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Posts published in August 2003

Highlands Racing team sets record at South African dragstrip

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

HIGHLANDS – A local drag-race team set a track record in South Africa’s most prestigious track and finished first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place in the streetbike competition.

Highlands Kawasaki – Bear Engineering, USA -South Africa, has returned home from a victorious racing debut one third a world away.

The event was the South African Dragbike Tour held at the posh Gosforth Park Raceway and Ceasars’ Hotel. The facility combines a 5 star luxury hotel with SASCAR racing on an oval track, motorcross, and dragracing into a £10,000,000 facility, valued conservatively at about $7.25 Million in U.S. Currency.

Keith Coble, Highlands Tractor Kawasaki President, described his overseas winning adventure, “Race enthusiasts build this marvelous racing facility some 6,600 feet above sealevel, here we are about 33 feet above sealevel, so my biggest challenge going in was to be able to make my bikes run like they run here in that thin air. I was fortunate enough to make some changes when we got there and got my horsepower. It’s a virgin track, so there is no rubber down yet. So traction was an issue. I knew that it was going to be a question of who could hook their bikes up to the track. I had six time world champion, Rick Gadson. I had Texas State Champion, Jeff Peck. I had Gilbert Coronado, Brian Dunham, Troy Jackson, and we had some great sponsors, Hewett Packard, Ceasar’s Resort, Westbank Raceway, and many others too numerous to list. The people over there were really enthusiastic about us coming to race, I think the previous record in the quarter mile was 8.33 seconds and we run in the sevens here.”

So how did Coble and company win?

“We ran an 8.291. It was really a serious challenge to make the adjustments. In my opinion, we won the race two or three days before the event because we were able to make the changes. I went in blind, nothing that we do here was the same there. We weren’t able to use the same fuel, all of our electrical equipment here runs on 110 to 112 volts, over there it’s about 240 volts. I had some big arguments with my mechanics and finally told them who was boss and what we should do, eventually we decided what we were going to do. It seems I made the right calls.”

Jack Scicca, the lead mechanic for the team, has developed numerous innovations in horsepower management according to team manager Coble and international observers. According to Scicca, “We made a bunch of changes on each bike after every pass just trying to stay up with track conditions. I was really concerned that Keith was going to run the bikes to hot or the tire to flat but it turned out better than I expected.”

“Ricky Gadson is able to come back from a pass and communicate with the mechanics about what the bike was doing. Ricky, Jack Scicca and I worked really well together. We actually were pulling horsepower out of the bikes to hook the tires to the track. We were able to establish this record with about half the horsepower my bike possesses. I had four of my bikes over there and Pierre Labuschagne of Bear Racing South Africa had four bikes racing and we ended up with seven of the top eight positions.” explains Coble.

What was the competition running? “The previous record holder was a 1700cc Hayabusa turbo shooting nitrous, he made it through the entire field without having to run against any of our guys until the final.” said Coble with a shrug, indicating the odds on that pairing was unlikely.

The winner of the event, Ricky Gadson elaborated on the event, “This new track is like nothing you have ever seen before, but the bad part about it is that we were the first event to go down the strip, which meant there was no rubber at all on the track. ”

“Wynns mixed up some traction compound called ‘Snake Bite’ to take the place of VHT, but all it did was clogged up the tubing on the sprayer machine, and left us without a way to prep the track unless it is done by hand. The track was sprayed by hand, with no way of etching it in unless we do it with our tires, this is why alot of guys fell, because hitting the front brakes on it was like hitting ice. ” said Gadson of the traction problem.

“Before my arrival in South Africa, the Highlands Texas team arrived to do testing and could not hook up at all posting best times of 8.80’s which over here is nothing to be ashamed of, remembering that is only 2 other Shootout bikes that ever went 8’s in South Africa. Upon further testing on the day after I arrived, they manage to run 8.67 (Jeff Peck) 8.80’s for Brian Dunham (ZX11 Turbo) 8.80’s for Gilbert Coronado (Mr Turbo ZRX1100). We tested the Bear ZX12 nitrous bike and it ran 8.70 spinning the tire the whole way, while the South African KCR team came out with an untested new engine, and turbo combination on their Hayabusa (Beautiful I must add) and promptly ran a tire spinning 8.54 @ 288kph, showing that their one bike was more than ready for the whole Bear Racing led US arsenal, full of hired hitmen. ” smiles Gadson.

