YellowDuck

Race Plans For This Season?

26 posts in this topic

Hmm...this place is a little slow these days.

 

Here's a question, as we are getting well and truly into riding season in the northern US and Canada: What plans does everyone have for racing this year?

 

After suffering an injury that resulted in a minor amputation (end of my middle finger) last season, it took all of my diplomatic skills over six months to convince my spouse that it might not be completely insane to give it a go for another year. With her hard-won consent, I will compete in Battle of the Twins Lightweight class again with my Ducat Sport Classic in the Southern Ontario Association of Racing (SOAR), and also return to endurance racing with the Prairie Dogs on Humpty Dumpty the 2003 GSXR600..

 

Did a bit of work on the Ducati over the winter. Got the shock rebuilt, and the fork cartridges modified so I now have compression damping adjustment on the front end, put on different bars, a quick turn throttle, wrapped the exhaust, repaired all the crash damage...little things like that. Pretty much ready to go at this point. Have a test and tune day scheduled for May 14, at the track where I used to do most of my track days. I'm interested to see if, after a season of racing, I am any faster at Cayuga.

 

I'll probably start up my racing blog again this year as well.

 

So, what about the rest of you?

 

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Hugh;

I think you know that the "Dogs" have a huge fan base here on the Forum... and that nobody still likes Brodie. Congratulations on your successful negotiations that will put you back on the grid once again; the Forum will be more fun with your reports once the season gets underway. We do lament that you paid such a big price (losing your middle finger) racing last year but no one has a better racing blog than you do and I bet people still "get it" when you flip them off.

...oh I almost forgot "Go Dogs!"

Rainman

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Hi Hugh, Thanks for asking. I have plans to go to Penquin Racing School on June 9th up at Thompson Raceway in Connecticut. Its an old Nascar track, like 75 years old, that was recently repaved and it has plenty of good corners and a very long front straight. Its the closest track for me and only requires an hour and fifteen minute ferry ride and a two hour bike ride from there. Then I will go again in August and if all goes well I will get my racing license and do my first race at the end of the year up in Loudon NH. After that there's a good chance I'll be back at CSS to do a 2 day camp in 2016. I also have an eye on the Absolute program where you pay about $1500.00 by November for the following season and get up to about 20 track days at NJMP.

I'm finally getting my Blog going and I will post the link in the forums here.

I'm glad you were able to get your wife's consent as this has been a real rough go for me too. It certainly has given me pause for thought as her arguments are not without merit. I mean I have responsibilities that I have to honor and they would be affected if I had a problem, so I will have to keep that in mind. I can't go out there to win at all costs which is ok for me because that attitude can be a recipe for disaster. I think I will take a more relaxed approach and have a good time.

Eric Wood is suggesting I use a 600 to learn on and that's also ok with me as I don't want to risk my S1000RR. I'll be able to rent one of Penguin's bikes with insurance for the race. I weigh about 189 right now and I guess that's a lot for a supersport bike but, again, I'm just out there to learn and have a good time. I can think about getting more serious in '16.

That's it for now. I'm always interested in what you have to say. Thanks!

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Thanks for sharing that Nic and I really look forward to reading about your experience. I wouldn't worry about being too heavy for a 600 at 189 lbs. At the novice level rider weight really doesn't seem to come into it much. Our rookie 600 championship was won last year by a guy who I am sure is heavier than that...and he was riding a CBR old enough to qualify for our "lost era" class - a 2003 I think. Just shows you that skill is a much bigger part of the equation. Lots of guys over 200 compete very effectively on the 600s. When you get signed with a WSBK team they may ask you to hire a trainer and create your Troy Baylis body...

 

My test and tune day is this Thursday. Pulled the bike out of the basement workshop Monday, and it is now fully assembled in the garage with fresh oil, etc. So excited! I found it funny reading on the other thread about people claiming they get super rusty after a 3-month layoff. In this part of the world *everyone* is off the bikes for 6 months or more. It really builds the sense of anticipation.

