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NJMP, Back to Back: Our First Two Events for 2014

12 April and 19 April 2014, NJMP Thunderbolt, NJ

The new season is here and we will quite busy in 2014.

Hello for the first time this season! We are glad to be back and ready to go. The CSBA Race Team has not been to NJMP since 2010! Not only did we return, but we returned for two weeks in a row!

There was, of course, a very good reason for attending these events. First, we had planned on attending the CCS race weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina. However, we have acquired a new race bike for this season and it needed some setup and dial in work prior to hitting the race track. So, we decided to hit NJMP to get things done.

First, we attended the Absolute track day on the 12th with the Eastern PA chapter of CSBA. This event proved to be a great day with plenty of opportunity to serve others as well as get the bike sorted. John Lasure, the new chapter leader, had quite a set-up going. We had plenty of chapter members as well as others come by to help out or visit. Mark Hamm, the new CSBA President was there as well and even took his massive Connie 14 out on the track! The ex-President, now current VP, Bob Brown rode down with me and was set to ride one of the, now famous, CSBA Racing SV650s.

As we arrived, it was nice not to get raked at the gate for cash and even nicer to find a saved spot next to the CSBA canopies to pit. Due to work schedules, only Denise was able to come with Bob and me but with it only being the day, less set-up was required and we were ready in short order.

Our massive pit area.....

Earlier in the month, I had volunteered to help coach CSBA riders and there were a few takers on the offer. We discovered that I was in the “Racer Group” so that would throw a wrench in the coaching plan. John Lasure was in tight with Roy Cadoo of Absolute so we paid him a visit. I was very pleased at the extreme lack of resistance from the staff and the speed at which I was added as a “guest coach” with multi-group privileges. This would take care of being able to ride with the other groups to help out.

The riding then started with my being very nervous on the new bike for the first time. The tires were old and had been removed and donated by a racer last season. The track was cold. It was “Jersey” and the last time we raced here, the bike Bob was to ride ended up in a wad around T7. Too much apprehension for me! However, we drove on and hit the track.

Bob’s first trip out brought him back with a smile but a small complaint about the rear tire. It seems it was spinning up on corner exit. Well, I know the tire wasn’t new but wheelspin isn’t a normal SV issue. As I sat contemplating the problem I noticed water in the belly pan. I found the water issue, emptied the pan and sent Bob back out. He came back with a grin and anticipated getting much more out of his bike.

I had some real reservations this day due to a few factors. One, I was on a brand new bike I just spent all winter building. Not only was I unfamiliar with the handling capabilities and characteristics, I was also admittedly concerned with crashing this brand new machine! Second, I was on some really old, well used tires. They held up well but they were in the back of my mind. Third was NJMP itself. I have had my share of bad experiences here including fully sliding my bike almost off the track as well as a very high speed un-telegraphed low side that destroyed one of my race bikes. Also, the weather, while beautiful, was a bit on the chilly side making for some cold asphalt.

All that aside, we had a great day! I had plenty of time on the bike, didn’t crash and came up with some adjustments and changes I wanted to try for the next weekend. Even better, I was able to ride with some other guys and help them out with their riding and technique. Being able to help others is the most rewarding thing I can do. I felt kind of weird though as I was not on my game so much but I think I was still able to share some knowledge and help others along. In addition, I was in the position to provide a bike and a ride for Bob Brown. He has supported me and our race team for so many years and as happy and grateful as he was for the bike, I was even more so at the opportunity God set before me to provide everything for Bob.

The 19th came quickly and Denise and I were on the road again. This time it was for the free day with TPM that we received for buying the new bike. We were alone this weekend. It felt very strange. After we found a pit spot, Denise secured power and we got ready to go.

Attendance was a bit sparse but we did have some neighbors and we did our thing being sociable. As God would have it, we ran into a pair of young men who were in need of a few things throughout the day. From zip ties to an air pump and eventually assistance in repairing crash damage, we were able to share what we had and lend a helping hand.

After the riders meeting, I started to see some familiar faces. I ran into Tim Bemisderfer, Smokin Joe Tirado, Dave Zylberberg and Jimmy Fontinopolous! I hadn’t seen Jimmy in a long time and it had been a few years since I gave Joe a hug…. The day was looking better!

With a few suspension changes made to the bike as well as tightening the steering head that I found to be loose the week before, the bike remained on the same tired tires. Without my Athon GPS to capture lap times, there was no way to capture improvements other than at the seat of my pants. All we were here to do was to test the changes and get some seat time on this monster.

The bike was running well, though still not charging. The power is incredible! Still running on 93 octane pump gas from the station down the road, it was lofting the front wheel when upshifting at 150 mph on the front straight! I did achieve getting some much needed seat time but I’m still way too cautious with lean angle. The bike sits so high, it seems like a long way down! With more time in the saddle and with the bike and I learning to deal with each other, we just might be a formidable combination!

It also felt really good to be able to slow things down and really offer some one-on-one time with young warriors who are just learning the ropes of the track scene as well as life.

………….Joe (Cowboy 6) Cotterino
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