Quick Update For Round 2: Sonoma Raceway

Hello everyone,

Things remain way too hectic to sit down and write a full report but I will get one out in the next week or so. With the season starting with back-to-back events and us having the frame crack on the first day well, let’s say things got off balance. I’m sitting here at 2:30am writing a blog post for Pete’s sake.

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But as I said in my previous post, we managed to win both races in the 1st event with speed to spare. It was exhilarating because the bike, Matt, and I are a new combination. The handling is different the the previous machine and all the lines I use at each track aren’t correct anymore. So, as we learn and build confidence I have no idea what our potential truly is. We have broken my personal lap record on a sidecar at both tracks now by several seconds, not tenths of a second.

tjk_out_of_chairWe’ve had some ups and downs already this season.

However, At Sonoma we struggled quite a bit trying to find a way to go fast and safe at the same time. Race 1 was an easy win because the other two fast guys had mechanical issues that kept them off the pace. We did a full 360 spin and still won by a wide margin. The tires were seriously shagged at this point and we put a large flat spot on the chair tire which was causing a vibration at speed. With mostly right-hand turns it was a concern. Braking in a straight line while setting up for a right turn means me, the co-pilot, and the engine are all on the right side of the bike. That makes the chair wheel lock up very easily since there’s not weight on it. But of course as soon as you turn in the tire takes on a lot of weight and suddenly the flat spot you just made is shake the entire bike. Not fun.

The frame cracked again ( in a non-critical place) from the shaking so race 2 was sketchy. We led for a few laps and then were passed for the lead. They squirreled away  but then slowed back down which allowed me to reel them back in. Despite making 3 passing attempts in 3 turns I never got close enough for driver Kelly Bell to see me. I was so focused on him that I failed to noticed the flagger gave us a white flag twice. Thinking it was the checkers, I slowed. After about 3 corners I could see Kelly wasn’t slowing down and it dawned on me what happened.

With less than a lap left and a the vibration really bothering me I just limped around into the pits. Fortunately the club we were running with separates the sidecars into classes. With only 3 bikes entered in my class and one of them finishing a lap down, that gave us 2nd place instead of last place. Strange how the world works.

The focus now is on Pikes Peak. We will launch a fundraiser to get the tires replaced and the frame fixed. I have a ton of work to do on the bike and my own physical training needs to get back on center stage. Combine that with finals fast approaching for my college classes, a part time job,  struggling finances, and my attempts to get my freelance writing out there, well… let’s just say I don’t have any friends and my girlfriend seems like a stranger for the first 10 minutes I see her; it’s so rare.

So, I’ll leave you with a series of photos to keep you happy, dear reader, and I will also encourage you to follow our exploits via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if you don’t want to wait for the full report. You can also sign up for email updates two ways.

If you want an email every time we post new content to the blog you can subscribe using the contact form at the bottom of this post. If you want email updates more rarely, I have a mailing list that we use to put out sporadic updates when anything big happens, just to keep our friends in the loop. We do giveaways and share motorcycle related stuff we come across also, but this list is more for people that want to know what’s going on on a month-to-month basis, not day-to-day. We have something for everyone depending on how much you’re on the internet. Choose as you wish, but please come around. I don’t get to communicate with people very often so it’s always great to get comments so I know I’m not writing for an empty room.

Thanks for being part of our adventure, and a huge thanks to Matt Blank for rocking the sidecar chair duties and to Superlite Cars for giving us such a well prepared machine.

All the best,

-Johnny

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