National Motorcycle Racer -

Date: May 1st
Location: Portland OR

Classes raced and results
NW Endurance Series - 2nd

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 race.

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.



Please click on image to enlarge



Endurance Grid

Andrew on the grid

Pit stop

Pit stop

Team shot

Team shot with me

Kodi taking her
Barbies for a ride

Kodi ripping around
in her powerwheels




Race Reports