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2006 Race Report #1 - Road America 4/21-23


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http://www.cbr600rr.com/forum/index.php?page=68

 

See the link for pics with the write up.

 

 

 

2006 Race Report #1

April 21-23

Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI

 

Like 2005 - only FASTER!

 

That's all I could think as the smell of VP fuel permeated the air and the sounds of those damned buells rattled through my soul. The 2006 season is upon us! As tradition, this will likely be a long report as I always have so much to say in the beginning of the season.

 

Months preceeding.

 

I spent the winter piecing the bike back together from the terrible crash at Gingerman last year. We did a LOT to the bike this year. Mostly in the engine department, with a fresh motor from Matt Drucker at MD Racing. We also swapped exhausts over to Leo Vince from the Arrow, and put in a new quick twist throttle.

 

I took Wed - Fri off of work, anticipating leaving Thurs afternoon for the track. Although I had a seemingly endless list of tasks to complete, I managed to get them complete (as always) and we rolled out to Road A around noon on Thurs under a gorgeous sky filled with sun.

 

When we got to the track, we ended up sitting around for a few hours, waiting for the track day occupants to clear the paddock. We got in and got a prime spot right at Pit Out. We got everything set up, complete with the new race decking (which was awesome), and I tracked down a new set of Godfather bodywork which had been delivered to the track from my painter. I spent Thurs night mounting up the new bodywork. I will provide a full review shortly on the Godfather bodywork, but I have to say that once it gets above 30 degrees, this stuff is VERY flexible. I was concerned when I got it, but in Feb it was like 10 degrees, so naturally it will be a bit stiff.

 

 

 

 

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Friday 4/21:

The sun was out bright and early, it looked to be a great day to race. A far cry from the snow flurries of 2005. I still had a set of Bridgestone BT-002 soft DOT's on the bike from 2005 which had a ton of life left in them. I mounted up the new Sportsbike Tire warmers to get some temp into the tires and hit the track for 2 rounds of practice.

 

Getting on the bike with the new motor & exhaust for the first time was incredible. I almost looped the thing in 1st and 2nd gear down pit road from the amount of power in it (thanks to Matt Drucker of MD Racing and the incredible Leo Vince exhaust). All I can say is WOW. The new sections of the track are also absolutely perfect. Road America spent the fall replacing many corners, and the new pavement there is wonderful. Practice went very well, the bike performed flawlessly.

 

Middleweight Superbike (round 1):

First race of the 2006 season. Oddly enough, I had butterflies as soon as they made first call. My pulse raised. Suddenly the realization that I was about to race again came into my mind. My launch was unrivaled. I started on row 1 and got the holeshot. I ran down side-by-side with Mark Schnettler of Lithium Motorsports, and managed to get around him to be the 1st into T1. Mark passed me back on the exit and started out a great pace. I slowly fell back and people began getting around me from further in the pack. I ended up across the line 9th out of 36. This was pretty respectable by me considering the amount of people there.

 

GTO:

Second race of the day. Fewer butterflies, but still present nonetheless. I managed another excellent launch, but was eaten up by the power of the 750's and 1000's. I did get a few of them back by late braking into T1, but they would overtake me on the massive straights of Road America. This race was a ton of fun. I was on the tail of #506, Denis Debuhr, and it was just like the 2005 season where Deni and I would chase each other down. I got within passing range once, and managed a wheel up underneath him, but did not get the pass through. Shortly thereafter, a guy on an R1 got between us and messed me up pretty bad by shooting the straights and parking it in the corners. Deni crept out a lead of a couple hundred yards. On the checkered lap, just before crossing the line, Dave Ebben (who was penalized for jumping the start) managed to fly by me on his 1000 to steal 9th place from me. I came across 10 out of 24. Again, quite respectable considering I was battling 750's and 1000's on my 600 at one of the fastest tracks in the country.

 

With a beautiful and successful day 1 down, we kicked back to a nice meal and watched a movie.

 

 

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Saturday 4/22

 

We awoke to rain tapping down on the roof, but the weather looked promising for the day. Just in case, I took my spare wheels and spooned on a new set of Bridgestone full wets. Within about 30 minutes, the rain cleared, the sun poked out and wind picked up to dry the track off. I skipped practice as the track was still wet and it just wasn't worth swapping tires or risking going out on DOTs.

