Moto-ST Screamin' Duc Racing Road America Race Report

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Racing' started by tomorrow, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. tomorrow

    tomorrow Guest

    Thursday, June 4, Promoter's Track Day

    We left northern Virginia Wednesday, June 4, at 8PM, about two hours
    later than planned, due to weather and unrelated personal emergencies
    that took time to resolve.

    Finally, George, Justin, Mike, and I rolled west on the Dulles toll
    road, to Route15 north, to I-70 west, through the night, towing
    Justin's 24-foot race trailer with George's 7.4l turbodiesel
    for the first time. We soon
    discovered that we had a major problem, Houston. The tail was
    wagging the dog; and the dog (the Excursion) was none too happy about
    the situation.

    After a couple of near death experiences that were saved only by
    George's driving prowess and the grace of a benevolent Lord, we
    over and repacked the trailer following hurried cell phone
    with more experienced towing friends. The repacking helped, the
    swaying was reduced, but only so long as we kept our road speed down
    to 65 mph or under. That, coupled with recalcitrant and downright
    ornery GPS driving aids and poor directions combined to make our
    planned 13 hour drive into an 18 hour marathon, putting us at the
    racetrack at 2pm instead of the planned 7-9 am arrival time.

    It was, of course, raining when we arrived. After setting up the
    everyone fell to the task of getting the bike ready to go out in the
    rain. Three of my four scheduled track day sessions were already
    over, and we worked hard to get ready for the fourth and final Moto-
    (combined, all three classes) session of the day.

    So, at 4pm, I rolled out onto an unfamiliar track, on rain tires,
    45 minutes to learn a 14-turn race track. Needless to say, it
    happen. I rode almost the entire session, and I got a general idea
    which way the track turned, but that was about it.

    After the on-track session, we worked like beavers to get the bike
    up for Moto-ST tech, and shortly before they closed for the day, the
    bike passed and we were able to pack up the pits and head out.

    We are now decamped at a friend's palatial home in Menomonee Falls,
    about an hour south of the track, where last night we were royally
    wined and dined before we all drifted off to a well earned and much
    needed night's sleep.

    Today we've got two hours of Moto-ST practice and qualifying.

    Oh, and our two guest riders for Saturday's race? None other than
    Scott Jensen and Eric Haugo... thanks to our newest team member,
    Chris Cooke, for arranging that for us!

    Practice and Qualifying, Saturday, June 6, 2008

    On Friday, we worked on the bike, waited through passing
    thundershowers, rescued our EZ-up from suffering the same untimely
    fate as many around us in the high, gusting winds that accompanied
    showers, and met and discussed plans with Scott and Eric. Two nicer
    guys you couldn't hope to meet.

    We finally got a chance to dyno the bike, found that we were under
    class horsepower limit; made a few changes, went back and dynoed the
    bike again, and were better, but still under the line, so we left
    enough alone. Meanwhile, during the long wait between the rider's
    meeting at 9AM and the Moto-ST practice at 4:20 PM, George and Justin
    went out in the Excursion and bought a load distributing hitch that
    should make the trip back home much safer, if utimately less

    At 4:20, I went out on a dry Elkhart Lake race track for the first
    time, and within a couple of laps felt MUCH more comfortable than at
    any time on the brief Thursday outing in the wet. After 35 minutes
    came in and handed the bike over to Scott Jensen. He went out for a
    couple of laps and came in to have the suspension adjusted, then went
    right back out and demonstrated what our racebike is capable of in
    hands of a top ranked AMA Superbike rider. He went 22 seconds faster
    than my bast lap. Came in, had us make a couple of more changes to
    the bike, went back out for a few more laps, and came in and was
    happy. Eric Haugo was up next, and he liked the bike just the way
    Scott had it set up, and was lapping withon five seconds of Scott's
    best lap.

    The practice session ended, and the timer started on the 20 minute
    qualifying session. I went out to qualify the bike since I'll be
    riding the first leg off the race, and with changes Scott had made to
    the bike, actually felt more comfortable on it than I had with the
    setup that Donnie and Jeff and I had developed at Daytona and VIR. I
    was actually able to shave six seconds off my best lap time;
    qualifying us somewhere near the back of the grid; which is fine with
    me since I'm not really excited about first lap charges into turn one
    in a crowd at an unfamiliar racetrack, especially in a three hour

    We brought the bike back in, mounted new tires, changed the oil, did
    few adjustments, cleaned it all up, and left the racetrack at about
    8:30 for dinnner, drinks, and the ride south to our host's home in
    Menomonee Falls.

