Sunday, 3 July 2016

PPIHC - Wednesday - Supermoto

Travis' CRF Supermoto cost him one thousand dollars. Built out of bits of knackered bikes, it has creative touches like old chain-links used for brackets - this bike shows off Travis' ingenious skill as a bike builder. It looks like any other CRF Supermoto... but this one is a wee bit special. At PPIHC 2012 Travis rode it to first place in class and set the course record in the process. A special rider too.

Some special jetting for the altitude... 
... and 110 octane race fuel for the CRF.

I had never ridden a Supermoto before. I figure it wouldn't be much different from my old KTM enduro 450... just lower and with a front brake that works. At first light on Wednesday, I was about to find out what all the Supermoto fuss was all about on one of the most gnarly stretches of race circuit in the world.
The dream team!
Ant and I are up at 02:30, meeting Travis at 03:15 and setup in the Glen Cove paddock an hour later. We were on the middle section... starting at Glen Cove, up through the 'Double-Yous' to Devil's Playground. It's the shortest section but also the slowest with ten stop-go switchbacks. It's the easiest to learn but probably the most technical.
Top of the section.

Travis uses his Peak experience and gives the veteran fourfiddy some different jets. Ant gets it through technical inspection, we have riders briefing and morning prayers. Conditions are good and like Tuesday, not too cold or windy. Sighting lap is a bimble up the mountain, just getting used to the throttle and brakes... those are the only things we really need. She bogs down at low revs... but sings perfectly in tune at the top... this is the compromise at over 11,000 feet. 

I get my first run in. Man! She is sweet... so well setup. I don't want to change a thing and focus on just learning the series of switchbacks with a few corners like Ragged Edge, Elk Park and Oh-Shit in between. A very strange and beautiful experience... hooning up a mountain-side as fast as you dare as the sun rises. Then meeting up with other riders and chatting about all sorts of things... bikes, cars, mountains, their hometown, other crazy races and the places to get a good burger in town.

Davey Durelle and Elizabeth Deeter. Davy is a Pikes Peak legend with 16 wins to his name!

Carlin Dunne and Paul Livingstone - Spidergrips team owner/boss and organiser of this year's Squadra Alpina

After all the riders have made thieir first run, we cruise back down to the paddock... taking care on cold tyres. Tyre warmers on, debrief. Travis and I talk through the section on the course map... places to be careful, where there is normally gravel on the road, negative cambers and how to get up as fast as possible.

Soon, I head out for my second run. The wee bike is awesome. So light. Nimble. Precise. Sharp. So much more forgiving than the big beasts I am used to. One can take the piss. This is FUN!

I get one of the switchbacks wrong, thinking it's one of the fast left-handers... then Armco pops into view... ooops. Straighten her up and squeeze that brake... she stops so quickly. No problemo. Throw her on her side and we carve up through the apex. Done.
We manage to get four runs in... going faster each time. I'm the third-fastest in the Lightweight class. Really?
For the last run I follow Carlin Dunne. He goes into the switchbacks a lot deeper, driving the big, heavy bike around the less-steep outside slope. Something I must remember when I get to this section during my race run on Sunday. I try burn that image into my mind... I won't be on a wee Supermoto on Sunday. On the last run, the others in the lightweight class up their game and we land up the fifth fastest Lightweight.

Super happy to get that section done... some course learning and a great new experience. Smiles ear to ear!
We pack up and head to the Hungry Bear to chat about the practice over a big ole American breakfast of biscuits-and-gravy, meat-cakes, hash-browns, omlette and shit-truck-stop-coffee. We're all a bit tired so after the big breakfast, we get our heads down for a mid-morning nap.

Some cool cars around town.

That afternoon we head back up to Denver where the guys at Imperial Sportbikes have worked flat-out to get a new motor in the Big Red Duck. She's ready and waiting... the guys even lock wired and siliconed her all up. Race prep done! Thanks Bryan, Tim and all the guys who worked on the bike... Imperial Sportbikes rock!

We get back to the cottage with some supermarket slop to fill our bellies... it feels late, but is only nine aye-em. We're knackered and head to bed.

Americano garden accessories.

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