How do I start off my last race report of my first season racing? Well it pretty much started out the same as the first round! Arriving to the track late on Friday night, but thankfully my teammate had already set up our area in the infield, to a cold, brisk and bitter October, wasn’t it just sunny and in the 70s a week ago? We put our things away, got sorted in the trailer with the sleeping arrangements, worked on putting a damper on 809’s CBR, which by the way was a pain but thanks to 802 racing for the tools and help and then throwing on Hitting the Apex it was soon time to sleep.
I initially wanted to get up at 6:30AM to get a quick run in and stretch the body before both practices but I hit the snooze button when I was greeted with those BRISK October mornings. Feels like April all over again. Got out of bed, eventually and headed to get both myself and the bike ready, still needed to go through tech. Simple in and out affair with not much fuss and back to the pits. The morning was cold, so I opted to leave the street Dunlop Q3 on from the last round, which by the way was a tire change fest, to run the practice sessions.
Not really trying to set my usual blistering fast practice times of 1:30s I just wanted to get reacquainted with the bike as most practice sessions. Took it easy for a few laps and decided to go for a charge into turn 1, my first mistake. With the dumps of the gears before the tip in the rear slid and the front just planted itself, its face, body, legs, Christ everything was just slammed under braking. At this point I thought the front tire was going to look up and flick both fingers at me and give way. I took it easy all the ways back into pit out needless to say. I knew it the forecaster predicted it to be chilly and cloudy most of Saturday so I didn’t want to run my DOT race Bridgestones, but after this I quickly made the swap back over to a setup I am more familiar with.
Now the wait begins.
Novice Formula 1:
I believe I gridded 2D for this race, doesn’t matter because being by the wall sucks to see the lights, doesn’t help being a 5’7 Asian on tiptoes neither. My teammates 537 & 811 in both the rows ahead of me gave me something to work towards as they have had more races than I during this season due to injuries.
I get a fantastic start off the line, becoming better at launching is something I have worked on since April and it pays off, trailing Mark Brown’s 848 Ducati into T1 with 616 of Wimble, 809 of Gondres and 537 of Chau closely behind. Going through 1-2 I knew I had to stay on Mark’s tail because of the sheer outright grunt of the Duc on any straight, knowing he could just get away that quickly from me. Exiting 2 I can see that I am pulling on Mark but lo-behold 537 is RIGHT there next to him showing a wheel. Didn’t know what was going to happen going three abreast into 3 while I was on the gas but I decided to say FUCK IT and just hold the brakes a bit later. Coming up of 4 I couldn’t believe I WAS ACTUALLY LEADING, what does one do in such a situation? I told myself just ride smooth and breathe. It only lasted from 5 to 11 as 537, Chau, took the outside and shut the door on me before 12. I knew I have better drive coming out of there so I just kept my head down, tried to pick up the bike sooner than him and pile on the gas, hopefully out dragging him into 1. What I forgot was how much better he is at 1 than I am, so needless to say in my attempt to follow and carry as much speed as he I nearly ran off the track into the grass, barely saving it by the thinnest of lines. I tried to maintain the gap between my teammate and I for a few laps but I could see that he was pulling away bit by bit.
After 2 laps of follow the 537 another ride took me on the inside of 1 and it was 787. Man he was QUICK and on a mission. At this point I was trying to just limit the damage as I was in 3rd, would be my best finish of the season. Soon the both of them just disappeared into the cloudy horizon leaving me to keep a steady pace all by my lonesome. On the fifth lap I encountered the Novice Formula 3 riders and I had to make some adjustments to pass them safely, it was here that 809 of Gondres overtook me into and out of the bowl. I had my work cut out for me as I know Gondres has a much MUCH better pace than myself podium dreams crushed. As we approached the tree house copious amounts of red flags were waving signaling us to head back into the pits as a crash had occurred. With only 3 laps left in the race they decided to revert to the positions of the previous laps and my first podium was secured, 3rd!
Out Lap: 1:33.413
Best Lap: 1:26.522
As we headed back into the pits the whole team was greeted with our Lo-Riderz family who made the trip to support the boys. It was a great feeling to have the guys up there rooting us on, a great motivational booster. We did them proud by bringing back 1st, from 537, along with my 3rd, 1st MSGRacing two man podium.
