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Race Report #4 Autobahn Country Club (north)


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Here's the link:

 

http://www.cbr600rr.com/pages/062605.htm

 

This was a great weekend. A new track, and it was a BLAST. I've noticed something relevant to this board. I managed to do QUITE well at this new track, and I really believe it's because of what I learned in Level I & II last year. Going out, I make a concerted effort to work on PERFECT Throttle Control, Quick Turns, Body positioning and Visual drills. I can't tell you how much this has helped... While I might not be that much faster from last year, I'm doing it MUCH more comfortably than I did before. And (knock on wood) I'm not crashing.

 

Can't wait for level III in Aug.

 

Here's the text for anyone who doesn't want to click the link:

 

2005 Race Report 4:

6/24-26/05 - Autobahn Country Club (North Course) - Joliet, IL

 

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"There's Happy. Ridin' the bull, Feelin' the flow." (Happy Gilmore)

 

When the guy in the movie Happy Gilmore whispers that title line to another player, that's exactly what I felt like this weekend. Just a bit more zen in the racing career.

 

Thursday 6/23:

We had everything packed up and left a bit late as planned, in an effort to miss the Chicago traffic. We rolled out about 7:00pm, and stopped for supplies along the way. Finding the track proved to be VERY interesting. The directions were not the easiest to follow, and it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

 

We rolled in about 11:30, to the PITCH BLACK track (no electricity or lights except to the member buildings) and the gate guard was not going to let us in. I told him that I contacted track staff earlier in the week and they said we would have 24x7 access. He ended up letting us in, but made us stop on the access road instead of pulling all the way in to get setup. No big deal.

 

 

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Friday 6/24:

We got setup quickly, parking next to my two buddies John & Greg. Fri was just a practice day, and would be much needed as it's a brand new track. The sun began beating down... Today would be a scorcher.

 

One lap around the track:

The track is VERY short. 1.46 miles as opposed to the normal 1.9 - 4.0 mile circuits we run. The track is actually broken down into a North & South course which could be joined for a single course of around 4 miles. It's pretty neat. It's also a 'country club' environment where the rich & bored can come and burn tires off their Ferrari's, Porche's and Lamborghini's (yes, we saw all of them on the other course through the

weekend)

 

As mentioned, we ran the North course. Here it is. The front straight is not real long, 1237 feet to be exact. My gearing (-1 +4 from stock) had me hitting 5th gear on the straight, dropping 2 gears but no brakes for T1 which is a very slight dip to the left. Coincidentally, T1 is also the braking point for T2 which is a VERY tight decreasing radius roughly 150-degree right hand turn. You have to grab one more downshift between T1&T2. Through T2, downhill grabbing 3rd. Roll off slightly and back on for right hander of T3. Tiny straight, roll off and back on for left hander T4, back on the gas and don't let off for the right hand T5. To the rev-limiter before grabbing the brakes dropping a gear, and going in deep for the next decreasing radius tight right hander of T6. Out of T6 grab 2 gears and then down shift both of them for the left hand T7. A quick shot on the gas followed by a touch of brakes for a tight right hand of T8. At the apex of T8, just open it up and hold it wide through T9, shifting to 3rd in the middle of T9, then through 4th & 5th on the straight before getting back to T1.

 

Practice went well. The gearing choice I made seemed quite well, and I began getting the flow down. It got incredibly hot (95), so I needed to play with tire pressures to regulate heat a bit, and I skipped the last

session of the day as I was just too hot. I didn't really know what a good lap time would be. My first session I didn't time, but sessions 2-4, I ran 1:13, 1:11, 1:10 respectively. My goal for race day was to get under the 10's. The fastest guys touched 1:07 in practice.

 

 

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Saturday 6/25:

New tires on. I went out for practice, scrubbed them in and immediately started running 1:08's. Not too bad. I had (yet another) problem with my slipper clutch, so I ended up making some repairs which cost me my 2nd

practice, but allowed me to race. HUGE thanks goes out (yet again) to the Lithium Motorsports crew who always seem to have those odd parts you need.

 

Middleweight GP (sponsored by CBRNole):

Not sure where my head was, but I was TOTALLY unprepared for the start. The flag flew and I finally woke up and took off. I was gridded on the outside of row 3 and I lost a few spots immediately. Going into T1, that

fear in the back of my mind came true. I see out of the corner of my eye, a bike on the inside go down. Its path would be directly into me. I HAMMERED the gas and it missed me. Later, I would find out it was my buddy Ike Anderson (on the bike I built for him), and his bike missed my back wheel by about 3 inches.

 

Head down, I made up a few spots into T2. I immediately went to work and found passing people to be pretty easy! Lap 2 and I'm in 4th place. COOL! Then a couple guys got tangled up and the race was red-flagged.

 

On the restart, my start was JUST as bad. Not sure where my head was here either. Anyhow I began running some very smooth laps for the race, but it turned out not quite good enough to make up the losses. My times were in the mid 1:07's for the entire race. The race was won on a 1:05. I ended up 9th out of about 30 guys.

