ZX6R VA Mountain Run and Volunteering at MotoAmerica VIR - Page 3 - ZX6R Forum
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post #31 of 47 Old 05-18-2016, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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We were done with work the first day around 7 at night and I was dying. Sweating buckets and uncomfortable after riding 5 hours that morning and being in riding gear for another 6 while walking around the North Paddock. Finally found out where camping was and so set out to put up the tent. Got to the camping area and realized it’s a giant sand pit. I think it’s geared more towards RV’s than tents so I spent 30 dazed minutes standing there wondering where I should put the tent. Talking to a couple other volunteers (who ended up being a group of truly incredible people) it seemed like it was ok to throw a tent really anywhere other than right on the track surface. In my mind I was still unsure and so was keeping it close enough to the ‘camping’ area and close to the other volunteers and somewhere where the bike could also be near the tent but I think my choice could have been a little better. I ended up next to a row of freaking dumpsters. Once I realized how idiotic my campsite placement was all I wanted was a shower and didn’t want to move a single other piece of gear. So, the dump was my home for the next 3 nights!

The camping sandlot:



My ‘home’:



And the reality of exactly where it was (The DUMP!)

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post #32 of 47 Old 05-18-2016, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MistressOfMayhem View Post
Stopping for pictures does drag out the trip a little longer, but it is so worth it in the long run when you look back on the experience.
----- Agree for sure. Love looking back at the photos.

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It just sucks when it happens on a beautiful sportbike.
----- And even more when it's just from not paying attention
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post #33 of 47 Old 05-19-2016, 08:09 AM
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great photos, very cool!!
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post #34 of 47 Old 05-19-2016, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Slept like a rock again. I truly canít believe that camping while riding the ZX6 is working out. Iím actually fairly comfortable even in a super small tent with all my gear. Iíve learned that ear plugs are PRICELESS!!! I think one of the hardest things about camping for people who donít do it often is the noise. An acorn falling from a tree sounds like someone walking towards your tent (I hope thatís what it was anyway). Animals scream and make bizarre noises at night and thatís enough to drive you insane and keep you awake all night long! Ear plugs were the difference between sleeping through the night and being totally miserable.

A massive set of lightning and thunder rolled in around 9 p.m. that sent me running for the tent. Luckily it didnít hit us directly but it was an awesome light show. It drizzled through the night but I stayed dry.

Morning at the sandlot:





Sunrise on the track. Very zen moment!

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post #35 of 47 Old 05-19-2016, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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great photos, very cool!!
Thanks!
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post #36 of 47 Old 05-23-2016, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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All the volunteers met around 7:30 a.m. It was the first day of practice sessions. I found out my job was going to be to stand at the end of pit lane and make sure a tire sticker was on both the front and rear tires before the rider is released onto the track. This meant attempting to spot a uniquely colored sticker about an inch long on a tire spinning at between 10 and 37mph (the pit lane limit). If I see both stickers I give ĎPit Outí a thumbs up. If I canít spot both stickers I give a thumbs down and the rider is stopped. On the face of it, itís not exactly complicated but there were some things that made it absolutely maddeningly stressful.

1.) The stickers are different colors for the different classes. The fronts are one set of colors and the rear are the reverse. So already Iím looking for two different Ďmainí colors. These colors do match the number plate so at least I had a reference as the rider approached for what to expect.

2.) Two classes were out in each session. Supersport and Superstock 600 were both out on track at the same time and Superbike and Superstock 1000 were both out on track at the same time. So, now Iím looking for 4 different Ďmainí colors on a spinning tire.

3.) Because the track is harder on one side of the tire than the other, sometimes the riders team would turn the tire around so that they could use the lesser used side of a tire. This meant the rear tire sticker might be on the side of the tire that I couldnít see. This also then meant trying to coordinate with another volunteer on the opposite side of pit lane in the space of about 3 seconds. Heated mess begins.

4.) Some riders slowed less than others. There were distinct differences in the approach of the riders toward tire control. Iím sure they have a million things to worry about and tire stickers may not be high on the list (understandable). Some slowed and rode towards me looking for the thumbs up. Some did other things Some did MASSIVE stoppies right in front of me. THANK YOU to the riders who did stoppies. That was totally awesome!!!

5.) As the sessions progressed riders slowed less and patience was obviously getting thinner and thinner. I couldnít imagine being asked to slow down while the whole purpose of my being in that place was to go as fast as humanly possible.

6.) The tires have other Ďstuffí on them. DUNLOP font, factory markings, old stickers (possible, but not often the case), scratches, scuffs, etcÖ They all look like they might be a tire sticker at 37mph.

