Intro

So it seems like I should start at the beginning, but that would make this a really, really long post.  When did the racing bug start?  When I was a kid on a tricycle?  Racing around the neighborhood on 16” wheeled BMX style bikes?  Racing RC trucks?  Racing BMX?  Who knows.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved racing.  And anything with two wheels. 

 A few years ago I started riding motorcycles on the street.  It was fun, except for the occasional collision with a car, but I found I always wanted to go faster.  Even when I was already going way too fast.  Things like cars, driveways, kids, pets etc. were always a serious inconvenience to me.  “I know I could take that 25MPH turn @ 80MPH, but if someone backs out of a driveway or a kid runs into the street, it’s all over”.  That kind of thing. Then, sometime over the winter, a buddy of mine pointed me to a local motorcycle forum.  After a little bit of time on the forum, I came to a bunch of realizations.

  • The kind of riding I like to do belongs on a racetrack.
  • There’s a great racetrack (New Hampshire Motor Speedway) less than an hour from my house.
  • Getting started racing is a lot easier than I thought.
  • There’s a class called “Production Twins”, Proddy Twins, or “Shitty McBikefest” (depending who you ask) that basically consists of racing bone stock EX500’s.  They are not expensive motorcycles.
  • I needed a race bike.  ASAP.

 So, knowing next to nothing about racing at all, it seems the logical thing to do would be to take a street bike up there for a track day, right?  Well, that’s logical if you want to test the waters, see if you like being on the track, and go from there.  I already knew I wanted to race.  Hell, everyone wants to race.  How could you not?  You know you want to race.  Personally, I think you should.  Why not?

So, I joined this forum on 2-12-09.  I asked a bunch of questions, got a bunch of good info and support, and made some “online friends” (many of whom have become real friends, who I have met and can recognize at this point).  On 2-21-09 I bought a fully race-prepped EX.  9 Days.  9 Days after finding this board, before which I’d never even seriously considered doing this, I had a bike.  And not just any bike.  A full blown, track prepped, previously raced bike.  Ready for the races, so to speak.  The guy I bought it from was, how should I say this…  unpleasant.  It’s OK though, I went to look at it with my best friend (who used to race and be a motorcycle mechanic, and was generally in charge of deciding if I bought the bike and what I paid), and while the guy was being…  unpleasant with us, my buddies kid peed on his couch.  Evens out in my book.

A guy I met on the forum was nice enough to actually GIVE me a full Vanson leather race suit.  Not sell, not barter, give.  He doesn’t drink, so he wouldn’t accept a bottle of scotch or some beer.  After quite a bit of prying he told me I could bring him a sugar free redbull or two if it would make me feel better.  I brought him 3 cases.  He told me last weekend he was still drinking from that stash.  Awesome.

Another guy from the forum hooked me up on the rest of the gear I needed (back protector and boots) at dealer cost.  You rock man.  I got myself signed up for one track day, with more to come.  The plan was to do track days most of the summer whenever I could, and then do Penguin (the race school) and get my first race in toward the end of the season.  You’ll notice “the plan was”. 

Last weekend was the LRRS (Loudon Road Race Series) opening weekend.  I went up to watch, hang out, meet some people, and generally have fun.  Then I met “The EX Mafia”.  This is a small group of guys, mostly expert class, that have been racing these bikes for a long time.  They know all there is to know about them.  They are the reason lots of people that are racing were able to get into it, and stay with it.  I know quite a few people who say they owe it all to those guys, and without them they wouldn’t be racing.  I got as far as “track prepped EX” when talking to these guys, and I had a new bunch of friends.  They took me under their wing, and taught me more in a weekend than I could have learned in a season on my own.  I hung out in their garage, and they offered me a spot in it to pit when I do come up.  They let me help with their bikes.  They made me feel like part of their family.  And, they got me hooked.  Way hooked.  Remember the plan about doing all these track days and then racing toward the end of the summer?  I’ve got a new plan now.  Scramble like heck, try to have my bike 100% ready by next Friday, and take the Penguin race school next Friday.  A week from today.  Before I even do a single track day.  That means my absolute first time ever on a track will be race school, and the day after that I’ll be racing.  I’m not sure if this is the best idea, but I talked to enough racers who said it’s the way to go (including the mafia) that I think I’m going to give it a whirl.  Assuming all my stuff gets here in time, that is.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’m going to need on the way to me, in the mail.  I also need a new helmet (mine isn’t Snell 2005, it’s an older model).  I can get that at any shop as a walk-in though.  I’ll probably get one of those tomorrow.  Maybe Sunday.  Definitely this weekend.

So, that’s where I’m at.  I’m hooked.  I suppose that since I bought a bike 9 days after starting to think about getting one, I shouldn’t be surprised that my plan to spend the entire summer practicing before I did any of it for real fell apart.  Actually, I’m not surprised.  At all.  I don’t think anyone that knows me is either.

There is one thing about my bike that’s terrible.  The stickers/colors.  For some reason the previous owner found it reasonable to mate mismatched blue plastics (which I’m OK with) with a TEAL grab handle.  That, in case you’re wondering, is not ok.  You know what else isn’t OK?  ZX-10 stickers on an EX500.  And huge “Punisher” stickers on anything that’s owned by an adult.  These things are not ok.  So, since the stuff I need to finish getting the bike ready mechanically is all in the mail, I think my buddy AJ & I are going to paint the bike this weekend.  Strip the stickers, do the prep and spray it orange and blue.  So yeah, I’ll be the guy that’s never even done a track day, at the race school and the races, on a FRESHLY PAINTED race bike.  What could possibly go wrong there?  That’s not tempting fate or anything, is it?  Of course not.  It couldn’t be any worse than showing up on a bike that looks like this, anyway.

right_side

 

Huh, turns out this was a really long post anyway.  Whoops.

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