Friday, August 28, 2009

WSMC August Race Report 2009

First off, I would like to give thanks to Ed Milich of, My Dad, Pierre Pfeffer, Mike Curtis of, Friends, Cretins Motorcycle Club, LA 2 Wheel Social Club, The Alazzurra and Pantaheads Lists, Pirelli Tires, and Johnson and Wood for supporting my racing career. With out your support and help, I wouldn’t be racing.

Since last month, I traded my little Chevy S-10 for an extended cab Dodge Ram 1500. Although the new truck is higher up and it makes it a little more difficult to load the bikes; it was so worth the trade. So much more room in the cab and the bed to load up; plus the truck has a V8 which makes getting up and over the mountains much easier. I guess as we all know it cost a few extra bucks to roll in style.

Since last month, Ed and I work hard on making the 750 Ducati a little faster since my fierce competitor was only running a .250 faster than me in Vintage Heavy weight. We actually only lost a few un-needed pounds on the bike in hopes to gain at least a half second and mounted some awesome dual Brembo Brake Calipers in the front. We mounted a cool vintage fiberglass Pantah race tail section that was a bit lighter than the old stock seat. I of course had to put my touch with graphics on the number plates. Haha

Well, Jesse came out this month and help load Saturday morning. Thanks to myself for creating a race list of things to bring because it took me a few hours to finally wake up Saturday after a long work week. Plus, I had to run down the night before to Torrance to trade bikes with Ed so that I could get more seat time on the red 750, and I could bring out my cb 450 for a shake down with the new front suspension.

Saturday practice was a bit hot, and the track was fast because the wind was not an issue. I rolled out the CB 450 through tech and got a few lookers, and everyone could hear me coming with those dual reverse megaphones. Haha, Ed had donated a Cagiva front end for the 450 which has some better geometry to help out the high speed wobbles I had been experiencing with the original front end. Ed helped measure the travel and we had it set up. Well, it felt like driving a limo around the track; therefore, I dropped the front end down ¾ of an inch to see if there were any drastic changes. Going drastic help me figure out which direction I wanted to go with setting the front end up with only 3 practices. I felt a substantial improvement on the next time out; although, a head gasket leak would end the day for the shaking down of the 450. The red bike felt great except the corners of the new tail section kept poking my hamstrings.

Saturday night, Jesse and I hit dinner with Jeff Tigert and friends at the Mexican cantina restaurant in Rosamond. Later we stayed in the Devonshire Inn on the other side of the highway in Rosamond. Not a bad place btw. Thanks to Ed for helping me out with the cost of the room. Last month was rather uncomfortable plus the bugs were a nightmare.
Oh and big thanks to Jeff for the post practice safety meeting. I got some good tips from you. Later that night we all rolled over to the 1/8 mile paved oval, at Willow Springs, and watch some stock car racing. That was super cool and fun. Here is some video I took with my little Canon Camera. Not the best but fun to watch.

Sunday morning, we rolled into the track and got our pit set up. Ed showed up a little late; therefore, we got no seat time on the blue bike because we needed to put a new rear tire on and last practice was up already for lightweight. The weather was hot and the track was fast. Loyde Johnson showed up on a sick looking Ducati to race in Vintage Heavy Weight. It was low to the ground and had an exhaust pipe sticking out behind the center of the seat.

Race 2 Vintage Heavy Weight.
I lined up on the outside of a pretty good competition. Two Honda Hawks, a Ducati behind me, and couple of others lined up, and the green flagged dropped. I dropped the hammer, and the bike revved to almost 11grand! The clutch slipped widely as we left the line and everyone was out in front. I eased up on the throttle going into one and around two in hopes of getting the clutch to start working again. I still was able to pass the Russ on the 650 Hawk going around turn 2 and follow the Ducati and Chuck on his 750 Hawk. I made a pass around the Ducati in turn 8, but he again passed me going down the straight. I late braked into one and made another pass attempt on the Ducati and was able to hold him off. On the third lap I was up on 750 Hawk and made a pass on the outside of turn 3. I led through the Omega and around 6, 7, and 8. As I entered into 9, Chuck was right there on the inside. I knew he usually goes wide coming out of turn 9, but I wasn’t going to give up my lead that easy. It was hairy and tight going through but I was able to keep the lead position. All three of us were running tight down the straight away and Chuck jumped up front. Then the Ducati was pressuring me and passed me on the next lap. I came back and passed him before turn 9 and focused on Chuck again. On the last lap, I was giving it my all and Chuck was close. I made a slight change going through turn 5 to keep the momentum up, but when I hit turn 6, the front end lightened, and I gained a slight tank slap and lost a little speed. As we entered the fastest part of the track just out of turn 7, Loyde slams the door on me coming around the outside. Although he may not accept this race interpretation; he came inches from crashing us both. As I noticed him coming across my front tire; I let off the gas and put my right leg out. I just knew I was going to hit his rear tire and be slammed to the pavement going 130+MPH. Letting off when I did was a good reaction because he missed me by less than an inch. It was seriously the scarcest moments in my racing career. I ended up third place behind the Ducati and the Hawk in first.
All three of us ran our times down in the 133’s! It was a super fast race, but I wasn’t able to come out in first.