The Highlands Kawasaki Bear Engineering Team decided to put Gadson on the Muzzy Built ZRXTurbo, and put the Texas Champ on the Bear Nitrous bike, for the best chances of winning the race but more importantly setting a new South African national record held by the Hayabusa at 8.33. Race day opened with 3 crashes because of the cold track. Everyone spun through the practice round. Gadson ran 8.74 on the Z-rex, and the KCR team posting low ET with a power managing 8.55.

When the scoreboards lit up again it would read a legit 8.29, and all 50,000 South African fan went into a frenzy. Next round the team backed it up with an 8.30, followed by 8.32. The Bear racing bike ran a tire spinning best of 8.75 with Peck aboard.

When the finals came it was the Highlands Z-Rex with low ET of every round and lane choice, the KCR guys were having problems with traction also and could only run a best of 8.44 in eliminations.

In the finals both bikes left well but the Hayabusa of KCR had a shifting problem and coasted through the lights, while Gadson ran consistent.

Answering what gave him the final edge, Coble said, “It was a very educational experience to work with Ricky Gadson, there are a lot of riders that are very talented riders but Ricky knows the mechanics of the bike. My mechanics Jack Scicca and Woody Philips had an unbelievable job ahead of them. At one time we had three blown turbos and fortunately a fan was an experience welder. I’ve never had to have a turbo on the ground before but this race we had three on the ground at one time from running to much heat. Jack Scicca was graveyard serious, he came to race. In spite of having arguments with him about my fuel mix being too hot, he just stepped up and got busy doing what ever it took to get the job done.”

Coble, Gadson and team were on radio and television all over South Africa. Coble reminisced “South Africa is a beautiful nation, I think there is a lot of wealth there. Racing is a really big deal. We never put as many fans in the stands as they do there.”

“There are 6500 VIP seats in Gosforth, they can serve 32,000 plates of food. In two and a half days they went through two and a half tons of chips, seven or eight tons of ice. I went over for three weeks, about two weeks before the racers. After the races, the sponsors took me on a hunting trip. If you’ve never seen a real live lion, once you see them feed you’ll know they are some bad boys. The temperature over there was forties at night and sixties in the day. It’s winter over there and they get the rain during the summer when they need it rarely in winter. When I got back here I nearly died. ”

Coble finalized the interview with, “I can’t say enough about how good my sponsors were to me, Hewett Packard, Bear Engineering-Bear Racing, my new partners in this team, Westbank Racing, Ceasar’s, Biker Lifestyle Magazine all the others too numerous to mention were as wonderful as could be. It cost them about $125,000 to fly us over there and that was just to get us there with the bikes, after that, Craftsman Tools furnished us with the tools we needed.”

BUZZ IN CROSBY: Honey of deals buzzes Friendly Ford

Jeremy Favors of Dayton gathers a swarm of bees from the canopy of Friendly Ford in Crosby on Monday, August 11. A swarm of honey bees apparently heard of sweet deals at the Crosby dealership and came to nest.

Wesly Johnson, manager of the dealership, says “I was a little dismayed trying to get this situation cleared up without hurting the bees. I called a beekeeper supply store and was told they didn’t know anybody that could get the bees. Business must really be slow there. Finally, I called some previous customers from Dayton and Jeremy came right out and trapped the bees in a special box with sugar in the bottom.” According to Jeremy, “I’ll buy a queen and start a new hive. We already have two at the farm. It’s strange, the bees let some people deal with them and not others. Wear any perfume or even deodorant that smells at all like flowers – you could be in trouble.”

Crosby golfer competes in world amateur competition

MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Steve Coon of Crosby, TX will participate in the 20th anniversary DuPontT Coolmax* World Amateur Handicap Championship Aug. 25 through Aug. 29, 2003 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The DuPontT Coolmax* World Amateur Handicap Championship, the world’s largest single-site golf tournament, annually attracts 4,000 golfers from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries to the Grand Strand.

The tournament is played on more than 70 Myrtle Beach area courses and is open to any amateur golfer with a verified United States Golf Association handicap or the foreign equivalent for international players.

Players are flighted according to their handicap. Nearly 100 golfers play in each of the tournament’s approximately 50 flights, with the flight winners advancing to compete in the 18-hole world championship playoff.

