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Race report from "not so sunny" Savannah

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by RZ Racer, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    What an INTENSE day of racing!!!! I was skeptical about turn-out due to it being a Friday "add on" to a practice day and bead weather. Still, the lure of easy points and getting a chance to race again so soon after my last race (at the same track!) was worth all of the hassle I went through with my new employers to get a Friday off. Turn out wasn't huge, but the "quality" of the competition was high, with quite a few "fast guys" as well as a surprise "Northern Invasion" by Richard Lucas and Bucky Sexton.

    I was late getting to the track and was just getting my bike off the trailer when the 1st vintage practice went out. Having raced here with AHRMA 3 weeks ago, I wasn't too concerned. It started drizzling around the same time and the forcast showed that we would get on and off drizzle all day long, with few breaks. (it was 100% correct) I used to consider myself something of a rain "specialist", but over the years, I've found I like it less and less. when 2nd practice went out, I took it really easy and didn't put any effort into finding limits of lean, braking or traction, and instead focused on taking different lines to see if there were any unpleasant surprises I might stumble onto in the race. Traction was good, and most of the puddles were offline, though there was a nasty one at the exit of my least favorite turn (t6/7) which made it even less popular in my book.

    1st race of the day was 500gp/v2 and was the only race I wasn't entered in, so we (Dick, Keith and I) went to the front straight to watch. James Walker was making a return to racing after 30 months off but you wouldn't know it from his start. He nailed the holeshot and took off, leading the pack into t1. Rich Lucas closed in the middle of the race when James backed off, but fell back a little until on lap 6, James came by with his motor cutting out and stumbling and Rich was right back on his tail. There was a small gap between them when they took the white flag, but whatever problem James had with his bike went away and he finished the race a comfortable 6.5 secs ahead of Rich. James Brenton rounded out the podium.

    Dick and I were joking about it, but we were both suddenly quite concerned about Mr Lucas and his "mostly" stock rd350 for the upcoming F500 race. His bike might be down on power to both of our modified 400's but we both knew that the softer power delivery would be an advantage everywhere on the track except the front straight. Our jaws dropped when we saw that Rich had turned times in the 1st race that were 5 secs faster than what we had run in practice!:wow: Time to PICK IT UP!!

    A heavier band of rain came through right before the f500 race, but then let off as we were taking to the track, so I was hopeful that the track conditions would improve as the race went on. I got the holeshot and took off, not really wanting to lead in these slippery conditions, but not willing to give up P1 unless I had to. After 2 laps without seeing a wheel, I hazarded a glance over my shoulder and saw Dick sitting there, 3 bike lengths behind me. I short shifted on the front straight, knowing he would zip by as his bike is hands down faster than mine in a straight line. When he never came by, I knew that he was intentionally letting me lead and studying my lines. I short shifted even more on lap4 and he finally passed me at the end of the front straight, but surprised me by braking early, so the safest thing to do was pass him back. I backed off exiting t2 and he went by again. I set off to follow and it looked like we had similar speed through 3 and 4, but he opend a small gap through 5 and an even bigger one through 6/7. Even worse, Rich rode around the outside of me exiting 7, so I knew I had some serious work to do! The rest of the race was just an all out battle between the 3 of us, with Rich giving a wet track riding clinic on his less powerful "mostly"stock 350 and Dick and I blasting by on the front straight. On the white flag lap, I made an aggressive pass on the brakes going into t1 and put everything i learned in the previous laps to good use, carrying more momentum everywhere. We came upon Keith Bennet, Bucky Sexton and Mark Williams all battling for position exiting t7. I was lucky to not have to slow very much and passed Bucky and Keith on the short straight heading into t9. Unfortunately, this me with getting around Mark right in the middle of t9, but he did a fantastic job of holding a steady line, right in the exact center of the track, so I was able to go by cleanly on the inside without risking life or limb. I held it in 5th gear all the way to the stripe and a split second after crossing the line, Dick came flashing by. Margin of victory was .055sec!

