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RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

  1. #1
    Is this thing on? Mr. Kurtz's Avatar
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    RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    EDIT: This is really long winded. Short version: I had fun. Carry on.

    Well, this is my first actual race report for this season, because this is the first weekend I felt I had anything worth reporting. I've been struggling badly all year, fighting to run times that were 5-7 seconds off my past performances. This was leading me into a cycle of poor results>lack of fun>worse results>even less fun....

    My RSP teammate Keith Draghi (769) had apparently gotten tired of hearing me complain, because he'd been on my case for a couple weeks to stop bitching and make a plan. Finally taking his advice, I signed up for the Penguin advanced school for Friday.

    Friday: Penguin Advanced School

    Honestly, if your goal is to get a lot of riding time in, you're much better off at a trackday or even a race practice day. However, the classroom time and trackwalk with Eric Wood(regularly the fastest guy around NHMS) is worth the price of admission. The depth of his knowledge about this track is just ridiculous, so you've really got to come prepared for the flood of knowledge. I'm not sharing any secrets, but I was able to come out of each classroom session with something specific to work on out on the track, and I was almost immediately able to get out and run some 26's in practice, which matched or bested my fastest race laps for this season so far. Throughout the day, Keith helped stiffen up my front suspension while I was in the classroom, which made an immediate difference in front end feel. By the end of the day, I was getting laps in the 25.xxx range off, so I was feeling pretty good. After riding was over, I hung around with the normal neighborhood gang consisting of the RSP-ECK-Lou/Adam/David/Jay garages.

    Saturday:

    Went out in practice with a plan, as opposed to just going out and rolling around. Had specific areas I wanted to work on, along with practicing a couple starts. Best practice lap of a 25.xxx again still left me optimistic, as I was reviewing my Qstarz data pretty heavily this weekend, and was able to work on specific sections rather than just entire laps.

    Lightweight Grand Prix: Not much exciting in this race, I ran towards the back middle of the pack, tried and didn't succeed to get by #938 Mike Wankum throughout the race, but was able to run the entire race in the 24-25 range. This was forward progress, so at the advice of my teammates, I kept positive about that and looked towards Sunday.

    Sunday:

    Again, went out in practice with specific direction, worked on a few new areas, and tried to further refine ones I had been working on throughout the weekend. Turned a 23.9 in practice, so I was headed in the right direction. Finished 8 of 13 starters.

    Lightweight Superbike:

    Got a slightly better start in this race, but not good enough, I got hung up for a bit behind a slower yet difficult to pass competitor. I did finally get around, and managed to set my fastest lap of the weekend and fastest of this season, 1:23.079, in the last lap. Finished 7 of 16, and more importantly finished ahead of Bill Morey (868) a friend who has become faster than me this year, and has taken every chance to remind me of it! He was a second slower in this race than he had been Sat, but times don't dictate the finish, and I got past him and crossed the line ahead of him.

    Lightweight Supersport:

    I had enough points to still be gridded on the front row, position 1-D, for this race. This is the ideal position, front row, outside. I got a decent start, but quickly the front of the pack began to run away, as they were going a bit quicker than I was. I ran around in 5th for awhile, keeping Lou Peck (212) in sight. Since Lou is a friend, he is of course a huge target and someone I would really like to get in front of. I was able to squeeze by the rider between us, but Lou proved to strong for me to make any real gains, he was faster on about 75% of the track, and the few spots I could make gains were spent making up the distance he had pulled on me in the rest of the lap. I was having a blast chasing him, though, and my lap time progression in that race was solid, with each lap a few tenths faster than the last. I felt strong coming into the last lap, not quite confident I could get by him, but figuring I could get close and be there if he made a mistake, or at the very least make for a good photo at the line. However, heading up T4 on the last lap, my bike bogged out and stalled, coming back to life as I stood it up. Down into the bowl, lean over, dead stick, stand up on the exit, back to life.

