CCS NJMP 5/2-3/15 RSP Racing #508 Race Report

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by Olympus Racing, May 4, 2015.

  1. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    What a crazy trip…

    Buckle up and make yourself dinner or a drink because this is going to be LONG!

    so one week after Loudon Road Race Series Round 1, Keith Draghi and I had decided to attend the CCS Atlantic/Mid-Atlantic Round 1 held at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I had only been to Jersey once in September 2014 and Keith although he had been there several times it was 3+ years since his last visit.
    So based on that we could really use some seat time on that track. Our plan was simple, leave Thursday around 6pm, arrive at the track before midnight, set up, get a good night sleep, wake up fresh Friday morning, do Practice with Absolute and race the weekend. well it would have been sweet if plans always worked right…?

    Thursday, I left my house fairly early to take my time to get to Keith’s. We were taking his RV, which provided enough room for us to transport the bikes and a nice place to stay while at NJMP. In the process of getting to Keith’s I almost got taken out from a driver who thought texting is more important than our lives and I had a crappy experience with a CT state trooper who very generously provided me with a $92 seatbelt ticket and wished me great luck with my racing at Jersey..
    So I arrived at Keith’s around 5pm. Our teammate Mike Kurtz had decided last minute to join the fun and race with us at NJ, but due to work limitations and his commitment to Tony’s Track Days and loyal Pirelli Customer he had to be back to Thompson CT early Sunday morning for the first TTD of the year. So in order to assist with that, Keith and I would take his bike with us and bring it back for him, that would allow him to come up Friday night and leave Saturday night.
    After we loaded Mike’s bike and made sure everything was ok we left Keith’s house a little after 8pm..
    While chatting and laughing with Keith, and still in the state of CT, a very loud BANG sounded from the rear of the RV. First thought was that a motorcycle strap broke lose and a bike fell. Checked the bikes and everything was fine. We pulled over to discover the inside of the dual rear driver’s side tire had popped. isn’t that great?
    Keith had some sort of RV roadside assistance/insurance. These guys were not so helpful. We called a local heavy duty roadside assistance guy who wanted $700 to replace the tire on the spot… it was a bit later that i remembered I am an AMA member and they offer free roadside assistance. Called AMA and although they were extremely helpful it took them 90 minutes to tell us that they found a guy who was going to be there in another hour and a half.
    Dude showed up and was extremely polite, performed the really hard work (honestly it was a pain to do) and we thanked him and continued our trip to Jersey around 130am. you would think that was it right?
    Nope as we jump on Jersey turnpike, on the truck, bus, rv section and driving in it for a solid 20 minutes, a huge red sign with a STOP lights up that informs us the highway is closed and we need to call a weird number. We do notice a bunch of trucks and buses on the CAR ONLY section but neither one of us saw a sign or anything like that prior. So we take the next exit, perform a highway U-turn and continue to our destination.
    At this point we both know that we should replace the blown tire and get fresh rubber on the spare. So we decide to just sleep at a Walmart parking lot instead of going all the way to the track and changing the tires firs thing in the morning. We made to Millville, NJ at 530-6am. We immediately passed out. We woke up around 8am, and google helped us find a local place. We walked in, the service manager was extremely helpful and polite, laughed with us while we told him our story and the immediately took the RV in and performed all the work (and more) that we asked them.
    I always take the time to recognize good service because it is very rare nowadays. These guys were AMAZING! Polite, fair with pricing, went above and beyond for us and it is greatly appreciated it. 5/5 in my book and I would recommend them to anyone. Keith and I even said that if he needs tires next year and we know we are going to NJ again we will give them our business.

