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Author Topic: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach  (Read 11012 times)

DakotaCBR

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Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« on: October 14, 2009, 08:02:35 PM »
Racing with CCS Ė October 3-4, 2009

I had never been to Palm Beach International Raceway before, but the track was just bulldozed and fully rebuilt last year so I had put it on my calendar to get down there this season. It is actually the same driving time from Daytona to PBIR as it is to Jennings GP, so Iím not really sure why I didnít go sooner. I went down with a friend and fellow racer, Joe, and due to work constraints we ended up leaving at 5AM on Saturday morning and driving the 3.5 hours to the track to start practice. By the time I signed up and got through tech, we had already missed the first practice session, although I usually skip atleast one throughout the day, so I didnít think it would be a big deal. (Obvious foreshadowingÖ)

I wanted to use the first session to figure out where the track went and pick up a few reference points, especially at the end of the back straight which is 3/5ths of a mile long with the bike topped out by the end. Well, for some reason, this was the most uncomfortable Iíve been on a motorcycle since I came back from my first crash at Barber last year. I wasnít focused, I wasnít looking through corners, I couldnít stop putting a death grip on the bars, I didnít know what gear I was in until I tried to shift past 6th on the back straight, and I wasnít even looking for reference points. Atleast after I came in I could picture in my head how the track was laid out, although not with any great detail. Thatís one session pretty much wasted.



Session 2 wasnít much better, although I did start to focus a bit more, looking through corners and counting the gear shifts that I made. I started getting on the brakes a bit, but not with any real force. It was difficult to really get on the binders; there was always that thing in the back of my head reminding me of the last crashÖ Iím sure I was starting to get my crap together but I was definitely still the slowest guy out there.

The next session went better, improving that brake marker on the back straight and getting a better rhythm through the chicane and the long, on-your-knee-for-hours, left hand T3. PBIR is not very technical and few corners are interconnected, making it fairly easy to learn the lines and very forgiving of line entry/exit mistakes. Because the track surface is only a year old, it is still very nice with little to no patches, gouges, or oil spots. Of course, this also means that there are little to no reference points. I couldnít find decent reference points for about half of the track, but I did start passing a few riders.

There were so many amateur riders there that midway through the day CCS split the AM sessions into even and odd numbered groups, reducing our track time by a session. Instead of three groups, weíd now run four groups: Expert, Combined, Odd Amateurs, Even Amateurs. Also, this was the USGPRU finale weekend, so CCS shut down practice at 4pm so that USGPRU could do qualifying, dropping another session. That means I came to a new track and got about an hour of time to learn it before I had to race the next day. Iím no Ben Spies, so I donít learn new tracks instantly (and PBIR isnít on Tourist Trophy or MotoGP í08 for the Playstation). But thereís always tomorrow, right?

WellÖ we did our math wrong and almost ended up being late for morning practice. Luckily, splitting up the amateur groups saved us and we made it to the track just in time to jump out of the truck, suit up, and get some laps in. The practice ended up going well and I probably turned in some faster times in the warm-up than I had during practice on Saturday.



RACE 1: Amateur GTO

GTO is a nine-lap, unlimited displacement race that gives a bit more track time than the regular sprint races. I decided to sign up for the heavyweight classes after I saw previous turnouts for those classes at the last few rounds at PBIR. The previous grids were light and I figured there were probably a few guys I could take in practice. Well, it was not to be this weekend. This was the last round at PBIR this season, so everyone came out in force, and my post-entry put me in the back of the grid on row 8, with a sea of riders in front of me. When I signed up for the races, I also forgot that PBIR has a huge back straight for the bigger bikes to blast by me. Double poop.

I got an OK start but remained in the same position into the T1 chicane, with a few riders behind me. Halfway through the first lap we were red-flagged, so we came into the pits and had to sit in the blazing Florida sun in our leathers and gear for a few minutes until the track was cleared. It was only around 11AM and already 90 degrees out. Finally, we were given the go-ahead to do another sighting lap and grid up again.

This time, I got a much better start. The guy gridded directly in front of me forgot to put his bike in gear, so I had to do a quick swerve to the right to keep from ass-packing him as the rest of the 1000ís and other heavyweights wheelied all the way to T1. I felt pretty good and tried to keep up with another rider that I had seen in practice who was just a little faster than me. However, coming onto the back straight, I went a little wider than usual, throttled up, hit a transition in the pavement and the WELL used Pirelli SC3 I had on the rear wheel stepped out pretty good. I said, ďOK, Iím done racing this guy,Ē and just started circling the track trying to improve some of my entry speeds in a few corners. This turned out to be practice session #6 of the weekend.



RACE 2: Heavyweight Supersport

HWSS is a 6-lap sprint race comprised mainly of 600ís and 750ís; no 1000ís. Even though I had another rear wheel with a brand new Pirelli SC2 mounted up and plenty of time to throw it on the bike, I was already pretty tired and I knew I wasnít going to push very hard in the second race. I was again in row 8 at the back of the grid. I got a better start this time, beating a few riders into T1. However, by the end of the first lap, I was in the back again. Great. Atleast the track ahead of me was clear.

