2008 USGPRU Race Reports:
Well round #3 has come and gone. It is one to forget about. There really isn't too much to say really.
Came down to Portland on thursday night, stayed over at Dylan Olsen's place. Got up early and did practice on friday. Things were going not bad until the afternoon when I had huge powerlosses. Eventually tracked it down to broken powervalve linkage on the #1 cylinder.
Saturday morning practice, I crashed pretty hard in turn3. Trying to carry more and more corner speed but the suspension and tires didn't like it, and spat me onto the pavement hard. The bike landed on top of me and bashed into my hip hard. My left foot got caught in the swingarm and twisted my ankle pretty bad. I was sore and hurt for the rest of the weekend.
Actually my hip is still sore even typing this report, but hopefully should be much better in a few more days of recovery. I ended up qualifying 5th behind PJ Jacobsen. Dylan got took the pole on his home track.
The track surface is really nice since i've last raced here 2 years ago. Turns 3 and 4 are reconfigured and the entire track had fresh pravement layed down over the winter, making it so smooth.
Sunday, during the race. In the warmup lap, the bike felt strong, but as soon as the race started, I noticed powerloss and something was wrong. I ended up racing 3/4 of the race, running in 4th position until the #1 cylinder decided it had enough and blew up into pieces from some real nasty detonation, which forced me to retire. Dylan Olsen highsided out in turn4 early on in the race and smashed his bike in half, he came away ok luckly.
Lets see... off to Utah in 3 weeks, lots of work to get done in the meantime, looking forward to that weekend.
Round #2 of USGPRU 250 class. Due to a schedule problem with Vegas in May, the series changed things back to Phoenix for round 2 as a replacement.
I met up with the Olsen's at there place on weds night, and we head off for the long 30 hour drive. They had to make a stop in Thunderhill to pickup some parts from Kevin Murray. After a 6 hour lay over there while we waited for Kevin to finish his work, we were back on the road again. Arriving in Phoenix at 7am, just in time for friday practice.
Saturday I was entered in the regional CCS Lightweight GP race for extra practice time. I was gridded way at the back, working on my starts, i get off the line pretty good and work my way through traffic early on. I ended up in 3rd after dicing with Dylan for the last few laps.
USGPRU qualifying went not bad. Same result as last time, 3rd quickest with a 0:59 something and up on the front row for Sunday's main event. The bike still wasn't working to how I wanted it. I was running this thing so lean, I was barely using any fuel and getting no dets on the det counter. Decided to throw in new plugs for Sunday to see if that helps solve the problem. At the end of the day, I threw in new pistons and refreshed the bike up. Tore my forks open and removed 15cc of oil out of each fork leg to soften it up a bit and get more travel.
I was up late on saturday finishing tweaking the bike, when I noticed smoke pouring out of the trailer. Next thing I knew, I ran inside and found the generator on fire and woke up Dylan and Scott who were sleeping inside. We got lucky the damage was minor, could have be a real disaster if I wasn't still up that night.
Sunday morning, practice went slow as I was trying toget a feel for the new settings. The needle was too lean as the bike was bogging down a bit when getting hard on the throttle out of tight corners. So had to come in and make adjustments to the carbs. The bike started to pick up some speed as well with the fresh plugs. I was picking up decent amount of dets on my front cylinder, it was almost just perfect actually, but my cylinder #2 was still way to rich, only picking up a fraction of dets I was looking for, but nothing I could do as I just didn't have any smaller mainjets to go with for it.
Next up was the second CCS Lightweight GP race. I kinda knew right when I was gridded up at the back, that I was going to wax all these 30grand superbike sv650's. The bike was just starting to wake up after the second morning practice, so I was pretty confident. I get a decent start, maybe my best ever on the 250. I maneuver myself into 3rd place after 3 laps and the 2 leaders are 15-20 bike lengths ahead of me. I close the gap by the end of the 4th lap and settle in on there tails. At this point i'm trying not to push too hard, just keeping my presence so they feel pressured. My plan was to save my tires as much as possible for the USGPRU 250 national which was later on in the day. Eventually both sv650 riders cave in to the pressure and I get by them on mistakes they make. I opened up a decent gap on them on the last lap by pulling a :58.605 lap and took the win.
The first race up after lunch was the USGPRU MD250H Round. These are the new Moriwaki 4stroke 250cc gp bikes with Honda CRF250X engines. Honda is paying out decent money in this class, $2000 for the victor. Interesting machines they are.
