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Race Report #5 - Mid America Motorplex

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Fairly brutal weekend. Glad it's behind us...


Here's the text for anyone who doesn't wanna click the link...


2005 Race Report 5 (damage report 1):

7/1-3/05 - Mid America Motorplex - Pacific Junction, IA


Battling old Demons. Some won, Some lost


Wow, it seems like just one week ago I was writing one of these. Oh wait, I was!


This weekend has really been a season in the making. If you think my previous race reports were long, I'll prepare you now for this one as it will probably drag on longer than most.


This was our first time back to MAM since a terrible weekend in 2002 where we just plain had a bad time. I skipped it in 03 & 04, but now in 05 I'm silly enough to be chasing points like I was in 02, so we put it back on the schedule.


This was a twin-sprints weekend, so I would be able to double my points standing against those who didn't want to make the long trek out to MAM.


Thursday 6/30:

Still packed up from the previous Autobahn weekend, we got off to a predicted late start of about 8:30 PM. The plan was to drive at least 1/2 of the 530 miles (roughly 10 hours) on Thurs night, and finish the rest in the morning. About 1/2 way into it, we just kept rolling. We got to the track at 6:00 AM on the dot, and slept till noon.


Friday 7/1:

This was a practice day put on by Track Addix. Track Addix is a new partner of cbr600rr.com Racing, and they put on a GREAT day. Under normal circumstances, the days are no sessions, and no B.S. Just open track time to practice. Today we had sessions due to the large number of people and the desire by the riders, but it all worked out fine.


I went out for the first session, before the late lunch break and when coming off the track, I noticed my right foot slipping off the rearset (we'll call this "Incident #1"). I looked down and my boot was covered with oil. Nice... Looking at the bike, I immediately found that a rubber plug at the top of the clutch cover wasn't seated right after doing some clutch work this last week. No big deal. I seated the plug and cleaned everything up.


The rest of the day was uneventful. The track was quite slick, and pretty rough. Just as I remembered! lol... Little did I know, this was the start of a downhill spiral.


Incident #2 came while the kids were swimming on Friday night at the track lake. My son stepped on something sharp and put about a 4" gash in his foot. This would be trip 1 to medical. They cleaned & patched him up and we called it a night.


Saturday 7/2:

Practice went well. Things seemed to be looking up.


Middleweight GP.

The layout of the track makes launches fairly frightening due to a LONG straight into a fast right-hand T1, followed by a faster left-hand T2. Since starts typically see the first few corners going 3-5 bikes wide, things get interesting.


My launch was well, but I was on the outside for T1 which I did not want to be. I tiptoed through T1 & T2 for fear that multiple people would go down, but nobody did. I found myself near the back of the pack and tried to make up ground. Within the 1st lap or two, someone went down requiring the ambulance, so they stopped the race for a full restart. Cool! A second chance.


My second start was better than the first. I still ended up on the outside of T1, but that seemed okay. I ran hard through T1, within the top 10 riders. Coming out of T1, I unfortunately met up with the back tire of a guy coming left for T2 in what would become "Incident #3". I had nowhere to go and @$$ packed him HARD. I don't know how many times I flipped before landing on my left side & tumbling off the track luckily without being run over. In my tumbling, I caught a glimpse of my bike tumbling just the same.


I jumped up and ran over to see if I could rejoin the race, but no dice. The right clip-on bar was bent too bad to allow me to move the bike.


I rode back in the crash truck without really feeling bad about the crash since we had made it a good long 4 weekends without a crash.


Damage Assessment:

Front fairing stay (had a spare)

Right rearset ripped out of frame (had a spare)

Clutch case smashed (had a spare)

Right swingarm spool ripped off (had a spare, but swingarm damaged too bad to replace)

Right clip-on tube (had multiple spares)

Brake banjo bolt bent hard (no spare)

Brembo master cylinder broken (had rebuild kit, but could not get apart to fix!)

Front fender ripped off (no spare, but not needed)


Here's where I hit the guy's rear tire:




The goal was to get the bike back together to at LEAST let me run heavyweight supersport late in the day as I'm very high in the points (top 3).


The repairs were nothing too bad, but they were extremely time consuming. I had to remove the exhaust to pull the dirt out of it, and to get at the oil pan to remove the large hunks of smashed metal from the clutch cover. Ugh. There goes middleweight superbike starting without me (another class I'm top 3 in).


Repairs were coming along well when I determined my brakes were beyond repair. The crash was so violent, it bent the banjo bolt and either cracked or bent the lines to the point that they are leaking. UGH! There goes Heavyweight Supersport without me...


Feelings of rage, disappointment & frustration clouded my mind as I considered packing up and going home.


In the midst of repairs, my son hobbles out to announce Incident #4 "Dad, come quick, Mom pulled her back out!". Great... My wife has a bad back to begin with due to an abnormal spine. She's on the floor of the RV and in terrible pain. After a few hours, we decide a trip to the local E.R. was in order.


My racing buddy Johnny Petta was cool enough to (a) loan me his brand new Nissan Titan truck (which is an AWESOME vehicle), and (B) continue fixing my bike while we were out. The local ER trip was pretty decent. 2 hrs in & out with a good cocktail of narcotics.


We got back to the track in time enough to watch the fireworks display put on by the track for us.


