This weekend got off to a rocky start. We tried to get up to the
track on Friday night so that I could get a full night’s sleep,
but to no avail. As we were traveling on 95N just outside of Providence,
RI we came upon some traffic and when we attempted to stop we had
no brakes. Come to find out later, the brake line had blown out.
We called AAA and had the truck towed back to the shop.
It was totally the grace of God that we did not get into an accident.
We were coming up on stop and go traffic when the line blew. We
just so happened to be on a part of 95N that had run off area in
the left lane as well as an Official Use Lane (which usually has
a cop sitting in it). As we were waiting for AAA to come and get
the truck we had to figure out what to do with the trailer. We called
many people with a large enough truck to see if they could come
pick up the trailer, but most everyone was at work or their cell
phone was off. However, Dave (the mechanic at the shop) was running
behind schedule on his way to an engine show in Cape Cod with his
truck and trailer and he came upon us sitting on the left side of
the highway. So as a result, he offered to drop his trailer and
tow our trailer back to the shop. When we got back to the shop we
got the old brake line off and ran up to AutoZone (the only place
open at 7:00pm on a Friday night ) to get a replacement line. AutoZone
didn’t have the size line we needed so when we got back to
the shop we had to make our own line and this took a little while
so we did not get the job done until about 9:30pm, which led to
me getting to bed around 11:00 and up again at 4:00am Saturday head
to the track.
When we got to the track it started raining. The rain lasted about
15 min and as soon as it stopped the sun came out. We decided to
skip the first session because the track was drying.
We fitted new Pirelli tires on the bike. We tried the new Diablo
SuperCorsa DOTs. Right away I like the feel of the new rear. It
was a lot more planted and stable out of the corners.
Saturday, Race #1 EX-GTL
GTL was my first race of the day and they split the race so that
all the amateur riders had there own race. I was gridded 9c in the
race which translates into starting 35th. I got a really good start
and was probably in the top fifteen into the first corner. I was
able to work my way up to 6th and was in the process of checking
5th when things went bad. As I got the half way signal from the
flagger my left shoulder lost all its strength. The tires also felt
like they where losing grip and sliding around a lot. These factors
resulted in me dropping back a spot to 7th place, and that is where
When I pulled into the pits my dad saw a large oil leak. The leak
was a result of 5th gear main seal blowing out of the transmission
case and oil down the back tire. I was very lucky that this did
not cause me or other riders to crash. We cleaned up the oil leak
and reinstalled the seal which did not have much interference fit.
To help keep the seal in the case we used a good coating of RTV
around the out side of the seal. This fix worked for the rest of
the weekend and we did not have any more issues with it.
Spec note to H-D:
Take a Japanese bike apart and look how they keep bearings and seals
in place. The roller bearings have pins that align them and keep
them from spinning when the engine case heats up and they lose interference
fit. Engine seals are kept from blowing out with light weight retaining
Race #2, EX-Thunder Bike
For thunder bike I got a bad start. I could not see the flag man
and had to leave based off of when every one else left. I stared
25th and was able to work my way up to 7th when the race was red
flagged. We where on lap 6 of 8 so the race was not restarted.
Race #3, EX-Light Weight GP
I again started 25th but this time I got a good start and was in
7th at the end of the first lap. I passed 6th place on the brakes
coming into turn 3 and was in the process of chasing down 5th place
then the red flag was again thrown. The officials called the race
which was very disappointing because the race was not really half
way complete and should have been restarted, so needless to say
I felt like I was gypped out of my $60.
We decided to give the Dunlops from the previous weekend another
try during this session. We recorded all the suspension settings
and determined a plan of attack to try to dial in the suspension
for the Dunlop tires. We decided to start off with lower tire PSIs
in the front and rear to help with the chatter problems that we
had when we tried them last weekend. When I went out I noticed right
away that the chatter was gone but the front end was still po-going.
I would run about two laps and come into pit lane to make suspension
adjustments to the front and rear shocks all in an effort to get
the bike to feel better into and through the corners. As the session
ended, I was not able to get a good hot lap in so that we could
get a good lap time to see how the tires compared to the Pirelli’s.
Race #4, EX-SuperTwins
I was gridded 3B (10th). I got a good start and was in 5th coming
into turn 3. The race was a pretty lonely race. The leaders left
me in the dust and I ran out the race in 5th place. The Dunlop’s
felt good in the race but that did not translate into fast lap times.
My dad noticed the difference after three laps and had a buddy of
mine run back to the pits and put the tire warmers on the Pirelli’s.
When I came in we had one race in between my next one to get the
Pirelli’s back on the bike.
Race #5, EX-Light Weight Superbike
I was gridded 6D (24th) for the race, but not everyone showed up
for the race. I think that the row in front of me was empty and
a couple of more people were not there. Because there were so many
people in the way, I once again could not see the flag man and I
did not get a good start. So once again I had to judge my start
off of when every one else left. I ended the first lap in about
10th place. I pick off a couple of guys with a double draft into
turn 1 and I was able to pass two others guys in turn 3 and 4 on
different laps. This moved me up into 4th. I was riding as hard
as I could to catch and pass 3rd place, but I just was not able
What We Learned / Tips:
-- Just because tires feel fast doesn’t mean they are.
-- Fast into the corner does not mean fast out. Instead focus on
getting a good drive out of the corner.
-- Get a good night sleep before race weekend. This leads to much
better race performace.