Friday, March 25, 2011

Roebling Road Raceway Round One Race Report

Round One WERA National-Race Report
The exit of Turn 6 at Roebling Road Raceway

 My weekend didn't quite go as planned and was as much about divinity as it was racing. First there was a death in the family that caused a late start to my 16 plus hour drive. We planned on missing the first practice session, but found some oil on the front tire that caused us to miss the second practice. I was focused and knew that adversity is part of it, so I shook it off and tried to get some laps in. Then I noticed fork oil on my caliper and after cleaning it off and running one more session, I took the forks off and spoke to Lenny at Race Tech. Lenny agreed to change the dust seal and put some cross hatches on the forks to help secure a full seal. Lenny got my forks back in record time, but practice was over. We talked about some things with the bike and he wanted me to try a different spring on the rear as well.

With lack of sleep from the long travel, I opted to get to the track in the morning take the shock off have him install the new spring and then get some practice in to see if I liked it. Like I said, this was a weekend that the higher powers to be would be in full control of. All I could do was go along for the ride and see what was in this blessing for me. So off comes the shock, and then another round of bad news. The rear shock needed to be re-valved. Lenny didn't have any Penske parts, but he worked some paddock magic and we came away with something utterly amazing. I was at TWS last October when Lenny came down to work with John Keene and seen how fast he made John go that weekend, so I was totally pumped to have the opportunity to work with him. Sunday come not come quick enough and Saturday I would not see the track from the seat of a bike, but everyone cheered me up anyway repeating something I said last year at the GNF. "Superstars don't need practice."

In the midst of all this, a late entry to the endurance line up was the Run 1/Mousebox Racing Yamaha R6 that would be ridden by AMA Supersport Daytona winner Miles Thorton and Tim Hunt. So it looked like I would be doing some pit stop duties. Tim rode the wheels off that thing with 3 laps of practice. He took the green flag and immediately battled for first place while dropping some 1:13xx's until a loose clip-on caused him to back it off and ride more cautiously. The team finished 1st in class and second overall. It was my first exeperience in the pits with a team of this caliper and I was blessed to have the chance to help them. Thanks for the invite!

Sunday brought cloudy skies, a chilly wind and the threat of rain. Everyone kept telling me I could do it, and I was trying to remain optimisitic and just do what I could do. Lenny found me early Sunday and we set the bike up for stability. He came to me and told me what he wanted me to do the first four laps and then waited for me on pit wall. I came in and told him the bike felt really stabile, but it needed to turn quicker. He got down underneath the bike and lifted the rear ride height. Practice session was over so we came back in. He immediately found me again, explaining what he did and why and how the bike would feel different next time out. I again put in a few laps to feel the different in handling and then tried to lay some laps down. We started on Friday doing 27's. In the first practice we did some 25's with the change to the rear we dropped to 23's. Lenny said he would get me into the teens which was my goal the whole time. Third practice came and the confidence and stability of the bike brought me a 19.5xx. Lenny came to me and said now change the tire pressures. So, again, I made a bold move swapped tires and pressures and it was time to go racing. I immediately notice the front absorbed some of the bumps better and felt extremely stable. With all the things that surrounded me on this race weekend I lost focus and forgot to lower my shield. As the 1 board went sidewayz I took my hand off the throttle and slammed it shut, but going back to throttle and whacking it open only caused me to wheelie down the front straightaway. I think I made it to turn 1 in 6th or 7th. Disappointing because I knew I couldn't pass easy on this track with as little practice time I had, and if I didn't get out front and follow, it would be the kind of race it was. I was faster than the guys in front of me but I struggled to get around them. I finished 5th and was able to get into the 18xx's. This would be my best starting position of the day and I botched it.

