Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Racerdude VRRA round 1 report

Last weekend was what I call a great race weekend.

I took the day off on Thursday to make the drive over to shannonville , get a good pit spot and be well rested for the race weekend.
Friday morning was the endurance practice and I couldn’t wait to try the new forks my dad had installed the week before on his bike for the endurance. They were the same model as before but something just felt wrong with the old set, like they were sticking halfway thru the stroke. The new ones felt much better right away and very little tuning was required to get comfortable on the bike. My dad went out for his practice and when he came back he said he wasn’t feeling too good and probably wasn’t going to do the endurance with me. He asked Maxpat to take his place and be his partner. Both Pat and I were sad that my dad wasn’t going to do the race and suspected he just didn’t want to disappoint me because he felt I wouldn’t win the endurance with him as a partner. It turned out that my dad really suffered from vertigo and later went to see the track doctor who told him he should park it for the weekend.

Pat and I had a little problem with the large gas tank my dad had built for the race it was leaking form the cap but we got the problem figured out just in time for the race. We decided we were both going to do 1 hour stints, but I told Pat to look for my signals at 40 minutes to see if I could actually make it to the end, I wasn’t sure I could. I got a good start and settle into a rhythm but soon figured It wasn’t going to be that easy. Bill Mckay aboard a Hurricane 600 was matching my lap times and we passes each other a couple times in the first 10 minutes. I finally got a little breathing room when we ran into some slower traffic but Bill kept right on my butt for the next while making the pace much faster then I intended to go before the race. I was hoping to cruise around the 1:02-1:03 mark but mid 1:00 to mid 1:01’s is what we ended up doing. I only went into the 1:02’s a couple laps out of the 58 I did when I came up on lapped riders. I kept hoping Bill would dive into the pits at the 30 min mark, then again at the 40 min, but he never did, it was clear he was on the same strategy Pat and I were. After 58 laps (1hour) I dove onto pit lane to hand the bike over to Pat for his stint. He got back on the track about ¼ of a lap behind the Hurricane, what we didn’t know at the time is that he was actually a lap and ¾ in front of the Hurricane , Pat’s pace was about 1 ½ second faster then Dave Minnet on the yellow 600, so he went past and then lapped him again at about the 1h40 minute mark (my dad and I thought this pass may have been for the lead) note to self, pay attention to the other teams pit stop next time. We ended up doing 114 laps in 2 hours. Bill and Dave did 111. I was surprised to see I did my best lap on lap 54 after almost an hour on the bike nonstop.

Thats what most of my stint looked like

Rider change halfway thru the race
Pat about to put the second place team a lap down
The Happy winning team

Friday night was the first of our Banquet style meals of the weekend. Sebastien’s partner for the endurance race Yvan is great cook and Manon , Mary, Audrey-Anne and him had prepared all of the teams meals for the whole race weekend, we ate like kings. Friday was pork fillets with homemade applesauce prepared by Manon (Mary’s Mother). Everybody enjoyed and there was no leftovers and we made all race teams around us very jealous.

Saturday morning was the 8 lap P4F3 heat race, after some confusion with the grid everything was fixed just in time for the race (thanks Neal and Matt). I got an ok start but could only follow Jamie as he was setting a pretty fast pace, I kept hoping he would get caught up into lap traffic but a red flag came on the fifth lap after a nasty fall by one of our friends from North Bay (get well soon Andrew). So I had to settle for second place, I have to admit at that point I didn’t think I had the pace to run with Jamie in the Sunday race, I would have to see how things played out with the weather and lap traffic witch always plays a big role in the later stages. The P4 challenge was also on Saturday , but because of the large grid they had to split the race into 2 smaller heats with total race time determining the finishing order. I ran 2nd on track behind Ed Kopeschny but will probably end up 3rd or 4th overall.
Chasing Ed in the 2nd P4 Challenge

Saturday night we had our second banquet style dinner, prepared all day by chef Yvan. The VRRA also had a cake party planned for the VRRA 30 year anniversary.


Saturday overnight, the rains came. I stayed in bed and only got up for the riders meeting. And tried to relax a little until our late afternoon race. Sebastien, Damien and Francois decided to go out in the wet practice to get a feel for the rains slicks in case it was still raining for the race. After looking at the weather satellite RdKetchup and I were confident that it would be dry for our race. It stopped raining early afternoon but a few sprinkles right before the race had us a little worried. We watched our new friend Martin in the P4F1 race aboard his FZ750 (it is also his street bike). He told us the track was dry so that’s all I needed to hear.

About 15 riders didn’t show up for the race because of the previous rain (they went home early). So the Race ended up being a 1 wave race.
Jamie again got the early jump at the start, I pushed hard on cold tires and I was able to stuff him in turn 6. I led thru turns 2-3 and 4 but he passed me going into 5. I pulled along side into 6 again and went side by side thru 6 and 7 before he pulled away again down the straight, he had a great drive onto the straightaway and I could only get close again coming out of turn 1. He led that whole lap but we came up on a slower rider going into 2 on lap 4, he hesitated and dove inside to make the pass. I pushed hard on the next 2 laps , setting fastest lap of the race of 58.6 (Jamie did a 58.8) and got a little gap on Jamie, after a couple of hard laps my dad gave me a sign on pit wall telling me I had some room, but I had to look back on the next lap to make sure, for the rest of the race a could see Jamie braking into 5 while I was going into turn 6 so I knew I could just hold it steady. I was really surprised we went so fast in these cold conditions. Getting back to the pits, the guys to me Pat had passed Sebastien to take 3rd place and Francois had a great battle with Brian Henderson for 5th place, francois was especially proud to have beaten one of the icons of motorcycle racing in Canada and he enjoyed every minute of the battle, that’s a memory he will cherish. RdKetchup ended up 7th and Damien 12th . The 58.603 lap time I did is (unofficially for now) a new overall VRRA lap record for the Quinte TT, the previous one was 59.180 by Scott Ruppert. I heard Ed also went faster than 59.1 in his P4 challenge race but I don’t know exactly how fast he went (his time would not count towards the lap record because challenges and Endurance races are not included in the tabulation). Jamie, Patrick and Sebastien also lapped faster than the previous P4F3 lap record of 1:01.083 set by Adam Bennet in 2007 on the same RS125 Patrick is riding now. It was kinda bittersweet to beat Adam’s lap record, I didn’t know him but I know he was friends with a lot of VRRA members and its something they could hold on to after he passed away. I think they should name the P4F3 championship trophy in his honor.

Next Race is in 2 weeks for RACE round 3.

My onboard video of the P4F3 race will be posted soon
Chasing Jamie early on in the P4F3 final

That guy is focused...
The Deficients after the race

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