Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 WERA @ LVMS

In February, 2012 I attended my first on track motorcycle school. I attended Keith Code’s Superbike School, levels one and two. Why is that important? Because that was the last time I was on track at Las Vegas Motorsports Park. Until this past weekend.

I didn’t remember very much of the track. I remembered that it was flat, fairly slow and that there were not any amenities for trailers, etc.

And I remembered that it was hot; even in February.

Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 WERA at Miller

One of my major goals for 2015 was to get more track experience on as many tracks as possible. While going to track days on various tracks is fun, racing on those tracks is far better experience and a fire hose of knowledge compared to a track day by itself. Therefore, I signed up with a few different clubs in the western United States.

Arguably the biggest short circuit club in the United States is WERA and they were a no brainer to sign up with. WERA races as dozens of tracks around the United States and has both regional races as well as national races. As luck would have it, my schedule this year allowed for me to attend three rounds of WERA. The first round was a national round at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Round 5 at OMRRA

Portland International Raceway

When I started the 2015 Racing season, I decided I wanted to expand my experience by racing at other tracks beyond the three that AFM normally uses. Racing at other tracks means racing with other clubs. So far this year, I have had the pleasure of racing with:
  • AFM
  • WERA
  • CVMA
This has allowed me, so far, to race at the following tracks this year:
  • Chuckwalla
  • Miller Motorsports Park
  • Sonoma Raceway
  • Thunderhill
  • Buttonwillow
  • Portland International Raceway

Friday, July 24, 2015

Preparing for WERA

This weekend is my first round with WERA.  This is also my first time racing my 450 Triple at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.  Miller is an interesting challenge as the front straight is 3500 feet long which is easily the longest front straight of any track that I have ridden on.

To prepare for this weekend I scheduled two days of training with Rickdiculous Racing. Those two days were an eye opening experience and I highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in going faster while being safer.  I would say that I was doing less lean angle while going faster by the end of those two days.

Today is now Friday, normally a practice track day for me before a race weekend but I decided to take today off to make sure the bike was fully prepped and that I was as relaxed as possible for the weekend.  All of my gear is ready, the bike has been through tech and I am ready to go.

Should be exciting weekend and I will post the results as soon as I can!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

AFM 2015 Round 3: Thunderhill

What an amazing weekend! Thunderhill at the end of May is typically a very hot and muggy period of time but we were fortunate to have excellent weather all weekend for the 3rd round of AFM!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Round 7 CVMA 2014/15 Season

Over the winter of 2014/15 the team manager and I were having a discussion about how to gain more experience and therefore improve our race results. Part of that conversation came the discussion about going to more tracks and getting a wider range of track experience to help shake off bad habits formed earlier in my career and to open my horizons to other possibilities.

From that discussion we decided to go down to Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in January of 2015 and run the track on my 2011 MartianCraft ZX–10R. Being on a track in January in sub–60F (15C) temperatures was an absolute eye opener for me. Tire warmers are effectively useless at these temps. First lap will be hot, sure. But after that, if you aren’t keeping the heat in the tires they are going to cool down on their own. Needless to say I learned a lot about heating up tires and maintaining heat that weekend!

After sampling Chuckwalla in January the team manager approved us attending two races this year at Chuckwalla. One in the 2014/15 season and one in the 2015/16 season.

Fast forward to April!

Racer Gloves USA

A few months ago I wrote a negative review on my favorite gloves. After that review I went on the hunt for a new set of gloves to wear. I tried a large number of gloves in various stores as I was traveling for work and hunted for the perfect set.

I discarded a lot of gloves purely from fit. While I don’t have “weird” hands, my size is a bit off. My palms are a little on the narrow side for the length of my fingers. I basically fit a large in the palm and x-large in the fingers. So I tend to use x-large gloves and then deal with blisters across the palms.

After not finding any gloves I liked, I “settled” on a set of Dainese Full Metal gloves. They were the 2014 model and were being discontinued and therefore came at a good price. I have had a few sets of Dainese over the years and while not amazing, they were pretty good.

Fast forward to 2015 AFM Round 1 at Buttonwillow. Gloves had already been broken in on the street and track prior to the round. However by Saturday afternoon I had developed wear spots on both of my pinkies just below the knuckle in the middle of the finger. Both pinkies were red and tender.

By Saturday night those spots were bleeding.

By Sunday night it was very painful to put the gloves on or remove them.

The hunt continued.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Speed Angle Review

Copyright 2015 4TheRiders
What started as a conversation on BayAreaRidersForum turned into an actual review of this unit. I had previously seen this unit being discussed in other contexts and reviewed their website in consideration of purchasing one for myself. The idea of tracking my lean angle is very interesting to me.

Given the price of the unit though and that it was a “complete package”, my interest waned fairly quickly.

Fortunately, rosemont83 from BayAreaRidersForum happened to own one of the units and offered to let me play with it for a weekend. That weekend also happened to be a race weekend with the AFM.

Offer accepted!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Time to talk about sweat...

I was born and raised in the desert. 120F (50F) during the summer months was common. I learned from a very early age how to hydrate, how much water a human body can consume both at rest and while exercising.

When I was a teenager (again still in the desert), I did a lot of work outside. It was common to consume well over a gallon of water during a work day and STILL be dehydrated. There was a saying that was often repeated when working outside:

If you aren’t peeing; you’re dying!

When I started riding motorcycles at the track I was amazed how few people understood hydration. During the summer months a large number of crashes are directly attributed to lack of water. I would see riders in my pit and recognize the signs of dehydration. Suggest to them that they drink more water they would shake their heads and tell me that they had a glass this morning and they were fine.

