Spent my morning heading on down I495 south towards Bellingham to meet at the GMD Computrack Boston compound and let me tell you what a mission this was! Driving wasn’t as bad as the waking up at 7:30AM on a weekend during 0 degree New England weather but it had to be done! Today was the racer’s meeting, pit lane reporter annunciations, suspension pick up/drop off and of course a few words from local race hero Eric Woods from Woodcraft Technologies himself!
Having been to GMD before I knew the layout of the shop pretty good but of course with some new faces who’s never been a shop tour was in order. Pete, owner of GMD Computrack Boston, showed us around, explained to us what it is he and his staff do on the grounds, areas in which strip downs, parts clean up, rebuilds and chassis straightening took place. This is immensely helpful to everyone involved in this years racing efforts as we will be at the forefront of promoting the brand and services for GMD.
Pete also went into details about the backend portion of the business, how things work from the online store to shipping and even expansion. A lot of background information on him as a past racer to the present was also mentioned, giving more depth into what we were about to embark on for the season. Hopefully it’ll be a success and he can expand his shop sooner than he had intended!
As I opened the door I can see a multitude of people already hammering over the doughnuts and coffee as it was only still 9:30 on the clock, coffee still good right? Eyes fell upon me and I felt like a deer in headlights, everyone was probably thinking ‘who is this kid?’ Maybe it was just the awkwardness in my own mind because it will be my first year racing novice amongst the small handful of other racers there in the same class. Many of the faces were familiar to me as I have seen them plenty of times around the track day paddock so the transition to seeing them, and them seeing me in the racing paddock can turn into a ‘Hey man great last lap!’ in no time.
I forgot to mention that along with racing this year I will be working with GMD Boston, as well as two others, as their pit lane reporter during the LRRS rounds. That means practice, interview, race, interview, race, post race interview! A lot on my plate for one weekend of racing but this will not only give me a chance to help a local business grow but will also help my skill set grow as well. The meet and greet for the pit lane reporters went off pretty well with introductions and what are expected of both the reporters and the sponsored riders.
We will be incorporating social media outlets from Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube all the way to LinkedIn, Reddit and the likes and coupled with Google Analytics hope to drive more traffic to GMD. Videos from suspension settings, new customer reviews, sponsored riders race weekend resorts, how-to’s and blog posts to name a few are what you can expect from the reporters this season. The goal is to showcase content that will the every day rider all the way to the top expert race finisher a better if not complete understanding of how suspension works, what they should do to optimize their packages and how your race pace correlates to your suspension setup. Providing not only a parts retailer to the area but more importantly having a fully licensed and trained service staff on hand at the customer’s disposal is more important than just slapping in a cartridge kit and riding away.
Last we got to hear from special guest speaker Eric Woods who stopped by to pick up both of his race bikes for the season. If you are in the motorcycle industry either as a dealer, service depot or even every day rider than you know about Woodcrafts. They are not only becoming or rather already are a premier parts manufacturers, producing everything from tire warmers to race stands to clip-ons and engine cases to name a few, but it is always great to see a racer turn his passion and racing career into something more. Eric shed great words of wisdom when it comes to seeking sponsorship for your racing program, more of which I will write a blog post on, which I listened to intently of course, to how suspension is vital to any racer’s race pace and touching last on racing etiquette as we are of course racers and to-be.
Of course it’s been three weeks since my suspension has been taken out so it was fitting that before I left I picked up my forks and shock. I had GMD rebuild them after two seasons of track days and 5,000 street miles later. I wouldn’t trust a rebuild to just anyone else, local or not, as I have a long standing dealing with Pete and GMD all the way back to servicing the forks on my 2005 CBR 600RR in 2009. Not only do they do top notch work but they go as far as keeping all the parts they take out from your stuff and give it back to you in a little zip lock bag! Customer service is bar none as well, maybe that’s why I like giving them my business along with many referrals. You can go there with the intention of picking up your parts but stay for an hour or two talking bout bikes, racing to even every day life, its a good change in the business structure of things if I say so myself.
With my suspension components in hand and hand and with the list of things the reporters need to do I said my goodbyes and headed for the door. Now comes the parts of many and time is in a crunch. My race bike will now get put back together starting with the suspension, then comes the safety wire and remainder of the parts install. Let’s not forget there is Lo-Riderz season starter meeting today too! The ball is getting rolled on in many fronts, best be the one doing the roll and not get wrapped in its path!