 

Middleweight Superbike (round 2):

This race was weird. It was weird in that I got a great launch, and ran a great race. I ran my fastest laps of the weekend, better than 2 seconds faster than last year. The bike performed flawlessly, and the Bridgestones stuck like glue. However, I still only managed 16th across the line. Very odd... I guess as much as I improved between race 1 of middleweight superbike and race 2 of middleweight superbike, a handful of riders improved even more. In any event, they were much needed points and a solid race which was finished upright.

 

Heavyweight Superbike (round 1):

The class I love. The only problem with it is running my 600 against 750's and 1000cc twins at this huge track where Horsepower is so crucial. I ran a great race and had some classic battles with 690 Simon Kowalski on his 750, as well as chasing down Deni Debuhr. Ultimately, I couldn't get past them as they could pull me on the 3 HUGE straights. On lap 3 of this race, chasing down Deni, I had a HUGE rear-tire slide going through the carousel. This is one of the faster corners on the track. By my gearing chart, I was at about 110mph, dragging a knee and the rear end spun up. I picked the bike up a little and it caught traction again, but it was enough to spook me to back off about 1 second per lap.

 

I took 6th of 12 across the line, and called my rear BT-002 done after 4.5 sprint races, 2 practices and a 30 minute GTO race... That's a TON of laps on a tire! And it still looks great!!!

 

With racing done for the day, I mounted up a new soft compound rear for my last race on Sunday. I also got the opportunity to meet up with Jerod from the CBR600RR.com Forum. We swapped stories and I gave him a bit of advice on his issues.

 

 

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Sunday 4/23

 

Another morning of rain. But now it turned cold and windy. Still not as bad as the typical Road America weather, but it was enough to make it miserable. I skipped practice again as it was wet, and tried to figure out what the day would hold. The rain stopped, but the clouds remained, as did the wind and cold temperatures.

 

Heavyweight Superbike (round 2):

Last race of the weekend. With a hot, fresh new Bridgestone on the rear, I lined up for the race. I ran a great race, and held solid lap times in the 2:32-2:33 range which is respectable on a 600. I had the same battles as I did in round 1, but managed to squeek out 1 extra spot to cross the line in 5th place out of 12. Not bad at all. Sure, it could have been better, but it DARN SURE could have been worse ;-)

 

With the weekend behind us, the clouds parted, wind stopped and sun came out bright and hot for us to pack up to. Go figure, it would arrive just 1 hour after my last race. We managed to get packed up and get out pretty quickly. During pack-up, Murf99 from the CBR600RR.com Forum came over to say HI. It's always cool to meet another person who frequents the website. The ride home was uneventful and unpacking went quick. A 103 degree hot tub was waiting for me at the end of it all, which I REALLY appreciated.

 

All in all, it was a great starting weekend. I made my goal of 2:32 (down 2 seconds from 2:34.5 last year), but really wanted to be in the 2:28 range. I stayed upright and had a great time. I'm really looking forward to our next round, less than 2 weeks away at Blackhawk Farms in Rockton, IL on 5/6-7.

 

 

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#42 - Jeff Kufalk of CBR600RR.com Racing is proudly sponsored and supported by:

 

 

Bridgestone Tires - www.motorcycle-karttires.com

Leo Vince exhaust - www.leovinceusa.com

Sportsbike Tire Warmers - www.tirewarmers.net

Woodcraft-CFM Clipons & Rearsets - www.woodcraft-cfm.com

Moto Liberty Racing gear - www.motoliberty.com

MD Racing Engine building & tuning - www.mdracingstp.com

Lithium Motorsports trackside support & VP Fuels - www.lithiummotorsports.com

Trackside Engineering suspension services - www.tracksideengineering.com

Badger Cycle OEM Honda parts - www.badgercycle.com

EMA-USA performance parts - www.ema-usa.com

Yoyodyne performance parts - www.yoyodyneti.com

California Superbike School racing/riding training - www.superbikeschool.com

Godfather Bodywork - www.godfatherracing.com

ON2-Racing performance parts - www.on2-racing.com

Clear Alternatives tail lights - www.clearalternatives.com

 

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