Vintage Light Weight.

Russ and I lined up with a few other racers. Green flagged dropped and the Hawk jump out in front as usual. I stalked him for 2 or three laps. He was running fast and blocking lines for me to pass, but I know he felt the pressure. Into lap three I late braked on the inside of Russ and made a smooth pass. I had been running the way down the straight in 4th gear instead of jumping to 5 because of a slight wind started up. When I passed the Hawk; I accidentally popped down into 3rd. Well, that ended up being a great thing. It gave me a burst of power coming out of one that I need to pull away. I then popped back up the 4th entering into turn 2 and brought the up the RPM’s. After that, I kept my head down and started clicking down two gears into turn one and was liking it. Russ chased me for a lap, but then had engine troubles again. I pulled into the pits with a first place finish and wondered what had happened to the race Russ and I had going.
Until next month buddy!

Well, another great weekend for Cretins Racing; even though fellow Cretins racer Eric O. wasn’t able to make it out again this month. One 1st and one 3rd place finish. Charles is now 1 point behind my lead in Vintage Heavy Weight; therefore, we have to win next month in order to keep the lead. The funny thing is, I didn’t race the first month in Vintage Heavy Weight because there were no racers, and now 9 months later, it has more bikes and competition than the lightweight class.

Next week I’ll be rolling out to Miller Motor Sports Park in Utah for an AHRMA event on my Sportmans 500 Honda CB 450. Cretins Racers Wayne and Eric are coming as well. There are also a few Cretins Racers coming down from Seattle to race as well.
Oh, and my talented and fast competition, Ari Henning, will be joining us as well. I’m totally looking forward to dicing again with him. It’s going to be a kick ass race weekend!!!

Thanks again to all that helped make this a great race weekend. Until next month,
Rick Carmody aka “Highside”

Jesse, Ed, and I

Russ and I

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WSMC July Race Report

First off, I would like to give thanks to Ed Milich of, Pierre Pfeffer, Mike Curtis of, Friends, Cretins Motorcycle Club, LA 2 Wheel Social Club, The Alazzurra and Pantaheads Lists, Pirelli Tires, and Johnson and Wood for supporting my racing career. With out your support and help, I wouldn’t be racing.

Saturday morning. It took over an hour to load my little S10 with two big bikes and all my gear. Jesse had family obligations; therefore, he wasn’t there to help load or to come along and support. Trying to tie two bikes at the same time is a balancing act waiting to fail since your trying to tie them down through the wheels and around other components. Traffic was terrible, and it took almost three hours to get to the track Saturday morning. I wanted a friend to watch Maggie, since it was suppose to be over 100 degrees at the track, but she cancelled our plans of taking Maggie at the last minute. Mags and I got to the track, and it was like eggs burning in a frying pan. The ground temperature was over 140 degrees, and as soon as we parked and started to unload Maggie quickly rushed under a camper where the ground was cooler. Smart dog considering she isn’t wearing shoes.

I quickly realized how nice it is to go racing with a helper. Not having Jesse there made things feel a little overwhelming. When you get off the track, you’re sweating, mouth is dry, arms quivering, and then you have to put the bike on stands. My lap times were competitive first time out on the blue bike. As the day progressed the temperatures got up to 115, the track temperature was 152 degrees in turn one, and I’m wearing dark black leathers, helmet, boots, and leather gloves. Basically I’m hanging out in the hot desert with no AC, fan, and wearing 15 lbs of leather. For the love of racing is why we put ourselves through this torture.

Toward the end of practice day, I was feeling the heat. On the last practice round, I went out in Middle weight practice finished, rolled into the pits, sipped some water and immediately ran back on the track on old blue. I passed a few guys on the outside going through turn 8 with good times. It was good sign for a competitive day, but the heat exhaustion after running two classes of practices was taking its toll on me. In fact, there were several racers with heat sickness and were throwing up liquids. There is no way you could pay me to sit out at 115 degrees and be a corner worker with no shade. No way! Here is a “thata boy” for those that put themselves through the frying pan.

