Friday, January 8, 2010

Season Ended Thank You!!!

2009 Racing Wrap Up. Gratitude!

It’s been 11 months straight of preparation, focus, strategy, education, respect, and friendships. This was my first year of racing a full series and never missing a weekend. I’ve always wanted to race and prove to myself that I am fast on the track and that I could be a winner, and I feel like I accomplished that. I have learned so much this year with the help of so many, but there is one thing that I can say for sure up front. This has been the best year of my life.

This year we won a championship in the WSMC Vintage Lightweight on a 1980s Cagiva/Ducati Alazzura (Pantah) 650, and took a second place in Vintage Heavy weight on multiple race bikes including 650 and 750 Pantah Ducatis, and a 1981 Suzuki 1100.Along with WSMC, I also finished 5th in Sportsman 500 on my 1970 CB 450 Honda with AHRMA. In the 28 races (combined WSMC and AHRMA) we ran this year; we finished on the podium except for the two in which I crashed while leading.

The year started out cold with mornings as low as 28 degrees F. The summer weather at Willow Springs reached a smoldering 114 degrees with a track temperature closer to 150 degrees. When I came to the track, I hardly knew anyone there, except the members of our team. Though out the year, I learned what racers are all about-they are competitive, yet sincere individuals. I met so many great racers, mechanics, dads, families, corner workers, officials, office administrators, fans, and dogs all of which I call my friends. They all feel like family.

This letter is for you. With out your support and help, I wouldn’t be writing this letter of appreciation. You as part of team helped us fulfill our goal in winning a championship. There would be no tires, parts, financial rescues, smiles, or wins. With out your support I wouldn’t be fulfilling my childhood dream of racing. This is a thank you from a person that wants to show his gratitude and appreciation for all that you have done.

Last year I decided I wanted to race bigger bikes with the WSMC, and find a way to do so on a shoestring budget. I was approached by Ed Milich in late 2008, and was offered a ride on his wife Alice’s 650 Pantah in Nov 2008. After a podium finish in that race, I was hooked. Pierre Pfeiffer offered his Pantah with a blown motor, and Ed and I spent the holidays building the motor and fixing up the rest of the bike. Early in the season the blue Pantah would finish first in both Vintage Heavy and Light weight, but soon the competition got up to speed and made the season much more interesting. Soon, we were lightening the bike in every way possible and losing the charging system starter, and other niceties. Russ Stranger would be my toughest competitor in Vintage Lightweight class where we would both take first and second and learn to become better and faster racers. As the year progressed the battle between Charles Burnett and I would become the season’s hardest monthly race for me. Points meant everything and so did strategy. Ed and I would build bigger bikes since Charles’s was winning in order to keep our points lead. George Beavers allowed us to finish building up his Suzuki GS and race in Vintage Heavy weight. My times started in the 1:37’s in the early season, but by the end of the year, we were running in the low 1:32’s. The class championship would be decided all the way down to the last race of the season between Charles and I. Unfortunately, I crashed on the last lap leading the race, so I took second in this championship.

I would like to give thanks to so many people who have offered their support.
Ed Milich and Alice Sexton of and, Pierre Pfieffer for lending me his bike, the Ducati Pantah/Alazzurra/Cagiva internet groups. Andy from GP cycles for late nights on the dyno, Beverly Hills Ducati, Mike Curtis from Fleetserve for help with sponsoring our monthly race tires, Brian Catterson & Motorcyclist Mag for all his help, support and encouragement, the Cretins Motorcycle Club, George Beavers for letting us run your bike and starter stand, Kara Harrington for help with my leathers, Eric Orr from Strictly Regimental for the water jetted parts, Cinema Vehicle Services, Johnson and Wood, my father Mike Carmody, Jesse Pompilio for your monthly pit crew help, WSMC, and most of all my friends and family for your ongoing support.

The 2010 race season is just around the corner, and Ed and I are building a super Pantah to race in Battle of the Twins and Vintage Lightweight classes. We are also hoping to build a competitive BOTT middleweight bike and possibly even win some races at Daytona in March…

Once again, Thank you so much for your support. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Rick Carmody