ZX6R VA Mountain Run and Volunteering at MotoAmerica VIR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by beerand, May 9, 2016.

  1. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    As a sidenote, I just got my clutch lever replaced and really love the new one. I ended up ordering from Mad Scientist Moto after seeing a lot of racers buying their stuff and giving awesome reviews. The new lever has a great feel. It’s a bit squared off feeling and my hand seems to slot into a great natural position that feels super solid. It also looks a thousand times better than stock and cost less than half the OEM part. Adjustable too:


    https://madscientistmoto.com/


    And the new lever on the bike:


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    Pre-install:


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    #41
  2. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I know I’ve already said it but the race really blew up a bunch of assumptions or fears or preconceptions about what a motorcycle race would look and feel like. I’m genuinely surprised and in awe of what a family affair it is. The track was filled (more and more as the weekend progressed) with campers and trailers of families supporting a racer or just there as fans of motorcycle racing. The KTM RC cup alone was a huge group of families. I think the youngest riders were 14 years old and it was incredible to see them on those bikes. They’re ridiculously young (to my 38 year old self) and are true pro’s. I was wildly impressed! There was a playfulness that tangibly affected the whole atmosphere. Kids were out on scooters and groms and smaller dirt bikes. The entire event felt like a giant family reunion that just happened to have some racing going on too. There was a row of inflatable castles, some moto stunters, music, demo rides, two-ups around the track and a parade lap where people who had a specific ticket type got to do something like 3 laps around the track after the races. If MotoAmerica isn’t on your list of things you want to go to, it should be!


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    They opened up pit lane to all spectators between the races on Sunday:


    #42
  3. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    A minor tangent about volunteering in general.


    No matter what your philosophy, I think it’s hard to argue against serving others as being a valuable thing. I’d say it’s part of what we were created to do. We need each other. All of us need help with something at some point in our lives no matter how self-sufficient we seem. Volunteering of any kind is an opportunity to make a difference where you have no obligation. It’s an outward expression of thankfulness for what you have (no matter how little that may be) and an admission that we’re all connected. MotoAmerica isn’t exactly saving lives but motorcycles are something I’m passionate about and I’d love to help the series grow in any way I can. I’d love to see motorcycles viewed as something MORE than just ‘dangerous’ by more of the people in the United States. There seems to be a significant number of people who can’t think of anything when they look at a motorcycle other than “that’s gonna be less safe than a car in an accident”.


    MotoAmerica is a young series even though much of it’s core is the previous AMA series that’s been around for a while. This is only it’s 2nd year. Apparently there’s not a ton of money in it yet. That’s a double-edged sword in that it makes it harder to run the series but it also means that ALL the people involved have a genuine passion for what they’re doing. This also makes volunteers a true need. Every single person I met LOVES motorcycle racing. This is the first time that I’ve ever sat in a room (or Hospitality Tent) where a race was on and I wasn’t the one paying the closest attention.


    As a volunteer I met some truly incredible people. Each day I was inevitably missing something or needed something and other volunteers, or even MotoAmerica staff were awesomely generous. Sunscreen, a fan (to dry my sleeping bag after a crazy squall ripped half the rain fly away from the tent and soaked it), a charger, a chair, dinner, an 848 EVO (OH YEAH!!!!), a beer, advice, an ear, tires, perspective, etc…. Wonderful group of people. I don’t know if I got lucky or if this is the norm but I’d gladly ride together with any of the people I met over the weekend.


    John (usually behind the camera)


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    Tracy and his bored out Grom that seriously does 70mph!!


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    Tracy and his 848 EVO


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    Me on Tracys 848 after riding it for about 20 minutes outside the track (Tracy, sorry for running it out of gas!! At least I made it back and you didn’t have to come get me on the Grom):


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    I forgot what it’s like to be on a bike with RAW power. My 899 and Multistrada both had enormous torque and incredible raw grunt. I’d recently managed to fool myself into believing the ZX6 wasn’t far off on power. Amazing what we can make ourselves believe :) This bike sounds the bizness obviously and wants to rip your arms out of their sockets at full throttle (which I did give it twice). Ducati’s are definitely ‘special’ and the 848 is no exception. Amazing to me though what Ducati does with the fairings, making them super slim. Makes it harder to really grip the bike for me. Most sportbikes have a good triangle there where the fairings present a wedge that your knees can latch onto. Ducati doesn’t believe in this design style. I’d read about the 1199 being a furnace and I’d experience the 899 being a furnace. The 848 was even hotter. I’m trying to think of words to describe it. I seriously thought my pants might melt or catch on fire on the right hand side.


