EMRA Round 1 May 27

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Big Jon
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EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Tue May 29, 2012 2:07 am

The weather for the weekend was uncharacteristically fantastic. I say that, because it is spring and we've held this race in rain and cold, and had snow after it was done. But NOT this time.

Practice sessions on saturday were a mixed bag of trying to get my own poop in a group, and combatting others new to the track (as well as racing in general) all at the same time. Our practice sessions are split into 3 groups, old and slow bikes go out with the novices in one. Intermediates in another, and fast intermediates (under 1:03) and experts in the third group. I was, and will be for some time, in the old and slow category. This meant blasts of clear track were scattered and scarce. Bike was feeling good, and the times were coming down closer to what I was doing last season. A damn sight better than my first track day a few weeks ago, where it felt like I forgot everything about riding, even how to shift! But that's my own fault:

In general I'm quite resistant to change, ahem, hushup you! So a new helmet, new Knox armoured shorts AND a different clutch lever meant I was like a newbie out there. How I didn't just curl up in the fetal position and whimper all comes down to sheer stubbornness (yes, it has two N's). The armour was a sensible upgrade from the seriously crappy supplied foam in the leathers, so in the closet they went, on go the fancy undies. Do they make my hips look big? The first problem with them is the coccyx protection pad in the shorts conflicted with the same protection part of my back protector. The shorts pushed up on the BP causing the top of the BP to push on the back of my helmet forcing it down towards my chin, not much will frustrate me as much as this, as looking up/forward really helps with forward progress. It was also pushing the shorts down, and the flexible parts that allow for a sitting position was displaced too low, and quite uncomfy. Out with the offending pad, and much better.

The new Shoei lid is wonderful, if they made one to fit my head years ago I would have happily converted from Arai at that point and never looked back, but alas, only now can I settle in to the sinister all black/patriot theme in such comfort 8-) .

The clutch lever, hmm, yes. For years, I've run a $5 fixed lever thinking that if I crash, who cares it was only a $5 lever. Problem with a fixed lever is it's never where you want it to be, so I lived with it. The friction point was a loong way from the bar, making consistent smooth launches kinda tough. The flip side however was that clutching upshifts was a mere finger twitch away, and yes, I still clutch all my shifts. After almost 200,000kms on the same 2 bikes, it's such a habit it would be harder to change. The dumb part of my reasoning became apparent during the winter when I was taking stock of supplies and spares. I had a spare factory lever in the toolbox just in case. I also have a lever on an M/C ready to go, again just in case, and if I was really in a pinch I have the street machine with one too. So why the F&^k am I fighting with a cheap piece of poo with THREE factory levers at hand! :wtf:
Not anymore, which is why I was trying to re-learn how to shift with the lever adjusted to a happier place.

Sunday morning had a cool-ish practice session where I was helping a friend try and sort some lines out for herself and kinda shoulda done another session to work on myself, but oh well. The first race of the day is our Senior Open. Any bike, so long as the rider is over 35. For me it's a chance to shake loose some butterflies, get the first race start done, and see how the day is shaping up: if I'm about to get lapped as the 1/2 way flag comes out, it's gonna be a sucky one. If I can hold the fast guys off until almost the end, things are looking up. New clutch lever in hand and voila, terrific start. Up and battling my pitmate who was gridded an entire row ahead of me, but as he flinched towards me because someone spooked him on the outside, it left me with less room than I'm comfy with on the inside, so I digressed. He's faster than me anyway and it would have been a temporary victory. As it is our first round, we grid based on last years positions, meaning I was in the very middle, ahead of guys much faster that just haven't raced here, or that particular race before. So I marched myself back down the standings in a hurry. The pic where I'm in the thick of it is the first lap, hence all the tentative lean angles. By the end I was close to the back but was being hunted by a fellow exec member on her 750 Suzuki. All I knew was that there was an exhaust breathing down my neck, but despite a couple mistakes on my part, she didn't manage to get by. A red flag 2 laps before the end meant I also didn't get lapped! :D I also had some of the best laptimes of the whole weekend, so for a race I usually consider a dud, it was a lot of fun.

The second race of my day was the Open Sportbike (intermediates only), and although I got a pretty good start, love that clutch lever, I kinda foundered near the back with only mediocre times and no one to really race with. Concentrating just on lines, isn't as much fun, but this is kinda the way this race has gone for me in the past. Some times there are simply enough bikes on the grid (the most was 32 last year :o ) that there is always someone to battle with, but that was not to be. meh.

