people are saying about the Cycle X Race Team
statements come from the
SOHC4.net forums. All rights belong to
the posters themselves)
called me before his wife and I have to say I did not have anything to
do with the parts BUT they are competing against GS1000 and big Kawasaki
1000's (I had a lot of input). His rider passed the big, winning
Kawasaki person on the last lap after an F up BUT still had enough power
to hold him down the straight. A big victory for US GUYS! Nobody thinks
the single cam can do anything. Let's see what happens tomorrow. A big
VICTORY for Kenny and US!!! You guys should see the cam he is using."
SOHC Digger -
"The guys at CycleX make some bold claims. The
difference is that they back their words up with actions!!! Way to
"OK....just got off the phone with Kenny.
You guys are not going to believe this. Long story short...The main race
is set with 3 waves of riders. CycleX bike is in the second wave. Rider
stalls the bike on the line. Officals will not allow any assistance
until all the staggered waves are clear. Kenny and his crew jump over
the wall, attach a kickstart lever and fire the bike up (Hmmmm....good
thing they left the shaft exposed). Bike fires up BUT they are down 1
minute 50 seconds. It was a 6 lap race. Kenny's rider goes ballistic and
WINS THE RACE BY 3 SECONDS!! :o :o Once again passes every twin cam etc
etc. That's unbelievable guys. I really wish I was there to see it."
- "Let me tell you guys that it was an
unbelievably amazing performance to watch. You could just see him riding
the absolute crap out of the bike. Every lap would go by and he would
come by where I was standing, having passed something like 6 bikes. I
wasn't sure he could do it, after seeing how fast that gpz1000 was
yesterday, but I was cheering when I saw him in front. I went by their
tent after the race and one of the guys said he had something like a 7
second lead at the end! I'vegot pics that I will upload soon of the
bike. He was leaning so far he was scraping the shifter and even some of
the sidecover screws!! The back tire was absolutely roached!"
Scrambler - "Bike #25....Kevin
Calloway.......The intake ports are relocated at a 15-degree
improvement.....I watched in amazement as Calloway was screaming down
the home-straight and gaining on each lap. Hoodelly has pics of the bike
and the track-marks on the dyno and points covers. Ken is very excited!!
and he should be.
The motor is tight with no sign of oil film anywhere! Ken is making
plans for Gratton MI next weekend and was asking me about Miller
Motorsports Park in Tooele (SLC). I told him to increase the inventory
because this motor is just fantastic! The nice arched-brace just in
front of the tire on the stock swingarm seems to be very effective. Ken
had to modify the upper frame to get the CRs to fit because of the angle
of the intakes. Ken also reports the Calloway REALLY knows how to corner
and does not wear out the brake pads! Lots of pics on facebook.
BTW......Road America was a great time for all 3-days of practice and
- "It was so fun to watch. I was
watching the riders accelerate up a hill and while every other rider
seemed pretty still, Kevin was shifting with his whole body. His
throttle arm and torso would lift up and then he would just slam it down
with all his might, like he was going to twist the whole handelbar. He
was really manhandling that bike. Nothing subtle or gentle about it. He
wanted that win worse than anyone else on the track and it showed."
"First just want to thank SOHC for allowing
me to join the site. If you don't mind I'd like to give an update from
the riders perspective as Kevin and I have raced together in WERA for
years and to hear him talk about what a great time he had is surely a
compliment to cyclexchange and all the people who put the time and
effort into making this bike. So here's a 2nd person recap of the
weekend paraphrased from what kevin told me in our discussion yesterday.
First Kev says the bike is badass and the modifications done by the
builders were right on especially the front brakes and motor. What the
previous posts don't tell is that Kevin also took his 2008 Triumph 675
to this event so that he could participate in two other races. The Honda
had a small ignition problem before first practice so he took out the
triumph to learn the track. on lap 2 with the triumph, he was deep into
a corner outbraking some other competitors and unfortunately put the
triump in the gravel and rolled it over a couple of time. So
cyclexchanges first impression of Kevin as he rode the bike into the
pits had to be a little shakey. Here's a guy who just crashed a triumph
rolling back into the pits and asking if the Honda is ready to go. He
said the crews eyes kind of looked at him like, R U crazy or what?
