All my life I have been fascinated with speed, acceleration and the machines that generate the adrenaline rush of g-forces. Although my current stable of high power motorcycles (2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R; 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000; 2009 Yamaha YFZ-R1) provide exhilaration and great fun, it is the combination of engineering technology, power, skill and strategy in competitive road racing that truly captivates me.
I began serious road racing (on tracks!) in my 1987 Porsche 951 in 1999. It was still a road car at the time, but by 2002, it had been drastically modified into a track-only beast with the help of a very talented (and patient) mechanic/crew chief, Rick Karch. I earned a Porsche Club Racing License in 2003 and competed successfully in the GT-3R class until the end of 2004 at which time a snapped crankshaft (too much boost!) ended a 17-year love affair with my first real car.
In 2005 I purchased a new 951 RS Turbo that had been custom built for IMSA, SCCA and PCA racing by Jon Milledge and Nathan Ulrich. The car is an amazing feat of engineering putting out over 525 bhp and weighing only 2300 lbs. Although I would be competing in the same class (GT-3R), I knew that my skills would be challenged and there would be a significant learning curve to establish a comfort level with and understanding of the new partner.
For an annual summary, pictures and race results, select the year from the tabs below.
Now five months after the Labor Day failure and little progress, my patience with the entire project was growing thin. To his credit, Milledge was trying everything he could think of (including having the head cryotreated!) but had no firm hypothesis as to the cause of the failures. He repeatedly suggested detonation from the misfiring experienced at Blackhawk in 2009, but there was no evidence of this in the plugs, pistons or head. Moreover, upon removing the bottom end, Jon found a very strange wear pattern on the rod end bearings, nothing that resembled detonation, but rather an uneven pitting that looked more like cavitation….W—T—F!!! In the end, all of these attempts were pulled together and the (practically new) engine was finally received at the end of April. We were still pressing to make the Mid-Ohio club race, but Rick was uneasy about driving for 8 hours and paying all the costs without testing out the engine. Needless to say, after all these failures, he has become rather cynical. Moreover, he detected some pressure in the cooling system after just a few minutes of running the engine which he ascribed to compression leak.
So, being cautious, we signed up for a track day with 10-10ths Group for Sunday May 8. Although, no problems were noted with compression gasses breaching the cooling system, I noticed smoke in the passenger side of the car on the first laps. This problem worsened as the day wore on and we were unable to locate the source of the leak. The engine was soaked as was the underside of the car. At least, the head gasket problem seemed solved. Back in the shop on Sunday night, Rick smoke tested the engine and located an 1/8” hole in the rear of the block where some vestigial sensor should be. This must have been removed when the block was decked and overlooked by Mr. Milledge upon reassembly. Tapped, bolted and safety wired, the oil leak problem was now solved.
Rick insisted that we test out the car one more time at Putnam Park before going to a club race, so I signed up for one day with the CIR DE two weeks later. Amazingly, and I am extremely nervous to say so, the car ran flawlessly. Nothing, Nada, Problemlos. Can it be? Have we really turned the corner? The SEMPCA Club Race at Gingerman over the Fourth of July weekend will be the final proof. Stay tuned!
Gingerman “Roar on the Shore”
Rick and I arrived early to take advantage of the Test and Tune day Friday, but violent thunderstorms kept me off the track until 6 pm when I took one short dance around the damp track to see the new configuration of Turn 10. I like it!
Thankfully, Saturday was hot and dry and I was able to drive the car at speed, but the combination of rusty skills, old tires and a “turbo-unfriendly” track led to modest practice times (ca 1:40’s). For qualifying, the car was shod with a new set of Yokohama stickers which boosted both the grip and my confidence enormously. I qualified third overall with a 1:37.9, much better than I expected. For me to be competitive on this track, I needed to take the tight corners very wide so as to keep the rev’s up and stay on boost.
Sunday was also hot and dry. The first sprint had only 15 cars in the Yellow Group and at the green flag, I made it past Claudio Kaempf in the second spot, but Mark White snuck by me from fourth to the first corner. Fortunately, I was able to keep up with him and David Baum in the (blisteringly fast) 2008 997 Cup car (GTC-4 class) and could take over second spot down the back straight from Turn 10 – 11. For the next seven laps (see the video Gingerman Sprint 1) I was able to keep up with Baum, much to my amazement, running laps in the 1:35’s!! Then in lap 9, I was getting close enough to consider a horsepower pass on the back straight, when Baum overcooked Turn 10 and went off into a deep ravine. I spun out trying to avoid him and stalled the car. I as able to fire it up and get back on track just as Gary Boss (GT4R) went past me. Fortunately, it was at the beginning of the back straight and by Turn 11, I was past him. Two more laps and victory was mine!!!!! The checkers flew one lap early because the steward did not know Baum’s condition. Fortunately he and his car were fine and were able to compete in Sprint 2.