The USGPRU 250cc race was later on in the day. It was not too exciting as no major battles took place. I work myself into 4th into turn 1 off the start. I get caught behind Royce Mclean for 2 laps which was a pain. Mainly because Vince Rolleri and Kyle Ferris were able to put a bit of a short gap between us. I eventually get around Royce after the 3rd lap and start trying to haul Vince down. But to no avail as we were all doing the same laptimes. I was only able to make a short bit of ground on him, but not enough. I took 3rd in the end. First national podium, and about time too. Made some decent money off the contingency this weekend which helps.
Dylan was having mechanical issues with his bike since saturday. His dad was constantly working on the bike all weekend trying to figure out why one of the cylinders keeps on detonating itself until it locks up. Eventually a suspect crank oil seal might be the problem, not entirely sure though.
Next up is Portland in a month, hopefully I can build off this weekend and move up to the next step on the podium, or maybe 2 steps....
During the off season, I took a nice break and let myself forget about the past and everything in general. Trying to get a fresh start on things. In January, my friend Mike Bae, came over and helped with some motor work. We let it sit for awhile and didn't finish the engine off until 2 weeks before this race weekend.
Anyhow if you've been reading the rest of this site, you'll see this year i'm no longer traveling with Bruce Lind racing, but instead joining together with my old opponent from 125gp racing and friend Dylan Olsen. Met up with the Olsen's on thursday afternoon in Kelso, Washington. Them and Steve Buckner were still fiddling with there bikes. We left Kelso by 7pm and were on our way to Phoenix. 28 hours of non-stop driving and 1 blown trailer tire, we arrived on late friday night at the hotel. Dylan, his friend Kyle, Steve and I went wandering around Phoenix that night in search of food. Dylan's dad Scott stayed behind at the hotel and was sound asleep by the time we got back.
Up early on saturday morning and off to the track to setup. Dylan ran into troubles right away in the morning. His backup bike siezed on him right away. Then his A bike's battery was flat dead. Kyle went searching around Phoenix and managed to find a new battery for his bike to get him going again soon after. I spent the day learning the track. Each session I would dedicate to just 1 small section of the track to find the fastest way around as possible. Then later on in the day Dylan and I would work together by working on a specific corner or section and follow and push each other so we can pickup speed and quickly learn the place.
USGPRU 250GP qualfying was at the end of the day. I managed to piece everything together I learned in practice and qualified 3rd, right up on the front row inside, less than 0.5 sec off Vince Rolleri who snagged 2nd and Kyle Ferris on pole who was another few tenths ahead of us. Dylan was still struggling coming to grips with the course and at one point was sitting in 5th in qualifying but ended up in 7th when it was all over. I'm quite happy with my results that day. Even though the bike is still far from what I want it to be. But things are starting to shape up and i'm back in the game again posed for podium positions.
Bridgestone was not at this event this weekend, so I went over to Dunlop and had them mount up new slicks for tommorrow. This was the beginning of my problems for sunday. I wouldn't know it yet, but the front dunlop tire is a totally different profile and height than the front bridgestone, which will give me front end problems with my current setup. I spent the rest of the evening mulling over the data the datalogger recorded. Trying to decide if I should stick with long tall gearing on this short straight course with a 4 gear gearbox and ride the wheels off the bike in the corners to pull the gearing or shorten everything up for pure acceleration and use all 6 gears. I ended up sticking with the tall gearing. That was mistake #2.
Sunday the Dunlop front tire was giving me front end issues. This is my first time on Dunlop 250gp tires, having spent the rest of my years on bridgestone, it was takign awhile to adjust to this ackward profile. I didn't like how the front resisted to dive and turn into corners while on the brakes heavily. The Bridgestone was more forgiving in these situations. Dylan eventually found his stride today and was up running in the front with the rest of us. I managed to knock another half a second off my times today, but it wasn't enough. I had a uneventful start in the USGPRU 250 race. Entering the chicane in 4th. Dylan was leading for hte first few laps until both Kyle Ferris and Vince Rolleri got around him. Ben Solis was ahead of me, with Royce Mclean right behind us. Royce eventually started to fall back as he couldn't keep up with our pace up front. Kyle, Vince and Dylan started putting a gap on Ben and I midway in the race. I was trying to push it harder but the front end just wasn't cooperating today. Dissapointing to say the least. I ended up finishing 5th, still respectable, considering what I went through last year in my constant 20th or higher places. My other downfall on sunday was the gearing. With the Dunlop front tire giving me problems today, the tall gearing just was not going to work like I hoped. I should have went with a full on short 6 gearbox and just cycle through the gears like crazy for the extra acceleration.
Next up is Vegas in May.