VIR Revisited
Written by Cowboy6 Saturday, 27 June 2009 00:00
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Last Fall I wrote a report about my experiences at VIR. I quoted James 1:2-4 about endurance under adversity and difficult times. It seems that VIR is developing a pattern.

Last year my new partner, John Dodson, crashed in T3 breaking his collarbone causing him to go home early. This year, poor John crashed in Friday’s practice, breaking a bone in his hand and making a mess of his bike and back. He is under doctor’s care and healing well. But yet again, he had to go home early.
Last year, I crashed in T1 which was also my first and only crash all year. This year, I crashed (first this year) in T1 as well and in T7 on the next race.

It all started on the way there. We were on the maiden voyage of our new (used and old) motor home. Without my trusty Dodge Ram and GPS, I was at the mercy of Mapquest directions. They were wrong in all the right places. We ended up taking a few wrong turns and 11 ½ hours later, we finished our 8 ½ hour journey to VIR.

Friday brought the race practice day. What a day that was. John ended the day with a crash and I missed three red flags before I saw the one at start finish. That earned me a talking to by the pit steward. After a grueling day of practice in the oppressive humidity, a racer stopped by to inform me of another racer in need of some help. It seemed that his Suzuki was having some trouble running properly. He asked if I could help. I said sure and made my way to the pit where I was needed. After a few minutes of getting to know the owner, we got to work. After some carburetor checks and fuel system analysis, the engine soon revved freely instead of sputtering as it had before. It was great to be able to help someone.

On with the weekend. Saturday came and brought more heat and humidity. God came through again and provided words for me that made for a great invocation. Friday afternoon I had swapped out the stock 4 ½” rear wheel for my 5” Honda F3 wheel to see if I liked it. I did pretty much and it definitely used more of the tire. I do think it made me turn in slower but I want to add a mm or two to the rear ride height. I want to try this combo out at Summit in a few weeks before I render my final decision. I only had practice so I ran both my SV and the CBR for two sessions each. This left the remainder of the day for walking around and encouraging others as well as watching a few races with my wife.

Sunday was finally here! I had been waiting for this day for a long time. It was a day of firsts. Only one practice session this day and the commencement of said practice set off a chain of events that we had planned out. This chain took us to the end of the day! Right after practice, I had to get the bike ready for race five. I wouldn’t have any time to do so once the riders meeting started. So, off to the rider’s meeting. Then to the room where I would hold chapel service so I could prepare. Denise brought my Bible and shirt. Chapel went extremely well. There were 50+ people in attendance. I spoke of Father’s Day and while it is great to have a good relationship with our earthly father, we need to remember our heavenly Father on this day as well. I reminded all that it is written plainly in Ephesians 1:3-5 that we are God’s children. With that, He loves us like we love our children. His mercy shows us the way to be great fathers ourselves. It is amazing that when a father is doing it right, he will do anything for his child. This of course includes putting his own life on the line or even dying to save his child. It’s just what fathers do. Well, God, our Father, did just that. He did indeed die to save His children, us. He became man and knowingly went to his death at Calvary to pay the price for our sin. He set the example.

After Chapel, it was off to do the invocation. Then Cecilia and her friend that came with us, Gabby Kashuba, delivered an awesome duet of our National Anthem. They did a great job, I was so proud. So, I hopped on Kathy Lomaskin’s Yamaha with her on the back so that I could get over to our Team Challenge pit. The God Squad was ready to start the 2 hour race. My teammate, Craig, had a great start and came by to start the first running lap in second place. He maintained that position until lap 14 when we executed a speedy rider change. I went out in third.

On my eighth lap, I passed back into second place, but, going into T1, the brakes faded out and failed. I waited as long as I could but I had to turn in. I had not slowed enough and the front tucked. Down I went. I ran back to the bike, picked it up, but the brake lever had no resistance. I limped it around the track to Craig’s mechanic, Rocky, could look at it on the hot pit lane. There was no fixing it, we were done. We found out later that a sticking caliper piston had wiped out one of the brake pads and boiled the brake fluid. I called This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and told him that the wear resistance on his paint was not meeting our needs. The stuff grinds right off!

A few races later, I went out on my SV for the LW GP race. This one was very hot and competitive. I had a great start but was passed in T1 by Joey Thomas. Then a super fast local guy went by both of us. I kept up but could not gain any ground on them. Then in T7, I lost the front and went down. I destroyed my right rearset and bent the banjo bolt in the front master cylinder resulting in a sever brake fluid leak. I was done again.

As I sat and watched, Joey Thomas came bouncing across the pavement almost in the same place two laps later. I was not having a good race day. Two races, two crashes. From the trailer that was bringing me back to the pit area, I yelled to Craig that I needed help. By the way, the trailer at VIR is equipped with a pair of Baxley Sportbike Chocks! What a great feature. I use them to transport my bikes in the trailer but in this application, they are sent from heaven. Not only did it expedite loading the bikes, but there was zero collateral damage caused by rushing crews tying off bikes they are unfamiliar with. Just a quick strap through the wheel and we were off. No scratched paint, no broken fiberglass! Every crash truck/trailer should be equipped with these!
My next race was in about 14 minutes as I put the bike up on the Pit-Bull stands so we could work. Rocky came over and began work on the front. I started on the rear. I promptly broke a bolt in the frame from the rearset and had to safety wire the new rearset into place with only one of the two mount bolts installed. Then came final call for my next race and we weren’t done. I never made the grid. We only had another 20 minutes or so before I missed my next and last race for the weekend. After Rocky finished the front, I took it for a quick spin. Everything was working. The Woodcraft frame sliders really earned their pay as my Sharkskinz body only had a few marks on it from the crash! I was amazed.

Time to get ready, it was first call! Out I went, just hoping to do my best. I nailed an awesome start and pulled the holeshot, coming out of T1 in first! I put my head down, tucked in behind my Zero Gravity screen, and ran. After catching up to and passing the 125s that had a head start on my 2nd wave group, I took the white flag indicating the last lap. I kept my cool and stayed on the rubber side of the bike and took my 1st Expert class win with well over 10 seconds to spare.

While the racing part of the weekend definitely had its down sides, the ministry part was simply awesome! We are really getting things together. The food portion of our outreach is starting to blossom. My wife, Denise, has started to team up with Heather Dodson to cook and provide breakfast for many in our area. We are trying to get to the point where we can freely invite anyone we wish to eat at our pit. I was able to do just that this weekend! With Heather gone for the weekend due to John’s crash, Denise did the breakfast on her own but teamed up with Marea Heck for dinner. Combining the food service with great invocations, an awesome chapel service, the National Anthem, and plenty of misfortune by which to display our Christian attitudes, God surely provided an awesome weekend for CSBR Mid-Atlantic! Thanks to Him and to all others who made it all possible.

See you at Summit Point for the July 4th weekend! ………….Joe (Cowboy 6) Cotterino

Of course there are additional gratuitous photos.....

Christian visitors: Bob White and his daughter Megan.

Hydrate or Die! Cheers! This stuff looks just like VP U4.2 race gas!

The girls doing an awesome job with our National Anthem!!

The blind left hander of VIR North! I love that turn!

We have three opportunities at a parent-child relationship.. Ask me some time.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:27