Honda Motorcycles - banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

Premium Member
5,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've posted parts of this before, but thought I'd put down the whole thing for my adoring fans. (Self-aggrandizing is one of my more charming traits.)


Younger Oil Racing
2003 Season

Rider: Kris Younger

Motorcycle: Honda RC51

Competition Numbers: #91 Novice CCS & WERA, #191 Novice CRA

Official Sponsors: Younger Oil Racing, Price Sign Company, Lockhart-Phillips Privateer Program

Products Used: LP Racelite windscreens, Michelin tires, Chickenhawk tire warmers, Multi-Tech bodywork, Vortex rearsets, Dan Kyle fork work, Penske shock, Spidi leathers and gloves, Bohn back protector, Sidi boots, Shoei helmet.

April 12-13: Mid-America Motorplex, Pacific Junction IA (CRA)

I decided to take CRA’s new rider school though it wasn’t necessary because I was qualified for a competition license through Jason Pridmore’s STAR school, which I had attended in June of 2002. Still, I thought it would be best to attend the school to make sure I understood all race procedures. I’m still on a steep learning curve, so all the information I can absorb will only help. For the on-track sessions I was paired with instructor Pete Bohlig of Nutsack Racing, who was extremely helpful throughout the weekend.

My first race was Heavyweight Supersport. I was not expecting to be very competitive in this class since I would be racing against 750cc inline-four machines, namely the GSXR-750 which is both lighter and more powerful than my bike. Since I registered for the races at the track, I was gridded on the last row. The Expert riders took off in the first wave, followed by the Novices. Needless to say, my start left much to be desired. Luckily, I caught the group in turn one on braking, though just in time to see a couple of bikes either on the ground or in the grass. I made it cleanly through and began to settle into the race. I surprised myself a little as I began to pass a few people and was getting faster each lap. Unfortunately I must have been a little too enthusiastic, as I spun up the rear wheel on the last corner of the track while trying to get a good drive down the main straight to begin lap 6 (8-lap sprint race). I was already leaned far to the right in the corner so there was almost no impact from the crash. The bike slid off the edge of the track and I didn’t even get a bruise out of it! I got back to the pit and assessed the bike and myself. The only real damage was a broken windscreen and a ground-down rear brake pedal. I filed down the brake pedal so it had no sharp edges and re-teched the bike.

The second race was Supertwins. This race was much less eventful and I ran a couple of seconds per lap slower than I had in the HWSS race. The wind had picked up and I was fighting the bike when facing it. I determined that a windscreen was a very beneficial thing to have. I ran rather conservatively and finished 6th place Novice. I wasn’t battling for a top spot, but it did feel good to take the checkered flag for my first completed race.

May 25-26: Mid-America Motorplex (CCS)

I decided not to run in the Heavyweight Supersport race this time since the track was very sketchy at the time. It had rained off and on all morning and several riders had crashed during the day. When I get another set of wheels it will be easier to switch to rain tires, but I had just mounted a fresh set of Michelin DOT’s for Saturday on my only wheels. My hope was that the track would dry sufficiently for the Supertwins race that was later in the day.

It did. I got a much better start this time and ran a decent race. I got hung up behind an Expert rider for a few laps and spent too much time running at that pace instead of getting by quickly and going for the next position. I finally made a pass and it stuck but my friend also got around on this SV650. He finished in 4th place while I took 5th. We were close enough to 3rd place that one of us probably would have had a shot at it if I hadn’t slowed us down in the middle of the race. Lesson learned: get by quickly! The race was still a success as I took home my first “wood”, a 5th place plaque.

June 14-15: Gateway International Raceway, St. Louis (CCS)

I took advantage of a trackday on Friday the 13th (!!&#33 to learn the track since I’d never ridden at Gateway before. Again, there were problems with rain but we did get a few dry sessions so I at least knew the track layout. I wasn’t very excited about the concrete walls that loom large in your vision when making the transitions from the infield onto the banking, but it wasn’t as hairy as I’d imagined.

Supertwins was my first race. My start was mediocre but I was in a decent position going into turn one. Another rider lost a chain, which went flailing across the middle of the track, but there were no incidents due to that. My RC51 didn’t seem to be the ideal machine for the tight Gateway track and I later discovered that my rear suspension needed some tweaking, but the race went well. I battled with a couple of other bikes during the race and finished with another 5th place plaque.

