Archive for the ‘ Moto ’ Category

Universal Stop/Start Kill Switch Installation

This is the second one of these that I have installed. The first was on my 2002 GSXR750 and this time it’s on my 2000 SV650. Both bikes are setup as track/race only and I only require the start and kill/run/don’t-run abilities of the wires in the bundle coming from the bike. During both installs I had the help of my garage therapist Theo. The first time installation on my 750 it seemed to be a breeze (thanks to Theo). Not so much on the SV but I don’t have the 750 anymore to make the comparison. It’s no different of an install but for some reason we didn’t get it right the first time and it was giving me fits. That’s the reason for this post. Hopefully, when someone needs to, they may find this and benefit. First tip: do not assume you have it right and then solder it all up nice and tidy and shrink-tube it before you know its proper. I did this and ended up having to cut it all apart and start over. The result of my doing it wrong was that the starter would run and the stop/run button worked fine, the bike would turn over and fire but would not run. After ruling out a number of other thing, we determined it had the be the wiring. So below is the proper configuration (using less wires than I originally was).

Switch Side:               < to >                Bike Side:

Black                                                     Orange/Black

Blue (either one) & Orange             Orange/White

Black/White                                         Yellow/Green


So on the switch side you will use 4 of the 6 wires. On the bike side you will use only 3. All other wires can be cut down or taped off.

And now I have a properly functioning kill/starter to compliment my racing throttle.

#58 tribute. Two minutes of noise.

Paolo Simoncelli thought it fitting that rather than holding a moment of silence in memory of his son, the racing world instead should make some noise in his celebration. So around the world as well as at the final round of MotoGP in Valencia, racing fans everywhere took part in making some noise for Marco. My friend Chuck from PA was one of those celebrating Marco. Thanks Chuck.


Trackdays with TPM

With race season being over and some good weather left in autumn we headed down to NJMP again for a trackday weekend. Theo and I both arrived early Saturday morning instead of Friday night. The ride down was smooth and quick and so was pit setup. The morning was cool and the skies were clear. We both sat out the first session while the other groups warmed up the track for us. John and Justin were pitted next to us and Hunter was just a few doors down. As a special treat our friends Chuck and Ellen came to visit for the day. Saturday was a great day of riding and visiting with friends. Other than tearing up a tire (video below) in one day we had at least 5 incident free sessions before we retired to an early dinner at the Old Oar House Irish Pub. It was a fitting end to the day. Back at camp we downloaded the MotoGP qualifying session and watched the professionals for a while. We both slept like babies until about 6:25am when someones car alarm repeatedly went-off and woke me early. I let Theo sleep past 8:00am. Another friend of ours, Todd, arived Sunday morning and set up across from us. He is a fellow CCS racer. John and Hunter stayed for Sunday as well so we had another day of good company in addition to good riding. At one point early in the day my throttle housing spun on my handle bar causing the cable to impede my brake lever. The result was a pucker inducing runoff in T1 due to having only about half my usual braking power. Moments like those really remind you of the importance of careful bike preparation and maintenance. It was a simple 10 minute fix for a situation I will make sure never happens again. We ended Sunday a session early too. We were spent. Going fast on a motorcycle while exhausted is not advisable. I’m getting wise enough to know when to call it quits. So, back to the Oar House for dinner. The trip home was going great until I witnessed a hit and run accident on the NJTP between a semi and a small SUV. It happened right in front of me. I followed the truck for about 10 miles and finally, he pulled over in a diner where I was finally able to get the police involved. I hope the people in the car are ok. There was no doubt in my mind that they would be helped by other motorists as the traffic was heavy so I wanted to make sure they had a chance at some justice against the other driver. I hope it works out for them. So it seems the track action is officially over unless we get lucky and can go in November.

CCS Race Weekend #4

The last race weekend of the season was great. I got to the track around 7:30PM on Friday night and met Theo who was there all day for practice. We unloaded a few things from the trailer and hit the clubhouse for dinner. After dinner we finished a few things at camp and chilled out while fending off the mosquitoes. I was pumped about the racing that we would be doing the next couple days and had a tough time getting sleepy. I probably didn’t fall asleep until after midnight. We didn’t need the tent this weekend because Theo now has a cargo van as a toy hauler and camper so I stayed in my trailer. It was nice to not have to set up and take down the tent. The weather was a slight concern as the forecast was for 10%-40% rain/thunderstorms for Sat. and Sun. However, our optimism won out as there was completely dry track for both days. I practiced in the first session on Sat to clean out the cobwebs and then picked up the pace a bit in the second practice but came in early to save my strength and tires.

