I rolled in late Wednesday stoked to be back home at the racetrack! Duncan Wood (CMP #910) and I (Chris Dove #123) were the very first over excited racers on the scene at Loudon Raceway.
Thursday practice –
My first time on a race motorcycle since the last round of racing in October, 2014. Here’s where it gets sketchy. The weather was poor. Cold, windy and no sunshine. I did some in depth weather investigation for the weekend (weatherbug) and concluded this situation would not improve. I made the decision to focus my practice time on the smallest, easiest to handle bike I had with me so that I’d give myself the best chance for success over the weekend. Practice went great, bike and rider both shook off the cobwebs. I figured while everyone else was struggling with big hp and no traction, I’d just roll on around them with 60hp. I was wrong…
Saturday, race 3 – EX Super Singles – KTM did not start (DNS)
Head out for the sighting lap and realize halfway through the lap, my engine is losing compression. This is bad, really bad. The bike worked great all practice on Thursday. At the very last turn before the front straight (starting grids) I went left instead of right. Left goes back to the pits and means your race is done. Making that decision stinks, no way around it. Hopefully you never have to.
Saturday, race 6 – EX Motard – KTM (DNS)
Failboat, bike is dead – no hope in sight.
Saturday, race 12 – EX Middleweight Grand Prix (Dash for Cash) – GSXR600 (13th) 1.21.8
This was uncharted territory, I’d planned on running my KTM. First actual race as an expert and it’s on a bike I haven’t ridden in a long time against the fastest guys around. Repeat with me, chill – be cool. I ran around dead last, I learned and observed. I finished dead last and ran approx. 3 seconds off my best time from last year. I chalked it up as a success and tried to reset my focus for Sunday. Big thanks to my teammates, Duncan Wood (CMP #910) and Clayson Baker (CMP #112) for all the support/positivity throughout Saturday.
Sunday, race 3 – EX LW SB – KTM (DNS)
Starting to notice a trend?
Sunday, race 5 – EX Unlimited Superbike – GSXR600 (4th) 1.22.8
I’d love to tell you I rocked it but in reality…I pulled up to a grid of 4. The other 3 were Shane Narbonne, Scott Greenwood and Seth Hahn. That’s 3 super talented dudes that left me by the 6th turn. I struggled through a lonely race and finished my second expert race. Serving after serving of humble pie, almost starting to taste good at this point.
Sunday, race 6 – EX Middleweight – GSXR600 (12th) 1.20.4
Grab the checkered flag in race #5, roll on out to race #6. If you’re going to test the water, might as well jump in. This would be my last race of the round so I had a little more fun. I tagged onto the back of a 2 rider train but just didn’t want to end my weekend on a poorly executed cold track pass. I followed, observed and learned. I also got within a second of my fastest lap from last year. All in all, a minor victory during a very tough weekend of racing.
Gary Pescatore (CMP General Manager) and Jimmy Alessandrini (CMP team mechanic) both made it to new racers school on Friday. They did a great job and we look forward to them joining us throughout the season. The ChainwheelMoto.com (Ethan Vara, Jack Reggio, Brian Walsh and Chris Battle) crew were also able to join us on Saturday, keep your eyes open for big things from them this season. Jonathan Dixon of Advanced Traction did a ton of work on the GSXR over the off season. If you’ve got suspension or build needs, please consider him. My GSXR is loads better than me now, thanks to Jon.
Racing motorcycles in 40 degree weather is always going to be tough. The first round of each race season is always going to be tough. First races as an expert are always going to be tough. Broken bikes stink. Take all that, toss it in a blender and that was my weekend. My teammates kept me grounded and moving forward. Thank you doesn’t do their efforts justice. We’ll be right back at it May 16th and 17th. Push the reset button and rip the throttle – team CMP will be there fighting for all we can.
All possible with great support from Central Mass Powersports, Tss Graphics, Advanced Traction, The Beantown Sound, Pirelli, Kixsports and of course – those crazy ChainwheelMoto.com guys.
By: Chris Dove