The Heavyweight Supersport race was bittersweet. A couple of laps into the race I was running two seconds a lap faster than I had been in the Supertwins race. I felt really good and was hoping to move up a few positions until the bike lost revs and died while braking for turn 2. I coasted to the side of the track out of the racing line but couldn’t restart the bike. Very frustrated, I pushed the bike back to the pits where it started on the first try. Since then we’ve taken the tank apart and put it back together, checking all connections and vents. Hopefully something was either pinched or loose and the problem won’t repeat itself. I guess that’s racing!

My next track time will be June 21-22 at Mid-America Motorplex for STAR school. I’m looking forward to getting more instruction from the STAR people. This time I hope to focus on more specific areas and maybe I’ll start getting some top 3 finishes…

Premium Member
5,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
June 21: STAR School, Mid-America Motorplex

What’s that saying about “the best-laid plans”? I was very excited about the prospect of taking STAR school for two days at MAM. There were several RC51 guys and gals there including my VIR co-conspirators Rick and Dave (affectionately known as Sprinkles), as well as Steve and Lorraine all the way from the Left Coast. Even the infamous LDH (Mike) was there. We were all looking forward to learning and having fun with Jason Pridmore and the STAR gang.

The first few sessions are usually taken pretty slowly, getting acquainted with the track and working on technique. The first session was spent taking turns riding behind an instructor at a very sedate pace. We were all very surprised when Mike lowsided. He’s a very good and experienced rider and no one could really come up with an explanation why he went down. Luckily he wasn’t injured (though I think his ankle swelled later) and the rest of us went into the next classroom session.

The second session was a little more free, but we were still keeping speeds down. Jason challenged us to stay below 80 mph on the straights, which I did. On probably the second or third lap, I went into turn 7 at a decent pace, leaned down into the turn. All of the sudden, the front tire tucked under and I was instantly on the ground. The bike just slid across the track and into the grass; I had a more spectacular journey across the pavement. Basically, I was barrel rolling. I finally came to a stop when I got to the grass. I spit out a clump of dirt and started to take an assessment. I could feel a cut just below my left eye and I couldn’t lift my right arm. The eye was not a huge concern; the arm was. It’s pretty scary when you try to move something and it doesn’t cooperate. Two of the STAR instructors stopped to help. One rode my bike back to the pits while I got a ride on the back of another’s bike. I was dropped off at the ambulance for them to check me out. My first thought was that I’d broken my collarbone, which is a very common motorcycle injury. The EMT’s couldn’t find anything wrong with the collarbone and gave me an ice pack for my eye, which was now starting to swell and turn purple (I had a nice shiner for about a week and a half). I wasn’t really in much pain if my arm was at my side, but trying to lift it was impossible. I went back to the trailer to see if it would improve if I just gave it a minute. I could move the arm without pain if I lifted it with my left hand, but just couldn’t make it go on its own. I put in the call to my parents who picked me up and took me to the emergency room. Thanks to Dave and Rick for loading up everything at the end of the day.

I imagine that I didn’t look like most motorcycle accident patients in the emergency room. With a black eye and a hurt shoulder, I probably looked more like I was in a fistfight. The doctor thought that I’d most likely done some ligament or tendon damage, possibly rotator cuff. We were very concerned if it turned out to be rotator cuff since that seems like a difficult injury to heal. They took some x-rays just for fun and that’s when we found out what really happened: broken scapula (shoulder blade). The technician asked me “How did you do this again?” Apparently, that was only the second broken shoulder blade they had seen at that hospital. The other case was a man who fell off a 40-foot ladder…

I had a follow up appointment in Columbia with an orthopedic doctor who just confirmed what the other hospital found. They told me I could ditch the sling and start to regain motion in the shoulder. It was very sore for a few weeks, but got better and is now 100% normal again. I really felt embarrassed for crashing at school since STAR runs a very safety-conscious program. Of course, they can’t control riders’ mistakes. The problem is that I, like Mike who crashed before me, don’t know exactly WHY I crashed. The interesting thing is that we both had a blue powdery residue on our tires. Hmm…

August 9: Heartland Park, Topeka KS (CCS)

A new upper fairing and windscreen had the bike ready to go again. The Arai I’d been wearing earlier in the year was damaged in the crash, so it was replaced with a new Jimmy Moore replica Shoei. My new leathers held up great during the crash, so Mom just cleaned them up a bit. They were sure thrown into the fray quickly: I got them one day before the crash!

