This is it! The motorcycle racing season recap, and the final motorcycle race recap of the season, where we consider a race that was entered for the sheer joy of racing, and a race that promised to be amusing, but didn’t quite turn out.
F Superstock doesn’t have a national championship, so the only race at the GNFs that mattered for me was the sprint race on Saturday. The word “mattered” also should be taken kinda loosely. From a championship points perspective, there was nobody who could catch me in any region in which I compete, so I didn’t need to show up for points.
On the other side, my friend and close rival Kevin told me he was coming, and I wanted to see if I could beat him again at this track. Racing between Kevin and I tends to be really close, and a lot of fun, so I was looking forward to that.
Also, my friend Kyle had thrown down the gauntlet that he thought he could beat me on a Grom in the mini class, so I had reserved a rental Grom for that race, too.
Friday night arrival and setup
Since I had two practice sessions Saturday morning, I decided to show up Friday evening. Due to bad traffic, I didn’t get there until about 6PM, which sucked because I had hoped to get set up before dark.
While I was getting set up, Kyle showed up and told me that he hadn’t reserved a Grom, so we set out to find a solution. My buddy Doug showed up on his old XR100, and it was decided that I could race that bike, and that Kyle would take my rental Grom.
Also while setting up, my friend Matt’s son showed and told me that Matt had crashed hard in the endurance race, and was overnighting in the hospital with a broken collarbone, chipped vertebra, and a myriad of other injuries. Not exactly what I wanted to hear going into the next day’s races!
Saturday morning tech and practice
Next morning I got my bike tech’ed, swapped the numbers on Doug’s XR100 to mine and got that tech’ed. I went out for practice on the Ninja 300, and felt pretty good – nothing crazy, mostly just reminding myself how Barber flows.
Then it was time to practice on Doug’s bike. I got out there and got through turns 1 and 2, and then missed a shift coming up the hill out of 2. When I gave it gas on the short straight into the corner known as Charlotte’s Web, nothing happened. It just stopped. I coasted it to the corner station, and hung out there for the rest of mini practice until the crash truck came.
We got the bike back to Doug’s pit, and figured out that the spark plug cap had broken and the plug was arcing and grounding out. Once it was running again, I rode it around the paddock, and everything seemed fine.
Motorcycle race recap (sort of) – Minis
First race of the day was the mini race. As we were sitting at pit out waiting to get on the track for the warm-up lap, the bike died again. Doug was standing right there, took a look at it, straightened out a kink in the fuel line, and I fired it back up. Seemed to be okay, so I went out. I got through the warm-up lap with no problems.
Once I got to the grid I realized I had forgotten to write down my grid spot, so I took a guess and nobody bumped me out of it, so I must have been close enough. The green flag drops and we take off. As we’re entering turn one, the bike stalls. I get it restarted and take off again. I get about 200 yards past where the bike died in practice, and it dies again. I sit through the rest of the race and get to ride back on the crash truck again. Apparently the fuel line kinked again in a place I couldn’t see it, so the mini race didn’t happen.
After that I had some time before my next race, so I broke down the campsite and packed up whatever I wasn’t using, knowing I wanted to get out of there and home after the race was over.
Motorcycle race recap – FSS Expert
Race time comes and we go out for the warm up lap. I’m gridded on pole for my class, with Kevin on the other end of row one. Green flag drops, and I get a pretty good start. I go to upshift as we enter turn one, and… nothing. My quickshifter decided not to work! I lose 3 or 4 places going through turns one and two. At the end of turn 2 I see Kevin about 4 places in front of me, and realize I’ve got work to do if I’m going to catch him. We get through the next couple corners and go into the combination known as Museum. As we’re coming into that corner, I see a rider down in the middle of the track, and a bike in the gravel. I realize it’s my friend Cora. The session gets red-flagged, and we’re sent back to the pits.
It’s not long before we’re called back out on track to grid back up. Since no laps were completed, it’s re-grid for a full race. During the warm-up lap before we grid, I discover that my quickshifter has decided to come back online. We grid up, green flag drops, and I get a good start this time. I passed Kevin in turn 1 and just kept cranking. I had a few position changes where I passed a couple riders, and got passed by a couple riders.
In the last three laps, I got passed by Emma, and while I stayed with her the rest of the race, I just couldn’t find a way past. Final position, 5th place. Not my best, but I set a personal best lap time of 1:50.044 and cemented my regional championships!
Motorcycle racing season recap – 2023
Wow, what a year it has been. I feel like I spent the first half of the season just fighting the bike. I wasn’t getting good results at all. I couldn’t even break the lap times I had set on the Ninja 250. I gotta thank John Wilkins for pointing me to Kent at GMD Computrack, who spent a lot of time and effort getting the bike straight and the suspension working properly.
When Kent was done, it was like getting a new bike. Granted, the first time I rode it on the track wasn’t so great, since I got taken out in practice and broke my collarbone. But after that I started setting personal best laps almost every time I went out! I won some hard-fought races, and my confidence on the bike soared. It’s like pressed the reset button on the season.
For those of you who have been following FIWOP Racing since last year, at the end of last season I set three goals – win a race, win two regional championships, and crash fewer times than 2022. To say we blew those away is a bit of an understatement!
I won 3 regional championships.
I crashed once instead of thrice.
In the current class, I’d like to win more races, sweep my regions again, and not crash at all.
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