->(bike racing)

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I get ready to test ride the race bike the day after we picked it up. Brett bought this one in Iowa as a recovered theft – no damage and only 1000 miles. Just after this ride we began the process of turning it into a race bike.

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Returning from the test, I checked the “tell-tell” max speed on the trip indicator. Just kidding, this is actually after a ride on my personal bike. The race bikes always showed in the 185 mph range at Daytona

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Our garage at Daytona in October. Michael Barne’s wife visits with Tom, and one of our riders, Mike Luke who’s getting his leathers ready. Mike is a professional surfer and a real class act. I put him high on my favorite-people list.

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Brett’s wife, Patty, and Michael Barnes. I’ve been watching Michael on Speed TV for 2 years and now he sits in our garage and tells me about his trip to China for testing. He and Brett have been friends for years.

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Mike Luke in Friday’s practice on our #58 bike. I can tell it’s practice because both of the small lights are burning. The right one quit in the very early stages of the race. We didn’t have Aprilia race bodywork yet, so we dressed the Aprilia up in the body-work off Brett’s old Suzuki GSX R-750 Superbike.
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Dave Estok on the # 58 bike. Dave started the race and ran a double stint as he was running first and second for the first hour or so. He also set the fastest lap of the race.


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Mike later in the race. He came into the pits at the end, doing a pretty impressive “stoppie” down pit lane from about 135 mph. There was no pit lane speed limit, which made for some interesting action.

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Dave after about 700 miles at 180+ mph (this was an 8 hour race, with Brett, Mike and Dave splitting the riding chores. We ended up 6th after losing several laps with a broken shift lever.

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Brett takes a break early in the race and briefs Ron and Ted about the bike’s setup.

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The race has just ended and a race official collects our timing transponder.

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Morning after the 8 hour race we change the #58 to #761 as Brett is going to run a 5 lap race this afternoon. He was disqualified at the end, as we didn’t take the lights off after yesterday’s race. He didn’t care, just wanted the practice.

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That’s Jamie France in the red shirt. He drives the number 58 Brumos Porsche in the Rolex Le Mans race car series (he’s of the France family who owns NASCAR and the Daytona Speedway. ) He helped us a little with sponsorship and we ran as J C Racing and used his # 58 in return.

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France brought this $$$$$$ motor-home for us to use. We finally got enough time to look inside – once. The rest of the week we were too busy working on the bike to use it. Nice thought, though. (I did park by it and saved a long walk)

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Back at Daytona in March for Bike Week (and the season) opener. Aprilia has provided us with two new bikes, but as we picked them up on the way down, they are not entered in this race. Brett is applying a #76 (his old Superbike number) to the #58 bike. When JC France again offered a little money for tires, we changed it back to #58 for the race. On the right are the two new bikes, the center one dressed up in Aprilia race bodywork. The morning of the race, we switched out the old Suzuki body on the #58 bike for the new body off the center bike. This ended up costing us a $500 fine when Pirelli got their shorts in a knot as the bodywork partially covered their logo sticker on the front forks, which was placed to fit the other bodywork.

They didn’t seem to care until we pitted during the race with a badly shredded rear tire and the Pirelli rep grabbed it and started to run away with it. Brett and he had a few words, and when Brett photographed it . . .

Buy Michelin

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We prepare to run the bike on the Dyno. Race rules limit us to 118 hp, so every change required a dyno check. I was surprised at what made a difference. Stock bike with fuel map 2 dialed in showed about 113 – we put a set of Leo Vince pipes on it and it jumped to 123 so we wrapped duct tape around about 1/3 of the air filter (poor man’s restrictor plate) which dropped it to 116. Ted was worried that we we pushing it, but the after race dyno number was 109. Lot of variables in this game.

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Mike shows his normal 100% style.

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Brett takes a turn. An extremely intelligent and talented rider. With some good sponsorship – a potential world champion.

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Mike gets it on with one of those pesky Ducatis. I think this is the exit to the “Horseshoe” and their speed should be close to 130 mph here. Don’t try this at home. And I just noticed the Duc rider has the same Shoei X-11 that I have.

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The best parking place at Daytona – Winner’s Circle. Dave and Mike put the bike on the stand, with Ted (red shirt) directing and one of the Italian Aprilia factory riders keeping an eye on Dave’s son. In just a few minutes we would all be smelling like winos from our champaign spraying celebration of the third place podium position. As first place went to the Italian factory team and second to the US Suzuki factory team, we didn’t do too shabby!

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Homestead Florida was next on the schedule and Dave gets off on a good start. We were running one of the brand new bikes as #76.

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Mike later gets into it again with that same Ducati from the Daytona race, except a different rider this time. Mike gives him the same lesson that he taught the other guy – however, he brought it in a little later with some funny engine noises and retired the bike. Starting a race on a brand new bike just wasn’t a good idea, but we just didn’t have any time to break the engine in properly.

