Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Formula150 4 Hour "Pete Giammalvo Memorial" Endurance Race

Scott and I had the honor and privilege of racing in this 4 hour endurance race on the Kart/Supermoto track at Cuddebackville this past Sunday. This was the last race of a 6 race series, and the promoter dedicated this one in memory of Pete Giammalvo of Sideways Promotions, who played a very significant role in the careers of many racers from the Northeast. In fact, a couple of the better known racers participated, PJ Jacobsen and Kenny Coolbeth. It's not every day that you can share the track with a GNC National Champion and a British Superbike Race Champion.

I say share the track, they didn't use as much of it as I seemed to use. It was a constant source of amazement when they would lap me wherever I happened to be, using a racing line that didn't exist, and safely disappear down the track. Lot's of respect for those guys.

Scott and I teamed up with an old flattrackin' buddy, Dave Marcil, and we were riding a modified XR100 owned by Tony and Jane Leary. Tony and Jane were an integral part of Sideways Promotions, working with Pete and Connie Giammalvo to run flat track races at Pete's track in Winchendon MA and all the other race tracks and fairground tracks around New England.

Dave suggested we start off with 20 minute sessions, which worked out fine. We each had a brief practice session on the bike and agreed that the bike was set up just fine, no gearing changes needed. We also agreed that Scott would start the race for us, I'd jump on next and then Dave would go.

This is the line up before the race got underway, modified bikes on the right, stockers on the left. Scott is #144, the sum of the race numbers of Dave Bettencourt (9), Aaron Creamer (64), and Pete Giammalvo (71).

"The King of Cool", Kenny Coolbeth

The start, with Kenny already out of the picture with a big lead on the rest of the field.

Our team owner, Tony, on his stock XR100. Since it was close to Halloween, there was a side competition for best costume on the track. Tony was riding as Charlie Brown, with a pumpkin helmet. He won that competition, and got a new helmet for his effort.

Here's Connie, lighting up the day with her smile.

Dave, handing off to Scott.

PJ looked like this most of the time, a blur.

And this is Kenny, cutting through traffic. He just passed Scott, who is catching up to Sandriana.

Don't know who this kid is, but I heard he was about 16 years old. He lapped me several times.

Another "costume", clever.

There were times during the race that a bunch of bikes would get clumped together for a few laps, and it was fun for all involved on either side of the fence! After the 2nd hour we agreed that Scott would extend his time to help build a lead over the team behind us, which was Sandriana Shipman and Nick Weimer, and then Dave and I would see how much we felt like staying out there in the fourth hour, with Scott bringing it home. We kept our lead and finished 3 laps clear of Nick and Sandriana, for 6th in class.

Team Sideways

Team Rolling Obstacle, with Connie standing in for Julie Starzinsky, Pete's niece.

We had a great time. The racing was fun, especially when you could get someone in your sights and track them down and make the pass. The bike was rock solid all day with the exception of an exhaust hanger that fell off or broke (maybe when I lowsided in my first stint). We had to adjust the front brake a few times, I suspect there's not much left of the shoes, since it was a stock front brake and I guarantee nobody at Honda thought the front brakes would get this kind of abuse.

There had been the threat of rain, since Hurricane Sandy was off-shore but headed our way, but it stayed dry and cool for us. Big bonus there.

Many thanks to Tony, who supplied the bike and race food. And many thanks also to Mike and Lisa Weimer, who housed and fed me and Scott Saturday night, with a full breakfast Sunday morning!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cuddebackville, AKA OVRP

We had another pretty great Sunday of racing at Oakland Valley Raceway yesterday.
Hannah came down with me to race the XR100, Scott came up with Hugh from 6th Street Specials.
It was a smaller turnout this time, but the racing was still great.

Scott raced in the Vintage Sportsman class, and this time was out gunned by the other guys. His rear tire is absolutely shot, and in this class you need to have good equipment.

The groove was pretty narrow, and obviously hard to stay on.

Hannah had a good feature race, despite problems with the bike during practice and the heat race. She ran out of gas in the heat race even though there was plenty of gas sloshing around in the tank. Then I remembered that we'd had similar issues before, and always raced with the petcock in the "reserve" position. Problem solved.

She took an easy win in class!

I had a rather poor showing. The best I could do in the Vintage Heavy class was a distant 4th behind Scott. I figured I'd have a better shot at a trophy in the 50+ class, but I had a weak heat race and had to start on the second row. I had a decent start from there and worked past a few riders in the first lap to settle into 3rd. Then I got a little impatient and tried to sneak under the 2nd place rider coming out of T4, but I ran out of room.

The track crew had put cones on the track racing surface in an effort to get us up higher on the track, and the cones in T3 and T4 were spaced kind of awkwardly, they almost made a short straight out of what has been a nice flowing line, turning it into a two apex turn. I wasn't thrilled with it, but I guess everybody else had to deal with it too.

Anyway, on about the 4th lap, coming out of T4, my front wheel hit the rear wheel of the guy in front of me. He had finished the turn a little earlier than I could, and I got catapulted off the bike in a pretty vicious high side crash. It took me a little while to recover from that, and I took a ride off the track in a golf kart, feeling embarrassed and beat to crap as well. It took me a good 15 minutes before I had the energy to look at the damage to the bike, and I was disheartened to see broken and bent spokes, a crushed exhaust pipe and mangled hanger.

A bad way to end the season for me, but maybe an opportunity to make it a better race bike for next season.