Date: June 11-12
Classes raced and results
MW Superbike - 1st
Formula 4- 1st
Before I begin I'd like to dedicate these results to a good friend, Dallas, that unfortunately passed away two weeks ago. My thoughts go out to his bride and young boys...... no words...
I was quite focused over the weeks leading up to the races in regards to my nutrition and training. Huge thanks to Bruno @ Crossfit Stasis
for the extra push! So, with that I came into this round feeling quite ready and able.
These are, honestly, the races that "age" you because of the stress.... We saw a heavy rain storm moving in just before our race, the only question was at what point it would actually start raining.... The start was dry and we had the best tires on, Pirelli's DOT race tires. I got a decent start and pushed hard for the first few laps in a effort to get a small gap on the field. Luckily this worked but it was now raining in turns one, two and six. And, when you're leading it is a challenge to judge how wet the track is because you can't use the rider in front of you a "barometer" of the track conditions. I had a few slides but manged to keep the gap to the finish.
With conditions being quite favorable I set out with a goal to beat my previous lap record in this class (01:22.130). I really pushed in the first two laps and went for a flyer on my third. I knew I was on a good lap until I pushed the front a little too hard into turn two and lost my ideal line in, and out of the turn. I did my best to salvage the lap, hitting the marks, but ended up just two tenths of a seconds (00:00.219) off the mark.... LOL - I was frustrated to have missed the goal but happy to see we're able to do the pace. On another rather funny note. A FIRST for me I might add. As I entered the chicane on lap six I got a BIG breath of some marijuana smoke. It would appear that some of the spectators in that area were enjoying their day. I joked afterwards that the rest of the race was quite relaxing and I really wanted a snickers bar at the end... Too funny. - For the record, I didn't inhale. :)
What a lap looks like - Part three - Turns four & five.
Turn four is, arguably, the most important turn on the track. The drive out, and the ability to do a good job here, has a monumental affect on the speed through turns five, six and into seven. These turns are long, and fast, which combined make up what we refer to as the back straight. So, carrying every ounce of energy through these turns is mission critical.... and it all starts at turn four.
I enter the turn on the far left (Thanks to the exit from turn three) of the track braking when I'm as vertical as possible loading the front tire heavily. I ride a seam of pavement that has a slight camber difference that benefits my entry. Downshift one gear, settle the bike and turn it in as late as possible. The turn entry is quite banked in favor of camber and it's possible to trail to the apex with significant feedback and feel. With my right leg over the curbing and the bike essentially pointed at the outside wall I open the throttle and fire the bike out feeding as much power as the rear Pirelli can take. At this point, if your were to observe, it would look like I was going to run right off the track. Using my legs and body position I finesse (read NOT FORCE) the bike to finish the turn with wide open throttle as I grab one up-shift. Now for, (what for me), is the most fun part of the track. The exit of turn four into and through five. Here's where the details add up and why so many people are left scratching their heads around how Dan's Superbike can do what it does. - Lets stop and go over the physics for a second - Lets think about tire diameter at first... Motorcycle tires, (specifically the awesome Pirelli's we use).. shameless plug, I know.. lol... have different diameters from the center to the sides. This results in different rpm depending on whether I'm on the side, or center of the tire. Make sense? - Now, when I sit down with Dan and discuss the engine characteristics, he will outline for me where, and when, the engine makes the most power. (read best acceleration). So, my job becomes keeping the bike in that rpm "zone" for as long as possible. Every nanosecond there results in the optimum acceleration from the bike... I trust this makes sense. Now, with the physics out of the way, back to riding. I grabbed my earlier upshift with the bike at lean. As the bike approaches the "peak power" mark I begin to stand the bike up (read going to the larger diameter part of the tire) which keeps the rpm right in the sauce. I time this so that as I enter turn five I have reached the point where I need another upshift. So, I transition to the side of the tire right at the shift, again, the rpm is now right in the range, and, again, begin to stand the bike up as the rpms rise. I hope I've explained this in a way that makes sense. I essentially use the tire diameter as additional gearing. For me this is the most rewarding part of Portland. When I get it right it equates to at least three miles per hour on the back straight... three miles per hour over that significant distance equals a reduction in time to cover that respective distance... equals a lower lap time. :) Just physics folks. :)
Images & Video from the weekend can be viewed here.