WERA held it’s annual Cycle Jam event at Road Atlanta Raceway north of the suburbs of Atlanta at the very beginning of June. The weather was glorious with puffy clouds, a great breeze, and lots of sunshine. The Saturday morning ride to Braselton, Georgia from Stone Mountain, was a comfortable one hour commute to the track.
Barry Hassenkopf MADE IT TO THE TRACK! Registered for race school, Barry put his Wolf blue leathers to use and joined all the modern bike guys for some track learning. Through out the day, John, Barry’s Pit Monkey for the day and I had our job set out for us. Seems that some of the modifications to strip street stuff for race use left the bike without a functional charging system, something Barry had counted on. John and I were swapping out batteries, charging with what we had to work with and getting Barry on the track as well as we could.
Track time portions of the school were cut short each time for Barry, but he still gathered all the information he needed and was offered to take the Mock Race the next time he made it to the track, but otherwise, Barry is certified! Hope he makes it to Barber for the Independence Day tradition of racing at the finest campus that we have the pleasure to race at.
Practice was a great reminder of how expansive the “home town” track is, all but turn 12 that is. I was still configured with the old Avon race tires since the Tally race that was scheduled for rain and didn’t drop until the cool down lap at Tally. Doug had the “big bike” out. His Ducati F1 is a Vintage V class race bike. Jerry was in good form and confident on the Atlanta asphalt.
Cycle Jam was also a special event for vintage racers of race #9. Mr. Ron Raven was hosting his first of three (the Vintage Trifecta) sponsored payout races. Ron has worked out the handicaps using a lot of performance data that is specific to each track of his trifecta to give each racer in their class a shot at taking home a cash booty.
Ron’s second event will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama on Saturday June 30th with the finale being held at Lil Tally at the later part of August. Stay tuned for results! Our (500GP class) usual slot, race 9, also includes Clubman, V4, V3, and Formula Super Sport classes. However, it is the V4, V3, and 500GP classes that were racing for money.
The weather was hot and dry, the breeze what hot and dry, and lot’s of water was consumed by all present. The WERA crew included the usual suspects and it’s always nice to see the same familiar faces at the track. Scott, the crash truck guy (one of my heroes) had some really banged up bikes to return from all the modern bike crashes during practice. Things seemed to calm down by race time.
Helping Barry gave me great distraction time instead of watching the clock. So when it came time to race, and I was behind in suiting up, I took the short cut to pit out and was the last racer waved on and allowed to take the warm up lap. Arriving at a full grid of racers, I forgot to start the camera recording.
Our two wave race had me and Jerry in the front of the second wave. Followed by a group of Ninja 250s, it always makes for good footage when they all pass me before turn 1. It was after turn 5 that I remembered to start the recorder. The video shows the Ninjas ahead of me approaching turn 6 & 7. By the time I’m clearing turn 7, I am comforted by the fact that I am on the tails of the Ninjas, just in time to watch them power away from me in the back straight.
Jerry had done such a good job of pulling ahead and keeping the Ninjas as cover that by the end of the first lap he was nowhere in sight. So early in the race, I hadn’t given up, so I poured on the steam, braked way late in the intersections, went faster through the turns, and generally raced myself silly.
Pushing a little too hard, I got the change to play recovery expert. About 3:15 into the video, I head into turn 10A with a little too much enthusiasm and broke loose the rear wheel with one last down-shift. By the time I had traction, I was pointed straight towards the pea gravel.
Instantly remembering that I was going for a new record (time between crashes) I did my best to keep things under control. Now I know what it feels like riding through pea gravel without crashing! However, having been well shaken (and not stirred) and the loss of time required for recovery, I simply went back to a decent race pace to finish out the crashless race.
Enjoy the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVlgmVv3c4A&t=334s
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