So my v2.0 boards were a complete dud. Turns out some how I messed up the design and ended up wiring up the connector to the wiring harness backwards so nothing works. Wasn’t a complete disaster- I was going to have to do another revision of the board either way, but it does slow things down. Continue reading
So I finally finished the design of my very first PCB and placed an order with OSH Park to get some samples. The basic premise is I needed a way to decode the data stream from my 2nd gen SV650 ECU to know when there is a problem with the fuel injection system with the race bike. Also, ideally, I needed a way to know what the specific error codes are.
Normally you do this with the stock dash, but I wanted to use my GPX Pro dash and didn’t want two dashes on my race bike. Unfortunately, the PCB on the dash is just one large unit (including the tachometer) and so there wasn’t an easy way to just use the parts I needed (a red idiot light and the LCD which displays the error code).
It’s been a few weeks now so I’ve had time to digest the 2012 AFM season.
Things definitely started on the wrong foot with the first race of the season being cancelled due to weather conditions. That left six races for the season- four at Thunderhill and two at Sonoma Raceway (aka Infineon, aka Sears Point). I had worked a fair bit on my fitness and mental preparation in the offseason and it definitely showed in my riding- I was much more consistent and my practice times were finally only a second or two off of my race times which really helped me with bike setup and consistency and confidence in my races.
After a weekend of racing I was emailing back and forth my mentor K.C. and during the exchange he asked me: “Why do you race?” Surprisingly, I couldn’t just spit out the answer- it took some time to internalize the question and get to the core nugget of truth: Continue reading
I don’t really have the time to write up a full race report, but I really wanted to send out a few thank you’s to everyone who helped me out at the last AFM round:
Dave, Jim and Nickie at Catalyst Reaction for completely redoing my suspension and working with me over the three days to dial in my suspension and geometry. After struggling with setup at the last Thill round where I felt we were just chasing our tail in circles trying to find something that worked, I was both worried and excited coming to Sears for the first time in nearly a year with a completely different setup. Turns out I was right to be excited- we made an amazing amount of progress in a relatively short period of time out on track and I went faster in practice then I ever had before and then faster again still in my races.
K.C. Gager of BRG Racing for helping me wrench on my bike, talk strategy and mentoring me at and away from the track. I can’t really begin to say how lucky and honored I am to have a sponsor like you who invests so much time and effort into my race program.
Matt Lai for bringing me a rear axle Saturday morning after mine decided it had lived a good life and no longer wanted to be apart of my race program. Thanks Matt!
Frank Shermon for letting me strip the radiator off his bike Saturday evening after my bike started overheating.
Ernie Montague for bringing me yet another radiator Sunday when Frank’s turned out to have problems of it’s own.
Chris Maguire and crew at Pirelli…. actually I didn’t buy tires from Chris this round or anything like that that. I ended up just using the same tires I raced on last round for Friday’s trackday, Saturday practice and my three races on Sunday. Put my personal best lap time at Sears on the last lap of the last race on tires with 4 days on them. :teeth
KC wasn’t able to make it up this round which was going to suck and not just because it meant I’d be without A/C either- KC has been a great mentor for me all year and it seems I need someone to kick me the pants lately and KC has been more then happy to oblige.
Instead, I stopped by BRG on the way up to the track on Friday and we talked about where I was loosing time and goals I should set for myself. KC said he thought I could do a 2:02 and I think I laughed. I mean, drop 3 seconds in a weekend? Riiiiight. Seemed like a big step at this point. But I’ve learned to listen to KC and so I told him I’d push harder this round in practice and try to build off that in the races. Honestly, I would of been happy with just improving my times at all. Continue reading
So I haven’t done my normal post race writeup’s this year… mostly because I really just wanted to forget the early rounds. I had really high hopes for this year: my first year with white plates, a new motor, new fairings with a pretty paint job. And then I missed the first round with food poisoning and things really didn’t improve that much for the next few rounds.
Anyways, the last round at Sears actually went pretty well with me putting in a series of personal best laps in the last race and so I was looking forward to coming back to Thunderhill. The bike was running great and I’ve always liked the track even if my laptimes (best a 2:06.3) haven’t been anything to brag about in the past.
For round 6 I’d be pitting with KC/BRG Racing again. Having KC available to talk about bike setup, strategy, lines and to basically kick my ass into gear has been nothing but awesome. The fact that his trailer has A/C and the temps were near 100F didn’t hurt either. :) Saturday practice was pretty uneventful, but my laps were as usual for practice pretty crappy. I’ve never been able to do anything close to race pace in practice and I pretty much hit a wall at 2:10. KC and I spent a lot of time talking about lines and what I needed to do to get my laptimes down between practice sessions and so I hoped I could bring my A-game on Sunday for the races.
My first race was 650Twins which all things considered went pretty well since I did a new personal best of 2:05.8 on the last lap and finished 19th, my best so far this year. It was only one lap, but at least I was consistent in the 2:06-7 range and so I hoped to build on that in my next race: 650 Production.
For some reason, I haven’t been getting as good starts this year as I did last, and this race was no different, but at least I was able to get the spot I lost back going into turn 1. I slotted in behind Stephen Smith (#769) who had beaten me in the last race. I had a good run on him down the hill out of T9, but couldn’t quite show him a wheel on the brakes and lost 5 or 6 bike lengths on the exit. I was however a lot stronger in T1 & 2 and thought I had him on the inside going into 3, but he shut the door on me and so I looked for my next chance.
That came at the end of lap 2 as I got a much better drive out of the T13. Stephen was about mid-track so I went to the outside, hoping I could carry more corner speed through 14 and beat him on the exit of 15 for the long front straight. Unfortunately for me, Stephen started to drift over to my line before I could show him a wheel and I had to give way to avoid a collision. I was still able to get a good drive out of 15 and was right on his tail into the first turn. I knew I was able to carry more corner speed through Turn 2 and so I set to pass him on the outside on the exit of 2 and into 3 and was able to make it stick this time. From the last race I knew Stephen would be all over me and so I put my head down and tried to get a little space. Just up ahead I saw a couple of Super Dino’s and I knew I had to get past them as quickly as possible and hope they’d hold him up. I was able to get the first one on the exit of T6 and the other on the exit of T8.
As I came over the hill, I could see two more bikes far in the distance so I took after them and found myself right on their tail a lap later coming out of the esses onto the back straight. I got the Super Dino on the brakes into T14 and caught up to Patrick Murphy (#752) coming out of T1 with two laps left. I followed Patrick for a few turns to get an idea of his lines and found myself getting a much better drive out of T9 and easily passed him before entering 10. With about 1-1/3 laps left, I pushed hard to keep Patrick at bay and finished in 8th place- my best of the year. Even better, I put in my most consistent times ever at Thunderhill with 5 laps in the 2:05-06 range… hardly fast, but at least I was improving and I knew where I was loosing time.
I ended up skipping Formula 4 since I seemed to be suffering from the heat and/or not enough food earlier in the day and it didn’t make sense to go out there and push hard when I’d already made a number of improvements. Spent the rest of the day hanging out, drinking beer and talking to all my friends before packing up for the drive home.