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Wera Pirelli Sprint Series Barber May 12 And 13


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This will most likely be a "to be continued" story. Barber Motorsport Park was the first race of the season for me. I lost two teeth on third gear a few weeks back at NOLA which caused havoc with the tranny and cases of my CBR1000RR. I was more than a little apprehensive about putting it on the track but I had waited long enough to get the season started.

 

All the usual suspects showed up Friday evening and we commenced putting the canopies together. When we finished, we had 14 motorcycles lined up with chairs and rope lighting to sit around and tell war stories.

 

Saturday morning was time to get teched and get ready for race practice. The forcast for the day was 60% chance of rain. People were anticipating the worst but nothing happened and the rain held off. The race I was waiting on was the Solo, a 16 lap race for pride. The Heavy weight and medium weight Solo for 1000cc and 600cc bikes. going to eat!

 

We practiced with no rain and all of us hoped for good weather for the afternoon races. I put a new Dunlop rear tire on the bike for good traction and went out to take a practice lap. I was through the last corner when the engine died. Coasting through the last corner, I tried to it a couple of times but nothing happened. I cut across to the pit wall and looked down at the engine, there was a lot of gas in the belly pan.

 

We took the bike up to the paddock and found that the fuel line to the injectors had come loose from the pump. By the time we got everything hooked back up the race was done. I had missed the Solo race and probably the only dry of the weekend.

 

I was very glad this didn't happen during the race. It could have caused harm to myself or other riders. My day was done.

 

Saturday evening brought a steady rain that lasted into early Sunday morning. My canopy collapsed under the weight of the water, the second one destroyed in the last couple of weeks. This day would bring new challenges as I've never ridden on rain tires. The track was soaked and slick with drizzling rain falling down with more forecast for the day.

 

I put on rain tires to start the practice sessions. I was in Group 3. A friend and I were in the same class going out. As we waited he turned to me and gave me this advice, "Stay in one gear taller in every turn on the track". I followed that advice as we battled around the track in the rain. We were no more than 0.2 seconds different in our times passing each other back and forth through the session. I was excited and invigorated with this new challenge of riding in the rain.

 

As my race time got closer, the skies started to clear and the sun came out drying the track in places. I had decided earlier that I was going to ride on slicks and had been watching the weather radar on my phone to try and predict when the next round of rain would come. The 5 minute board was posted and last call for the Senior Super Bike Expert race.

 

I entered the track and noticed numerous trails of water on sloping corners and seams placing them in my minds eye so that I could change my line if needed. I got to the grid and waited for the starter to give us the one minute board then the green flag. Everyone funneled into turn one carefully feeling for grip and cognizant of each others speed. I was very comfortable on the slicks and was putting down some respectable lap times. The red flag came out. As I entered the pit lane I noticed that I was fourth overall.

 

A full race restart. This time my start wasn't so great. I had to pass a few riders with the last rider a formidable foe. We battle through some corners where he blocked me going into some apexes. I could out brake him but he had a do or die attitude. I commend him for that. I however wanted to live and fight another day. So I had to make a clean pass and late brake enough to be clear of him at the apex.

 

My strategy was to go into Charlotte's Web hot and hard on the brakes. I came up the hill hard anticipating his move to the right for a wide arch and got on the throttle hard getting even with him at the mid point between the two turns. I waited for him to brake and clear his line before I squeezed on the brake. The rear of the motorcycle came up and started to sway as I cleared him. One thing that helps in this situation as in most is to have a wide view. Don't be so distracted by the entrance of the turn but to look through it.

 

I finished the race accomplishing two goals that I had set for myself....A podium in The WERA Expert Class and a 1:37 lap time at Barber.

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Hate to hear you missed out on the solo race due to equipment issues, especially after what happened at NOLA, you gotta hate those damn gremlins. And then to get bad weather…that's just no love from the race gods. I was at VIR for CSS on Monday and Tuesday this week and we had issues with rain as well. Monday was wet all day, including two sessions in a pretty constant down pour. It may not have been fun but I ended up getting quite a bit of experience with the limit of traction. I've never slid the backend enough to get comfortable with it (comfortable being a relative term) so it was educational.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing how the rest of your weekend went, especially if you raced in the rain!

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I edited the story added the rest...enjoy..I can't write or spell!

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Congrats Fossil, that sounds like a battle I would have like to have seen!

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Congrats Fossil, that sounds like a battle I would have like to have seen!

 

This was a battle because my line slowed me down more at the apex while his line was a little faster even though I was out braking him. By the time I got to the apex, he was at the apex cutting of my entrance. I either gave it to him or we crashed...simple as that. I had to push really hard and trust the tires.

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