Round 10 : New Jersey Motorsports Park-Lightning
Written by Cowboy6 Friday, 22 October 2010 00:00
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NJMP, Last time for 2010
SEP 10-12 2010 NJMP Lightning – New Jersey

 

Not only was this the last race weekend at NJMP for the year, but it was the last race weekend in the Atlantic region for the season. This meant double points and championships on the line. I was fairly secure in Ultralight Superbike but my lead in GTL was only 3 points and Lightweight Superbike found me in second by more than a couple.

The weekend started with the return of some of our travel misfortune that we had experienced at the beginning of the year. The plug from the trailer fell off and must have dragged for 50-60 miles grinding it to a useless piece of junk. We stopped at Wal-Mart in Millville and bought a replacement end.

We arrived at the track that evening and found a pit spot in the greatly reduced pit area. It seems some sort of go-kart event was scheduled for the same weekend and the track had taped off a good deal of the pit area for them. We did manage to get power connected and the canopy set up prior to hitting the sack.

 

Friday morning provided the start to what would be a beautiful day of work and enjoyment for our little family. The first thing on my agenda after finishing the pit set up was to complete my paper due for my college work. When that was complete, I went to work on the bikes. I managed to get my Starlane Athon GPS installed on the A bike. I have had this item all year but never took the time to install it. During the installation, I found my battery quick disconnects were all broken, again! They had just been replaced about two months ago and this would make it the third time this season. I used my last ones and I am hoping they will make it through VIR. With the proper sprockets installed, chain tension and alignment adjusted, and levels checked for the oil and water, both bikes were ready to go. Eric Helmbach arrived and pitted right next to us as did the Evrys. Later, Kathy Lomaskin would arrive and pit near our location as well. It was quite cozy. A friend had provided some free passes to us and with John not attending, I made some calls. Now, our friend Jo Wall along with Kevin Eng and his lovely wife Tammy would be joining us for some or all of the weekend and it wouldn’t cost them anything more than some gas. Friday evening found us eating dinner with Chuck Thomson and his sister. They brought some homemade macaroni and cheese alone with a really neat carrot dish. After we ate and they left, Denise and I walked around the pits that night remarking how empty it was. It seems that these NJ events find more people staying off track in hotels etc than they do at Summit or VIR. There were a few people out and we did visit them.


Saturday AM, Jo arrived and was very eager to help out in the pit. I hadn’t asked her to come for that but, I never turn down help. With Cecilia working in the timing tower and Katie not attending, Denise would be the pit help in between cooking for everyone so it worked out well that Jo was interested. I ran practice on some old tires just to become reacquainted with the track. Kevin and Tammy arrived around lunch time and we were so happy to see them. Things took another turn for the better when I discovered that my competition for the championship had not arrived! No one else was close enough in the points to bump me out so I left the old tires on for the GTL race to save on the new ones. I was very happy to see that there were 11 bikes on the grid which meant that tire money would be paid to 3rd place this time out. As I gridded up, waved to Cecilia and watched the starter, my weekend was off to a great start and so was I. I managed an awesome start and pulled the holeshot. I led for the next three laps until Mark Evry passed me going into the bulb (T9) and while I did follow close for a good many laps, the old tires just weren’t up to the challenge and were sliding pretty bad. I slowed to keep the bike upright and brought her home for a second place finish. This was fine though as not only did I get my tire money, I sealed the GTL championship as well. Ultralight Superbike brought more of the same. The tires were better on the B bike but they still had a good number of races on them. I again led the pack through turn 1 at the start but I found myself behind the first wave that consisted of Middleweight GP going into T2. I decided not to mix it up with these guys as they would most likely pull away on the first straight anyway. I forgot about Helmbach though. As I slowed to fall in line, Helmbach blasted past me. I remember thinking “ oh brother, what a dummy I am!” I did my best for the next lap or so hanging on to Eric but I was not going at my best pace yet. Even if I was, Eric was riding like his bike was on fire. I did manage to pick up my pace to a respectable level but that was only for the last 3 laps. During that time, I was dive bombed by a kid on a Moriwaki 250 in T5. I almost hit him but I managed to let him by unharmed and passed him going through T6. Then, as I leaned the bike into T7, this kid tried to use his super light weight and corner speed to pass me on the outside. Too bad for him that he turned in too hard and hit me broadside in the leg with his bike. As he bounced off me, I saw him dirt biking off the track out of the corner of my eye. Any anger at his foolishness was chased away by my laughter as I bolted off leaving him to regain his composure. I never saw him again for that race. With Eric too far ahead and running too fast to catch anyway, I settled in to take another second and the Ultralight championship.