Here's a guy who just crashed a modern bike requesting time on our hard
work and effort with little remorse for the damage he just inflicted on
his own ride. lol Not to mention when he pulled his helmet off a half a
pound of gravel fell out. First impression of the Honda on the track is
that the motor pulls strong and despite the age of the bike it feels
fast and surprisingly stable. Only complaint thus far is the original
seat puts rider too low to move around and makes it difficult to get
weight transfered to the front end during corner entry. If you look at
earlier pictures you will see gorilla tape and about a 2 inch pad taped
to the beautiful seat that was originally on the bike. Only other change
was front brake pads to something with a little more initial bite and
mid corner feel. I'll stop at this point as I'm not sure if you are
interested in reading the riders account but if you are just let me know
and I'll post the race recap from the riders perspective."
(cont.) - "OK thanks for the warm
greetings and encouragement, so here goes. First a little background
info on Kevin and his racing and motorcycle history. He and his father
have an original CB750 supersport that was purchased new and still in
the family, I state this fact as it will come into play later in the
story. Kevins dad will be refered to as "POPs', who is a motorcyle
addict and one of the best men you will ever meet. He actually raced
with kevin and I in WERA V7 Middle weight and Heavy weight before
retiring in 2008. Old guys don't crash as well as old bikes. lol Now
back to the story. Kev and Pops brought their supersport to Road America
so that the cycle exchange guys could do an engine refresh in their
spare time. lol This supersport just so happened to have the extra
ignition system that was used to get the cyclex beast back running for
the event. Second practice Kev tells me with the updated seat and new
brake pads that this thing is an absolute blast to ride and the
modifications done to the front brake rotors by cyclex is the bomb.
During practice he's set his sights on the number one plate holder,
riding the perfectly sorted kawasaki. He gets behind the rider and notes
how smooth he rides and the power of his bike. While the SOHC makes
enough power to hang in the draft he makes a mental note that he does
not feel he will be able to outpower the bigger bike down the long
straights. Now for those who don't roadrace, this is not a critique of
the bike just a fact. In road racing there's a lot more than just going
fast in a straight line and there always seems to be someone with more
power. The true test of the bike is what it does in the other critical
categories, such as braking, corner entry, mid-corner stability and how
well it gets off a corner. If you can get on the gas mid corner and hold
your line chances are you can make up ground on the competition. Guess
what, the cyclex Honda seems to do all these things very well. So during
the practice Kevin is making mental notes on where he feels he can make
up time on the other rider but decides not to show him a wheel. Strategy
in place. Ok we now have a bike that is set up for the rider, the bike
is operating flawlessly and we have a race strategy. More to follow."
|Big Bob -
"I probably had the best
seat in the house. I was out there on the track.
Ken's bike went by me like I was stapled to a tree several times in
practice. The thing howled past going down the front straight and then
swept through turn 1 smooth as glass. Crazy fast.
I was pitted right down the road from them and could see they had to do
a bit of thrashing on the bike during practice on Friday. I'd like to
hear more about their ignition issues because both Cycle X and a bike
that I built had ignition issues in the pits at Road America during
2011. Them on their Superbike, me on a Production Class CB400F that I
built for a friend. I swapped in a stock ignition, the Cycle X bike
never worked right that weekend.
But I was glad to see them back. They had the bike dialed in by Friday
afternoon and the thing sounded great.
Saturday, race 1. I have no illusions about my abilities as a racer. I'm
not very good, I'm 100 pounds heavier than the next biggest guy, and my
bike is a SOHC 836 that me and my buddies put together in my garage in a
class full of DOHC 900 and 1000cc machines. There's a pair of slightly
ratty GS 1000 bikes ridden by friends of mine, a really nice GS 1000, a
couple CB900F bikes one of which has a BUNCH of original Honda factory
race parts on it. And then there's the Kawasaki. From what I've been
told it's an original factory superbike from the early 80's, it's got
the #1 plate, and the rider knows what he's doing. Tough crowd, but my
bike runs great and I get to ride it around with a big dumb grin on my
face, burning fuel and wearing out knee sliders.
