The Blog

Blog entries about progress on the book, racing, and track days.

July 16-18 Eagle's Canyon

Onroad Offroad Racing will be at Eagle's Canyon Raceway this weekend doing suspension setups and riding as much as we can.  Swing on by and get your suspension tuned for your weight!

Track Days version 1.1

Minor update submitted for the Track Days iPhone app.  Awaiting approval from Apple.  A few additional checklist items and minor typo repair.  Working on an improved version while continuing to work on the second application.

2008 Honda CBR 1000RR track Prep

Just finished packing for my first RideSmart track day of the year.  I had to use my own iPhone app to remember all the stuff to pack ;)  Must mean it's still useful.  I would have forgotten my hat, my chair, and my gas can.  Amazing what a few months off and a new job will do.

Track prepping a CBR 1000RR is impressively different than prepping a Ducati superbike.  My old 600F2 was a little like this, but it was nowhere NEAR the origami procedure.  I foresee a BIG market for original plastics that still have the mounting tabs in place, especially for the rear tail.  By the way, who decided that it was reasonable to force you to remove the gas tank in order to remove the proboscis that is the rear turn signal housing?  I'm not kidding.  And quite a bit of force is required to remove the tail shroud, but it has to be very CAREFUL force.  It does involve the obvious 4 screws once you have the passenger seat off, but then you have to coax it straight back to disengage the tabs from the plastic housing under the tail.  And even then, it's a bit of a fiddle to remove without breaking anything.  I'm SO putting the single-piece tail on there whenever Woodcraft gets around to telling me they've made a race kit for it.

Headlight disconnect is easy, but non-obvious.  Eventually, I'll remove them altogether, but for now, they're staying on there, since it looks like an extra hour or more to pull the front fairing, and then I'd have big holes where the headlights go.  I just decided to pop the plugs off the back of the bulbs.  They DO come straight off, but it requires a lot of faith that the retaining spring will hold the light bulb in place.

Mirrors were non-obvious when it came to the electrical connections for the signals.  Nicely, they just put two bolts that are easy to get to with a box-end wrench, but then you have to discover the rubber boot inside the fairing where there are two fiddly connectors.  Make sure you take those off FIRST.  Once you tug on the wires, it's pretty tough to pull them back down.  Reinstallation will be... tiresome.  If you follow the mounting ear down and then reach behind and feel for a soft rubber boot, you pull it out until you see the colored/square connectors.  The close proximity makes it difficult to disconnect them, but it's doable.  You will likely have to remove the one windscreen screw that goes through the fairing into the rubber screw mount in the fairing mount to get some slack in wire to pull it out of the hole.

If you have the stock exhaust still, like I do until my Leo Vince slipon comes in, and you accidentally pull on the flapper valve cable, it will pull the servo out of position, and throw an error code.  The failure mode is to just stop doing anything since it doesn't know where it is any more.  The code is 34, which will show as 3 slow blinks and 4 fast blinks of the engine light on the dash when the sidestand is down and the bike is on.  To clear this, you have to put the servo back in place.  To get to the motor, you remove the plastic screws in the undertail beneath the rhs under the main seat.  Then pry the cover straight down, since it's connected in front and rear with tabs.  It's pretty stiff, but it DOES come out.  To reposition the servo, move the two round holes in the white wheel to face directly towards the rear of the bike.  Just turn it by hand.  You'll hear the gears whine, but it's okay.  Now find the red capped plug with nothing connected to it under the seat.  Do I need to mention I'm not responsible if you do something that fries you or the bike?  Because I'm not, and I'm just telling you what I did that worked for me.  You may have different results.  Uncap the plug, and get a piece of wire that's stripped on both ends.  Look for the tan-colored wire leading into the plug.  With the bike off, and the kill switch in the run position, put one end of the wire into the hole where that tan wire leads.  Now look for the grey/black wire next to the tan wire.  Both wires are the farthest from the catch for the plug.  Put the other end in that hole.  Turn the bike to on.  The code light should go out.  Turn it off, remove the wires, and start the bike.  If you rev the bike, you should see the servo move at around 4000 rpm or so, opening the flapper valve.  That's what I did, and it worked great.

Now, off to bed, and then down to Angleton and MSR Houston tomorrow!