For Sprint Race 2, the steward combined both run groups to created a field of 33 cars. I was on the front row, Boss had the pole by virtue of a 0.04 second faster lap than me in Sprint Race 1! Thanks to a few clicks of the in-car boost knob, I was able to out-sprint Boss to the first corner and stayed in front for the next 8 laps. I could see Baum behind me and Rick was keeping me apprised of the gap after every lap. As in every good race, a new challenge presented itself in the form of lapped traffic. With quite a few rookies from the slower group and somewhat inattentive drivers, I had to weave, force, finesse my way around these cars as Baum caught up to me.
On the last lap, I rounded turn 2 to discover five slower cars side by side! Fortunately, one of the drivers on the right side saw me and let me by. The, rounding turn 6 I came up on two rookies side by side with nowhere to pass. Suddenly I saw Baum’s front bumper in my peripheral vision and stuck my nose between the two rookies and threaded the needle past them before turn 7. From there on out, it was a matter of keeping my head and keeping the car on the track…….CHECKERED FLAG!!! My second victory of the day and how sweet it was! The only disappointment was that the battery in the GoPro camera died and I cannot share the race with you. However friends Lynn (Chicago) and Paul and Sharon (Ann Arbor) could enjoy watching first hand and are my witnesses!
To top it all off, in addition to the 1st place finishes, I was surprised to receive the “Worker’s Choice Award” for the first race. This is a real honor from the corner workers and is the third in my career.
What a phenomenal weekend….it is still hard to believe that the car ran perfectly without a single problem and I brought home two sweet victories.
On to Putnam!
Putnam Park: “OVR Top Gun”
Flushed with our victory at Gingerman, we arrived early for the Test and Tune day at my home track, Putnam Park. Our primary objective was to fine tune the suspension setup for this track and break our personal best in qualifying (2:12.1; done in the old car!). The weather cooperated and we made good progress dialing in the front chamber adjustments for this predominantly right turn track. Of course the big left-hander (Dead Bear, Turn 8) always gives me fits.
Race practices allowed me to size up the competition and Dave Baum and Tim McKenzie are extremely tough to beat on this track. I was second quick in the first race practice 0.6 sec behind McKenzie. Then it all fell apart. In the second race practice, when turning hard around the dreaded Turn 8, I felt the front end let go and drove straight onto the grass. Something was seriously broken.
After a lengthy ordeal to get the car onto the flat bed, and then (even more challenging) off the flat bed, Rick quickly determined that the front right spindle had broken off at the lower end (attached to the control arm). No problem, we carry spare spindles, right. Well, almost, the spindles we had in the trailer were from the old car, not the precious M030 style used on 968’s. DAMN! Weekend over.
Rick was able to source these rare items from the Porsche factory in Germany for a cool $1800 each (no point in taking a chance on the left one)! We took the opportunity to also replace all of the hardware (19 mm stud and spherical bearings).
Such is racing…..on to Road America!
Road America: “TRAC 2012”
OK, we were now ready for a successful event, and a long one at that since the organizers scheduled the Enduro for Sunday and the second sprint for Monday. The only change we needed to make was the installation of the “long box” for this high speed track and a newly acquired GPS speedometer to help me with my gear selection and turn points. My goal for this weekend was to beat my personal best in qualifying (2:21.2) from 2007 and at least make a respectable showing in my run group. Now in GT-2R, I have very little in-class competition, but those GTC cars make great targets.
Once again, good weather and great car response, though curiously, I seemed to be running out of rev’s in 6th gear on the long straights (Turns 14 to 1 and 3 to 5). Am I really going that fast with this new engine? According to the new speedo, my top speed is only 158 going into Turn 5. Weird. With Milledge’s blessing we turned the rev limiter to 7200.
Race practices went well and I qualified with a 2:19.7, and a respectable 11/50 behind GTC-4’s, -5’s and GTA-1’s and 2’s. First goal accomplished.
