Friday night, the sunset was gorgeous. Things were shaping up for a great weekend.
Then, first thing Saturday morning shooting practice…things took a turn for the worst.
What can I say? It was drama. It was close racing. It was friendship and family and community banding together. It was personal bests. It was fun. It was bad calls and ridiculous decisions. It was overcoming obstacles. It was broken timing and scoring equipment. It was hard work by volunteers. It was getting to see and hang out with old friends whom I missed.
It was yet another great weekend hosted by Sam & TTP.
You guys know I’m not that great with words. I often spew out whatever froth bubbles from my mind with little to no filter. Some love me for it. Some hate me for it. Either way, pictures don’t lie. So I’ll mostly let the pictures speak on my behalf.
Tho…I do want to point out something: Sam and TTP put on one hell of a fun event.
He offers up something that I’ve never seen before in all my years of being around the track and motorbikes and the likes; He offers a chance for the “little guy” to race.
The weekend warriors. The commuters. The motorcycle enthusiasts. The ones who may be afraid to make that leap from trackdays into actually getting a race license, spending the beaucoup bucks on aquiring a race bike, trailers, suspension, this, that, everything…he gives the guys and gals that want to experience the rush of a race start…of tipping into turn 1 at 100+ mph side by side with their best friend to see who will come out victorious after 6 laps of slidey-puck, knee-racing, poppa-wheelie action. To get a plastic trophy at the end of the day and who will have a memory that will last them the rest of their life, and the life of their son or daughter and those close to them.
So, this year has been pretty slow in the riding realm for me so far… Normally, I’d have done at least a dozen or so trackdays by now…at LEAST. But not this year. So far, I’ve ridden exactly THREE trackdays. A Saturday/Sunday at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans back in February, and now last Monday at Thunderhill.
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.
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.
Hey everyone. I just wanted to post a quick update on a few changes for 2011. I’ve been getting a lot of email and phone calls and texts and the likes asking me “ZOMG, IS IT TEH TRUES!@!>?”
Yes, it’s true.
4theriders is no longer shooting for Zoom Zoom. Why? Simply put: we’ve just got different ideas and are headed in different directions. :) We’re still friends. There’s no bad blood. Dito of GotBlueMilk will be shooting for Z2 instead.
Also, something I’ve not yet announced publicly until now: 4theriders will be the official photography company for Reno Fernley Racetrack! Whooooo hooooooo!! For those of you that know me, you know that I freggin LOVE RFR. It’s my favorite track!
And as icing on the cake, RFR has told me that they’re making some big changes to their infrastructure! I hear that there’s going to be new pavement in sections and some other goodies that everyone will love. I don’t have “official word” on what’s been done yet, but I’ll definitely keep you guys posted when I know. :D *STOKED!!*
How about a 24 shot panoramic view of RFR as seen from the bowl? Click for the big picture…I mean BIG!
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…
Soooo…yeah… everyone knows that I’m a total poser/camera whore. Everytime I’m riding and I see a camera, I immediately turn into a Ricky-Racer-Wannabe-Badass.
Anyways, I’d never had a photo taken of me in turn 7 at Thunderhill before. I’ve been telling Toe for a few months now “I really want a shot of my in turn 7…because, like, my body positioning is different through there. I feel like I have my outside elbow up really high to help control front end drifts…”
Ken Hill was following behind me recently with his NON GoPro HD camera *snickers* and shot about 1/2 a lap of me before blowing my proverbial doors off and checking-out on me… I was really surprised by what I saw in the video, to be honest. I’m carrying significantly more lean angle through 7 and 8 than I’d previously thought. I’m also nearly dragging elbow at apex of both turns. It’s not that I’m TRYING to…it’s that I’m hanging off the bike pretty far to try and minimize lean angle on the tires.
So anyways, to get back to retardation… Matt got a shot of me in turn 7 yesterday while at an open trackday…well, just as I was exiting turn 7, but still…all the signs are there…
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. I planned to use my new radar detector (check out this review of Stinger VIP), but also forgot it at home. 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