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RACE (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

PICTURES (1) (2)

The GT 650 represents a great platform to start out racing. Good power, good handling, and lightweight make for a great bike to learn the art of going fast. This year Encore Performance will run a GT 650 in the CCS Southwest Roadracing Series (www.roadracesw.com) in the Lightweight Supersport, Lightweight Superbike, and Thunderbike classes. The bike will be piloted by Matt Kellerman and will wear #218. Our main competition will be the Suzuki SV 650 (of course) with a few Ducatis, Kawasaki's and Buell's thrown in the mix. We decided (I begged and Jim said OK) to race the GT for 4 reasons:
  1. To see how the GT will hold up to a full season of racing. The bike was on the track for its first time with only 50 miles on the odometer. 
  2. To source and develop performance parts for the Hyosung lineup.
  3. To promote the Hyosung brand and Encore Performance.
  4. TO HAVE FUN!!!!! 
I had never been on a motorcycle on the track so I figured the best way to start out was to do a trackday. Trackdays are popping up all over the country, so if you've ever wanted to see what its like, find a track near you and see what they have to offer. Here in Arizona the company is called Arizona Trackday. For a modest fee (all right... its not cheap, but worth it) you can take your regular streetbike to the track for a day,  have a great time, and hopefully go home in one piece, a better rider. The modifications to your bike are minimal and probably differ from company to company.

So, my first trackday was a success. I didn't crash. Went faster every session. Learned a lot about the bike, my riding style, and most importantly what I forgot to bring (the EZ UP, more water, and more food). We had already performed a few modifications to the bike including Two Brothers Racing muffler, Vesrah brake pads, and stainless steel brake lines. The bike performed flawlessly and was definitely on par, power wise with the SV 650's that were on the track with me. You can check out some pictures of the GT 650 on the track, here.

Next up was the licensing clinic. This was held in conjunction with the CCS races on Saturday. It cost $150 and included classroom sessions and on-track sessions. There was one basic requirement to passing the course, you could not crash....mission accomplished. I really wanted to race on Sunday, but was unable to since the bodywork did not show up in time. Getting your bike ready for racing requires quite a bit of prep work, in order to make it safe for the other riders on the track. Each racing body will have their own rules, but here is a list of general items that will need to be done to your bike:
  1. Replace coolant with water or a mix of water and an approved water wetter (to help lubricate the pump and seals)
  2. Remove lights and mirrors, and tape over tachometer and speedometer faces (or remove them)
  3. Install a solid piece lower fairing that will hold all the fluid contained in the bike.
  4. Safety wire all bolts that hold fluid behind them (ie. oil drain plugs, coolant drain plugs, etc.) There are lots of resources on the internet to learn how to safety wire properly. I found a good one here.
  5. Remove center stand and/or sidestand. This means you need to get yourself a racestand.
These are just the basics....Check with your local race series for official rules!

First race for our GT650 will be March 25th and 26th at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. Check back for a recap of the weekend and results........  

Race 1 is complete click HERE for a recap of the weekend and pictures!

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