After I left Laguna I went home with the intent to pull the head off my 05 GSXR 1000 and install some Yoshimura cams. So I went back to AZ and started to take the bike apart as soon as I got home. I was supposed to leave for Ohio the following Tuesday to be there in time for the Thursday promoter practice. Well once I pulled the motor out and the head off I found out the promoter practice was actually a BMW trackday. This meant the only practice I would get in before the races was the AMA amateur grand nationals that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I am not allowed to race in the normal classes because of my results in superbike, but there was one class I could race in. This meant that I needed to leave basically Saturday to make it in time for the Monday event. Great I had to build my race bike motor in three days, in addition to working 9 hours per day at my day job!!!! The week was definitely not shaping up how I had hoped. Needless to say, I had several problems with the motor and did not get it done until Sunday. So on Sunday evening I headed for Ohio, I arrived at the track late Monday afternoon.
I managed to get the pit set up just in time for a short lived downpour. Tuesday morning I registered for my one race and prepared the bike for practice. Just after lunch was my race, which wound up starting about 1 hr late due to several crashes and red flags. We finally were under way in the race, I started last bike on the last row row 20 I think. By the 2nd lap I was up in the top 4 or 5 guys with Lee Acree and a few other AMA guys. Entering the ‘keyhole’, turn 4, on lap three the bike just quit completely. I coasted straight off and after about a 30 seconds it started again. Back under way and once again in dead last. By the end of the race I managed to get up to 10th or 11th. The result didn’t matter, I was here to get laps and shake down the bike.
I played around with the bike over the next few days and found a couple little things that may have caused it to stall, but nothing for sure. By Friday a.m. we were ready to get some hard laps in practice. We went out and on my third lap Josh Hayes came by down the back straight, perfect tow along with him and get some good laps. We came by start/finish nose to tail, him leading - me drafting. We both sat up for turn one and to my surprise I had no front brakes….. YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT A SHORTS CLEANING MOMENT…… Try drafting with one of the best riders in the country inches apart and sit up for the turn and have no breaks. PANIC!!! So I started to back the bike in with the rear brake and kept it pointed towards the apex to try to avoid collecting Josh in what was going to be a really ugly mess. Pretty soon I was almost to the apex still backing it in and the footpeg started to drag on the ground. The whole way from when I sat up I had been pumping the front brakes. At what I think was about the four millionth pump I got some brakes and started to use them as hard as I could without tucking the front. I managed to slow down enough to not hit Josh. I would up running off turn one thru the grass out of control. Luckily, I managed to just get it slowed down before the wall. I stopped, leaned the bike against the wall, and walked back to the pits. Off in the distance Josh rode off with no idea how close we both came to an ambulance ride to the local hospital. After an inspection in the pits we found one of brake calipers had cracked down the threads for the brake pad pins. This caused the pin to lose its torque and fall out, followed shortly by the brake pads.
Because of my lack of laps in the morning I was put into the ‘slower’ of the two superbike qualifying sessions. I went out and by the end of the first qualifying session I was second in our group behind Lee Acree, with a 1:30.6. I had been hoping for a 1:29 but wasn’t able to pull it off. Saturday morning brought the second qualifying session. Out we went, I was in search of my illusive 1:29. By the end of the session I was fastest in our group with a 1:30.0. So close but not quite the 1:29 I wanted. This put us 18th on the grid.
Later that afternoon we were up for our first race of the weekend. The race went green and we were off. After a few good laps I was up battling for 12th thu 15th. By the end I was in 13th behind Larry Pegram and Jeremy Toye.
In Sunday's race I was looking for a top ten, or at least that was the plan. The race was underway and I was battling for 10th thru 14th. I was following Toye (10th at the time) and Acree (11th) which put me in 12th. I was working out a plan to pass them both and try to run away from them. The plan was to wait until only a few laps to go and make a move on both of them on the same lap. Both of there bikes were a little faster than mine and if I had tried to pass them sooner, they would have drafted back by. But just past half way the plan went haywire. Larry Pegram who had been in 13th tried to come under me and slammed into me. He hit me hard enough to crack my rearset, bend my frame slider, and bend my handlebar. Luckily I did not crash but it did send me off-line and partially into the dirt. By the time I was back under the bubble and charging, I was all the way back to 17th. I started working my way back up to 14th, behind West, when Yates came by and moved me back to 15th. Apparently he had a minor tip over and was working his way forward again. I tried a couple passes on West but couldn’t get anything to stick and wound up in 15th. Not only did we not get our top ten but we didn’t get our 1:29 either…. Kinda disappointing but was still a good result at the end of the day.
So a 13th and 15th moved us up to 14th overall in the points standing.
See ya at VIR !!!