I’ve shot quite a few races over the past couple years, both photo and video. From AFM to MotoGP, I have had the wonderful privilege to be able to watch and shoot races and racers from restricted areas. I have watched so much raw, un-edited onboard HD GoPro footage from so many different racers I can’t even keep track anymore. But no matter how hard I tried to understand the “why” behind sportbike racing, I was never able to truly FEEL it how I knew I could. I understood it in my brain, but I didn’t have a 100% clear picture of it in my heart… and it drove me crazy. I have done trackdays, gotten in fun little battles with friends, but as time went on, the need to feel what I felt like I was missing out on grew stronger and stronger. From a full grid start, all the way to setting up a pass on the last turn of the last lap, I wanted…NEEDED to feel that. It was with TTP Racing that I was able to experience something I will remember for a lifetime.
For those of you that know me know that I’ve had a fear of Infineon for the longest time. Being a trackside photographer, I see really bad stuff happen sometimes…Infineon has always been the worst of the worst.
I’ve seen people die at this track. I’ve seen peoples’ lives forever changed at this track… and for that reason, I’d only ever ridden once there before, about a year ago. I did 4 sessions at a Zoom Zoom day.
Well, we were invited to come ride with Pacific Track Time last week, and I said “fuck it, I’ll ride.” and I did. I wanted to get over this fear that I’ve had… Toe was my wingman for the day.
I can’t really say that I’m “over it.” I mean, the track is fun. It’s certainly a workout as well…but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to try and go fast at Infineon. There’s just too many dangers! It’s like Skaggs Springs Road…but instead of guard rails, there’s k-walls.
It’s a lot of fun to just go horse around with the homies tho…I’ll give it that much.
Here’s some footage of me, Toe, Chris from CT Racing, Darius, Tim, and a few other people from the very last session of the day.
Six days it took us, six days to travel over 2400 miles and to the far side of Arizona.
Six days of course is not counting any time used to prep for the trip, in this case making sure we replaced our tires. Mine because I had a tire that had carried me to Montana and back (and was the appropriate hardness to do so), and Joe’s because his previous attempt to ride this particular tire had ended with him growing a large hematoma on his buttocks. We took full advantage of a friend, Blaise, raiding his garage in the middle of what could have been for him a pleasant date, and commandeering his tire machine.
Oh well; better forgiveness than permission… and better surprise than dread. In retrospect it was well worth it, as neither my or Joe’s ham-fisted-throttle-happy-asses were tossed high and to the butchers.
The first leg was set at a 16 hour drive, which was quickly adjusted to 16:45 because we forgot Joe’s wheel at my house at the first attempt. The essentials of course were coffee for myself. A good strong kind with an exotic name like Kama Sutra or something of the sort. And for Joe, can upon can of Redbull.
After having augered myself into the pavement in turn 5 at Reno Fernley Racetrack some months ago in October, the gixxer was left slightly bent and battered. Considering the violent nature of highsides and their natural propensity to destroy motorcycles, the gixxer faired pretty damned well in that crash.
Rory was behind me running a GoPro HD when I crashed, and here’s the video he made of it. Thanks Rory!
I broke the bleeder nipple off of the master cylinder. I slightly bent the right stock rearset, popped off the right side tail section, cracked my throttle tube, and smashed up some of the plastics on the right side. Oh, and I put a small hole in the frame from where the bar end stabbed it. That’s IT. I RODE the bike from the crash site to the infield, and would have ridden it all the way in, except that I didn’t want to carry leaking brake fluid across the front straight of the track.
Continue reading New Paint Hot Chick
Everyone else is doing it…I guess that means I gotta do it too. ‘Cept…I’mma do it in typical Joe-Fashion, and totally OVER do it. I’m not just gonna pick my top 10 images from the year. I’m gonna go through the year and pick whatever the hell I think represents 2010. Anything memorable; From our zany adventures around the Western United States to our unspeakable acts in other countries. *shhh!*
So hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cause I posted up at least thirty seven thousand pictures up in here.
“Whoo hoo! to 2010. The good times, the bad. The ups and downs. Whoo hoo, I say! Whoo hoo!”
