New Venue!
Written by Cowboy6 Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00
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New Venue!

JUL 24-26 2009 New Jersey Motorsports Park - Lightning Circuit, NJ

This weekend was about friendship. While there is plenty to write about how awful the folks a NJMP treated the CCS crowd, I really want to focus on the positive here.

I have been reading a book called Disciplines of a Godly Man (R. Kent Hughes) for a men’s Bible Study on Wednesday mornings. It seems God planned me to be on the “Discipline of Friendship” chapter immediately following this race weekend. In reading it, I was amazed at how it directly related to the events that transpired.

There I was, at the track Friday, learning a new circuit and practicing on an engine that was loaned to me by: a friend. This engine was installed at our last outing with the help of: a friend. On Friday night, my new engine was installed with the help of: a friend. Oh, and the immense cost of the engine repair? A friend helped me out with that as well. On top of it all, my good friend and CSBR team-mate, John Dodson, while unable to race this weekend due to injury sustained at VIR, still loaded up his family and came to the track with considerable expense to himself, to be there for us: his friends.

With things getting off to a rough start at the new facility, the CCS staff did an outstanding job while working super hard to overcome the obstacles placed before them by the NJMP crowd. In addition to the NJMP facility issues, timing and scoring was a mess due to some sort of transponder signal transmission issue, there were a host of riders that were “new” to the CCS way of doing things, and of course, there were the usual issues that come up during a race weekend. All in all, the staff adapted and overcame with the end result being a good weekend of racing with very few incidents and no serious injuries. My helmet is off to the CCS staff! Thanks.

Wheel up in T1.

As I said, Friday was a practice day which really came in handy to learn the new course. It is a nice track with super smooth pavement and elevation changes. In fact it really took some getting used to when the front wheel on my SV would come up on the exit of T1! Once you learn the fast way around, the lap times dropped significantly. To help with this, I was aided by a relatively new friend (Bobby Kim, #910) who had been to this track before. I followed him around for a few sessions while he showed me the fast way through. This may not seem like such a big deal but you need to keep in mind that once the green flag drops, I will be using everything Bobby showed me and more to pass him. While I am sure he thinks he is faster than me (LOL!), he does know that I’m no slouch! His help was awesome and his sportsmanship is admirable. Friday ended with ASRA qualifying. Because my race engine had just arrived (thankfully) it was not in the bike so I qualified on the loaned stocker. I qualified 9th, and that wasn’t too bad considering I was up against the likes of Nate Kern and other such thundering machines piloted by talented riders.

Trail braking into T7 in the ASRA Thunderbike.

Saturday brought the first racing of the weekend. This was another Twin Sprint weekend so all races were run on both Saturday and again on Sunday. My first event was LW Superbike. With all the madness including a nasty crash by my buddy Bobby Kim, I managed 3rd. Bobby was ok but his bike was mangled. The LWF40 race was next and I managed a second place finish. I was in first with a pretty good lead but a downed rider brought out the red flag. The re-start put us all back on line again and Mike Helmbach got by me. I didn’t win but, I was moving up! The last race of the day (with my “new” engine now eating water again) brought a meager 5th place with those nasty fast USGPRU 250 2-strokes taking the top 4. Yes, my newly rebuilt and sealed engine was already using water and overheating after 7 laps on its first day. I was not a happy camper.

Sunday came and it started off with the LWF40 race. When we received the grids for this one, there was a pleasant surprise. It seems that CCS was listening to us (LW40 guys/gals) when we lamented about having to weave through a swarm of 125s on Saturday and they put them behind us Sunday. While dodging a heard of 125s is not the most fun, the real issue was safety. It worked much better this way in my opinion. I took another second behind Helmbach, but it sure did work a lot better..

Chapel service was performed by Ray Rizzo from MRO. There was good attendance including some new faces. While I did not do the Chapel service itself, Ray did ask me to close in prayer and we had a great time of fellowship and praise for our Lord. Our lovely Wife Corps was busy as always cooking and keeping up the hospitality. This weekend was even better as Russ Brown brought his lovely wife Mellissa along.

There is one really awesome story about the Lord working through us this weekend. Cecilia, the Dodson girls and two young guys we brought from our youth group had spent some time with a young racer they met at the track named Kris. Throughout the weekend our team kids spoke with and witnessed to this young man. The Lord used them for his purpose and on Thursday after the race weekend, we received word that Kris had accepted Jesus as his savior! We are so blessed that God uses us in ways such as this. It is the purpose of our ministry and while we are happy if the Lord only uses us as seed planters or waterers, we sure do love the ability to see the harvest! After this news, it seems anti-climatic to even write about the rest of the weekend. But, here it goes.