    So now we finally arrive at the track with 2 hours of sleep and starving. We are both exhausted and we decide its not safe for us or anyone around us to ride motorcycles. We visited the track restaurant, enjoyed a great meal and found a decent spot at NJMP’s infield. We unpacked bikes and gear, made sure we have everything we need and took a little walk around to say hi to the fellow racers. It wasn’t too long before we were both behind exhausted level and decided to go take a nap.
    When we woke up it was time to go through registration and tech. pretty smooth considering there is no online reg for these events, it is still pen and paper, and we dealt with very pleasant and polite officials (as always with CCS).
    Once tech was complete for us, we helped Jim #105 get set up who had just arrived from Boston and we went over to the track restaurant for delicious dinner #2.
    Early bed time for all of us, but i had a bit of hard time falling asleep this time.
  2. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Saturday - Race Day!!!
    Woke up around 7am. Kurtz had to go through registration and tech and first practice (which I always skip) is at 9am. Not really in the mood to get up yet decided to spent a few more minutes in bed before starting the day. From the RV’s window it looked like it was going to be a great day for sure. I skipped first practice like I religiously do (some traditions are not meant to be broken) and went out for 2nd practice just to make sure I remember which way the track goes. I was planning on using GTL as my way of trying to find a fast line and maybe get a tow from one of the fast guys around here. at least I was hoping for that to happen.

    Race #3 GTL
    That was the only race all 3 of RSP Racing members where in. Keith Draghi #76, Mike Kurtz #86 and my self Savvas Kosmidis #508. Keith was gridded in the first row, I was right behind him, and since Mike registered like 2 hours ago he was in the last starting position.
    I was gridded in 2nd row on the right hand side. I got a decent start and managed to keep my position until the braking mark in T1, where half the grid passed me. Very close racing off the line and T1 was insane. Later I discovered I am not good at all in that part of the track. I got behind Keith #76 and Doug Fogg, I was able to pass both of them in T5 hard on the brakes and getting a better drive. I did blow T1 later in the race and that gave Keith the opportunity to pass me. We ended up battling it out for the rest of the race. I was finally able to make a good pass again on the brakes in T5 and get a great drive, and I was able to hold that position until the end of the race.I know I didn’t turn any lap records but i was happy to have finished my GTL at NJMP and the good battles I had with Keith.

    Finished 11th with a best lap of :1:37.7

    Race #7 Thunderbike
    I was gridded in 2nd row in the middle. I got a good start that allowed me to wheelie through the gear box and get decent momentum. However once again T1 proved to be my weakness and I dropped from 4th place to like 9th. I was stuck behind #46 Bob Robbins I was faster than him on the back section of the track but I could not make any safe and clear passes against his Ducati 1100. At lap one I blew a bit of the T10 (i think) and one more person got by me on the inside. Immediately after the straight I blew T1 really bad (almost crashed this one) and one more person John Moore #174 passed me as well. I stayed behind him for a while and I was able to finally pass him on the straight and make it stick. The rest of the pack had moved too far ahead and I didn’t have a chance of catching them so I just finished the race ahead of John. Pretty mad about my T1 move that cost me a pretty good race and maybe better results.

    Finished 8th with a best lap of 1:35.8 - Video:

    Race #10 UltraLight SuperBike
    I was gridded in 3rd row on the left. That start took a bit longer than usual but hey it happens. I wheelied bad the first gear forcing me to chop the throttle, and you guessed it, did T1 horrible allowing more than half the field go by me, and I fell behind Chad (it was on his leathers). I followed him for a lap and I was able to go by him over wheelie hill into T4. Traffic was bad after that point and I could not find a safe path to go by the people in front of me. Every time I was carrying the speed to pass one would move in front of me forcing me to chop the throttle enough for them to remain ahead of me. I went wide in T10 in a desperate attempt that didn’t work and Chad retook his position in front of me. I was able to get a better drive into the straight but again my terrible line in T1 allowed Chad to stay where he was. I was getting very upset and annoyed that I wasn’t able to make a pass stick but I just didn’t have it in me that day. I eventually made it Chad and one more person. and moved pretty well only to BLOW T1 AGAIN and allow both of them to pass me. Pissed off and tired I just wanted to finish my race and go eat something.

    Finished 13th with a best lap of 1:36.9 - Video:

    I had ASRA qualifying at this point as well, but I was so exhausted and hungry I did two laps and pitted in. I guess that was good enough for 11th place start on Sunday.