We pull into the grid and get lined up. I'm in the back row of the class
so I'm out of the way for the start. Green flag drops and everyone turns
into small dots going over the horizon. I ride around by myself, missing
the days when I raced in Production Heavyweight and had someone to run
with. I'm on lap 4 when my shifter linkage breaks right when I'm coming
down the front straight. I pull off and get out of the way behind a low
wall. I'm about 40 feet from the finish line, best seat in the house.
Pull off my helmet and wait for the rescue truck.
Hey, here comes that Kawasaki! And Kevin is right on his ass. I can see
the Cycle X guys over on the other side of the track, they're losing
their minds. White flag, one lap to go.
3 minutes later and here they come again. Kevin is in the lead coming up
the hill into a headwind, the smaller size of the CB750 comes into play
as they come down the straight and Kevin pulls it off. First place. The
Cycle X guys go nuts, jumping around, yelling, you've never seen a bunch
of guys so happy.
Later at the awards presentation Ken looked like someone hit him in the
head with a hammer. Totally dazed, permagrin welded onto his face.
Day 2. Got my bike fixed and went out for practice. Didn't see the Cycle
X bike. Heard rumors overnight that the #1 plate Kawasaki had some
issues during the race but they've been fixed. Let's see what happens.
Pulling into the grid I can see Kevin waving his arms, his bike died
when he pulled up. He tries to bump start it but he can't, it's too big,
he's too small, too much compression. The Cycle X guys are 30 feet away
waving a kick starter but the grid marshalls won't let them on the
track, it's not safe and it's unfair to make all the other bikes wait.
Kevin gets pushed off into the weeds so the race can go.
A brief diversion here to explain something about the America Historic
Motorcycle Racing Association. We're a small club with more than 30
roadrace classes. Some of these classes will only have a few entries.
It's not possible to have separate races for all the classes so we run a
lot of them in simultaneous races with bikes of similar speed, size,
horsepower, lap time, etc. For instance - on the grid with us was a
group of modern 90 degree V-twin bikes, a bunch of Ducatis and SV650s.
There was a bunch of modern 250cc 2 strokes, not as fast off the line
but they weigh nothing and carry insane corner speeds. And there were a
bunch of Triumph Thruxtons running in a Thruxton spec class that's a lot
of fun to watch, those guys were in the second wave. Meaning the first
wave, the twins, two strokes, and us in Superbike Heavyweight would get
the green flag first.
After we got to turn one the Thruxtons in the second wave would get the
And after they were safely away Kenny and company would be allowed to
cross the track and try to start the bike Kevin was sitting on.
Wave 1 gets the green. There's been a slight change in the grids and I'm
chasing a new racer on a modern Ducati and a very experienced rider on a
tiny Honda 2 stroke. (She's about 110 pounds soaking wet and I can bench
press her bike.) Fun stuff. As we come down the front straight I can see
the Cycle X guys back on the right side of the wall and Kevin is gone!
They got it started! Too bad about the flubbed start but glad to see
it's running, he'll probably catch up in a few laps.
Me and my pack of misfits come up on turn 1, second lap, and Kevin goes
by us on the inside.
He caught us.
And passed us.
In one lap.
With us having a 90+ second head start.
Lap 5. The guy on the Ducati scared himself and backed off, the chick on
the little 2 stroke left me in the dust once her tires were warmed up
all the way. It's a beautiful sunny day, my bike runs great, and I'm
wondering when they're going to catch me. I'm coming down the back
straight when I hear an engine. Must be the Kawasaki.
Nope. Kevin goes by and rails through Canada Corner. The #1 Kawasaki is
about 15 bikes lengths behind him and I can feel the WTF? from here.
Cycle X wins again.
