Way back when in childhood, I heard the phrase that people resist change. As my years ticked by, the evidence was pretty obvious. No one ever thought Jay Leno would be able to replace Jonny Carson (you younger readers may need to google him) and now people are crying about the Leno change. For the older crowd, remember the “New Coke”, yeah that went over like a ton of bricks. Proof positive that not all change is good. My personal favorite is the loss of the VCR and the invention of a DVR. No more giant cassettes that get gobbled up by my hungry VCR, simply push a button and every motorcycle race is recorded from now on. As much as anyone resists change, including myself, occasionally you have to cave in and get rid of the old tried and true and give the NEW whatever a try. I bring this up because change was a plenty in our pits this weekend.
No Friday practice, instead a leisurely trip to Folsom lake with the wife, friends, and dogs. A nice early afternoon of kayaking and swimming. Back home we finished up just a few things and headed to the track for an early set up and bench racing with friends. Oddly enough, I have come not to miss Friday practice. My preference is to test a week or two in advance and just roll in with a bike ready to go. The idea of just doing a show and go, on a dialed in bike is great. We are not there just yet, but a guy can dream.
Saturday was not the show and go, I had hoped for. The usual is Greg takes his time getting up to speed and I get close to race pace early on. Struggling with comfort I went slow at first, Greg simply got it going early on and I did not. Talk about a role reversal!
All new suspension set up. I have been working with Fast Bike Industries, back east. They sent out my suspension with some new goodies in it. Due to my schedule we could not test at T-Hill, so we tested at Buttonwillow. That was some of that testing I was hoping to have completed before round 5. We were able to work some things out, but Bwillow is not T Hill. I will limit my gushing over how well my suspension is working and hope those of you finishing behind me don’t call Dave at Fast Bikes. What’s wrong with wanting to stay in front of you?
Focus was at an all time high on Saturday. My test sessions are most important to me. With focus and a large amount of help from my team my laps got better every session. I ended Saturday with a low 1:54 lap time. This was a huge improvement over just 4 sessions.
No tag team race. Without a back up bike, I am limiting wear and tear on my Yamaha R6.
In an effort to focus my attention we decided to drop 750 Superbike. Letting go of a class while in the top 5 of the overall points, check that off as one of the most difficult decisions this year in racing.
Saturday completed and no major issues. It was incredibly humid out and still pretty warm. What would you do, of course pull the clutch out of your wives R6. Whew that was fun a quick adjustment on her slipper clutch and drink some more water. What go inside enjoy your AC, no way. We grab our gear and head off to get team photos. Barb has cleared us to putt our bikes up to turn 5 so we don’t have to push. Thank you Barb. Craig Sanders is already up on the hill and prepping our shoot. He has done amazing photos for my wife in the past. He showed us our proofs that night, I can’t wait to share them with you. We all lost about a gallon of water as we tried to look cool during the shoot. Leather is not the new summer clothing line. I have a new respect for models, kind of.
Sunday was go out and practice then sit down and wait. Race 4 (600 SB) finally showed up and like a rock star, I came out of the RV at the last minute and jumped on the bike. My start was not great and a slow first couple of corners allowed the top guys to bunch up. Ohge made a pass on me, with every intention of passing him back I dipped a wheel in the dirt and lost the drive. 5th place finish behind lap record setting pace of fellow CT Racing rider Jimmy Wood. He was followed by Ohara, Hale, Ohge and of course me. Not my dream finish, but I did get my fastest lap ever 1:53.060. Yeah for me!
With 5 races before lunch, 750 Prod would be up just after lunch ended. With a fresh rear Pirelli from CT Racing, my confidence was high. Off the start Lenny and I were running side by side for 2nd. Lenny had the inside in T2, so I set up for a pass into T3. With the pass made, Nekimken was in my cross hares. Well right up until I blew T10, Lenny back by. Sebastian didn’t need an invite and went by after my drive suffered down the back straight. Riding behind Sebastian and hoping he would tow me back to the front, we started losing touch. Just as I realized something was wrong he pulled off. A nice lonely 3rd place left me kicking myself. Trying some new lines, I almost made it interesting with Brian Stone. I got my focus back on and gapped him on the last lap.
The last race and boy was it something. Race 11 (600 Prod), and my only race with Greg McCullough. Off the line I was able to chase Lenny and Tyler for a bit and then Berto AKA Captain America came by. Sitting right on the back of Berto and hoping to learn something my dash lit up. I looked back to see if there was a gap. No such luck Greg was charging up to me. Worried about the temp of my bike my focus drifted from the track to my wallet. If I blow up this engine can I afford or even get parts in time for the next race? Greg went by me and eventually Berto. As they battled back and forth my focus was on cooling down the bike. Sitting off line and grabbing fresh air the temp would not drop. In a panic I almost pulled off, instead I changed my lines and tried to limp it to the finish. Sebastian and Ohge passed me and I just backed way down, hoping not revving the bike would aid in cooling. Coming around T3, Greg was tumbling out of the race. I finished 6th and Greg was on the ground, not the ideal end to a weekend.
So change is something, not always good or bad, but you can adapt and overcome or just watch everyone go by. We changed as a team this weekend, slight modifications in the way we work made life a little easier for me. My suspension changed and my ability to really charge into a corner on the brakes was better. My lap times were at an all time low, due in part to those changes. So alter your program, modify something in your routine, travel down a different path, and just change it up. If you don’t try something else the guy just behind you will, and then he may be the guy just in front of you. To my team and my sponsors thank you for changing with me.
Please remember to support the people who support racers.
Z2 Trackdays Staff, Z2 Race Team, Yamaha, David at Fastbikes Ind., Pirelli /CT Racing, Yamalube Products, Motion Pro, Race Image Graphics, Leo Vince, Helimot, Suomy, Factory Body Works , Igartua, 4theRiders, Sidi, Tech Spec, Ink Monkey, GP Frame & Wheel, CRG Levers, Graves Motorsports, Mach 1, and Ken Hill Coaching.
600 Production started 4th finished 6 th
600 Superbike started 3rd finished 5th
750 Production started 2nd finished 3rd
One of the three well-known California road racing clubs; AFM offers a place where you can participate in races, watch as a spectator, or even take part as a turn-worker on the course. There are competition classes for almost all motorcycles; you can race what you own, build a bike specifically for racing, or maybe even pick up a pre-set-up bike through member want ads. Competing in expert club racing can be used to qualify for a pro racing license. Explore the website for further information.
Women race with the men?
Yes, races are structured by bike size. Women race in the same classes as men that have the same sized bike. However, there is a growing interest among women in racing , so many racing clubs have added a women’s class to encourage the ladies to give it a try.
Formed in 2001, SMUSA is now the premier Pro/Am supermoto series in the country. Many of the well known American road racers such as Bobby Fong, Joey Pascarella, Cameron Beaubier, Elena Myers, Tyler O'Hara, Garrett Willis and others all competed in Supermoto USA's Nor Cal Championship where they developed their skills.
PC Dirt Track in Sacramento, Ca holds a series of the oldest and most traditional type of motorcycle racing, flat track - sometimes referred to as “dirt track” racing. A uniquely American type of motorcycle racing. Riders finesse their machines sideways through the turns, just inches apart from each other.
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. The AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. No one who has ever seen an AMA Pro motorcycle race ever forgets it.