George McConnel's Motorcycle Racing Blog

Dates:June 7-10, 2012
Track:Road Atlanta (Braselton, GA)
Bikes:2001 Suzuki SV650
Weather:Mild highs, much rain over the weekend.
Conducted By:WERA

Track Diagram

Road Atlanta is a 2.5 mile track with many elevation changes. The highest point on the track is turn 11, which is 75 feet above the start/finish line. The lowest point is at the end of the "Esses", right about that last kink before turn 5. That point is 40 feet below the start/finish line. The back straight (which has two minor bends in it labeled 8 and 9) is almost 3/4 of a mile long, and it is not uncommon for race vehicles to approach 180 or more MPH on that section. From turn 9 to turn 10a you are going downhill. This makes for a challenging situation as racers must judge how to brake without running off the track while maintaining enough speed to keep other racers from passing them at that point. The good thing is there is a long runoff on the other side of turn 10 with lots of soft gravel in case you make a mistake.

For this round

During practice I power out of turn 5.
Logan took the truck and trailer and went down a day or so earlier than I did.

During vintage awards Stickboy awards
a medal made from an old rear sprocket.
I then rode down with his girlfriend Katie on Thursday evening after work. This was going to be the first endurance round of the year for us. They had held one endurance round at Miller Motorsports Park on May 19, but I just could not justify the expense of making it to Miller and then making it to Atlanta 2 weeks later. This would be our first 6 hour endurance round ever.

We got to the track on Thursday evening kind of late (partly because we lose an hour going that direction). I did some visiting and got to bed as early as I could but it was still late at night when I finally got to sleep. The next morning we got through registration and tech pretty easily and set up our pit about 4 slots down from the pit-in/pit-out opening in the barricade.

We'd done a lot of trash talking with Kurt Kesler's new team "Team Yo," so a lot of pride was at stake on the outcome of this race. This was the first time our two teams would go head to head against each other. I wish we had managed to put our pit near theirs but that didn't happen. Still, we had plenty of opportunity to talk smack out on pit lane while signalling the current rider.

I went out for LW practice to get a feel for the track. Then when it came time for endurance practice I gave equal time to Randy and Brian (our newest member). Brad Johnson didn't show up for this round, so it was just down to the 4 of us to ride.

When race time came I put Randy out first, figuring he'd be fresh enough to be able to pull a second stint after everyone else had taken a turn. I went out 2nd. Logan went out next and Brian went out 4th. Randy and Brian both managed to run out of gas during their stints. I discovered later that the low fuel light wasn't working, so that's something I fixed later. But we had to work through the race without any fuel indicator. The tachometer had also quit working altogether.

Randy took another stint

My first lap coming through turn 5.
after Brian came in and we brought him in a bit early (so he wouldn't get too tired, and to make sure he didn't run out of gas).

A group of folks watch vintage awards as
the sun goes down.
We then put Logan back out to finish things back up. There was about 40 minutes of time left on the clock when Logan went out and we were able to put plenty of gas in the tank to ensure he wouldn't run out.

We made it through the rest of the race with no issues. However we lost to team Yo by about 4 laps.

This race was considerably less stressful than the last several times, partly because I'd made a rule that nobody disappeared for "lunch" until the new tires were mounted and the warmers were running. This really helped a lot.

I had thought about maybe doing a sprint or two as the weekend went on since I would be in Atlanta for the whole weekend, but I ended up not doing so. This was partly due to the fact that I spent a considerable amount of the time working on the bike to fix the issues with the fuel light, the tach not running, and other problems. Then on Sunday it rained pretty hard for most of the day. I wasn't interested in going out in that.

Most important lesson learned during this race weekend: That fuel light is important if you're going to run Endurance.

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