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Championship Cup Series - Round 6
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Classic Course
Encore Performance Racing - Sept. 1 - 3

RACE (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

PICTURES (1) (2)

Webster defines Torture as: a cause of sever pain or anguish. That's exactly what the past 3 months of no racing had been. Sure I rode my old Benelli every now and then, but it's just not the same. The Bike: I had big plans for the bike over the summer break, some of them materialized, some didn't. The list included: adding a steering damper, a new shift lever (w/o the linkage), porting the head, decking the head, changing the rear shock, balancing the wheels, adjusting the valves, wrapping the exhaust.

We started with the wheels. Every time we put on a tire we had to add over 2.5 ounces of weight to balance it out. We knew the rims must be way out of balance. The idea was to grind / cut some material off the wheel to balance it. We put the rear rim on the balancer by itself and sure enough it was about 2.5 ounces out of balance. We didn't want to weaken the rim and there was only a couple of places to remove material . After a lot of drilling and grinding we (it was really Will who did all the work) had only removed about an ounce of weight. This was a futile effort. There was no way to remove enough weight without compromising the integrity of the wheel, so we called it good and put the tire back on.

Next job was adding a steering damper. My first idea was to mount the damper to the fork tube and to the frame rails, which was straightforward and easy. However, one of the main ideas for racing a Hyosung was to develop parts that would be useful to other Hyosung riders. The steering damper setup I mentioned would not work on a GT650 with stock bodywork, because the upper fairing would get in the way of the frame mount. Jim, Will, and I (and anybody else who happened to come by) would take the damper around a stock bike and try to find a different place to mount it. We  looked at everything, under the lower triple clamp, above the gas tank, near the radiator, etc.. we even toyed with mounting it to the front cylinder. Nothing really worked. So we had to go back to the original idea. We mounted it to the fork tube and using a modified fairing mount bracket we had a working damper. We dropped the fork tubes another 1/4" and the steering was done.  (It looks like this...)

  hyosung racing steering damper gt 650  steering damper hyosung gt650

I had missed a couple of shifts over the course of the season and it seemed that if we could get rid of the linkage setup on the shift lever we might get a more positive feel and alleviate the problem. Tim started working on the shift lever and came by with a lever off a mid 80's Suzuki motor, and sure enough the splines matched the shaft.....Amazing!! It was a little short (I've got small feet.....but don't believe what they say about small feet!!) Anyway, Tim was off to lengthen the lever. He had to lengthen it twice to get the right fit. Unfortunately, by the time it was long enough for my little feet to reach it, the throw was so long that the lever was going to cause more problems than it would solve. I threw the lever in the parts chest to use as a spare.

I popped the valve cover off the rear cylinder to inspect the valves. The clearance was spot on. I left the valve cover off for a while in hopes that I would tear it down the rest of the way and start porting the head and doing a valve job. Well, this is the part that never materialized. I guess it will have to wait until the winter break.

I had been trying for months to order the fiberglass heat wrap through multiple distributors but it was constantly on back order. Finally one day it arrived. The idea behind the wrap is to keep the heat in the exhaust. The more heat in the exhaust, the less back pressure and the quicker the exhaust can flow. An added bonus involves the rear shock. Since heat is an enemy of suspension, and the rear cylinder exhaust runs right by the rear shock, by wrapping the  exhaustit should keep some heat away from the shock and provide better damping action over a longer period. I really don't think I will be able to tell on the stock rear shock, but what the hell, it can't hurt. Can it???

We actually had the bike ready for racing early. And, since we can't leave well enough alone we decided to change more stuff. I still thought we could get more power out of the bike by getting more airflow through the carbs. We re-jetted back up to 145 and removed the air filter completely. The bike didn't like this at all, it coughed, sputtered and generally quit running at 6000 rpm. Figuring we were getting too much turbulent airflow into the CV carbs, we put the filter back in, but opened its intake hole as much as we could. Same result. It is now official, our race bike (with the stock carbs) will resist any modification to the intake side of the carbs. (This winter were gettin FCR Flatsides!) In order to make the bike run, we had to duct tape over the hole we put in the air filter to restrict the air flow back to the stock level.