Continue reading Wrapping Up 2010 In Style
It started off awesome and ugly all at the same time. Toe, Dove, and myself showed up on Friday around 11am for the first of three days of RFR’ness. The track wasn’t to go hot until noon anyhow. There were 9 people there.
From a selfish riding standpoint, it was epic; open format at RFR! My favorite track around! From a financial standpoint…ugh! I was gonna take a serious financial hit!
Regardless, we were there, we were gonna make do best we could.
First thing’s first.. we had to give people a chance to get warmed up and whatnot. We unloaded everything, got the computers all set up, and geared up to ride. :) I did 4 laps and suddenly felt bored. I just wasn’t feeling it like I thought I would, I guess. I pulled off the track, changed back into my photo-clothes, and headed out to shoot for a little bit. Toe and I went out and shot for about 45 mins… running all over the track, covering a TON of ground in a very short amount of time..I mean, there were NINE people on the track.
Bored. But hey, there were birds…
In preparation for our ~2000 mile long journey, Toe and I loaded up the shiney Nissan with all our shiney camera gear, 5 days worth of shiney clothes, and a shiney black and red GSXR 600. None of it would stay shiney for long as we would find out.
We’ve been shooting the same tracks for a few years now. The first was Buttonwillow in 2006. The last new track we’ve shot was Reno Fernley, in 2007. It was time to see, shoot, and ride something new.
The trip started out on Thursday around noon with me realizing that I’d forgotten to unpack some things from the Element, which Melissa had taken to work in downtown Sacramento…20 minutes the opposite way in which we needed to go. I’d left my emergency roadside pump and my GPS in there, and I like to always have both with me. We headed north around noon to meet Melissa and get what we needed, then set out on a slightly augmented travel plan… roughly: hwy 50 > 95 > 93 > 10.
We brought a travel buddy with us, thanks to Mike @ Ace Custom Graphics
Here’s the latest video we’ve made.. Blaine had his own GoPro HD camera, and he gave us his footage. We compiled it with a little bit of footage Kev shot trackside and some from another camera we’d rented out, and we came up with this…
Next time you’re at the track and if you like what we did here, come see us about taking your HD footage, or renting one of our GoPro HD camera, and we can do this for you too!
Well, me and Infineon Raceway go back a few years. I’ve been shooting there since 2006. I’ve watched at least eleventy trillion bikes pass by me in every corner of that track. Fast guys, slow guys…whatever. I’ve seen and documented probably around 100 crashes at Infineon alone. Most in turns 2 and 9, for sure, but with turn 3 having a ton of crashes as well.
Three years ago, it wasn’t even in a turn that had me spooked. Three years ago, Allen Rice crashed into the k-wall as he was exiting the track and tragically, he passed away as a result of that crash. This had all happened just in front of me, as I was making my way back to the pits to get geared up to ride Infineon for the first time. Needless to say, I didn’t ride that day. In fact, I’d decided that day, after what I’d just seen, that I had no desire to EVER ride Infineon. “It’s too damned dangerous,” I’d tell myself.
And I didn’t.
For three years, I never even had the inclination to ride. I’ve seen some people make mistakes and have incidents sometimes out of their control at Infineon causing life-changing crashes. From Shawnery having come together with Brian in turn 8 some years ago, to Eric Arnold at the start of a race before turn 1. Infineon scared me. I was genuinely fearful of riding the track.
Yesterday was a Zoom Zoom day at Infineon. The conditions were absolutely perfect. The weather simply could not have been any better for a day of riding. I’d made up my mind: I was going to ride.
This weekend marked the first time getting the new 4theriders trackbike…well…on the track. It’s gone through it’s paces on some of the best roads California has to offer, but it had yet to put down some laps…
I’d order some new Galfer steel braided brake lines from the Pashnit Store (that’s where I get nearly everything, as the owner, Tim Meyhew, is a rock solid dude with flawless customer service) earlier last week in hopes that I’d get them in before the trackday… leave it to me, always procrastinating with everything…hehe. Sure enough, Tim of Pashnit came through and I got my lines in on Friday afternoon.