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25 yrs old from Orange, CA
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I purchased my first bike, a 2006 GSXR-600, it was a great deal as it already had suspension, programing, quick sifter, Attack race...
I purchased my first bike, a 2006 GSXR-600, it was a great deal as it already had suspension, programing, quick sifter, Attack race bodywork... lets just say it didn't need anything. My first three rides were with my friends in the canyons around Santa Clarita, and it blew my mind how awesome and crazy it looked as they passed me.
I decided to do my first trackday with Motoyard at SOW. Being so new, I paid for one of the faster guys to ride with me in C group and teach me throughout the day. In the first session, I had lost him and became enveloped by the adrenaline that comes from passing. Session #2, I went out with Rockey Caceres (a control rider for MY) and ended up passing him. The next lap he stepped it up and we were now splitting people in C group as we were battling to get through the other riders. He pulled off at the end of the lap and booted me to A group saying that it was dangerous to stay in C, or B. (B group was pretty slow that day) I was on top of the world and was forever addicted to the sport.
A friend of mine, Vin Bali, convinced me to go out to Chuckwalla on a CVMA Friday with him. I signed up for B group after hearing what he had to say about how fast the racers were, and how close they passed. After all, it was my 2nd trackday and I had only rode a Street bike about 4 times prior. When we got there, BrownMan said hell no, you don't go back down from A group, then proceeded to get me into new racer school instead of B group... I was ready to crap my pants! After listening and learning from Racers, Anton Sohn and BrownMan, I felt overwhelmed with information, somewhat to the point where I was over my head.
New Racer School.
StuMan took us through the orientation in the class room after the sighting laps, that I missed, and went over what the objectives were for the NRS. He also mentioned that if he felt you did not belong in NRS or the A group, that he would give you the boot. A bit of relief to hear honestly... In my first session around the track, I went out and missed the apex to turn 3 going CCW, so I let Stuman and Vin pass me to give me some instruction. By lap two I had passed Vin and caught on to another rider that was in our pit, Racer Rudy Chavez, who I stayed with the rest of the day.
NRS Mock Race.
Racing on my second trackday! Needless to say, I was stoked and pretty much couldn't wipe the smile off my face! They had all of us go out for our warm up lap and how we came in was our grid position, so it was a race/ warm-up!? Fun.... :) I started in the #1 position, but got a bad start and was chasing two into turn 1. Passed into second through the bowl on lap 1 and was battling to get 1st. I had caught him down the front straight but he was on a 1000 and broke earlier than me, and I somewhat gave up and went straight... Coming back on after losing something like three positions, kind of lit a fire under my ass, and came back to watch 1st cross start finish on the 3rd and final lap, placing 2nd in the race. Who needs drugs when you have racing???
First Actual Race.
I tried racing out on Sunday, had a last place grid and only passed one putting me in 7th... somewhat uneventful... I ended up my best lap time of 2:06... for my first time at chuck, second trackday, 5th time on a street bike. I was stoked! I also got to meet Tige from Cycle Mall that weekend. He recognized the bike that he had built for Ernie, who I bought it from and ended up laying a ton of wisdom and encouragement on me.
The whole group came out for TurkeyDaz at Button Willow Raceway. I spent the day riding with my friends, a couple of which crashed but overall it was a blast! I love Button Willow! On a side note... Tige was there doing suspension tuning all day, and went out of his way to ask me not once but three times how my bike felt and as he was talking to me, he was adjusting my brake lever and clutch so that I was not riding on it. Keep in mind, I had not given him any business, nor asked anything of him yet. This is how I came to know Tige, him looking out for me knowing that I was an extreme squid. To this day, he does everything he can to help me keep the rubber on the ground, money that doesn't need to be spent, in my pocket and answers all of my stupid questions with a smile on his face. Cycle Mall is the shit...
I did not ride at all in December, I was in a trance over a pretty cool chick.
On the first of the year, I had my Girlfriend at the time drive me over to my friend Sam's house where my bike was and BrownMan met us there. Sam had spoke about how much fun we had partying the night before, bringing up different things that happened through the night and how much his shrimp stunk up the kitchen... then before we put on our helmets he brought up how lonely the house was without his family, as well as his bed without Seasons (his wife). After we left the house, we went to Starbucks to meet a few of the other guys that were going to join us in the canyon, had a cup of coffee and took off. Most of the guys ran a yellow light, and I pushed though to keep with them, leaving Sam and BrownMan behind. I wanted to stop and wait, but they were faster than everyone else so we all kept going. A few minutes up the canyon when they didn't go screaming by I knew something was wrong. As soon as we got to the top, we all knew... in denial we waited a few seconds, and proceeded to turn around. When we got to the accident and I saw the bike looking like someone blew it up with C4 so I raced back to the house to get the truck. Seasons was there, and knew as soon as she saw me, it was Sam... He was the best rider of our whole group, and it shattered us to lose his irreplaceable personality. I did not ride the rest of January, and lost the cool chick as I lacked the ability to coop with and/or comprehend the loss of Sam while juggling my life and that of Sam's wife and two kids.
