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Author Topic: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings  (Read 6817 times)

DakotaCBR

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Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« on: April 06, 2009, 08:41:57 PM »
It had been almost eleven months since I sat on the starting grid of a road race, waiting for the 1-minute board to go sideways and the green flag to wave. I had a great time racing last May at Jennings GP and I was looking forward to more competition throughout the 2008 season. Unfortunately, my injury at Barber Motorsports Park had stalled my rookie year and my confidence was shot. The only way to get it back was to hop back in the saddle and go racing, so thatís exactly what we did.

Iíd like to put some thanks in at the beginning of the report this time. My weekend was personally sponsored by my best buddy and partner in crime, Eric Moore, and my race on Sunday was sponsored by my wonderful Mom (and she even knew what the money was going to this time!). Thanks to both of you for getting me on the track. April was the only race at Jennings GP on the entire CCS Florida calendar. Because all of my racing experience has been at Jennings and it is my home track, I definitely wanted to make this weekend, even if Iíd have to sit out a few other rounds. We had a new motor in the bike after blowing the other one at Daytona in February and I was itching to ride.

I was riding with CCS and Eric was racing with both CCS and USGPRU this weekend, so we got to the track around 8PM on Friday night and set up in the grass next to turn 1. The concrete paddock spots are usually filled up on race weekends and are especially packed for USGPRU weekends, so the chances of getting a nice paved spot are pretty slim. After setting up our pit area and tinkering with the bikes for a little while, we sat out under the bright stars that are usually obscured by light pollution at our home base in Daytona. The convenience of camping in the grass at Jennings on a cool spring night is one of my favorite things about the race track.

Eric (left) during his Lightweight GP race:


Practice

Saturday was beautiful. The weather forecast called for 80 degree weather and a cloudless blue sky and we enjoyed every minute of it. The track surface heated up quickly and made tires super sticky. Because this was the only round at Jennings this season, all of the locals and regular Jennings fanatics made sure to put it on their schedule, making for a pretty dense track. I post-entered for practice and the Sunday races and then took the bike through tech inspection with the rest of the riders. We got out on track at about 9AM and continued until about 4PM, at which time qualifying for the USGPRU races began.

I got warmed up during the first session of practice and started working on improvements in the second session. During the third session I was starting to have some fun and was getting close to my previous personal best lap times that I had set last May. Unfortunately, I became distracted by a few other riders and lost my focus. The next few sessions saw me taking a giant step backwards and I ended up at the bottom of the time sheets for the rest of the day. What a disappointment. I wanted to go faster but every time I got into a corner I was thinking, ďYou could have entered way faster than that, Jon!Ē I was not paying attention to my reference points and I was over-reading the feedback that the bike was giving to me. I couldnít calm down on the bike all day and I was starting to ask myself if I really belonged out on the track with the rest of those racers. The bike can be pieced back together after a crash but apparently the mind takes much longer.

The next morning in practice I was determined to have a better day. On Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies and attended the riderís meeting, then got suited up for practice. I had a great morning warm-up and started hitting some of my reference points, with the new motor purring happily beneath me. The Pirelli tires stuck like glue and my new BKS suit was very comfortable after being broken in the day before. I was very glad that the new leathers had oodles of ventilation, because even though it was cloudy, the temperature was rising steadily. The forecast called for thunderstorms later in the day but the weather held out for us all weekend. I guess it canít get any better than that!

Melissa Paris on her RS250:


Amateur GTU

I could only afford to do one race this weekend, so I chose the Amateur GTU, which is a nine-lap race instead of the regular six-lap sprints. When in doubt, always choose the one with the most available track time! After a few CCS and USGPRU races, we pulled off the tire warmers and I went out for my sighting lap and then parked in my assigned grid spot. I had post-entered for the race but I guess I was one of the first to do so, because I had a spot near the middle of the grid on the outside row. I was pretty nervous being in the middle of the grid because I hadnít done a race start in almost a year.

The one-minute board turned sideways and the green flag waved. I did not let the clutch out fast enough and the motor bogged as almost everyone gridded behind me shot up into the middle of the pack. After working into a crowded turn one, I put my head down and tried to keep up with the racers in front of me. There was someone a little ways ahead and he did not get away from me on the first lap, so I worked the throttle to keep up with him. By the second lap I had caught him in the back section of the track and I tried to plan my move to get around him.