Novice Formula 2:
I gridded up again next to the wall again in 2D, must be something in the air for this. Sat behind 642 of Phil for this one before the lights went out. 1-2-3-4-5 steady, steady, hold revs at 8.5k rpms, let it hum, louder now louder. BLACK. Dump the clutch and felt the rear hookup for the drive I have been coming to expect at each start come into play. Not wanted to be eaten up alive at 1 I held 2nd gear pinned going into the corner following 809 of Gondres, but what is this I see, 133 of Devin coming in from the left side flanking second position. Us three made it in clean and I proceeded to follow them in tandem, knowing they have faster times I just latched myself on the back for the ride. Heading up the bowl I pull closer towards Devin, the gap shorter than that of walk distance between our two pits in the infield, he took a tighter line to the apex, I opted to stick it out in the mid, staring down the unused right edge of his Dunlop tire. I followed for as long as possible during what looked like him pulling away down the hill at 9 was simply too hot for the turn. He runs wide, my chance to close the gap once again and I am on his coat tails through 11 and 12. I wanted to keep close to these two, learn as much as possible being behind them, which meant carrying MORE speed than I had before going into T1 but from my video you can clearly see I do not have this section down as pact as they do on this pace. I ran in hot, wide, had to pull back the line in which they pull away, now I am shark bait bleeding and the ones behind me knows it. Going into 3 I followed Devin with a bit more speed, what I forgot was the yellow line depicting a bump. I reacted by giving it gas in that transition, the front was going, then the rear started, before I knew it the bike was bucking around, was this a bronco? The feeling of either a high or low side was coming was enough for me to think ‘JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL,’ luckily it held steady and I was left with a sizable poop stain in the leathers. Remember those sharks I was telling you about? Well one found me before the apex of the bowl, proceed to use its mandible and rip me a new one in the rear. His pass was so close it spooked the bejesus out of me. Quickly I regained composure and whatever was left of my romped buttocks after I ran SLIGHTLY off line onto the top bowl runoff and just kept on chugging.
Exiting 12 I encounter one of the newly licensed racers, Marwan, and proceeded to make a clean although close pass to his outside by which time the top three were out of my sights. Before tipping into 3 I was met again with 787, which then prompted me to pick up, and gave him way as he was on the inside. Man this guy comes out from now where! Trying to make up time to the top 4, but let us be honest here ha, I wanted to carry more speed into 1, but I COMPLETELY blew 1, and took the NASCAR turn instead. Remember when they said to come to a complete halt and place a foot on the ground? Yea I was scared I was going to tip over as I came as fast as I could to the marshal. I made sure I locked eyeballs to eyeballs, stopped, foot on ground and both he and I looked at oncoming traffic. There it was 537 going through the first section. Boom, done. They let me back on directly after he had pulled ahead on the short back straight. Now I had my work cut out as I chased down my teammate yet again. After rejoining I came down 9 and thought ‘Fuck is this Marwan again?’ and that threw me off not knowing whether I was passing him again or am one lap down. By the time I was on the back straight for 3 I saw another newly licensed racer and decided to just pin it past him and go hard on the brakes into the turn on the inside, another mistake by me during this race. I could not scrub off the speed whatsoever and completely overshot the turn, on the last lap. It was tempting to go through the 3-10 split but I allowed the front to settle and just tipped it in. I saw the new racer and another racer in my wave pass me on by. Right by 11 as I chased down the one from my wave in front of me ANOTHER passed me on the outside before the right flick into 11A. What was going!? Thankfully he was on an older F4I and I just used the grunt of my R6 to pip him at the line for 7th. This was a tough one coming down from the last race but I did set my PB of the entire season on this one.
Out Lap: 1:29.400
Best Lap: 1:26.415
After the awards ceremony we made way over to the LDR bbq and raffle. It seemed like a great turnout with good food, music and people and of course a great cause! We happily donated to the food and bought a few tickets for the raffle, hoping to get something good! My teammate Chris ended up winning Shane’s Spidi Carbo Track gloves that he wore. You wouldn’t believe the things we told him to do to extract every bit of Shane for uber fast lap times! I on the other hand grabbed myself a free Thursday practice for next season, one of which I will be putting to good use in trying to strengthen the areas where I am weak.
On a sidenote what I witness that night was a great thing from the LRRS community. Coming together and raising money for a great cause and person is always a beautiful thing to behold. Glad I was in some small capacity a part of it.
Woke up to a much colder morning than the last but luckily we didn’t have to rush this morning to get anything done as did the day before. We moseyed over to the cafe, grabbed a coffee, made small talk with some of the other guys in our class and moseyed on back to get things started for day 2 of racing. Up were Rookie 2 and Starter 2.
