After years of dreaming
about this moment and months of actual planning and preparation, I
finally achieved my dream of roadracing a motorcycle. I want to first
thank everyone who made this weekend possible. First and foremost Jim
Knaup, owner of Encore Performance and main sponsor of the bike,
without him none of this would be possible. Big thanks to Will Harlan
for doing a lot of the prepwork on the bike including all the tedious
details like taking the carburetors on and off 20 times to try out new
jets. Jim Chapman for doing the fiberglass work on the body to get us
past tech inspection. Tech didn't even bat an eye, I was in and out in
a minute. And of course everyone who showed up at the track to help out
and support our efforts. O.K. enough of this stuff, how about the
I learned a lot of lessons this weekend and although
I didn't realize what the first one was until Saturday, it actually
happened the night before. It was a mad dash all day Friday to get the
bike fully prepped for the track. We didn't finish with all the details
(thanks Jen!) until after 6pm. With the bike ready to go I began the
task of getting everything else you need for a race weekend
loaded up. This was done very quickly and without any sort of list.
Lesson Learned: MAKE A LIST! and make it well beforehand while you have
time and can walk around and think about what you might need. There is
no way that you will get everything you need on your first try, but you
might be a little more prepared than I was.
All loaded up, headed down to Phoenix Friday night.
Things happen early at the track, gates open at 7am
to start setting up. I arrived at the track just after 6 am and there
was a looooong line in front of me. It turned out there were only a few
people who slept later than I did and ended up in an even longer line.
was pretty uneventful, thanks to Andrew in the pit next to me for
me put up my canopy. Lesson Learned: GET AN EZ-UP. Next up was tech
inspection: like I said earlier, no problems here. Studying the rule
book, asking questions, and looking at what's been done to similar
bikes will really help with
tech. I got suited up and made it out for the first practice session.
We hadn't changed the setup on the bike since the
last track day, which were:
Static sag rear - 1.25"
Static sag front - 1.00"
Front rebound dampening - Full hard
Front compression dampening - Full hard
Main Jets - 142.5
Idle Jets -
Tires - Bridgestone BT014 120/60 -17 front @ 30 psi
160/60 -17 rear @ 30 psi
It was pretty cool for the first session @ 9am
so I took it easy the first couple of laps to let the tires warm up. I
didn't push hard and just worked on working my way around the track.
a good line, finding my brake markers, and remembering what gear I was
in. The bike was working well. We had an engine hesitation between
9,000 and 10,000 rpm at an earlier track day and determined it was a
lack of adequate tank venting. We drilled a hole in the gas cap to
provide more venting and it worked well. Although I was still getting a
little hesitation between 7,000 and 8,000 rpm. Lap times were in the 1
min 11 sec range (1:11.)
I started going faster earlier in the second
session, but on my third lap the windscreen decided to come loose, so
up went my hand and I got back to the pits. Three screws on the screen
had come loose which left half of the screen just flapping around.
Lesson Learned: USE NYLOC NUTS!
I got in a good groove in the final practice session
and put in consistent 1:11's with a 1:10.65 on my last lap. The bike
still had a little hesitation at 3/4 throttle. Up to this point I had
been running premium pump gas. I had race fuel on hand and was going to
switch out for my afternoon races.
We wanted to try and figure out the
before my first race so we started with the spark plugs to see how the
was. Ohhhhh, I forgot the spark plug socket, see lesson #1. The guys
next to me lent me the tools and we pulled the rear plug. It looked
nice tan color. The problem still seemed like we weren't getting enough
The GT650 has a vacuum operated petcock that gets its vacuum from the
cylinder intake manifold. We decided to get rid of the vacuum setup and
the gas flow to the carbs all the time. We drained the tank and took
petcock apart to remove the valve that shuts off the fuel. We had to
a little modification to the gaskets to get the appropriate parts off.