I've spoken to Ken twice in the last two days and I won't be surprised
if I hear from him again today. I might be doing an article on this, not
sure where or if it'll be published. Anyone who has photos should shoot
me a PM."
|Eboz - "I'm
baaack!! Out of respect for Kevin and the cyclex crew I notify Kevin
when I post here so that if I stated something wrong he can use his
editorial veto to correct me. first correction to previous post is that
the brake pads were replaced prior to the event with Vesrah SRJl pads
which was a rider preference. If you haven't visited the cyclexchange
website I'd recommend it as it shows their build process. Another
impressive feat performed by the cycle x team is that they built their
own carriers to create floating rotors. Kids don't try this at home
because if you're like me it would only turn out bad. lol Let's work
out some lingo before we proceed for those that mentioned they've never
roadraced. If I use the term late braked them, it means that the rider
in second going into a corner after a long straight had bigger balls
than the rider in front of him, choosing to go deeper into the corner
before grabbing the brakes. Now because of the physics of roadracing
the smaller balled rider previously passed, may grow a set down the next
straight and choose to unveil his set at the next opportunity. I can't
explain the over all physics of it but from years of club racing
experience just when you think you've got the biggest set someone will
prove otherwise. lol Next term to know is, "I parked them/him in the
corner", this will be used when previously mentioned large objects have
put the rider into a position where his manhood has over-ridden his
talent level and he's gone so deep and stayed on the brakes so long that
he inadvertently has killed the corner entry speed of the riders he just
passed. The last term we will use is "SV bowling", this term was coined
from our days of racing WERA where our Vintage 7HW class was gridded
behind Heavyweight Twins which include Ducati's, Aprillia's KTM RC8's
and several Suzuki SV 650's bumping up one class. A group of 4 of us
racing in Florida developed this term when we aggresively passed a group
of SV's in a tight section of the track. The first rider went
underneath two of them causing them to stand up, while I was on the
outside of them, needless to say we bounced them back and forth 4 times
before all of us got through. I will use this term when I explain
Kevin's second race. Stay tuned for race one highlights in next post."
"Now for race 1, the uneventful
race, which it will now be known as. Kevin informs me that he feels
comfortable on the bike, has a race strategy and is only waiting to
unleash the fury that is the cyclex SOHC. Flag drops and Kevin moves
into position, per said plan, both he and the Kawasaki rider work their
way through traffic. Camping out behind the Kawasaki he chooses not to
show him a wheel but to wait until the time is right to make his move. I
believe he said lap 5 the Kawi catches some traffic and he jumps at the
opportunity to go to the other side of the roadblock and takes the lead.
Kev then puts his head down and pushes the fury to it's limits trying to
build a gap. He holds his breath coming up the hill to the start finish
line hoping to not be out motored by the "big gun" kawasaki. Crosses the
line and looks back and has won by about 3 bike lengths. Enjoys the
cooldown lap and has nothing but praise for the Honda crew as well as
the great race of his competitor. Now for most of us this would have
been a good first day, but for Kevin he has back to back races and rolls
into his pit for a quick celebration before throwing his leg over his
triumph. Now in prom date terms, and certainly no offense to the Honda,
this is like taking that easy girl to the prom then leaving with the
homecoming queen. While it's good to be seen with the homecoming queen
the better time is always had with the other. LOl think about it and if
I have to explain I will leave this site permanently."
"Thanks guys. The bike is an absolute
blast to race. Gobs of power and torque. Amazing brakes. The CycleX guys
made their own aluminum carriers and buttons to work on the CBRF2
aftermarket rotors. Very impressive.
I spent a lot of time with Ken over the winter going over the finer
details of the bike and it paid off. Besides the low seat, it was turn
key ready to rip.
Yes, we'll be at Grattan this weekend which is my home track. I like our
I also race a new to me Triumph 675. We're still getting used to it, but
making progress quickly. I'll have a GoPro on the Triumph tomorrow
during practice. It's not mine, but I'll see if we can borrow it for the
weekend and mount it on the beast. Grattan is a very technical track
compared to Road America. Lots of elevation change with some blind and
off camber turns. Not going to be an easy week end by any stretch. Lots
of really nice bikes and smooth riders in the class.