“We are thrilled that Steve will be joining us for 20th anniversary DuPontT CoolmaxR World Amateur Handicap Championship,” said tournament director Steve Mays. “This is the world’s greatest and most inclusive amateur golf tournament, and we are proud to host it hear in Myrtle Beach, the Golf Capital of the World.”

Entry into the 72-hole tournament includes four rounds of golf, a gift bag with more than $150 worth of merchandise, and access to the World’s Largest 19th Hole, the tournament’s nightly party that features free food, an open bar, live entertainment and a golf expo. Participants also compete for the right to be crowned “World Champion” and have a chance to win some of the more than $400,000 in prizes given away at the tournament.

The championship is sponsored by DuPont and Coolmax* Performance Fabrics and is backed by a strong line-up of big name presenting sponsors including La Mode, Datrek Golf Bags, Golf Dimensions, Top-Flite Golf Company and Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide.

Crosby High sets sites on first Project Graduation

CROSBY—The graduating class of Crosby High School has decided to celebrate their graduation on May 27, 2004 with an all night; chemical-free graduation party to assure that none of the class of 2004 will be injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents. The party will be a well chaperoned.

“Nationally, more young people between the ages of 16 and 20 are injured or killed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. in May and June than during any other time of the year,” said Richard Dreyton, principal of Forest Hills. “We want to make sure that all of our seniors have a chance to attend their 10 year reunion.” The death rate is higher today than it was 20 years ago because of drunk driving crashes. But, with Project Graduation, we’re fighting back.

This will be Crosby High School first “Project Graduation,” the name used across the country for chemical-free graduation parties. It will be held at the high school, which will be open to seniors only for that night. A variety of activities has been planned for the night, including a casino night, karaoke, magic shows, fortune teller, volleyball tournament, photographer, food and lots of entertainment. At this time we are working on a car as a give away at the end of project graduation in which you have to attend to be able to win the car.

To make Project Graduation the biggest and best party ever, we ill need your help. We are in need of parents to help chair numerous committees.

It also takes junior parents as well so that we can walk them through it this year for their coming year. This will be the first year and hopefully more to come so therefore we are reaching out to our community for your support. Donations of money, services, or merchandise for prizes are now being accepted.

There will be a garage sale this fall and in the spring so don’t get rid of them please hang on to them or call me and we can make some arrangements to get them picked up.

If you would like to help with this event or chair a committee please contact Pam Johnson @ 281-328-3984 or Connie Marek @ 281-328-9615.

Star-Courier Opinion Poll sets record response

The current poll in the newspaper, and on the Star-Courier website, starcouriernews.com, has received a record number of responses, to date 82 votes. This is in spite of the fact that the poll has only been online for a few days. The results are very lopsided, too. 95% voted YES, the Texas Democratic Senators should have walked out to deny a quorum. Only 5% voted NO, they should have stayed.

Major accident on FM2100 sends two to hospital by LifeFlight

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – A horrific accident involving two passenger cars and a panel truck, drew two Lifeflight Helicopters to the Heathergate Intersection of FM 2100 at about 1:30 P.M. on Monday.

This marks the second time in as many weeks that there has been an accident near this intersection, although investigators can find no reason to attribute road factors to the wrecks. All three of the drivers were taken to hospitals. Two, who were apparently critically injured, went by Lifeflight helicopters while the driver of the panel truck was transported by ambulance.

According to Harris County Sheriff’s Traffic Investigators, John Gilbert, 25, was apparently driving north on FM 2100 in his 2003 Monte Carlo on August 4. For reasons unknown, he crossed the center line, investigators determined. The Crosby resident apparently continued to travel North for a short distance in the Southbound lane until his car collided head-on with a panel truck at the truck’s front bumper toward the left side.

The impact hurled Gilbert’s Monte Carlo counterclockwise and into the path of Fabio Berrio’s 1994 Mazda Navajo, an SUV. Apparently, Berrio, a Kingwood resident, had been close behind the panel truck at the time of the accident. Evidence indicates that Berrio attempted to avoid the wreck by veering into the Northbound lane and struck the left rear of the Monte Carlo as it ricochetted off the panel truck.

The SUV following this impact was turned right and rolled into the ditch in front of the Community Baptist Church. The SUV rolled over onto its roof, coming to rest facing West from the ditch and onto the church’s lawn.