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I sure look forward to reading about BOTH of your race seasons. YellowDuck, I really enjoyed your race blog last year and I'm glad you negotiated your way back on the bike. :)

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I sure look forward to reading about BOTH of your race seasons. YellowDuck, I really enjoyed your race blog last year and I'm glad you negotiated your way back on the bike. :)

 

 

Thanks so much! I'm starting to get excited about that first race in the fall. I hardly know what to expect but I know its going to be exciting and exhilarating. I also have some healthy fear. Additionally, I'm really glad you encouraged me to do the blog. I just need to start writing and send you all the link. I'm going save the rest of my comments for the blog. I did, however, want to offer up my gratitude to you again for being such a great example in racing, as a coach, and a moderator for everyone. One question (a little off topic, but I'm pretty sure Hugh will be interested and not mind) that I have for you is what do you think is holding back women in racing and getting to the GP level? I know there is always still the glass ceiling in most professions, and also, especially in the more distant past, a sheer lack of interest. What do you think? Thanks!

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Thanks for sharing that Nic and I really look forward to reading about your experience. I wouldn't worry about being too heavy for a 600 at 189 lbs. At the novice level rider weight really doesn't seem to come into it much. Our rookie 600 championship was won last year by a guy who I am sure is heavier than that...and he was riding a CBR old enough to qualify for our "lost era" class - a 2003 I think. Just shows you that skill is a much bigger part of the equation. Lots of guys over 200 compete very effectively on the 600s. When you get signed with a WSBK team they may ask you to hire a trainer and create your Troy Baylis body...

 

My test and tune day is this Thursday. Pulled the bike out of the basement workshop Monday, and it is now fully assembled in the garage with fresh oil, etc. So excited! I found it funny reading on the other thread about people claiming they get super rusty after a 3-month layoff. In this part of the world *everyone* is off the bikes for 6 months or more. It really builds the sense of anticipation.

 

 

Thanks Hugh, I'm going to hold most of my comments about myself for the blog but I am very appreciative of the good and salient information you gave me. I surely feel better about the middleweight bike now.

I totally laughed about the WSBK comment and am especially glad you wrote "when" and not "if"!

Its remarkable that you race up your way with the shorter good weather. It makes me happy that I have the more time to ride, even though I ride all year around. That would not be possible with the amount of snow and ice that you must have.

Two questions: How long do you stay a novice? One year from the date of your license or some other interval? Second question, Do you find that most beginning racers are getting into the nitty gritty of working on their own bikes? I mean much more than changing oil or the like, even to the point of getting into the motor? Thanks!

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In our series you are provisional novice (amateur) for the first weekend, and you need to get through it with no more than one at-fault crash. Then you have your full novice license. Many riders will stay novice forever. If you compete in the premier classes (supersport, superbike, open) and consistently finish high and show pro pace, you get promoted to pro. This can happen even against your will.

 

Because I don't compete in those classes I will never have black (pro) numbers on my bike. Which is just fine with me. Those guys really are at another level, and you also have to spend a lot of money to compete in that pack.

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How long do you stay a novice? One year from the date of your license or some other interval?

 

 

This will vary based on the rules of the organization or club you are racing with. If your seriously considering club racing you should download a copy of the rule book for the club / org you are going to compete with and read it front to back 3 or 4 times

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Second question, Do you find that most beginning racers are getting into the nitty gritty of working on their own bikes? I mean much more than changing oil or the like, even to the point of getting into the motor? Thanks!

 

This *really* depends on the person. Honestly, "getting into the motor" isn't the most important thing for racing. Most novice racers change the pipe and maybe the intake, get a fuel map made, and maybe add a quickshifter. Or just run the motor totally stock...