 

 

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Sunday 6/26:

Yet another blistering day! Today, the goal was to drop below those 1:07's. Practice went well, running solid 1:07's with room to spare.

 

Heavyweight Supersport:

This race was run in memory of the late J.R. Reuland. I work with J.R.'s wife Terry, and J.R. was a fan of racing. He wanted to see me race but our schedules just didn't sync. Late this spring, to the surprise of everyone who knew him and those of us who didn't, J.R. left us. This race was my tribute to him.

 

Going out with a smile on my face, I was gridded on the inside of row 3. Perfect setup for the VERY scary T1. I was now ready for the launch, and my launch showed it. I NAILED the launch and made up a lot of ground into T1 and T2. Head down, I was in 2nd place into T3. I lost a place going through T4, but gained it back when the leader went off in T6. With a slight gap growing between myself and Dan Ortega who now lead the race, Andy Feuersthaler (previous leader who went off in T6) came back on track and got around me again.

 

I tried to hang onto these guys as best I could, but they simply had faster lines which I could not consistently hit. Coming down the front straight on the 3rd or 4th lap, a guy on a 750 (heavyweight bike), blew by my 600 like I was standing still. It was absolutely impressive. I grinned and twisted the throttle giving it everything I could to keep up. I found myself flying faster in the infield than I had ever gone before. Each lap, me smiling more saying 'yeah, we can go faster' and twisting it a bit further.

 

Ultimately, I never did regain that gap on 3rd place and ended up across the line in 4th out of a +20 bike pack. My lap times had now dropped into the low-mid 1:06's. 1 second off the leaders.

 

This race proved to be the most enjoyable of the weekend, held my best finish of the weekend and fastest lap times. J.R., I hope you enjoyed the ride. I sure did.

 

Middleweight Superbike (sponsored by Honiton):

With the amount of crashes due to the heat and it being a new track, the races were cut from 8 laps down to 6. This was very welcome change as it was just too hot. However, it brought about an interesting challenge.

With 6 laps, there would be fair little time to pass, so the launch was key. My launch was very good. However, I got tangled up in a couple guys who came to a near stand-still in T2. This created a pretty good gap on the leaders.

 

I began running hard and pushing for passes. I ultimately got hung up behind Johnny Moore and Mark Schnettler who are a couple of good guys that I enjoy dicing with. I was faster in the corners, but couldn't make a pass stick without REALLY stuffing them, and I just didn't want to do it and risk taking them out for a single place. Mark was leading Johnny and I could tell he was holding Johnny up. The weakest point was T2 where Mark would slow WAAAAAY down. I figured I could pass between T2 and T3, but I needed a HUGE drive out of T2. I normally ran T2 in 2nd gear, but the drive out just wasn't going to be good enough to make the run on the two of them. I decided to try 1st since I have the slipper clutch to keep things from getting too hairy (right?). Well, I hit 1st and put on quite the show for the crowd. My rear end was wagging back/forth about 2' at a time as I slowed down and tried to get into the corner. I got in the corner and hammered the gas just to have the rear end spin up but provide me NO traction. Zoom-Zoom just like that I lose 2 spots! Doh! Instead of gaining 2, I lost 2. I couldn't make it around the guys who passed me in that final lap, and ended up with 8th place across the line.

 

We packed up pretty quickly, picked up the 4th place wood and headed home, making it home just before dark.

 

Some pics through T1

 

 

 

 

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Wrap-up:

Another weekend into the record books. I'm really pleased with this weekend. Running a brand new track is tough. New tracks are tough to learn and even tougher to go fast on. I was very pleased to be running VERY close to the fastest times run. It's also nice to have made it through another weekend upright and in tact!

 

Now it's 4 days (3 working nights including the one spent writing this) until we leave for Mid America. I have some clutch work to do on the bike to ensure no further problems occur, and need to change the oil on the RV

generator. Never a dull moment I'll tell you :-)

 

This weeks thanks list:

Thanks to my sponsors, both individual race sponsors and my full-season sponsors. You make this possible on a recurring basis.

Thanks goes out to Rob and the Lithium team for all of your continued support. Without you guys, I'd definitely have missed a few races due to mechanical issues.

Big thanks to Jen, Tori & Queue for hanging with me through the heat and being there for me through all this.

I also want to thank the leadership and working colleagues of my company, SBC; and my wife's company, Action Powersports for allowing us the flexibility needed for the season.

And above all, thanks to God for another fantastic weekend.

 

Sponsoring a race:

Many people have asked about sponsoring a race. It's relatively easy and not that expensive. Since the cost of this is absolutely insane, I've made it simple. Donate $20 or more and I'll run a race in your name. If you're up for it, and want a weekend in your name, it's yours for a mere $155. Naturally if you're up for more than that, I'm always willing to work with you and am eternally grateful for your generosity. Donations can be made via cash/check in person or via mail (email me for information), or via paypal to jeff@cbr600rr.com

 

Next race weekend is 7/1-4 at a Mid America Motorplex in Council Bluffs, IA. This will be our first time back since an absolutely miserable weekend of racing in 2002. I look forward to returning and conquering my

old demons.

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