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Old 08-24-2008, 05:44 PM   #1
tomLSTD
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Another literary masterpiece?

Towing a student or following a student, can make me slow, kind of like hanging out with stupid people makes me dumb. Sorry folks, but it's true! I can't jump on to the track after following a student for 20 minutes and run "my pace" at the track, I just don't have the talent I guess. Not to mention, I'm not a "fast" guy anyway.

I'm on the new 003 Bridgestones now, and this is only the second time I have been on the track with them. I'm also running a 002 rear because at the time I bought these tires from John, they didn't have a hard compound rear. I run medium front and hard rear compounds because they last longer and the front wears about the same as the rear (or pretty close) for my riding style. I'm not the run 'n gun, hammer the throttle type of tire smokin' rider that shreds tires anyway- I'm pretty easy on them. My friends say I'm easy on tires despite my size, and I must be off-setting the wear from my size by being smooth. It's a compliment I guess, I don't consider myself all that smooth. Mostly because I equate smooth to "fast". My team mate Glenn, now that dude is smooooooth. He's one of those guys that hardly drags a knee, gets some sick corner speed (except at TWS (Texas World Speedway)' horseshoe where I pass him on the outside with regularity ), and is always about 1-2 seconds per lap faster than me at every track we've been to. He's very talented.


Anyway, back to me. I ride a GSXR 600, an older one, stock engine with good tuning, and it makes about ~90hp on an eddy current dyno. Kind of disappointing because our "built" SV engine makes around ~84hp. It's really not even as "built" as some of the dudes out there. Regardless, I personally think I should be running faster on the GSXR than on the SV. Until this past year, I have not been able to achieve that goal- not even at TWS (Texas World Speedway) where the GSXR should shine versus the SV.

On Friday, I broke away and took some laps on the 1.7 mile track after 2 sessions with my student, and 2 half sessions in the "b" group on the 1.3. The 1.3 is incredibly fun and tight! It's a bit different than the 1.7 which is technical too, but much faster with sweeping corners and a pretty decent straight. I went out in the "Novice" group, the 1.7 is the track the CMRA is racing big bikes this weekend, so LSTD provided a 2 group format with Experts in one, and Novices in the other. 30 minute sessions is a lot of track time, and most all of the riders were only doing 15- 20 minutes instead of the whole 30. Some were splitting it up and doing 10, break for 5 minutes, and then finishing the 30.


I felt confident, and hopped on the track from pit out and in to about half way through the "Wagon Wheel" (a 160* left hander that starts up a hill), my knee solidly planted the pavement, and I thought, "well, I guess the tires are still warm, edge grip feels good" (stupid things like that pop in my head while I'm on the track). As I started up the hill out of the Wagon Wheel, I started looking for my reference points (ancient Chinese secret) to start my bend to the left and down hill for the "Ricochet" and to the "back straight" that leads in to "Little Bend".

There is a lot of speed coming down that hill, through Ricochet. My knee drags momentarily through Ricochet as I accelerate through and to the straight. I tuck in and bang gears with my Quick Shifter. Bang one down and bend it in to the right for Little Bend. I'm always leery with Little Bend. I don't know why, but I think it's because it always looks oil stained in the pavement, and I'm paranoid that it's going to be slick. The last time I was at Cresson I had a very nice (pronounced "scary as ") two wheel drift that carried me out to the outside of the track. It was because of my tires- I had the pressure too high I found out when I pulled in. Dumbazz.


I made it through Little Bend fine, albeit a bit slower than I normally do, and just then I hear a familiar SV. It was our endurance bike I thought, and that was confirmed when my team mate Glenn motored by on the inside. "", I thought, "I must be going freakin' slow, or he got a great drive out of Little Bend. Oh , I have to turn!" Sometimes I talk to myself and forget what I'm supposed to be doing.

Glen motored out of site, I was going really slow. I know it's true because I got passed by about 6 other bikes at the same time as we started back up hill and through "Buzzard's Neck" and through "Tombstone" to the front straight. "Friggin' novices are railing today, or I'm slow as . I better pick up the pace, I don't want to be this slow in the friggin' novice group! Now, pick up the throttle, drift it out, and get a great drive on to the front straight."


I love those turns. As you're going up hill, it's off camber and you drag a knee through the whole thing as you stay on the gas pretty hard (modulating the throttle for location on the track). Usually I drift both tires predictably and comfortably with the 002's and our GP 250 slicks on the SV. No worries, it's a normal thing, and I'm used to it. Not like Rossi or anything, just a comfortable push toward the outside as you stay cranked over and on the gas off-camber. Today though, I had to straighten the bike up and get on the gas harder to correct my line. "Huh, that's weird, I must be going a lot slower than I thought, but this thing isn't moving at all on these tires, I don't feel a drift or spin... is it the tires and great traction or am I slower through here?" Through Tombstone and on to the straight. Wind out 6th and bang down to 5th for Big Bend, 3, 2, 1, down shift and turn!