I figured I could slide through around turn 13, a fast right hand corner that wraps around to turn 14 leading onto the front straight. Apparently I thought wrong, as he was faster on the throttle than me through the corner. I watched him begin to pull a gap on the straight and then I caught up to him again going into T1. Once more, coming out of turn one he was better on the throttle and walked away from me on the long back dogleg, which is the fastest part of the track. This was going to be a little more difficult than I had thought.

The next few laps continued in this fashion. He was slowing me up in the back section but I couldnít match his throttle hand on the corners leading onto the straights. A few times I got side-by side with him onto the front straight but I ended up behind him going into T1 and there was no way I was going to make a pass on the brakes. If I was going to pass him it had to be in the back section and it had to be soon. On the next lap I closed the gap going into the fast T3-4-5 section, put the bike way wide to the right side of the track and nailed the throttle coming around turn 6. It was enough to put me side-by-side with him going into the right hand T7 where I could control the line into the tight, decreasing radius, left hand T8. I kept the lead around the rest of the back section and through turns 13 and 14 onto the front straight, hoping that I could continue for the next lap. Just as I was about to cross the finish line, I was lapped by the race leaders, ending the battle right there. I had successfully beaten my opponent!

Coming back into the pits, we shook hands and talked about the battle for a bit and the great time we just had. Wait, what about those confidence issues? What confidence issues? I just had the best race of my life at the back of the grid and I had totally forgotten about my personal demons. In fact, I wished that I had enough money to do another race! So what if we werenít battling for the championship points? We had an awesome time dicing it up together and that race absolutely made the weekend.

Me in my hot new leathers:


Special thanks to Eric Moore and Mom for sponsoring my race weekend, as well as EC Moore for pulling double crew chief duties and Dale (2old) for the smoking deal on the new race motor. Also thanks to my girlfriend Francesca for helping us out in the pits and my buddy Kris Lieber for taking photos (I got the top two, he got the bottom one. Click HERE for the rest of Kris's photos from the weekend). Finally, many thanks to my 2009 sponsors: Lithium Motorsports, Scorpion EXO, BKS Leathers, Woodcraft, Vortex Racing, and Trackdaymag.com. I could not be here without your support. Also thanks to the staff at CCS and Jennings GP for running another fantastic race weekend!
CCS FL #308

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Jason748

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 08:59:27 PM »
Great work Jon  :thumb:  ;D
Nothing like a good Race to beat back those demons!

BTW - Them new BKS Leathers are pretty snazzy.

Man... now I'm really itching to get back in on the grid.
CCS/CRA #92
07 CBR600RR - RACE
Sponsors: Two Brothers Honda, Lithium Motorsports, SpyderLeatherworks

"A lot of people go through life doing things badly. Racingís important to men who do it well. When youíre racing, it... itís life. Anything that happens before or after... is just waiting."  -S

2old2fat2slow

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2009, 09:30:18 PM »
Excellent write up Jon! You have a gift for writing. I was right there with you turn for turn. So glad you gave a new home to our spare Cbr engine. I hope she gives you several seasons of faithful service. It served us well. Make sure you give us a link to any write ups you do for Trackdaymag.com!
Let there be Mirth

beer

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2009, 01:21:52 PM »
Congratulations. We were just down at Jennings last month, as you were describing your race I was following you the whole way around the track. It really is a lot of fun, damn turn eight will get you though, HAHA. Good luck in the future, I know what you mean about getting the crash out of your head.

ian

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 06:43:42 PM »
Great write up and congratulations on the personal victory!  ;D Reading this made me want to pick up the phone and get my replacement bike right now and just go ride!  :)

cobes

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 08:51:19 PM »
Good job.  Bike looks good.  A few of my friends from Eastern Canada were there.  RAT (Remote Access Technologies) racing.  I think one of the guys (Gene) was riding a kawi 600 and the others were in the USGPRU.  I saw a vid from the 600 of the track, looks fun.

DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 09:00:07 PM »
Yeah those guys from RAT have been there almost everytime I've ever gone to Jennings. Adam Roberts got a win in the USGPRU 250 class this weekend:

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cobes

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Jennings
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2009, 12:29:41 AM »
Yeah Adam is a really good rider.  Especially on the gp bikes