The race I most look forward to is a mixed class race. As we have some race classes with small numbers, and really not much relevance to modern "exciting" racing, we get stuffed together. For me, the mix of supermotards, GP style, and smaller displacement twins, as well as bikes over 10 years old, is an awesome mix of lines and speeds. My old beast has one happy line on the track, motards have no particular line but lack horsepower, and the GP bikes define classic racing arcs. So it's a hoot to be wrestling my Ace through a particular corner only to have a motard come across my nose from the inside crossed up with rear tire sliding, while a shrieking 125 comes across his nose from so far out, "outside" doesn't even start to describe it. Unfortunately this race only had one TZ250, 4 motards (2 experts=fast) and 7 of us old bike riders. So, kinda low on the numbers. I had the chance at a great start again, but the bike directly in front of me 2 rows up stalled and I almost used a Husqvarna as a ramp with my streetbike, checkup and swerve, and the start was blown. I did get to run down a friend on his motard, but his ongoing issues meant that a short chase and a horsepower pass on the straight left him well behind for the remainder of the session. It also meant that I was some distance behind the next guy and not gaining no matter how badly I rode.

So in a strange twist of fate, the race I most look forward to was a disappointment, and the one I rarely place much importance on was a hoot. When I made the comment that "the day didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but in the end was better than I thought", a friend responded "well, that's just life for ya". Truer words were never spoken. Upright and unscathed means there will be another chance.



http://www.stevenszabophoto.com/Motorcy ... N&lb=1&s=L


http://www.stevenszabophoto.com/Motorcy ... &k=jVbhXpQ


http://www.stevenszabophoto.com/Motorcy ... &k=BpJpGpt

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spook
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby spook » Tue May 29, 2012 3:09 am

Thanks for an entertaining, enjoyable and insightful read BJ. Good to hear I'm not the only one who thinks hip protection is worth the mocking... :thumbup: Keep on having fun out there!

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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby duke22 » Thu May 31, 2012 12:01 am

Great write up Jon, sounds like it all turned out right in the end. They don't like mixing motards in with "proper" bikes here after too many near misses with riders attacking corners on all manner of funny lines.

My sympathies on the riding gear front. I took a brand new set of super duper, anti torsion this and that boots to Phillip Island in place of my nice old worn in ones, and spent two days trying to figure out how to change gear smoothly...

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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Mike_SS » Thu May 31, 2012 2:51 pm

Good read Jon. I completely understand how races you look forward to are not always good and other ones suprise you.

Personally I'm not a fan of racing with motards but as long as you are having fun :)
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Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 2

Postby Big Jon » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:56 pm

I love racing with a mix of different bikes, nothing is more entertaining than having multiple and varied lines through a corner. There's a couple TZ's, a handful of motards, and a herd of "Sportsman" machines (over 10 years old). So the motards come sliding up the inside using a dirt line, the TZ's use an exaggerated classic line and come in from somewhere outside of next week, and my ole tank has one happy line in the middle of it all. Trying to make passes and block them when there are so many different approaches means you really have to relax, ditch any plans, and just react as situations present themselves.


Round 2 also wound up the same way, good weather, good starts, OK, one was REALLY good, so much so that I was penalized for leaving before anyone else, ahem. Anticipating a light sometimes backfires. Saturday practice started with yet another change, I installed the quicker turn throttle I made, and then headed out to try and come to grips with it. I anticipated the change to be a problem as I exited corners, and hoped I wouldn't high side myself into next week. As it happens, the problems did not occur on corner exit, my highly tuned gluteal traction control was in full grip. Increased corner exit speed results in increased straightaway speed, and, you guessed it, increased corner entry speed. More than my puny computer can handle. The problem with overreacting to increased speed is slow corner speed. I was jackrabbitting around the track, jumping out of corners well, faster down the straight, and painfully slow through the corner, after over braking. So increased straightaway speed was equalling slower lap times. Re-calibrating for the straightaway speeds was what the rest of the weekend was all about. The change in throttle response is definitely worth the trouble changing the throttle tube, just make sure you have enough slack in the cables to accommodate it, especially if you find yourself having to re-grip for straights.

