Wow, what a weekend. I had alot of ups and downs. I showed up Wednesday night in Elkhart Lake and got a call from K3 saying he lost all of the belts on his van rite past Great America on 94. Since I was already 100 miles north, there was no way I would be able to help. He held tight until morning when he could get parts and made it up the following afternoon. I had a couple beers with Tom Mason and Edgar Dorn at Seibkins then headed to the track for some shut eye.
Thursday I rode with NESBA and got some decent laps in until I discovered my bike was boiling over. Come to find out with all the mods I've done to the motor I'm going to need a larger radiator. I was able to make a few mods so the motor would run cooler though. I ended up taking the thermostat out of the housing and blocking off the cut off hose from the water pump to the thermostat so the water flowing through the motor would constantly pass through the radiator. Come to find out it was too late. I blew both head gaskets. I was able to get a head gasket set from Ed Key and tore into the motor. I just replaced the front head gasket first hoping that’s all it was just in time to grid up for GTL on Friday but by the time I got around on the warm up lap to the grid she was still boiling over. So back to the pits to tear it apart again and tackle the rear cyclinder. I got done by about 10 or 10:30 Friday night and had the bike all back together.
During the course of putting my motor back together I was signed up to run the team challenge with Dave Vaughn and Montez Stewart. Tez failed to show. Dave wanted me to start the race so I agreed. We were using his 05 GSXR750. I was able to get a good amount of laps on the machine Thursday and Friday morning and felt pretty good on it. I road 65 miles until I decided to pit. I was really starting to get tired out there. You know you're tired when you're not looking through corners and thinking about other shit than racing. When I came in I almost couldn't find our crew I was so disorientated. Dave finished the second half of the race and we ended up finishing 7th in GTO and 14th overall. Pretty good finish for my first ever expert race. My fastest lap was a 2:35 during that race.
Come to find out my problem with the SV was because of the APE cylinder stud kit I have. The stud kit has a cap style nut that torques down to tighten the cylinder heads. Well, a couple of the caps bottomed out no the studs not allowing the cylinders to be tourqued flush causing cylinder compression to leak into the cooling system. So my temporary fix was to add washers shimming the cap nuts up. A couple of the studs were about 0.025 to 0.030 lower than they should be so I shimmed the caps up 0.070 to 0.075. Temporary fix until I can get some non cap style nuts.
I kept my fingers crossed Saturday morning in practice and the bike felt good and did not over heat on me. My first race was Lightweight Super bike and I was in Row 2B. I battled back and forth with a guy from Tampa on a Ducati 1000 the entire race. We must have drafted each other 5 times each. It's amazing how much the draft sling shots you past the person. I passed him twice into 5, he drafted me down the back straight and the front straight and I did the same to him. He ended up getting the draft on the last lap and passed me into 12 on the back straight and held me until the finish and I ended up with 5th place. Pretty good I guess for my first expert race on the SV.
CCS Thunderbike was delayed until Sunday morning. There was a grid of 26 with alot of national numbers mostly on Buells. Again I had a good grid position at 2C. I got a good start and was in 5th going into turn one. The Buells just have so much horsepower I was bit out gunned. Once they get stood up and pointed in a straight line they just out motor the SV. I battled back and forth for a couple laps with one guy but he ended up pulling away. The race was red flagged because of debris on the track and there was a complete restart. I again got a good start and was able to hold 12th place and ran my fastest lap of the weekend on the SV with a 2:40.
Good weekend overall. I'm still a bit tired and burnt out from the heat. The Pilot Power Race front 2C is magic, the thing has endless lean angle and stick. The rear Pilot Power Medium Soft has almost perfect tire wear, stick and barely ever spins or slips. It was alot of hard work rebuilding the motor, but it felt really good to be among good friends, be at the track and race my first Expert weekend. Good stuff.