell, also on the straights the speed is good, but than after another 3 Laps I hear that the bike rev up out of the corners, the clutch start slipping. Hard to see how Tommy loose now position for position he fighted before so hard for. In the end we finished on a great 10th position, the winner was Tim Röthig on Ducati 1098.
The Alto carbonite Fiberplates had nearly one year of racing, what we had learned is to change them before they start slipping in the race… (-: We changed quick the plates and made the bike ready for the second race on afternoon, unfortunatly rain and oil let the officials made the decission to cancel all afternnoon races.
After the race Mike called from hospital to hear how the things going… He was in a good mood and hope to come out soon. Best wishes from here!
Well, in the end a great weekend! And we leave directly to the Buell Trackday at Oschersleben. Next challenge now is the “German TT” on the traditional “Schleizer Dreieck” Racetrack from 9th-10th of June. Cu there!!
Hillbilly-Motors by Götz say special thanks to all Race- and Buellfans who showed up there, all our Sponsors who make it happen, the crewmembers from Hillbilly-Motors and XBORG Raceteam, the riders Tommy Schuler and Mike Funke, who gave everything and the racepromoter with his crew who take the work and risks to present this outstanding raceevent.
See you in 2008 at the 51th Fishtownraces, than with the Hillbilly-Motors XBRR Productionracer powered by M-TeK - Pushrodpower rules (-: