George McConnel's Motorcycle Racing Blog

Dates:October 5-7, 2012
Track:Road Atlanta (Braselton, GA)
Bikes:2001 Suzuki SV650
Weather:Mixed weather: some clear, some rain, some cloudy. Cool with highs around 60-70 each day.
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.

This was the first weekend I managed

During practice I power out of turn 5.
to get Pete Readey to go with me to the track. He race prepped his Triumph Daytona 595i and had it all shiny and ready. I went over to his house to pick him up and we got everything loaded.

Obviously, Pete's first order of business was to take the WERA racing school. He got signed up for that while we prepared for our next endurance race. I had Brian Mullins, Adam Beer, myself and Logan to ride in the endurance race.

I took some pictures of Pete while he was out motoroing around on the track in practice. I took a few laps of practice and left the 30 minute session open for Beer and Logan to take.

Once while I was out, powering out of turn 7 I noticed a bit of a stumble in the engine, but that was about it. After that everything was running just fine, so I didn't think much more of it.

Pete finished his school and mock race, then settled in with us in the pit. We got Brian out on track and ready to go. He got a good launch but pitted in after one lap. He said the engine was cutting out on him. He thought maybe it was out of gas or vapor locked. So we checked to make sure it had plenty of gas, obviously burping the vent as we did so and sent him back out.

That only lasted another lap, after which he was back in. We pulled the tank up to look underneath and I observed that the seal I had used to cover one of the holes in the K&N filter (so vaccuum would be normal for the jetting) was loose. Thinking that might be messing with the vaccuum I put a bunch of duct tape around it and sent him back out. He came back in.

We then investigated other possibilities, including sidestand switch routing, other electrical components, etc., but I was pretty convinced based on what he kept saying that somehow it was starving for fuel.

At one point we asked for permission to just leave the tail section off the bike and ride that way. With permission granted he went back out but it was still acting up.

One guy had a spare set of carburetors and offered to let us swap out to get going. I mentioned that it might be the fuel pump rather than the carbs, and let everyone know that changing the carbs would also entail changing the choke cable, as the choke cable was evidently locktited in place by some over-zealous repair rube in the past.

The same guy (Bryan) had a spare fuel pump so we put it on. Lo and behold Brian finally came down the front straight with a thumb up. From that point forward we pushed to do as well as we could, but obviously did not place well in the end. Everyone got a fair chance to ride and it was a good adventure in cooperative problem-solving, so over all I really enjoyed the weekend.

Pete ended up getting a couple of trophies to take home, as his vintage class race only had two or three entrants. A fun time was had by all.

The weekend's activities were sullied, however, by a hard crash on the part of my good friend Morris Foor. Coming down the hill braking into turn 10A his engine threw a rod, spraying oil all over his rear tire. As he attempted to tip it into turn 10B he was flipped off the bike and ended up with a pretty severe concussion. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. We had a benefit T-shirt sale to help with his medical expenses. He's doing better but it remains to be seen if he'll ever be able to race again.

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