It's been a busy couple of months and I have neglected to update the website! So, this year's Suzuka 8 hour went awesome! Our goal was top 20 and we finished 16th! This year was pretty stacked to, with 63 teams and a lot of strong contenders!
The race week started out pretty good. The weather was hot and humid but it stayed dry so we were able to maximize our practice sessions. Qualifying went really good for us. I qualified 3 seconds quicker than last year and Kari put us P24 on the grid with a flying lap of 2:11.6!
Race day was the hottest day of the week! Our first stints were exhausting! Luckily we were a 3 rider team which gave us ample time to recover, but even then it was hard work!
The race went smooth for us. The pit stops were great and the riders didn't make any mistakes. The only drama came when it started raining with about half an hour to go. I was the lucky rider who got to deal with the changing conditions. I love riding in the wet, but at night things get pretty sketchy! It started raining hard enough to warrant coming in for rain tires, but with about 10 minutes to go the track dried out and the rains started to fall apart!
II took it easy and just focused on brining the bike home, I was so happy when the checkers finally came out! It was a long hard race and a lot of good teams fell victims to attrition. We ended up 16th, just one spot out of championship points!
It was an amazing year for us and I enjoyed every minute of working with my friends to come home with a solid result! We are already discussing next year's plans and I am trying to get our European test rider to join the team! Well see how it goes!
I have to thank everyone for all the help and support this year! My friends and family who chipped in financially really helped me to accomplish this goal and I can't thank you guys enough!
I have posted the race video in the "videos" section so be sure to go check it out!
So Suzuka is just 2 weeks away! I have been training really hard and feel pretty good. I wasn't able to join the team for the Suzuka test last week but I got a very positive report back from them. They say the bike is better than ever and my teammate, Karita, was able to run 2:12s pretty easily (he thinks he can do 2:11s). That's going pretty good around Suzuka and I don't think I will be able to match the pace of my teammate, but I do think I can run 2:14s. If so, and with a little luck, we might be able to compete for a top 15 which will earn us World Championship points! I'll be leaving Sunday, July 21st and I'll be tweeting updates from Suzuka. You can follow me @Dkeyes732. Thanks to everyone for all the support and I hope we can make everyone proud with a strong performance at the this year's 8tai!
It's been a while since I've updated the website. I've been traveling and busy with work and family recently that I just haven't had the chance! Well, since the last update I raced the WERA West double header in Las Vegas. This was the first race weekend with the Elka shock, which worked great but the stock forks were the limiting factor. I was able to go a full second faster than I went earlier in the year and did it consistently (low 1:18s). I think I could have pushed into the 17s but the front just didn't have the confidence I needed to feel comfortable pushing much harder than I already was.
I was able to take 2nd place in both A Superstock races and 4th in both F1 races. The frustrating part is knowing I could probably contend with the guys in front if I just had more front feel. That being said, I have purchased the GP Suspension 25 mm Cartridge kit to improve the front issues!
This past weekend I got a chance to try out the new forks during the Track Xperience trackday at Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump, NV. I must say I am impressed with the performance of the GP kit! I only made 2 clicks of adjustment the entire day! The front feel was much better compared with the stock forks. I could trail brake deeper and feel the limit of the front tire, where as on the stock forks I couldn't feel the limit of traction and was basically guessing on how deep I could carry my corner speed. On top of the new forks I also installed a Kit ECU and mapped it myself. This was an awesome learning experience for me and the map I made is pretty good! I had to tune in the shift timing a little to make the upshifts smoother, but I had that dialed by the end of the day. I think with a little more time with the system I can have it all dialed and running smooth! I can't wait to go racing again but that will have to wait until September because now my attention will be focused on Suzuka!
I'm planning to hit up one more local trackday before heading of to Japan in July. I've been training really hard and got my weight under 160 lbs. for the first time since high school! I'm putting a lot of effort into Suzuka this year because it may be the last time I go for a while. It's time to focus on the family a little more and do a real summer vacation (I was thinking IOM TT 2014, but my lovely wife keeps bringing up Hawaii......lol).
Pilot USA has helped me out with an awesome suit for Suzuka and Shoei has hooked me up with a lid which I handed over to Hot Rod Pinstriper Jimmy C to do his thing on it. Both look amazing (there should be pics posted below)! The guys at Rokform have set me up with a nice I Phone case too so I can look sharp while traveling to Japan! I can't thank everyone enough for all their support, especially my family! My wife and kids have been so supportive of my racing adventures! I also have to give a big thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for keeping me safe and giving me the opportunity to live out my passion. I pray He uses all this for His glory!