    Race Day, Saturday, June 7, 2008

    After a calm and restful night’s sleep as guests of friends Dale and
    Beth in Menomonee Falls, the team was up bright and early and at
    6:30am headed back to the track. We arrived in time to roll out the
    racebike which Justin and Mike had completely prepped on Friday after
    practice and qualifying, including the minor control adjustments that
    guest riders Scott Jensen and Eric Haugo had requested after their
    laps on the bike. Brand new Pirelli DOT race tires were mounted,
    waiting scrubbing in during the 15 minute Moto-ST warm-up session,
    first on-track activity of the day at 8:00am.

    I got into my leathers while the crew cranked up the tire warmers and
    set up our pit. It was a bright, sunny, mild morning. Third call
    came, and the Moto-ST field lined up behind the pace car, which
    shortly led us out to take a single parade lap. Five laps later, the
    warm-up session was over and our tires were scrubbed in for the race,
    which was the LAST scheduled on-track activity of the day, at 3:25

    Justin and George installed the load distributing hitch on the
    and Excursion, Mike Collins tweaked various bits and fiddled with
    bike, and I visited with friends who dropped by, including Steve
    Mackay, Andy, Chuck Rhodes, and Mark Olsen from and
    alt.motorcycle.sportbikes. We watched AMA Superbike qualifying and
    the start of the AMA Superbike race, before returning to our pits to
    pack up and prepare our equipment for the hot pits, pending the
    conclusion of the final AMA event of the day, Formula Extreme.

    Except... FX was red-flagged twice for lightning strikes before
    put in “pending hold” status as thunderstorms and heavy rain and high
    wind moved into the area. After close to an hour, the lightning
    abated, the rain slowed to scattered sprinkles and localized showers,
    and AMA declared FX a rain race, shortened it to eight laps, and
    flagged off the field.

    While the race went on, Justin and Mike changed the DOT race (dry)
    Pirellis to the new Pirelli rain tires we had bought and mounted on
    our rain wheels on Friday. Shortly after I lined up on the grid and
    the field was green flagged to action after the pace car lap, Moto-ST
    announced that the 3 hour race had been shortened to one hour and 40

    Well, that meant that our planned three stop strategy, with a rider
    rotation of Tim/Scott/Eric/Scott was immediately out the window.
    Instead, I radioed in at the 1:20 mark that I should come in and let
    Scott and Eric each have a 40 minute session. With the track
    alternating between development of a narrow dry line and
    of that line by fresh showers, it seemed prudent to leave the rain
    tires on and just fuel up and switch riders. I was called into the
    pits at 1:05 and the team refueled the bike and Scott jumped aboard
    and roared off, very quickly getting up to speed and started catching
    and passing riders in front of us.

    By the 25 minute mark, he had gotten us to ninth place, when we began
    to become concerned that the low fuel light might not be working on
    the dash of the bike, since Scott hadn’t signaled that he was coming
    into the pits. We showed him the “DUC IN” pit board sign for the
    next three laps, but without having had time to practice pit board
    display during the single practice session we had on Friday, Scott
    never saw the board! Fortunately, the low fuel light did come on,
    and at the 13 minute mark, Scott signaled that we was coming in on
    next lap. We decided not to change riders with so little time left
    the race, since Scott was familiar with the way the bike was
    the track conditions, and was up to speed.

    When Scott came in, the crew put a splash of gas in the tank and sent
    him right back out. We had lost two places on track during our brief
    refueling stop.

    Scott went to work to catch the tenth place rider, and did so on the
    white flag lap, planning to draft him and pass him at the finish
    line. However, Scott came out of turn 14 carrying so much speed than
    the 10th place rider that he was forced to pass him at the exit of
    turn 14, and the other rider tucked in behind Scott and drafted past
    HIM at the start/finish line to take tenth place by .02 seconds!

    Scott came back to the pits with a couple of completely wasted rain
    tires, to report that he had been sliding the rear end in every
    for the last half hour of the race, including a hairy outside pass of
    three riders in the carousel with the rear end about 8 inches out of
    line the whole way around the turn, just flat tracking the bike and
    sliding and weaving the whole way. “Fun!” reported brightly,
    confirming what we all suspected – those AMA Superbike guys are

    Eric came over and thanked Scott for “hogging the bike,” and we
    apologized to Eric for the loss of his turn on the bike, and invited
    both of them to ride with us again if they are so inclined. Both of
    them were gracious and accommodating and complimentary towards the
    Pond MotoSports prepared Ducati 800 Super Sport, with Scott reporting
    that once the rain tires got good and greasy towards the end of the
    race on a drying track, it was just like riding a Superbike –
    up the rear tire exiting turns, sliding and stepping out at turn in,
    sliding through the corners – except all in slow motion!

    After the normal post race adrenalin burn-off and packing the
    we headed home around 9:00 pm in heavy rain and thunder and

    Post script - we arrived back in norfthern Virginia at 2:00 PM and
    spent an hour
    an hour and a half on post race trailer and garage logistics, and
    headed for home... 98 degrees. Whew!
    tomorrow, Jun 9, 2008
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