VIR Last Race for 2009
Written by Cowboy6 Monday, 05 October 2009 00:00
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VIR , Our Last Race for 2009

SEP 19-21 2009 Virginia International Raceway

Wow, the last race weekend of the season was here already. This would also be a first. I had cleared out a spot in the trailer for a certain orange Yamaha from New York. Bob Brown of Empire GP and a sponsor of ours had never been to VIR and my making room for him in the trailer and the RV would make the trip possible for him. I have to admit, it felt really good to be able to offer this to Bob. He has been an awesome supporter for the last three years. It is always good to give back.

Bob arrived at the house in with the rain still pouring down and me still trying to load up the train. I had waited longer than I wanted in hope of the rain slowing. That would only happen once we finished. Once on the road, Bob got his sea legs and soon found himself in mini heaven by not having to drive and having room to walk around while making headway. I recall hearing “This is as good as it gets” several times. I smiled inside and out.

Upon our arrival at VIR, we found that our target pit spot was already taken but a short hunt found us a new home. We spent an hour or so setting up and guided our buddy Danny Riter in as he wanted to pit near us this weekend. It was a beautiful night so we hung out and talked for a good while, admiring the stars and just thanking God for putting us in such an awesome predicament.

Celie at work.

Friday morning was here and Bob was up an at ’em, eager as a beaver to try out this new track and his virtually new (many suspension changes) R6. He had a new set of tires of good quality ready to mount as well. I was going out for the last time on my Honda F3 rear wheel set-up as the new-to-me Marvic rear wheel would be mounted with fresh rubber come Saturday. I was eager to run this wheel as it is much lighter than the F3 and should translate to a performance increase. My wife, Denise, was busy cooking and Cecilia was helping me get things ready. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the “worn out” tires performed. That of course didn’t last as the clouds opened up mid-day and I went to rains. Bob was having a great time. He had followed me for about 4 laps so I could show him the line. Each lap I picked up the pace a hair and Bob stayed right on my tail.

Bob working hard.

Bob learns fast. But alas, his crummy tires caught up with him and his last session before lunch (and the rain) found him heels over elbows in T4 with his bike getting quite a beating considering the relatively low speed of the crash. The worse part was that he was bitten by the R6 stigma of the pointy gas tank that likes to hit the ground first. While Bob was unflustered by the big ugly dent, when he refilled for the next session, it leaked! That was not good. Scrounging some two part epoxy and body filler, Bob made repairs while I went out on my rains. While the milled parts of the track surface were sick slippery, the rest of the track had an expected level of wet grip. The really cool thing was, I was all alone! No one else came out to play. Finally, after having the track to myself for 5-6 laps, a Buell came out for the last lap or two of the session. I was actually grateful for the wet conditions. We had a completely dry season so far and I had no time in the wet all year. This was good practice. Besides, if it did rain this weekend, I was now the only guy out there with some wet time this weekend. Advantage me! Friday night was capped off with a trip to town for some great food and great company.

Tori (the new caffeine addict) with some serious tongue range.

Saturday AM found Denise hard a work making breakfast and offering it to all passers by as usual. She is getting a pretty good rep at the track as well. In speaking to a fellow racer, I was trying to explain where our pit was and it was recognized as “the pit where that nice lady always smiles and waves when I go by.” Yep, that’s Denise! Nate Kern came by as well. He is grateful for breakfast as he always forgets to eat on race weekends.

With the track still wet, I was not happy going out on slicks. It was a bit slippery and I found people going around me on DOTs. Oh well, it will dry and I had no races this day anyway. Late morning found my team mate, John Dodson, along with Katie and Natalie arriving. It is always good to see them. John wasn’t racing this weekend as his left hand was still recovering from Summit Point a few weeks ago.

Miss "I'm sooo cute!" Katie-did-Dodson.

Bob had his new Continentals on his bike and was simply astounded at the grip they offered. He could not get over how hard he could push his bike and the tires would still stick. After two practice sessions, I went out to qualify for the ASRA Thunderbike race on Sunday. I still had no confidence in the darker colored asphalt so I was a bit slow. I qualified 11th. Bob had a great day of lowering his lap times by a huge margin and finishing mid-pack in his races which is awesome for his first time at this track. I spent the day helping Bob and walking around the pits speaking with people. I wanted to speak to one young man in particular. I did finally just before dinner. We took a walk and discussed faith. God had it on my heart to share the Gospel with him this weekend. As we walked and talked, I asked him if I could share some scripture with him that may hold some answers to his questions. He said he had to go but maybe tomorrow. That would have to do. At least it wasn’t a “no.”