I'm bringing along my Go Pro with me and plan on putting together a video from Suzuka. Stay tuned for that! Thanks for reading and I promise to stay on top of the updates!
Suzuka 2013 Leather (Thanks to Pilot USA)
Suzuka 2013 Helmet (Thanks to Shoei and Jimmy C)
Getting Some Track Time out at Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump, NV (Photos by Trackday.net)
This past weekend I was asked to join "Iceman Racing" to honor our fallen friend Kenny Anderson for the M1 GP 8 hour race at Grange kart track. I was honored to join the team! Kenny's father, Eric Anderson, was our crew chief which made this a very special experience for all of us! I was joined on the team with my friends John and Amanda Erickson, Ed Sorbo, Al Cunningham and Danielle Diaz and we were running Kenny's racing number, 12.
Our bike was professionally prepped by Ed Sorbo and it ran awesome the entire race! It took me a few laps to learn how to ride the lil' mini Super Moto around the kart track, but once I figured it out I felt like I was on rails! I ended up setting the fastest lap of the race and our team won by 12 laps!
It was such a great experience to pay honor to Kenny in such a special way! It was awesome meeting so many new friends too! I got some good practice in for Suzuka and I'm ready to go racing out in Vegas with WERA next weekend!
Thanks to everyone at "Iceman Racing" for letting me ride on the team. I will never forget this race!
I went out to Chuckwalla over the weekend to get some riding time in before I head out to Japan for work. It was a public trackday so I knew I wasn't going to be burning off race stints so I focused on suspension changes and testing. I got to try out an Elka shock, thanks to my friends over at CM Motorsports. The Elka was a noticable improvement over the stock shock! Unfortunately, with the rear working decently the front is now the weak point. The stock fork feels like it doesn't absorb the bumps at all now which makes you chase the front when you are carrying any kind of good corner speed.
The Elka wasn't perfect. While it was much better than the stock shock, it still felt a little on the soft side for my liking. Checking the rider sag, I was at 28 mm with the pre-load adjuster all the way in. It looks like i need a stiffer spring. All of this was a big step in the right direction and now I think I'm going to spend some time dialing in the front to match the rear. The Team 38 U.S.A. ZX-10R is starting to turn into a real race bike!
Along with the suspension changes I want to do I also need to change the riding position of the bike. I can't get my weight transfered the way I want to. I have found a set of Attack clip-ons that will go on the bike for the next outing.
So, I'm off to Japan to do some work. I'll be traveling a lot over the next couple of months so it will be a little while before I get to the race track again. I have made a new video and you can check it out on the "video" page. I will be updating my progress as I prepare for Suzuka in a little video series so stay tuned!
I went over to CM Motorsports today and used there suspension dyno to get an idea of where the 2 shocks I made stand. They are both a big improvement from the stock setting but still a little ways off from a full on race shock. I left one shock with James and he said he was going to try a few ideas and see if he can get it closer. He's also revalving the stock steering damper for me. I can't wait to try out all the new settings next weekend!
The next plan is to hit a track day at Chuckwalla on March 9th. I have built a new shock setting that I hope will be an improvement. I have also built linkage that is a copy of the Team 38 setting from Suzuka. This link is more linear compared to the stock link and should help keep the stock shock up on the initial stroke. I've also ordered a stiffer spring, so all this combined should make for a busy track day, but I think we will learn a lot!
In other news I am happy to announce a new sponsor, Rokform! Rokform makes a bunch of cool stuff for your phones and i pads. You can check them out at rokform.com
So, we've been working in the shop mainly building a new shock spec for the race bike. Working with stock suspension is a bit of a challenge only because you are limited to what you can do. We tried a shock and fork spec at Autoclub Speedway that was a step in the right direction but with some draw backs. The front fork setting worked pretty good so we are not going to make any big changes there (maybe increase the oil level to keep it off the bottom). The rear shock spec, while better than the stock spec, needs some work.
Derek felt that the begining of the stroke was a bit fast when getting on the throttle which "sagged" out the bike and made it difficult to finish off the corners. Also, when accelerating over the bumps the rear tire would "skip" across (not keeping contact with the road) the bumps. The new setting we have come up with should slow down the compression stroke and help keep the rear up on the throttle. We have also addressed the rebound side to help keep contact with the road. Another idea we are kicking around is to try a stiffer spring (now we are running a 107 Nm and might try a 110 or 112).
This is the fun part about this project....taking the stock stuff and squeezing out every bit of performance we can!
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