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Wera Cycle Jam Road Atlanta


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I start my vacation tomorrow and leave for Road Atlanta for the big "Cycle Jam" weekend. Race practice Thursday morning then the vintage races, Friday morning a brief endurance practice then the 6 hr endurance race starts at 10:30. We are riding a 2005 ZX6R with quick change set up. Last year we came in third at the Grand Nationals so we will see what happens after the 6 hr is over. The Sprint races are Saturday and I'm ready for the Senior Superbike, A Superbike and Formula 1 races. If you are there, we could always use pit help during the endurance race...#112 Team Orthopedics.

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Good luck Fossil. I'm looking forward to hearing how you do!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We came in 4th place...more later.

 

It has been awhile since I last posted but maybe I can catch up now. I have had a couple of sprint series, a 6 hour endurance race, two track weekends control riding and instructing, and the recent sprint races and nationals at NOLA Motorsport park.

 

The endurance race was six hours. My team mate and I had considered many options for this race one of them being that we would ride. We would alternate the entire 6 hours. Why would we think we could do this you ask? You didn't ask? Ok, sorry.

 

The day we were leaving for the track, my team member who can weld called me at 5:45 a.m. saying he had finished the tank. He decided we needed another 1.5 gallons capacity and it took him until the day we were to leave to finish the d..n thing. The message read, "the tank is welded. If you feel industrious seal it, prime it, paint it and clear coat it". I did. The tank was finished by 11:00.

 

The trailer was loaded and we left for Road Atlanta around 6:00 p.m. setting up after midnight for the race practice the next day. We teched the endurance bike along with our sprint bikes and took turns refamiliarizing ourselves with a bike that had not been ridden since the first endurance race last year at Roebling. You might remember that we sawed the cases in half down the front straight. We had gotten to the track to late to change the tanks out so we rode with the stock gas tank. We probably should have checked it out since it would later become the center of attention.

 

We finished up practice and went out in search of two things, gas hose for the endurance tank and a good Mexican restaurant. We found both. We enjoyed a couple of margaritas so the gas hose would wait until the day of the race, after all it wouldn't take but a few minutes to install. We did install it. We put in several gallons of fuel in the quick fill and pushed it down on the tank. Immediately tiny fingers of gas started streaming out of different areas that were not welded. Ok this might not seem like the worst thing in the world that could happen but we had no idea what this bike would handle like with a full tank of gas and we had about twenty minutes to fix it before final race practice. JB weld wouldn't dry fast enough but we were fortunate to be pitted next to the only person at the track who had JB quick weld..it dries in 5 minutes.

 

We filled it and rode the pratice session. The bike was on stands with tire warmers on pit lane. We were surrounded by Vesrah Suzuki, TOBC Racing, KATRA Racing, Team Kinetics, Army of Darkness and others. The national anthem was about to be played when a different gas leak was found. Its very hard standing there listening to the slowest version of the national anthem ever played knowing that we only had minutes before the start of the race.

 

My friend and teammate is a surgeon by trade. I imagined that he would take charge as he did in an operating room...hand me this, cut that, apply this, tighten that. He did but he couldn't stop the bleeding. If we changed the tank we would lose valuable time so against the advice of every sensible person available we left the leaking tank on and raced. I think it was mentioned more than a few times about the MotoGP incident where Collin Edwards bailed off a burning bike.

 

The first rider went for 1 hour and 3 minutes. I rode for 1 hour and 5 minutes. We cycled through all the riders and were looking good. We actually had a chance at the podium never mind that our bike looked like it should have been the lead character in the movie "War Horse" and should have been shot after the race. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe it was the nearly 2 hours I spent on the bike or the abuse we put that bike through or a combination of that plus what the bike had been through that made me project animate feelings toward this machine but I did and I felt sorry for it. It had taken us for a 6 hour ride ringing it's guts out loosing first gear off the start and a clutch that started to slip after the first hour. It looked ragged and worn out. Sometime after the race someone came up and put a handicapped placard on the bike.

 

We ran a good race. We didn't have any ringers. We all rode with in a second a lap of each other.

 

We were 4 minutes from a podium, three laps...4 minutes out of 6 hours...what if I had ridden a second faster a lap? What if we had taken five minutes less on a pit stop? What if I had stayed out for the last leg instead of coming in so that the final rider would get to ride his final stint. What if we had left the rear tire on and not changed it?

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Great writeup, fossil, and great result - congratulations.

 

But your story reminds me of the saying that "Don't bring new technology to Daytona 200 - Daytona eats new tech for lunch!".

In other words, rushing in changes without testing them first is a risky proposition in an Endurance race. Also, the prime objective for the rider is not to win the race, but to not to crash it and bring it home. I think TK's performance at Le Mans over the years proves this pretty well. There were years where the Peugeot's were much faster, but just not reliable enough to win. TK is no longer the fastest kid on the grid, but damn he has experience and knows how to drive in the dark - and that puts him high on the rung ladder.

 

Again - congrats!

 

Kai

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Kai,

Believe me, I know. I had a welder lined up a couple of months ago to weld the tank but my friend wanted to weld it himself and waited till the last minute. Losing first gear was a product of buying an engine from a squid off ebay. The shifting seemed fine when we trialed it on the street but was right there on the edge after the practice session on Friday.

 

Endurance racing is mechanical, mental and physical endurance. I was reading another thread where one of the forum members raced and talked about his mouth getting dry after a couple of laps. When you endurance race, any discomfort or distraction stays with you for the full stretch unless you can find a way to block it out. I experienced dry mouth after three laps in a stretch that totaled 38 laps. What could I do about it for the remainder of my stretch? You learn to block things out.

The sides of the tank were different because of the modification so when ever I went through a left corner, my knee was hitting the bottom edge of the tank. I didn't realize it until I came in. I could hardly get my leg over the bike. The knee was swollen and I had to ice it down.

 

Mentally, endurance racing is like meditation. The object of meditation is no thought or distraction but just being in the moment...the flow of the present. This is what endurance racing is... the flow from the present to the edge, pressing into the future but not quite getting there, looking down the track trying to get there as fast

as you can but staying in the moment....LOL! I love it.

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