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First Endurance Race


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We had our first endurance race at Roebling Road a couple of weeks ago. What a change from sprint racing that was. I wanted to try and describe what goes on, if you have never done it. We started out riding practicing the day before so all of us could get a feel for the bike. We also decided that practice would be a good time to see how many laps we could get on a tank of fuel. Of course this varies with how fast the rider is but we decided on 28 laps as our target.

The day of the race there is a short race practice and all of our support stuff had to be taken to pit wall. We had a generator, ice chest, tires, warmers, pnuematic wrenches, tool box, pit board etc. We made a run through on everyone's responsibilities and strategy, worked out signals and made sure everyone understood. Like I said our target was 28 laps for our fastest riders. It's funny that you would want your slower riders to stay out longer but you do. You don't want them coming in for gas they don't need because the pit stop is what kills you. It is better to have a rider run 40 laps a second slower than to come in at 30 laps for a pit stop that keeps you off the track for 25 seconds.

We were really doing good and were running fourth overall when after 1.5 hours our engine blew. It was nasty. The connecting rod broke just below the wrist pin and sawed a hole through both sides of the cases. The rider who was on the bike at the time did a great job keeping it up and getting it off the track. The one saving grace was that the bike has a great fitting belly pan and it happened on the front straight. He was going 150 mph.

We learned a lot and found an engine on ebay, have the old one dismantled and waiting on valves and shims to use the old head off the race bike, its ported and polished. We also decided we need to slow down a little and modify our gas tank for more fuel. We will be able to hold 6 gallons. The main thing is to stay out and finish. We could run a couple of seconds slower a lap with the extra fuel and still be ahead. Anyway, we have the next race April 9th. We hope to finish that one!

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Great post mate, though you broke the ZX6 already? You're getting a bit of a rep as an engine breaker? ;)

 

How did you find it physically doing endurance racing? Much harder than sprint racing? Was it harder than you imagined? What was the most difficult challenge? What did you enjoy the most about it?

 

 

Bullet

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Great post mate, though you broke the ZX6 already? You're getting a bit of a rep as an engine breaker? ;)

 

How did you find it physically doing endurance racing? Much harder than sprint racing? Was it harder than you imagined? What was the most difficult challenge? What did you enjoy the most about it?

 

 

Bullet

 

For any type of racing you get excited but going in you know that the endurance race is going to be much longer. A typical sprint race is 8 laps, a solo race is 20 laps and your first stint on an endurance race for us was 28 laps. There were some guys who's strategy was to ride for 1 1/2 hours with a three man team,this was the SV650 class.You have to try to hold that emotion in check, start drinking plenty of water the day before and really watch what you eat up to race time.

I noticed in race practice that teams will size each other up to see what kind of pace you have. I noticed one team had two bikes on the track sandwiching a rider. One rider was pushing and the other was pulling to get a feel for their competitions pace.

It is harder than I imagined. The twenty lap solo's are very demanding. You are running as hard as you can for twenty laps. Your mouth gets dry and the energy you burn is incredible. You think that the end can't come soon enough. Endurance racing is like that but you have to calm yourself, ride within yourself, go to your happy place.

The most challenging thing was the preparation, eating right, drinking right, relaxing, and getting sleep before the race. You have to slow your world down and not race the race before the flag drops.

What I enjoy most is the bond between the riders. You get beyond the veneer and really get to know each other, pulling for each other, helping each other. For me the bond is more like an infantry squad than a team sport. One of our riders drove thirteen hours over night to be there. He made a stop to get our lower fairing we forgot and had to stop and get one of our other riders whose vehicle broke down 200 miles from the track. They both came through the gate at 7:30 the day of race practice.

Endurance racing is very demanding in that it's a long season. Not really in the number of events, seven to be exact, but the hours on the bike and the commitment it takes. Toasting an engine your first race out is very discouraging. We looked at each other and wondered WTF are we doing? But we road back home getting in at 3:30 in the morning and started pulling the engine four hours later. Endurance racing is like life..it has it's up's and downs. It's a journey.

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You tell a wonderful story FossilFuel. I felt like I was right there rooting for you. Well done.

 

I think you did a lot of things right, not that I know squat about endurance racing, but I work with a guy who's into drag racing. He raced in the TV Show "Pinks--All Out." He didn't even make it into the semi-finals. I think he would agree that his TEAM, the total team including him, his mechanics and his support crew, just didn't jell. Sure they knew each other casually, but they had never worked together under pressure. They didn't have enough experience with ACTUAL racing, although each of them had done plenty of scratching around on the street as individuals. My friend was spending his winning before he even ran his first real race.

 

It sounds like you took the time to find people who really want to be out there with you. Great work. Good luck. When are you going to post some pictures?

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You tell a wonderful story FossilFuel. I felt like I was right there rooting for you. Well done.

 

I think you did a lot of things right, not that I know squat about endurance racing, but I work with a guy who's into drag racing. He raced in the TV Show "Pinks--All Out." He didn't even make it into the semi-finals. I think he would agree that his TEAM, the total team including him, his mechanics and his support crew, just didn't jell. Sure they knew each other casually, but they had never worked together under pressure. They didn't have enough experience with ACTUAL racing, although each of them had done plenty of scratching around on the street as individuals. My friend was spending his winning before he even ran his first real race.

 

It sounds like you took the time to find people who really want to be out there with you. Great work. Good luck. When are you going to post some pictures?

I completely agree, damn inspirational stuff mate, great reading too. I look forward to the next installment.

 

B

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The next race is next weekend. The WERA National Endurance Series at Talladega GP. I will give you a full report.

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The next race is next weekend. The WERA National Endurance Series at Talladega GP. I will give you a full report.

 

Please do! I've already heard a fair amount of stories from corner workers of guys starting to weave down the track like drunken sailors when they get tired. Was told of one literally dozed off going down a straight and just kept going right off the track during a 24hr race.

 

I'm already convinced endurance teams are about the biggest bunch of nutters out there! :lol:

 

Go get some and please keep the rubber side down! B)

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