Wow! That's really all that needs to be said about
this past weekend. You see I went to
Vegas to race with WERA in their West Regional road racing series and it was a
blast. It was the first time out with my
new race bike, a Triumph 675R. Getting
here was a mad dash as I picked up the bike 6 weeks before the event. From there I needed to get everything to make
it race ready. The goes from exhaust, to
electronics, to suspension and bodywork.
wouldn't be a big problem as all of these parts would be readily
available. Except I seem to like to do
things the hard way and a race a bike that isn't commonly raced and needs some
special handling to get it right. What
does special handling mean?
Well for instance
the bodywork I want is coming from Latus.
Problem is its not ready yet.
There is some
fabulous exhaust from FMF that is brand new that not only looks awesome but it
makes good power. But, its just now
suspension? Doesn't it come with a nice
Ohlin's 30mm fork kit and a nice TTX shock?
Well yes...but its not quite right for racing. The problem is the parts needed to make it so
without simply replacing the fork cartridge is hard to get or a tool needs to
be made and we were out of time.
So the Triumph went
to Vegas with a major compromise in suspension from KFG Racing but Barry was
able to improve them a little bit from stock.
I also ended up borrowing bodywork from Latus since theirs wasn't ready yet. I ran a stock exhaust and stock electronics
so I was "silent but [sorta] deadly". :)
So even though the
bike as a whole was only partially ready I brought it down to start learning
about what's it like to ride a 3-cylinder machine. I will say though there was one trick up my
Steve Korol of Evol
Technologies is developing rear sets for the Triumph 675 and I had the
privilege of being his test mule.
Without these rear sets riding on the track would have been difficult. You see I run GP shift but the Triumph comes
setup for regular shift.
Steve really knows
how to treat the people he is working with.
Beyond the careful install of the rear sets at the track for me and
making the various adjustments based on my feedback. He was also around a great deal of time to
help pull warmers or put the bike back onto its stands. He was also good sounding board for some
questions I had about being out there. I
look forward to continuing to work with him throughout the season as we
completely dialog in the rear set.
So how was it racing
the Triumph. Holy crap that's fast! You see I'm coming from a fast SV650 SBK but
this thing is a complete rush. Vegas is
a tight course but it does have a very fast corner, turn 6. Unlike the 2008 R6 I rode a few years ago
this thing has some torque. That was
good as I'm not used to keeping the revs up so having torque as a crutch was
My first race was on
Saturday in the Middleweight Solo 20.
This is a 20 lap race which means about 25 minutes of work. I had a great grid position in the 3rd to
last row of the first wave. You see
there was over 50 bikes on track, something totally foreign to me. As I gridded up I was little nervous. Here I am with more than half the grid
breathing down the back of my neck while I've only launched this bike once and
I'm still WAY off pace. Well everything
turned out well and the field eventually worked their way past me. Eventually I was got lapped by Jason Disalvo
and then my tires started to slide (front and rear).
A quick note about
the tires. I am switching from Dunlop to
Pirelli's and this was my first time on them since 2008. They are excellent tires, when you have their
pressures set right. :) I'm not used to watching my hot pressures as
much and it turned out that my tires were 3-5psi too high. After pulling in and getting this adjusted I
went to head back out and the red flag came out due to Joey Pascarella crashing
in turn 7 after 10 laps. Since half
distance was reached, the race was deemed complete.
Sunday. The interesting thing is I am
registered for 4 classes, C SS, C SBK, HWT SS and HWT SBK. It also turned out that C SS and HWT SBK were
back to back. C SBK and HWT SS was also back to back. Yippie...lots of excitement followed by
nothing to do.
C SBK was up
first. I was gridded front row, of the
second wave. :) I got off to an ok start
and worked on trying to lower my lap times.
Eventually I was lapped but when someone is doing 1:16's...I'm ok with
Once I got done I
had Barry Wressell of KFG Racing waiting for me at track exit to double check
my tire pressures. See, I'm learning
from my Solo. The tires were perfect so
I went out to HWT SS.
I don't remember
much of this race except that damn novice got by me...at least it was
Pascarella's pit mate (I think brother).
So they all just haul around that track.
So now I get some
downtime to hang out and get a sun tan.
Man what a gorgeous day. Back at
home in Seattle its raining. Here its
like a summer day for us.
Finally my last two
races were up. HWT SBK was first. Funny thing.
It was sprinkling right before the race.
As I pulled up to track entrance one of the WERA officials went into a
long spiel to try to calm me down about the rain. The entire time I was laughing to myself. When he finished I leaned forward and yelled
(I wanted to hear myself), "I'm from Seattle." To which is said "Forget everything I
said, go right ahead!" :)
Once we reached the
grid we were behind some novices so I wondered if I'd catch them. I did and make a quick and easy pass on my
first one in turn 7. That felt good.
I completely all 6
laps this time with the best time of 1:32 something. Not fast but I did drop another second from
my previous lap times. Progress!
After pulling off I
wasn't sure if I had the energy to do C SBK but I decided to grid up
anyhow. I was again in the second wave
first row middle. As we charged towards
turn 1 I could see a rider go flying up ahead in the crowd. Uh oh that's not good! This pushed several riders wide including a
friend Jacob Brown. I got to see Jacob
later that lap in turn 7 as he drove past me with purpose. I continue on the track for one more lap and
decided I was riding stupid so I pulled off as not to be a danger to anybody
I have a long list
of people to thank to make this weekend possible.
I-90 Motorsports in
Issaquah with helping me acquire the Triumph and a list of parts I'll need to
make it ready.
April of KFG Racing
for handling the confusing mass emails I've sent her for even more parts for
the Triumph on such a short timeline.
Without her efforts the bike would be even less ready for this past
Barry of KFG Racing
was a huge help not only before the weekend with the suspension but also during
the weekend. He helped provide me
direction on how to approach getting used to this new bike...hell new
Tim Weig for
providing excellent transportation for my bike and accommodations for myself to
Vegas. He made and offer which anybody
with half a brain couldn't turn down. He
also made it way simpler and less stressful as I didn't have to do the 24hr
drive each way.
Steve Korol for the
excellent rear sets and support while at Vegas.
You will hear more about these fine pieces of kit in future write ups.
Ronnie and Katie of
Latus Racing for loaning me bodywork so I could make the event. Also for technical support on things to do to
the Triumph to make it that much better of a race bike.
My wife, Ariana, for
letting me be crazy and get a brand new motorcycle and race it from the