Saturdays first race was the LWSB make-up race that was rained out at the last event. It was a small grid since it was a make-up, I took 3rd place. The second race was the GTL 25 Minute race. To my surprise I held up well physically in that one. I was able to keep up a good pace until it was ended a few laps early by a red flag. I never saw the crash that ended it but word was the red flag was an overreaction and we could have finished. The rider was up an ok pretty quickly. We were well over the halfway point so the race was called and I finished 2nd. Race three was Thunderbike, I don’t remember much other than that I pulled a large gap on the group behind me but the leaders were far too gone for any chance to catch up in a sprint race. I just kept a comfortable pace and finished 4th.

I woke up Sunday a little hazy, kind of like I had sea-legs. I think it may have been a result of sleeping on the two inflatable beds stacked on one another. I skipped practice to save my strength and tires again. By the time lunch was happening my sea-legs were gone. Just as lunch ended the guy that bought my GSXR 750 showed up at the track to pick it up. I had loaded it and all the spare parts for it in the trailer in anticipation of consummating the sale this weekend. I was glad it worked out. I’m rid of a bike I was not using and have some extra room in my garage to work on some other projects. Race one was the ULWSB, I thought I had a good start but I was pretty much swallowed up between turn one and two. I wasn’t too worried though. As long as the leaders didn’t get too far ahead I figured I could make it up. I spent the first lap watching the field and making sure my tires were hot and then started making my way through. By the 4th lap I had passed everyone I could see. I wasn’t sure what place I was in but I knew there was no one else I could see to chase down so I focused on keeping whatever lead I had and finishing in one piece. It turns out the leader was long gone. I took second by a good margin. The video of that race is below. It is the first moto video I put to music, please forgive the song in the middle that drops the “F” bomb, I missed it when choosing the music. Race two was LWF40. Theo was putting the hex on me all day because he was just ahead of me in the points for the NJMP Championship and didn’t want we knocking him out of his second place position. I’m a bit superstitious sometimes but this time it didn’t work, I beat him and all else but one. I took second. Race three was LWGP. I had been leading this class going into the last round but sat out the last round due the weather. I think I was in 4th going into this round. On the previous out lap my bike started running terribly. It was like I was running out of gas. By now I was thinking that Theos’ hex kicked in or I had forgotten to gas up. Whatever it was it didn’t improve with fresh fuel so I limped and sputtered my way through as I watched two racers I beat earlier in the day take 1st and 2nd. I took 3rd in a race I could have taken 1st in. That was bitter-sweet. I contemplated sitting out the last race of the season due to the bike trouble. Theo and I tried to nurse it a bit in the pits and figured that if it was that bad I’d just quit early but that I may as well start. There were four of us on the grid. The bike never got better but didn’t worsen either. I was able to trade places with Theo a few times and we had some fun together. One of the racers in front of us low-sided in the left-hander on the backside and was out of the race. That left us in 2nd and 3rd. We did the last couple of laps that way and the healthier bike crossed the line first. That’s the first race we placed in together. I was really felling good about the season after that. We made all four weekends and had success on and off the track at every one. I think we both each only crashed once this season, Theo on oil in a race and me on an old front tire at a track day. The racing (barring two or three incidents by other riders) was clean and respectful and thrilling and challenging. I’m not sure how many races I ran in total but I placed 13 times with one 1st place. I came home and ribbed the boys a bit about how thy’re falling behind in the hardware acquisition, it got them pumped up and they tried to rebuff but they know the score. I’m winning. We’re hoping to get in a track-day weekend with TPM in October, If so, Ill post up some pictures. More race reports in 2012.

CCS Race Weekend #3

We flew into JFK on Friday night at 11:45pm and I had to be at the track by 7:00am Saturday morning so I could get through registration and tech inspection in time to get ready for a practice session. I had the trailer packed and ready to go so there wasn’t much to do once I got home. As soon as we pulled in the driveway I got the trailer hooked up and double checked everything. I got in bed around 2:15am and set the alarm for 3:45am. I was so wound up I couldn’t get to sleep. I think I got about an hour of sleep, but the drive down to NJMP was peaceful and I stayed alert.

