Our blog posts are less about the racing and more about our journey – getting to and from the track and having fun. Read about our journey to Southern GA and the CCS races ‘down yander’ as we like to say. Be sure to see the track PDF map and Youtube videos of the featured races. (We didn’t add the races Bart won because the races where he didn’t win are more exciting.)
Although this past weekend’s race was in Savannah, Brian flew to Orlando to pick up the truck with rig attached, because it had been parked at a Motocross track since our Homestead race in December 2014. Brian landed in Orlando late Wednesday night, only to find out the hotel had given away his reservation, seeing as it was after midnight. The next day, he woke up to meet Bart at the airport so they could pick up a rental car to run some errands. The first errand was picking up the new #1 graphics from SpeedPro printing.
The second stop on our trip was Bithlo Motorsports Park. Bart changed the oil in the YZ450 and rode a little motocross Thursday in the sand, while Brian changed the oil in the F250 and cleaned the air filter. During the visit to Bithlo MX the boys found a bad ass jet-powered monster truck parked. “Had to get a photo for our blog of that” Bart says.
On the way back to the airport to return the rental car on Thursday afternoon, the front right wheel on the truck started smoking and pulling right. It turns out that there was a frozen caliper on the F250, so the boys found an auto parts store with a brake caliper in stock. Brian swapped out the caliper, greased the caliper slides and swapped the pads, on a 20 dollar bottle jack in the parking lot – all in less than an hour. The AutoZone store clerk was certainly impressed how we were able to pull the brake caliper apart without a hammer, all in such a short amount of time.
The team didn’t sign up for Friday practice, which is a good thing because they froze their asses off just prepping the race bike. It never got above 45 degrees the entire day. The goal for the GSXR was to clean up the brake calipers, change the oil, and apply the new #1 plate vinyl graphics. As they picked up Sondra at the airport, they noticed the temperature went up one degree to 46 degrees. It was a good sign, as they were preparing for a full day of racing Saturday. After grabbing Sondra, the team all went to dinner next door to the hotel. A country bar called Silverado’s, served up some rock & roll music while eating. Brian and Sondra then went out later to downtown Savannah to check out the music festival for some crazy music while Bart slept in preparation for Saturday’s races. Sondra and Brian ate a huge slice of pizza late night before coming back to the hotel.
Saturday morning the team got to the track and ran two practice session on pre-raced Homestead tires.
RACE 3 the GTU
In the first race of the day, the 25-minute GTU race, Bart got fourth off the start, and after two laps in Bart was in 1st place before he came in to serve a “meatball” penalty. Usually a “meatball” flag (a black flag with a big orange dot) is waived – with the racer’s number displayed on a sign – for jumping the start. Yet, from watching the race start from the wall, Sondra and Brian knew Bart didn’t jump the start. They later learned that CCS race officials claimed Bart didn’t grid up far enough to the right 1D (lettered from left to right) on the front row, not leaving enough room for the racer who was to be one spot to the left of Bart in 1C. A racer is usually given three laps to serve the “meatball” penalty, and Bart, of course, made it his point to get into 1st place before serving his ride-through penalty. For the penalty ride-through, Bart came through the paddock at high speed and stopped fast. A complete stop is required and the official signals to the the racer with a clipboard to get back out on the track. Bart, now in last place, battled for three laps to get back into fourth place before the red flag was waved, signaling to all the racers that a crash has occurred for everyone to come in safely for a restart. On the restart Bart was sent back to the third row. The race was now set for a 5-lap sprint race.
Within three laps, Bart had battled his way into first and finished the race in first! However, due to the restart there was a scoring issue with the digital transponders scoring system, so on paperwork Bart was placed second. Thankfully they caught the issue and were able to contest it before the 30-minute grace period expired.
Heavyweight Super sport
The last race on Saturday was the Heavyweight Supersport, where the Design Engine race team experienced clutch problems. “When the clutch started slipping, and I looked back and didn’t see second place, I actually thought to myself ‘I might still win the race with the slipping clutch’,” Bart explains, “It got too bad however, so I pulled off for a DNF.” After text messages and calls with Vesrah’s Mark Junge, they learned that they needed to make a base adjust at the clutch basket. “That is the best part of racing,” Bart likes to explain to people, “We learn so much from each race weekend. It’s not how fast you go in racing that is so addictive, it’s how much we learn each time we go out.” At Design Engine we are all about learning.
Bart after winning the GTU from the 3rd row
Saturday’s Middleweight Supersport race was exciting. The race was red flagged and restarted. On the restart, Bart seemed to get the hole shot, but out of nowhere came a white Yamaha. It was #217, Xavier Zayat, who Bart recognizes from his riding style and the inflatable vest backpack for crashing. Bart lead much of the race and got passed back into Turn 1 by Xavier then again by another racer into Turn 1 in traffic. Bart was bummed to get third place, but excited all the same to get the bumping & rubbing on video at the same time. If Bart was not on their radar then, he is now.
Sunday was a beautiful Southern Georgia spring day, with slightly warmer temperatures than Saturday.
In his first race of the day, the Middleweight GP, Bart got into first place right off the start before the clutch started to slip. Bart completed five laps before having to pull in. Due to not adjusting the base like Vesrah’s Mark Junge had recommended, it ended up as a DNF for the team.
The Middleweight Superbike was a test to see if they got the clutch sorted out. In this race of forty bikes from all over and as far away as New York and Wisconsin, Bart took the lead at Turn 3 on the first lap from the second row, passing #15, Chris Maher, on the outside on the white line into Turn 1 and then #8, Mike Materi, on the inside of Turn 3. Bart held the lead for the first four laps before losing it to #517, James Fotinopoulos, at the start of the fifth lap, after not getting a very good drive out of Turn 9. Bart then lost another spot after losing grip in Turn 9 on the same lap (see video on lap 5) getting passed just before the finish line. Bart followed carefully and passed back out braking into Turn 1 on lap seven, as Bart made a point to brake at the #3 brake marker each lap. The videos catch him rolling off at the #4 brake markers sometimes. Bart quickly caught James and stuck his nose in for a pass at Turn 6 on lap 8 (last lap) but didn’t have enough speed to stick it in there properly. Bart’s rear Pirelli tire had one race on it at the start of this race, and gave up one slip mishap in Turn 9. See the video on youtube.
Roebling Road Track Map Download the PDF here
Article written by Brian Kolasa for Design Engine, March 10th, 2015
Brian manages the Design Engine Race Team. Brian knows both Solidworks and Creo.
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