The ASRA Pro Thunderbike race was next and against the likes of Bilansky and Kern, I was not too optimistic. I did manage finish 8th with a last lap pass on Helmbach who had finished ahead of me in every race until this one. My watered down engine was costing me some grunt. Up next was the lightweight superbike race. Because of the compressed schedule, there was not much time between races. This one had a good feeling about it from the start. I sat on the front row with a clear track ahead. I looked to my left and my right. The right bikes were there ready to launch. Then the “2” board came out, and I snicked the bike into 1st gear and leaned fwd in anticipation. I felt the slightest bit of grab as I located the friction zone in the clutch with my left hand. Out came the one board. The throttle, as if on its own, brought the revs up a bit, the 1 board went sideways and then the arm with the green flag twitched. I was off! The front wheel lifted and held at about 12” off the ground. I had left the bike on my left on the line, but the one to the right was coming into the corner of my eye. With the front wheel still in the air, I punched second gear. The front settled down and I grabbed third then fourth. That was all I could get before turn one but no matter, I take T1 in fourth anyway! I waited and waited for the bike on my right to slow just a little, once that happened, I turned in, hit the apex and with the front wheel again in the air as the ground dropped out from under me on the corner exit, I had the hole-shot! It was time to get my head down and run. That was the way it stayed lap after lap until the white flag flew. Then on that last lap, Travis McNearny came up on my left through T7 after the bridge. He must have been hanging out behind me waiting to ambush me with only two turns left in the race. We grunted it out toward the bowl. With the next turn being a right hander, I knew I just needed to keep next to him forcing him to stay outside to my left and it was mine. It worked, he didn’t get by and I came out of the bowl and across the line for the checkered. My first win for the weekend!

In the lead.

Being a double weekend, the races were very close together. This made for some very busy pit areas. With the need to re-fuel between events and top off the radiator which was almost empty after every race. Our pit crew did an awesome job of keeping things going and ensuring all the boxes were checked prior to going out for the next race. There is no substitute for a crew that’s on the ball. Next up was the LWGP again. This was my last race for the weekend. I was on the front row again. It was pretty much a repeat of the LW Superbike race with another hole-shot. The problem was that one of those pesky 250 GP bikes sneaked by me using its higher corner-speed in the bowl just before we took the last lap flag. I couldn’t take him under power but I creamed him on the brakes in T1 and was in the lead again. But, I was a bit careless with my line and he took me again in the last turn. This time, there was no turn one to take it back and as we took the checkered, he was still in front. All I could think was that if my engine was making the right power…. So, another second place finish to complete the weekend. Not too shabby. All together, we ended up with 5 podiums from 6 races (I really don’t count the ASRA race).

Our pit was quite busy with the races so close together.

Regardless of the podiums and finishes, the real result was my realizing just how lucky I am to have such good friends. Where would we be without friends? Men need friends a lot more than we care to admit. Society has pushed us into an isolationist posture with the “me” generation etc. Men are hesitant to commit to a friendship as it my somehow infringe on our personal space or require some sort of effort on our part that we are unwilling to prosecute. Well, friendship does take effort. It takes commitment and more importantly it takes selflessness. You demonstrate friendship by putting others before yourself. This weekend, I almost feel guilty over the selflessness, commitment and dedication that my friends showed me. I say almost because, while I was definitely on the receiving end this weekend, I would be right there for them as well. This weekend served as a glaring reminder of what being a friend means. This is the real state of friendship as opposed to being an acquaintance. You know that kind. The “friend” you call when you are in trouble but he has “other things” going on. He is gracious enough to extend his regrets for leaving you high and dry though. How many “good” friends do you have? I don’t mean the ones you would trust with the keys to your truck. I don’t even mean the ones who will be right there in a minute if you called and said you think you killed an intruder. I’m talking about the ones that would show up with a shovel and a bag of lime in their trunk.

Getting ready to “thank” Bob for all his help… LOL!

Friendship is priceless. The reward you reap on your soul for being a good friend to someone is even better than the feeling you get when you can feel your friend over your shoulder, covering your back. Take the time, invest in a friend. You won’t be sorry.

Special thanks to Pete Migala ( for the photos in this write-up.

We are moving on to Barber in Alabama in a few weeks. It’s going to be a long haul and, from what I hear, the August weather will be “bringin’ the heat!” Keep us in your prayers.

……………..Joe ”Cowboy 6” Cotterino

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:20