According to the report, the International truck, belonging to Wenco Distributors, approaching the Heathergate Intersection attempts to avoid the wreck by swerving to the right. The truck lopped into the Southernmost ditch of the Heathergate Intersection. Larine Houston, 59, the driver of the truck was taken to a local hospital.

Drowning death in River

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

HIGHLANDS – The body of a man was recovered by deputies some four hours after he apparently drowned swimming from Magnolia Gardens to Highlands on Saturday.

Daniel DeLa Torre, 29, had left Beach Drive and entered the water before going under around 10:20 a.m. on August 2. Witnesses tell officials that he was attempting to swim the three quarters of a mile channel and disappeared from sight.

A Magnolia Gardens Security Officer attempted to rescue the man, according to deputy reports, but was unable to reach him. The body was recovered at about 3:35 p.m. by a recovery boat some 100 yards up stream from where witnesses had reported it going down.

Homocide Detectives investigated the incident. Witnesses said the body was bruised. The incident was ruled accidental. It was determined the hooks of the recovery boat caused the bruises.

Public turns out to support YMCA in Crosby

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – About 46 people attended a town meeting on Thursday, July 31, sponsored by the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce at Newport Elementary School about the potential for bring a YMCA program to Crosby.

The meeting was opened by Rev. Dr. Larry Koslovsky of Crosby Brethren Church and Doug Earle, Vice President of Operation and Steve Gimenez, Executive Director of the Wendel D. Ley YMCA made presentations.

Koslovsky would explain later, “We [the C/HCC] are putting on this meeting to introduce the possibilities of a YMCA. We don’t feel it is the responsibility of the Chamber to encourage or discourage things like this.”

According to Mr. Earle, the YMCA is founded upon John 17:21 “That we may all be one.” with a mission to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Mr. Earle proposed three models of YMCA starting programs in a community. The first model is based on existing YMCA Chapters to start programs at the behest of residents with the ultimate goal of fund-raising for buildings to begin as the programs and memberships grow. The second model is like that of Liberty County, asking that programs be started if a sufficient amount of money can be raised to support the programs. Earle adds that Liberty County has netted $300,000 from such a program. The third model, he called the Mike Godsey Model, ‘We want to build YMCA in our community last week, what will it take to get it done?’

Quipped Earle, “If you can get someone to donate 15 acres of land, and someone to write a check for $5 million dollars – we can start almost immediately. But you never know until you ask the question what the answers will be.”

Earle moved on distinguish YMCA programs from other programs citing their sports programs gets every child a chance to play. Citing the overall philosophy as serving the entire community, being open to everyone, no one is turned away due to inability to pay and being a charitable not-for-profit organization. Core programs were listed as Youth Sports, Parent-Child activities, After School Child Care, Camping, Aquatics, Teen Leadership, Wellness, and Active Older Adults programs.

Pat McPhee, a member of the advisory board for the YMCA in Channelview, informed attendants that the YMCA is the largest employer of teenages in the country. He also asked the speakers to expound on daycare programs.

Steve Gimenez indicates that the first step in starting a YMCA program in the area is to inform the YMCA staff what the community is looking for. Gimenez expounded “The YMCA has a program for everyone in the country and financial assistance is available.”

Any Hoehner asked if there is a need for an after school program and no existing facility would they be put on a waiting list?

Stacy Beard asked “What do memberships generally costs?”

The response was that family memberships generally run $40 to $50 while individual adult memberships run about $36. Membership discounts on programs get members Family Nights, Aerobics, Child Watch or baby-sitting while one works out. There is a sliding fee scale for members.

Attendants learned that their are possibilities for using existing facilities for programs.

Velma Ellison asked, “Are there additional fees for other programs?”

There is generally a user fee for other activities and facility usage, was the response.

Luke Morgan of Millennium Reconditioning Services Inc. asked questions concerned with finance of a building. Apparently, YMCA gets total financing of a building before construction is begun.

Irene Powers asked about the requirements for after school programs and learned that their are 237 such programs in the Greater Houston Area and all that is needed is that sufficient members commit to start the program, required is about 20 to 25 kids in need of services. Of about 140 children at a school some 20 to 25 have to participate and “to make the program viable, the schools has to embrace the idea.”

Anne Prokosch asked what happens if there are competitive facilities, can the YMCA interface with competition? Well, the answer was yes. There was mention of membership fee reduction for competitors.

Most attendants resolved to hold further discussion at a YMCA follow-up meeting at the Crosby Brethren Church on Tuesday, August 5.