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TG1992FZR1000
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby TG1992FZR1000 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:24 pm

Looks like a great time! Any pics with all the bike types on track at once? :)
Current bikes:1992 FZR1000, 1983 Aspencade. Past Bikes: 1984 FJ600, 1986 FZ750, 1990 FZR1000, 1999 R1, 1987 Banshee
http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/tg ... 20FZR1000/

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:55 pm

Haven't found any from this year, here's me and Ryan. We usually battle it out regularly but he hasn't quite found enough speed this year.

http://albertamotophoto.smugmug.com/Cat ... q&lb=1&s=L

911 vs 28, Ian and Chuck, too much fun to watch!

http://albertamotophoto.smugmug.com/Cat ... T&lb=1&s=L


This is a misleading picture as our grid really isn't laid out like that, but does show how far back I get to start! :lolno:

http://albertamotophoto.smugmug.com/Cat ... P&lb=1&s=L

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:59 pm

This is from last year, right after the start everyone is bunched up pretty good.
http://albertamotophoto.smugmug.com/Cat ... x&lb=1&s=L


Hey, there I am!!

http://albertamotophoto.smugmug.com/Cat ... &lb=1&s=XL

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TG1992FZR1000
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby TG1992FZR1000 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:33 pm

Thats just too damm cool! :)
Current bikes:1992 FZR1000, 1983 Aspencade. Past Bikes: 1984 FJ600, 1986 FZ750, 1990 FZR1000, 1999 R1, 1987 Banshee
http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/tg ... 20FZR1000/

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:41 pm

Tight technical track means big horsepower is no advantage, especially if it means extra weight. Too much fun.

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:36 pm

Well, just got home from the hospital, Fridays practice went fine with lap times coming down to better than last year, Saturday is completely blank, and I woke up in the hospital sunday, thinking it was still May. My helmet took a good/whack on the left rear 1/4, ground the face shield and then around to the right side. Still unconscious when the ambulance arrived (from 200 yards away) means there was a pretty good whack to the ground. From what I hear two of us locked bars on the short straight, leading to carnage in corner 1. Ernie is a guy I've raced with for years and would again, so I don't think it was a bonehead move on either part, just one o' them things. Broken collarbone and scapula, with cracked ribs all on the left side means I'm gibbled for a couple weeks, and safe to say racing is done, maybe for good. Some fun isn't with this much OW. Haven't even looked at the bike yet. Hmm where's we put those tylenol 3's?

It only hurts when I laugh. :lolno:

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spook
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby spook » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:50 pm

Big Jon wrote:It only hurts when I laugh. :lolno:


A man calls emergency:
- Come immediately, my young son has swallowed a condom!

Two minutes later, the same man calls back:
- It is OK, I found another one.

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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby FZRDude » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:27 am

Dude!!! not good..... Speedy recovery and track days ahead........
[i]There are some who call me........Tim?
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spook
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby spook » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:52 am

What did the blonde say when she found out she was pregnant?

"Are you sure it's mine?"

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spook
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby spook » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:26 pm

How you travelling BJ?

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:08 am

The wife took vacation a week early and is the frowning chauffeur. Neighbours brought the truck and trailer home for me after pit mates packed it all up. Bike doesn't look too bad, new frame saver and bolt, new footpeg (mount is all good), even levers and bars pivoted out of the way thanks to Teflon tape. Timer and speedo smashed, fiberglass completely fooked, and muffler bent towards tire more than before. New helmet and gloves, leathers may be salvageable, all under armour in good shape and not even a raspberry to be seen on me, so, I'm well sold on it. Just missing a sock and shirt. :?

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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Mike_SS » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:55 am

Hope you have a speedy recovery.
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby FZRDude » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:40 am

Check the lint trap in the dryer for the missing sock. For the shirt? I have no clue......
[i]There are some who call me........Tim?
In Memory Of John "Silver" Douglas (Dec. 08, 2008) R.I.P. My Friend.

Being first is not always best, but being best is always first.

Big Jon
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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby Big Jon » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:03 pm

Hahaha, ow ow ow. The sock and shirt never made it back from the ambulance ride, not even as far as the laundry :lol:

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Re: EMRA Round 1 May 27

Postby ThomVis » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:58 am

And how's Ernie doing?
Intelligence is alcohol soluble.


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