    I don't know if I'd want to own one again but it was FREAKING FUN TO RIDE!!! :D


    Bill:


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    Jason (rides an RSV4 that’s gorgeous!)


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    Several of the volunteers track side of pit lane with a view towards pit out. Give you an idea of how close I stood to the track at pit out:


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    #43
  4. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Watching a race in the hospitality tent with Wayne Rainey (he watched every race and had an obvious joy for the sport and for working with the riders in each class)


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    #44
  5. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    The races themselves were fantastic! There were 2 races on Saturday (KTM RC cup and Supersport/Superstock) and 4 on Sunday (2 Superbike, 1 Supersport and 1 KTM RC cup). The week/weekend is absolutely rammed with action and there’s very little time where there’s nothing happening on track. Even watching the riders walk the track on Thursday is pretty neat. The races meant that my job changed again. After warm ups I didn’t have to check rolling tire stickers anymore. For the rest of the day on Sunday I was logging sticker numbers while the bikes were gridded up. This was AWESOME!!!! The bikes did their sighting lap and then got to their grid positions. Then it was my job to go out and confirm what sticker numbers the riders were using for the race. WAY less stress and very cool for sure. The mood changed again tangibly for the races. There was a formalness, a pageantry… an emotional quality to the races that was unique. The whole track was buzzing at a higher frequency than before. Being out on the actual racetrack with the bikes was bananas. I was in disbelief at what I got to experience just for donating a little bit of my time. I kept imagining there were people who would pay a ton of money to get to experience I was having!


    I started to realize what the phrase ‘in anger’ meant. The bikes sounded exactly that… ANGRY. The noises alone deserve more words than exist. I kept thinking of how to describe the sound alone. I thought of the word ‘snow’ and how I’d heard that Eskimos have a zillion words for ‘snow’ that describe different variations of it. I imagine racers might have a similar number of words that describe the noise that the bikes make. The sounds are beautiful. A symphony of exploding fuel. The differences are incredible and awe inspiring. The R1’s sound the most brutal leaving pit lane but lose some body when flat out. They’re still impressive and brutal but the ‘boom’ has a little less body. The KTM RC 390’s sound incredible, regardless of their lack of power (a 390 cc single cylinder engine). Idling they sound mean as could be. Flat out down the front straight they sound like a crop duster (I don’t mean that as a negative, it’s just the feeling I kept getting each time they’d come around). One actually did a practice start at the end of pit out and I looked up into the sky for a plane! The Aprilia’s are, for me, the most amazing sounding bike on the grid. Whether the Aprilia is in first gear leaving pit lane or in 6th gear ripping down the front straight the sound is mesmerizing. They sound lethal. The Suzuki’s have an awesome ‘howl’ and they ‘scream’ more than the others like a cross between a 600 and a Panigale. Toni Elias’ GSXR 1000 has these insane cracks and sizzles and pops when downshifting and I can often tell when he’s going into turn 1 just by the sound. I LOVE it. I’m literally glowing (mostly b/c of sunburn but, in my mind, it’s because of how incredible my current reality is). I wish everyone could experience this.


    I left right after the last race to go meet up with my friend from Boston. 4 days felt like 2 months and I had a mixture of emotions leaving. I was grateful for what I’d gotten to experience. I was excited about how incredible the whole trip had been. I was sad that it was ending. I was missing my family. I was glad I wasn’t at work. I was looking forward to seeing my friend who I hadn’t seen in maybe a year and who I admire very much for lots of reasons. I was exhausted. I was sunburned. I was getting back on the road!!!!


    I could have high-fived Josh Hayes here:


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    A fellow Kawi rider:


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    Toni Elias’ GSXR-1000


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    Me checking tire stickers:


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    The KTM RC Cup:


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    Video of the RC 390’s





    Wayne Rainey and Jake Gagne


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    Shirts for my family


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    The corals as they got busier on Sunday:


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    Toni Elias and Roger Hayden:


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    2015 MotoAmerica Champion Cameron Beaubier (who also just bagged a 10th place in World SBK at Donnington Park!!) and Multiple AMA Champion Josh Hayes (who also has a MotoGP 7th place finish to his name)


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    Wayne Rainey’s custom motorized transportation. His has better suspension than mine!


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    Now I’m outta here. MotoAmerica…. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME!!
    #45
    Backmarker61 and snarf like this.