Thanks to Woods Fun Center

I just wanted to take a minute and publicly thank Kenneth and the rest of the Woods Fun Center team for taking care of me yesterday when I wanted to buy a CBR1000RR. They were professional, friendly, courteous, and helpful.  They gave me a good deal on a great bike, and understood my desire to be able to support local businesses, instead of driving out of town to get the best deal available.  If you need a new bike(and who doesn't really?), then please tell them that Barry sent you.  Thanks again!

First iPhone Application is out!

DASH ZERO Systems is proud to announce the third format of the Motorcycle Track Days book.  It's called "Track Days" and is available for the iPhone or iPod Touch on iTunes.  It offers a working checklist, just like the one found in the book, as well as all the content and advice you can find in the print or download version of the book.  Priced at $4.99.

More track days!

It's been a rough year so far for everyone, but Onroad Offroad Cycles is having a gangbusters start with our track-side suspension setups, and the one-off Hellbuellies BBQ Wrenching Party.  This weekend, we'll be at Eagle's Canyon Raceway near Denton, TX, doing trackside support and suspension tuning for both Ridesmart and Lone Star Track Days.  After all the amazing feedback, and people that have had their suspension work done by other shops, I'm confident in saying it's the best money you can spend on not just making your bike ride better, but making you more comfortable on your bike.  Look for us in the silver trailer with the sport chocks out front, and the Onroad Offroad red, white, and blue logo at the track.

Second edition of book released!

The second edition of my track day book has been released, this time through a real publisher.  It's been generalized to not just Texas track days, so it's suitable for all audiences anywhere.  And even better, it's in a downloadable form!  Download for $11.25  or get a bound copy in handy 6x9 format for $17.50.  Check out my storefront at to order!  I'm very happy to finally have a way to deliver this book for less than $20 to all of you.  It's surprisingly expensive to print books, so the downloadable format is perfect in my mind.  Thanks to everyone that bought my first edition, and helped me sell it out in under six months!

Track Day Knuckleheads

I spent a good deal of time trying to help out several specific students at the last Elite Track Day double-header weekend.  But no matter how much you try to help some people, they just can't get over their egos for long enough to learn that they don't have control of themselves, or their bike.  

Elite Track Days has a very stringent policy about being promoted to group 2 from group 1, where everybody starts.  You need to ask to be moved up, you need to do it at the start of the day, and you need to be followed by an instructor who will watch you and advise as to whether you can move up.  Somehow, this one guy's buddy had been previously moved up to group 2.  He claimed that he always rode in the same group as his buddy at other track days.  Which is fine, since there are usually three groups at other track days.  Beginner or group 1, Intermediate or group 2, and Super-Fast/Racer or group 3.  

To be in group 2 at Elite, you pretty much need to be competent enough to not get run over in group 3 at other schools, whether or not you are as "fast" as they are.  Basically, this means that you take good, predictable, smooth lines, follow the rules, and don't freak out if somebody blasts under you into a corner.

So this guy asked to be moved up.  I went out.  I told him I wanted to see a few things from him: don't cross the merge line, don't apex the first two turns out of the merge line, follow proper procedures when approaching other riders regarding passing(early morning, NO passing), good smooth lines, put his hand up when he wants to come off the track, keep it up, and don't put it down and change your mind.  Oh, and don't lose me, since you're on a GSXR 600 and I'm on a Husqvarna Nox, which lacks a little top-end oomph compared to a GSXR anything.  Anybody that's fast enough to be in group 2 on a GSXR is fast enough to lose me pretty easily.

I follow him out, and the first thing he does is clip the merge line, and apex the first turn right out of the pit exit.  Not a good sign.  He proceeds to completely fail at showing me that he has any concept of the lines to take, much less repeatable predictable ones.  He sure does wick it up in the straights though, and slows down early for the turns(which he enters in the middle, stays pretty much in the middle to slightly inside, and then exits in the middle pouring on power while leaned over.  That's BAD btw).  After a couple of laps, he throws his hand up late for the pit entrance(supposed to put it up immediately after the last turn where you should stay all the way left out of the line of fast traffic), and then realizes his mistake, puts it down after a little hand flourish, and continues on the course, apexing across where I was going to be if I hadn't slowed down intentionally.

I quit following him, and decided to spend time with the guy that needed some help, and was actually capable of learning.