When I race in cool temps (below 100F) I pack 8 liters (2 gallons) of water per day. Normally I consume all of it.

When I race on hot days (well over 100F) I pack 12 liters of water per day and usually drink even more that what I brought.

You go through a massive amount of water and still only urinate a couple of times per day. My goal is to out on track with the urge to pee. When I come back from the track, I no longer need to pee and am again thirsty.

Where does the water go? That is the subject of the rest of this article.

Monday, March 23, 2015

AFM 2015 Round 1: Buttonwillow

Round 1 is an interesting point in the year. Some racers relax during the off season and find themselves going slower at the first round. Some racers work very hard on their race craft and come into Round 1 hotter than ever. One of the questions for me right off the bat is looking at my competitors.

Who was relaxing and who was working?

For me, this year is going to be challenging. As you may recall, I started last year on a 450 triple but had a nasty get off between rounds 1 and 2 and had to change over to my 1000cc ZX–10R for Rounds 3 through 7. This means I have a fair amount of seat time on the 1000cc but virtually none on the 450cc bike.

This year we are shooting for the fence. I am racing both my 2011 MartianCraft sponsored ZX–10R and my new 2008 AgileBits sponsored R4. What is an R4 you ask? It is another triple based off of a 2008 Yamaha R6. EDR agreed to do the triple modification as well as tune her for me.

To make it even more interesting, we are expanding beyond AFM this year and will be hitting rounds with WERA, OMRRA and CVMA. This will increase the exposure for my fantastic sponsors as well as increase my experience on the track and expand my knowledge of different tracks and race organizations. It is going to be a challenging year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 AFM Round 1

Race schedule for AFM round 1 has been announced!  It is going to be a busy weekend for me and my crew.

Friday will be all practice and dialing in the new 2008 R4.  This will be the first time I have ever ridden her and I will have exactly 1 day to find race pace.  No pressure.

Saturday morning will be AFM Practice.  This will also be spent on the 2008 R4 but more about testing tire temps, and getting some official lap times set. This will be the first time we twist her throttle "in anger".

Saturday afternoon I will be racing in Formula 40 Light on the R4 and then immediately getting on my 2001 ZX-10R to race in Formula 40 Heavy.  If I do it right I will get a warm up lap between the races, if not it will be immediately to the grid.  This will be a test for both me on the cool down lap and on my pit crew to have the bike ready to go!

Sunday morning is the big race.  450 Superbike. This is the race of the weekend for me.  However I will again have a 1000cc race right behind it as Open Production is the next race.

Following that back to back line up we will be running in Open GP on the ZX-10R before lunch and then the R4 in Formula 4 shortly after lunch.

Once the Formula Pacific racers have their fun we will be back out on the R4 for our first 650 Production race ever.  450 triples vs 650 twins.  Who is faster at Buttonwillow Raceway?  We will find out soon!

Seven races in two days and the race weekend starts 48 hours after I arrive back in the United States from the UK.

Come on out and watch the races with us.  It is going to be a great weekend in the sun.  BBQ Saturday night.  Beers pop at 5:00pm!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knox Handroid Gloves Review

I will freely admit that I purchased these gloves on look alone.  They are a very cool looking glove.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Sponsor: XT Racing

In my professional career I deal with data on a daily basis.  I have been working with data collection and analysis in one form or another for most of my career.

When I started working on improving my performance on the track I immediately wanted to start collecting the data so that I could observe it, measure it and ideally improve upon my performance by analyzing that data.

In the past few years I have tried nearly every lap timer on the market.  From using my iPhone to some very expensive units.  I have a nice collection of them in a box as "spares".

The unit I settled on was the GPX by XT Racing.  It provides the best GPS signal as well as the most user friendly software out of all of the items on the market currently.

I am pleased to announce that they have agreed to sponsor me for the 2015 season. Through their sponsorship I will be able to run their lap timers on both of my race bikes for the next season.  This will allow me to compare my data on the bikes against each other as well as against my fellow racers to further improve my race-craft.

If you are looking for serious data analysis on the race track, I would suggest looking at XT Racing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Sponsor: Bazzaz

Over the last few years I have had reason to work with a few different after market "piggy back" systems for my motorcycles on the race track.  Without being negative, I ran into a number of issues.

Therefore, I can speak from experience when I say that I had the best experience with Bazzaz.  I am running their full system on both my ZX-10R and my R4.  This includes traction control, fuel mapping and quick shifter.

I currently do not have the traction control enabled on my ZX-10R.  The ZX-10R has an excellent system built in and I am comfortable with it.  It is part of my todo list for this year to experiment with some changes to the traction control settings on that bike.

Having said that, I will absolutely be using it on my R4.  In 2008, Yamaha did not install a traction control system on the R6 which is what my R4 is based on.  Therefore the Bazzaz traction control is going to be a welcome addition to that bike.

Also new for me for 2015 is the Air Fuel module on my R4.  With my ZX-10R, I had EDR performance tune the bike for me.  Eric knows his craft like few others and he produced an excellent bike.  However, with the R4, I am more hands on.  I will be tuning the R4 myself and learning even more about how she runs through the experience.  I will be using the Air Fuel module to monitor her mixture at each race track, each race weekend, and dialing her in each time.  Since the difference of 1 horsepower can make a difference at the 450 level of competition I am looking for every opportunity to make sure she is running and her maximum potential.

With Bazzaz I expect to achieve that potential.