I arrived at the track on time and got set up and put some fresh tires on the bike. Tech and registration were quick and the 1st practice session rolled around and it was time to go out. I was on a front tire that I had not tested before and my turn-ins were coming too soon and I was missing apexes. I didn’t know if it was the tire or my lack of sleep but I knew there was no time to figure it out, I just had to adjust to it. I didn’t have the energy to do the second session of practice so I rested through lunch till the first race. I had 6 races scheduled for the weekend and 2 were on Saturday, Thunderbike and GTL (25 minute race). I was glad the sprint race came before the GTL due to my energy level. Sunday was to be the LW F40, ULWSB, LWSB, and LWGP.

Thunderbike was really the first race/race-pace I had run in a month. I got off the line pretty well but i got swallowed up in turn one. A rider on the inside came in hot and ended up pushing up against me through the turn. Something on his bike left scuff marks on the top of my gas tank. Rubbing is racing as they say. I was 6th through turn one. The rider that made contact with me refused to give position in turn 4 and I saw him lean on the outside of the passing rider. He was wide at that point and ran out of track. Sweet justice on that one and I was glad to take his position. I stayed with the pack and settled into a pace and wound up finishing 3rd. I had 2 races to rest up and go out for the 25min GTL. I wasn’t sure what I would be capable of doing so I was prepared mentally for any result or even a DNF if I got too tired. I don’t really remember much from this race other than wishing hard for the white flag. I took 2nd which was pretty good considering my condition and was actually chasing down the leader and was in position to pass him in the last lap but I couldn’t get it done. I worked up an appettite and the plan was to eat well and sleep well to prepare for Sun.

Sat was a beautiful 80+- mostly sunny day. Sunday was forecast with nothing but rain and thunderstorms and then more rain. Ugly. It actually started with the thunderstorms during Sat night which interrupted my good sleep plans a bit along with my deflated air bed. I woke up early and the morning was overcast and dreary but there was no rain and the breeze promised to provide some drying track. That proved to be true and reports from the practice sessions were that a wide dry line had appeared. I was on my slicks so that was good news to me. I had LWF40 as the first race of the day. When I got out for the sighting lap I started to doubt the dryness of the track and was getting worried. But I also knew that most other riders were on rain tires so if it really was dry I would have the advantage. On the start and first lap I was able to pick out the trouble areas that were wet or damp and then was able to get comfortable with a good pace. I worked my way through the field and ended up behind a Ducati 900 rider that I had finished behind before and I didn’t what to finish behind him again. I was on him for the last couple laps and saw that he was on rain tires. I knew I could get him but he had the horse power on me so I would have to do it late on the last lap to keep his chances of retaking me at a minimum. Also I wasn’t sure he knew I was there. I didn’t want to tip my hand. So I waited till the decreasing section of T8 where I felt strong and went around him on the outside, then I could see him concede the position and I tipped over into the left handed T9 and focused on a defensive line to keep him behind me. It worked and just as I crossed the finish line he passed me on the left and gave me a smile and a thumbs up. My first 1st. It felt great and after that I didn’t really care if I got rained out for the rest of the day.

Rained out it was too. My next race on Sun was ULSB. The sky was ominous but the track was in the same condition as my last race so I was ready to go. A few drops started falling on the out lap. We started the race and by the time were at T9 the sky opened up. I pitted in immediately, there was no way I could keep going on slicks. They red flagged it right after that and re-ran it later as a wet race. I did not participate. I sat out that race and the LWGP later. I hated to miss the LWGP because I had been leading the NJMP points in that class. Luckily though, race direction ended the day early and will run the final few races at the next round in September. That means that I get to run LWSB then and didn’t have to miss it due to my not riding in the rain.

The rain was relentless until about 6:00pm so we were pretty wet and tired by the end of the day. It was overall a great weekend. Theo left with one 3rd place trophy and I had the 3. Four podiums on the weekend for a couple old and graying weekend warriors is pretty good. Next races are Sep. 9-11.

CCS Race Weekend #2

Sat was perfect weather! Sun and scattered clouds, high 80s with a cooling breeze.

Theo was there Friday for practice. I skipped it due to a cold and lack of energy.

Saturday was good, ran both practice sessions in the morning and felt pretty good.

Races started after lunch. We both ran 2 races, both with a large grid. The GTL 25min race and another 7 lap Thunderbike sprint, I think Theo got 11th both times and I got 5th both times.

Sunday was a bit warmer but still had the breeze. I skipped practice to save my tires for the next 4 races (I flipped the rear Sat night but needed to conserve the front).

Races started after lunch again (always preceeded by the National Anthem which on Sunday was sung very well).

