Ritz-Racing - A New Era
So Greg and I are on a legal separation, or at least that is what I am telling people these days. As many of you know, Jenn and I are no longer racing for Z2 Trackdays. I want to tell the story of my weekend, but before I do some things need to be said. Shawn, Kathy, David, Vik and the rest of the Z2 crew have been my family for the last few years. Separation from the team was like leaving for college, it is sad and exciting all at the same time. I appreciate everything they taught me and for the experiences we had together. Much to the disappointment of some people, our separation comes without drama, fighting, or bad feelings. Jenn and I wish all of them the best. Now I am looking forward to racing with my wife and having fun. We are hoping our fellow racers will come by and see the new colors.
We rolled in Friday with a whole new program. Trolling around the pits, we were looking for a place to park the trailer. Late Friday will limit the places to park, luckily we found a nice spot by some friends we have not seen in a while. Our new ez-up and wall panels were a quick assembly and we officially look like our very own racing team. Fluorescent red (better known as super bright orange) colors made the bikes look super sharp and ready for racing. Saturday was spent testing a new tire size from Pirelli/CT Racing. Testing was supposed to be the order of the day, but I just ended up clocking lap after lap. Each session was one of those smile in your helmet, I can do no wrong days. With so much going on, it was nice to just enjoy riding. Saturday night was spent catching up with friends and listening to the Sarrros pit activities, it sounded like they had a lot of fun. While some may not have approved, it was good to see everyone having a good time.
Sunday was a super relaxed start for me. My first race was #5 after lunch, so what does one do for several hours… I ran around the pits talking with people and watched some racing. After watching Alan Cunningham celebrate his first podium appearance, it was time to go racing. Three races has been the usual for me and I didn’t have any reason to change that. My first two races had some good moments to them, but overall a bit disappointing. Racing with what seemed to be everything I had, bikes just seemed to get around me way too easily. Not sure how to handle the situation, the wave of doubt poured in. What was wrong with the bike? I have tested the set-up a number of times and knew it was better than what I was feeling on track.
Doubt is a horrible thing, things you know to be true seem not to be. Given enough time and the right pressure points, you can make anyone doubt their situation. I have heard stories about people becoming sick just because they thought they had been exposed to a virus or toxin. The mind is an amazing piece of our bodies, but also the first one to turn against us with the ability to produce doubt when there should be none, or to try to justify the unjustifiable. I sat there looking at my bike, so sure that the set-up was right and wrong at the same time. Ready to make an adjustment, any adjustment, to validate my own riding prowess. Then I made a choice, not to do anything. Trust is paramount to any relationship, even with yourself.
No change in plans a fresh rear tire and back to the set-up I knew worked. As my wife was changing out the wheel and I was assisting with axle installation, it suddenly came clear. Looking at the lines on the adjustment bar my brain started working for me, not against. Somehow over the past testing sessions and gearing changes, my axle had become misaligned. It was an easy mistake to make and hard to see. Simple lines that looked to be correct, were not. They were off by one set on the right. Sure that would be the issue of handling we prepped the bike for the last race of the day.
Last call was made, off came the warmers and down to thee hot pits I went. Watching some of thee other riders pull off to start the warm up lap, panic shot through my head. My final tire pressure inspection had not been completed. With no time, I had to choose between a warm up lap or checking my pressure. Just to be sure and knowing how good the Pirelli tires are on the first lap, my choice was made. Back to the first gauge I could find, garage #2 the Z2 Racing Team (yes I know, ironic). Pulling in and in a bit of a panic/hurry Chris V. grabbed a gauge and made the adjustment for me. A quick thank you and off I went. Up and down the hot pits would be all the warm-up the tires would get. As the field pulled around, I snuck between the wall and took my place on grid.
How to sum up this race? Well an almost hole shot, then a quick pass before T2 and into the lead. I held the lead for a few laps, then Joey Pascarella decided he wanted to lead. Not long after that and with me close enough to smell his exhaust he tucked the front end in T5. My only thought went from catch him, to not hitting him. Back in the lead, Lenny Hale was now trying make a pass on me. After spinning up the rear out of T6 a few laps later, he was able to get up the inside of me down towards T7. With only a few laps left he opened a small gap on me. Last lap, only a few corners to checkers, I was able to close the gap. T11 and Lenny had the lead with his choice of line, and some lappers he would have to negotiate. Looking into T11, my only somewhat open line was really tight inside line. Lenny went wide around the lappers and I was able to out drive him to the line. First place feels really good after a tough start to the day.
My wife was on the wall making sure that I knew exactly what was happening behind me the whole race.
Thank you to her and all of the sponsors who have stayed with us over the transition.
Factory Body Works
Fast Bike Industries
Race Image Graphics
Leo Vince Exhaust
I would also like to thank three new sponsors that are supporting Ritz Racing
PILOT Leathers/Insurrection Racing - our new suits are on the way.
Max Klein of Oxymoron Photography for all the great race and pit pictures.
TexasTea Lubes - come by our pits and see a great local oil product that won’t break the bank.
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.