After getting nowhere with the air flow we decided to leave well enough alone and get ready for the trip. This time we would be taking a couple of stock Hyosungs along  to put on display at the track and see if we can't help get the name out there. I also had the bright idea to paint the easy up with our name: Encore Performance Racing. It turned out to be a decent idea, poorly executed. Since the EZ Up has to be folded up and stored I wanted a flexible paint. I went to the art store and they recommended an acrylic paint. Sounded good to me. Jim spent quite a bit of time cutting out some vinyl to use as a stencil and we got to work painting. After a long night of watching paint dry and getting eatin by mosquitos it was done. I didn't really think about the fact that the acrylic paint is water based. But, the harsh reality set in the next day. I had the EZ UP outside drying and a quick rainstorm came through (typical monsoon weather in the desert). The paint didn't last five seconds. There was a nice blue puddle forming quickly underneath the awning. At the end of the day I tried to wash the rest of the paint completely off,, but the first coat seemed to dye the awning and the end result looked like this.......

encore performance racing
It looks OK from about 10' but don't get any closer, and the blue should be 3 shades darker

Enough of the prep work, off to the Holy Land! We left on Thursday night in order to take advantage of the Friday practice. My traveling partner for the trip was my 4 year old son, Jake. Overall he's a pretty good road buddy, he talks alot and asks a lot of questions (like "where are we?", "how much longer?", and "what's that?") but he also just chills out and watches his DVD's. On this trip he fell asleep pretty early in the trip, around 9pm. That made the rest of the journey uneventful, and a little boring. We rolled into Vegas about 1:30 am and found a parking spot with the rest of the die-hards who showed up early. Jake decided it was time to get up. So we stayed awake in the truck for a while looking at the lights of Vegas and we finally fell asleep talking about the light that shoots out the top of the Luxor Hotel.


Up at 6:30 and in the gates by 7:00. Had the pit set up by 8:00. We were pitted with most of the Lightweight guys and right next to Ryan DeLasaux and his dad Paul. We've become pretty good friends over the season and it's fun hangin out with them. Hit registration and signed up for practice and Saturday's races. Went through tech and the riders meeting and then played the waiting game. I was waiting for TIm to show up to keep an eye on Jake, while I was on the track. I missed the first practice session, which was not a big deal, I knew there would be plenty more. Tim showed up in time for the second session. Amazingly he didn't get any tickets on the way. He drives a new Turbo GTI and drives it like every road's a race track and he'll be damned if he's gonna get beat!

It felt good to finally be back on the track. The weather was perfect, the bike was running good, and I was on top of the world. It wouldn't last long though. Everything came to a screeching halt on my 4th lap. The bike was feeling good so I picked up my pace (a little too early, obviously) and I came into turn 5, the slow right hander before the back straight, too hot and lost the front end. As is usual with losing the front end, one second everything's fine and the next second I'm on the ground watching the bike slide away. As you can see in the picture I was still trying to hold on to the bike as it slid away

hyosung crash gt650
Thanks to Kevin at www.maximumexposurephotography.com for letting me use his pictures!

I wasn't hurt, but the bike was. I picked it up to see if I could continue and found that the usual parts had been ripped off: clip-on, brake lever, footpeg, and the water pump cover. So, I had to wait for the session to end and the truck to come pick me up. I got back into the pits and we got to work on fixing the bike. Luckily, I had brought spares of everything that broke. Tim did his usual fantastic job of putting the bike back together and we were ready to ride after lunch, and only missed one session. The rest of practice was uneventful.


RRSW was running the twin sprints format in Vegas again, which I like. So I would have 3 races on Saturday and 3 races on Sunday. Put new tires on the bike during morning practice and we were ready to race.


