The Denton race was so far the hardest this season for the AF1 Racing team and several of the other Aprilia teams. It was also our best overall finish of the year to date so all is well at the shop. We ended Saturday's 4 hour endurance race in 2nd place after 280 grueling laps, the first place KX60 powered bike finished 20 feet ahead of us!!!! arrrrgggg!!!!
When we arrived at the track on Saturday we set up quickly to get out into practice ahead of schedule. The new front suspension work was awesome, no more chattering at the apex and the feedback from the front tire was awesome for the first time in a couple of years. We switched to Bridgestone 125gp slicks from Michelin for this event and they are awesome, they stick with plenty of aggression and when they do break traction they are quite predictable. We tried a new pipe in practice (a no longer in production Gianelli 70cc pipe) and it worked well but the bike could not pull past 12,500rpm so we switched back to the other pipe and went back out into practice.....when the throttle cable broke.
30 minutes to race time and I have to make a new throttle cable or fix the old one....ahhhrrrggg....got new ends welded on just in time for the warm up lap and sent Jayme out to start the race since I was sweating profusely from the repair work.
The 4 hour started very well with Jayme quickly moving to the front of the pack...and then got worse when a corner worker repeatedly flag our 87 bike each time it went bye. Jayme pulled to the pits and we gave it a once over...nothing wrong so we sent him back out with instruction to ignore the track marshal who was flagging him and ride hard. With so much delay in the beginning we thought ourselves out of contention to win the thing out right. The pic below is Jayme showing some awesome style leading a couple of other Aprilias into turn 2.
<img src="http://www.apriliaforum.com/micahupload/Denton1.jpg" style="border:0;"/>
Also pictured is the Silver Team Lemmings bike with Stuart at the controls, that is one fast 50cc/rider combo. He went on to win 1st in his 50cc class at the end of the race. The other Aprilia is Ceeco from the board in his first ever race. Ed and Ceeco rode together until an accidental double back shift brought a screaming death to his crank! Ceeco is used to reverse shift and after loosing a bolt we switched the bike to regular shift...a bad idea in the end.
As the day worn on I crashed twice costing us some time and me some rythme. I did not do as well this weekend as I would have liked....but thank God for Jayme and Jon, those guys are fast and rode the whole race without any crashes....while making some spectacular passes and braking manuvers.
Bradog and Suzuki1 had a rough weekend with numerous crashes and ending with a blown cylinder in the third hour. They were riding hard right till the end doing everything they could to make a class win possible. Even with the blown motor they finished 5th in their 50cc class.
Suzuki1 rode the final stint for us after Jayme put in a spectacular 50 minute session on our 87 bike....OMG, he rides like a friggin animal, spinning up the rear tire out of even a 4th gear corner, I felt like a wuss compared to him.
Here is Suzuki1 doing a 3rd gear wheelie off a little rise in the track after the chicane....he could ride them for quite some distance too!
<img src="http://www.apriliaforum.com/micahupload/Denton2.jpg" style="border:0;"/>
In the end, it was my 2 crashes, the snafu with the track marshal in the first few laps and my decision to call Jayme in with only 15 minutes to go that lost us 1st place. We were literally only 20 feet from the leader and closing after 280 laps when the checkered flag flew.
<strong>UP:</strong> It was another great weekend at the track! <strong>DOWN:</strong> Jon crashed the bike fu@king hard in Sunday practice before the sprints....The bike is very broken!!! The tranny shift shaft is bent and the linkage is all screwed up. The fairing is cracked in several places and it will require a lot of work and new parts to be ready for the next round....Thank Godness Jon is a bad ass mechanic....he has a lot of work to do now!!!