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Author Topic: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point  (Read 11775 times)

DakotaCBR

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Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« on: July 06, 2009, 11:43:37 PM »
I love racing. Sure itís got some heartache but when youíre feeling good on the track, thereís nothing else that can come close to giving you that same sensation of extreme euphoria. Iíve been having trouble becoming comfortable on the bike this season since my get-off last August and I thought my confidence was never going to come back from it. Luckily, my last race at Jennings GP in April had rejuvenated my spirits and confidence and I was excited to get to Summit Point to ride a new track and hang with some good friends for a few days.

It was a long trip from Florida to West Virginia so my buddies Art, Bernie, and I split the driving to make the 15 hour trip easier for us. We drove through the night and got to the track on Thursday morning. The Mid-Atlantic Road Race Club (MARRC) was doing a trackday on Thursday but the paddock was relatively empty. We got a great spot next to some friends and set up our pits for the Friday practice day. I borrowed a bicycle to go for a lap around the track at the end of the day, and then that night we got through registration and tech and went to bed early to get some sleep for the early wake-up the next morning.

On Friday morning we got up early and suited up, ready to hit the track for the first time. Iíve never ridden at Summit Point before, so my friend Bob Brown suggested that I put on a bright shirt over my leathers for the first few sessions to let the other riders know that Iím new here and donít know the lines yet. The shirt allows other racers to recognize that I may not be as predictable on the track as they might think, and it just makes it safer for everyone out there. I was riding practice on an old set of Michelin PRC/PR5s that I had burned up at Daytona but I figured they would be good for the practice day, seeing as Iíd be running a slower pace on them and the surface is not as abrasive as the coastal tracks like Jennings or Daytona.

Coming under the bridge into T10:


I started the morning practice running 2:00 laps, then quickly hacked it down to 1:40s for a few sessions. When Iím feeling good I consider myself to be capable of mid-pack times, and most mid- to upper-pack riders at Summit Point are in the 1:25-1:28 range, with experts like Jeff Wood and Rob Jensen dipping into the 1:12ís. The times at Summit Point are similar to Jennings, although the tracks are completely different. Summit has a lot of elevation changes, blind entries and exits, a much bumpier and patched surface, and a 3000 ft straight leading into a tight, right hand hairpin Turn 1. The racing surface played with my mind all day on Friday. There are sealer patches completely covering many corners and they looked slick, and there was some bumpy patchwork in T1 and T5, as well as patchwork in the fast T4 and T10 sections. Of course, all of these patches are on the racing line so itís difficult to avoid them; youíve just got to learn to get comfortable going over it.

After lunch I started rearranging some of my shift points out on the track, as I knew that they were costing me time. I also started to get hard on the brakes coming into T1 after the long straight. When you come down the straight at Summit, youíre just on the rev-limiter in 6th gear while you come into the braking zone, so it is atleast a 150mph area there. Learning when, where, and how to get on the brakes in T1 can cut several seconds from your lap times. After extending my brake markers and shift points all around the track, I had dropped into the 1:35ís at the end of Friday practice, which I didnít think was too bad for my first time there. After the day was over there was an announcement that a rider was looking for a rear wheel for an Ď03 600RR. I was about to put my second set of wheels with Pirelli SC3ís on, so Art and I walked over to see if we could help the guy out with one of my wheels. It turns out the rider was in the MARRC racer school, had crashed and absolutely tore apart his rear wheel just before his school race. We quickly pulled the rear wheel from my Honda and put it on his just as they made 3rd call for his race. He got out there and was able to finish on my burnt Michelin, so I was pretty happy that I could help out a fellow racer.

Later that day, my buddy Eric came in from New Jersey to race this weekend so he set up in our pits on Friday night. Eric is running 1:23ís on his TZ250 and considers Summit to be his home track, even taking his first win here last month. We went for a walk around the track after it was declared cold for the evening and he pointed out some new lines and gave me some new ideas to play around with in practice the next morning.

On Saturday morning I headed out for the warm-up practice sessions and put in some 1:36s. My confidence was way up and I knew Iíd be dropping even more time today. After taking a bit of Ericís advice, I found that my gearing was a bit off for the front straight. I was running a 15/45 on the Honda and wanted to drop a tooth on the rear but I only had a 43 rear sprocket with me. I put on the 43 anyway but would not get to try it out before my 25-minute GTO race after lunch.