I decided to do the Fun Race and it was a good thing. After the second practice start, the session was black flagged for some reason. I asked one of the stewards what was going on and he asked me where my rear window was! I looked back and saw nothing….it had blown out between Turns 1 and 2 and they were currently cleaning up the Lexan mess! The steward saw no problem with continuing, but I put myself at the back of the grid to be sure the car still handled well. I fought my way back to 6/20 and was ready for the first sprint.
Sprint 1 started out well (see the video “Road America Sprint 1”), but I lost a few positions at the start thanks to a failed third gear! Great, now I have to run this race without third which means losing tons of time and positions coming out of 5, 6, 8 and 13. I hung on as best as I could, but only managed a respectable 15/46. Worse still, I began to see the dreaded water spraying on the windshield again, but not at the end of the long straights.
So, we headed home early on Sunday, sans rear window, transmission and with a nagging feeling that the cylinder head/block issue was not resolved.
Putnam Park: “Pumpkin Run”
The CIR Club runs an end of the season DE in October and Rick had the brilliant idea to test out the car to see if the water squirting problem could be sorted out. I was able to do one day as I already had travel booked for Sunday. All we needed to do was to swap out the transmission for the “short box” and replace the rear Lexan. $1000 later, we had new front and rear Lexan (the front is badly pitted), and Rick was able to install the rear in time. However, as he removed the car from the trailer, we discovered another vexing problem. The radiator had sprung dozens of small leaks. WTF! This is a custom built, double pass radiator (Ron Davis) no more than 2 years old.
Fortunately, Rick discovered this a week before the event, and Ron Davis still had the plans for the radiator. If I was willing to fork over $350 for overnight shipping, he could have it in time to install for the test day. Meanwhile, we still needed to understand what was causing this. Rick found gobs of grey sludge in the swirl pot and in the radiator tubes. ICP analysis revealed this to be hydrated aluminum oxide….ergo….electrolysis. OK, but why now…what is different? We are using only distilled water and Water Wetter. Now we had something else to watch at the track. Ugh.
We arrived at the track early on Saturday (early as in still dark!). By the time the sun came up, the track was still damp. We set the boost knob to zero (spring rate) and flushed the cooling system with distilled water. However, testing the cooling system with a voltmeter showed anywhere between 0.3 and 0.7 V, clearly a potential that should not be there. As the track warmed up, I was able to push the car with no signs of water on the windshield. The boost knob was turned up and I went out again. Once more, no water. More boost, still no water. I pushed it as high as 1.25 bar (18.1 psi) without a drop on the windshield (albeit not for a sustained period of time like at Road America). Conclusion, the head must be lifting at higher boost and causing a breech in the cooling system. Even with those 14 mm studs. I guess 150 bhp per cylinder is pretty serious force!
What a relief, I had resigned myself to another rebuild over the winter, but it looks like we will go into 2012 with only 17 h on a great engine. The major remaining issues…electrolysis and transmission.
Without a clue as to the cause of the electrolysis (and Rick looked everywhere) we decided the best solution would be to electrically isolate the radiator. This is a big project because of all of the sheet metal housing around the radiator and the metal hoses for the water.
As for the transmission….now that is another interesting story. Given the need to rebuild it and the curious problem of hitting red line in 6th gear, I needed to find someone to provide a taller ring and pinion gear. Jerry Woods (who had rebuilt that box previously) was unable to source such a gear, but he did recommend California Motor Sports. I contacted CMS and they could have the gear custom built for $4000 and 5 months lead time! OK….why not? As it turns out, CMS is the reincarnation of Powerhaus II (Roger Brown and Eric Johnson, still in Colorado) who built my short box. So, the box was shipped off to CMS (in Arizona, don’t ask) for their evaluation.
After breaking down the box, the prognosis was not good, all of the gears (save 6th) and all the synchros and bearing were trashed. Not worth the cost of a rebuild. Oh, and by the way, Roger mentioned that 3rd – 6th were the short gears that PHII installed in 2006. HUH? That’s not possible, you did swap out the transmission, right Rick? He thought so, but apparently not!!!!!! So that is why I was running out of revs in 6th gear and could hit only 158 at red line. WTF, WTF, WTF!
So, apparently, I don’t need a taller ring and pinion gear, the long box is still in the car. However, I do need another short box. Fortunately, Roger was able to source a 968 box from Chris Schuh (not surprisingly). Once that box arrives, we will determine if we go with shorter 3rd – 6th or a shorter ring and pinion. Stay Tuned.
