MotoWest Grand Prix Championship, Round 2 – Willow Springs ‘Streets’.
After a very successful return and Round one, it was with some small apprehension that the team took to the ‘Streets’ circuit at Willow Springs.
This second track is old, rough and has a very poor surface in places. We are not sure why it is called ‘Streets’ but maybe it draws comparison to the streets that cover most of Los Angeles?
We waived the race event at Chuckwalla Raceway on March 31 after the drive belt failure during practice at Buttonwillow Raceway.
The day started well and Jake was keen to do his best. The weather was warm, fine but very windy.
The first session was straight forward, but in session two, Jake hit one of the bigger bumps at full tilt, losing the front end.
The bike sustained only light damage, but managed to roll over and scuff both sides. Jake was also unhurt, thanks again to both Joe Rocket’s excellent race apparel and also RG Racing’s crash protection.
Quick repairs were made and Jake returned to the circuit, where we were able to continue set up, allowing him to find a good place to start the Sunday. Times were off the pace of the fastest local riders by over 3 seconds, but we had a few changes yet to make for the Sunday and felt quietly confident of a result.
A few followers are unaware of just how standard this bike is. 2 months ago, it was a totally standard 2009 Buell 1125r. It now sports a steering stabilizer, a slip on race exhaust, race compound EBC pads and basic race suspension.
For this event, it now has a ‘quick shift’ fitted and Dyno Jet Power Commander.
The good folk at AIP Racing managed to extract a few more ponies from the engine, up from 121 to a crazy 130………it’s still running pump gas and a standard air filter PLUS the belt drive, by the way!
The last point proved to be the biggest hindrance at this circuit. The gearing was completely wrong and there was little we could do about it. 1st was too low and 2nd was too high for many corners. We estimate there was more than a second and a half lost per lap in the poor gearing.
Sunday, Race Day.
More changes were made to the chassis on Sunday morning, mainly to the front end, but both ends of the bike were softened up for the many bumps.
The weather was again fine, warm and even windier, turning to dust storms on occasions.
Race One – 600cc Superbike- 6 laps
Due to the formula style of some of the classes, the race organizers allowed the big Buell into the field.
A total of 15 riders lined up on the grid and Jake made his usual great start. The field had a number of very fast AMA and WERA riders and they showed great from in qualifying. Jake was in 3rd place when the race was red flagged due to a crash.
On restart, Jake had small clutch issues and was 6th into the first corner, but passed two riders to take over 4th place. Jake was catching 3rd but was 4th at the flag. The good news was that the changes to bike saw Jake drop his lap times by close to 2 seconds.
Race Two – Formula Twins Heavyweight – 6 laps
After the previous round’s great performance in this class, Jake was on pole position and easily made a holeshot start to take the lead over the following 14 riders.
To say Jake dominated this event is an understatement. He was 5 seconds in the lead by lap 1 and by race end, he was nearly 30 seconds in the lead.
1st place to Jake and the 1125r, easily beating a field of the latest Ducatis and even a 1190rs EBR.
Race Three – Open Superstock – 6 laps
A smaller field of 10 met the starter for this event, but the quality of rider and machine was very good.
The main competition was Dave Anthony on his AMA Superbike GSXR1000 Suzuki. This bike and rider was easily the fastest on the day, probably 65 horsepower more than the humble 1125r.
Another good start, and for a number of laps, Jake provided Dave Anthony with some competition, but at the race end, Jake was in a safe 2nd place.
Jake now leads the points chase for Open Superstock and Heavyweight Twins.
Next event is this weekend at Las Vegas, April 20/21 for the WERA West Championship round.
Again, it’s not going to be easy, but we hope to be able to show some remarkable results on a very basic racebike.
I am happy to say that we have the chain kit on order and this should be fitted for the event after Las Vegas.
15th April, 2013
For race videos, updates and more images, go to :
Many thanks to:
JOE ROCKET – R&G RACING PRODUCTS – ROCKWELL WATCHES
EBR – URBAN MOTO – GPR STEERING STABILIZERS
EBC BRAKES – AIP RACING – PIRELLI TIRES