Now, coming down to "Big Bend", usually for me on our endurance bike, it's 5th gear WFO through there, on the GSXR, I'm in 5th, but it's not WFO, but close, maybe 3/4 throttle. I drift a bit through there too if I take the inside line. Not today. Now I'm sure it's the tires. I'm carrying speed because I'm catching the guys that passed me in the Buzzard's Neck. I start dragging a knee REALLY early; like almost as soon as I start turning. "Weird, I never drag a knee here, there is a lot of traction today, and these tires are really sticky". I love the feeling of dragging a knee; not for the poser points, but just because I think it feels cool as you skim the pavement at triple digit speeds. Usually in Big Bend, I don't drag a knee until I get to the apex, but today, I'm getting on the gas earlier and cranking the bike a lot further over. I know this because right then, ", toes are dragging and my knee is a lot closer to the fairings." I felt like I was waaay over, and I'll be damned, but those tires never moved. "I like this track today, and these tires are really working well!" Is this what Gabe McLendon feels like when he rails through these corners?

I straighten up out of Big Bend and head for the "Rattle Snake". An up hill chicane that bends right up the hill, then quick left as you crest the hill and back to the right as you go back down the hill. "Look for the curbing, clip it, bend right, and set up outside for the Wagon Wheel". Once again, in the Wagon Wheel, my knee plants firmly and I keep cranking the bike over as I accelerate around that turn. I love it. "Man, this is fun! I can't get over the traction, let's get more throttle and see how far I can lean the bike before I touch my peg again. Now straighten up, look for your reference up the hill, and up-shift up hill, over the hill, now look ahead through Ricochet and head down the straight!".

Anyway, for the next several laps, I got on the throttle harder and harder, and carried more and more corner speed. I felt really good, and I knew I was going much faster as the laps went on. I know this because I didn't get passed again, and I started passing other folks. The traction was un-be-liveable, and I never once had an "oh " moment. I was riding about 9/10ths probably, and felt very good going that pace.


I didn't know it, but Glenn snuck in behind me some time during this stint. Glenn is and always will be faster than me, especially at Cresson where someone like him who is so smooth and fast in the corners can exploit his talent. Glenn came to me later and said, "He man, you were flying out there!". I said, "Man, you blew by me and I never saw you again, so I wouldn't say I was 'flying' by any means, especially since you're on the SV and I'm on the GSXR, I should be going much faster." "No man, I jumped in behind you after your second lap and I couldn't catch you. I closed up on you a bit in the Rattle Snake, but as you got in to the Wagon Wheel, you were gone!" I said, "Dang, I didn't know you were back there, you couldn't catch me?" "Nope, not until the Rattle Snake, and even then you'd just gap me again in the Wagon Wheel". I came back with, "Well, it must have been the pace, the Novice racers look really good today, and the pace was pretty dang fast. I guess I just didn't want to be that slow in their group so I pushed it a bit more, but traction was incredible, so it felt great to go that fast!". Glenn looked kind of puzzled, "what do you mean the novices were looking good, that was the Expert racers out there, not the novices."

I instantly pumped up and thought to myself, "Dang, maybe I am getting back on pace." Glenn said, "Dude, you need to race again."
Maybe. I doubt it though, crashing sux and so does riding the desk at work while I recover from broken bones. I think I'll stick to teaching and track days, you know what they say, "those who can't, teach."
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:23 PM   #2
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Sounds like a lot of fun Tom. Those new stones sound pretty good. Glad you had a good weekend.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:47 PM   #3
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Just ordered a pair of Bt002's yesterday. Was gonna go for the Bt003's, but settled on a great deal on the BT002's instead. I'm anxious to try them out next weekend...it should be fun. Nice write up, I enjoyed it.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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i had two oh moments on the 750. one was a dummy thatdecided to check up for no reason, which caused me to grab a hand full o front brake while i had it cranked over. and then i had one haulin outta big bend when my rear tire drifted about a foot.


the funnest part of my weekend was on saterday during the endurance. coming out of big bend in 4th gear on the 1k as soon as you crest that hill id yank up and it would powerwheelie while still cranked over at 100+. man that was fun
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romeo36 View Post
i had two oh moments on the 750. one was a dummy thatdecided to check up for no reason, which caused me to grab a hand full o front brake while i had it cranked over. and then i had one haulin outta big bend when my rear tire drifted about a foot.


the funnest part of my weekend was on saterday during the endurance. coming out of big bend in 4th gear on the 1k as soon as you crest that hill id yank up and it would powerwheelie while still cranked over at 100+. man that was fun
Remember that whole conversation we had about being fearless Friday?


Yeah.







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Old 08-24-2008, 09:52 PM   #6
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Great write up.

I haven't been able to put this weekend into words yet. Great seeing everyone.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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Great write up.

I haven't been able to put this weekend into words yet. Great seeing everyone.
That bad or that good?

BTW, Tom conceded to having the whole thing re-done instead of doing touch-up... is that not an option now?
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:20 PM   #8
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That bad or that good?

BTW, Tom conceded to having the whole thing re-done instead of doing touch-up... is that not an option now?
Not bad. I personally didn't meet MY goals this weekend but as a team we had our best finish yet!

If we are going to be a regular customer...we should qualify for the PoorBoy discount, right?!?!

What if I said Ronnie's bike looked GREAT!!!
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:29 PM   #9
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Quick add...

Our best result was in our class (C Superbike). One more spot and we podium. One of the toughest classes makes that a pretty big step, but not bad for a first year team either!

That PoorBoy discount should be named 'FrequentFlyer' discount instead!
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