Race 2-B Superstock
I once again had some confidence in the bike and myself after dropping some time and felt like I had a chance here. I was on the third row and hoped to get a good start this time. I came out of turn 1 in third and felt like I had the speed to finally get on the podium, if not the race win. I rode hard and I rode fast, maybe too fast. After getting out motored on the straighaways, I began working on getting in deeper in turn one. I figured that was my only chance. I got into second and was having trouble getting around the guy in front of me who was a slower, more erractic rider with a super fast bike. Lap 3 brought 4 or 5 bikes by me coming down the long front straightaway. I remember Tim telling me that turn 1 is so wide and grips all the way to the edge, so I went deep, grabbed three gears at the 4,3,2 boards , light brake pressure and got out of there in second again. This time the leader checked out. he was noticably quicker in certain sections and plus had Abe Stacey's old bike which is super fast. It was only when the erractic rider came back around me that I knew I needed to find some time in turn 9 leading us onto the front straightaway. So, I started pushing harder and it seems I just lost the front some how and ended up dirt tracking the bike as I headed for some trees. The Texas Tornado Boot Camp skills I learned on March 6th came into play here. I controlled the bikes speed with the front and rear brakes and got it slowed down enough to not have to lay it down or jump off and watch it get demolished in the trees. I even had time to attempt to get it sliding sidewayz and back in the direction of the track. Only problem was I on DOT's not knobby's. LOL I hit a patch of softer earth and we hit the ground. I was able to get it back up make another lap get re-teched and salvage points in the race. Finished 13th.

Race 3 C superstock
Well, this is the meat grinder class and I had a wave two start. After getting the bike cleaned off and ready to race again, I didn't have any confidence woes. I got a decent start and was able to catch up to the first wave. The only problem is that my right clip on came loose and started moving as I put input into the bars. Divinity!!! Again, this weekend was just different. It really wasn't in my control, none of them are, but this time I realized that. Again, I relied on my training from the boot camp, and the fact that the endurance team had the same problem on Saturday. I focused on what I could do to still be in control of the bike and didn't panic. My times were still in the 19's and I used this race as a drill to help me in the future. Mid corner I would release pressure on the bars and try to feel what it was tellling me. Something I learned from the one hand drills at the bootcamp. Finished 12th

Turn 5 Roebling Road Raceway

Stalking my next victim!

All in all it was a sucessful weekend and we learned what it takes to ride up front during a national, how to overcome adversity during a race weekend (no matter what part LOL) and most of all, how if he brings you to it, he can bring you through it. The bike is working great but we are down on power and the budget we have doesn't allow for any upgrades so we will have to hope that my talent alone can continue to evolve and keep up with the front pack. This year racing the WERA Nationals and being in the paddock with the likes of Jake Lewis, Tim Hunt, and KWS Motorsports really is a big deal. Learning a new track everytime I race while trying to be competitive is exciting but can be difficult. I have learned that before, but didn't have the pressure of doing well. This year I want to win races, and I am pretty confident that I will, but that only makes it tougher. Please enjoy the video. The last lap is my fastest lap of 1:17.9 and I felt we were getting faster. As you can see, I am still new to this.

This weekend would not have been possible without the following:
Lenny Albin-Race Tech Lenny worked magic on my GSXR. If he did wonders to the stuff thats on there I can't wait until we can switch to Race Tech fully.
Tim Hunt-Tim had a really busy weekend, but he has done so much for me the past couple months none of this would even be imaginable without his support
Colin Edwards and the whole Texas Tornado Bootcamp staff-Thanks for allowing me out to your place to eat, drink and ride motorcycles. I look forward to doing it again and learning more. I learned some skills that I was able to practice this past weekend. I had a rough one, but without the skills I learned it would not have been a successful weekend for me.
Joe Prussiano & Linz Leard-two gentleman who have always answered my questions and helped me rather it was track related or not! See you two soon!
Track Junkie Racing-Larry Ray-Larry thanks for all the parts at great prices and all the conversations we had. You believed in me when no one else would!
Jonathan Boswell-Mousebox Racing-Thanks for the lines and helping get the bike back together after I went dirt tracking! I hope to see you every round!
The whole crew who was out there! Matt, Jamie, Leigh, Ben, Eric, Jake, Luie, Mike, Jay! Thanks and let's do it again at Talladega!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roebling Road Track Record Holder Tim Hunt looks to lower his own track record this coming weekend!