I did not ride at all.
I came into Round 1 of CVMA (CW) uneasy after Sam died, all the little things were made serious in my mind. The track being a direction that I had never run before, and due to lack of funds, I decided to run some old tires that had been laying around in a garage for a year or so. In my first session, I could not get the bike to turn at all, and was all over the place until I lost the front on the second lap. Damage was minimal and the family of CVMA racers came to my rescue and put my bike back together. In the next session I was getting a very slow tow from BrownMan and felt the same, couldn't turn the bike... turn 9 on my second lap, I lost my front again. At this point I was defeated. Battling with thoughts of selling my bike, and quitting this death sport. I didn't do anything wrong, was going slow, and still the bike sucks to the ground like that's what it was made to do. I started freaking out, how stupid am I!? I'm watching how Sam's death affects the ones he left behind... how could I be so selfish to do that to my family and friends!? When I got back to the Pit everyone was on the track. I was so frustrated! I wanted to take my bike, throw it in the dumpster and just walk away. Forget everything, everyone, leave... Peace out. Around that time BM and Anton got back from their session. They immediately started pulling my bike apart and telling me how lucky I am that nothing happens to it when I crash... I think eventually they saw that I was defeated and let it go... Anton later noticed my front tire was soo hard that it was wearing about as much as a stone wheel, if they made one. I guess that is why Sam let it sit in the garage instead of using it... The rest of Friday night I spent slowly tearing down the bike and cleaning it up. BrownMan fixed my Fairing stay with an exhaust spring and duct tape, then we stitched my windscreen with safety wire. The rest of the parts were donated by Cycle Mall... along with a good chat from Tige on tires, pressures, and all the little things that are the difference of sliding your face and finishing the race... pretty much how I really need to learn the sport, not just hop on and kill it. So... after the confidence instilling conversations brought about by the CVMA Family, and some bad ass friends, I decided I would run one race on Sunday. In practice I was running a 2:12, still feeling like I am going to hit the ground at any moment of every lap. I did not qualify, so I started in last. Off of the start I passed a few people and continued to pass until someone freaked out as I was passing on the outside and picked up the bike causing both of us to run off. At that point, I was done for the weekend and decided that twice was enough for one weekend, I want to leave with my bike. I ended up with a best lap of 2:11.
After my crashing drama cleared I decided it would be good to get a trackday in before the next round of CVMA. Ex Racer, Nick Scoggins came with me to LetsRide at Button willow (CCW) and worked with me all day. I started out very slow, in fact so slow... I bet Nick was just chewing nails. When we came off from our first session, he asked me how I set up for a turn. My answer... hu? Progression started from there. In the last session of the day, Nick and I ran into AMA Racer, Mike Pond and as they were playing around together in front of me, I never got more than a turn behind. I can not thank Nick enough for how much he helped me that day. Faster, safer.
Coming into CVMA Round 2 I had learned a lot. For instance; BM and Anton had been going over the track map with me and teaching me. I was also low on money again so I just didn't ride on Friday to save my new Bridge-stones for racing. In my first practice I ran about three laps and felt great! BM was at the pit to help me with my stands and join in my excitement getting in some WOOHOO's and what not. Then when I was cleaning off my rear tire, I noticed an aluminum shard that had punctured my brand new tire within three laps... although I ran my fastest lap of a 2:02.2 on it! Nothing was going to take the smile off my face. What Nick had taught me at Button Willow made a huge difference in my riding, and I can not say it enough; *Faster safer*. BM and Oscar from MotoYard ripped off my rear tire so that I could start searching for another one. After walking the pits, no one had take off's, except Oscar's Dunlap 200 slick that had a little bit of meat left on one side of the tire. We put it on before the next session and Oscar explained to me that I was going to have slower lap times due to the miss matched tires and different sizes which my suspension wasn't set up for, so just ease into it. Going out, I felt like I was sitting in a high chair from the rear being so much taller. My rear was all over the place, but I knew what I was getting into and just kept the throttle steady as it stepped out and it was actually a ton of fun! Coming back to the pit it was a ton of excitement again as that had to have been the most fun I had on a bike up to that point. I put all the warmers back on and found out that my bike was overheating, so we put water in it. BM came back with the lap times from the session and I had my fastest lap time again with a 2:01.9!
This was my first time ever running a qualifying practice so I left with the pack and didn't think about how much passing slows you down... I qualified with a 2:03.9 and was 12 in my grid. Saturday's ASSM was pretty crazy with restarts and so we ended up only getting 4 laps in our actual race. Off of the start I did poorly and lost 4 positions putting me in 16th. I have no idea what it feels like to lead a race solo, but I will tell you, battling through a pack is awesome! I worked my way up to 8th in the first two laps and battled the last two laps with Damon Stewart coming into the front straight side by side with a better drive, but I was not able to squeak by until just passed start finish settling for 8th. That was racing! My first true battles for the finish, running side by side, and multiple passes per lap I was sucked back in. No question in my mind, this. is. my passion.
