James Rispoli | Road America iReport
2012 AMA SuperSport iReport
Hi everyone! YOLO…that’s urban slang for You Only Live Once. I feel that represents my life and gets straight to the point. I love what I do and I look forward to waking up everyday thinking about how to do it better than anyone else on the planet.
Huge thanks to all of you who read my reports and support me, my program, my friends, family and sponsors. This report comes after a quick turnaround from Miller Motorsports Park directly to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the Road America round of the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race.
It was a bit hectic but the team made the transition and we moved in to Road America excited to get back at another west coast points counting round to recoup some of the points we lost at Miller. The team and I were confident in our ability to challenge for the top position again and we were excited to get started and put the past behind us.
I really like the Road America track, having it be one of the longest on the circuit and a hard one to go fast on. At this track you need a great set up and even better bike and motor combination. I knew my K-Tech suspension would be up to the task and my motors have been strong all season long so it was game on from the first practice.
Friday Practice and First Qualifying session
This was a long day of hanging around until it was 2 P.M. to head our for our practice session. We eased in the practice round and slowly ran up to speed. After a couple of adjustments we put our head down to turn in some consistent laps. In the end we were able to post the quickest time of the SuperSport group and was pleased with the results so far. I knew we had more potential so I sat down with William my crew chief and hashed out a few ideas to get things going a little quicker in certain section.
Our next time on the track was at 5 P.M. for our first qualifier. I was able to get out and get a few good laps in but was running into a little traffic and didn’t have a drafting partner. I managed to post third fastest time, .506 off the leader. I knew exactly where I could make up time but I wasn’t sure we would have the track condition in the morning to pull it off. I felt confident I would still end up with a front row start, a position that is the envy of the grid for sure and a great place to be.
In the morning we had our second qualifying session. It was a little chilly and misty but better than I expected for an 8 AM qualifying round. I got out and right to work. Right off the bat the bike was working better with some of the subtle changes we made the night before. I was happy with the bike feel but I was going a little faster while everyone else was actually going slower. I really thought I had a chance to up the game and grab the pole but it wasn’t to be. I ended up the quickest for the session but maintained my third spot on the front row of the grid for the race.
I was able to get a decent start just behind Lewis who took the point. After a few laps the race was red flagged. On the restart Dominguez and I were dicing it up. Having to deal with him allowed Lewis to get away in the front until eventually Dominguez went wide and I was able to give chase. I ran in second place as Mesa put on a last lap charge. He diced in front of me and I went right back at him.
He made an aggressive move on me with a couple of corners left and I knew I only had one chance back at him and that was to do a Hang-it-out-there pass at the last corner. I got my GSX-R600 in hot, real hot and slid it right out to the rumble strip but Mesa was not budging from his line and he got the exit drive to the stripe. I brought it home in third and collected a bunch of points. I was a little disappointed but was looking forward to making some changes to the bike and getting after it again on Sunday.
The morning warm up got off to a good start. Some of the changes we made to the bike seem to calm it down a little and on the track that turned into quick times with less effort. I finished up the warm up in second only .066 off the fast time of the session. I felt we were dialed in for race two and I was going to the front.
In the race I got a great start and capped it off with a hole shot. Lewis and I broke away a little after Dominguez broke and pulled off in the first couple of laps. My bike was feeling great and I could run a 21 pace all day so my confidence was high. I led one lap but mostly stalked Lewis who was on the point. Mesa was riding great this weekend and joined us at the front in the closing laps and it was clearly going to be a race. On the last lap, I got pushed back to third and on our way into T5 I got a double draft off the leaders and was going in hot. It wasn’t my intention to pinch the corner so shallow but I missed a down shift and had to click four down-shifts bang, bang, bang, bang and the rear wheel just broke free and before I could say SHIT in my helmet I was on the ground scraping my face shield as I slid after my bike into the corner.
The moment I hit the ground all I could remember is screaming in my helmet “you idiot” and then “get up, get up” as I sprinted to my downed bike. The corner workers had picked it up and I swear if the thing started first time I would have been able to get back on the track and still beat Gilliam to the line that’s how far out front we were. But it took two tries and then when I starting getting up to speed I had to tear off my face shield because it was broken. I finished the race without a face shield cranked wide open on the last corner to capture a sixth place finish and still the second Suzuki to cross the line. If you ever heard the saying “I am turning Japanese” well I know that’s what I looked like with my eyes almost close and peeled back from the wind in my face. Don’t tell the AMA but I don’t think I saw a thing the last 500 yards….
Anyway not the way I wanted to end the weekend but we still added an additional five points to our championship lead and can’t wait for Barber Motorsports Park.
So, that’s all she wrote. To sum it all up I know I have one of the best teams in the paddock behind me. Together we are racing, over coming challenges and we’re all getting better at what we do. I 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. 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. Next stop, Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama June 22-24.
Till next time do what I like to do, GO FASTER…
Photos: Andrea Wilson