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Race Report #9

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2005 Race Report 9:

9/9-11/05 - Autobahn Country Club (South Course), Joliet, IL




A game of numbers...


I'm not sure why I do this to myself, but this year I decided to chase points again, and see how I could do in the Midwest region. Late in the season, we always have a couple of double-points rounds which are absolutely critical. This was one of them...


The weekend was going to be an interesting one as it was combined with the national Formula-USA series, which had a whole new level of competition show up. It was also at a track which we had never run before. I had the privilege of running this track about a month ago with Keith Code, so I know the layout and also realize how incredibly rough this brand-new track is.


Friday was a 75-lap, 250KM Team-Challenge endurance race which I decided to run with my two buddies, Johnny Petta and Greg Langman. We ran it on my bike, so John & Greg took my bike down for practice on Thursday.





Friday 9/9/05:

A touch hot for a long race, but at least it's not raining. For the Team Challenge, we shod the bike with a new set of Bridgestone Slicks from Lithium Motorsports. The plan was simple. Run consistent laps at about 85% of sprint pace, no crashes, no mechanical problems. We would each run 25 lap stints, with John starting off. Since he has an 03 CBR600RR, he should feel at home launching my 05. Greg would run the middle session since the tires should still be pretty good, and I would bring it home with hopes that I could run lap times at least as fast as the first two riders with tires that may be fading.




In practice, John felt that a 1:35 seemed to be a good race pace, as they were running 37's - 38's. Once the green flag flew and John took off though, he instantly began clicking off 1:35 laps. He ran STRONG, only dropping the pace when coming up on a lapper. With his 25 laps down, he flew into the pits, we dumped in about 4 gallons of fuel and Greg was at the controls. John was quite pleased to boast that he landed a 1:34.00 lap, and that the tires were excellent.


Greg ran laps a touch slower than John, but still very consistent and above all, upright. I ran back to the RV and changed in preparation for my session on the bike. At the time I took over, we were in 3rd place.


Greg in, fuel dump, I'm out. I was concerned about the tires, but by half a lap, I was sold on them and they were still PERFECT. The brakes on the other hand were almost gone. They still had a very good bite, but the lever was coming in QUITE far, telling me the pads were almost done. No time to think about it, just ride...


I got into a groove and started clicking off 35's and 36's with an occassional 34. Not to be outdone by someone else on my own bike, I had to wick it up and run a 1:33.6 just to shoot Johnny down.


About 15 laps into my session, I started having problems shifting. The quickshifter didn't seem to be working, and my gauges would reset every now and again. It was VERY disconcerting. I wasn't sure we would finish the race. I figured I had 8-10 laps left and was going to push it as far and hard as I could. I had one terrible lap (1:38) because I couldn't shift, and thought of coming in. Then I saw the white flag. One lap left, I'll push this S.O.B. 2.1 miles across the line if I have to! I made it around with just a couple of gear shifts, knowing we were well ahead of the 4th place guys.


We crossed the line an astonishing 3rd place!!! We were 2 laps down on the 1st and 2nd place guys, but 4 laps up on the 4th place team and rest of the pack! This was too cool!!! 3rd place at a national event.


I pulled into the pits and jumped off the bike. I was absolutely shot. I'm not sure if it was the heat or what, but I got terribly sick immediately after getting off the bike. I almost passed out a couple of times and then started getting very nauseous. I was still sweating, so it wasn't dehydration, but I definitely was not well. I laid down in the air conditioning for about 1 1/2 hours and felt MUCH better.


Checking out the bike later that evening, I found that the pressure sensor for the quickshifter was pretty dirty and was not coming back to reset itself after each shift. (Perhaps if I read the manual that said "this part must be cleaned at least every 6 months to ensure proper operation" I wouldn't have had this problem). After I cleaned it up, I was in business for the rest of the weekend.


I also swapped out the slicks for a set of DOTs which still had some life left in them for Saturday's races. In doing so, I got a glimpse at my brake pads (thank GOD I did). They were DONE. As in, I've never run a set of brake pads down this far! A quick trip over to Lithium Motorsports and Rob hooked me up with a set of Vesrah pads as he was out of the Carbone Lorraine I normally run.





