Returning to Colorado and getting ready to start my first season in the expert classification was exciting and nerve racking, Scott Jensen, our team manager, mechanic and riding coach, mutually agreed that we should not participate in any amateur races that I was allowed to do as a first year expert but to race for a top ten plate by racing the Race Of The Rockies premiere series, also Open Superbike, and the Open Endurance series..
Little info on the 2008 Honda CBR1000rr
Scott Jensen of Moto-Garage prepped the engine and motorcycle for the racing season...
*Spec 1000CC engine with stock cams and spec pistons (184hp at rear wheel)
*HRC Electronics: Includes a WSBK ECU, quick shifter integration, traction control, eliminates all excess connections for headlight, tail light, etc.
*HRC transmission ( allowed for taller gearing)
*Ohlins full suspension package
*Marchesini Wheels (Stronger then spec wheel)
*Full Titanium Arrow exhaust system
*Ten Kate racing components ( Front fairing Stay, Rear Tail Section)
*Sharkskinz Body work
*Dunlop Racing Slicks
Few more pics
Scott Jensen after a successful race!!
Leading The pack!!
On with the season!! First thing to get used to racing ROR was that each race you qualified for your starting position, every race I had done before was based on your points from previous season or as the season progressed your point totals through the season. Having won my Novice championship the previous season I was used to starting on the front row, well that was going to change drastically!!
I was instructed to go out for the 20 minute qualifier and relax and just set a decent time, yep my head shook ok no problem, my brain and throttle hand said lets go kick some a**, everything was going great stopped in after 3 laps, Scott asked a few questions, checked tires, tweaked the suspension and off I went again to better my time. I was in 8th at the time, with time running down.
I put my head down and my first sector time was showing green on my lap timer, this is good, second sector showed green, this is awesome!! heading up the hill to a sharp left hand hairpin, pushing hard up the hill I got this, then the oh no moment hits... I am carrying a lot of speed and running out of track.. start braking, then a little more, then whoops we are not going to make this ahh look through the corner release the brake ahh to much and here we go a classic low side!!! slide 15 feet, I'm good, bike looks good, corner workers run over we look over the machine yep good to go, a little rash on my leathers and on the racing bodywork no biggie!! Scott sees me coming into hot pit and I just idle on by to our pits.. with the damaged side facing away from him, he has no idea i threw the bike down..
Ended up 8th for qualifying out of a field of 25, little embarrassed got that look from Scott, like what were you thinking and then he was hard at work getting the bike ready to race for Open Superbike... Hard lesson to learn first time out with the big boys but a good one that helped the rest of the season.. The day ended with a 7th place finish in ROR, a 6th place finish in Open Superbike, and a 2nd place in Open Endurance..
Not a bad start to the season, a lot to learn as always but I came away with more to improve on and a better respect for racing in the Expert class..
The next few races were very good, improved my position in both qualifying and end results, We then came upon a race weekend where rain was imminent!! Now for some reason both myself and my team mate, Doug Kahl #5, relish racing in the wet!! It shows how much control you have over the throttle and how patient you can be passing back markers and finishing the race...
We were gridded 1st and 2nd, had a great start and started gapping the field on the first lap, 2.5 mile track, this was a 30 minute race so it was going to be a race that you would hit many back markers as the race unfolded...It happens that we are lapping everyone including the bike that was in 3rd place and Scott was trying to slow us down to conserve tires as they are a extremely soft compound, It was a great race for both of us, Doug finishing 1st and me coming in 2nd place with 3rd place a lap down...
A few more pictures from that weekend, one a dry shot and me getting ready to do my warm up lap..
Myself and Doug on Pre Grid
Getting ready to head out for the rain race
Doing practice and testing is a great way to improve my riding skills, so I have for the second year decided to participate in Jason Pridmores Star School,http://www.starmotorcycle.com/, everyone has different methods of racing and for that matter riding, his school and instructors really stress how to be smooth and to have your motorcycle settled before entering a corner, maximizing corner speed, looking through a corner, a lot of things I felt I was doing but needed improvement..
I took the 2 day class and was fortunate enough to work with Mark Gallardo, one of the lead instructors, and one the current ama racers, Mark took us both out during the lunch break to teach us a better approach into a corner called Danny's Lesson... needles to say we both gained a much better understanding of getting the motorcycle on a vertical plane quicker so that we spent less time on the side of the tire and thus was able to accelerate sooner!!
I was on my 2007 CBR600rr for the class to improve my skills as a rider and use those to improve my riding abilities on the CBR1000rr and it definitely showed during the next race weekend!!
Being evaluated on my riding skills by Mark
The CBR600rr still white, looking forward to 2012 and racing in two different classes