He was initially receptive to the idea that he wasn't group 2 material, but he proceeded to be a really annoying presence on the track for the rest of the day, because his velocity was such that he WAS faster around the track than many of the more sedate and newer riders in group 1.  When he couldn't pass, he would use the pit lane like a passing lane, blowing through the pits at 75% of full speed.  He continued to be "fast" for the whole day, but I didn't see him improve at all, in spite of even bringing him and his crew in for private school when they didn't come to class between sessions, and were forced to sit out a session(in group 1, you must attend class between sessions).

The whole point of this ramble is just a piece of advice from the slow "fast" guy that has good lines and is very safe on the track:  Don't assume that just because you're as fast or faster than other people on the track, that you are actually a good rider.  I'm still learning things, and I've won racing championships.  At the last track day, a fellow instructor followed me around for a bit to learn my lines, and laughed that I was braking very early for two corners.  That's because I was still trying to learn a better more consistent line around the track.  Sure, I can blast into the corner, but I'll never be fast through it if I don't learn it at a slower more controlled pace first.

We instructors don't know everything, and many times, the "students" are "faster" than the instructors if for no other reason than they tend to bring bigger hardware with them to the track, which will make up for "slow" in the turns by being an easy "fast" in the straights.  But we do see a lot of students, and we have been to a LOT of track days and races.  Do yourself a favor at your next track day, and ask an instructor to work on one or two specific things with you for at least part of the day, so that you can still go out and "have a good time" blasting around the track, but you've also worked on improving one or two things, like braking control, or body position, or lean angle, or exit speed, or entry speed, or anything at all really.  Work on figure 8's in the parking lot while you're not on the track.  You'd be amazed how useful that is, and how much more confident you are with your bike control if you know that you can move the bike very slowly with great skill.

Onroad Offroad Racing Runs Supreme at Oak Hill Raceway

We backed up our Formula 5 endurance championship win last year with a win and a top ten overall finish right out of the box this year.  As such, we stand as the reigning and current CMRA Formula 5 Endurance champions.

I would like to thank my team-mates Roger Albert and Andrew Sukach.  Despite a crash and constantly changing conditions, Andrew managed to set the fast lap time for the team at around 1'51.  I would also like to thank Shoei helmets, Bridgestone tires, and EBC brakes for keeping me safe and stuck to the pavement and not out in the weeds throughout my stints.

The race started with a downpour during the sprints, which left the track wet and getting colder as the front moved through.  Heavy rains during the break lead to us hand-cutting our slicks, with the hope that it might blow through and start drying out, which it did, but only in the last two hours of the five hour race.

I got to take advantage of my supermoto training in the rain, sliding into corners and bypassing a lot of the EX250's that were literally putting their feet out in certain corners to make it around the turn.  During the second stint, dry lines were forming and I got to switch back to the much faster road-race style of riding, but with bent bars and control levers from an earlier crash.  As a result, it wore out my shoulders and hands very quickly, getting to the point where I almost couldn't operate the clutch smoothly enough to keep from skittering the bike into corners.  

We placed sixth overall, falling down from as high as fifth place as the faster and heavier 250's in Formula 4 could start screaming past me on the power in the last hour, which was mostly dry.

Congratulations also to everyone in the mini endurance, as we went 5 hours with NO red flags.  Lots of yellow flags, but no reds, which amazed me.

Thanks also to the Stewarts for their regular and constant help and support.  Hopefully the guy that can't figure out how to get around a bike making 20hp with a 180hp R1 will start leaving you alone.

Book Available At Ducati Austin

My book, "Everything You Need to Know About Motorycle Track Days in Texas", is now available at Ducati Austin!  Don't feel like ordering from the web?  Want to browse through the book instead of just trusting that I know which end of the bike to point down the track?  Good for you!  Now you have a choice.  Check out the books at Ducati Austin, and tell them I sent you!

Update: American Supercamp

I know I've been promising an update about American Supercamp's Supermoto course for almost two months now.  Sorry about that.  I'd like to say that I haven't had time for the past month, but I really have, being recently unemployed and all.

The class is most excellent, and I highly recommend the standard version to anyone that has experience with street riding, and would like some more dirt experience.  You will get very comfortable with the flat-track style of riding over the course of a couple of days.  

Unfortunately, I have almost zero dirt experience, much less sliding/flat-track experience.  As such, I REALLY should have taken the two-day "normal" supercamp course before I took the Supermoto version.  It took me a day and a half to unlearn all of my "road-racer" habits, and start to use what I was slowly learning about sliding into the corner and body position and whatnot.