    Yes, I had just run out of gas on the last lap of my last race of the weekend. I was able to coast/lug the bike through the back section, coasting it through the spots I needed lots of lean angle and coaxing it back to life anytime I was upright. I was running in 4th, and was still in 4th coasting through 11, but I could even get the bike to fire at all as I was heading towards the right flip for 12. I had to make a decision, and one option was to cut the grass, and pedal the damn thing to the line to finish. However, with no hopes of a points fight for the season, and not being in a podium position, I elected to throw my arm up and coast into the pits. RSP teammate Mike Weyant (434) was already jogging over to help me out, and he grabbed the bike and walked it back to our garage for me, which was priceless, because the only thing that sucks more than pushing a dead motorcycle is pushing a dead motorcycle in leathers after running 7.96 laps of a race.

    Overall, I had fun this weekend, made some progress, and looking with optimism towards Round 5. Keith will be sitting out the next two rounds as he prepares for his upcoming nuptials, so he's going to loan me his SS legal cartridge front end, with upgraded brakes. This will be a huge improvement over my stock SV stuff with Racetech emulators, and is a great way for me to justify the value of a better front end so I can save up and upgrade over the winter. That, combined with some continued cycling to shed some more weight, should hopefully help me smash past my career best lap of 22.038 in the next two events.

    As always, I'd like to thank all my sponsors, specifically for this round Tony's Track Days for the discount on the Penguin school(did you know if you are a TTD member, and you register through Tony's site, you get a one time discount on a Penguin basic or advanced school?).

    I have a lot of other thanks to give here, and I'm sure I'll miss some, so please no one take offense: (in no particular order)

    Lou - not only for the great service and help analyzing Qstarz data, but for remarking that I looked like I had dropped a few lbs when I saw him Thursday nght.

    Graham - for a 10 second observation that helped the exit of T12 "click" in my head

    Eric Wood/Penguin racing - for the very specific and detailed info during the school, which is very directly responsible for me figuring out what I was and wasn't doing, and what I should be doing...understanding the why.

    Center garage neighborhood crowd - all my friends who make the off track part of racing just as fun as the on track part. You all know who you are! This of course includes the people who come up to hang out and support us, like Eric(ct1200), and my fellow competitors families.

    My RSP teammates - all of them, present and not - for the constant encouragement and support. This has been a hard year for my racing, and not once have any of them been anything but positive, which has gone a long way towards keeping me from going off the deep end.

    My attitude coach for the weekend, for reminding me to get my :angry: face on inside my helmet and for listening to my constant updates throughout the weekend, and even pretending to care. :p

    Probably more than anyone for this weekend though, I again need to thank my teammate, one time competitor(expert WHAT!) and friend Keith (769). I've been a bit of a bitch about racing all season, and he wasn't afraid to let me know that, but also was willing and able to help me and help me help myself to get it fixed, not only with some riding tips, but also with the hands on suspension help while I was in the classroom Friday. Thanks bud, we're gonna miss you up there the next couple rounds, but I'll do my best to put that front end across the line in a respectable position.

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  2. #2
    thrilled brady's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    Glad you found your pace again Mike. It's got to be tough to race and work at the same time.

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    '02 SV650 street|woods|race LRRS #128

  3. #3
    Is this thing on? Mr. Kurtz's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    Thanks Brady. It's interesting, keeps me busy, but also distracts me a bit sometimes. Overall, I wouldn't trade it.

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  4. #4
    Lifer nt650hawk's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    I have not seen you ride like this in a long time. Way to go.

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    Gino
    HAWK GT Racer Expert #929
    2012 CCS LRRS ULSB Champion
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    2008 CCS ULSB National Champion
    ECKRACING Bridgestone Street & Competition Woodcraft MOTUL On Track Media Pine Motorparts Vanson Leathers

  5. #5
    KB KB's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    I think I need a coach.

    Nice work brother!!

    KB

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    LRRS/CCS EX #13

    GMD COMPUTRACK

  6. #6
    Posting Freak Yknot's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    Awesome job Mike!! I am glad you didn't flip me off when you passed me

    It was great to see you out there all weekend picking time up, get some mojo back. I look forward to dicing it up with you next round!!

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  7. #7
    You dont know slow... PainfullySlow's Avatar
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    Re: RSP Racing #816 - Round 4

    I am psyched that you are getting your groove back. You rock! Half of the fun of the weekend is hanging with you and the rest of the team =)

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