Road Atlanta, Georgia
Road Atlanta, the end of the season. Road Atlanta was back to back weekends with VIR. Going into the final race of the season we were in line to finish the season in 13th and possibly 12th place if we could manage to beat Eric Wood from Team Hooters- Help Me Ride- Suzuki by 3 positions total for both races. This would be a big task considering that Road Atlanta is one of Eric’s home tracks. As usual we had a promoter practice Thursday, and Friday morning was the beginning of the AMA weekend.
For the weekend I was unfortunately unable to talk any of my friends into helping me out in the pits so I was solo. Luckily for me, GPR had brought along an extra technician so I was able to get him to help with the necessary mechanical duties. Friday morning the bike started to feel a little soft, still had fairly good motor but didn’t run like it used to. So we put the bike on the dyno and it was about 10 horsepower down from where it was. With no time to work on the bike I had to run it in the first qualifying session the way it was. Unfortunately I was unable to locate the problem with the limited time I had available Friday evening. I was forced to do the last qualifier and the first race with the bike the way it was. I managed to finish the first race in 18th, after one red flag.
Saturday evening I was able to work on the bike and found one problem one of the aftermarket intake stacks had come apart. The top half came loose from the lower and the top section flipped sideways and wedged in the lower section. This dramatically cut down the airflow into the number one cylinder. Being satisfied that this was the problem I ate dinner and called it a day.
Sunday morning I fired the bike up for the initial warm up and it still seemed to have a slight misfire. I pulled the air box back off to check the plugs and found that the number two cylinder sparkplug had broken. The electrode off the end of the plug had broken off. I replaced all the sparkplugs with the improved surface discharge models and was off andrunning again. Late morning I put the bike back on the dyno and my missing ten horsepower was back again. This put me into a pretty good mood and was very excited for the second race. At this point I was in 12th position overall with Eric Wood very close behind, only 2 points.
Race two was under way Sunday afternoon and the day darkened as soon as the light went green. I was on the gas launching the bike and as I shifted into second the clutch went soft. By the end of the first lap I was somewhere around 30th place and the bike would hardly accelerate down the straight. By the second lap it would not even hold speed anymore and I was basically coasting around the track on the way to the pits. I was coasting down pit road when they threw the red flag, a bike was it the impact zone from a crash and someone else had lost a chain. I rolled to a stop on the hot grid, grabbed some tools and adjusted way too much free play into the clutch. I was hoping that I could at least finish the race, but without a new clutch to put in was very limited on what I could do. After a few minutes they decided to do a complete restart. They sent us out for the warm up lap and we re-gridded. Knowing how bad my clutch was I new that I was going to need to really be nice to it off the line. So I managed to get the worst start of my career. When the race went green I literally pushed the bike forward with both feet just to get it rolling and dumped the clutch, then I rolled into the gas very cautiously. I went into turn one in last position with about a 20 second gap to the next bike. From then on the race was definitely an uphill battle, to say the least. I was able to work my way up to another 18th place finish. Unfortunately Eric Wood managed to finish 14th, relegating me to 13th place overall for the season.
Well that wraps up the entire 2005 AMA Superbike season. I would like to thank all my sponsors: JQ Moto for all the years of support; ProjectBuild.com for their tremendous amount of support; SOCAL Trackdays for helping with everything from funding to testing time; GPR for being there in a pinch and willing to help with everything they can do; Vital 4 U (SCREAMIN’ ENERGY) products for their support and for making the best products under the sun; Pirelli Tires for making unbelievable amounts of traction; ACT Racing for their great leathers; Studio Moto Graphic Design for her patience with me and my late race reports; Regina chains; Dynojet; EBC Brakes; Motorex lubricants; Oxtar boots; VP fuels; Flexi Glass bodywork; GP Suspension; Trackside Racers Supply, MTG networking; SUZUKA Tire warmers; Cycle Cynch tie down systems; West Valley Machine; and White Buffalo Racing thanks for everything you all have done to keep me racing.
I would also like to thank my friends and family Jeff, John, Joe, and Josh Longbottom (yes, the infamous Longbottom brothers) James Duncan Bob Bright Charlie Horton Tom Spence Jeff Norman - Travis Tiner Tedi Jensen Mickey Grana and everyone else, without all of you I would not be able to continue racing...Thanks.
See you all at TOYOTA 200!!!!!!!!!!!