So, I had the pleasure of going down to Las Vegas for the 2nd Round of WERA with the Pirelli guys from CTRacing. I got a phone call around Tuesday evening saying “we’ve got room! We’ll take care of ya!” and they sure did. Not only does CTRacing offer the SICKEST tires ever, but they’re some pretty rad dudes as well. I can’t thank Chris Maguire or Corey Neuer enough for taking me down there under their wing. We stayed at the Stratosphere hotel and casino for 3 nights and had a blast, that by the way there’s an excellent site about gambling online check it out https://www.dacreate.co.uk/. Thanks again, guys!

In return, I offered up to get some publicity shots and video on boomtownbingo.com/history-bet365-stadium/ for their go-to 600cc guy Jimmy Wood! On Friday, during a trackday/practice for the WERA races, we got some pretty damned good stuff! Be sure to click “720p” to watch it in all it’s HD glory!

Camera is a GoPro HERO HD. It’s freggin RAD! I’m totally in love with this little piece of video bliss.

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i headed up the mountain to go visit rweezy. i ain’t seen him in about 2 years, so i figured it was time for a surprise visit. i didn’t bring my camera, but i did bring the gopro..i took a few pics on the way home. nothing special.

did an oil and filter change at his shop really quick and threw on the obligatory 4theriders-red grips like i do to all my bikes. i can’t help it…dunno what it is…i HAVE to have red grips!

gsxr dirt road

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soooooo… i met up with chris from pirelli (trackmonkey) and we went to vegas for the 2nd round of wera… i brought the gixxer too, for some mucking about akshunz.

we landed in vegas on thursday night. i really didn’t feel like lugging around the camera on the strip or anything, so i actually ended up taking ZERO pics of the

bike+lights or anything. who cares about all that anyways?

instead, on friday EARLY morning, before going to the track, i rode out to red rock canyon. it was cold. REALLY cold.

OMGHAI!!
red rock canyon gsxr

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I’ve been walking around in a bit of a daze for the better part of the evening trying to figure out how I’m going to write up this little “race report,” for lack of better words.

Should I write it like I normally would trying to make jokes and being happy-go-lucky? Should I talk about what some of you already know happened? While I’m still sitting here, pondering on it, I sometimes think it’s best to speak of things (or write them) as you think them…so that’s what I’m doing now.

First of all, I want to mention that a WERA racer passed away yesterday in a solo accident during his race. His name was Joe. He was a Salinas Police Officer. He had a wife. He had children.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen someone lose their life at the racetrack. A few years ago, I saw Allen Rice hit a k-wall at Infineon, never to breathe again. He was a good friend of people that I know. I didn’t know him personally, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget his name. Or what he looked like as he lay there.

Yesterday, I watched, with my 400mm lens, Joseph Pusateri crash his motorcycle, ending his life. I watched his wife run out onto the track crying and trying to fight her way past the corner workers who were trying to hold her back. At that moment, I felt somewhat removed from the situation as I’ve learned to do over the years; watching people crash…some harder than others. Usually they just get up. Or they twitch…or move…at least after a few seconds, there’s SOME type of tell-tale sign of life.

You sorta become immune to it. There’s no more adrenaline rush like I used to get when someone would crash right in front of me… There’s no more tightening of the chest in a sort of empathetic physical reaction like there used to be…There’s nothing more than simply being a robot who documents things that unfold in front of him. Yesterday, while bursting off a sequence of photos of Joe crashing, was no different. It didn’t even seem that severe, to be honest. I fully expected him to get up and limp around a bit and maybe punch the air a few times in dissapointment. He didn’t move. I assumed maybe he was knocked out. He wasn’t.

I’ve seen friends and family members hop fences to try to tend to their loved ones in the past. I simply watched Joe’s wife crossing the track while speculating on what the extent of Joe’s injuries might have been.

It wasn’t until about an hour later that I’d learned the Joe passed away. Suddenly, as I was being told, the image of Joe’s wife flashed through my head. It hit me hard. I don’t even know how to explain it. Suddenly all this emotion that I’ve learned to put to the side to do the job I do hit me hard. I can’t even begin to imagine what’s she’s going through right now. What Joe’s family is having to deal with right now.

I really don’t know where I’m going with this right now…I’ve just been typing as I think. All I know is that a complete stranger to me passed away yesterday doing something that he loved, that I loved, that everyone at that racetrack loved, and I’m pretty torn up about it all. I wish I could turn back time and simply tell him not to race that race, and he’d have gone back home with his wife to Salinas.

Rest in Peace, Joe. I’m so very sorry to all the family and offer my deepest condolences.

Officer Joseph Pusateri, 43, of Salinas

This is my third winter as a year round rider. The cold, wind, and rain fade into the background if you have good winter gear. I actually prefer the bike over the car, and given the choice of riding or taking my wife’s car I gear up 100% of the time. My wife does not share this view of the weather, so sometimes I am forced to endure the confines of a Subaru Legacy GT. Don’t get me wrong, I owe my life to a Subaru, and the Legacy has some nice features. Heated seats, satellite radio, cup holders, reverse…you know, all the same stuff as a Honda Goldwing.

I bring this up because I had to drive yesterday. The rain was fairly steady from Concord to Fremont, and since it was a weekend, I didn’t have to deal with the commuter traffic. We listened to the comedy channel on the satellite radio, there was Starbucks in the cup holders, and at risk of  talking too much about my behind, the heated seats were functioning flawlessly. Once we got to our destination my wife brought up an interesting point…

40 minutes or so on the freeway, in the rain, and not once did I hit the switch for the wipers. I shrugged it off but paid more attention to it on the way home. George Carlin? Check. Peppermint Mocha? Check. Warm rump? Check. The wipers, however, remained off. Although it was quite dark in the car because of the rain and glass tinting. I have recently done window tinting (more at Dalo Auto Tinting website) and haven’t got used to it yet. I guess I prefer the way the world looks through my visor, and yesterday this was the best I could do.

