Monday, April 20, 2015

Things Not Proceeding According to Plan!

Something has gone awry:

Colin Edwards' bike operating sub-optimally back in 2003.  He was okay.

Sometimes things don't go the way we plan, even when it's a really cool plan.

I’m sure many of you saw my announcement about riding with Motorcyclist Magazine at Circuit of the Americas.  SQL Sentry and I were very excited about the event, and some promotional stuff we had planned around it. 

Unfortunately, with about 10 days to go, Motorcyclist cancelled the event.  I was told by the person organizing the event that Dorna, the owner of MotoGP, exercised an option for a tire test the day of the event.  How this wasn’t known well in advance is beyond me.  Maybe it was and just wasn’t communicated.  I was hoping to be able to report that the event was rescheduled, or that Motorcyclist had offered another event as a replacement, but no such luck.

Making the best of a bad situation:

The first really positive takeaway from this experience for me is the way others got involved to help me take advantage of the opportunity.

  • SQL Sentry as a company, by offering to sponsor me to attend the event.  And as a community, for all of the people here who were excited to see me get the opportunity to participate in the event.  This particular project didn’t pan out, but we have some more cool ideas for the future.  Stay tuned! 
  • My girlfriend, Suann Griffin, who has not only been incredibly supportive of my riding in general, but also chipped in a whole bunch of hotel points to defray some of the cost of the trip.
  • Bell Powersports, by rushing the production of my Custom Fit Star Carbon in time for the event. Bell’s customer service is something I’ve talked up before, but this was really above and beyond.  I’ll be reviewing the new lid and showing some pretty cool visual customizations to my old one in an upcoming post. 
  • Team Pro-Motion Sportbike Club by providing me with some patches for my leathers and stickers for my helmet, but also for the riding tips I mentioned in my last post.

Thanks everyone!  It’s a great feeling to know so many people came together to help me out, and share in my adventure.  This one didn’t pan out the way I had planned, but there will be more! 

The Races and Other Goings-on at COTA:

My view for the Moto3 Race at the start of the day before the clouds broke up.  I moved to the end of the back straight for the Moto2 and MotoGP races.
Another bright spot was a great day of bikes and racing at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday. 
I started my day in the exhibitor and vendor areas.  I got to check out the latest bikes, in particular the 2015 Yamaha R1, Ducati 1299 Panigale, and Aprilia RSV4 RF.  2015 is going to be a good year to be shopping for a literbike!  The updates to the Panigale and RSV4 build on platforms that were already strong, and the all-new R1 appears to answer the shortcomings of the prior model and adds some great new features.  It is lighter, more powerful, and physically much smaller, and adds top-shelf electronics. The carbon fiber bodywork and upgraded components on the R1M look great!  I’m looking forward to getting a few test rides in!

I’m also looking forward to finding my way back to Circuit of the Americas.  What a track!  The facility is amazing, as is the track itself.  It is incredible to look at, and an awesome layout.  Lots of elevation change, as well as both high-speed and technical sections.  It also looks to be a very safe track.  Quite a few riders came off their bikes through the four races on Sunday, but I didn’t see anyone that looked the least bit worse for wear.  The paved runoff areas and good track design kept bikes and riders from tumbling…a slide always being easier on bike and rider than a tumble.  Most riders that went down were able to rejoin the race.  It’s a long haul, but maybe I’ll make a vacation of it this summer or next.

The MotoGP series never fails to put on a great show.  From the drafting and corner speed contest on the ultra-lightweight bikes of Moto3, to the sheer speed of the powerhouse MotoGP bikes, to Moto2’s middleweights that are a little bit of both.  The races are short enough and the riders evenly matched enough to ensure plenty of passing.  I much prefer watching a 20 lap sprint race where every lap counts to a four hour slog that’s a chess match of pit strategy and attrition.  

Ducati Island is one of the better bike shows I've seen, and it's just the parking for anyone who shows up on a Duc.  Foreground is a Panigale Superleggera (Superlight).
The new Yamaha R1M.  Not as pretty as the Panigale, but probably going to be much easier to live with!
The day wrapped up with the second Superbike/Superstock 1000 race of the new MotoAmerica series.  The racing was good for the second race in the first race weekend.  Jake Gagne on a Superstock-spec 2015 Yamaha R1 fighting for an outright podium finish with the superbike guys was the highlight of the race for sure!  The superstock bikes are not that far modified from the bikes you or I can go to a dealership and take home anytime.  They are down on power and technology compared to the superbike-spec machines, so to compete with top level riders on superbike machines was a major feat.  Hopefully Wayne Rainey and his team can continue to grow and develop the series, and rebuild motocycle racing in the United States.

Back to the track:

I went back to NCBIKE this weekend for another Team Pro-Motion trackday.  We ran the opposite direction, so I had to adjust my lines, and didn’t get to make direct comparisons to my last day, but I definitely got to apply what I’d learned.  I still have more to work on, but things are definitely moving in the right direction! I also got some good pics from Terry at Event Photo Now, so let's take a look at the changes I talked about in my last post:

Same pic from last year that I used last post, to show my older "crossed up" riding position.

4/19/15: Much better, still a little way to go, primarily in adjusting my grip on the bars, but this was much faster and more comfortable.
Next up will be a review of the Custom Fit Star Carbon from Bell, stay tuned!

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