Rich was really looking forward to the 25 minute long GTU race as the first of the weekend, and was leading the points in GTU going into this event. A huge field of over 40 racers set off, all in search of a win. While battling for a top 5 spot on lap 12, another rider attempted a pass up the inside of turn1, but wasn't far enough forward to be seen and collided with Rich, upsetting the chassis and sending Rich and the GrrR6 off into the dirt. Rich just slid and was OK, but the bike took a small tumble and wasn't quite as fortunate.
Back in the pits, Rich, his wife Nicole, and several fellow friends/racers all helped for the next few hours to get the bike cleaned up, the needed parts replaced, and get him back out for the next race with literally just seconds to spare before having to start from pit road!
Unfortunately, the Middleweight Formula40 race didn't end any better. After a good start, Rich was up in the top 5, when a piece of debris hit the radiator, and unbeknownst to Rich, began spraying the front tire with water. Pirelli Superbike slicks are amazing tires, but not even they can offer the needed side grip while being sprayed with hot water. With no warning, as Rich got to full lean in the tight right hander of turn 6, the front end tucked, yet again sending him and his Yamaha off into the dirt. Rich quickly hopped up and ran to the bike with hopes of re-entering the race, but upon righting it, the cloud of steam coming from the bodywork told him the race was over. Back to the pits for another damage assessment, parts replacement, and another plan.
Monday morning brought a hunt for a spare radiator. One was located, but upon installation, turned out to have a hole as well! Fortunately, racer Jimmy Fotinopoulos #517 also had one, and more importantly, it was leak-free! It did require a little trackside ingenuity by Rich and John England #711A to be operational and safe, however. While performing that task, a radiator guard was made and installed thanks to Paul Robson's donation of the needed material. Pictured below is Rich buttoning up radiator #3!
Middleweight Superbike always brings great racing, and this was no exception. The temperature was up around 90°, and there had been several red flags in races prior as riders and machines failed. Still a little "off pace", Rich managed to bring home another top 10 finish, taking 7th in the field of 33.
With almost a month until Round 4 (at Summit Point again), the grrR6 will be getting some needed TLC, Atech Customs will be doing their magic on the Sharkskinz bodywork to make it perfect again, and Rich will be training hard to be able to excel in the hot days that are sure to come!
Throughout the season, the "track family" of Paul & Katharine Robson, Leo & his Dad Misha Vitalin, Enrique & Val Biosca, John & Renee England, fast guy Dennis Pryor, and John Bonelli have been a huge help with everything from an encouraging hand gesture, to the needed support when the chips are down.. This weekend wouldn't have ended with any finishes at all if it weren't for their support. Best of all, Rich's wife Nicole was able to attend, and besides being Rich's biggest fan, was also a HUGE help in the pits!
Looking forward to June...