The other winter projects include: (1) front windshield, (2) repair cracked fiberglass panels, (3) repair or replace torn seat cover and replace BBS outers on some beat up rims.
The good news for 2012 is that I will be racing with NASA as well as PCA and they have plenty of events at my favorite tracks. I could do as many as 8 races in 2012 if all goes well. Doesn’t it always?!
To prepare the car for the 2010 racing season, the brake upgrade was the primary modification needed. The front hubs were upgraded to aluminum billet pieces from Karl Poetl and I decided to plunk down $10K for Brembo F1 type monoblock calipers with a 380 mm rotor. The adapter kit for 944 struts had to be custom made (of course) but when Rick installed the calipers, they did not clear the inside of the BBS wheel centers. %*?&@(*#^#$!! Fortunately, a solution presented itself in the flexibility of the three-piece BBS wheels. By adding ½” aluminum spacers to the hubs (courtesy of our machine shop) and changing the wheel halves from 3.0” outers and 8.0” inners to 2.5” outers and 8.5” inners, the wheel is returned to exactly the same position with respect to the hub. Is there any problem that money cannot solve?! Mid-Ohio, here we come!
The practice sessions at Mid-Ohio were exhilarating. To begin with, I love this track, fast, challenging and plain old fun. My qualifying times were a full 4 seconds better than my previous best at this track and I was anxiously anticipating a great race and great it was. I finished first in class (see plaque) and with consistent track times. However, this success was not without problems including: crank sensor coming loose, Allen bolts falling out of the trigger wheel, leaking seal in Weaver oil pump, cross-over pipe coming apart and losing boost and apparent misfiring. Rick pulled the Weaver out to replace the seal….a huge job in the garage, but the car was ready to go on Sunday for the second race.
Unfortunately, the second race did not materialize because of a head gasket failure in Sunday warm up session (oil and combustion gasses in the coolant). Needless to say, this was not the start of the season I was expecting.
Back in Rick’s shop, a number of distressing observations were made when the head was removed: (1) the #9 stud nut was loose, (2) valve stem seals were crushed, (3) the head was not flat, (4) stud heights were not even and (5) throttle bodies were loose (bolts lost). Thus began another saga of extensive e-mail exchanges with Jon Milledge which ended with the head being sent off to be remachined and repaired. Closer inspection revealed that the turbo was moving, probably resulting from the pressure on the cross-over pipe. As Rick was working on repositioning the turbo, he discovered that it was not spinning as smoothly as it used to (brand new turbo). Disassembly revealed that the vanes were chewed up probably from a piece of slag from the pipes or a rock getting through the air cleaner (hard to believe).%*?&@(*#^#$!! The turbo was sent back to Garrett for rebuilding. More $$$.
Once the rebuilt head was returned, Rick installed everything, and then discovered that the oil pressure relief valve was clogged and he was not able to generate oil pressure by hand before starting the engine (a precaution he always takes). Incidentally, had Milledge taken this precaution, we would have avoided having the engine seize on the maiden dyno runs for the exact same reason.
All these frustrations aside, we were ready for the Club Race at my home track, Putnam Park in Meridan, IN in July. The weather was brutally hot and caused a drop in power from the warm air, but the engine seemed to hold together for the weekend. With the additional Setrab oil cooler behind the right front wheel and in-line fans leading from the NACA ducts to the rear end oil cooler, we finally beat the oil temperature problem (way to go Rick!). I was hoping to beat my personal best (in the old 944 Turbo) but the lack of track time over the past years has eroded my skills and the chassis is not as well dialed in as the old car. Nevertheless, I was able to run both sprint races, but spun out early going around the Dead Bear (turn 8) on cold tires. Despite a few niggling problems (broken alternator belt and fluctuating water temperature gauge) the weekend was a success. I even scored the Worker’s Choice Award for the second time at that track (see photo). Things were looking up for the World Series of PCA racing at Road America.
Is there anything better than TRAC at Elkhart Lake on the Labor Day weekend? I was ready to tackle my all-time favorite track (granted I have not yet driven the Glen, Sebring, or Laguna Seca). The weekend practices started out ominously with wildly fluctuating water temperatures and coolant spraying onto the window from the overflow pot. When Rick arrived on Saturday, the problem only worsened, he could see water spraying out all the way down the front straight. He (rightly) concluded that the engine had suffered another head gasket failure and advised to bail out before a single race. Mr. Milledge, WTF!
