2002 Race Report

Race #7

7/20 - 21 BlackHawk Farms

If you'd like to see the track layout and how to ride it, check my 2001 race reports.

Friday 7/19:

I spent the last few weeks since MAM doing some repairs on the bike and a lot of soul searching.  I started the season on a strong bike, in the best shape of my life physically, and a sound mental outlook.  Somewhere along the line, the mental portion slipped and I lost some of my confidence.  On top of that, I had the transmission problems and bad weekend at MAM.  These, along with the pressures of closing on my house on 7/22 have wracked my mental state.  Early in the season, I'd run 1:19's at BlackHawk and they came EASY.  Now it seemed that I was struggling to break 1:21's.

Anyhow, I went back to stock carbs, stock headers and the M4 slip-on.  The bike ran GREAT.  Just as it did before, but the HRC blackbox gives me more room to play now that the rev-limiter is pushed out to around 15k.

I also picked up a new set of VENTED leathers from Audrey at Moto Liberty HUGE thanks goes out to her for working with me to get them within 2 days.  They are the top of the line FieldSheer Tattoo, and they're AWESOME.  A full review is coming shortly!

With a solid mind, and renewed confidence, I completed my practice day early to get some sleep.

Saturday 7/20:

The weather was showing scattered thunderstorms for both Saturday and Sunday, but the day started beautifully and we would see no rain during my race today.

Amateur GTU - 30 Minutes:

This race would be the first "real" start I've had with this motor.  I don't count the MAM starts because the jetting was so messed up that I never got a good start.  My launch found me in a crooked wheelie which cost me a few spots when I landed it.  I immediately got into a groove and started clicking off laps in the 1:19-1:20 range.  

Shortly after the 1/2 way flag, I was coming down the straight and an R6 motored past me on the inside right before the start/finish line.  He got his front tire just past mine and we both went for the brakes.  I can brake the F4 pretty damned well, so on the brakes he was inching in front of me and I was on the outside 18" of track.  Then HE STARTS COMING OVER!  I add another finger to the brake lever and think "oh my God, we're going to check up right here, at the FASTEST spot on the track".  The rear end of the F4 comes up and I'm on the last inch of track.  I can literally see GRASS on one side of the front tire, and this dude's foot on the other side of it.  He finally got past me and we went back to the race.  I never grew the balls to try to pass him again because I had no idea where he'd push me, so I settled to finish behind him.

I finished the race 8th.  Although I was hoping for better, I wasn't really disappointed because I ran consistent laps and felt good for once!

I went over to talk to the guy who nearly hit me after the race.  He had no idea what I was talking about, so I explained it several times.  He really didn't seem to care, and I kept trying to impress upon him that he needed to either MAKE SURE he was past someone BEFORE he went over, or he needed to hold that inside line.  His response was that "I don't have real good luck with the inside line"!  Well, then don't pass people!!!  He never really seemed to get it that his life almost came to an end.  I saw the crash coming and would have been somewhat prepared for it.  He never would have seen it, the only thing he'd have seen if I would have hit him would be the pavement as he went over the bars.  I watched this guy hit another racer on Sunday...  Oh well, there's one every year, and at least this one is noticeable....

Sunday 7/21:

Same heat and chances for storms.  Feeling good about myself, I decided to take a gamble today and enter the $1000 unlimited GP.  It pays back to 10th place, and 10th would pay my entry fees.  I was gridded in the ABSOLUTE last spot, as bike #30.  The start was great, it was 3 laps of complete mayhem.  We ran a pack of literally 20 riders into turn one.  My wife said on the bridge they were all gasping and waiting for us to wad up.  I don't know how we all managed the first few laps because we stuffed a pack 5 wide through every turn on that damned track.

By lap 4, we separated out and I just picked folks off one by one.  I came up on an SV right before the white flag and knew I could pass him, but wanted to wait for a decent moment so that I didn't stuff him.  I figured turn 7 for the checkered would be best.  However, coming into turn 7, JUST as I'm passing him, the dude on the R6 who nearly hit me on the straight yesterday splits between us.  I held my outside line with great tenacity, and was willing to go down if he tried to come out on me.  Well, all this dicking around with him cost me my spot with the SV, and his R6 motored me to the finish.  Unbelievably, if I'd have ONLY passed the SV immediately, I'd have had my 10th, but ended up 12th!  Well, I passed 18 people anyway, and got a LOT of passing experience and experience in racing in a pack.

MiddleWeight SuperSport:

I have to preface this race coverage with informing you that my seat and tail section are held onto the bike with 4 zip-ties.  It's quite convenient, and seemingly sturdy (oh yeah, you know where this is going).

Off the hot-lap and onto the grid.  The green flag flies and I launch the bike only to leave 2 of my 4 zip-ties on the starting line!  However, I have no idea how many I've lost.  I only know that the seat slid back about 4" and it shouldn't be moving at all.  Fighting the G-forces of the launch, and with as much suction as my ass can deliver, I held the seat on and slid it forward.  I was 1st to turn 1, but second through it.  I'm still battling my lines and techniques, trying to improve and figure out what's best.

I held onto second for a couple laps and dropped to third.  Feeling frisky, and desperate to hold onto a decent position, I went into turn 5 a gear taller than I normally do.  I don't think I'll be doing that again as I drug my peg and shifter while cranked over on the last degree of traction.

My ass held onto the seat, and my tires held to the track long enough to earn me a 5th place finish.  MORE WOOD!  Very cool.  My wall-of-fame was getting lonely, and since I don't have any 5th place wood, it's a nice addition.  Now all I'm missing is a 1st place wood!

MiddleWeight SuperBike:

In all, the MWSB race was decent, and there was nothing spectacular to report about.  I wound up 7th, as I simply could *NOT* get around the guy in front of me.  This was frustrating as I lost places to people who passed the both of us, but I just couldn't seem to find a decent time & spot to pass him in.  Still some work to do there, that's for sure...

It's nice to be back on a bike that rides decent and have a good frame of mind to work with.  I ran my fastest laps yet at BlackHawk this weekend, but I'm still 1.5 seconds off of where my goal is this year.  It became evident that the bike still needs work though as I'm getting spanked on the straights by R6's.  Even though I can catch them in the in-fields, I could be all that much faster if I had the power they do.

We'll have to see how I feel at Road America, and maybe I'll go back to the jetted carbs with the full Yoshi system.  I'm getting very proficient at changing carbs and jetting.

Speaking of pulling the bike apart, I need to get out in the garage tomorrow or this week and replace the thermostat and Evans coolant.  My thought is that I've got a sticky thermostat as the bike is pushing up to the redline on the temp gauge in an 8 lap race.  Last year, it NEVER climbed above the 1/2 way point.  Only since I've changed motors has this problem come out.

Come on out and see us at Road America on 8/2-8/4, Road A is always a good time!

Until then...

Thanks to everyone for your support, life wouldn't be the same without this, and you all help make it happen for me.


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The day's pics: