AMA/WERA VMD @ Mid Ohio 7/8+9 Pt1

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by RZ Racer, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    AMA/WERA Vintage Motorcycle Days @ Mid Ohio




    We had a BLAST at Mid Ohio!!! Sadly, we both had to work friday so didn't make it to our hotel till 2am. A few hours of sleep and off to the track to be greeted by Mid Ohios "super friendly" gate volunteers. 45 minutes and trips to all 3 gates, finally brought us back to the first gate we went to and we finally were able to give someone some $$ in exchange for weekend tickets. (foreshadowing: this was actually the only negative thing that happened the entire weekend, so in retrospect, wasn't a big deal, but at the time, we were both FUMING!) I was a little stressed after wasting all of that time with the gate nazis, but quickly found a pit, breezed through registration and tech and had a few moments to spare before heading out for first practice. I had already heard the horror stories about the surface, and even though I'd never been there, I figured it had to be similar to mid 90's Summit Point and treated the first round of practice as an "exploration". Loved the layout, but the bike was squirming and wiggling all over the place at lean angles i use in the pits, but I had watched enough videos on youtube to know that the traction would come.... Had a minor issue with RZ that caused me to miss a session in the second round, but the second round on the rd had me really digging the track. Plenty of grip, no more wiggles and my gearing that seemed way too tall was actually starting to make sense now that I was carrying some corner speed.


    1st race was V5 on the RZ. I debated running the RD, bc I was already up to speed and comfortable, but decided to just run the RZ and use it as a practice session "with points". Got a good start from the last row and slotted into p3, behind Joe Ball. He and race winner Brian Mullins quickly took off, leaving me alone to get to know the track better. No one showed up to challenge me, though 2 of the V3 guys were kind enough to pass me and show me how much faster I could be going if I'd only try a little harder!


    2nd race was F500 on the RD. I was feeling pretty good about this one, as I felt really comfortable on the rd in practice and I didn't see any of my usual archnemesis on the grid. It dawned on me right before the flag dropped that the guy on a honda gridded on the pole looked familiar bc he was the guy that won v3 and had walked away from me in the V5 race on my RZ. Yikes! I got a great start from the last row and slotted in P2 behind the guy on the Honda (Scott didntcatchhislastname) I pushed as hard as I could the entire race but spent the whole race 1.5-2 secs behind him. He was pretty calm and would take a quick peek back 2x/lap and if I was gaining, he'd put his head down and stretch it back. Fun, but frustrating. During the race, the tip of my shifter gave up the ghost. Didn't really effect my riding, but it added an annoying little thing to concentrate on, so I planned to hit the swap meet after the races.


    Last race was Formula 2 stroke, back on my RZ. There were only 3 bikes signed up, but one was Jim Hinshaw on his H2 750 rocketship. Jim had the misfortune to crash his H1 500 friday when it started raining and I know he would have been happier on it at this technical challenging track, but I've raced Jim enough to know that he is never out and that H2 has BLISTERING speed, so I was anxious to get a holeshot and open enough gap to survive the long straight. I was pretty sure if I could pull that off, the win would be mine. I did and it was. Once the V6lw leaders (Joe and Brian again) cleared off, I just rode around by myself, working on lines and gradually getting faster. At the white flag, I took a look back and saw a bike....I couldn't tell who or what, but I put my head down and PUSHED. Luckily, I held onto the position, and even luckier, wasn't Jim, but rather the V4 winner, Alec Cook on his 850 guzzi.


    After I got back to the pits, we tidied up a bit and the fatigue of a 9 hour drive and 3.5 hours of sleep kicked in. We had been told that all of the vintage trophies were being handed out Sunday bc it was a combined 2 day event, so we left, went out to the infield swap meet and found a new shifter for the rd, grabbed dinner and hit the hotel early. Eileen was out cold by 830 and I drifted off just a little later.


    Sunday arrived with both of us well rested and ready to improve on yesterdays great results. I elected to skip the practice bc I didn't want the slipperiness of the early morning dew to slow down my memory of the excellent grip the track had yesterday afternoon. I had made a 1 tooth gearing change (taller) to the RZ after the races yesterday, but knew it wasn't going to need any readjustment on my riding.


    V5 was a bit of a catch 22. I was immediately up to speed and showing some improvements in a few areas, but the lack of practice had me riding a bit ragged and inconsistent, so overall, there was really no improvement over yesterdays times. Worse, Alec Cook, who had been suffering tire pressure issues in yesterday's V5 race, had those issues sorted and came past me on the 2nd lap. I tried to respond, but just couldn't string the corners together smoothly and watched him slowly walk away. Scott xxx on the Honda from V3 came by too, but I was able to pass him back and hold him off for another lap before he showed me a really slick move on the brakes at the end of the straight. I out broke him, but ran wide, which he had planned on bc he squared off behind me and just scampered away through the esses. Nice move!


