Tsukuba Race 4 and AFG Motosports sponsorship for 2015 !

The final race of the season for the Tsukuba Championship!

I was only able to participate in the last two CBR Enjoy Cup races this year but next year I'll be moving up to the CBR Dream Cup and Tourist Trophy NS2.

I was/am still healing from my injury back on 9/17 and hadn't ridden since the crash so I took work off on Friday and got back into the groove with some special practice sessions.  Spent the morning fixing up the bike, new exhaust and rear set, and made sure everything was in place.

However the front wheel felt really sluggish and my handling was terrible in the morning session so I reassembled the wheel and forks and gave it another go.

It felt a little better but I decided to work with the current setup during qualifiers and then decide what to do for the race depending on how that went.

The bike inspection at Tsukuba is quite hectic so this time we made sure to get the bottom fairing off before getting to the inspection area to save us some sweat, but carrying all that crap across the paddock is a pain in the butt.

Qualifiers went alright but the bike was still feeling sluggish on entry.  Every time I went for the apex the bike would go wide and just pushing the handles harder wasn't exactly getting me closer to the apex in a safe manner but causing my rear to push out every time I touched the throttle.

So last minute we took a chance and dropped the front another 2mm on top of the 7mm I did when upgrading my suspension at iFactory and added a half turn to the pre-load.  It was a bit of a gamble and would potentially cause the rear to get light on exit, but my current fear was going wide on every single turn.

Luckily it all worked out and the new settings felt great, and put me back in the lower 14 sec, upper 13 sec range from before the crash.  Riding faster always feels good, but I still have several seconds I can shave off with my current setup.

Key brought his bicycle-shop apron for the race :-D I'm guessing he dirtied his clothes last time around.  I'm glad he had the idea to drop the front of the bike down, even though I was nervous for the first lap of the race, not knowing exactly what setting I was riding since I had never tested it out.

I had a great start in the race!  I started 16th out of 17 on the grid but by the first corner was up to around 11th place.  Once I hit the first hairpin a couple people got under me and then at the chicane and 2nd hairpin a couple more putting me back at 15th place.

The whole race I fought with the guy in 14th, who had a Motobum decal bike.  I would get close to overtaking him, especially in the final corner which I was much faster in, but he would creep away in the chicane.

But just then! 3 laps before the end of the race I pass him on the front straight in front of everyone, but my whole team was busy recording lap times and putting the sign board up that they didn't get any pictures until then next lap when I had already been overtaken T_T

I kept on his tail for the remainder of the race and if there had been 1 more lap could've passed him again.

 Finished 15th out of 17 and had such an exciting race trying to get into 14th!


After my race I stayed to watch Fuji in his CBR Dream Cup debut, something I'm looking forward to for myself.

After the race I got good news from my sponsor AFG Motosports!
My sponsorship is going to be extended to 2015!  I'm looking forward to a good year racing in the CBR Dream Cup and TT NS2!


My Tskukuba Debut! Tsukuba Race 3

I've upgraded from Shiraito to Tsukuba, from #3 to #33 and it's my first race ever at Tsukuba!

I've come to Tsukuba about 3 times but I'm looking to challenge myself, and after all it's not always about winning but it is always about having fun and getting better.

Last week I prepared my new race tire wheel set, changed my sprockets to 14/38, changed my oil (Panolin 10w30), and set up my decals.

I showed up the day before, Friday, for two special sessions for people racing the next day.  I ended up showing up early and finding that my friend Fuji had totaled his front suspension and wouldn't be appearing in the race so I got his regular C3 session ticket and put in one normal session.

The first time I met him I bought a C session off him, and let him use my spare rear-sets for the next.... this seems like it's getting to be a pattern, but at least I made a friend :-D

Day before the race and got in some solid practice, 3 sessions, improving my time by a little.

Mako was chilling in the air-conditioned room overlooking most of the course as I melted away in the summer heat.

I was able to mingle a bit between sessions and make some new friends through Fuji.  I didn't realize that most of the people in the CBR Dream Cup were under 18, but it was an eye opener to see who was in all the videos I watched on Youtube.  Everyone was really nice and it's good to know there will be friendly and familiar faces the next time I show up at Tsukuba, which will be as soon as possible.

Keme is in an ST600 pit crew so this time around it was left to Key and Mako to support me.  Key was officially my Pit Crew and Mako my Race Queen.  It's sort of funny, but it was the easiest way to register her so that she could come on the grid with me, since there was no need in her getting MFJ Pit Crew certified.

My first race at a big track so I had to do it right.  I got the team to don AFG Motosports and ICON gear to represent my sponsor and decorated my brand new signboard with some sponsor decals.  We felt like a real team, a little short handed, but a team none the less!

During the qualifiers I was able to keep up with this guy who was like 6'4" at least, so tall he had to sit on the rear fairing.  It was kind of funny with him waving his butt in my face, but I didn't have time to laugh seeing that I needed to try to place better in the qualifier.

The race I entered is the CBR Enjoy Cup which is mixed with ST250, so the fast pack is mostly Kawasaki Ninjas.  Total participants 9, with only 2 in the CBR Enjoy Cup.  Fuji was to be the 3rd but dropped out from yesterday's crash.

It's minutes before the race and the temperatures are still rising.  33C with 62% humidity in the shade.  Ground temperatures rising from 40C to 50C by race time.  This is going to be tough.

Key grabbed a nice memorable shot to commemorate my first Tsukuba 2000 race, on the grid and ready to go!


Pass 1.

Pass 2.

This is the best race start I've ever had but then I get into the corner.... and brake way too early and drop back a place.

 I held my position until the second hairpin where the final Ninja crept past me.  

I learned a lot during practice, talking to many people, and during the race.  I know what I need to work on and a couple things I need to do to the bike.


My new suit and helmet look pretty good on this bike... maybe I won't paint it after all.


Blowing up my NSR engine

Went to Tsukuba to the first time with my NSR and did two sessions.  It is one of the most interesting, technical, challenging, exciting circuits I've been to and I had a blast.

However, in my lapse of judgement I didn't fill the radiator properly with water.  I forgot to kick start the engine once to pump the remaining air out, to fill more water in, so I only had about half the amount of water necessary.

Oddly enough I didn't feel any reduction in power or feel any side effects so I just rode like normal, full throttle whenever I could.  But unluckily a clamp snapped and the little water that was in the engine all evaporated out. 

I'm super lucky that I pulled the clutch in when I did, because just then I heard the sound of metal exploding as my piston shattered to pieces.  If I had delayed by even a second I would've probably high-sided and damaged the rest of my bike.

I should've been more careful and checked my temperature more closely after the first session and before the second session, but whats done is done.

Took the bike apart to see how bad the damage was, hoping I might be able to fix it up.

And then this fell out of the exhaust.....

Took the left cylinder off and found this lonely connecting rode with no piston.... very different from all the images I've seen online.  If you look closely at the bottom of the rod you can see a chunk of my piston just chillin'.

Piston fused to the cylinder, and there is no way I'm getting that out easily.  Got a quote for an engine rebuild + the cost of replacing the cylinder and it came out to a little more than I was willing to dish out, so I decided to just call it quits and part the bike out.

I'm going to miss this bike, especially since I barely got to ride it.  I rode it about 4 times, and out of those 4 times crashed it once and blew the engine once.  So I probably only got 4 hours or so of track time on it.

Beautiful bike, and maybe one day I'll get another one, but not now.