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October Race Report


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Hi All

 

I just went through a week and weekend that have made me feel like a racer. Having done two schools on the 9th and 10th (two 12+hour days), I came in Monday and took the trucks back, drove home to get my daughter and came back to within two miles of the shop( an hour drive one way) to take her to see Dr. Gale. Then drove home to take my truck in to get the hitch installed, a long day.

 

Tuesday I spent going up to see my newest sponsor Dan Kyle of Kyle racing and put a motor he had for me (to run in the 200) in the bike and run it. I left at 5 A.M. and got to his shop at 10:45, by noon the new motor was hanging in the frame. My bike was well worn and I hadn?t had it out of the trailer since last month and took some heat about it being dirty. By 5P.M. it was on the dyno with a new pipe, shifter, chain, sprockets, and a few other odds and ends. It worked so good, when Dan was done with the mapping I was very pleased. We had some trouble keeping it cool on the dyno and Dan gave me a new radiator to install at the track. Off Brenda and I went back home arriving at 1A.M. Wednesday, a 21 hour day.

 

 

 

I got up at seven and loaded my trailer for the race. Then at two went and got my truck with the new toy hauler I had just bought. The first good nights sleep of the week followed and then up at five to the track with the old trailer Thursday morning and back to the house for the other trailer. With both trailers at the track by noon I was feeling the effects of the week and took an afternoon nap. I worked on the bike after sunset and had it ready by nine.

 

 

 

Friday was a great day with clear sky?s and 75 to 80 degree temperatures. I got out in practice to figure out how to use my bike with the changes we had made and though a little slow to figure out the quick shifter, I soon liked it. I went out in timed practice for the 200 and was fourth in the first one with a 23.6 behind Hays, Haskovec, and Perez. In the second I was able to do a 22.9 and that time put me third behind Hays and Haskovec. I was ready for qualifying. I took the Rhino fender off thinking it was heating the motor up by blocking the air to the radiator, put a set of tires on and went out only to go slower on new tires than I had on smoked ones. I have no idea why, I think it may be that I like the bike loose and sliding around. At any rate I qualified ninth on the grid, eight for the day as Dowie was on the front row from last month.

 

 

 

Friday night I had to make a decision about the motor having gotten it too hot a couple of times I decided to go with the spare that was down on power but stayed cool enough to ring it?s neck none stop. At 5 I started and by 9:30 was done and ready for the sprints. One of the biggest gains I got from going to Dan Kyle?s shop was watching him map the bike and finding out that my tach was 1,000 rpm off. All year I have been seeing the R6s of Palazzo and Perez pull me and now I know why.

 

 

 

My first race was 750 Super Stock and I got a great start and was first out of turn one, the first hole shot in a 750 class all year! Going into one on the second lap I saw the yellow and at two the red. A rider was down in one. When they brought us back to the pit I saw that Dawn Chapman was down on the front straight and saw another bike too. I knew instantly that it had happened again, at the WSMC they have a orange checkered flag called the orange crush that to everyone else would be a red flag and go to the pit slowly. In the WSMC when they through the red they want us to stop on the track and this is twice in two months and the fourth of the year where one rider has slammed another on the front straight when the red was thrown.

 

I had just put my warmers on and the immediate call to grid was called. I went out and going through two I was pulling up on Hays, thinking about passing him filled my head and going through three I lost the front. I picked it up on my knee but the rear started coming around and I let it go. Crashed on the warm up for the restart, the bike was a mess with the top of fairing gone, a big hole in the gas tank and the tail hammered, but nothing important broken off. This was race three and I was in race five next!

 

 

 

Back to the pit and trying to assess what to do for the next race? I decided the best thing to do was use the body work off Keith?s bike and race mine. With Tarl, Adam, Jeff, Jaime, Tim and I we had it ready and when third call came for 650 Superbike I was off to tech. We didn?t have time to change tires so with the DOT?s on I didn?t know what to expect. I got off in second behind Perez and he was able to pull me a couple of tenths a lap and pull clear. On the end of the fifth lap Palazzo came by me on the outside of nine, the one turn I have never matched him in. That is when I realized the value of what I learned on the dyno. I pulled in and drafted past him into the brakes for one. He wanted it more than I thought and just as I thought it was a done deal he let off the brakes and turned in on me. I would be surprised if there was an inch between us as I turned with the brakes still on hard, I got it turned and he ran wide as I pulled up even into two. I didn?t want to battle and decided to follow him onto the straight and try to draft by again, but finished third a bike length back.

 

 

 

Then 750 Mod Prod. I got out behind Munoz and got up under him at the exit of two with the rear sliding and steering it up out of the turn I had it wobbling all the way down the straight to three. It was so funny to hear the motor exhaust note changing as the bike shook. I got into three first and cleared off for the win.