On one of the final laps, I was passed by the leaders as I started to brake at the end of the long back straight. My attention immediately focused to how bad I was getting my ass kicked by these guys, and I accidentally shifted down into first gear instead of second. As I let out the clutch, the motor revved to the moon, the rear wheel locked, and the back end started to sway back and forth underneath me. The rear wheel slid for about 20 feet before the tire hooked up again, essentially my first experience with ďbacking it in.Ē Look at me, tail-end Charlie putting on a show for the crowd.  I finished up the race without incident, coming in 10th place, my best finish ever. Of course, the race only had 10 riders, but thatís just detailsÖ



Afterthoughts:

- I didnít even bother to check my laptimes the entire weekend. I just knew they werenít what I wanted to see. These past few times at the track Iíve become increasingly harder on myself for not being up to pace with even the mid-pack riders after almost 3 years of track-riding. Iíve just been extremely discouraged with my ability. But, I'll still keep trying. I want to be faster. Oh, and the guys in practice that I knew I could take? They had all signed up for Middleweight classes this time - the classes that I usually run. I took a gamble and had my ass handed to me. Triple Poop.

- I didnít crash, I had no problems with the bike, and atleast I was improving the entire time I was there.  I probably should have dropped a tooth or two on the rear sprocket and put on that new rear tire, but I guess I was just too lazy to do so. I hope to get back next season and redeem myself at PBIR. It may not have been the race that I wanted, but it was definitely a nice ending to my 2009 season.

Thanks very much to my 2009 sponsors and supporters: ScorpionEXO, Lithium Motorsports, Woodcraft, Vortex, and TrackdayMag.com. I truly appreciate their support because I could not get to every event that I wanted to without their help. It was a good season and I was able to get to all six events that I marked on the calendar. The CCS Florida season goes from February to December, so Iíll have some more reports to write soon enough! End-of-Season wrap-up coming soon.

And now for some bad news from the weekend. A rider had to be airlifted from the track a race or two after my last one on Sunday. It was the first time I've seen the helicopter land on a racetrack. He was in a nasty wreck and ended up hitting an unprotected concrete wall. Unfortunately, he passed away a few days later. Rest in Peace, brother.
CCS FL #308

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UKTURFROCKS

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2009, 08:22:03 PM »
GREAT WRITE UP .    My fav was 10th was your best finish.  keep it up next season
someone tried to steal my katana last year, then they realized it was a katana and stopped, then ran it over with their vehicle..  quote from *~c_dubya~*

Jason748

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2009, 08:51:50 PM »
Really, not bad for the first time seeing that track!  Sound to me like you just need to go out and have some fun at a track day or two and not worry about anything else - I know I could use the same thing...





RIP Isidro Castillo, may you apex every corner perfectly where you may be.
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Tdub

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 11:05:49 PM »
Nice write up, enjoyed reading it. We were there as well, only it was a 16 hour drive for us. Though I must say it was one of our shortest drives this season. Sorry to cut your session short with our qualifying, but everyone definately appreciates you guys working us in. I definately had some 2nd thoughts about the track. So did the DMG higher up who was there checking it out for future consideration. I do not hink we will be going there again until they make some drastic layout changes. To much concrete and not enough runoff for me. Again, nice writeup! Tdub

DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 11:35:11 PM »
Sorry to cut your session short with our qualifying, but everyone definately appreciates you guys working us in.

Hey I got no problems with you guys joining us! I've got a few friends in USGPRU. You guys have some of the best racing of the weekend!
CCS FL #308

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beer

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 03:21:05 AM »
I'm going to try and do a few races down there in Feb and Mar. I'm thinking about running CCS and WERA next season.

SilverRider24

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 09:48:35 PM »
Did you change your paint scheme again? Looks good and great write up! :thumb:
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LMsports

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2010, 09:58:45 PM »
Those leathers make him look like a superstar don't they?
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UKTURFROCKS

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2010, 10:22:47 PM »
yeah when do i get a set??  Or even that bad ass lithium logo on mine. 
someone tried to steal my katana last year, then they realized it was a katana and stopped, then ran it over with their vehicle..  quote from *~c_dubya~*

DakotaCBR

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 11:23:00 PM »
Yeah, they are missing a nifty Lithium logo though...

I'm actually pretty excited to get back to Palm Beach this season. I might be able to get a few events there this year.
CCS FL #308

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ian

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Re: Dakota's 2009 Race Reports - Palm Beach
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 06:45:52 AM »
Really, not bad for the first time seeing that track!  Sound to me like you just need to go out and have some fun at a track day or two and not worry about anything else - I know I could use the same thing...





RIP Isidro Castillo, may you apex every corner perfectly where you may be.
i must agree. i've only crashed once and it was on a dirt bike. i felt hesitant to push the bike at first so i decided to just ride casual and enjoy the ride and soon enough without realization i was going faster and harder than before. great write up though. look forward to reading more next season. its just around the corner :headspin: