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Suspension And Rear Tire Under Braking

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GOOD NEWS! I made it to round two, I am one of four finalists competing tomorrow. Part of the competition involves riding a different bike tomorrow- the KTM 390 - for one session. Should be interesting. :)


So how did round 2 (finals?) go? - we can't keep holding our breaths anymore!

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OK, here's the update:


Saturday I got on the bike with the middle-adjustment set on the front, and it felt good, as mentioned above. So my main goal on Saturday was to make it to the final round. I DID make it to the final round, yay! Unfortunately Mario did not, which took some of the fun out of it.


On Sunday only the four finalists competed: Captain Austria (real name Anton), Luis, Fatih, and me. Luis was fast, scary fast, and seemed to be riding really well and I thought for sure he would ultimately win. But, the competition was not just about speed - it was also on consistency (the spread in the laptimes over 4 sessions), improvement, riding technique, and other factors. My goal on Sunday was NOT to set TOO fast a laptime, because that could widen the spread on the laptimes and affect my constistency score. I was shooting for running 1:43s. In the second session I turned a 1:42 - uh-oh, that raised the bar. So I started trying to run 1:42s, and since that was my previous best, I figured I better ride pretty hard to achieve that. In the next session I ran a mix of 1:42s and 1:41s. Whoa! That messed up my consistency score but it is hard to be upset when your laptimes just keep getting FASTER! :)


Then it was my turn to ride the "mystery bike" which turned out to be a KTM 390 street edition, with street tires and no warmers. Quite a change to jump off an S1000rr going at full race pace with warmers and slicks and hop on that little guy and ride well - plus it was standard shift and we were all running GP shift - so it was a good test of riding skill and flexibility. I think I did well with that part; I was trying to be smooth and accurate, and a control rider followed to judge my riding.


Next was a written test that covered riding techniques, suspension questions and tire tech. That was fun and I think I did well there too.


I expected to have one more riding session to improve my consistency scores but due to some challenges with the timing system (one of the competitor's transponders was not working right so they had to do some legwork to retrieve his laptimes) they ended the competition after three sessions instead of four. Yikes, that wasn't good for me but it was yet another reminder that in racing, you gotta get things done right away because you NEVER know what might happen later in the day!


Then we waited a few hours for the various scores to be tabulated. That was nerve-wracking. I had no idea how I had done, all four finalists were good riders and we couldn't tell how the scoring was playing out... Luis was the fastest in overall laptimes, but Captain Austria had an enormous lead in the social media voting, and Fatih was fast through all three months of riding. I was hoping to have an edge in consistency - I am usually VERY consistent - but knew I had not done very well in that area on that particular day, and that is how it was being judged.


So around 4pm we all gathered together for a very suspenseful announcement ceremony, and here is how it came out:

Fourth: Luis

Third: Fatih

Second: Laura

First: Captain Austria


So I got second place, and the prize is UNLIMITED FREE TRACKDAYS for 2016, which is a pretty darn good prize, and I was very honored to do that well in the company of such capable riders. It was a fun competition and I was glad to be a part of it. I definitely improved my riding - mostly in the area of sheer aggressiveness - finding all the places I could get on the gas harder.


Without all the Superbike School training I would never have been able to make such big improvements; I would have been MOTIVATED to go faster but I wouldn't have had any idea how to do it. Because I have such an excellent base of training and such good technical skill, my coach did not have to spend time teaching me how to ride a bike or how to be safe, and he never had to worry about me crashing, so he could focus on finding places (specifically on this track) where I could roll on the gas harder or sooner, or find a more efficient line through a corner. He also helped me get used to some of the sensations that come along with pushing a high horsepower bike really hard - dealing with sliding, headshake, wheelies, etc., and working up the nerve to get REALLY close to a speedway wall at 160 mph, which I still find pretty scary. He (Jeremy Toye) gets so close to that wall that he showed me a mark where one time his bike stepped out a little on turn-in and touched the wall. Eek.


I learned a lot of track-specific places to go faster, yet I'm confident the lessons will translate to other tracks - my biggest gain was really amping up my drives, without sacrificing anything on safety, lines, etc. I did discover that my body position made a bigger difference than I expected when it came down to really carrying speed around the corners, and also that "trying to go fast" created an incredibly strong inclination to charge the corners and I had to really pay attention to that, my laptimes suffered quite a bit if I started trying to rush my corner entries, and conversely I got great improvements in laptimes when I made sure I got the entry speed right so I could be accurate and have excellent throttle control on the exits.


So, there you go, thanks you SO MUCH for the social media support, I was humbled and flattered by how willing people were to take the time to vote for me and I really appreciate that.


I'll leave you with this, my favorite moment of the competition:


On Sunday, one of the other finalists asked Mario: "Do you feel bad that your wife beat you?"

Mario's response: "Not as bad as YOU'RE going to feel when she beats YOU!"


(Hee hee, and yes I did beat that guy.)

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So fantastic - congratulations Hottie!


I was really surprised by the amount of votes that Captn Austria hot - like 20+% of them. What the heck did he do to get that???


And *chuckle* all the way for Mario's comment :D

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So fantastic - congratulations Hottie!


I was really surprised by the amount of votes that Captn Austria hot - like 20+% of them. What the heck did he do to get that???


And *chuckle* all the way for Mario's comment :D



Captain Austria really is from Austria. From what I understand, he is a former competitive body builder, has his own YouTube channel, has a blog where he writes about motorcycle adventures, and is a VP of marketing for his day job, so he has a lot of contacts. :) He is also personable and quite a character, and worked his butt off in this competition, I certainly respect the amount of effort he put in!


Part of the fun of this competition was meeting a lot of great people, including the pro riders that participated. It was definitely a worthwhile experience.

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