2002 Season Wrap-Up

2002 Year in review
What an incredible season spanning 12 weekends between March 23rd and October 6th 2002, starting and ending in East St Louis, IL. 

From the snow flurries of March, to the 105+ beating down sun of June, the 2002 racing season held more than I ever could have imagined or dreamed of. As the blisters on my hands turned to thick calluses and sunburn to suntan, we pressed on each and every Mid-West weekend.

The miserable weather conditions during the start of the season departed for 6 gorgeous mid-season weekends and 2 'iffy' late season weekends. At times it seemed merely a game of survival, but every lap put in during the cold and rain truly contributed to a faster lap during the next day of sunshine.

To start the season, I had simple goals. Run 3 classes for the ENTIRE season, having consistent top 10 finishes and clocking Sub 1:20 times at Blackhawk Farms. I managed all of these goals to a higher level of success than predicted.

Dedicating a great deal of time and effort to physical and mental conditioning starting in December of 2001, most all of the problems encountered in 2001 season were resolved. There really can't be enough emphasis put on these two aspects of racing. They are more important than anything else involved. When I dropped the transmission at Blackhawk Farms on 6/2, my wife put up a sign (as I kicked, cursed and threw tools) that said "Have Faith & Patience". I was angry, and faced with a potential early end to my season. Yet calming down, and having faith that the situation would work out brought exactly that. I still carry that sign, and will probably have it framed due to the significance it holds.

Early season success soon turned to mid-season woes as mechanical problems and mental barriers ground my success to a screeching halt. The harder I tried, the slower I went. I found myself having the most simplistic problems (when to shift my weight, how to control my lines, etc). After removing the massive stress of purchasing a new house mid-season, and fixing the final mechanical issues, success returned as did confidence in self and bike at Road America Cycle Fest 8/2-4.

With the mid-season woes behind me, I wrapped up the season riding the wave of success. Although a 1st place finish eluded me for the entire season, I managed significant improvements, and stacked up an impressive wall of trophies along the way. 

Before the season began, I set a goal to ride consistent sub 1:20 laps at Blackhawk. Early in the season, I found that my fastest times were the easiest laps run, and required the least amount of effort. Running consistent 1:19's, I raised the bar and sought 1:17's. This goal came on the final Blackhawk weekend, when I clocked a 1:17.2 lap, and *know* I could have been at least 1 second faster.

I enjoyed making new friends and seeing old friends once again. It was great to share in the victories of the extended family we race with. The feeling you get when the wife of another racer hugs you because her husband beat you in a fantastically dramatic race is incredible. Sharing the cheers, tears, laughter and frustration with those around us makes it all worth while. Sharing MY cheers, tears, laughter and frustration with all of YOU makes this worth while... I'm glad to have had this season to experience so many things and share it with so many people. Thank you all...

Memories of 2002

Best moment: 
Pulling 4th place in the MiddleWeight SuperBike race during the Formula USA Cycle Fest at Road America August 3rd. This was a huge comeback and rebuilt confidence in myself and my bike.

Worst moment: 
Watching my sprint races start without me because of a transmission problem on June 2nd.

Scariest moment: 
Losing both tires going through turn 7 at BlackHawk Farms while shooting for first place in the MiddleWeight SuperBike race of May 19th.

Best weekend: 
September 28-29, GingerMan Raceway. 3 races, 3 pieces of wood.

Worst weekend: 
June 29-30, Mid-America Motorplex. Too hot, too far, bike problems, slick track.

Worst crash: 
Overcooked turn 1 Blackhawk Farms during the GTU race on June 1st. (Really, I didn't have any real bad crashes though)

Sprained ankle April 6th Blackhawk Farms (hey, I crashed in 5th place and finished 4th!). 
Numerous pulled, strained & knotted muscles in left knee & calf during a near crash in the pits April 26th.

Track Ranking (Most Favorite to Least Favorite):
1. Road America
2. GingerMan Raceway
3. Blackhawk Farms
4. Gateway Intl. Raceway
5. Mid-America Motorplex

Consumables & interesting facts of 2002:

Miles traveled 6770
Vacation days used 17
Laps Ridden 1675
Bike miles 4187
Gallons of Race Gas 232
Tires 17
Gallons of Silkolene Racelube 8
Pints of Silkolene ProRace 2000 Brake Fluid 1
EBC HH-KIT Brake Pads 8
Transmissions 1
Clutches 1
Clutch Covers 1
Windscreens 3
Clutch Levers 2
Brake Levers 3
Clip-on Handlebar tubes 6
Gas tanks 1
Rearsets 2
16 oz bottles of water 432
Hospital visits 2
Races Planned 37
Races Entered 39
Team Challenges 1
Races Run 36
Crashes (race & practice) 3
DNF races (did not finish) 2
DNS races (did not start) 3
Top 10 finishes 28
Podium Finishes 4
Trophies 13

The 2002 "Thank You" list:

This list might be long, but is definitely incomplete as there are a TON of people who made this happen for me.  If you're one of them and I don't have you accounted for below, please accept my sincere thanks for your help.