Some of the details posted about our races at Road America are a little
off, but pretty close. After this weekend I'll post a full recap, as
well as a Grattan recap.
Our goal is to win the AHRMA Vintage Superbike Heavyweight national
championship. Ken's bike is also legal for a class called Formula
Vintage which is kind of a run what ya brung pre '82 class. TZ750, etc.
At Barber, Jay Springsteen races one of his ex pro AMA XR750 bikes set
up for track racing. With the right set up, I think we may have
something for him...
For those interested, here is the rest of the schedule:
July 20-21 - AMA Vintage Days National Championships - Mid Ohio
August 3-5 - AHRMA Racing - Gingerman Raceway, Michigan
October 11-14 - AHRMA Racing - Barber Vintage Festival - Leeds, Al
October 19-21 - AHRMA Racing - Daytona International Speedway
August 31-Sep 2 - AHRMA Racing - Bonneville GP - Miller Motorsports
Thanks for the support guys. Ken and crew appreciate it.
|MRieck - "Kenny
and the team ......won again today. ;) They set an all time vintage
heavyweight lap record as well"
"Tough day. The bike crashed (left side
slide) with a (at least) 20 bike length lead. Weird stuff as it was
raining, cleared up quickly etc. Anyway....the bike was running super
solid. More wins on the way. Everbody crashes when road
racing.....everybody who runs hard. Wish I had better news BUT better
news will be coming. Kevin can ride and the bike is fast."
"Eventful weekend to say the least. For
those who have asked, here is how AHRMA's points system works
1st place - 1000 points, 2nd place - 835, 3rd place - 700, 4th place -
590, 5th place - 499....points go all the way to 60th place
To win the coveted national championship title, AHRMA combines your best
10 finishes. Each race weekend is a double header. For us to score 4th
place on Sunday is not the end of the world as we have three 1st place
finishes as well. One of our main competitors and the current #1 plate
holder currently has finished 2nd to me twice, as well as finishing 3rd
at Roebling. If we do not attend either Miller or the new NOLA track in
New Orleans it will be very close and a bit of a gamble. None of this is
news to us as we've been planning the season since last Fall. With
regards to AHRMA, we will see how Gingerman goes and make our decisions
Friday test went well. We were fast out of the gate. Ken and Todd made
adjustments after each session as set up for Grattan is much different
than Road America. We tried a new shift linkage that they had machined
to shorten the throw. Upshifts were much better, but downshifts were a
bit more difficult. Another change was made after our last session and
we'd have to wait until Sat morning practice to try it out. Overall it
was a great day. Sunny and hot.
Friday night was great. We had a very exotic dinner at the fabulous
Grattan Irish Bar followed by bench racing with our new friends from
Vicious Cycle out of Portland, Oregon (www.viciouscycle.com) Another one
of our main competitors in the Vintage Superbike Heavyweight class is
Joe Weir from Vicious. He's on a very clean and well sorted GS1000 that
has a SV650 front end and a GS1150 head. These guys are very dedicated
to vintage racing and build some amazing bikes. They're very active in
one of AHRMA's biggest classes which is 200GP. Huge grids and very close
racing. Most bikes are Honda CB175 based. You can run custom or OEM
frames with any period era suspension and brakes. I helped Joe a bit in
practice as he'd never been to Grattan. Before the sun went down I took
Ken and Todd for a walk around Grattan's 2 mile track. You should have
seen their faces. Walking around a track really puts a lot of things in
to perspective, especially when there are so many blind turns and big
elevation changes. When we were 3/4 of the way around, Joe from Vicious
hopped the fence and walked with us the rest of the way. I helped him
with some lines where it seemed like he was struggling in practice.
Saturday morning came quickly. After going through tech inspection, I
found a nice pair of women's black lace panties on the ground outside of
the women's bathroom. I picked them up with a pair of pliers and
promptly put them inside our friend's tent while he was still
sleeping.....for good luck.
We only did one of the morning practices as we wanted to conserve our
tires. Bike felt good and it seemed like the new linkage was better. Did
I mention that this bike is f'n fast? I passed every bike on the track
in our practice group and came in.