Team Hooters' Tim Hunt on his GSXR-1000 (2010)

This weekend we head to Roebling Road Raceway where Tim owns the track record.  I was working on the new website-adding sponsors' links to the Sponsors page when I ran across this article where EBC is chronicling Tim's huge success on two wheels. While Tim Hunt is widely known in the WERA and AMA paddock, not many people in my region or area have heard the name. I find this amazing becuase Tim has been so successful the last few years- winning a ton of races and a shocking number of championships in numerous different classes. What is even more amazing is that he has only been racing motorcycles since 2005 and winning championships since 2006.

His latest and probably most noteworthy championship is the last one he received at the GNF last year. It was Tim's first multi-race National Championship and one he never thought would be possible when he first started racing in 2005. Here is a nice article that appeared in last September.

On top of being a top notch racer, Tim is one of the most humble people I know. He is always willing to lend a helping hand. In December of last year, Tim made the journey from Tennessee to Houston Texas to work with a few racers at MSR-H when a local trackday guy was having trouble with his clutch. The rider asked me if I knew how to adjust the slipper clutch, which I did because Allan Campbell helped me adjust mine earlier in the year. When Tim heard the person ask, he without hesitation, grabbed some tools and commenced to show the rider how to properly adjust the clutch.

Race fans should be on the lookout for Round One of the WERA National Series as Tim 'aims' to break his own track record. In tests, Tim has been pretty close, so I look for him to break it come race day. I will be there first hand to report and congratualte Tim if he does succeed in this goal.  Oh yeah and I will be there trying to accomplish my goal of winning my first race! So stay tuned for more from Roebling Road and the GoFast-DontCrash Race Team!

Tim Hunt @Homestead picture courtesy of

For more info on personal lessons from Tim Hunt please contact Tim @ (615)594-7244
Ben Kirby (left) and Tim Hunt (right) accepting their second and first place awards at Talladega-February 6, 2011

 Now people can quit asking me "Who's Tim Hunt?" LOL

Monday, March 7, 2011

Texas Tornado Boot Camp Review

Colin Edwards & Freddie Spencer
Texas Tornado getting slidewayz!
The camp is great for all ages and skill levels.
Me trying to get the form down.
Fast Freddie
From left to right: Mike Meyers, Merle Sherb, Shea Fouchek
Me on the 24 bike receiving instruction from Shea Fouchek

This past weekend I was one of a select few riders invited to participate in a one day mock school to fine tune the instructors/drills before the camp opens its doors for business March 24, 2011. This first class is sold but you can check the schedule for dates and spots available-there is both two day and four day camps.

Colin has taught at many schools around the world over the years and wants to provide an unparallel learning experience where the fun doesn’t stop at five o’clock. At Camp Tornado, you will be taught the fundamentals of balance, body position, keeping your eyes up, and the feel of the bike and what it is doing underneath you. Some of the skills learned include:

Ø  Pushing the front
Ø  Sliding the rear
Ø  Looking through a corner
Ø  Trail braking
Ø  Corner exit techniques
Ø  Counter steering
Ø  Avoiding target fixation
Ø  Body position

 Colin honed his skills riding dirt bikes in Texas and knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels of motorcycling and has done so consistently for many years. The camp will provide your bike and gear, plus lodging and food. The bike is equipped with a street tire on the rear and a knobby on the front. The clay tracks are slick and everything you are taught will transfer to the bike you ride now or any you plan on riding in the future.