Denise feeding the crowd.

Saturday night we made a big dinner of chili with many great deserts like home-made apple pie, chocolate cake and banana bread. I had stopped by Kathy Lomaskin’s trailer and had a small plate of beef stew already. Then, over in the pit of the Angry Snowman Dave, the awesome pizza came out. I had to have some of that too! I was a bit stuffed. But, like Bob said, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” After dinner we took a walk. In the dark, I was walking ahead of Cecilia and a friend. I could hear them debating theology. It was awesome. I heard my little girl, confident in her faith, sharing the truth with others without fear or hesitation. This went on well into the night. I ended up showing Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict in the RV as I thought it may help out with some understanding. Bob was outside discussing Christianity with our new friend Dave as well. It was an awesome thing. The focus for just about everyone in our immediate area for the entire evening was not racing but our Lord Jesus Christ! Praise be to Him!

..On the gas hard.

Sunday morning arrived far too soon. Time was flying. With a dry track and new tires, I tossed my skirt in the RV and hit the track in anger. I came back with a smile and the sub-1:40 lap time I was looking for. Bob made it off to a good start as well. John and I had a few things to attend to so I told Katie to change over the front wheel and walked away. When we came back, it was all done, perfectly! She is so awesome. Now, it was race time!

But first, it was time for chapel. Attendance was good and Raymond Rizzo delivered a meaningful message. After the invocation, Cecilia sang the national anthem again. Awesome job as usual.

..On the gas harder...

My first event was the ASRA Thunderbike. If I had my Superbike engine, I would still be out classed here. I run this one just for the experience. As it was, I still had the stock loaner engine in the bike and I was in a bit of trouble. I managed a 11th out of 13 finish and I was the first bike with under 1000ccs across the line. The next race was a bit better. I finished third in the LW40, again the first bike under 1000cc across the line. Next up was the LW GP race. This race ended up being a killer battle with Mark Evry on his Ducati 1000 but I managed to stay ahead, in second with Rob Buroker on his 1000 a good bit ahead of me.

Catch me if you can!

But, with only a lap or two to go, Rob made a mistake and went off in T1 and left the door open for me. I put my head down and took the win! My last race of the season was LW Superbike. I only finished third here but I had a great race with Travis McNerney. We went back and forth passing each other the whole race. It was a knife fight. With Joey Thomas on his Ducati, and Kraget ahead of us, we were only fighting for the last podium spot. But, it felt like we were going for the win. I did manage to stay ahead at the finish and take a second third place podium for the weekend, but it was a great race!

At the end of the day, the young man from Saturday came around. My heart leapt with joy! He hadn’t just blown me off, he was here! I asked him if he had the few minutes I needed to share with him and he said “yes.” So, right there, in the pits at VIR, I lead him through the scriptures of salvation. When I was finished sharing the Gospel with him, I asked a few questions and I could tell he wasn’t ready to accept Jesus yet. That was OK. I have learned that it takes an average of 7.6 times for someone to hear the Gospel before the come to Christ. I think I may have been the first person to ever share this with him. There will be more. I was thrilled to just be able to do so. I thanked him for allowing me to share with him, gave him a hug and said we would see him at the banquet this winter.

We finished packing our junk, made arrangements to stop for dinner with the Heck and Dodson families on the way out, loaded everyone into the RV and motored off.

Our last dinner together.

The weekend as a whole was very successful. I had managed a win and two third place finishes. We spent hours focused on God. We started new friendships and strengthened old ones. No one in our group was seriously hurt and our bikes were in one piece.

I think I will quote Bob Brown one last time: “It doesn’t get any better than this!”

Stay tuned for more!

My end of year report will be out soon and, of course, we have plenty off track work to do for Him!

………….Joe (Cowboy 6) Cotterino

Thanks to Kathy Lomaskin for the action shots.

I almost forgot the extra pics!

Coming out of T6

Getting ready to lap this guy. This photo catches just a glimpse of countersteer too!
The flag is about to drop.
Snuggling with Travis at 150mph!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:08