We were in race #7 gridded behind the modern middleweight twins, Triumph
Thruxton Cup, and in front of the Sound of Singles 2 strokes and Sound
of Singles 4 strokes. There were a lot of modern 125 2 stroke bikes that
were really running fast in the other practice group. I was curious to
see how the beast would measure up on the tight back section of Grattan.
Our holeshot was decent and we were running heads up with another great
competitor, Dennis Parrish, on his Randakk's backed CB900F. I was able
to run deeper in to T1 and we stayed in the lead. We had a problem
however. On lap 2 we couldn't get the bike downshifted cleanly coming in
to T1. Grattan has a very long front straight where you are flat out,
then braking hard for a 3rd gear right hander. This ended up happening 3
laps in a row. The first bike to come by me was the Framecrafters bike
which is a custom framed GP style bike with a 65hp CRF450 engine. These
guys have been working with GP Tech building a Moto3 bike to run at the
MotoGP round in Indy. I was able to pass them back on the straight but
then had to be very careful coming in to T1 due to the downshifting
issue. I decided to let him go as we're not in the same class and I
needed to focus on my own race. On lap 6 in turned around to see if
anyone was close, and Joe was very close. I was surprised! Great riding
from him having never been to Grattan. I was able to put my head down
and run a hard lap w/o too much traffic (impossible in AHRMA) and we
finished with a very convincing gap. Ken and crew were happy with the
win and we just like every single time I step off the bike Ken asks me
how we can make it better. We talked about it and they made the changes
to get ready for Sunday.
After the awards ceremony where I thanked my main sponsors, Michelin
(www.sportbiketireservice.com), Bell Helmets
(www.sportbiketrackgear.com) and Amsoil, we were off to get a hotel as
it looked like a big storm was coming in....and did it ever come in
hard. Many EZup tents folded in the paddock while we were gone and a few
bikes hit the deck as well. After the storm it cleared up and turned in
to a beautiful night. We had some drinks with the Vicious Cyle guys and
We woke up Sunday morning to pouring rain. It rained hard all morning
and through lunch. We were well prepared with a fresh set of Michelin
Power Rain race tires. I don't mind racing in the rain. It's actually
quite fun if you're on good tires. We did not go out in practice, hoping
that the rain would stop. We were in race #7 again. Some friends were in
race #4 and said it was still pretty sketchy. We held out though and
made the decision to not mount the rains. Our decision was the correct
one as the sun finally came out 15 min prior to our race and gave us a
mostly dry track.
This time I got a killer holeshot and ran a few really good laps. I
passed a good amount of the Truxton Cup guys who were gridded in the
wave ahead of us. No pesky 2 strokes coming by this time. Bike felt good
and we were spinning the rear in a few areas but it was to be expected
due to the track. Grip was actually pretty good considering the amt of
rain we had all day. I backed the pace off a bit after we got the 1/2
way flag as I had looked back after exiting turn 7 and nobody was in
sight. The next lap coming over the famous Grattan hump between T4 and
T5 without any warning I found myself immediately sliding on my left
side. I was able to keep my hands up and feet out front, while watching
an amazing fireworks display coming from the left rearset peg and stator
of the CycleX superbike. Not good. We slid for a while too. Down the
hump then in to the grass. I was lucky to not hit the bike and stopped
sliding just shy of it. I jumped up and got out of harms way and did a
quick evaluation of myself and ran over to the bike to make sure it
wasn't still running, which it was not. I was fine and the bike didn't
look too bad. Bent left bar, small dent on the front left of the tank
from the fork tube, bent left rearset peg and a ground down stator.
Right side of the bike was still perfect. Exhaust was perfect and the
CycleX engine seemed to look just fine.
We have an idea of what caused the bike to lock up, but since we're not
certain we'll save that discussion for another day. Ken was bummed out
to see his baby scratched up, but at the end of the day racing is
racing. Anything can happen at any given time. Ken has been involved in
many disciplines of racing for many decades. He took it well, and just
like always asked me what he could do to make the bike better.