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After a mad scramble, Brett and I changed the engine and complete wiring harness in the 76 bike with that from the spare bike. We also bought Aprilia bodywork for the new bike to replace what we took for the 58 bike. Paul Schwemmer has also joined us. Paul had been racing a Suzuki in this series but a fire in the pits at Homestead kind of put him out of commission. He and Brett will campaign the old bike, now renumbered with Paul’s # 37 for the rest of the season, with Mike and Dave on the new bike (with the engine out of the spare bike) numbered with Brett’s 76. Follow all that?

So here’s Paul at Virginia international Raceway in practice, just before the front brake line fitting broke and he went tumbling through the tulips, shattering all that new bodywork. A little work with a skill saw to even up the ragged edges and some duct tape and he made the race.

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Mike leads a string of “wanna-bes”

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And Brett helps out in the pits while waiting his turn on the other bike.

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Mike leads one of the Aprilia factory team bikes around before he too takes an excursion off course to look at the bottom of a tire barrier. Took him and several corner workers to get the bike out, but . . .

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. . . he eventually gets back into the fray. He and Dave finished 9th and Brett and Paul followed at 15th.

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Road America was next, and Mike was unable to make it so Darren James from Canada joined us for the ride. Here he his on the 76 bike. He and Dave placed 18th with Brett and Paul a little ahead in 15th place. Interesting and long story here – Darren brought the bike into the pits for fuel, tires and rider change while leading the race. As Dave started to go out, Paul (who was helping on the stop) noticed that the instrument cluster was hanging loose and called for a tie-wrap to fix it. The race official issued a 20 second penalty for working on the bike without a fire extinguisher (the crew had already gone back over the wall when Paul saw the problem.) Then the official decided that the original rider had to be on the bike to serve the penalty. Darren had already left the pits and had to be called back. Now the official says he has to have his helmet on – when he gets that, then he needs gloves. And of course then he decides that the bike is on the stand and has to be off to serve the penalty, and now the engine is overheating and spilling water, so he orders the bike shut off. Ended up with us losing 3 laps (and first place) due to Herr Himmler the Nazi making up the rules as he went along.

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Here’s Patty playing umbrella girl and shading Paul at the start of the Iowa race.

Iowa Speedway just 6 days after Road America made for a panic week. Brett had a few meetings with the race series officials protesting the shabby treatment at Road America and the BS with Pirelli at Daytona. He also led a rider’s meeting about some serious safety issues at this speedway. Specially, the lack of a runoff area on several corners with concrete walls too close to the track. The officials poo-pawed this and said there was plenty of room to fall before getting into the wall, but when Brett asked what would happen if two or more bikes got together, preventing the riders from getting off, they got rather quiet.

Brett decided to only run the 37 bike with he and Paul riding.

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Our photographer appears to have slept through all of Brett’s turns on the bike as these are all with Paul on the bike at Iowa.

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A little promotion for one of our sponsors. It’s hard for the riders to find their pits so some type of easily recognizable flag is necessary. That’s Brett holding it, fully dressed and ready to take over the ride. You can see his helmet in upper right corner.

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Notice the lights back on the bike as this one didn’t start until 6:30 and wouldn’t end until after dark, some three hours later. Again, the right light is out so we decide that its the wiring rather than the light. We’ll have to fix that prior to Daytona, Oct 20th.

Brett and Paul ended up in 6th place, with Brett on the bike when the race was red flagged and ended with a severe accident in turn two, as per Brett’s original fears.

Here’s the official report from the race officials:

“The race was called on lap 166 with about 30 minutes remaining after an accident involving the No. 8 Richie Morris Racing Buell XB12 with Shawn Higbee, of Oconomowoc, Wis., and the No. 87 SpeedWerks.com Suzuki SV650 of Brian Kcraget, of Danville, Va. Higbee was entering Turn 2 when he crashed into the outside retaining wall. His motorcycle continued further down the race track after the impact and burst into flames and the bike was later hit by Kcraget’s bike. The race was immediately red flagged and later declared complete.

According to attending Iowa Speedway staff medical physician D.O. Lenard Kerr, Higbee is in serious condition and has been transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, and Kcraget is in critical condition and has been transported by air flight to the same hospital.”

Higbee has recovered from his injuries, and our own Dave Estok will join his team for the final at Daytona in October. Brett had originally planned to just run the # 37 bike, so Dave signed with Higbee’s team. We later found that our Aprilia sponsorship contract requires that we run both bikes, so Brett is talking to a couple of other friends to fill the void that Dave leaves, due to this unfortunate mix up.

Keraget was in a coma for a few days after the accident, but is doing well now and is registered to ride at Daytona also.

And for a “play-by-play” of the the season final – the 8 Hours of Daytona go to End of Season

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