Upon returning to Champaign, Rick pulled the engine out on Labor Day (in just 4 hours) and put it in the shipping crate that same week. Unfortunately, Mr. Milledge was unable to take receipt of the engine due to limited space in his new shop in CA. In fact, it was not until November 26 that it could be shipped. Upon disassembly, four cylinder leakage points were identified, much worse than was seen after the Mid-Ohio race. The cylinder sleeves were not sunken, but it was determined that the block deck was not flat. The plan was to completely disassemble the engine and have a company build a jig to redeck the block while the crank girdles are in place to replicate any stresses on the block.
So ended 2010 and my hopes for a return to racing.
New year, new outlook. We need a new engine with a performance index around 435 for my car’s weight, but what should it be? After evaluating a number of options we settled on a 3.2 L, 2-valve with hydraulic lifters for reliability and longevity (all 40 hours worth!). We started from scratch, but were able to use some of the parts from the old 2.6 L (manifold and throttle bodies, rods, sump pump) but everything else (including a new dual pass radiator to handle the heat) had to be fabricated new.
I asked Jon to document the construction in pictures and he obliged (see links below). As is usually the case, these projects take much longer than anyone expects and although the construction began in early January, the completed engine did not arrive in Champaign until the end of July (don’t ask). The dyno results were extremely promising so we were excited to get it into the car and track tested. Unfortunately, Rick immediately discovered that the pipes to the new massive turbo were too big to fit under the chassis and the entire exhaust system needed to be modified. Enter Mike Vallow (Pontiac, IL) who was already commissioned to build a new exhaust out of stainless steel to replace the original.
Mike rose to the challenge and much to my amazement managed to finesse a 4” downpipe around the steering linkage and connect up with the (newly fabricated stainless steel) exhaust pipe. Of course, once delivered and run, Rick smoke tested it and found a few leaks which required his expertise to tighten it all up.
The stage was set for an exciting shakedown test at the Chicago PCA’s Oktoberfest DE at Blackhawk Farms in South Beloit, IL. The initial impressions were beyond expectations, incredible pulling power like nothing I ever experienced before. I was able to spin the wheels in 3rd gear and had to be very careful getting on the throttle coming out of corners. The only hiccup was a misfire at around 6K rpm which was resolved by changing out the fuel and spark plug wires. Nothing serious, but as you read on, will have ominous implications.
Given the obvious increased in speed, the decision was made to upgrade the brakes and also to lighten and strengthen the front hubs. All this was started in 2009, but continues into 2010, so read on. At this point, the car was winterized and I eagerly awaited a return to the track next year.
Over the winter of 2007, two factors conspired to set the course for the next phase of the Club Racing saga. First, I decided that racing was too important to me to give it up and that my mistakes in 2007 caused me to reevaluate how I was approaching the competitive aspects. Second, PCA revamped its classifications of GT cars which bumped my car from GT-3 to GT-2 according to the new performance index. If I was to continue, I was faced with a choice, keep the current motor and add weight to go back to GT-3 or build a new engine that would move me up to the upper end of the performance index in GT-2.
Is there really any choice?!
So, after consultation with Rick and Jon, we decided to use up the remaining hours on the current 2.6 L motor in a few DE’s during 2008 and then build a new engine over the 2008 winter for the 2009 season.
I enjoyed two great DE weekends in 2008, the RADE at Road America during which I had a blast playing tag with John Ruther for a few sessions and the Grand Prix of Grattan where my first place finish in the Sunday time trials netted me a bottle of Michigan’s finest red wine!!
Hope springs eternal.
With high anticipation for great success, the 2007 season was a veritable roller coaster of demoralizing lows (mostly) and one exhilarating high. Already at the first event of the year (CIR DE at Putnam Park) the car ran phenomenally well, but I caught the rumble strip at turn 4 and after spinning out backwards, got airborne and slid into a swamp of mud that badly damaged all four corners. Fortunately, there was no structural damage, but Rick had his hands full to put it all back together in time for the Mid-Ohio Club race in May. This event too ended in disaster as the transmission spilled out fluid causing a spin after turn 11 and ending the day with damage to the right rear quarter. Damn!! Fortunately, it was ruled a mechanical failure and I was not issued a 13/13 penalty.