Novice Rookie 2:
This race brought on a much better condition in terms of weather, sunny, warmer, bright, what more can you ask for from a day that just passed. I gridded up 6A with 809 to my immediate front and my teammate 811 to my immediate right, another sandwich off the line I supposed. I grabbed a handful of revs and held it at the sweet 8.5k marker and waited for the lights to go out. Once they do I fast forward past a few on the row in front of me with 809 to my left alongside 537, a familiar sight as it has been the last few races together. Going into 1 you can hear my limiter bouncing off of 2nd gear as I tried to hold it longer than the others. One by one I can see a line forming into it, won’t be a meat grinder after all. On the far outside I saw 787 once again make a dramatic dive to overtake nearly half the pack, this guy is fast. Like a conga line we all filed into 3 and eventually up the hill in perfect harmony. Coming down 9 someone on an F4I decides to go around the outside and blow 10, exiting super wide, but no matter as he pulled it back in time to gain a position on me. In my mind I felt like I was riding my smoothest all weekend, chasing down the pack that has eluded me since the 7-8 transitions. On the straight I focused on chasing down 616 of Wimble and decided to pass on the outside before 1, but as I dumped the gears an unusual feeling was happening at the rear. It was sliding as normal but somehow it was stepping out to the side a bit more than usual, I deduce that it was indeed backing in so I tread careful into 1 as so often this entire round and aimed at catching the F4I that had passed me in the back section. It’s lonely out there when everyone is in front of you as I found out for a couple of laps but luckily Thomas Sands showed up at turn 3 on his 913 Honda and gave me someone to follow. We couldn’t have all the fun so Ryan Sikorski, 860, joined in on the fun. I must have missed a lot during my summer absence because this guy got quicker than when I raced him this past May. Time to follow! The remainder of the race pretty much went like this, me by myself, all by my lonesome. After a while fatigue in my arms started to settle in and I just wanted the race to be over with quite frankly. I brought her back into the pits in 9th place.
Out lap: 1:35.264
Best lap: 1:30.003
I felt smoother than the day before but I am clearly doing something wrong if my times are off by 4 seconds of my PB.
In between this and the last race our sponsor, DRT-Sport, came up with his son who was an avid NASCAR fan turned wrestling fanatic and hold Lorenzo as his favorite racer, but he’s only five. We enjoyed having our friends come up and watch us race, always a great feeling. I took the young lad over to watch one of the expert races before the start of my next one where he ogled over the speed that they were doing into turn 1. “Who is number 64,” he asked me to which I explained it was Shane, the destroyer of hopes and dreams, and that he was realllllly quick around here. “He’s me new favorite racer,” exclaimed the boisterous young fellow, seems like Shane picked up another fan! Maybe I can convert him to get into bikes like his pops after all!
Novice Starter 2:
This marked my last race of my first season so I went out there with the intentions of finishing on top after the kind of year I had with my team. The sun was setting, that nice autumn glow was beaming, your friends surrounding you, what the, yea they’re all around me on the grid once again. This time it was a circle of friends, now I must weave through them if I could! I get a great launch again on this last race as I past 537 and 616 at the line and follow 809 into 1 but from the corner of my eye I seen 913 run in too hot and have to take the NASCAR turn. We go up and over the hill into the bowl when again the same F4I from previous races come in and pass me on the right. I was about to follow him but I noticed he ran off into the cutoff at the top, probably not a good idea. Chasing them down the straight but by the time turn 1 came around again red flags were thrown up in the air. We all rode back into hot pit and wait it out.
On the second restart I felt Wimble’s presence much more than the last one so to hold him off I kept on the gas and stuck a knee out so I can take up as much space as possible LOL! We filed in the same as before and carried on with business as if nothing had happened. For a lap I tried sticking with the three ahead of me until the 306 of Corey Brace met with me in the bowl, if you haven’t realized a dog fight with me in the bowl will leave you coming out on top right now as it’s where I broke my collarbone. We went in, up and side by side pretty much the entire duration. I tried to lunge at him right at 7 but I thought the better of it. Not much to gain and a whole lot to lose if we both went down now. Bye Corey, it was great battling with you for one corner! Did I mention the AM went out in the wave before me? Well two waves before me? So by the time I made it back to the bowl the 278 of Hemstreet reminded me whom I was racing with. He is always so courteous with his passing, hi Dave! This made it tough as I just set my sights on the pack in my own wave. I must work on my 9 again as people overtake me here all the time, case and point 537 of Chau, I thought the whole time he was ahead of me, but here he is with his Misano Rossi Replica. After he passed me came the horde of amateurs I probably was holding up, sorry fellas! It comes into perspective the kind of machinery you’re racing around as I saw an R6, R6, another R6, oh hey look down there an R6, go figure. Unfortunately a lap or two later the race was red flag again so we all made it back into the pits with me coming in 7th.
Out lap: 1:31.591
Best lap: 1:29.005
The end of this race marked the end of my team’s and my self’s first season in road racing. From what started out as a one-man team with just talks over last fall can turn into a three-man squad the following year was great. I had a lot of fun this season despite broken bones but will surely be back after the winter break. I couldn’t have fathomed my riding progressing this much in a few rounds as opposed to the few years of track days I was doing. I am happy with my progression this first season but as the off season sets in I am hungry for more!
Definitely want to thank all mine and my team’s sponsors DRT-Sport, Lo-Riderz Motorsports, Woodcraft Technologies, Signature Designz and Navigation Brewing Co. because without your support in us, what we do and our program we surely couldn’t have gotten to where we are!