I just got a sweet little package in the mail not 10 minutes ago…new bits for the 2007 GSXR600 4theriders trackbike. Pew pew pew! Axle sliders front and rear, plus a Sportbike Cam rear mount so I can hook up the digital still camera on there to get track photos of you while ON TRACK. :)

I’ve used some of Harry’s products from Supermoto Engineering and Sportbike Cam in the past, and I gotta say: top notch stuff! Check out their site and see what they’ve got to offer for your bike! You won’t be dissapointed!

sme sportbike cam sliders and mount

As the 2010 track season is right around the corner, I can’t help but to think and reflect on 2009 and what I have learned in such a short amount of time.  At the track, everyone is there for the same reason… to ride, and have fun.  Everyone is more than willing to help one another, and help in any way they can.  I really learned a lot about what a track day is through the lens of my camera.. as a silent observer if you will.  If you are hungry, a complete stranger will make sure you are fed.  if you have a headache, someone will make sure you get some aspirin.  If you are hurt or you go down on the track, a flood of complete strangers will come by just to check on you and make sure you are ok.  I have also seen countless acts of kindness when it comes to bike maintenance, with complete strangers helping other riders get their bike dialed in, even if it means missing a session or two.  It is this type of environment that I have grown to love in such a short amount of time.  This is where my excitement comes from filming events like this.  Being able to capture these types of behaviors, along with some fantastic riding, is why I do this. 

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Well, I saw that the forcast called for rain. When I had a bike, and the forcast says rain, those of you that know me well know what that means: It’s time to go for a ride! Well, I had a bike. A 2007 GSX600R.

I sent out a few text messages, and before I knew it, Matt and I turned into Matt, Rob, Han, Kev, Mike, and myself, all about to embark on a little fun.

We took the fastest route to the mountains possible from Elk Grove, slabbing up 99 to 50 before exiting off the freeway and jumping on Salmon Falls Road. I hate the slab. Freeway is not, nor has it ever been my friend. Anyways, the trip up Salmon Falls was fairly uneventful, as we the trip up hwy 49 (The Gold Country Highway) to Old Auburn Foresthill Rd. However, things changed ever so slightly when we made our way up Foresthill Road to Get to Mosquito Ridge Road…it started to POUR. We could see blue skies to the north whilst we road towards the darkest, nastiest looking clouds we could find to the North-west. Hehe.

…Lets take a quick step back first… A couple of the riders in our small group had never ridden in the rain before. At least, not intentionally. They’d been caught-out in the rain while riding in town before, but never had they experienced the True Grit kinda’ ride that I’ve been HIGHLY accustomed to over the years… Morale was not high amongst some of our group once we reached the gas station at the MRR turnoff, to say the least. In fact, as the ride organizer, I was nearly overthrown and our merry little band of wet rats almost disbanded before the ride had even started!

After a bit of pep-talking, and a crapload of peer pressure, everyone was in. Reluctant, but in.

I’m not gonna go through a mile-by-mile play-by-play, but there was something worth mentioning: as the clouds above pummelled us with cold, stinging rain, we got to witness one of the coolest things I’ve EVER seen in nature… a rainbow. But not any ordinary rainbow…this one was unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was AMAZING! The topmost portion of it sprayed out of the hillside roughly 100ft up, only about 500 feet in front of us. It was VERY thick… and bold… and vivid. It arced over the road and down the hillside before planting itself back into the rocks about 500 feet below. I could see both ends of this rainbow touching the ground. I half expected to need to swerve and dodge leprechauns and unicorns and rivers of Skittles as I passed beneath it. I know, it sounds like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but really, you had to be there to see what I mean. Unfortunately, it was DUMPING rain and I didn’t want to stop to take a picture. I really wish I would have though. I’m still kicking myself for not.

I’m really tired of typing, and think I’ll simply let the pics do the talking. There’s only a few as I only pulled out my camera twice. It was a good day. Lots of fun and ZERO mishaps…unless you consider someone making a u-turn, losing their footing in the wet, and simply falling over a mishap. *giggle*

Our group of wet rats
group of bike gsxr yzf r6 thundercat

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Something is not right, and I think I have figured it out.  Joe rode on the street. For realzies. At speed. For the one person that just woke up from a coma after highsiding on the street, Joe gave up street riding after the following picture was taken. Oddly enough, the caption was already there. highside

In the time that he has been back on the street, there have been no fewer than three notable earthquakes in the bay area, not to mention the one up in Humboldt county.  You know, the one that “harshed the mellow” of countless potheads who were forced to move from their couches after their couches moved across the floor. I recieved the following email from Chauncy Phillips to my 4TheRiders email address.

Dear Max,

Dude. Your boss Joe like totally owes me some cash bro. I was at home watching the Pauly Shore marathon on Turner classic movies when the house started to shake. And I don’t mean like when my roomie Maggie has gas, bro, I mean like my velvet Marley poster fell off the wall shaking. I was like wait? What? and then it hit me Bro, and I was all “EARTHQUAKE”, and then Maggie was all like “NO WAY”  and boom. The bong goes flying out of my hand spilling bong water all over the carpet. I am going to send you the bill for half a carpet cleaning, I mean cuz we needed one anyway what with Maggies cat, but come on bro…bong water.

Thanks Bro,

Chauncy

I am not paying for this stoner’s carpet Joe. I’m not saying to stop riding the street, I am just saying be safe out there, and maybe keep it under 6 on the Richter scale.