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Old Sep 15th 2015, 10:42 AM   #1
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Race Report, Round 10, Wera at Road ATL

Race Report, Round 10, Wera at Road ATL

Friday report

What can I say? My wife and I made the trip back to Atlanta, our second in two weeks to attend around #10 at Road ATL with WERA. It seems this trip gets shorter and shorter on the drive up. Too bad I can't say the same for the drive home.

I signed up for Friday practice to get some extra seat time on the bike. The weather was gorgeous. There was a 60% chance of rain, but we had sunny skies, a light breeze and a warm track for the entire day. I had 4 sessions in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. I haven't been on the bike since VIR and I felt SLOW. In my first few sessions, I was running between 1:41s - 1:44s. I knew those times would not cut it. The good news, after lunch, which seems to be when I ride my fastest, I was able to get some good laps in and although my times didn't drop, they got more consistent and I started to feel better. I didn't have to push as hard to run the times. At the end of Friday, I felt there was a lot of roon for improvement and some pizza and a good nights rest would do me some good.

Going into this weekend, I had already won the HW Twins SS Southeast regional championship, a 49 point lead in the HW Twins SB championship for the Southeast, and a 2 and 4 point lead in A Superbike over the second and third place contenders. So, I was only going to run what I needed to win those last two classes. So, I signed up for one twins race on Saturday and both A Superbike races for the weekend

Saturday report

I woke up Saturday morning and immediately checked the radar on my phone to make sure it wasn't raining. The rain was close, but it was further south, so I was optimistic that we would get a cloudy but dry day. We arrived at the track and took our time getting the tents up, gear out and waiting for the PA announcement for "group 5, 750 and up novices".

I spent some time walking around the pits, check on my friends (Henry, Jeff, Shane, Nicole, Blake the camera guy, Lester, Quinton and Damian AKA little Rossi).

I spent my two morning sessions rolling with Shane and Henry and it was nice to go out with some guys and push a little bit. After those sessions, I immediately dropped two seconds going from a 1:41 to 1:39. Now things are starting to click. The only unfortunate thing about the weather is I purchased two Pirelli SC0s for the races and the track would not be warm enough for those slicks.

Race #1, HW Twins SB

Since I was the only novice in this race, WERA officials decided to grid me with the experts. I was excited because I would get a chance to run with these guys without two or three empty rows between the experts and novice racers. I was P5 on the inside with a great shot going into turn 1.

As we watch the board on the box go from 2/1 sideways, dropping the clutch and twisting the throttle and I was able to get a good start and get into P4 after turn 1. I followed the P3 expert going into the buzz stop, thru the esses and down towards turn 5. As we exit turn 5, I get on the gas early and as we approach turn 6, I stayed on the gas and hit the brakes later and passed him on the inside going into turn 6. Now I set my sights on the P2 expert as he is exiting turn 7 ahead of me. He is riding an 1098 with blueprinted engine on race gas and that bike was jumping off the corners. I was surprised how much low end grunt that bike had. I caught up to him on a the front straight because I was carrying more corner speed in turns 12 and 1. Instead of passing him right away, I followed him for 3 laps seeing where I was faster and where he had the advantage. I knew I could pass him in turns 1, 6 and 7, but I had to make sure I stretched my lead since he had the low end advantage. On lap 4, I decided to make my move and pass him on the gas going into turn 6. Since this turn is banked, I got on the gas before the apex and made sure to get a good drive out of turn 7 onto the back straight away. I didn't know how much distance was between us, so I just put my head down and pushed. Everything is clicking, I couldn't here the sound of another V twin, so I figured I dropped him off. Following my lines, getting on the gas early, it felt like I had a shot at finishing P2 and it felt great. As I come down the back straight with the dash indicating --- I knew I had a good lead on the P3 expert. I exit turn 12 and come down the front straight and a lesson I learned at VIR is never assume you have a big lead. So, I let off the gas at the last second (at the 2 board) and I miss a shift. I had to take turn one on the breaks, no throttle and the clutch not engaged. I was cursing in my helmet. I finally get the bike in gear and start pressing a bit. These guys are experts and you only need to make one mistake and they jump on you fast. So, now, me pressing, making mistakes and bam, another missed shift coming out of turn 5. I got the bike back in gear and was sure the P3 guy was on my ass. As I get the bike to the back straight away, I figured if I can get there first, I should be able to finish P2. Well, as the saying goes, the race ain't over until you cross the checkered flag. The expert must have waited until the last second and he passed me going into 10a. At that point, I knew it was over. I got right up on this rear tire coming down the hill towards the start/finish line, but I didn't want to do anything stupid and take us both out and as we made the turn, we were basically side by side and that 1098 grunt just took off displacing me to third place at the line.

It was a great race and it was fun. Lots of lessons learned and some valuable experience. One thing came to mind after talking with James on the 1098, get this bike blueprinted and run some race gas. My bike is a tad sluggish down low compared to bikes that are running race fuel. We will get that fixed this winter. I also set my personal best at Road ATL with a 1:38.

Race #2, A Superbike

There are four A Superbike races left in the season and with 5 pts separating the top three guys, every one is important. At the time I sat in 1st place overall in the points for the championship in the South East region. I am P1 and Henry is to my right in P2.