    These guys are very competitive and great riders. The top 5 I was not even able to keep in sight after a lap or two. I have plenty of time and positions to save in T1. It is my biggest weakness on the track and then of course the double apex section. I am still learning the new bike and this track (it is my second time here) but I am not happy with my times and results. I had higher expectations of myself for sure. But I can’t be mad, at the end of the day I finished all the races I entered and was able to pass some people.

    Went to the track restaurant with the great menu and amazing prices for dinner and back to the RV with Keith to get some rest. Neither one of us really cared about the boxing fight so our efforts to see it were practically zero. We had a long day ahead with 4 races for me and 3 races for Keith, and then a long drive back home. But I wanted better results and better times. I knew I had to push harder and completely change what I was doing in T1 because it clearly did not work at all.
    gabriel likes this.
  3. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Woke up once again at 7am. I felt relaxed and not sore at all which is a good sign for my physique and shows that work in the gym has been paying off. Skipped first practice as usual and went down in T1 to see what the fast guys are doing different. Holy crap they brake later than me and they take a totally different line. Now I had to apply that on my first race since there was no second practice on sundays.

    Race #2 ASRA Thunderbike 8 laps

    I was gridded 11th (3rd row) got a mediocre start but stayed on the right side of the track instead of moving to the left because of traffic. I once again got stuck behind mr. Fogg #65 and his Buel. It took me 3 laps I think to pass him and then chase down his teammate Bob #46 on his Ducati 1100. I could not find a path to make a safe pass and I was getting held up everywhere on the track but the straights which was getting me tired. I finally took a different line in T4 that allowed me to come on the inside in T5 and pass him on the brakes. I don't know this track very well so it's hard for me to take different lines. I was able to hold that position until the last lap. Coming out to the straight I accidentally upshifted twice which made the bike powerless and allow that insane Duc to catch up and pass me right on the line. Once again upset about getting stuck behind the big bikes which doesn't allow me to chase the faster guys and learn something new, upset for losing a spot on the start finish line because of a mistake and power. But happy to finish the race in one piece, very happy I didn't blow T1 at all for the first time this weekend and that I was able to pass some bikes. 1 down 3 more to go...

    Finished 8th with a best lap of 1:34.6 at least a decent lap time!

    Race #11 SuperTwins

    I had the pole position for this race and unfortunately I wasted it. I blew the start and went into T1 in 3rd or 4th place. I was able to pass the one (or two) rider(s) that were in front of me very quick and tried to chase down the leader on his KTM RC8. There was no hope to catch that bike so I just decided to get a safe race. Stephen Hoffman #291 who came second in GTL on Saturday showed me a wheel in T11 and I realized he is close to me. I put my head down and turned some fast laps. Coming out of T5 I looked behind me and he was right there. He kept the pressure on and was closing our gap, where else in T1... He got by me and I did a really good job sticking with him. On the final lap I tried several passes but not stock. Coming into the straight j had a much better drive but I almost touched his rear wheel forcing me to chop the throttle and totally change my line (rookie move). He crossed the finished line 0.023 seconds ahead of me to put me in 3rd place. I was pretty upset for my mistake but I had to also be happy for my first ever Expert Podium finish. It was a good race and I got a valuable experience out of it and a pretty good video. I am hoping for even better results next time we meet with #291 but I always enjoy a clean race with safe passing and I appreciate racers like that. And I now have my best lap time in NJMP.

    3rd place with best lap of 1:34.5 - Video:

    Race #16 Light Weight Grand Prix

    I was gridded in second row on the right. I got a great start and went in T1 with the leaders pack. I sticked with therefor majority of the race while I was battling back and forth with someone on a very powerful ducati and my new friend at NJ #291 Stephen Hoffman. There was a lot of clean passes throughout the race and I ended up finishing ahead both of the racers that pushed me to my fastest lap at nj and get a very respectable 4th place finish. I was very happy that I was able to keep those guys behind me since they had beat me earlier in the day. My friend George Demetropolis came by after and congratulated me on the finish and a very good race. Its good to hear from a fast guy that I am doing good. He gave me some pointers about T1 since that is where I am struggling and everyone is making ground on me. I waste a lot of time there and it kills my momentum. I didn’t have much time to rest or chat because I was right back out for race #18.

