Racing is built on a foundation of tired sayings packed with monumental truths. Recently, few have been more poignant for the crew of the supercharged NC Miata we're set to co-pilot in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland than, "You have to start before you can win." Last week, Bill Cardell, our valiant pilot and part-time lumberjack, wound up accidentally felling an aspen tree on himself while doing some work at a mountain cabin. He's currently awaiting a second set of x-rays to determine just how lengthy his recuperation will be, but either way, he's facing a few long weeks out of the saddle due to a broken humerus. Cardell, while in seemingly good spirits, finds nothing funny about the situation. Needless to say, squeezing into the cockpit of a race car isn't on his doctor's prescription pad, which leaves Nancy and I without a driver.
In a moment of solidarity, your author managed to high-side my '82 Kawasaki GPz750 on day one of a two-week motorcycle ride. The next morning, one very haggard ER doctor told me that while my bones were intact, there's a good chance that I've torn my rotator cuff.
"That's bad," I said.
"Yes. It's very bad," he agreed after a pause that conveyed a mix of disdain and admiration for my appreciation of the obvious.
Even so, I've regained much of the movement in my left shoulder, and the pain has subsided to an ever-present dull ache. If I can ride 2,300 miles on the arm, I can sure as hell use it to hold up pace notes. I'll circle back with the medical establishment after our return from Canada.
Meanwhile, Cardell's nephew, Brandon Fitch, will take over the forced-induction Miata's controls. Fitch formerly served as crew chief for both vehicles and has worked with Flyin' Miata for the past five years. As such, he's had plenty of seat time with our car as part of his work in product development, and word has it he's plenty quick to boot.
The race kicks off on September 10, and I've been ordered to stay indoors and intact until then. That's advice I'll likely heed. Our best get-well wishes go out to Cardell as he stitches himself back together.