This meant that the first day was mainly a painful fall-fest until we got out to the parking lot, where the second part of the supermoto class takes place.  Most of the people there, including what seemed like most of the field of the now-cancelled American Superbike Red Bull Rookies Cup, had been there for four days prior to the supermoto section.  I was pretty lost.  I reverted back to all of my bad habits from when I first started riding motorcycles, and you would never know that I've won a race, much less a championship.  It was pathetic.

At least on the parking lot, I knew what a street tire would do with a small bike, and even though I was trying to lean off the bike the "wrong" way and get it sliding, I was still more comfortable, except for the water puddle at the far side of the track right in the middle of a 120 degree turn-around.

The whole entry process involving both brakes and leaning the wrong way, and feathering the clutch and slamming downshifts at the middle of the slide was a lot to get for me though.  I flubbed it a ton of times.

Then we connected up the indoor section of the horse arena where the dirt was, to the parking lot, and got to have the feeling of a really long course that was about 60% paved, and included a dirt jump and a banked dirt turnaround.  That was... challenging.  But fun.

The next day, it rained ALL day, so we stayed inside.  I want to say that what the second day turned into was more of the normal supercamp, just with the TTR's outfitted with street slicks instead of knobbies.  This was really okay with me, since I understand the paved sections, it's that whole dirt thing I just don't get at all.  By the end of the second day, I think I was starting to get it, and some of the instructors even said so at various times.  They were also spending less time going around the outside of the turn with me and holding my elbow up.

The instructors are very patient, and know what they're doing to be sure.  They've done it a lot, and I think that they spend a lot of good time with the kids, and give appropriate feedback to the adults.  I would have liked to have known that the regular supercamp was such an important pre-requisite for the supermoto course, because I COULD have signed up for both, and learned a lot more.

The equipment is maintained well, and they have good sponsors for various bits like shifters and bars and grippy seats.

They also loaned me a bunch of gear on the second day so I didn't have to run in my leathers the whole time.  For the dirt section, definitely expect to be in motocross gear, with an emphasis on knee braces and elbow/shoulder armor.  You need more flexible boots than the standard motocross boots, but standard road-racing boots are a bit too soft for the abuse you'll take.  My Alpinestar Tech 8's were WAY too stiff to feel the brake lever, but my Sidi Vertebra's were too soft on the bottoms and sides to be as protective as necessary, and the soles would wear straight through with all of the sliding.  The gear they had was pretty nice too, Alpinestars, Fox Racing, etc.  Not the cheapest stuff they could find.  A bunch of the kids were running with metal flat-track overboots, which was kind of funny to see.

They could REALLY improve their website.  I know, I'm a website developer, so I'm biased, but they're normal website is terrible.  It's not an easy thing to get right, but just the layout and graphics and information available doesn't tell you everything you need to know about what the class is, what you do, what you need to bring, and just in general, what to expect.  They could do a lot with just some basic pages and links and such.  And while I haven't checked in a month, the last time I looked, it was barely a usable website that you could order a class through.  And even the ordering is... confusing.  It's unclear which thing you're ordering compared to what you're paying for compared to which event you want.  It's obviously meant to be a VERY low maintenance system for them, but it ends up being confusing for the customers.

That said, I still want to go again.  I only wish Texas had more supermoto interest.  There's just none here, and they won't do a class anywhere NEAR central Texas.  Definitely unfortunate, since I think it would do really well here if marketed to the right crowds.

American Supercamp

I don't have time at the moment, but I attended the Supermoto version of American Supercamp last week near Los Angeles, and have good things to say, as well as advice for anyone interested in attending.  Come back soon for more info...

Tire Pressures

"Dude! What pressure should I set my tires to?"

"More than ten, less than two-hundred."


What tire pressure you want is one of the most common questions I get trackside, right behind "What IS that thing?" in reference to my Nox.

It's a complicated issue.  It USED to be that at the track, you could get away with starting at around 28-30psi front and rear on your street tires, and if one end or the other was sliding, you'd take some pressure out until it just "felt right".

With the increase in the number of people running DOT-R tires or slicks, and the wide range of available carcasses from different manufacturers, it's just not as easy any more.  Even street tires, which were pretty much a 32psi front and 36psi rear sort of arrangement for most sporty bikes, are starting to use a different formula.  