Saturday 9/10:

The points game is on...

Before this weekend I was:

Middleweight Superbike - 6th, trailing 5th by 14 points and leading 7th by 3 points

Heavyweight Supersport - 5th, trailing 4th by 31 points, and leading 6th by 25 points

Middleweight GP - 8th, trailing 7th by 30 points, and leading 8th by 46 points


3 weekends left, including this one. 2 double-points weekends (this was one of them). It's anybody's game...


Middleweight Superbike - Sponsored by Sindarin:

The race was fairly uneventful, but a huge 30' slide through the long right hand turn 2 told me the rear tire was done. Unfortunately I wouldn't have time to change it between races, so I would have to make due. I ran as best I could, and came across the line 12th out of 30+. I ran a new fast lap time, at a 1:33.1, but I needed 2 seconds more in order to be real competitive.



After this race, I still stand overall in 6th, trailing 5th by 36 points now, and leading 7th by 13 points. I increased my gap on the guy behind me, but have even more catch-up work to do to get up to 5th or better for the season.


Heavyweight Supersport:

A short break of 2 races and I was back out for HWSS. I desperately needed to beat Dennis DeBuhr and Johnny Moore in this race to move up, but the tires on the bike simply wouldn't allow it. I ran the entire race in the 1:33's, but was sliding in every corner trying to hang onto the both of them, who finished directly ahead of me pushing me to 10th.


This keeps me in 5th place overall, but the gap to 4th has now widened to 45 points. I also increased my lead on 6th place to 27 points.






Sunday 9/11:

I only had one race today, and I could run slicks in it, so I decided to see if the Team Challenge slicks had any life left in them.


Middleweight GP:

The grid for this race was HUGE. I was on the 2nd row. I realized it was all about the launch and lead lap, so I gave it all I could. I shot through the first 7 turns in 4th place, right on the tail of 1-3. Into T8, Jeff Purk (who I needed to beat) slid past me. I did what I could to catch back up to him, but again struggled with traction. The rear would hold me down to a new personal best of 1:32.10, but no more. I ran the entire race out in the 1:32.10 - 1:32.30 range, and ended up 8th place. This was incredibly frustrating because the race was WON by a guy running 1:31's... Just unbelievable that the race was that tight from 1st to 8th place. Normally there is a much larger gap. Oh well, I stayed upright, beat a couple of people I needed to and ran my fastest laps of the weekend.


My finish pushed me up into 7th place overall (from 8th), now trailing 6th place by 34 points and holding a tiny 2 point lead on 8th place.








It was a fun weekend. I had a great time getting 3rd with John & Greg in the Team Challenge, and was pleased to run some very respectable times at the track. I keep slicing and dicing my points up and go back to the beginning of the season when I had a mechanical problem that cost me one MWGP double-points race, and then the crash at MAM which basically cost me 1 1/2 races in each class... If it wasn't for those events, I'd be in 3rd or 2nd in my classes now, but considering some of my past seasons, I'd gladly take these 2 minor events over the multiple crashes/mechanical problems I've had.


Right now we have 2 weekends left, one being a double points weekend. If everybody shows up and stays upright, I'll finish out the midwest region HWSS - 5th, MWSB - 6th, and MWGP - 7th. However, one mechanical problem, one no-show, one crash, has the potential to put me up into the 2nd - 3rd place slot. Right now, a mere 56 points separates 2nd from 5th in Heavyweight Supersport. Considering 65 points for a win on a single points weekend, it's a tight race, for sure...



Thanks List:



Sindarin: Thanks for your race sponsorship!


Lithium Motorsports: Thanks for the Bridgestone Slicks & Vesrah Pads Rob! You're the best, as always!


John & Greg: Thanks for the smoking laps & bringing my bike back to me upright & in one piece! The team-challenge was an awesome experience.


Jessie & Jen: The wives (no, they're not both mine. I live in WI, not UT!)... Thanks so much for putting up with all of this and helping us out along the way.



And as always, thanks goes out to all of you who read the reports, donate to us and support us with your words of encouragement and congratulations!

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