 

 

 

F-40 was looking interesting as some of the 250 50 guys were out in it and so was Mark Watts. I got off in the lead and on lap two I looked back on the front straight and there was Watts about two seconds adrift. I know I get him off the line and he is a real threat if he catches me so I put my head down to make sure if he caught me he had earned it and not caught me sleeping. He didn?t and I won.

 

 

 

F-2 was the last race on Saturday for me. I had expected to have to battle for a podium with Perez, Palazzo, Siglin, and Lane in attendance but none of them raced it opting out for the 200. I got off in first and just rode, though at the half way flags I became aware that I had let myself get behind on salt and potassium as my left hamstring started cramping. It wasn?t too bad but I took every chance in the last three laps to let my left leg hang off the peg. At the flag I looked back and Michael beck was about a second behind me in second, his best finish of the year. I think he is only sixteen years old to boot!

 

 

 

From making the biggest blunder of the season to three wins gaining four points on Palazzo was a dream come true and just the shot in the arm I needed to put the crash out of my mind for the 200.

 

 

 

Sunday morning was raining! It never rains at Willow right? I made the mistake of telling Watts I had a tire groover and before it was over I had grooved fifteen tires for 250 guys. Dunlop didn?t have any rains on hand. Just the warm up I needed to keep my right wrist from getting too worked up in the race.

 

I skipped practice so the first lap I did on Sunday was the parade lap. It had dried and the weather was good except the wind had steadily picked up and by race time was 20 30 mph blowing across the front straight. Between the parade and intro I knew my tires were cold and took the first laps easy trying to settle into a pace I knew I could do and be able to race at the end if needed. With the wind that turned out to be low 28s and high 27s. The first few times I saw the pit board I couldn?t believe I was going so slow, I had expected to do 24s and 25s,but no one was passing me. I had let the lead group go only passed two riders in my first stint, very lonely indeed. I had built a big tank with the hope of going 40 laps before pitting, it was two inches taller and I got Ken Fair of Cee Bailey?s Aircraft Plastics to make a new double bubble screen two inches taller to match.

 

The wind was killer, I have raced at Willow in wind that bad before but not in that direction. It was perpendicular to the front straight and that meant that it was killing my speed in the straights and also my two best corners One and Eight. I could only use fifth gear down the straights and through eight and had to use third in one where I usually run fourth. I figured out that if I sat off the left side of the bike it was much better down the front straight. Needless to say loosing five to ten mph in the fastest part of the track is not good for lap times. The 1,000s were killing me in eight and out of one, usually not the case at all.

 

The tank worked wonderfully and the fuel light came on at lap 42, I ran two more laps and came in on lap 44 in seventh place. We had drilled the rear tire change and using the new Pit Bull reverse stand it went perfect with the wheel on just as the tank was full. I walked over to get on the bike and looked at the axle just as the pin was going in and the nut was too far in. The only way for that to happen is for the internal spacer in the drive to have fallen out and I told them to take it off. We had drilled the tire change and I was confident that the boys knew what to do but we hadn?t drilled any what if?s and the time I had taken helping the 250 guys in the morning had compromised my preparation for the race. I should have been the one to set up pit at the wall. I know so many people that have not known what that spacer was when they saw it on the ground, and that is what happened, just an extra part.

 

Once the wheel came back off the comedy started, under pressure we all wilted and four minuets after pulling in I was back on the track having dropped almost three laps. I put my head down and was able to put together a string of low 27s with a few 26s in on what was to be a very bald front by the end of the race. The wind had pushed the front way more than I expected and that made up for the slower speed with front tire wear, I couldn?t have ridden any faster on a single front tire and that?s why next year I will be changing it too at the half way point.

 

 

 

I think the results are final with me in 17th, out of the top ten finish I had hoped for but I am happy with the way I rode and with a good pit stop Im sure I would have meet my target. Hays, Haskovec, Barns, Pfeiffer, Montoya, and Stearn the only riders to pass me on the track.

 

 

 

Next year will be very interesting with no quick change allowed, the playing field will be level and a small bike with a one stop strategy may work very well indeed.

 

 

 

Will Eikenberry WSMC # 87 CCS Pacific # 63

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all who helped me, Keith Code and the California Superbike School, Kawasaki, Dunlop, Silkolene, AGV Sports, KBC Helmets, Lockhart Phillips, Sharkskinz, Elka Shocks, GP Suspension, Factory Pro Tuning, Graves Motorsports, Ferodo Brakes/Brake Tech, Kyle Racing, Sato Exhaust, Mackie's, L&L Motorsports, Pit Bull, Yin's TKD, Stompgrip.

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