Many street tires are starting to use much higher pressures.  The Avon Storms that I had on my ST4s until recently liked 36-38psi in the front, and 38-42 in the rear.  A set of ancient Pirelli Diablo's that I have on there now still run quite well at around 33psi front and 36-37 rear.

Some of the Dunlop race tires are using down in the 20psi range.  My Bridgestone tire guy says to set the BT-003R DOT-R's on my track bike and the GP slicks on my Nox to 28/25 front/rear when they're cold first thing in the morning.  And then I usually end up taking a little out of each throughout the day after they've been on the warmers and ambient temperature goes up, increasing tire pressure.

My Formula 7 bike uses tire pressures somewhere in the sub-20psi range, since I'm running 125 GP slicks on it, and it's a very light bike.

"That's all great, but what tire pressures should I run in MY bike?!" I hear you saying.

Before we get to that, I also want to dispell a VERY common myth about tire pressures, for both bikes and cages:

The tire pressure on the side of the tire is NOT the pressure to run the tires at.  That's the MAXIMUM ACCEPTABLE tire pressure for the tire at maximum load.  For bike tires, this will often be something higher than 50psi, but every tire is different.  

I can say that you probably DON'T want to run 50psi in your tires, no matter what.  That would cause your tires to be very "hard", and they would not deform enough to create a good contact patch.  The contact patch is the only thing keeping you hooked up with the pavement.  On a bike, this contact patch is often described as being roughly the size of a deck of cards for each tire.  As the tire sits on the ground with the weight of the bike and the rider, it will cause the tire to deform and flatten.  With too much pressure, this area will be smaller than with the correct pressure.  This contact patch changes size and location on the tire carcass as you lean the bike, and under braking and acceleration into through and out of the turn.

A secondary factor of cold tires is that they will not heat up sufficiently to provide maximum grip.  All tire compounds that you will use on a road-race track will provide more grip at a median temperature than they will at a very low temperature.  Hotter isn't necessarily better, but cold is not the most desirable of situations.  Too hot, and a tire begins to break down and feel "greasy", but more on that later.  When cold, the tires will spin up easier, slide under heavy lean, and will provide poor feeling under braking, as well as longer braking distances.  If you come in from the track, and place a bare hand on your tires, they should have about the same temperature front and rear, be slightly tacky to the touch, and very warm(think slightly cool fried pie that is ready to eat, but won't burn you).  If the air and track temps are low(in the 40's to 50's), you may not get much heat in the tires at all, and there will only be so much you can do about it without causing too much deformation of the carcass and excessive wear on the tires due to running very low pressures to get the tires to heat up.

So too HIGH of a pressure is bad, but so is too low.  If you are running low pressures(less than 20psi for common tires on big bikes), then you will get a LOT of tire carcass deformation, which will cause excessive heat in your tires, causing the tires to break down quickly, and providing very poor feedback.  You get more contact patch, but at the cost of deforming the sidewalls and center carcass so much that they heat up and break down quickly.  Just rolling the tire on the road causes the tire to flex, which creates heat.  Add in braking and acceleration forces, and a tire can be deformed quite a lot, and potentially could come off "the bead", which would cause catastrophic tire failure, and almost certainly a crash.  If the bike feels a little wobbly at the start of a track session, feels better in the middle, and then feels "slick" later in the session, it's possible that you have too little pressure in one tire or the other.  If you come in from a session, lay a bare hand on a tire, and you can't leave your hand on it comfortably, it's probably low on pressure unless the ambient temperature is in the 90's or higher.

When in doubt, and your tire manufacturer won't tell you what pressures to run with your tire, with your bike, for the given conditions, follow this process for setting your pressures for track days:

Start at 30psi front and rear first thing in the morning, unless you are running Dunlop DOT-R's, in which case, start at 25psi front and rear.  I HIGHLY recommend the purchase of a good tire gauge.  Almost nothing will have a greater effect on the performance of your bike than correct tire pressure, so it's a very good investment.  The stick style and the 99 cent ones from the auto store are wildly imprecise and inaccurate.  A good tire gauge with a large face, in the 0-60psi range, a flexible hose, and an air bleed button will run between 40 and 60 dollars and last for a long time.  Prefer oil-filled ones.  Most tire vendors at track events will have these available for sale, or are often available at shops that carry racing supplies for cars or go-karts.  The type with a small ball on the end that is perpendicular to the hose is ideal, as the angled heads with the long stick are difficult to use with most motorcycle wheels, especially if they have spokes or use tubes.