 

What really makes the difference is learning about chassis tuning - brakes to some extent, but even more so suspension, ride height etc. This is where racers really differ. Some will take the bike to a professional suspension tuner, have them set it up, then never touch an adjuster again all season. To me, that's crazy. I have done more reading about suspension tuning than any other motorcycle-related topic, and I am always making adjustments and, in the off-season, even hardware changes (springs, valves). At the very least a rider should be comfortable monitoring travel and adding or removing preload. Experimenting with ride height and attitude (either directly or via preload changes) can also be really useful. I am actually always a bit surprised how little understanding many riders have about suspension adjustment.

 

Check out Andrew Trevitt's book on Sportbike Suspension Tuning as an excellent starting point.

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I sure look forward to reading about BOTH of your race seasons. YellowDuck, I really enjoyed your race blog last year and I'm glad you negotiated your way back on the bike. :)

 

 

Thanks so much! I'm starting to get excited about that first race in the fall. I hardly know what to expect but I know its going to be exciting and exhilarating. I also have some healthy fear. Additionally, I'm really glad you encouraged me to do the blog. I just need to start writing and send you all the link. I'm going save the rest of my comments for the blog. I did, however, want to offer up my gratitude to you again for being such a great example in racing, as a coach, and a moderator for everyone. One question (a little off topic, but I'm pretty sure Hugh will be interested and not mind) that I have for you is what do you think is holding back women in racing and getting to the GP level? I know there is always still the glass ceiling in most professions, and also, especially in the more distant past, a sheer lack of interest. What do you think? Thanks!

 

 

Thank you for your kind words, I really enjoy coaching and helping out with the forum, the more questions the better!

 

It's tough to answer the question about what is holding women back; especially since I am one of the ones that IS out there racing. :) I can tell you two things that keep me from trying to advance farther - one is age, I started riding in my late thirties, and the other is finances - racing is expensive and I can earn a lot more money doing other things. Plus there isn't much job security for a racer - if you get hurt and can't ride, you're out of a job!

 

I think racing is more appealing to boys than girls overall, just because boys are boys - motorcycles are cool, racing is cool, great way to impress women, plus it is daring and competitive and dangerous and I think all those things appeal to men more than women.

 

It's not the easiest sport for a young girl to get into; parents tend not to want their little princesses risking their necks, plus the bikes are tall and tend to be a bit heavy for ladies, women's gear is hard to find, and the racetrack environment is not terribly female friendly. You definitely have to be willing to be in a man's world - with sweat and grease and bad language - and you can't expect to be coddled, you better be able to pull your own weight, and that can be intimidating.

 

I do notice that in motorcycles (as in most areas) the people who are the MOST competent also tend to be the most open-minded and welcoming. The owners and coaches at CSS, for example, have always been extremely supportive and they made me feel very welcome from my very first day on a racetrack; that is a huge reason why I got into it and kept at it.

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I sure look forward to reading about BOTH of your race seasons. YellowDuck, I really enjoyed your race blog last year and I'm glad you negotiated your way back on the bike. :)

 

 

Thanks so much! I'm starting to get excited about that first race in the fall. I hardly know what to expect but I know its going to be exciting and exhilarating. I also have some healthy fear. Additionally, I'm really glad you encouraged me to do the blog. I just need to start writing and send you all the link. I'm going save the rest of my comments for the blog. I did, however, want to offer up my gratitude to you again for being such a great example in racing, as a coach, and a moderator for everyone. One question (a little off topic, but I'm pretty sure Hugh will be interested and not mind) that I have for you is what do you think is holding back women in racing and getting to the GP level? I know there is always still the glass ceiling in most professions, and also, especially in the more distant past, a sheer lack of interest. What do you think? Thanks!

 

 

Thank you for your kind words, I really enjoy coaching and helping out with the forum, the more questions the better!

 

It's tough to answer the question about what is holding women back; especially since I am one of the ones that IS out there racing. :) I can tell you two things that keep me from trying to advance farther - one is age, I started riding in my late thirties, and the other is finances - racing is expensive and I can earn a lot more money doing other things. Plus there isn't much job security for a racer - if you get hurt and can't ride, you're out of a job!