Once again, body work and repairs were done (thanks Rick!!) in time for the Gingerman Club race over the fourth of July weekend. Weather was great and the car was running well, but during a practice session a rookie driver in front of me slowed to a near standstill for no obvious reason before entering turn 3 and I could not brake in time to avoid hitting her. Although the damage was inconsequential, the stewards would not listen to reason (she claimed she was pointing me by from inside the car…….this is club racing…..not DE!) I was given a 13/13 penalty and my weekend was over before the racing even started. . %*?&@(*#^#$!!
The next club race (MOR at Putnam Park) brought more headaches. Several problems of misfiring and loss of power were diagnosed to a lack of compression and problems with the head. The entire head was sent back to Milledge who had it rebuilt by Jon Andruk at Circle Performance Racing in Massachusetts. Once back on the car, the sound and the smoothness were immediately obvious…no clue how or why it went bad…but it seemed to be back in shape.
OK, by now you are wondering when the exhilarating high will come (and why I continue to do this)! Well, it finally came at my favorite event of the year, the TRAC-2007 Club Race at Road America over the Labor Day weekend. From the first practice sessions, I could tell that the car was pulling like never before and I desperately needed a good result. The patience paid off in the form of my best qualifying time ever (2:21.14), a full 3.5 seconds ahead of the next car which placed me on pole. I knew that it was my race to lose and I was determined to be smooth and stay calm. In the race, I managed to be first into turn 1 and then never looked back. Rick gave me the split to the next closest car every lap and after 6 or 7 laps, I had a 10 second lead! Staying focused to hit each corner smoothly, I finally saw the checkered flag, 25 seconds ahead of the second place finisher!!!! VICTORY WAS MINE!!!!! Although, this did not make up for all the disasters that preceded, it was one of the happiest moments on track.
Regretfully, my luck would not turnaround. The last event of the season was Blackhawk Club Race where I managed a respectable qualifying position (6th overall) but spun out at turn 2 in the first lap of the race (cold tires?) and hit a hay barrier. Sadly, this triggered a second 13/13 violation and my season as well as that for 2008 was over.
Needless to say, the events of 2007 caused a serious reevaluation of the entire Club Racing enterprise. I was not enjoying the off-road excursions and mechanical problems and Rick was not enjoying cleaning up my mistakes. With the 13/13 rule over my head, we had the 2008 season to think about the future.
After the dramatic end to the 2005 season, the engine was shipped back to Jon Milledge for a major rebuild and upgrade that included a new turbo and thicker head studs (more boost!). We also had a second transmission built by Powerhaus II with shorter 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears for tighter tracks, had the wheels magnafluxed, repainted (silver!) and new outer rims installed (by me) and commissioned a fresh paint job to give it that final touch of class!
Therefore, it was with considerable excitement that we took the monster to its first test at a Drivers Education event at the Autobahn in Joliet, IL in early May. Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived as the engine let go during the third session. Back in the shop, we established that it had thrown a rod, but the reason was obscure. In the end, Milledge determined that the rod end bearings were the wrong type and we were faced with a complete rebuild, including new block and crank. %*?&@(*#^#$!!
The motor was installed in late August (don’t ask!) and we successfully tested it out at DE events at Grattan (Grand Rapids, MI) and Putnam Park (Cloverdale, IN), then put it away for the season. At least it will be ready to roll in 2007!
2006 Racing Photos
In its first year of competition under my guidance, we learned a great deal, had many mechanical setbacks and some great races. The year ended rather dramatically with an engine meltdown in the Road America sprint race after starting on pole. Nevertheless, I managed an overall 4th place finish in GT-3R for the Chicago Region PCA in 2005.
2005 Racing Photos
My racing page already makes reference to my stable of high power sport bikes (2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R; 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000; 2009 Yamaha YFZ-R1) that provide unparalleled exhilaration. For raw grunt, high-speed cornering and a wild adrenaline rush, my bikes are the perfect answer. Although I have been riding street bikes since 1981, only recently have I started to put them on the track. At the behest of Marlon Carlos, my San Diego riding buddy and all-around great guy, we have decided to forgo the scenic beauty of San Diego county (canyons, desert, Big Bear, Highway 1) for the safety and challenge of track day events. Naturally, this has spurred the kind of evolution of my Suzuki GSXR-1000 that my Porsche 944 Turbo experienced once I decided to put it on the track. Nothing crazy mind you, just new Yoshimura exhaust, Attack Rear Sets and Grips, new springs, shocks and valves.
My skills are in need of serious sharpening, but the attached on-board videos (courtesy of a GoPro Hero camera…an amazing piece of technology that every speed demon should own) are still fun. Enjoy!