Go out, for the session, and come back in.  Jump off the bike and take a glove off as soon as you park.  Feel the front tire.  Then feel the rear.  Are they the same temperature?  If so, then ask yourself how the bike felt?  Were you pushing going into the corner? Were you spinning up the rear coming out?  Were either of these due to poor form(Leaning in on the brakes and pushing the front or opening the throttle before the bike is straight up and down)?  Did it feel like the bike was controllable but wanted to slide when leaned over fully? Did it feel like the tires were gripping really well at the beginning but not the end? or vice versa?

If both tires are too cold, and the ambient temperature is not very cold, then try taking a psi out of both tires.  

If both tires are VERY hot, the ambient temperature is not very high(95+) and there is graining on both tires(looks like little rolls of rubber generally running along the direction of drive for the tire, especially in the drive line, then try adding a psi to both.  The drive line is usually an inch in from the sidewall on 180-190mm wide tires on the rear and a half inch on 120mm tires on the front. Smaller tires, such as 160mm rears on SV650's and motards, will be proportional to these numbers.  That is, a 160mm tire will have a drive line that is approximately 3/4 of an inch in from the edge. If either end feels like it is considerably hotter or colder than the other, I would say take a psi out of the colder tire, since 30psi is towards the high end, esp. for a rear tire that is cold and feels too slippery on a big bike.  

If they feel about right to you, or you don't know what to look for/feel for, and the temperatures are medium to hot for both air and track, the tires are showing a little wear, but not excessive esp. in the drive line, then I suggest you play a little.  Take a little out of the rear, like 2psi, and then do a session and see how it feels.  Writing things down here, including ambient temperatures and "feels", will help out a lot.  Even notes like "cloudy", "full sun", "squirmy", "planted", "flat-tracker", and "cold as hell" will give you little clues in the future as to where to start, since they're all in your own words.  A pyrometer is killer for this purpose, but really overkill for the average track-day attendee.  If you're REALLY curious, ask someone with a BIG trailer.  They probably have one somewhere, and can tell you what the track temp is.  Just knowing it's really cold or really hot is usually good enough, since it's rare that air-temp and track temp are not correlated.

Take notes on how the bike felt with the -2psi.  Feel the tires when you get off.  Do they feel noticeably different now?  With 2psi, if you are pushing at all, you should notice a difference.  Even on a round-robin, you should notice a difference in the temperatures, since a track session is still twenty minutes of riding time, with probably more sustained corner speed than you typically get on the street.  By the way, corner-speed is the primary producer of heat in a motorcycle tire.  It causes F=m*a amount of force, just like everything else.  So going down the road, you produce 400lbs of bike + 170lbs of rider worth of force.  Acceleration is effectively nothing special except gravity, so you end up with a given force.  Now lean the bike over at 75mph.  Now, your acceleration around the corner is being added to the gravitational force and multiplied by the combined weight of you and the bike.  It's not hard to see how that adds up quickly to tire wear and more heat.

Now try adding in three psi(so that you are 1psi above where you started before taking out 2psi).  This is a small amount, but on the next session, should be an obvious change from where you were.  If you were close to begin with, the bike should now want to push more than it did initially, and the tires should be noticeably cooler than the session previous where you took out 2psi.  

You should now have a distinct idea of how the bike is going to behave as you change tire pressure by small amounts.  Never make drastic changes to tire pressure between sessions, since the different behaviors can put you on your butt if you're not ready for them.

Last Track Day of the Year?

I will be at Harris Hill Road the day AFTER Thanksgiving, instructing for Elite Track Days.  The weather is supposed to be awesome, and it's the last time you will probably get to ride for the year.  So don't eat so much turkey that you don't fit in your leathers!  

Also, I have reached an agreement with Elite Track Days to sell my track day book through their website, so you can sign up for everything all together, and I'll mail the book straight to you before you get to the track day!

Track Day Learnings [3]

This past weekend was one of the last track days of the season, and the last one scheduled for Ridesmart Track Days.  As such, there were a LOT of racers in the upper groups, and every group was filled.  It was very cold in the morning(40F) and warmed up during the afternoon to the upper 70's to lower 80's I would guess.  This meant that tire pressures, suspension damping, carburetor jetting, track grip, etc. would all be changing throughout the day, making it challenging for everyone.

