2016 the Beginning of New Chapters Loudon Road Race Series 2016 Round 1 This year has a lot planned for me in many aspects. From taking over a whole new job to the year of racing the Isle of Man and everything in between. On top of that I have been invited by Penguin Road Racing School (the oldest racing school in USA) to be an instructor with them. This is my greatest way of giving back, from the beginning of my racing career until now numerous people have been helping in different forms. This first weekend of 2016 Penguin gave me the ability to work with the Basic School students which includes all riders who want to obtain their CCS racing license. It was full day of turning several laps in various speeds, helping students overcome issues and increase performance while teaching them about safety. I also got to work with people who have over 10+ years of instructing experience so I got to learn a lot myself. On top of that add my regular practice and you can understand how Friday was an intense workout. I don’t think I have ever been in my leathers for 8+ hours before until that day. The night closed with a great dinner, the celebration of my friend’s and teammate Stephanie Miscall, the arrival of my brother Panos at the track and an early bed time. Saturday Woke up very early because I had some work to do on the bikes, as well as prep one of the bikes for a Rookie that I decided to assist with his first weekend and let him borrow my bike for it as well, Keith Johnson. It was a bit of challenge because we had some back to back races so we had to create removable number plates (fancy wording for painters and duct tape). Keith did excellent this weekend and got his racing license and finished very well in both his races. For me this was my first time on the 2009 Yamaha R6 Supersport. It has been a while since I was on one of those since my focus the recent years has been on the Lightweight classes. Testing the weekend before had shown that I was clicking very well with the R6 and the set up and everything was exactly as I wanted thanks to Peter Kates from Computrack Boston. This was also the last shake down for the Kawasaki ER6 MiniTwin before it ships to the Isle of Man for this year’s Manx Grand Prix. Went out for practice on each bike and I immediately could tell I wasnt myself, my shifting points were all over the place, I was missing shifts and brake markers, my lines were unsteady. A quick look at lap times confirmed terrible riding (not that I needed the confirmation). I figured I will just keep hydrating and I would be fine by time my races start. Race #5 Heavy Weight SuperSport I was gridded dead last (3D aka 12th), I got a terrible start and found out the hard way that the R6 makes no power below 8000rpm (later I found out that it needs even more than that). Trying to shake off my terrible start and possible the worst one of my entire racing career, I continued to ride in the worst way that I have in a long time time. Bad shifting and braking continued, I was supper stiff on the bike, I was adding too much bar input mid corner, my body position was bad. I pretty much was doing everything wrong. I finished totally exhausted in 9th Place and a best lap of 1:21.3 there was number plate swaps immediately for Keith to go out for his race and after that I had two back to back races between the R6 and the ER6. We got permission to keep the ER6 on the warmers near the pit lane to make the swap easier. Huge thank you to Gino for arranging and managing everything and of course Pano and Steph for all the help. Plan was to come in from the Unlimited race on the R6, jump immediately on the ER6 and go out for Ultra Superbike… Race #8 Unlimited Grand Prix I was gridded 22nd and got another equal start. Bad riding continued and half way through the race I decided that I was a hazard to myself and my fellow racers so I decided to lift my left hand up and bring it in the pits making this my first time to ever quit race and get a DNF (Did Not Finish). Best lap was 1:20.8 which may sound like improvement but really is terrible for what I was expecting. Quick prep talk by coaches Gino and Pano, relax grab some water and jump on the Kawasaki for my last race of the day. Race #9 Ultralight SuperBike I was gridded 21st for this one. Huge grid with various bikes, twins, motards, gp bikes, i don’t even know what else it was out there. In my head I had already two bad starts and starts usually are my strongest point and I was gridded 5 rows deep on top of riding like crap all day so I didn’t have very high expectations for this race. I got a decent start (finally) and cleared half the field, going into T1 in 12th place. I stayed there for a while trying to find a good rhythm and remember how to ride the inline twin again. Things started clicking, I was able to relax myself and have some fun. I made a few passes, stayed safe and didn’t push too hard. Ended up in 8th place and best lap of 1:19.3 finally a decent result with a better lap time and some good riding. Evening followed with going to the T6 stands to watch my friends Steph, Cole, Dave, and others compete in the Dash (MWGP). Long night with Greek Orthodox Easter traditions, good friends, the AWARD CEREMONY OF COURSE (packed this time and i was glad to see that) lots of laughing and fire that used all the lighter fluid in the world. Also I found out that the hardest item to obtain in the Paddock during an LRRS weekend is a lemon (LOL), nearly impossible to find it, shoutout to Chris Dove for coming through with one already cut out too lol. Sunday Woke up already cold, temperature was low and it was only going to get colder and wet, very wet. Skipped practice (tradition) and did oil changes in both bikes. Some quick touches on the bikes with Gino and Pano and we were ready to start the day. My mom was coming to see and celebrate my birthday (getting older) and bring food for like 242983 people at the track. For those of you who don’t know my mom is my lucky charm and I never had a bad race day with her there As expected the skies opened and we got a pretty solid rain. Which is much better than the on and off we were getting last year which was destroying our rain tires and caused several last minute tire swaps. So with the awesome help of Mike & Tony from MTAG Pirelli (thank you for not only getting me awesome tires, but providing the best possible service I could ask for) we threw the rain tires on the R6 and decided to sit out the Kawasaki, too much to lose with nothing to gain since I am not racing any LightWeight classes in the USA for the rest of the year and the bike is shipping in a few weeks.