7.) Stuttered rim tape. These were my kryptonite. Stuttered rim tape made seeing certain stickers like finding waldo in less than 3 seconds (very difficult).

8.) If I gave a thumbs down pit out would stop the rider. That was pretty stressful itself!
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post #37 of 47 Old 05-23-2016, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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The first session of the day was the 600 class. Rain was forecast and we got it. Even with overcast skies and some light rain the feeling at the track had definitely gone up a notch. There were more people there than on Thursday and there was more activity in general.

The bikes were all lined up first along the inner pit lane wall. The teams fired them up and you could hear a fairly consistent revving of engines. They sound fantastic!

Looking down pit lane:



Looking towards pit out. The longest straight is to the left of this photo about 10 feet:



One of the other volunteers (Jason) checking tires prior to the riders getting out on track. (Photo: John Gay - also a volunteer and an awesome photographer!)

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post #38 of 47 Old 05-25-2016, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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I can’t describe the feeling (but obviously I’m about to try) when the first bike came around the front straight flat out . It was shocking. I could feel a wave of pressure pass through my body. It was unexpected. It was raw. It was exhilarating. It put a grin on my face from ear to ear and I started laughing out of amazement and giddiness. Expletives to myself followed as I looked around to see if anyone else was as affected as I was. There were a few smiles I saw. Others were clearly happy to see bikes out on the track too! This was something I’d simply never experienced.

This clip is from the first lap of the 2nd superbike race but I thought we might as well just start with the most ridiculous speed out there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGhs...ature=youtu.be

Last edited by beerand; 05-25-2016 at 06:37 PM.
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post #39 of 47 Old 05-25-2016, 06:59 PM
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Sorry I didn't run into you, I figured they would keep you pretty busy.

Next time it should be you out on the Track!

Black care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough.
Theodore Roosevelt
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post #40 of 47 Old 05-26-2016, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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It might have been on the 2nd or 3rd lap of the first practice session but there was a get-off right at the end of the straight that I couldn’t believe I was seeing. I looked over at the track and there was a rider flying through the grass off the straight. They had to have been going 100 mph or more and at one point looked like they may keep the bike up. Eventually the wet grass got the better and the bike tumbled. I believe the rider hurt his foot but was ultimately ok and even returned to ride. Crazy to see a fast off right in front of me. It wouldn’t be the last by a long shot. The end of pit lane (or ‘pit out’) was an amazing place to view the sessions and races. We could see the majority of the long straight and then turn 1 snakes back towards us and we had a clear view of turns 2 and 3 and into 4. A pretty big section of track for seeing it all live.

All the volunteers had ‘listen-only’ headsets and it was really eye-opening to hear what happens over the radio. There’s way more going on at a race in the background than I ever imagined. It seems obvious after being there but I just didn’t realize how many people have eyes on the track at any given moment and they’re all in fairly constant communication. You hear about bikes that don’t have transponders, bikes that go off the track (this happened at least a few times each session), bikes that go around beyond the session time (for those you hear “runner, runner, runner…. bike #x, runner, runner), riders that need to keep both hands on the bars (the KTM RC Cup riders are required to keep both hands on the clip ons at all times), when the track is open or ‘hot’ and when all bikes are off and the track is ‘cold’. A race is a serious production and the people are dead serious about it.

We got some rain in the morning sessions. Just some light drizzle. Once the sun came out it was blazing hot and I got fried even though I used sunscreen. The days were surprisingly long. Tech control opens at 7am and the last session or race was over by around 5pm. Long hours in the sun and I’m not exactly a sun lover. After only the second day there I felt like it’d been a month. I was learning a lot in a short period of time and that coupled with sleeping / living in a tent made things feel more ‘intense’; I don’t know if ‘intense’ is really the right word but the fact that little things like getting changed and getting cleaned up and going to sleep and charging my phone were almost ‘events’ made each day seem more immediate or more critical or more challenging or more……. Ok, ‘intense’. Maybe this was a ‘first world problem’ version of feeling like I was ‘surviving’ something. Pretty lame sounding as I type it out.
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post #41 of 47 Old 05-26-2016, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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As a sidenote, I just got my clutch lever replaced and really love the new one. Mad Scientist Moto is the real deal! The new lever has a great feel. Itís a bit squared off feeling and my hand seems to slot into a great natural position that feels super solid. It also looks a thousand times better than stock and cost less than half the OEM part. Adjustable too:

https://madscientistmoto.com/

And the new lever on the bike:



Pre-install:

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post #42 of 47 Old 05-26-2016, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Off Camber View Post
Sorry I didn't run into you, I figured they would keep you pretty busy.