Both of my races were on Saturday, so my father and I drove to Lawrence KS on Friday night and the rest of the way Saturday morning. It was HOT at the track and I was very glad to have the new perforated leathers. Unfortunately the same problem that plagued me at Gateway surfaced again during morning practice; the bike died in turn one after the long straight. Since the bike ran fine at MAM during STAR school, I had hoped that the problem was solved. Guess not. I spoke with the Dynojet technician, with Jeff Wood’s mechanic Leif, and even called Dan Kyle at the shop out in California. All that anyone could guess was venting of the tank or the tipover sensor. I had just met a claims adjuster, Jack, who works for the same company as I do. We had e-mailed several times when we discovered that we both had the motorcycle bug. Handily for me and unfortunately for him, Jack and his father had come to the track to watch the racing. He was roped into racebike diagnostics. Since I had always intended to change the bike back to street form, I had built a new tray for the battery, electronics, etc. in the tail of the bike. The tipover sensor is mounted solidly to the front of this tray rather than cut up the stock plastic one. Jack had the idea that maybe it was mounted too solidly and that the harsh bumps at Heartland Park were enough to jar it into killing the bike. We rigged up a piece of rubber to mount between the sensor and the tray in hopes that it would isolate it enough.

The first race was Heavyweight Supersport. Luckily since I had registered at the track, I was gridded on the last row. I had planned to start from the back anyway in case I had problems. The last thing I want to do is cause a potential problem for other racers (I’ve seen it recently referred to as becoming a “rolling chicane”). Apparently I hadn’t paid enough attention when writing down my grid position. While I was indeed on the last row, I’d failed to remember that I was in a row of my own. At the grid, I actually lined up in the last row of bikes. I had only passed one racer when I saw my number and the meatball flag. The first thing that went through my mind was that something was wrong with my bike, but then I was relieved to realize what I’d done. I served my stop-and-go and got back to racing. The rust from not being on the track for a month and a half showed, as did my lack of laps at Heartland Park. I finished the race 10th Amateur (out of 10). One thing good to come from the HWSS race was that the bike seemed to be fixed. Or so I thought…

My first race was race number 6 on the day. Supertwins was race number 15, the last race of the day. I spent the meantime trying to move as little as possible and avoid heatstroke. I was optimistic for the race since the bike seemed to be running well again. I gridded in the correct spot this time (last row) and we were away. At the beginning of the race, I kept a few other bikes in sight and planned to go after them once I felt comfortable. I didn’t really get the chance, as the bike died again in turn one after a couple of laps. I got it off the track, restarted the bike, and then pulled back into the pits. If it’s not fixed, I’d best not be racing.

I now believe that the tipover switch being at a different angle from stock has caused the problems. It’s kind of moot now since it looks like I’m going to be done for this season. I don’t want to make a modification that will prevent the bike from going back to street form and I was thinking about getting a smaller bike that I can run in more classes anyway. One that doesn’t like to eat tires so frequently (“Michelins: Mmmm Mmmm Good!”). I definitely learned a lot this year and hope to start next season with a little more confidence and experience. I’m planning to take at least one school, probably “Super Dave” Rosno’s Visionsports school. Dave is at most of the regional races and I don’t think he has such a thing as a “former” student since he makes himself available for continuous learning. Hopefully at this time next year I’ll be contemplating a case for all of those future trophies. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people. Racers are definitely a different breed and I can now proudly count myself among them.

Special thanks to my parents, without whom I wouldn’t be able to do this, and to my grandfather for all the decal work. Also to my “Crew Chief” Eric who has spent a lot of time helping me prep the bike and track down gremlins. Thanks to all the Columbia racers (even Cabbage) and our hangers-on who helped tremendously in the pits at Gateway. Aaron and PJ at Lockhart have been great when I need anything from them. I would also like to thank the members of, ROGUE, and the CCS forums where I have asked a lot of questions and received a lot of good help. To anyone else who has helped along the way, you are appreciated!
1 - 2 of 2 Posts