Cory Texter, 2019 AFT Production Twins champ and Sideburn columnist, is back with another of his C-Tex Present video posts. This post contains spoilers for the race, so if you don't want to know the outcome, watch the footage first then compare notes with Cory's expert take on it straight after.
Click C-Tex Presents to see his other video posts.
I chose the 1999 Harrington Half-Mile as the next vid for you all to check out. This one is a must-see for many different reasons. For one, Harrington, Delaware is a track that is only two hours from my home in Willow Street, Pennsylvania. The series stopped racing on this track before I was a professional, but I have been to the fairgrounds multiple times as an instructor for the American Supercamp school, which they hold under a pavilion on the grounds. I have jogged a couple laps around the track. Not as cool, but whatever.
The race starts off with rad interviews from a bleached hair Nicky Hayden, Jay Springsteen, Morehead, King, Carr and Parker. Basically the who is who from flat track in the late 90s. That era was a bit of a transition period for the sport. This was Parker's last full year racing the series and Carr was determined to win another title outright from Scottie before he retired. Also, you had new riders like Hayden, Bryan Bigelow and Johnny Murphree competing veterans like Springer, Parker, Carr, Davis, Morehead and Roeder.
This race doesn't show all the qualifying heats so that is sort of a bummer, but the main event is badass. I still say we need more cushion tracks on the schedule. There is nothing like a good cushion half mile. You can ride high or low and you don't have to follow anyone because there are a ton of opportunities to get around slower riders.
Watching Roeder slide that Harley-Davidson XR 750 into turn one on the start is just beautiful. I replayed that a few times. That is just a textbook sequence on how you ride a cushion. After Roeder led the first lap, Carr took over and started to check out on the field early on in the race. Roeder was a stubborn guy sometimes. He was determined to make the high line work even when it started to dry out. I loved that about his riding style because he was always an exciting guy to watch as he trimmed the hay bales lap after lap. The bottom is faster? Whatever, I am holding twisting the throttle and bumping the cush baby!
There are a few different types of cushion race tracks and I like them all. In Ohio, you have a lot of race tracks that are more brown dirt. They are deep and get rough, sort of like Lima. Then you have dirt cushions tracks like Pomona, California and even Springfield Short Track/TT. They stay smooth, but have a ton of traction. Race tracks like Harrington are more of a grey-ish cushion or stone-based cushion track. They typically have a hard base with really fine stone on the top. There are a lot of these on the East coast and they are my favourite. You ride with the rear wheel hung out like any cushion, but they are more technical because you have to search for that forward bite.
Parker reels in Carr and they dice it back and forth a bit before Parker scoots away. Go to 11:38 on the coverage and watch Parker ride that corner underneath Carr. Poetic. The race ended on a red flag, so that is kind of lame. You don't see that anymore. I think you should always revert back a few laps and race to the checkered. At the same time, the race was settled and Parker had it in the bag, but that is still part of the game. It would have been interesting to see a 3-5 lap shootout. It was pretty funny seeing Parker attempt to give one of the trophy girls wearing a dress the victory lap. She wasn't having it. Also really cool seeing Roeder finish on the podium. That guy is a legend on those tracks, but had a tough time putting it together to win the pro nationals. He did win one national, but it was on a clay half mile. Go figure.
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