 

I think racing is more appealing to boys than girls overall, just because boys are boys - motorcycles are cool, racing is cool, great way to impress women, plus it is daring and competitive and dangerous and I think all those things appeal to men more than women.

 

It's not the easiest sport for a young girl to get into; parents tend not to want their little princesses risking their necks, plus the bikes are tall and tend to be a bit heavy for ladies, women's gear is hard to find, and the racetrack environment is not terribly female friendly. You definitely have to be willing to be in a man's world - with sweat and grease and bad language - and you can't expect to be coddled, you better be able to pull your own weight, and that can be intimidating.

 

I do notice that in motorcycles (as in most areas) the people who are the MOST competent also tend to be the most open-minded and welcoming. The owners and coaches at CSS, for example, have always been extremely supportive and they made me feel very welcome from my very first day on a racetrack; that is a huge reason why I got into it and kept at it.

 

 

Thanks Laura, I appreciate you taking the time to explain all of the things that go into making this kind of decision. A fair amount of it applies to men as well and will help me make my decisions about racing going forward. Being a track enthusiast is one thing and racing is entirely another!

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Second question, Do you find that most beginning racers are getting into the nitty gritty of working on their own bikes? I mean much more than changing oil or the like, even to the point of getting into the motor? Thanks!

 

This *really* depends on the person. Honestly, "getting into the motor" isn't the most important thing for racing. Most novice racers change the pipe and maybe the intake, get a fuel map made, and maybe add a quickshifter. Or just run the motor totally stock...

 

What really makes the difference is learning about chassis tuning - brakes to some extent, but even more so suspension, ride height etc. This is where racers really differ. Some will take the bike to a professional suspension tuner, have them set it up, then never touch an adjuster again all season. To me, that's crazy. I have done more reading about suspension tuning than any other motorcycle-related topic, and I am always making adjustments and, in the off-season, even hardware changes (springs, valves). At the very least a rider should be comfortable monitoring travel and adding or removing preload. Experimenting with ride height and attitude (either directly or via preload changes) can also be really useful. I am actually always a bit surprised how little understanding many riders have about suspension adjustment.

 

Check out Andrew Trevitt's book on Sportbike Suspension Tuning as an excellent starting point.

 

 

Thanks Hugh, I ordered the book.

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How long do you stay a novice? One year from the date of your license or some other interval?

 

 

This will vary based on the rules of the organization or club you are racing with. If your seriously considering club racing you should download a copy of the rule book for the club / org you are going to compete with and read it front to back 3 or 4 times

 

Thanks T, I appreciate the information.

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Thanks Laura, I appreciate you taking the time to explain all of the things that go into making this kind of decision. A fair amount of it applies to men as well and will help me make my decisions about racing going forward. Being a track enthusiast is one thing and racing is entirely another!

 

 

A little more on this point - I did discover that racing is quite a bit more expensive than track days. I didn't realize how much more wear and tear there is on the bikes; when I was just doing light track days on a stock bike I didn't have to replace the clutch, refresh/rebuild the suspension, replace brake pads often, etc., and I got 4-6 days from a set of tires. I didn't mess with generator, tire warmers, stands, carrying a pile of spare everything (pegs, bars, sliders, etc.), race fairings, safety wiring, race exhaust, race fuel, Dzus fasteners, and so on.

 

There are cheaper ways to race, of course - doesn't cost much to race a stock Ninja 250, for example - but trying to be competitive on a 600 or 1000cc bike can get expensive quickly. A 1000cc bike rips through a set of tires in just a few races (common to change tires every day and sometimes between races) and the race tires are expensive.

