Motorcycle Race Recap: Track day, Race 3, carnage!

This motorcycle race recap begins with a track day. I got to Roebling Road about 6PM Thursday night and set up my pit and tent.

I’ve upgraded my track accommodations significantly, going from a 2-person tent I had to crawl in and out of on my hands and knees to a 6-person tent that I can stand up in. I also added a cot to get my bed off the ground, and put one of my chairs in there, too. It may not sound like much, but it’s a huge improvement just being able to walk in and out of it. There’s a nightstand and a sleep mask on the way from Amazon, too, so it will get even better next time.

In this motorcycle race recap I show off my new fancy digs

The track day

Friday dawned cold but dry. I committed to running as many sessions as possible to get used to this bike. I also focused on specific things each session. First session was blow the dust off. Next two sessions were focused on the quick shifter, which I didn’t have on the old bike. After lunch I focused on lines, practiced starts, and worked on my tuck on the straight. I’d noticed that while I was getting my head down, I was chicken-winging my legs.

It seemed to be working, as my lap times dropped each session. About the middle of the 7th session, I realized I was making a lot of mistakes, so I called it a day.

As I was headed to the showers, one of the rider school coaches rode up on his pit bike and told me he had some video of me I should see to correct my lines. I showered and changed and went to his pit. I realized I could gain a lot of speed taking a tighter line in several corners and not braking in the first turn. I had also missed my chance to try, as what would have been my last session was already on track.

As I was making dinner, the guys from Purple Haze Racing showed up, Brian handed me the rubber duck loofah in the featured image. He said they stopped in a convenience store, saw it, and knew I had to have it. Thanks, y’all. That might have been one of the best things that happened this weekend.

Motorcycle race recap – my race

Now that the track day portion is over, let’s get to the motorcycle race recap. Rain came in overnight. Saturday morning was a flood. The forecast said it was going to dry around noon. I didn’t feel like putting on rain tires just to have to take them off again, so I chose to skip practice. Sure enough, the rain tapered off around 10:30 and the track started to dry. By the 4th or 5th race, the race line was dry with just a couple puddles in off-line spots.

Race 9 arrived. I got on track, did my warm-up lap and gridded up. I got a pretty good start, though the two guys on my row got a better one and came into turn 1 a bike length in front of me. The starting grid group didn’t really break up, though, as I could see four bikes in front of me and was later told there were three more behind me. I was 4th in my class, but Kevin Moore in 3rd wasn’t far off.

I started reeling him in. I was drafting him down the front straight at the end of the first lap and gaining. I stayed right with him through turn 2, and showed him a wheel on the exit of turn 3, but I was too far inside to make a pass into turn 4. I was right on him at turns 5-9. I drafted him up the straight again and thought about an inside pass on turn 1, but didn’t think I could do it safely. I showed him a wheel sometime before turn 6, and was pretty sure I could get him on the next lap.

Then we hit turn 6. We were coming into it hard, and I thought I could pass Kevin on the outside going into 7. All of a sudden he backed off throttle, and I saw riders down in front of him. I decided to hold off on any action. We went through turn 7 and I passed him, but then saw the red flag at turn 8. We all pitted in.

Three riders had gone down in front of Kevin, including my friends Cora Leonhardt and Santo Dileo. Cora highsided, and my understanding is that Santo went off trying to avoid her. I’m not sure who the 3rd rider was, but they managed to stay upright and ride off.

Cora broke a leg and some bones in her foot. Santo seems to have a pretty good concussion judging from his Facebook posts, but everyone is going to live.

Ambulances transported both Cora and Santo, leaving us without an ambulance, which means racing was suspended. A riders’ meeting was called, and we were told race 9 completed enough laps to be considered done – two whole laps. I ended in 4th place.

Motorcycle race recap – my friends

This was a weird weekend. Before I talk about the carnage, I want to mention one great thing: I got to watch Matt and Lindsey Hall celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows on the start/finish line, administered by Mark Merical of RaceLine Ministry Matt and Lindsey are just a great couple, and I wish them another 18 great years together.

Now the other side. It seemed at every turn there was some carnage, much of it involving my friends. Here’s the lowlight reel:

  • Will missed much of Friday practice because of battery problems, and then his bike died on track from same.
  • Brian brought my old 250 to race FSS. It had fueling problems and wasn’t rideable.
  • Brian’s family flew in from Seattle to see him race, including his parents, his grandmother, and his brother. Brian crashed out of the first lap of his race.
  • Three other people crashed in the same race Brian was in, one on the warm-up lap. One was a guy who drove twenty hours from Minneapolis to race.
  • Cora and Santo crashed out of our race and were hurt.
  • The rest of Saturday’s races were cut to four laps.
  • Matt had a mechanical from an oil filter problem, which has been a repeated mystery problem that he (nor I) can figure out.
  • Daniel crashed on Sunday.
  • There was a very frightening incident on Sunday involving an ambulance crossing the track during a race, causing two riders to crash.

I’ve decided that I’m going to call this weekend a success for me. I’m not hurt, and I can use the motorcycle again.

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