With my trackside suspension setup duties, I didn't get to ride until the afternoon.  But during my setups, I noticed something on a handful of the street bikes that concerned me.  Several bikes came through with VERY sharp, machined metal bar-ends(not rounded at all, sharp enough to scratch your fingernail).  Effectively, the owners had installed javelins on their bikes.  This is an INCREDIBLY bad idea.  A tech inspector should make the owners take them off prior to being allowed on the track, because if they hit someone, or clip someone accidentally, they could cause serious injury.  These would never pass inspection at a race, and shouldn't have passed it at a track day, even though the standards are very different.  

Plus, I don't know about anybody else, but when I eject from the bike involuntarily, I always seem to hit my legs on the bars.  Add to that the number of hands that have been trapped under a bar slider when the bike falls over, and it really makes me nervous about those bars.  These same bikes usually had stylized, pointy/elongated bolt-heads around the windshields and other strategic locations as well, since nothing can be TOO SHARP on a motorcycle.

If you insist on having these things on your street bike, be smart and replace them with proper round ones before coming to the track.  While they're nice chunks of complex metal(especially the pointy cone with more pointy cones sticking out of it), it's only slightly better than installing a knife into your gas tank with the point sticking up.  Sure, you're hard-core, and I'm sure your friends think you're cool, but it's really a dumb move.  And I'm sure, if you asked these guys, they'd say that it just means you should stay away from them so you don't get hurt, but that just shows a complete lack of knowledge about how a track day works, as well as a complete lack of responsibility.

The second thing I discovered while at the track this weekend: 74 horsepower + cold gp slicks = slide fest!  All of a sudden, we had a break in the customers, and so I threw the tire warmers on the bike with the HOPE of getting a little heat in them(it normally takes about an hour to heat the tires s.t. the wheel itself is warm, which is what you want).  I suited up while Roger set my tire pressures, and immediately discovered how controllable the Husqvarna really is when it's all loosey goosey.  It broadcasts in no uncertain terms when it's about to slide, and then is controllable while it IS sliding.  It's a bit odd to have the front wheel feel so disconnected from the direction of the motorcycle.  But after three laps, the tires were warm, and the sun had come out to heat up the track a little, and I was dragging knee in several turns.  So the moral of this story?  DOT-R tires are more tolerable to ride without warmers on the first few laps than a GP slick without warmers.  If you go out on cold slicks, watch out!  It IS rather fun though.  I wonder what would have happened if my front forks hadn't lost nearly all damping control...

Buy the book online!

After fussing with lots of different ways of accepting online payments, I've finally settled on Paypal's online credit cards/etc "Buy It Now" button.  Go to the book section and click on the link at the bottom to buy YOUR copy.

Pictures from team Obama '08's Endurance Race

Pictures from team Obama '08's Endurance Race


My nearest competition in Formula 6, while trying to be snarky with a different fairing just for Texas World Speedway did not suspect that I would show up with my team-mate's ultra-fast Formula 6 bike that looks almost just like mine to the untrained eye, instead of my Formula 7 bike.  Needless to say, I putted around the corners and ran it wide-open on the big straight to get my second first place in F6 in as many races.  Ended up in second for the season, behind my team-mate for an Onroad Offroad Racing one, two finish.  Ended up in fifth by one point for the season in Formula 7.  I've been out of the points there for a while.  To give you an idea of the speed differential between an F6 on pump gas and an F7 on race gas(almost exactly the same otherwise), I was getting 1:41's without trying around TWS on the F6 and 1:52's on the F7 trying pretty hard.  My competition was in the 1:46's with a less built motor(but same) in a lighter frame with aero and he weighs 40 lbs less.  Pictures and such soon.

Last Race of the Season

Yes, it's that time! The last race of the CMRA season.  Onroad Offroad Racing will be at Texas World Speedway in College Station for the final round.  We'll be there all weekend, so stop on by and wish us luck!  Mini sprints are Saturday morning around 8:15am, and big bike sprints are all day Sunday.

Team Shirts

DASH ZERO Systems now has team shirts!  They were graciously donated by Joe at Action Screen Graphics, who not only came up with the logo and the design on the back, but printed them as well.  Pictures to come.  Thanks to everyone that has already helped support the team by buying one!

All contents Copyright Dash Zero Systems 2008