Before I begin I would like to thank Keith Pinkstaff and
Lisa for their hospitality over the weekend, as well as Andrew
Cox for the opportunity to race for his team.
The phone rang early on a Wednesday morning. It was Keith
Pinkstaff from Portland inquiring as to my availability to
race for an endurance team including him and team owner Andrew
Cox on the 1st of May. A quick calendar check later and things
we a go so I planned to make the trip down to Portland to
race in round 1 of the NW endurance series. However just four
days before the race I woke with a terrible sinus cold and
cough (something our lovely Kodi decided to bring home for
mommy and daddy to try out). I decided that if I wasn't feeling
better and thinking more clearly by race day that I would
opt-out for safety's sake. I wasn't however going to give
up with out a fight and proceeded to take every vitamin and
mineral supplement available to help my body's immune system.
My symptoms were drastically reduced by day two leaving me
confident that I could deliver what was needed during the
Notes on practice
Having never ridden this particular bike I had to make every
lap count. I was only going to be able to run a handful of
practice laps before the race. Also, for the past few months,
I had been wearing the journalist "don't you dare crash
our bike" hat and hadn't really pushed myself to the
limits in a while. Thankfully I know the Portland track quite
well and was able to focus solely on riding. After a geometry
change in rear ride height and a requested change in brake
pads to EBC, the R1 was handling and stopping as well as it
could with the limited set-up time we had.
Notes on the race
This was in no way shape or form a relaxing race day. Just
thirty minutes before the race start Andrew made a mistake
in turn four and went down. Thankfully he was alright, however,
the bike did need several small things fixed before the start
so the team broke into small groups each tackling an item
that needed to be addressed. Before we knew it the bike was
ready to go and the team wheeled it to the start grid. GREAT
WORK! Our pit strategy was fairly simple: each rider would
ride for forty minutes with a rear wheel change every other
stop. Andrew would be first, then Keith, followed by yours
truly. That meant I would have the middle session on a new
rear tire and would have the last session on well used tires.
When I jumped on the bike for my first stint we were in second
place and gaining ground. I was on my third lap coming out
of turn four transitioning right into turn five when it almost
ended in tears. The bike went sideways flipping me completely
out of the seat. Immediately I knew something was wrong as
the rear Pirelli had broken away much too easily. Thankfully
I backed off as I entered into turn seven and the rear end
tried once again to come around. I pulled onto pit lane and
jumped off the bike. It wasn't oil, so it had to be tire pressure.
I sat back and talked to Keith about what happened and he
went to assess the situation. After a short examination they
sourced the problem to a valve stem that was slowly seeping
air. Keith installed a new one, checked the pressure, and
sent me out to evaluate the bike. By this point I had lost
confidence in the bike and the rear tire's ability to hold
pressure, so I cautiously approached the next few laps leaving
lots of room for error. With no sign of tire issues a few
laps later, I began to pick up the pace in an attempt to regain
the lost time from the whole valve stem incident. By the time
my next stint came up Keith had worked us to within forty-five
seconds from the lead bike. I had to deliver for the team.
The bike had an absolutely shagged front tire and the rear
was definitely showing signs of wear, but I was still able
to go about two to three seconds a lap faster than the lead
bike depending on traffic and how well I got through it. About
ten laps from the end I passed the lead bike and took the
lead. It was all I could do to keep the bike to hold a line
through turn one and two as the front tire was by now beyond
done. So I just brought it home. The team was stoked as initial
reports had us winning the race, however, after a scoring
mix-up we were informed that we actually placed second. Apparently
the team is protesting the results to confirm this, but at
the time of this report we don't know the official results.
Regardless, we set the fastest lap of the race, didn't crash,
and had fun.
From here I have scheduled testing in Portland on May 20th
to evaluate our 2004 ZX6RR and instruct at a PSSR track day.
From there we go straight to round one of the WMRC series.
Thank you again to all the people that make this possible.
Without you we would not be racing.
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