 

I'm not trying to be discouraging, there are always ways to do it on a budget, but when I first started I really wasn't aware of the myriad of new expenses that would crop up as part of running a race season so I am just giving you a heads up so you can look into it and start out more informed that I was. :)

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Not to mention needing a bigger vehicle to pack all that stuff. I currently pull my bike on an open trailer, but my Dodge Journey can't handle all the other stuff needed for a race weekend, even with the back two rows of seats down. I think I need a 5 x 8 (at least) enclosed trailer.

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Thank you for all your help. Now is the time for me to put it to the test as I get ready for my school at Penguin. The biggest thing for me is to relax and enjoy. Really, thanks for your help and sticking by me though thick and thin Laura. Thanks to everyone for all the help you gave me to get me here to my little plateau. Good luck Hugh. I look forward to reading more about your career and exploits. BTW, the book on suspension is gorgeous. I can't wait to get into it. It already has me thinking in the right direction. I've come to the point of being able to give feedback to the pit crew at my school about suspension. That's a big part of the suspension game, i.e., know what you have at your disposal, and that's a lot!

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Great - it will be fun to have another suspension geek a round here to talk to!

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Great to find this thread. I wanted to throw this out there - Why dont racers share common problems they encountered at the track and the solutions they found? You were in a race, and you encountered a loss of rear grip say. How did you ride around it? What helped the situation and what made it worse? Things like that.

 

Information about bike prepping would also be helpful, any personal tips and tricks you can provide.

 

We have a tires thread, i wonder if we can have a suspension thread as well where people can discuss what changes they made to the suspension and what were the results.I am very keen on learning about bike setup.

 

Also, do keep the tires thread alive by posting pics as often as you can. :D

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+1 on a suspension thread. Should we just start one?

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Go ahead YD :)

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Great news, I rode two-up with Eric Wood yesterday and had a wonderful experience in my third School including my ill fated ride with CSS in May a year ago. Things are changing for the better and I am now looking forward to getting my CCS license in less than two months. I have a fully prepared Ninja ZX-650 at my disposal for the next two years at Loudon and New Jersey Motorsports Park. My sponsorship package is coming together now and I can see my way clear for 2015. I hope to see some of you at NJMSP soon. Best Regards to everyone. P.S. I also met Scott Crago, drummer for the Eagles yesterday because he was the celebrity guest of ours, His twin brother, Jeff, is also a great guy and we became fast friends. Scott and I sang "Take It Easy" together captured on my iPhone. I'll have to put the link up to my You Tube Channel on Nic's Motorcycle Racing blog. Happy Days everyone!

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Sponsorship package? Singing with the Eagles?

 

How do I enter your universe?

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I finally followed through and started a racing blog since way back when Laura (Hotfoot) suggested so. Its like me, a little disjointed but, getting better all the time. Here's the link. I'll also post the link on my racing blog on this site. Thanks to everyone and have a great 2016 season!

http://nicsmotorcyleracingblog.blogspot.com

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So....what's everyone got planned for 2016?

 

I'm in a bit of a rut. Got separated this fall, had to buy a new house, immediately spent cubic dollars renovating the main floor...so now there is not a lot of cash lying around. Actually, I think technically I have negative money.

 

So maybe I'll just blow the drywall dust off the Ducati and try to defend my BOTT LW title. Still need new leathers and tire warmers though ($$). My plan before my life got all overturned was to build the motor on that bike and race it against the 600s in 2016, but that's not happening now ($$$$). Maybe next year.

 

Prairie Dogs Endurance will be back, but it's not clear on what bike. We are currently outgunned in our class because we have to compete against all Lost Era (> 12 year old) bikes, even litre bikes. There is a 929 that eats our lunch every race. So, we now have a 929 of our own, being disassembled for inspection deep in the bowels of PDR's secret headquarters...but it's kind of a piece of ...not clear yet if we will get it race ready for 2016.

 

Plus, I am now the department head at work. Man are they going to get a surprise when they tell me there is some super-mission-critical Saturday meeting that happens to coincide with a race weekend...

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