The camp is set on 20 acres and contains the following:

Ø  5000 sq. foot Salon/Hotel/Classroom
Ø  Lighted 300ftX150ft covered clay riding area
Ø  1/8 mile clay oval
Ø  Mini supercross track
Ø  World class paint ball course
Ø  RC car track
Ø  Obstacle course
Ø  Firing range

My experience went like this. After introducing the instructors and a short rider's meeting where Joe and Colin asked us to leave our egos behind so we could really get the form down and let the speed come to us later in the day; we grabbed a bike, and got our gear on, both of which were provided by the school. I was both nervous and excited. We then split up into groups to do some free riding to get used to the bike and see the tracks. After a few minutes of free riding we adjusted the groups and went into some drills. I learned about balancing the bike with my core, using the back brake and throttle to get the bike turned while still being in control, and the art of crashing when not in control, LOL.

Shea Fouchek and Mike Meyers were the instructors teaching my group the drills. They really showed all of us  a “no rider will be left behind attitude.”  If a rider struggled in certain drills, one of the instructors pulled that rider aside and the rider got one on one attention until he/she was up to par. This helped the rider gain the confidence and the skills to get around the track easier. Colin Edwards and Joe Prussiano floated around and worked with everyone. The instructors would demonstrate the drill and then watch as each rider did the drill making sure the rider knew what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong.

 One of the things that seemed to really work well was they let the skill of the riders dictate what drill we would do and how long we would do it. My group seemed to have the same struggles so we moved from drill to drill, both tight sections and open sections until we were all confident in what we could do with the bike. Then we went from the obstacle course to the tt and oval tracks. A highlight for me personally, was the free riding that we got to do where I was able to be on the track with the likes of Shea Fouchek, Colin Edwards, Joe Prussiano, Mike Meyers, Linz Leard, Freddie Spencer, Merle Sherb, and all the riders who were there for the school. One of the things Colin and Joe spoke about was being able to be in control of your bike at all times and be able to precisely put it where you wanted to put it and not where you ended up. Oddly enough, this is one of the things I struggle with. At the end of the day I felt I gained the ability to be more in control of my motorcycle and put it where I wanted to, and not let the bike dictate where it would end up. I learned from the crashes what to do and what not to do. The instructors did not seem bothered by the crashes, as one of the missions of the camp is to help you find the limit, and when I crashed I certainly found the limit. And the next time I went out I was able to find the limit without pushing past it.

The day ended with Joe Prussiano combining all the tracks we worked on together for superpole. Each instructor/student had one lap and their time was recorded. Unofficially, Colin beat Joe by less than a second. I was totally beat by the end of the day, but I went for it anyway. I was actually surprised at how well I did and how much easier I got around the entire course.  I won’t say that I am instantly 2-3 seconds faster at any track, but I know I have learned some of the skills needed to find those 2-3 seconds and many more. A couple of the instructors stroked my ego by telling me I did great for a guy who had no dirt experience, and that I showed signs of having some of the basic skills down pretty good by the end of the day. Proof that I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge/skill that I will continue to work on and hone every time I ride.

In summary, I give this camp 10 out of 10. If you are ride a motorcycle or plan on riding a motorcycle then this class is for you. This facility is world class and with all the celebs that are likely to show up on a given weekend, this is a must do school-no matter what level or what type of racing you do. Even if you are a beginner with no experience you can take these skills learned and practice them on the street, dirt, or road course!

A special thank you to Linz Leard for the pictures and to Joe Prussiano for giving me the invite! The Texas Tornado Bootcamp gets the official GoFast-DontCrash approval! The only thing that will stop me from doing the 4 day camp this year is money. The 4 day class is $2500 and the 2 day is $1250. But my opinion is that it is worth every penny. So if money is not a factor, check the schedule and see what date works best for you. In fact, I mentioned earlier today that riding with Colin Edwards all day and crashing his motorcycle would have normally cost me the figures I just mentioned, but drinking a beer with him at his own place is priceless! I hope you get to experience what I did this past weekend! Be sure to tell him Dean sent you! :)

P.S. It is rumored that Ben Spies will be one of the special guest instructors this year!