The CycleX team has a goal. They want to win the AHRMA Vintage Superbike
Heavyweight #1 plate. Their years of developmental work with the SOHC
engine is unmatched. I can't begin to tell you how hard this bike not
only pulls top end, but mid range out of corners. The chassis still
needs some refinement if we're going to win the #1 plate. There are a
lot of other very capable bikes and riders on the grid. It's not going
to be easy, but we're off to a very strong start. It does not matter
that it's midway through the season. Other riders are going to have to
race more rounds to get rid of their lower finishes to us. No matter how
you shake it, the championship will come down to the wire at Barber and
Daytona which will make for some very exciting racing. If you've never
been to Barber, you should consider making the trip. Mecca of all
motorcycle museums and one of the most beautiful road courses in North
America. Hope to see you out there..."
"Have I mentioned how fast that damn bike
is? The looks on the modern bike racers faces as we pass them is
Another bittersweet weekend. We had our work cut out from the get go.
First of all, I'd never raced at Gingerman. Second of all, we had all
new suspension, geometry changes and a new motor that was barely broken
Friday started slowly as something shorted the battery and damn near
fried everything. This caused us to miss all of the sessions before
lunch. The crew worked their tails off to get it sorted while I rode my
675 to get a handle on the track layout. To say Gingerman is bumpy would
be a major understatement. Not to mention the 1" gaps in asphalt between
"lanes" that you have to block out and just rail across while fully
leaned over. Our first session after lunch was very sketchy. The bike
was trying to tank slap on every corner entry as well as corner exit. We
moved all the settings front/rear to tighten things up with preload as
well as compression. Next time out was much better, probably better than
the set up we had a Road America and Grattan, be we were still a ways
from what our new components were capable of. In the afternoon our
Michelin tire vendor and local track legend David Grey
(www.sportbiketireservice.com) stopped by to help. After getting some
accurate sag numbers, we discussed what the bike was doing and how we
could get closer to a set up for Gingerman. Dave was a huge help and
made the adjustments accordingly. Ken and Todd split early to go hang
with our photographer, while pops and I took Dave out for dinner in
Saturday morning brought a gearing change and a new proper road racing
chain (thanks Ken!) with another link or two to get us some desperately
needed wheelbase. I had the guys on pit wall with tools ready for
changes mid session, but I never came in. The bike was that good. I also
needed to ride it harder to feel what was going to happen at race pace.
I passed several modern bikes and the faster I went more I was convinced
we now had a good baseline. The new YSS shocks with the added ride
height were great. I wasn't dragging any hard parts and they handled the
Gingerman bumps very well. Much nicer than the Works units that were
previously on the bike.
Everyone was feeling pretty good come race time. 3rd and final call
came. Ken couldn't get the beast kicked over though. Everyone remained
calm in the most frantic way possible :). It still wouldn't fire.
Luckily our friend and team mate Stu had a set of starter rollers and we
got the bike to life just as the marshals were about to flip the 4 board
to 3, which would mean no warm up lap and possibly having to start from
pit lane. I ran a hard warm up lap to get some heat in the tires and
brakes. Once again the modern twins were gridded in front of us, with
the modern 2 and 4 stroke singles behind us, and the Triumph Thruxton
Cup behind them. Our holeshot was not spectacular. The new 1st gear is
suuuuper tall and the bike wants to fall on it's face. I was able to
wind it out, but we were in 3rd coming through T1. I made the pass in to
2nd right away, with the pass in to first after T3. My friend Scott came
by us on his 2002 RS125 and was setting a good pace. He and I started
picking off the modern bikes one by one. Not wanting to be in the way of
another class's battle, I backed it down and let a few of them back by.
We seemed to have a pretty convincing lead in our class and I was trying
to be mindful of our front tire which was from Grattan. Just before lap
4, I saw the red flags out. We came in to hot pit lane and shut it down.
Holy #$%*! was it hot. 95 and humid. My umbrella girl rushed over with a
big ass piece of cardboard to keep me shaded! Hilarious. On the grid Ken
wanted to know why I let the other bikes past. We talked about our goals
and risks vs. rewards. While on the grid our team photographer, Presley,
snapped some shots of the freshly built bike. Presley is a ladies man
and the girls were flocking to him to get their pictures taken, but we
made them back off. Just then the race director came over and told us
we'd be restarting the race from row 1 outside.
