First Race Weekend of the Season
Written by Cowboy6 Thursday, 11 June 2009 00:00
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Well, our weekend had an incredible start. After working on the bike all night trying to find and eliminate the metal on metal pinging sound (cam sprocket bolts on the timing chain guide! Grrrrrr!!!), around 1230 AM Cecilia missed the entry to the trailer and the resulting impact on her shin produced a trip to the ER, 6 stitches and finally getting back to the track at 0500! With about 1 ½ hrs sleep, the loudspeaker came on and we started our first of four days at Summit Point Raceway.

With my engine still somewhat disassembled waiting on a degree wheel for the cams, Bob Brown offered a ride on his Yamaha R6 so I could get some track time. What a blast! This was not only my first time on Bob’s bike but the first time on a 600 at the track. A little later, I caught a session on Mark Every’s SV650 which was a blessing as his suspension geometry was almost identical to mine and it had my all familiar Pirelli tires on it. That was a great session that enabled me to become re-acquainted with Summit. A few more sessions on Bob’s R6 and a session on fellow CSBRacing rider, John Dodson’s SV and I had some significant time on the track and all was not lost. Friday night came and around 2300, Kenny at MRP finished up the cam adjustment. I would have to wait until morning to fire her up though, too many people sleeping.
Saturday brought on the toughest day of the weekend. I was still dragging due to lack of sleep. Dale Heck arrived bringing our (his) team challenge CBR 600 RR. I had my bike up and running but I really needed some track time on the CBR as I had never ridden it before. So, with 6 groups in the line-up for this practice/school day, I started running group 4 practice on the CBR, group 5 practice on my SV, then going out for group 6 as an assistant instructor for the students! Ok, I was beat in no time. I must be getting old. So, I started alternating from group 4 and 6 to group 5 and 6 so I would only have two sessions per rotation. The CBR is a wonderful bike. I loved it. In the few sessions I had on it, I was able to bring my laps down to a respectable pace. I will be able to do better with more seat time, but I was comfortable on the bike and was starting to trust it, that was my goal.
A really cool aspect of this Saturday was that it was my first weekend as an assistant instructor for the MARRC Race School! I had a great time helping out the new guys. I know one student for sure made a huge improvement with some help I provided. It felt good to be able to give back to the sport on this level.
Saturday night brought a relaxing time for friends, family and outreach. After putting some new tires on the bike for Sunday, I actually had no work to do on the bike! I grabbed my wife, Denise, and our little Pit-Bull, Tori, and started to walk the pits. We met some old friends and made some new. It was nice to be able to visit riders and their families instead of being stuck wrenching my bike all night. The SV was paying off. It was looking great too with the fresh powder-coated frame from Powder House Daytona. With the Sharkskinz bodywork, and the awesome paint job, it has to be the best looking SV out there!

Sunday rolled in and I was out for practice on my new Continental DOT race tires. I was able to trust them immediately. They gave me great feedback and instilled confidence. I had ridden these tires on Saturday as they were on the CBR but never on “my bike.” I was not disappointed. I found no hint of sluggishness on turn-in and there was awesome rear grip on exit under power. My first session found the rear sliding a bit under acceleration but a minor pressure change fixed that. When the Continentals did slide, it was very predicable and controlled. I never felt surprised or nervous on them. All in all, these are great tires at a great price. I am looking fwd to testing a set of their slicks!
My Sunday ended with qualifying for the ASRA Pro Thunderbike race on Monday. I did pretty well for my little SV against thundering giants of 1200 + cc’s. I qualified 6th with a 1.21.284 with 5th only a whisker away at 1.21.270! It is a shame that I hadn’t really gotten into my groove as my lap times on Monday would show. I would have qualified 3rd!
Denise and I attended chapel service on Sunday morning where Ray Rizzo delivered his sermon. There was a decent turnout. I sure missed having Art there though. I used the rest of Sunday to take care of a few odds and ends, and cheer on our team and other friends at the track. John Dodson had a great top five finish in the LWF40 race. This was great as it was John’s first official weekend on the team. Great job John! After racing was over, we had a great meal prepared by Denise and Heather (John’s lovely wife). Then we hit the pits again for some relationship building.

Enter Monday, my big day. With a brand new set of Bridgestone Slicks adorning my steed, I hit practice. There was only one practice session today and boy did Mr. Murphy hit me hard. Not only was I on this new (to me) brand of tire, but I had them mounted on a nice freshly powder coated set of wheels with brand new, sweet, EBC rotors. As I went into turn 1 for the first time, there was a pulsation in the front end. As I increased my speed through the session, it got worse. I thought the scalloped edges of the rotors were causing it. Anyway, no time to change wheels in between practice and the LW40 race so out I went. The race pace here was very fast. The bike felt like I was riding a jackhammer into turns 1 and 5 under heavy breaking. I was unable to trail brake to my satisfaction in fear of the pulsating front end. Regardless, I finished 2nd while setting the fastest lap of the race at a blistering (for an SV) 1.19.977! The new Bridgestone slicks were phenomenal. The rear had so much grip that it was overpowering the rear suspension to the point of making the bike pump at the rear accelerating out of corners. It was like riding a bronco! But it stuck. I will be working on setting up the rear to take full advantage of this awesome grip and smooth out that on-power scenario. It ended up that I had the wheels powder-coated but forgot to tell the coater not to coat the mounting surface for the rotors! That was why the brakes were pulsating so badly. I was also very impressed with my Double Bubble windscreen by Zero gravity. It made a significant difference over the standard one I used last year. I could get out of the air stream much better.

With no time for R&D on the Bstones, I quickly switched back to the Continentals. Next up was ASRA Pro Thunderbike. After a hairy start consisting of several riders trying to kill me, things settled in and I started to move. But, on lap 2, my chain gave up in T6! I could not believe it! I sat with the corner workers petting their two Rottweilers and watching the race from the sidelines. Next came LW GP. After getting caught in some traffic, I finally broke loose and chased down the leaders for a 3rd place podium. My last race was the last race of the weekend as well. It was LW Superbike. After a fairly poor start, I again managed to get into my groove. The two leaders were starting to pull away as Travis McNerney and I battled it out for the next few spots. I managed to get by him and the white flag was shown. As we came around again, I thought, oh well, it is what it is. But, the white flag was out again! I looked at it and kept going. So did Travis. As we went through T2, I came upon other riders who were obviously not racing any more. I looked back and saw Travis coming. Ok, I saw white not checkered, I’m going. We must have shocked the second place guy as Travis and I blasted past but, oh well. Next time by start finish showed the checkered flag. I had 2nd and Travis 3rd!

On a down note, Zsolt Bencze had crashed in race 16 and ended up in the hospital. The word is that he has a broken neck. Since the race weekend there has been a rush of support and visitation for this fallen racer. As of today, he is still recovering and is gaining movement and control in his hands. The legs are next. Keep him in your prayers.
We now have our eyes set on VIR in June. I am the lead guy for the first time and will be getting ready to deliver the best sermon ever! Well, I hope to hold my own anyway! …………….. Joe #122

Some extra photos......

Chillin' between sessions with Craig on Saturday.

Girls taking a break (we work them like slaves !!! LOL!)


Three TIRED dudes, discussing important matters.

Another nice T5 shot (With more of a lead this time!)

Wives are shooting photos so they are missing but, it doesn't get any better than this!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:31