    I was pumped from the win and my strategy for V3/V5 was to nail the holeshot and hopefully put the V5 field in between Dick and myself (we were the only 2 entered in v3). I got it half right when I nailed the holeshot (from row 7!!) and led the field into t1, but Dick had a great start too and came right with me. We immediately picked up where we left off and started trading the lead back in forth, with him being a little faster down the straight and me being a little braver on the brakes in 1. Around lap 3, we were joined by eventual V5 winner, Wayne Shelton, who basically rode right around us and disappeared into the mists. (Wayne ran into mechanical problems a lap later and his bike dropped a cylinder. Didn't stop him from continuing to open his lead and in fact, barely effected his lap times at all. Nice ride Wayne!!) On lap 4, I heard the unmistakable sound of an ex500 behind me and knew that we had another dance partner. I never got to see who it was, but it was Kurt Kesler and him and Dick swapped positions several times. According to Dick afterwards, Kurt was all over me, but could never get a clean enough pass and several times backed off because it was looking too risky. Every time we hit the front straight, we would gap Kurt, but he would be back by the time we hit t4 and all over me through 5/6/7. I got distracted on the last lap trying to clear fog from my visor and ran wide in between 1 and 2, letting Dick by and was unable to get back in front of him so had to settle for 2nd, with Kurt right behind me. Margin of victory: 1.5 seconds.

    The final race was formula 2-stroke and again, it turned into a battle with Mr Gruhn and his rocket fast 400. I had another great start, but the v6lw (Kristopher Larrivee and Kurt) were quicker on the jump this time, so I had to slot into 3rd going into t1. Chasing after guys on full rains when your on dots is never fun, but I gave it my best for 3 laps and then lost touch. I think if I could have stayed close enough to catch a whiff of draft, I might have been able to mix it up, but by the time we would hit t9, they would be 10-15 bike lengths ahead. I could close a little on the straight and closed a lot going into t1, but I just kept losing more and more ground through the infield. Somewhere around lap 4 or 5, eventual race winner Mike Wagner came by and was carrying a LOT more cornerspeed, so I didn't even think about trying to hang with him. I spent the rest of the race swapping positions with Dick and thought I had played everything perfectly with a ballsy braking move into t1 on the last lap, I put my head down and put my best lap of the weekend in (1:40) but so did Dick and 20 yds before I hit the finish line, I saw his front wheel edge into view. Margin of victory: .08 seconds.

    In these 3 races, I experienced more passes than I experienced nearly all of last season put together! The combined time diff between Dick and I for all 3 races was 1.635 seconds. That, my friends, is some CLOSE racing!! No one went down, no one got bumped, no one ran off the track, everyone gave it 100% and that's the way it should be every time!

    Huge props not only to the race winners, but to everyone who showed up! Kurt Kesler especially gets a mention for keeping his kool and not punting me off the track when he knew he could go faster, but couldn't find a clean way around.

    Special thanks also go to: the Garlands at Vintage Specialties, Doug at Moto Carrera, Buff at THR and Continental racing tires. (they DO work great in the rain!!!)

    As far as Gopro coverage goes, I have some bad news.... around lap 6 or 7 in the v3/v5 race, I felt something hit my boot going into t9. Turns out that it was my Gopro. The mount had cracked and even though I had a saftey wire tether on it, it failed right at the place I have the safety wire and went tumbling down the track. Luckily, the t9 corner worker found it and gae it to me on the cooldown lap for the f2stroke race, but the cover was gone and the battery was missing. Aparently, when a Gopro batt runs dead or ejects while recording, the file gets corrupted. I searched for file recovery services and found one that promises to get me 90% of the missing file in exchange for $40 of hard earned US currency. I found a few others that promised the same thing for free, but none of them worked. At this point, watching one Gopro vid isn't worth $40 to me, so the only race I was able to upload was the f500 race. If I find a free solution and ever recover the corrupted file, I'll be certain to post it up.

    Here's the F500 race:

    Till next time!:beer:
  2. June-yer

    June-yer Well-Known Member

    That was awesome. Dick had some serious steam on that last lap. Winning the race then missing the exit.;) Sorry about losing the other vids.
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Administrator

    You're lucky the corner worker was nice ;)
  4. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    Oh yes...I'm aware of the new policy! Looks like a new design for my "tether" is in order...
  5. Mongo

    Mongo Administrator

  6. V5 Racer

    V5 Racer Yo!

    This weekend was a hoot, plain and simple. Some great racing, some great losing and some great coming in second (I got a good lead in the V6LW race, then promptly went to sleep. Wagner caught me napping and I paid the price :D). We (Kris, Wagner and myself) had a blast on the ex500s.

    Good thing you didn't stay for the clubman race, I forgot my transponder so you would have gotten a "bye" (I let everyone go so as not to screw up anyone that was actually in the race).
  7. RZ Racer

    RZ Racer It passed tech LAST time!

    You definitely got the short end of the stick....first with me being a rolling road block in V5, then Wagner AND Kris nipping you at the line in V6lw, then the transponder on Sunday????? Sometimes the racing is just so good, that stuff like that just seems trivial. Definitely one of those weekends! Great racing with you and I'll be looking forward to more of the same later this year. Shooting for RRR in May.
  8. V5 Racer

    V5 Racer Yo!