This next Incident (#5), didn't involve me directly, but I somehow believe that the track's utter hatred for me caused it to occur. The fireworks display was to remember the 'bombs bursting in air', etc etc. Well, it was all fine and well until a HUGE one went off about 10' above the ground. Sad but comical, we could see the silhouette of the poor guy running away from it as it went off. The laughter stopped when they rolled the ambulance over for him... The show continued a short while later, and low & behold the grand finale went off ON THE GROUND. In an incredible mushroom cloud of smoke, balls of flames peppered by mounds of dirt flying and guys running everywhere.


Here's a hot tip. When buying fireworks, look for the 'Made in Taiwan' label!


Sunday 7/3:

Well, this morning started looking up. A huge thanks goes out to Dean Rumfola, owner of Track Addix, for a loan of a new master cylinder, and to Denny Debuhr for a loan of a set of brake lines. I'm back together enough to race.


Heavyweight Supersport:

I was gridded on the front row of this race, and a bit nervous about it. I figured I'd just crush everyone into T1 and then I couldn't take anyone out through the T1/T2 combo.


The green flag flew and I had a GREAT launch, but it was short lived. Incident #6 was perhaps the most dangerous. About 30' off the line, my bike DIED. This is a racers worst nightmare. Being in FRONT of a large pack of bikes and being stalled. More often than not, it results in getting hit from behind by a bike traveling 40-80 mph faster than you, and a trip to the hospital (if you're lucky). I immediately threw both my hands in the air, waving like mad to warn the riders behind me. They all got around me successfully (thank you GOD!).


I moved the bike off the track while the second wave of riders took off, and started it back up to do at least 1 lap to get scored for my last place points. I made my 1 lap, and on the way off of the track, I noticed my right foot again slipping off the rearset becoming "Incident #7". Oh ######, it's covered in oil! In replacing my clutch cover, I failed to check the timing cap, which obviously wasn't tight enough, and it came out, leaving oil to come out in right hand turns.


I IMMEDIATELY went to the grid marshall and warned them of possible oil in right hand turns due to this. They called it out, but nobody crashed during this race, so they apparently thought the track was clean.


During the next race, 4 people went down which stopped the race. Now, I don't know where or how they went down, but I can't help but thinking it might have been from me. If it was, all I can do is sincerely apologize to everyone, and again, reiterate that I DID inform the officials.


We determined that my bike was cutting off due to the way that the bank-angle-sensor was mounted, so we remounted it. We also replaced the timing cap, topped off the oil, and I headed out for the next race.


Middleweight Superbike:

I started from the back of the grid just to make sure things were all in order for the race. They were, so I finally ran some decent laps at the track. I only picked up a few spots, but at least I got down into the 1:38's, I didn't finish last, and did manage to pick up some points.


Middleweight GP:

Final race of the weekend, I took my assigned grid spot on row 3, and took off. As we got into T1/T2, I had BAD flashbacks of Saturday AM, so I backed way off and gave everyone else the line. It cost me pretty much the race. I found myself in the back of the pack, running alone. I resigned to just running out my 8 laps and having fun.


The grand finale incident #8 would be at almost the last lap of this race, when I came out of the final turn to see the guy I rear-ended the previous day, dead stopped, PERPENDICULAR ACROSS THE TRACK, pushing his bike. He was RIGHT in my line. I stood the bike up, whistled and went around him on the rumble strips at about 80mph.


I made it across the line without further incident and called it a weekend. Dean and the Track Addix guys were having another track day on 7/4, I didn't have to work and could have ridden, but like in the Amityville Horror, when the track says "GET OUT!" you really need to listen. Had we stayed another night, I'm sure the track would have claimed one of us.


I packed up, mustered enough energy to spit on the God-forsaken asphalt I stood on, gave it a quick final curse and pushed the accelerator down, leaving this comedy of catastrophe behind.


We made it about 1/2 way back before sleeping for the night, and finishing the trip on 7/4 without further event.



The new deflowered look on the front & right side



Everyone continued to tell me to look on the bright side, and in retrospect, I do see the bright side. I managed to get points for 3 out of 6 races, which is more than those folks who missed the weekend all together. I also managed to leave under my own power, walking & talking, able to race another day. Nobody hit me in my T1/T2 incident, nobody punted me on my starting line incident, Queue didn't need stitches, Jen is getting a little better by the day and the bike will be ready to roll for Blackhawk Farms on 7/16-17.


Not to mention that we made it a good long run, with 4 weekends in the books before crashing. That's a definite record for me!


This weeks thanks list:


* HUGE thanks goes out to Dean Rumfola and the Track Addix crew for putting on a great day on Fri, and the loan of the master cylinder to allow me to race on Sun.

* HUGE thanks to Denny for the loan of the brake lines. They worked great.

* HUGE thanks out to Johnny & Jessi for loaning me the truck and fixing the bike for me.

* HUGE thanks goes out to everyone who avoided me this weekend.

* HUGE thanks goes out to Daniel of Solomotoparts.com for a quick turn-around order of new Galfer Superbike lines which will allow us to continue racing in 2 weeks.


Race Sponsors...

Those of you who paid for races, hang tight and let me run a decent race for you. I just don't feel right in dedicating my weekend's nightmare to any of you.


Next race weekend is 7/16-17 at Blackhawk Farms in Rockton, IL.

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