Sunday Morning Ride, Fairfax-Bolinas Road from the Bolinas Lagoon

Years ago, we raced up the ocean side of Fairfax-Bolinas Road. It's 100 turns, 4 miles long, uphill. lots of 2nd gear stuff.
Jimmy Deehan had a pumped GYT kitted 175 Yamaha enduro with K70's and flat track bars. He was a godlike rider. Oh - and he had won the Junior race at Daytona on an H1 Kawasaki in the 1970's.

Let me clarify that. Jimmy was the fastest, scrappiest, quickest, toughest, least falling down guy I knew.
How tough? In the old days, when hang gliders were cobbled together in garages, his folded up at 1000 feet. He lived.
That's how tough Jimmy is.

I had a "straight but scuffed up" RD350 that I raced in AFM production and, with the addition of a mirror and removal of the number plates, it was my "Sunday Morning Ride" bike.

I chased Jimmy up the Fairfax-Bolinas Road for months. Right behind him the whole way,  him: flat track style and me, knee out, roadrace style. Probably looked funny from the CHP helicopter overhead.

There was only one 200 ft little short straight - but he could guard the right and it went into a super tight right hand 90 deg turn and, even though I had a few hp on him, I had another 80 lbs and I couldn't ever "quite" pull it off and get ahead of him.

2nd was getting pretty old........

So.... me thinks.... The only thing I can do is, maybe flat track my RD350, too and "maybe" it would be good 'nough to "maybe" get enough coming out of that one left hand turn and "maybe" have enough time for my 35 hp 350 tank to pull ahead of Jimmy's wicked fast, featherweight  175.... before that nasty right hand 90......

So - I took my RD out on  some flat dirt and tried and tried and tried to slide it (controllably).

Hmm.... I mostly learned how to fall down in the dirt after the front end washed out, how to not get hurt falling and how to get up quickly and that nobody would ever be using a stock rd 250/350 or tz250 frame as a flattracker.........

So - out to a parking lot. Then I could smoke the rear tire coming out of a corner in 1st gear.....
OK - that's better. Silly, but better.

Eventually........... (imagine Sunday morning Groundhog Day....the same 2nd, over and over and over for days)

Brakes on, smoke the front tire into the corner, cram the trans into first gear, bike leaned over, skittering rear tire, foot skimming the ground, smack the throttle at the apex on to break loose the rear tire more, put more weight on my inside foot on the ground (as the bike was trying really hard to crash), cram the throttle on and finish a 90 degree turn - the bike's chassis rhythmically torque-bending whoop, whoop, whooping out and bang it into second.
And do it again and again.

Proof that, given enough time, even a monkey can learn to ride.....

OK -
So - Sunday comes.
Jimmy's in front, I passed guys one by one till I got behind him again.
OK. Think "flat track". Breathe. Breathe. Relax......

First corner - he flat tracks it in and I came in, just outside of him. No joy.
Another corner. No joy.
It's better, though - I can get closer... with 1st gear and sliding out of the corners....


"THE" corner with that little straight.
Into it even harder than ever.....

I'm almost even with Jimmy at the apex. Corner exit, WHOOP, whoop, whoop - water pipe RD chassis bending through first, bang second, 1/2 ahead of Jimmy, front wheel off the ground just a bit.... bang third.. faster, corner coming up, holding throttle on (should be letting off and braking....). I'm clear of Jimmy's front wheel and grab the line into the corner - but - just a taste too fast...brake, smoke, cram 2 downshifts down to first, see the inside pavement edge - I can use it for a berm?. Foot out, back wheel sliding, I luckily hit the 1/2" berm, the bike settled and I MADE it.

2 more corners and it's the top and the END.

I BEAT JIMMY DEEHAN!!!! (once.........)

We park our bikes under the redwood trees in that little dirt parking lot.
We take off our helmets.

"YOU'RE CRAZY!!!"  he exclaims.......

Thank you Jimmy - that was the nicest thing anybody ever said to me. :-)


Additions? Corrections?

]back to Story Index - click here