On Sunday, Tige gave me an old tire he had stowed in his trailer that he felt had at least a race left in it. Perfect! Since the tire on my bike didn't have any wear markers left on it. In the ASSM race it was more of the same including one collision with Ryan Harper coming into turn 1 I passed him on the brakes and he continued to come into me. As I began my left into turn 2 I saw the nose of his bike coming at my face so I quickly picked up the bike and went straight with him. (later found out that he lost his brake lever in the collision) I barely ran off the track and lost two positions but gained them both back by turn 6 only to have my bike fail with a blown head gasket and warped head. No problem, CM fixed it and more, changed the spark plugs, chain, sprocket, consistent with their record of going over and above what was asked of them... I will say it again. Cycle Mall is the shit... I ended up with a 2:00.055 for my best lap time yet, I think it was the tire difference.
CVMA Round 3! The first and last time I ran Chuck CW I crashed twice and put in about 14 laps in total with a best of 2:11. Lets just say, I was a little nervous. Dustin Coyner, being the cool guy that he is and knowing of my previous attempt at this direction, decided to wait for me in pit lane for first session of Friday practice. He gave me a tow, showed me the lines and then told me how much I sucked when we got back. So we went over what he was showing me, explained some things over a track map and he went on his way. I went out for three more laps on Friday getting a tow from BM and Anton, who I actually ended up passing on the brakes in turn 8, although BM passed me right back on the back straight. There's nothing like riding with your friends passing back and forth, its pretty cool. My bike spent the rest of the day with James Morse, who was cool enough to work on an issue at the track which required pulling the valve cover off, quite a task to pull off while also manning the Bridge-stone tire rig. Once again... Cycle Mall is the Shit.
Saturday I cruised around practice to scratch my new tires with Anton trailing on video. Then in qualifying I thought I was being smart by letting everyone go and clear turn 6 before I took off. I ended up catching the back of the pack by turn 16 and put out a 2:02.486. Oh well, it was fun riding with them too! That's what we are all out there for anyway! I was 16th on grid for ASSM, and finally got a decent start, or at least didn't let anyone by. It was a blast battling through the pack and latching onto Ian Schoen battling for 7th. In the end I was not fast enough to get by him clean, so I stayed in 8th. Sunday a lot of people did not show up for the ASSM leaving a few empty grid positions. I was 12th on the grid but only had 6 other riders in front of me. My start went well and I ran side by side with Stephan Luka from turn 3 to turn 8 where I out broke him. Then had another pass out of the bowl and caught the leaders who were tire to tire coming into turn 15. I out drove Ian who was infront of me into the straight, although he gained some ground on power. Coming into turn 1 I out broke him unexpectedly and wound up inside of his rear tire without enough space to make the turn! I missed my shift in a panic and spent turn 1 and 2 trying not to hit him as my bike threw me off and I side carred it down to about 10mph before I set the bike down. I ended up bringing my old lap time of 2:11 for this direction down to a 1:59. Over all it was a good weekend.
Nick Scoggins, my brother and I joined up with Dustin Coyner and the Trackdaz staff at Button Willow with Ti2TT. I went out alone in the first session to scratch my tires, did maybe 2 laps. In the second session I followed Nick who ended up crashing on the last left coming into the straight away, wa wa wa... first session crashes suck! I pulled off so that I could make sure he was okay, and he came in right behind me riding his bike, dragging his bodywork. The next session we went out as a large group to do some parade laps. I somewhat lost focus on what I was doing and zoned in on my brother until I high sided coming out of T5... Landed on my head, and my leathers blew apart... concussion and fractured elbow... Bike had no damage besides where my head went through the front fairing. A little duct tape and she was good as new! Dustin later came over and told us to stay for the second day and that he would let me use a helmet and old pair of his leathers... why not!? Sunday was a blast and everyone went home happy!
I want to recognize some of the people that have helped me the most thus far and thank them for everything that they have done for me: Sammy Choy, Colby Barritt for being my family and keeping me alive, without Sam's incident, one of my four crashes could have been in the canyon and I could no longer be alive. BrownMan and Anton who have taken me in and treated me as their own, teaching me and feeding me... Tige Daane for keeping my bike straight, being honest with me, and having those conversations that truly helped me coop with Sam.(James has been pretty bad ass too) Dustin Coyner, for being there every step of the way, guiding me, keeping me safe by telling me like it is and for pushing me to be better safer. Nick Scoggins for being a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. You have listened to my crap, answered my questions no matter how ignorant they are, and you continue to be there to share that knowledge. I look up to all of you as great men of great character, thank you for being a part of my life.
My riding experience thus far in a nut shell... Lots missing, and many more have helped me on the way to where I am now. More to come! Chase.
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