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Author Topic: 2007 - Race 1 - Heartland Park Topeka  (Read 2544 times)

G-reg

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2007 - Race 1 - Heartland Park Topeka
« on: May 09, 2007, 09:59:49 AM »
April 27-29th, Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas

It was a dark and stormy night.  But should I have expected anything less for the start of the 2007 season?  Probably not!  I headed down on Wednesday night to Jeffís place just in time for the rain to start.  We got everything loaded up in the trailer so we could just wake up in the morning, hook up the trailer, and head out.  It all seemed too easyÖ

Thursday Ė The day of driving.  I actually managed to drag myself out of  bed before 5am.  I saw Jeff outside and heard the engine of the RV revving but didnít see it moving.. Even in my semi-conscious state I knew what happened.  It was stuck.  One hour, one snapped tow strap, a muddy jeep, and four warped pieces of plywood later the RV was out!  The rest of the trip down there was much less eventful.  We arrived a little after 6, rented a garage, got set up, and Jeff solved the little shifting problem I was having with my rearsets.. The shifter peg wasnít returning to the middle, it turned out the heim joints that came with them were both seized up!  Jeff got one loosened up and I pillaged another from my box of spares and its been smooth ever since.

Friday Ė The day looked like it would  be pretty good out!  I got through registration and tech, went out for the first practice.. Iím still getting used to the bike and where/when I should be shifting.. My rear tire was tearing up quite a bit and I wasnít pushing it that hard, so we softened up the rear rebound a little and that seemed to do the trick.  Second practice, the weather started looking a little ominous.  During the riderís meeting it started pouring!  But there was a team challenge race (2 hours long) before my first race.. It might clear up, right?  It looked like it would at one point, but alas, it did not.  So not having any spare rims, I waited until the last minute to take my wheels and rain tires down to get mounted.

GTO Ė First race of the year.  I lined up in the first row, never having even done a practice start on this bike yet.  Oops.  Guess I forgot about that in practice!  Lucky for me I managed to get a pretty good start, I was in second place for about.. oh.. the first 3 turns.  I did stay pretty far forward in that race, but after two or three laps my rain tires really started showing their age when I tried pushing them a little more..  I guess the third year on the same set of rains is about it, the rear especially was sliding around quite a bit.  After maybe 15 minutes the race was red flagged, Iím still not sure why as I did almost a full lap on the red flag and didnít see a crash anywhere.  There was a lot of lightning, and I heard someone say that there was a tornado warning for whatever county we were in.. maybe that had something to do with it.  But hey, I didnít crash!  That was it for my races that day..  I got new DOT Michelins put on and started drying off for Saturday.

Saturday
First race Ė Heavyweight Superbike.  It was at least a dry track for this race!  However, my launch from the GTO race must have either been a fluke or nobody else was trying, I got left in the dust on this one.  There were quite a few crashes in this race, including a pretty nasty one in turn 1 on the last lap.  Iím just glad I finished upright and got a better feel for the bike. 

Second Race Ė Middleweight Supersport.  Why I wanted to enter this class, I have no idea.  It was a combined expert/amateur race, and there was somewhere around 70 bikes on the grid (35ish experts, and about the same for amateurs).  I was on row 4 of the experts, right in the middle of everything.  This was the first launch that ever spooked me!  Normally what Iím used to is people either taking off like a bat out of hell, and some others lagging behind, and by the time everyone hits turn one its only 2 bikes wide.  Not so in middleweight supersport!  Everyoneís bike is about the same speed, and they go 5 wide into turn one!  I backed off.  Not a good idea.  It was the express lane to the back of the field.  Well, at least I had a good starting point.. lol!  I ended up in 24th place, a terrible finish but hey, I didnít crash again!

Third and Last Race of the Day Ė Unlimited Supersport.  I was worn out for this one, it wasnít very long after Middleweight Supersport.  My launch wasnít as bad and there werenít quite as many people either, but I still ended up in the bottom 1/3 of the field.  I called it a day, gorged myself on some of the best steaks ever and went to bed.


Just a few bikes in the MWSS race...


Sunday.
The races were run the reverse order from Saturday.  Unlimited Supersport was on tap first.  I felt better on the bike, a lot more comfortable.  Still didnít finish anywhere near where I wanted to, but I was feeling better.

Middleweight Supersport Ė I backed off on the start again!  Thatís a big mental issue Iím going to have to deal with, and I better get over it soon.  Started in the exact same grid spot as the day before (go figure!), and I ended up in 24th again.  Guess I ran the same race, lol!

Last race of the weekend.   Heavyweight Superbike.  I had a loooooooooong break in between middleweight supersport and this.. All the ASRA and USGPRU races were held before this race.  However, that did have an interesting implication on the race.. None of the blazingly fast guys entered ;)  I was gridded on the front row.  I launched it and got a start like I had in the GTO race.  I was first going into turn one!  Well, I certainly never expected that to happen!  Another turn.. and another.. and another.. Iím still in first!  Whats up with that?!  Isnít someone supposed to go blowing past me by now?  Lap one.  I led it.  Iím screaming in my helmet, I didnít care what happened after this, I led a lap!  Lap two goes by.. then three.. Iím still in the lead!  I donít see any other bikes!  Lap four.. Lap five.. I passed a lapper..  White flag is out.  Iím still in the lead.. My throat is totally dry, I tell myself to keep breathing and donít screw it up.. I run my lap.. come down that front straight.. and I make damn sure to keep it pinned well past the start/finish line.. donít want anyone sneaking past me in the last 200 feet!  I was exhausted.  My throat was sore.  But it didnít matter at all, I won it..  My first expert win on the first weekend I raced this new bike.  How sweet is that!

And to make it even better.. I go to take a shower and come out and everything was all packed up and ready to go, Jeff took care of all that.  Awesome.  So this is what its like to be a rock star ;)






The trip home was about as eventful as the trip there.  The only two interesting things were the GPS unit telling us to make turns, and then changing its mind and telling us to turn around and go back to the other road.. and then sleeping at a rest area in Iowa City.  Went to sleep, all is good.  Wake up at 5am to clanking and moo-ing.  A glance out the window reveals Bessie staring me in the eye.  A livestock truck parked right next to us.. wonderful! 

I made it home shortly after 3pm on Monday.  It felt good to be home, but I canít wait until the next weekend at Blackhawk..

Thanks to Jeff & Family for helping me out and for the ride down to and from the track, and for keeping me well fed and entertained when I was off track..  Also thanks to Mat Martell for letting me steal his tire warmers at the last minute since mine decided they no longer wanted to work!

Coming next race - A bike with an actual paint job!  8)
--Greg

Fretless33

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Re: 2007 - Race 1 - Heartland Park Topeka
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 10:42:15 AM »
Good effort and and definitely a great conclusion to that weekend! The new bike must be sweet!!!

When I was an active musician, I use to have a crew that would set up and tear down my equipment...all I have to do was show up, plug in, check tuning and play...but I surely wasn't a rock star!
"There but for the grace of God go I"

welldrilleRR

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Re: 2007 - Race 1 - Heartland Park Topeka
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 10:43:39 PM »
Congrats again Greg. I was one of those going down in the GTO race. I was able to pick up the bike and keep racing. See you at Blackhawk.
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Johnny P

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Re: 2007 - Race 1 - Heartland Park Topeka
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 11:09:10 PM »
Good job Greg ;D, looking forward to getting down to see you at the Hawk.  Who knows I met even do a race or two!
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