2023 WERA Cycle Jam Recap: Great improvement over the weekend!

This 2023 WERA Cycle Jam Recap shows that a single race weekend can bring both the best and worst of times.

I’ve been chasing problems on this bike since the first race , and decided that it was time to bring in the pros. At the suggestion of John Wilkens, I decided to make sure the chassis was straight. Right after Roebling Road I brought her to GMD Computrack to be measured and have them check out the suspension. The bike was straight, but there were a lot of suspension issues impacting my confidence and feeling on the bike. They were able to make major improvements, and there are more to come before the next race, as supply chain issues prevented absolute completion. Also due to those supply chain issues, I picked up the bike Friday morning to race on Saturday.

I got to Road Atlanta early Saturday morning, and it was packed! I ended up pitting on the 3rd tier above the track. I’ve never seen it quite so crazy.

On a quick side note, my Jetson eBike wasn’t able to handle the hills at Road Atlanta, and I broke the damned throttle, turning my pit scoot into a really heavy bicycle.

I was determined to hit all my practice sessions since I was re-learning Road Atlanta and getting used to the changes to the bike. Unfortunately I have no baseline data, since I crashed out of the dry race last year and only have lap times from the wet race, so the practice sessions were going to be my baseline.

Hit both practice sessions, and while I was feeling pretty good on the bike, I was slow – like 8 seconds off the pace slow. I decided the only result I wanted this weekend was to be faster every session and learn the motorcycle.

2023 WERA Cycle Jam Recap – race 7

I’m glad I made that choice. While I had good feeling in the first race, I came in dead last. I gained about 2 seconds from my practice time, but I was still about 6 seconds off the pace.

Saturday afternoon ended crazy. Race 11 ended suddenly when a bike crashed in turn 4, hit the tire wall and burst into flames, catching the tires on fire. Luckily the rider was fine and was reported to be helping to put the fire out and save the air fence. Huge props to the firefighters, WERA, and Road Atlanta for getting the fire out and spending most of the night rebuilding the tire wall so we could race again Sunday.

Sunday morning we had a single short practice. For some reason the timing wasn’t working, so I have no idea of my lap times from that practice. I felt good, but without data, who knows?

2023 WERA Cycle Jam Recap - Didn't expect to see a squirrel on the track

Funny thing happened during my warm-up lap for Sunday’s race. I believe in doing my warm-up lap at race pace, so I was coming hard down the back straight into turn 10A, lining up to start braking, when a freakin’ squirrel ran right out in front of me! I decided I’d better dodge the furry little bastard, since I was pretty sure hitting the squirrel would lock up the front wheel and send me into the gravel.

2023 WERA Cycle Jam Recap – race 8

The race on Sunday started out much better! I got a decent start. I was chasing a group of KTM 390s, gaining on them in the corners and not losing them in the straights. On the 3rd lap I felt like I was going to be able to pass the 3rd bike in that group and we came up on a bike from one of the vintage classes. The KTMs got past it in the straight before turn 12. I had to pass it in the turn.

I lined up for the pass and the next thing I know the bike is right in front of me in the most erratic race line I think I’ve ever seen. It killed my drive onto the front straight, and the KTMs disappeared into the distance.

I kept on grinding, and still felt great in the race. I picked up another second on my lap time and managed to pull out a 3rd in my class.

Overall, this weekend was a learning experience. I feel more confident on the bike right now, and am looking forward to the next few rounds to see what I can do. Also, I finished the weekend with points, so we’re still moving forward.

See you at Carolina Motorsports Park!

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