Here we go. The green flag is dropped and as usual, I'm able to pick off a few experts going into turn 1. It's single file going up the hill towards the buzz stop and the esses. I was able to catch another expert going into turn 6. Ahead of me are two experts, one on a new R1. Time to see if I can catch up and pass them. Coming down the front straight, I see they are starting to check out, as the top guys are already gone. As Im about to make my turn in on turn 1, one of the experts on his zx10 passes me on the brakes. I followed him and kept him insight for another lap or so then something weird happened. I started feeling this pain in my left hip area and it made it painful to shift gears. Just lifting my foot to up shift and downshift was painful. My lap times started to drop and my lines were getting erratic. I rode around the next 3/4 laps in pain. Another expert finally caught me on the back straight and looking at the video, I was maxing out at 170mph, which was much slower than what I was doing earlier. One thing is for sure, I couldn't wait for the race to be over. Overall a good day with two wins. One clinched the HW Twins SB Southeast regional title and the other increased my points lead, slightly going into Sunday's race. Time to get some food and rest for Sunday

Sunday report

Race #1 A Superbike

Once again, we are all on the grid, waiting for the flag to drop. There are some really fat guys on the grid today.
The only thing on my mind is get a good start and put as many experts between me and the rest of the novice class. I got a clean start and started making my way to thru the pack. As we come thru the esses there were 4 experts in front of me. I apex turn 5 and as I start to accelerate do towards turn 6, I see an experts high-side and the bike went one way and he went the other. The first guy behind him made it thru cleanly and as the next guy trying to avoid hitting the bike, he couldn't help from running over the guy that high sides. I knew it was bad and I told myself no matter what, never stop racing because you never know if they are going to red flag a race or not. By the time I got the turn 6, the red flag was already out. It was so bad that by the time we got to turn 10a, they were trying to roll the ambulance on the track while we were still circulating. I entered the pits, threw the warmers back on and waited for the restart.

After the track was cleared, we were called back to the grid and the restart was minutes away. I roll back onto the track and take my warm up lap, clearing my head and get set to do battle with Henry and the guys.

I get right into position and focused on turn one. I'm watching the flag guy and hoping for a good start. I see the green flag and we are off. I'm get a good start and run a little wife into turn 1 but I'm able to bring it back and catch right up to the back of the expert pack. Again single file all the way down to turn 5. It seems this is my favorite place to pass. Again I can see Freddy on his R1 and another expert moving towards turn 7 just ahead of me, so here we go again. After a lap or two, I just don't have the pace to keep up. No excuses, no complaints, I just didn't have what it took to keep up and those guys checked out. I was able to put distance between myself and the other novice guys and bring home another first place finish in A Superbike. I now have a 13 point lead in the championship with two races to go.

My wife an I have driven over 8500 miles this year from picking up the new truck to riding to all the races. The one thing remains the same, seeing all my friends at the track and racing with awesome people. I never hear people bitching or complaining about this or that, we just enjoy riding on the track and pushing our bikes and our abilities every race weekend. There is one thing that bothers me and maybe I'll discuss it openly, maybe not, but this is a race report and not a rant report. So, let's end this on a good note and it looks like this has be a great first year of racing. Again thanks for all your support and to those people that have been helping me since day one: my family (Mom, Both of my fathers, my brother, and my sister), Kylah Johnson(wife), Craig, Gunny, Phil, Yaman, Gabe, Holly, Jason, STD, STT, WERA, CCS, Tim Hunt, Frank, Jimmy, Seb, Adam, Carol and the entire crew at Melillimoto, SportBikeInc, and all my sponsors: Rapidbike, CyclePro, Sharkskinz, RawTampa, CycleGearOrlando, SouthCentralRaceCenter, Pirelli, ChickenHawkRacing, Bellissimoto, MWR, PitBull, MelillimotoDucati, Ducati, CafeRacerXXX, pirellination, ducatipeople

Thanks from Phl, flobrandx, jjsC6 and 2 others

Last edited by Ljuice26; Sep 16th 2015 at 02:27 PM.
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Old Sep 15th 2015, 11:11 AM   #2
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Sounds like a blast! Man, i respect you so much for running like that on the 1199. you know i teased you lst time about laptimes and such, i tell you, after last Sunday at CMP, my respect for you grew even more. That thing is a b1tch to ride fast. (I ran 43's on the 1199 and 44's on the SV, LOL)

Good work man! keep it up champ!
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Old Sep 15th 2015, 11:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Phl View Post
Sounds like a blast! Man, i respect you so much for running like that on the 1199. you know i teased you lst time about laptimes and such, i tell you, after last Sunday at CMP, my respect for you grew even more. That thing is a b1tch to ride fast. (I ran 43's on the 1199 and 44's on the SV, LOL)

Good work man! keep it up champ!
No worries man. It is very hard. Sometimes I feel like that bike just wants to throw me off. I like trying to tame her. The one thing I need to do is loose some weight for next year. I felt in better condition back in March than I do now. A race school this winter and some subtle mods and those laps times should come down even more.
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