Next time it should be you out on the Track!
They definitely kept us busy!

Me on the track? Guess we'll have to wait and see
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post #43 of 47 Old 05-29-2016, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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I know I’ve already said it but the race really blew up a bunch of assumptions or fears or preconceptions about what a motorcycle race would look and feel like. I’m genuinely surprised and in awe of what a family affair it is. The track was filled (more and more as the weekend progressed) with campers and trailers of families supporting a racer or just there as fans of motorcycle racing. The KTM RC cup alone was a huge group of families. I think the youngest riders were 14 years old and it was incredible to see them on those bikes. They’re ridiculously young (to my 38 year old self) and are true pro’s. I was wildly impressed! There was a playfulness that tangibly affected the whole atmosphere. Kids were out on scooters and groms and smaller dirt bikes. The entire event felt like a giant family reunion that just happened to have some racing going on too. There was a row of inflatable castles, some moto stunters, music, demo rides, two-ups around the track and a parade lap where people who had a specific ticket type got to do something like 3 laps around the track after the races. If MotoAmerica isn’t on your list of things you want to go to, it should be!





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKhW...ature=youtu.be

They opened up pit lane to all spectators between the races on Sunday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9ov...ature=youtu.be
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post #44 of 47 Old 05-29-2016, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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A minor tangent about volunteering in general.

No matter what your philosophy, I think it’s hard to argue against serving others as being a valuable thing. I’d say it’s part of what we were created to do. We need each other. All of us need help with something at some point in our lives no matter how self-sufficient we seem. Volunteering of any kind is an opportunity to make a difference where you have no obligation. It’s an outward expression of thankfulness for what you have (no matter how little that may be) and an admission that we’re all connected. MotoAmerica isn’t exactly saving lives but motorcycles are something I’m passionate about and I’d love to help the series grow in any way I can. I’d love to see motorcycles viewed as something MORE than just ‘dangerous’ by more of the people in the United States. There seems to be a significant number of people who can’t think of anything when they look at a motorcycle other than “that’s gonna be less safe than a car in an accident”.

MotoAmerica is a young series even though much of it’s core is the previous AMA series that’s been around for a while. This is only it’s 2nd year. Apparently there’s not a ton of money in it yet.. That’s a double-edged sword in that it makes it harder to run the series but it also means that ALL the people involved have a genuine passion for what they’re doing. This also makes volunteers a true need. Every single person I met LOVES motorcycle racing. This is the first time that I’ve ever sat in a room (or Hospitality Tent) where a race was on and I wasn’t the one paying the closest attention.

As a volunteer I met some truly incredible people. Each day I was inevitably missing something or needed something and other volunteers, or even MotoAmerica staff were awesomely generous. Sunscreen, a fan (to dry my sleeping bag after a crazy squall ripped half the rain fly away from the tent and soaked it), a charger, a chair, dinner, an 848 EVO (OH YEAH!!!!), a beer, advice, an ear, tires, perspective, etc…. Wonderful group of people. I don’t know if I got lucky or if this is the norm but I’d gladly ride together with any of the people I met over the weekend.

John (usually behind the camera)



Tracy and his bored out Grom that seriously does 70mph!!



Tracy and his 848 EVO



Me on Tracys 848 after riding it for about 20 minutes outside the track (Tracy, sorry for running it out of gas!! At least I made it back and you didn’t have to come get me on the Grom):



I forgot what it’s like to be on a bike with RAW power. My 899 and Multistrada both had enormous torque and incredible raw grunt. I’d recently managed to fool myself into believing the ZX6 wasn’t far off on power. Amazing what we can make ourselves believe This bike sounds the bizness obviously and wants to rip your arms out of their sockets at full throttle (which I did give it twice). Ducati’s are definitely ‘special’ and the 848 is no exception. Amazing to me though what Ducati does with the fairings, making them super slim. Makes it harder to really grip the bike for me. Most sportbikes have a good triangle there where the fairings present a wedge that your knees can latch onto. Ducati doesn’t believe in this design style. I’d read about the 1199 being a furnace and I’d experience the 899 being a furnace. The 848 was even hotter. I’m trying to think of words to describe it. I seriously thought my pants might melt or catch on fire on the right hand side.

I don’t know if I’d want to own one again but it was FREAKING FUN TO RIDE!!!

Bill:



Jason (rides an RSV4 that’s gorgeous!)



Several of the volunteers track side of pit lane with a view towards pit out. Gives you an idea of how close I stood to the track at pit out:

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post #45 of 47 Old 05-29-2016, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Watching a race in the hospitality tent with Wayne Rainey (he watched every race and had an obvious joy for the sport and for working with the riders in each class)

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