Ed trying to stay alive in the Heat

Saturday night, dinner at Coach’s with Russ, his dad, Brian, my competition, and 5 pitchers of water instead of beer. Haha Maggie and I set up camp in the back of my S10 with no cushin for comfort. I tried to download something to watch from Hulu, but having a computer on at night, at the track, is not such a great idea. It becomes a magnet for bugs; some would say. After waving bugs away and playing on the net, I attempted to try and fall asleep. Not going to happen so easily. BUGS attack! It was hot out; therefore, sleeping under the covers was becoming a sweating situation; and so you would try and sleep with your body laid out in the open for the bugs to make their attack. Bite after bite I would curse, toss, and turn. I ended up putting blue jeans on, socks, and a long sleeve shirt while sleeping out in the open with a few sniper bugs entering from the around the ankles and neck area. I woke up with a sore back from sleeping on steel truck bed rails with the sun acting like the alarm that gives no snooze after your first eye opens.

Sunday morning, race day. I changed out the front tire for a new one, and flipped the rear on old blue. Got through inspections and ran out for some practice. Ed showed up after practice one and helped out. He had the gearing still set up for Daytona, therefore, it wasn’t pulling out of any of the turns. He brought some lower gearing, and we went up one tooth on the rear sprocket. I notice some lower high speed changes around the faster parts of the track, but made up all the difference in the turns.

You can see here the diffence in set up. No rear sets or clip ons. haha

Race 1. Vintage Heavy weight.
Row 1 X X X 394
Started front row on the outside. Gave it all it had down the straight from the green flag with the competition on the inside. I passed one guy on the out side of turn one and right behind another rider’s rear tire. I ran tight behind him all the way around two and persisted until a late brake into three. Gave it a go on the outside and was able to pass the rider once. I held him off the first lap and wasn’t looking back, and I persisted through the second lap. He must have been just hanging back for a couple of laps because the moment I looked back coming out of the last turn of lap two, he was right there and passed me at the finish line down the last straight. I eventually ended up in second place.

Leading the first lap in Heavy weight with Charlies right on my tail

I came into the pits afterwards, and my friends brought up my spirits and said that it was an amazing race. In fact, one rider said later that I made a brilliant pass around him in turn three. Vintage Lightweight race wasn’t until race 10; therefore, I took off my leathers and drank my Pedialyte. Old blue sat and waited for his chance to race with tire warmers on and a tank almost full of gas. Threw down some lunch, and I discovered a great new product to help with cotton mouth on the track. Starburst! It sticks in your gums and teeth like a dip. It allowed enough moisture in my mouth to keep from drying out and not getting in the way of my tongue and teeth. Thanks Mark! The temperatures were up in the one fifteens, and Maggie was not enjoying it. She laid under the back wheel of the truck most of the day panting. I felt terrible for putting the old girl through it, but I know Maggie would rather be here at the track instead of being bored lying around at home in a stuffy little cottage.

Maggie trying to stay cool

Race 10 finally came, and I lined up against Russ Stranger, Brian Herzfeld, Dave Finnerty, and Terrence Geoghehan. No Jim on the RZ 400 this month. I think he may have had some engine issues in an earlier race. Green flag drops and Russ blatantly came across and pushed me to the outside and blocking a safe line around turn 1. I dropped back and followed him around 2. He blocked the inside line into 3. I took a wide line around 4 and tried to pass in the inside coming out 4 and was stuffed again just before turn 5 coming down the hill. I drafted behind him and couldn’t pull off a pass going into one so I followed behind again through the omega wondering why I was hesitating to pass. The track was hot and slippery, and I had been sliding already around several turns and decided to play it safe. I drafted him around the 8 and 9 and late braked into 1 passing him on the outside. I kept my head down and slid twice around turn two. Held on the wood until 3, late braked before the turn, and threw the bike into the omega with a vengeance. I wanted a win, and wanted it bad! I didn’t look back until after the checkered flag waved and there was no Russ in site. I thought we had a race on our hands, but unfortunately, he had some engine fluttering problems and started falling behind. Brian would finish third on his FZR400 and I would get my win for the weekend. I’m up in a comfortable lead (83 pts) in Light weight with 31 points over Russ (52pts.)

Chasing Russ around the omega

Well, another great weekend for Cretins Racing; even though fellow Cretins racer Eric O. wasn’t able to make it out this month. One 1st and one 2nd place finish isn’t so bad; in fact, I have finished in the top three all year long. I enjoy recapping my races on this blog site, to give thanks to all that have helped make this happen, re-live the race with my competitors, and have a written log of the best part of my life. All I can say about this weekend is that we drove ourselves home with out crashing, survived the brutal heat, and had a great time doing it.

Thanks again to all that helped make this a great race weekend. Until next month,
Rick Carmody aka “Highside”
#394 1986 Cagiva/Ducati Pantah

Nice shot going through a turn

Russ and I posing with our trophies

Brian gets in the winner circle! Like a kid in a candy store