Since I didn't register until the last minute, it looked like I would be starting every race from the back of the grid. No worries, I usually get a pretty good jump on everyone anyways. Guy Lachlan, who normally rides his 748 Ducati in Thunderbike had moved, so I was hoping to get a second, behind Bob Russell. Unfortunately there was another Ducati ridden by Chris Curnen that had plans of his own. I got a good start and fell into third place. Bob was off in the horizon by the end of the 1st lap but I was hangin with Chris for the first few laps. But he was probably lapping 1/2 second quicker per lap. My weakest point was Turn 5. I really didn't want to lay the bike down again, so I was being overly cautious through that turn. The GP125 was run at the same time as the Thunderbike and I was pushed wide in in Turn 6, twice during the race. I had to use my back brake at full lean just to keep from eating dirt. It was an exciting race to say the least and I brought it home in 3rd. Best lap 1:29.983  finished 3 of 8.


Again, I was last on the grid, but this time I had a KTM Supermoto in front of me on the start. I got a good jump and was going to pass him on right, when he veered right. So I was off the gas, on the gas, and generally looking like a spaz down the front straight! I outbraked the KTM for turn 1 and found myself in about 6 place behind Steven Hymer. I knew I could pass him, it was just a matter of where. Steve is not the smallest target to circumnavigate. I finally got him on the brakes into Turn 1 at the end of the first lap. Next, I set my sights on Doc. I made up a lot of ground on the second lap and was closing in. Then on the third lap, I came into Turn 5 too hot (again) and I had to stand it up and run off track. I got back on track quickly and found myself chasing Steven again. I caught and passed him on lap 4 and again put Doc in my sights. On lap 5 I missed a downshift coming into Turn 1 and had to go off track again. Back on track I had to pass Steven one more time. By this time Doc was 1/3 of a lap ahead of me. I put my head down and put in some consistent laps and I was reeling him in. By the end of the race he was only 3 bike lengths ahead of me. One more lap and I would have had him. Oh well. The race was interesting, I had consistent 1:30 lap time with a couple of 1:52's with my off track adventures. My best lap was a 1:29.553 and finished 7 of 9.


This was the largest grid of the day and I had 15 bikes starting ahead of me. The whole race is kind of a blur. I got a decent start and was in the middle of the pack trying not to run into anybody in Turn 1. The 250cc GP bikes were off and we were all chasing. I had my sights set on Ed but there was a 250 between us and I could feel the little bikes behind me as well. I ran a consistent race, but didn't really go anywhere. I didn't catch Ed. But I didn't get passed either. Ran consistent 1:30's most of the race and finished 9 of 16.


Usual morning drill: set up, hit registration, and practice.


The races are run in reverse order on Sunday. So, first up was the GP. The grid was smaller (12) but I was still at the back of the pack. I got a better start this time and found myself in 5th going into Turn 1. This time I was able to keep Ed in my sights and eventually got by him braking into turn 1.  I wasn't able to catch the rest of the  650's but I did manage to keep the bike upright and on the track the whole race. I could feel Ed right behind me the rest of the race but I was able to hold him off to the checkered. I ran a best lap of 1:28.206 and finished in 4th out of 12.


Started at the back of the grid and didn't get the best start. I passed  Doc early and chased after Ed. Finally got around him on the second lap. By that time there was too much space between me and Wayne, who was in 3rd. I ran consistent  and tried to keep up the pace in case Wayne made a mistake (he didn't). It was hard to concentrate because I could see Bob and Aron battling for the lead. They must have swapped places 10 times throughout the race!! Aron finally got the best of Bob and brought it home in first. I ran a lonely race in 4th and wanted to pull over and just watch the battle for the lead. I set by personal best lap in this race of 1:28.151 and ran consistent 1:28's.


There were only 4 bikes on the grid and the 2 guys who had beaten me the day before didn't enter the race today. I knew this was my chance to bring it home in 1st. I got the holeshot on the start and never looked back. Ran a good race and was first from flag to flag. The 125 GP's are also gridded with us in this race and I could feel a couple behind me the whole time, but they never got by me. Ran a 1:28.963 and finished in 1st!!

ep racing hyosung gt 650
Britt, on her 125, chasing me down

Overall it was a great weekend. Weather was HOT, but at least the wind wasn't blowin. The bike performed flawlessly, although I did not! Thanks again to Encore Performance (Jim), Tim, Will, and everybody else that makes this happen. Next race is in NM at Arroyo Seco. It's a new track for me so it should be fun! Check back for updates!

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