    I was really looking forward to a f500 rematch with Scott on my rd! Even though the RZ is a more modern, more capable bike, I'm still FAR more comfortable on the RD and it also has more torque (350 vs 400) so does better off the corners. I finally felt like I was ready to if not beat him, at least mix it up and use his draft to pull myself to faster speeds and better lap times. That fantasy never materialized though, because after a good start (from the front row now thanks to my finish yesterday) I went sided by side with Martin Morrison into t1, thinking i had it covered when he let off the brakes a scoosh early and took P2 away. Martin also rides a wicked fast cb550 and I've raced against him several times with AHRMA. His bike is faster than mine and he is really good on the brakes, but doesn't go so fast around the corners. I knew if I couldn't get around him before we got to the esses, Scott would be long gone. Well, not only did I not get around before the esses, but it actually took me 2.5 laps before I could get around him cleanly without putting either of us at risk. It really sucked, bc Scott got away, but it did make for some
     
  2. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    Pt 2:
    excellent gopro footage! I was tempted several times to go for a move in the esses, but he likes to slam the door on the inside and I just wasn't comfortable enough with the track yet to "pull a Rossi" (as my wife likes to say) and ride around the outside. (though I did try...) Once I got around him, I dropped my pace 2 sec/s per lap and his went up 2 secs per lap, but the damage had been done and Scott wasn't even in sight anymore. Oh well.... I felt a little whiney and bitchy afterwards, but all I could think of was if I started whining about something like that to my mom, all she would have said was: "I guess you need to work on your starts then". Miss you Mom!

    Once more into the breech with F-2stroke back on the RZ. I felt pretty confident that I could win again, but was more interested in seeing if I could pick up enough speed to hold off Alec on his fast Guzzi for the "2stroke vs 4 stroke" intrasquad battle. Again, another great start, again right behind Joe and Brian, but this time I was able to hang onto their coattails for the first lap before they started inching away. Alec came by at the end of the straight on the second lap and I tucked in and immediately found that he was faster in the slow turns and I was faster in the fast turns. We had a pretty good yo yo going where he would stretch his lead and then I'd close it back up. I never got close enough to get side by side, but I Felt good about my progress and got some great footage out of the deal. I had grand ambitions of a white flag lap charge, but he put his best lap of the race in and I didn't and that was all there was to that. Consolation prize was that we both were catching Joe at the end of the race. I'm sure he had backed off bc Brian was gone and we were pretty far back, but it still felt good to see one of the fast guys coming back to me!

    We got finished packing up just as the red flag came out for the oiled track and the hurt rider and any dellusions we had about sticking around for trophies were dashed. 9 hour drive and we both had to be at work at 9am, so we said our goodbyes and hit the road! I'm sad we missed the trophies bc I see from Brians FB post that they are really cool. Pretty neat to win an AMA National Championship!!!!! I'm ESPECIALLY sad I missed Ron Ravens Irish Race payout presentation. Ron put up cash prizes out of his own pocket to help boost the grids. I came to support his efforts, but then failed to show for the ceremony. Sorry Ron!

    Special thanks to: Scott Clough at SCR racing. I am a big guy riding very small bikes, yet they seem to go VERY fast! Scott is a magician with porting, crank rebuilding and transmission modifying (and many other things!) and over delivers constantly. Lyn Garland at Vintage Specialties. Lyn, Pat and Paul have been supporting me for most of my 22 years of racing with all manner of help from parts, to repairs to even loaning me a bike in '14 at the gnf when mine wouldn't run. They are the class of the industry. Jonathan Farmer of VO2 Leathers. Jon has boldly started a racing leathers company and is another one that just over delivers. I got a top of the line, custom fit Kangaroo suit for a lot less than I had ever imagined I would and Jon held my hand through the entire process of measuring (remember big guy/little bike??) and got the suit to me very quickly. I also couldn't get by without the help and advice from Derek "Stickboy" Bennett and Bridgestone tires, (rz) Buff Harsh and Continental Race tires, (rd) Tony Dukas at TDR, David Swarbrick, Cycle Gear, Pitt Bull and Sprocket Specialties. Last but definitely not least would be a very special thanks to my AMAZING wife, Eileen, who has not only tolerated and supported this crazy hobby/lifestyle, but has EMBRACED it fully and is my #1 fan. I seriously couldn't accomplish 1/2 of what I've accomplished without her!
     
  3. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    F-2stroke/v4/v6lw Sunday


    more to come...
     
    DesmoAndrew and Jon Wilkens like this.
  4. DesmoAndrew

    DesmoAndrew Member

    RZ, I was there as well, great weekend, loved the vid and great start!

    Very unfortunate for the blown SV engine in race 11 on Sunday. The rider who got ran over was pitted next to me. He suffered a broken femur and was taken to Mansfield. They were from out of town. Luckily, the rider down had someone with him to take care of things. But still sad to see a good guy get caught up in something not of his direct doing....
     
  5. JBall

    JBall REALLY senior member

    Mark,

    Great seeing you come up to Yankee territory so we could show you how to get around Mid-O. I'm glad you got to enjoy the track after the morning slime wore off, and once again, you got some great video - of my tail section! Actually, you got off to a great start, I probably have a 1000 laps there, and I still work on putting that place together.

    With the screwed up end to the day, I hope you will still be able to get your hardware, which should come from AMA.

    Looking forward to doing it again!
     
  6. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    Thanks guys. I REALLY enjoyed the track and can't believe it took me 22 years to finally make it out there. Back in 1996, Brian Surtees told me that it was one of the tracks that needed to be on every racers bucket list and I guess I just never found the time.... It seems so far away, but its actually about the same drive as Barber, so not really that bad. I will DEFINITELY plan to be there every year from now on!!

    Joe- I know you weren't pushing it, but it was a HUGE victory for me to keep you in sight in that last race! The rz is definitely faster, but it was a little harder to ride (twitchy) than the rd was. I will work on chassis and gearing next time so I can push harder through the back side of the track. Luckily, my tach died, bc I would have been afraid to see what I was spinning back there! I just couldn't quite keep enough momentum to make 3rd gear work, but 2nd was SCREAMING its guts out.....poor crank!

    I'm uploading my videos in reverse order, so you can all watch my "regression" as we go backwards through the weekend. Heres race 7 on Sunday, F500 on my rd:
     
  7. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    race 2, v5/v3 Sunday:
     

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