The boys put the kick starter on and got to kicking.....again to no
avail. Although this time we were on the grid...with no rollers in
sight! The rest of the bikes had already taken off for the warm up lap.
The starter came off and we decided to bump it. Still nothing. Luckily,
there was an Astro van on the grid powering a set of rollers. After 2
tries she fired and I was gone! Another very close call. I got a little
better holeshot this time, although still quite a bit of bog due to the
tall 1st gear. I was in P1 straight away and put my head down for a lap
while I lead the overall. On the 3rd lap I turned around and saw Scott
on the RS125 right there, along with a modern Ducati. I waved them by
and watched him go. I knew we had the pace to run with them, but it
wasn't in the team's best interest to go battling with guys not in our
class on a horribly bumpy track. We cruised the rest of the way and
brought it home safely. All in all a good day. We lead the overall for a
bit, and I'm sure it was fun for the people watching to see (and hear!)
the Cycle X bike out front. Back in the pits Ken and Todd found that the
battery was fried, so they left early to try to find one in town.
Sunday was much cooler. Mid 70's and slightly humid. We skipped morning
practice to save the front tire. We decided to run as fast as we were
comfortable with consistently throughout the race. I was in 3rd coming
in to T3. As I leaned the bike over, one of the other RS125 racers
(who's ambition outweighed his skill) made a way too late kamikaze move
to pass me on the inside. Not only was he way too late to pass, he ran
so wide that we hit shoulders and he couldn't hold his tight line. I was
able to keep the bike up and just off the grass. I'm still not certain
what the guy was thinking. It's hard enough to control a big superbike
when fully leaned over some bumps, let alone stand it up mid apex. I
gave him a little look as I went past him an that was that. The next lap
I ran down a SV650 and passed him on the brakes coming in to T1. He
stayed with me the rest of the race as we ran a pretty good pace, which
for me was one full second per lap faster than Saturday. On lap 7 when
downshifting for the last turn before the front straight, I heard a few
pops on decel. Bike pulled just fine, but then got worse on decel coming
in to T1. As I was going through T2 with knee on the ground, the bike
gave a hard sputter and completely cut out, then came back hard
resulting in a pretty big front end slide. The SV came by and I pulled
the clutch in. Engine revved up just fine. I let the clutch out and it
was running real rough. At first I thought maybe we were out of fuel so
I shook it side to side to try and get every last bit out of her. Still
rough. We had a huge lead and there we no bikes in site. I think I had
lapped just about everyone in our class. I limped the bike around hoping
we'd make it to the checkered flag, to no avail. I tried everything,
partial throttle...full throttle and everywhere in between. Finally it
quit one turn before the front straight. For a moment I envisioned an
epic RickyBobby finish with me pushing the bike across the line and
maybe someone tossing me a beer just as I crossed....and maybe a few hot
girls in bikinis waiting for me....instead I got a ride in the crash
truck in just enough time for me to get a drink and gas up the Triumph
as I was in the next race. Ken and Todd drained quite a bit of fuel from
the tank, so we definitely didn't run out of gas.
Ken and Todd were pretty bummed. We all were actually, but this is
racing. Anything and everything can and will happen at any moment, and
we're prepared for this. This isn't our first rodeo, and most certainly
won't be the last. We learned a lot over the weekend, and ultimately we
have a much better bike than we did for the first two rounds. The light
at the end of the tunnel is still burning strong. Thanks to Thermosman
for building us a great set of forks, as well as Klaus for the beautiful
YSS piggyback shocks and Hyperpro steering damper. Taming a heavy
superbike around the bumpy tarmac of Gingerman is no easy task and both
worked flawlessly. New brake lines and pads from Spiegler were great, as
well as the trick LSL superbike bars and clamps. I can't wait to race
the bike again. The next time out we're going to be on one of the
absolute best tracks in North America.
See you on the grid...."