Road Atlanta SuperSport: Rispoli iReport
2012 Road Atlanta AMA SuperSport iReport
Hi everyone! I just finished another awesome weekend of AMA Pro Racing with Celtic-Orient Express Racing at Road Atlanta, the site of the Big Kahuna race promoted by M1 Powersports.
I hadn’t been to Road Atlanta in some time and this was my first professional race there. The weather at the beginning of the weekend looked a little sketchy but as the weekend went on the weather cooperated and the race conditions were mint.
It was great to finally get to a real track, one that is more representative of the circuit tracks overall, and it would be a good test for my team and crew to dial in our Suzuki GSX-R 600’s a little more on a challenging course.
Well, it didn’t take long to set the pace and I even broke the track record for the SuperSport class along the way! Each practice session I got faster and kept putting the fastest numbers on the leader-board. When qualifying came along we did the same – fast and consistent laps. We went out and threw down a good lap to take pole position for the weekend. Things couldn’t have looked better, I was stoked!
At the beginning of Saturday’s race I was able to pull the hole-shot, and I tried to break away right from the start. Lewis went with me and I knew no one else had the pace we had. So, I just put my head down to stretch things out a bit to give us a little room to do battle. Jake and I battled the entire race, exchanging the lead and even touching under braking in turn 10A as we went at it. On the final lap I took it to him going into turn one and did not give up an inch the entire lap. Setting up for the esses I used a lapper to gain a half second advantage late in the lap and brought it home for the big W! It was cool. Third place was like 15 plus seconds back so I knew we had the pace big time.
On Sunday, I went out and turned the fastest time in the warm up but on one of the last few laps I got tangled with another rider and put the bike down. I was pissed for sure but was unhurt, and the team assured me everything would be OK! There was no rush to get the bike repaired, and while I was a little nervous about jumping on my “B” bike my team reassured me everything would be fine. Jason Pridmore, my race mentor, helped calm me down since I never even tried the “B” bike at Road Atlanta, and was going to go out and try to bring it to race pace without any practice.
I lined up for Sunday’s race and when the gun went off I was a little late with my start and let Lewis get the hole-shot. I quickly followed him down the front straight to turn one and the two of us again broke away from the pack. Sunday’s race started shaping up to be an exact copy of Saturday’s race. My “B” worked well but was a little squirmy under braking after the team made some adjustments there so I could be a little more competitive on the brakes. Everything else worked well and we went at it lap after lap.
On lap 12, I crossed the line in first place under green but soon after a red flag was thrown because someone went down. We came in and we got the word we were announced the winners for the second time that weekend. The team celebrated a little but as we got to victory circle we found out they gave the race to Jake on a technicality in the rule book. There was no way around it, I was dropped down to second place. It wasn’t a bad way to end the weekend, but I can tell you for sure I wasn’t happy. I still want to congratulate Jake on his first professional win and thank him for some great close racing. I am sure we had the fans on the edge of their seats both days.
I also want to thank my entire team, especially William, Dustin and Eric for doing everything it takes to give me the best race bikes on the planet. I don’t think anyone else in the paddock could have jumped on a “B” bike without practice and run it with 100% confidence up front under race pace. They are the best. To Barry, Skip and everyone else who came together to help this ride open up for me I say thank you! I will do whatever I have to do to be ready to race for every event.
I am now back to my training program to get prepared for a our next round at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., May 4-6, a west coast round that counts toward my AMA Pro SuperSport West championship.
Till next time do what I like to do, GO FASTER…