Our track buddy John was pitted next to us and had like 9-10 races scheduled (he’s 23 so that explains that). He was first to race. He got a good start and was in 5th after the first lap, pushed too hard and crashed exiting turn 3. Bike was fixable but he got banged up, his day was over nursing wounds with ice packs and feeling sorry for himself (a familiar feeling :-/).

Theo was up next in the Supersport race (I abstained as my bike is not technically legal for the class). On lap 2 or 3 a racer crashed in front of him in the middle of T3 and oiled the track. Theo hit the oil and went down and out of the race but he got up and was ok. Just as I was heading to the stands to watch him the PA announcer calls out… “looks like bike number 209… Theo… Novakowski has gone down but he is up and ok” and I’m thinking OH Shit! Im next! I could see a trend starting.

As soon as he got to the pits we took inventory on the broken bits and started removing them while he made a parts run to the Street & Comp trailer a few paddock spots away. We had him fully repaired and good to go in about 30 minutes and he never missed a race.

We were together in the next 4 races. Theo quit the Ultra LW Superbike early due to his clutch cable being too loose and causing shifting trouble (result of the crash but easily adjusted). I took 2nd.

In the next race , the LW F-40, I had a good battle for 1st with a Ducati 900 but he had just enough more HP than I could overcome. I took second.

Third race, Lightweight GP… I was getting tired and loosing confidence in my tires… the rear had a big cut in it (likely from straightening out the esses by running over the curbing) so I had that on my mind. They were still gripping well so I pushed cautiously. I don’t remember all the details but I took 2nd again after a battle with another SV. On the last 2 laps he was turning in way too early so I kept getting a better exit drive and new I could take him eventually. I figured he was tired like I was. I passed him early on the last lap and rode hard and held a defensive line to try and keep him behind me. It worked.

The last race, Lightweight Superbike, with only one race to rest up in between… Theo bows out due to exhaustion. I was filled with self doubt but decide to press on. I figured I’ll have a go and if I have a chance at a podium I’ll push a little and if not Ill just cruise. It was a fun race and I thought I might be competing for 3rd but it turns out it was for 4th. I took 4th. I was running over 2 seconds of my best lap times and my tires were toast and so was I. I started cramping up bad as soon and I rolled of the hot pit.

We must have looked like a couple wet noodles packing up camp but it was that good kind of tired, we had good experience to show for it. Got the trailers ship-shape, hit the showers and hit the road.

We have a month to prep the bikes for the next round.

I caught a sleeping beauty. I actually rose before he did Sat and Sun. I didn’t have the heart to wake him up.

Saturdays sunset:


LW F-40 race (the audio is a bit out of sync):


Trackdays with TPM

After a crash in the beginning of May and a poor weather race weekend in the middle of May we were lucky to finish May with a beautiful weekend at NJMP. We did Lightning on Sunday and then Thunderbolt on Monday. Since it was Memorial Day weekend the airport adjacent to the track was putting on an air-show that was icing on the cake, the F14 was very impressive. Below are a couple of videos I took while having some fun with my pal Hunter. You’ll notice the difference in bike sound between the two. On Lightning I was riding a GSXR750 and on Thunderbolt I was on an SV650.



CCS Race Weekend #1

This past weekend was the first of 4 race weekends this season at NJMP. I hope it was the the worst weather we will see all year at the races. Friday practice was great but a bit on the cool side. I got in 3 practice runs on Friday. Saturday started out great and I got in one practice run and around lunch time the skies opened up so I sat out the 2 races I had booked. I was not in the mood to race in the rain. I did not have rain tires but that was second to my lack of confidence due to the fact that I’m on a different bike this season that just the previous weekend I went down on (see previous post). I spent the last week putting it back together and was not looking forward to doing that again this week. Saturday was pretty much a bust. Overnight Saturday we slept through a pretty severe thunder storm and woke up to a soaked track, rain, fog and humidity. It was a furious day for many racers putting on rains and taking off rains as the track conditions changed almost every race along with the weather. I was eventually able to get in 2 of the 3 races I had booked for Sunday. Both were on dry track so I was able to ride hard and push a little. I took 3rd place in the Lightweight GP late in the afternoon. I didn’t take as many pictures either since I spent much of the weekend seeking shelter under the canopy. Next races in July.

P.S. There were some sidecar races this weekend too. What a blast to see those on track.

My buddy Theo who took second in the LWF40 race. Great job buddy.
Wet conditions.
Sidecar action.
I and the poor weather leave the track together.