put the petcock back on and tested for leaks. Sure enough, drip drip
Thankfully I had a great pit crew and they held the tank so fuel
wouldn't leak out while I walked down to the on track vendor to get
some silicone sealant. 5 minutes later and $8 poorer I had a tube of
sealant. Petcock went back on and no leaks. We needed to plug up the
vacuum line running
to the petcock so I searched for a screw to plug up the hose..... oh
that's right I didn't bring any extra nuts or bolts. This time I bugged
Andrew, who was pitted on the other side of me, and he came through
with a spare screw. Got the tank back on just in time for the first
First Race, Lightweight Supersport: This is an
SV 650 dominated grid, that does not allow for any engine
modifications. I was on the second row for the start. I got a good jump
on the start. The bike really pulls well and is definitely competitive
with a stock SV in
straight line acceleration. I was 3rd going into the first turn, but
quickly passed by all the experts. I fell back to 6th for a while and
concentrated on being consistent. The hesitation problem had gotten
worse and the bike was now backfiring like crazy. I tried to just ride
through the problems
and stay consistent. My fastest lap time was a 1:10.243 and I
in 7th (out of 8).
Came back into the pits for a short break and
started thinking about the backfiring problem. The exhaust can had lots
of black at the end of it, so at first it seemed like it was running
rich. We pulled the spark plug again but it looked the same as before.
We contemplated changing jets (to a 140) to try and lean it out....oh
that's right I didn't bring any extra jets!!! I stared at the bike for
a while trying to come up with some idea of what was causing the
problem. Then it jumped out at me, I
forgot to plug up the vacuum hole in the intake manifold. Lots of extra
air was getting into the rear cylinder causing all the backfiring. A
snip of the hose and a little safety wire and the hole was plugged.
Second Race, Thunderbikes: Again, a SV dominated
grids but also a Ducati 748. This class allows for engine
modifications so we were definitely underpowered going in . I got a
great start again but this time most of the bikes pulled ahead before
turn 1. I was passed, again, by the experts and just settled into my
pace. We're running stainless lines with Vesrah pads on the brakes but
they started to fade by lap 8. We need to get some high performance
sintered metal pads on the bike. I was really
trying to stay on the same line and work on being smooth. THEY say
is fast. I finished in 9th (out of 10), with a fast lap of 1:10.246. At
I had gotten the hang of the consistency thing.
I came into the pit after my second race of the day
completely exhausted. Lesson Learned: WORK OUT MORE! Mike Duecy
volunteered to pick up some jets on Sunday before the race, thanks Mke!
Sunday morning came earlier than I would have liked,
and come to find out practice starts an hour earlier. So a mad dash
ensued to get ready, but I was geared up in time and made it out for
the first session. Practice was uneventful and the bike was running
well. I was lapping consistently in the 1:10.s. Mike showed up with
some 140 jets but we decided not to put them in since it didn't seem to
be running too rich. Finished the practice sessions, had some lunch,
and rested for my one race of the day.
Third Race, Lightweight Superbike: Another SV event
with a fast Kawasaki 500. My goal for this race was to push a little
harder and knock a second of my best lap. The Hyosung provided me with
another good start but again I was passed in the first couple of
corners by the fast guys. I got up to speed quicker than before and
could tell by the tires sliding that I was going faster than before. I
settled into a good pace and then at the Freeway Turn (turn 10) it
happened. A combination of too much speed, too much brake, and not
enough tire and I lost the front end. It was a
low speed crash and I picked the bike up and was going to finish the
but I noticed the water pump cover had broken. Since the motor wouldn't
last long if I was spewing water out the hole in the cover and the
racers wouldn't care for it either, I pushed the bike over to the tires
hung out for the rest of the race. Luckily my crash happened on Lap 9
I didn't have to wait long. I got to take the Truck Ride of Shame back
the pits. The weekend concluded with me talking to various people about
crash, and listening to advice on how to avoid doing it again.
All in all it was a great weekend. I want to thank
everyone who helped make it happen! I couldn't have done it alone. If
you want to see some pictures
the weekend click here
. You can check out the official CCS website here
. If you are interested in
racing a Hyosung let us know and we will try to help out with as much
information as possible. Check back soon for an update to the
modifications we will be making to the bike.