 

Saturday evening found us sharing a steak dinner with Kathy Lomaskin. She had run to the store and picked up a few things during the day and cooked the steak she found on her grill to boot! It was extremely delicious as were the grapes. Grapes are just good food, you know? The time afterward brought more walking around. It was a beautiful night and we found some good conversation and laughter about as well as a cozy campfire that added atmosphere with the dancing light and awesome smell. With an early day on the horizon and a long drive home at the end of it, Denise and I turned in a bit early and managed a decent night’s sleep.

 

Sunday morning, it started raining. I was overjoyed! I love racing in the rain. I had the rains on in no time and the B bike took me around for a safe and thoroughly enjoyable practice session. But, soon after practice, the rain slowed and stopped. The track started drying and by the time I would get out for my race, I would be on slicks after all. But before that would happen, chapel service was upon us! I had prepared what I felt to be a really good sermon for this weekend. It dealt with the outside and the inside. It was about keeping our pain to ourselves and putting up a false front to everyone else. God wants us to bring Him our pain and troubles and he want us to help others with theirs. I finished with a bit about how God wants us to come as we are and not feel that we are not good enough for His gift. We certainly do not deserve it but there are no qualifiers attached. We are all equally unworthy and all equally given the gift.

 

After chapel, I went up to the tower to do the invocation and Cecilia, even a bit sick, belted out the anthem better than ever. Now it was time to go back to the pit, work on the trailer plug, watch my buddies race and wait for my turn in race #13.

I was feeling really good about the Lightweight Superbike race. I decided to put off the new tires yet again and switched the rear from the B bike to the A bike instead. It was working decent and I did not have to win this race to seal up my third championship. I headed out to the track and gridded up for the last time at NJMP. As the green flag twitched, I was off. I managed another great start with the front wheel going airborne when I shifted to second. I scored my third holeshot for the weekend. I blasted over the hump of T1, lofting the front wheel on the exit. As I made my way through corner after corner on a mission, I kept listening for Mark behind me. Sometimes I thought I could hear him but then again, depending on the corner, you can hear your own bike but it sounds like someone else. This must have been the case because as I saw the white flag come out, I sneaked a look behind me and saw nothing but empty track. I slowed a bit on the last lap to ensure I didn’t throw away the race and took the checkered, the win and the Lightweight Superbike championship all at once! What a way to finish the day and weekend. As I took the cool down lap waving thanks to the corner workers, I came to the bridge and saw Jo, Denise and others waving to me. I stood up on the pegs with both fists in the air. That felt really good. And, I didn’t even crash!


When I returned to the pit, I found several others there waiting to congratulate me on the win. Our supporters from the breakfast earlier in the year (Dorchester UMC and Heislerville UMC) had just come and were thrilled to finally see the Christian Sport Bike Racing team in action for the first time. I told them if they were only going to see one race, they sure picked the right one! We immediately started to pack up and managed to escape the track at a decent hour. We invited Jo to dine with us for some excellent Vietnamese food, parted company and headed home.


These are indeed great days. We all need to remind ourselves how blessed we are that we are alive and have people that love us. To be able to serve the Lord and race motorcycles is just so much icing on the cake!

We will be attending our last event for the season at VIR in two weeks.

Please keep us in your prayers!

::::::::::::::: Joe “Cowboy 6” Cotterino

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 00:45