The GTO is a 25-minute, open class race that lasts about 17 laps. I was on the 600RR with both amateur and expert 750s, 1000s, and big twins out there with me, so I was pretty sure Iíd be near the back of the race, especially with that big straight for them to gobble me up on the power. However, I was just doing this first race to get some more seat time in. I got in my grid spot, watched the green flag wave, and got a decent launch. I beat our buddy Bob Brown into T1 and that made me pretty happy, even though he came right around me going into T2. I quickly learned that my reference points were a bit off after I changed the gearing up, so I had to rearrange my shift points and the number of downshifts I put in at a few corners. I was moving at a pretty good clip and felt really good out there, having a blast blowing into T1 hard on the brakes and getting the front wheel up and my butt light coming full throttle over the rise entering the fast T4. After sorting out my new shift points and learning that I was going to have to get the bike squirming a little downshifting into T10 coming onto the front straight, I started to put my head down and get some fast laps in. By the end of the race I finished 13 out of 16 and had dropped into the low 1:33ís.

Sweeping through T8:


We had to wait a while for our next set of races, as the GTO was race number two and my next race, Heavyweight Supersport, was race sixteen. Eric had to go out for race thirteen, Lightweight GP, and I walked over to T10 to watch him ride and get a few pics. He got a decent start, led the amateurs and even a few experts for a bit, then battled with another AM for the amateur first place spot. Unfortunately, on the last lap, Eric highsided out of T9 and busted up a few parts. The rest of our pit got him out of the crash truck and started taking his bike apart as I suited up for HWSS.

Eric putting out some sparks:
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DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2009, 11:44:22 PM »
I was excited to try out Heavyweight SS because I knew I could take a few more people in this class, as it is mainly comprised of 600s and 750s. I got a decent start and was ahead of a few people on the first lap. Starting the second lap, I was coming into the braking zone off the front straight a few hundred RPM under the limiter in the top of 6th gear. The gearing calculator says thatís a bit over 153 MPH. I put on the brakes a little past my brake marker, but this time the resistance in the lever felt different. Itís difficult to describe the exact sensation, but I guess it kind of felt like my brake rotor was made of butter. I was on the brakes as hard as usual into this area, but the lever pull was different. I didnít shed any speed at all before the front washed out and I hit the deck.

I tumbled off the left side of the bike with my body perpendicular to the track. When you go down at 150 MPH, you donít stop moving for a longgggggggg time. The first couple of rolls I could feel my arms out flailing around, and I just tried to pull them into my chest as hard as I could. It was difficult to pull them in, probably because of the centripedal force of me tumbling around. I remember hitting my chin bar on the ground a few times and wondered if I was ever going to stop rolling. The only colors I could see were the black undersides of the leaves on the trees and the bright sun and then black again, which of course is the sensation we racers refer to as ďSky, Dirt, Sky, Dirt, Sky, Dirt.Ē I saw my face shield pop off mid-way through the tumble so I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the blows to stop. I came to a halt on my back and waited a second or two until I sat up, just to make sure I that had in fact stopped moving. When I sat up, I saw a big dust cloud a few hundred feet past me, which I could only assume was my motorcycle sliding into the kitty litter.

I wiggled my digits to make sure everything was still there, then stood up and saw the worried light blue eyes of a corner worker running my way. She was asking me if I was OK and if I could walk and I understood everything she said, but the only response I could muster was ďUgh.Ē When she walked me out of the hot zone she made sure I knew my name and number and told me I could take my helmet off. To my surprise, another rider had gone down at the exact same time in the corner and was already waiting in the safe zone for the race to be over. I didnít see him go down but his bike was farther in the turn than mine, so I figured it was just a coincidence. A few days later, I found out that my sliding motorcycle had actually taken him out mid-corner. I felt bad that I didnít know I took him out when I was talking to him in the corner, so amateur #787, if you are reading this, I am truly and deeply sorry that I didnít apologize to you at the track; I didnít even know that my bike took you out. Thatís probably why the corner worker told us that it was the most violent incident she had ever witnessed.