    It was all fun, I had a blast. Muffler blew off the 250 in the F-SS race about halfway through, I had the lead but lost it in the last half of the last lap because the bike lost a ton of power when it lost the muffler. Ended up third.
  9. #156

    #156 Well-Known Member

    Thanks mark. Sorry I didn't get to talk to you more. Bike died on start then missed for a half lap then kicked in and ran great for 3 laps then had a carb problem rest of v-5 race. I really pushed harder in turns in rain then I wanted because it ran like shit on straits. Don't think anyone could hold with me in corners. Actually drug knee in 6 a couple laps. Win is a win.
  10. CharlieY

    CharlieY Well-Known Member

    Good report Mark.

    Great racin' guys!.....Especially that ringdingding Rich Lucas dude, Bravo sir:up:
  11. kanatuna

    kanatuna You can't polish a turd..

    You guys were killing it in the rain. We had a great time just watching you all. So much great racing by the vintage guys this weekend. Congrats.

    And I just made mention of the dude with the purple Rd350 who was racing his ass off.
  12. El Skwid!

    El Skwid! Old guy, old bikes

    The EX500's made a good showing, esp 6LW with all four entries.
    Missing that Blakester guy though, having some mechanical issues.
    I used the the V5 race to learn how much grip I had, after skipping practice, & put that to use in 6LW.
    As noted, it was much easier to go fast chasing someone else, & rain tires were definitely needed.
  13. V5 Racer

    V5 Racer Yo!

    Eric was AWOL as well, they missed a great time.
  14. mmfoor

    mmfoor Team Stupid!

    Glad to hear the EXs are still having fun out there. The most fun I have ever had racing was with William on his Duc at RRR. I had to go back a few yrs in Mylaps to see what times I could turn on Jason's X EX. William and I were doing 24s. Don't know what you EX boys are lapping at now. Makes me feel better about where my SV might fall if I go back and have any skills left. William brought out the best in me for sure. And that seems to be what you guys are having right now. Enjoy my friends, but watch out for Kessler: he will make you think he is snoozing and then pass you right at the end!
  15. V5 Racer

    V5 Racer Yo!

    40s most of the time (it was raining).
  16. mmfoor

    mmfoor Team Stupid!

    I was talking rain too!
    Seriously, no rain at Tally. Can't wait!!!:beer:
  17. ringdingding

    ringdingding TWO-STROKE MILITIA

    Still ridin high on the fun we had in the rain at Roebling Mark. Just wish I had entered V-3 now, altho you and Dick picked up the pace even more after the f-500 race so its unlikely I would have been able to hang with you, hard to say.

    I had nothing for James Walker in the V-2 race. Our bikes were pretty even in straight line performance. His corner speed was scary fast in that race. Being the first race after lunch break the track had a lot of standing water, worse than our race. We had two modern bike practices in front of our race and they had cleared some of the puddles off and the track was better. Still, I think James had more pace if he had needed it so again I had nothing to offer.

    I nearly blew the f-500 race by doing the warm up lap with the choke on, when I got to the line and turned it off, it was all loaded up and wouldnt clean out. It fell right on its face at the green flag and I fugured it was going to foul a plug. It was running flat all the way to turn one but it cleared out coming out of two and I revved it to the moon heading to turn three, from there it was running good. You and Dick had six seconds on me at the end of lap one but I could tell I was catching you two and caught up on lap three. I was right on your back left corner as we were coming to the line having already passed Dick some where in the turnes. I saw you look back and your visor broke loose on the one side, I figured you were in trouble, not so. Dick came blasting by us both and from there it was a race. Let me say that is the most fun I have had racing in all my time as a racer. Anytime one is racing that close for a win or any position it is great fun. Winning would have been cooler still but, I have won before, at this point being in a battle like that is more important and gratifying and why I still race. Lets do it again at SP, I should have Gene's F-500 bike, it is a little closer in performance to your bike so....

    BTW, my helmut finally dried out and even after you had your humungous head in it, I tried it on and it still fits snuggly, your welcome. Looking forward to once again meeting you on the "field of honor" as D.G. put it once a long time ago.

    And Mr Gruhn, thanks for a great time in Savannah. And Mr Walker too, it was close briefly a couple times until you put the hammer down both times. Great to meet some of the other southern riders also, hope to get to Barber and see you again at the finals, till then its SP and Mid O for me.

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