Unfortunately, the crash ended my racing weekend. I was not able to walk without Art giving me some help, so I figured I had broken an ankle, and my hand and wrist swelled up pretty good, so Iím pretty sure I broke a wrist and maybe a finger or two. My orthopedist was not able to get me in today to find out, so Iím still waiting to get x-rays done. Iíve got a nice bruise across my forehead from whacking my head a few times, but the EMTís said I donít have a concussion. I am walking by myself now, so I must have just tweaked the ankle pretty good. Of course, I am covered in massive black bruises just about everywhere, and everything hurts. I honestly did not think that people just get up and walk away from a 150 MPH get-off. It just seems like something that should have killed or at least paralyzed me. To come out of it with just bruises and a broken hand is truly a testament to the proper gear and safety of riding on the race track.

Thankfully, we had some track moms in the pits who looked after me and made sure I had food and ice packs. A ton of people came by to see if I was OK and Iím thankful for everyone that offered help and checked on me for the rest of the weekend. That night my buddy Art, who is a CCS Chaplain, performed a wedding ceremony at the track chapel for a corner worker and racer marriage, which was really cool to see. Later that night, I got a nice pack of happy pills from my dealer and we watched the spectacular Summit Point Independence Day fireworks show out on pit lane.



On Sunday I watched a few races from T10 and started to pack my things up one-handed, as well as dump all the kitty litter from the belly pan of my motorcycle. Iím sure Iíll be finding the tiny little marbles in every part of the bike for the next few months. Initial assessment of the bike does not seem too bad. Iíll have to get it back from Artís place and start taking it apart before I really know what kind of damage I did to it. The BKS Toseland replica suit got pretty scuffed, but for such a violent wreck, I canít believe how well this thing held together. The only thing Iím pissed about is that I scuffed up these awesome leathers. Toseland's signature is still on the aero hump though, so thatís good.



Like I told a lot of people these past few days, this was the most fun and exciting weekend Iíve ever had at the racetrack, even after I took my tumble. I met so many cool people and got to hang out with others that Iíve known for a long time, and like we all know, the racing community is the best group of people we could ever hope to meet. Iím very proud of my own accomplishments this weekend and those of our friends, including our buddy Craig Woratyla for dicing it up with the likes of Jeff Wood and Rob Jensen, Joe Cotterino for swapping his wounded SV700 motor for a stocker and still getting out to fight for his championship, and of course Art for keeping the entire paddock motivated by doing what he does best. It was also cool to hang with Dale (2old), Craig, and Maria in between races.

Iíve got to thank a lot of people for their help this weekend, because every racer, whether they are a club-racer doing a few races a year or a factory-backed rider with a multimillion dollar contract, needs help to get them where they are. First, Iíd like to thank my Dad for offering to sponsor my weekend at Summit, which was really cool of him. I think he knows what racing means to me and I really appreciate his help to get me on the grid. Iíd like to thank Art and Bernie for splitting gas and doing some heavy driving to get there and back, Joe, Bob, John and their respective wives for cooking and taking care of all of us this weekend, and Eric for being my pit buddy. Thanks also to the best crew chief ever, Mr. EC Moore, for taking care of the bikes and playing us some acoustic guitar to keep us entertained. Of course, Iíve got to thank my 2009 sponsors: Lithium Motorsports, TrackdayMag.com, Vortex, Woodcraft, and especially Scorpion helmets and BKS leathers for literally keeping me alive this weekend. Also thanks to those that put on the great fireworks display, the fine staff at CCS, and the wonderful MARRC corner workers and safety crew that are there to pick us up when we fall down. It was definitely an awesome weekend to share with everyone.

At the morning rider's meeting:

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excat

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 07:05:26 AM »
Happy to hear you pulled through that tuble ok man. Let us know how you fare when you go get the x-rays! Hope you heal up fast!

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 09:30:39 AM »
Sorry to  hear about the crash, hope you get well soon.
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leusent

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 10:03:24 AM »
Yikes, hit hard enough to knock the chain off. Did you discover what the brake issue was?

Glad to hear you're OK. Feel better soon....
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cobes

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 11:59:16 AM »
Hey glad to hear you are alright.  You should check how much brake fluid you had in your resevoir.  Is it a hard braking track?  I've never been there.  I know at Infineon I run a little less brake fluid because it gets so hot with all the braking.  If you run it right full it doesn't allow any expanding when it gets hot and can lead to brake fade.  I'm not 100% sure this theory is right but it is something I consider with different tracks.

Jason748

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 08:31:29 PM »
Sounds like a good weekend overall, right up to the crash, which always sucks....  ::)   Glad you're up and around and will be fine.  Bike doesn't that bad considering.
BTW - Are those the the PRC/RP5 I think they are, if you you got some good life out of them.
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DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 08:59:05 PM »
Those would be the ones. Used them for practice at Daytona and at Summit, never had a problem. After this one, I figured they had probably been heat cycled twice what they should be, so they are done.

As for the crash, I think my braking technique got me into trouble. I've never been this hard on the brakes before, so it was pretty new to me. I didn't think it was possible to lock a front wheel going 150mph, but that's the direction I'm leaning. I probably jabbed the brakes on like I had been all day, but I was working on extending my brake marker so maybe I just gave it a little bit too much initial bite. Sucks learning the hard way.
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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2009, 05:14:37 PM »
Glad you are okay Jon! I know what the problem was. That engine I sold you was probably propelling your bike to near mach 1 speed and the brakes just couldn't handle it!
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SilverRider24

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 07:10:09 PM »
Good to se that you are okay. You have already done the best thing you can do...keep your head up and be happy it wasn't worse. :thumb:
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cobes

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2009, 08:48:36 PM »
Not sure about your technique but I only use one finger on the front brake, whether it is brembo or stock master.  Not saying you don't as well but using four fingers can lead to some scary stuff.  If you need any misc parts post it up.  I have boxes of Honda stuff my '03 to '08.  It kinda sucks, looks like I'll be racing Honda's for a while:)

PHIL53

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2009, 03:35:17 PM »
sucks to read, but, at least you will ride again.
 ;D heres to a speedy recovery  ;D

did you ever hear the front wheel screaming that it was near lock up?
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DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2009, 04:40:07 PM »
Cobes - I use one finger on the brake with a pretty soft set-up. I didn't even think it was possible to lock the wheel going that fast.

Phil - Didn't hear the screech. I couldn't even hear the motor there because of the wind noise at that speed when I sat up to brake. If it did screech, it wouldn't have helped, I was on the ground a millisecond after I pulled in the lever.

Finally got the bike apart. The throttle was stuck because some pea gravel got lodged near the throttle bodies. I'm going to be installing a new Motion Pro Revolver Throttle kit within the next few days so I had to open up the airbox anyway. Stripped off the spool mounting lug on the left side, so I'm thinking about how I'm going to fix that. I'll probably take it to a machinist and have him weld on a new lug, or I could get one of those reverse lift stands where the spools are on the stand and the lifter is on the swingarm. I'll have to see which option is cheaper.

The damage:

Swingarm Lug
Torn up upper and tail, upper is probably salvageable, tail is not.
Clip-on and clutch lever, but had spares for those
Upper Fairing stay
Vortex slider ground down to the bolt head
Big chunk taken out of front Pirelli SC3, I need a new set anyway
Scraped up the LH coolant tube, but it's still holding water. I may replace it.
Looks like the front wheel is crossed-up in the forks, so I'll pull them to see if they are straight
Chain popped off and tore up the sprocket, so the sprocket probably needs replacing
Bent up Woodcraft rearset. Shift lever is good, bent the bracket, ground the peg halfway off, and lost shift linkage
Cracked the ignition and bent the key up. May try to remove the ignition and make it keyless.

I think that's about it. I'll know more the deeper I get into fixing it. Not bad for a 150mph crash.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 04:58:06 PM by DakotaCBR »
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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2009, 06:19:38 PM »
glad your ok dude, 150 is crazy fast for a get-off in my mind, hell i worry about falling off at 40  :P
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cobes

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Summit Point
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2009, 08:59:25 PM »
Hey I had the same thing happen with my ignition.  If you know how or see a write up on how to make it keyless let me know.