    4th Place with a best lap of 1:34.3

    Race #18 Light Weight Super Bike

    I was gridded at the same spot. Second row on the right. I was very very tired after already doing 6 races and qualifying, plus the long drive here. I got a killer start and got into T1 in second or third place. I was able to hold that and actually make ground on those guys, which actually leaded to my fastest outlap on Thunderbolt by 3 seconds of the previous once. It seemed like it was going to be a great race and maybe a very good finish for me but as I came into the straight I felt exhausted and sweat was running into my eyes. I tried to push my brake marker into T1 but my body just didn’t have what it took to complete the turn and I went straight in the grass and into the gravel trap. I managed to keep the bike up (thank God) and actually was able to get it of the gravel without any help, while the corner workers told me to go back out there and get them (thanks Timmy). However I decided not to be a danger to myself or fellow racers and pulled into the pits to start packing and head home. I had accomplished almost all my goals for the weekend and there was no need for stupid risks.

    last place best personal out lap 1:38.0 / DNF - Video:
  4. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    overall it was a good weekend and I cannot complain.I finished all my races without a crash and the bike performs great.The weather was amazing and i got tons of seat time on the new bike. I successfully tested the bike’s and mine stamina and we passed. I definitely need to do something with chassis-suspension on the bike if i want better results. Like I said when I first started this project it is a good foundation but it is not at the point of running at the front just yet, neither am i though. It will take some time and some very good adjustments. I have a lot of studying to do in regards to geometry and suspension for sure.
    The CCS racers were much friendlier this time and I met a lot of people from Facebook and various forums. Passes and competition were much cleaner and safer comparing to my first experience there, so thank you guys for keeping it safe and sorry to those who I spooked in my T1 incident at the end of Sunday.

    Huge shoutout to my teammate Keith Draghi for providing the RV, making the trip with me, doing ALL the driving, being awesome all weekend and for finishing all his races with the shiny side up as well. We will be going to Summit Point together in the end of May to learn a new track and battle some of those guys again.

    To my amazing brother Adam Butler for building this bike for me to perfection, making sure everything is working and is safe on the bike for me to do what i do. I would not be able to a turn a lap on this bike if it wasn’t for you my dude.

    Thank you to all the CCS & ASRA staff for putting together a great event.The corner workers and medical stuff for keeping us safe out there. you guys are heroes! Rain or shine, 30 or 100 degree weather you guys are out there protecting us, watching us, supporting us and the sport.

    Massive thank you to all my sponsors for their great support and for having faith in me:
    Alexander Academy, Butler Performance Machining Meze Greek Tapas & Grille, DNA High Performance Filters, Dyno Solutions, SportBike Track Gear, Bell Helmets, AXO Racing Gear, Souhegan Valley Motorsports & Scott Mullin, Woodcraft, TechnoMoto Racing LTD, Pirelli Tires, Tony’s Track Days, 434 Racer, Brunetto T-Shirts, Computrack Boston, Vortex Racing, GoPro Cameras.

    Shout out to my all my teammates from RSP Racing, I know more of you wanted to be there and battle in this track but life didn’t allow it.
    and of course thanks to all of you, the people who support me, follow me, most importantly believe in me. I say it all the time; I will never forget where I came from and where I started. For me it still feels unreal to be able to make my dream of racing come true and be where I am today. I get all my strength to fight and be a better person on and off the track from the amazing people in my life. So thank YOU for being part of it one way or another. It means more to me than words can describe.

    Stay safe out there and remember to do as much good as you can every moment of every day,

    Sav #508

  5. SVbadguy

    SVbadguy I survived the Mt Course

    And in action. Nice meeting you.:up:

    Attached Files:

  6. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the photo :)
    Great meeting us.

    Will you be at summit point?
  7. clarustnb

    clarustnb Well-Known Member

    Was a pleasure racing against you. I was the guy you tried to pass in T1 and blew it straight on in the UL SB [also known as the one who was holding up the pack (;]

    The entire LWTRacer crew Chad #61, Todd #171, Sam #60, Me #909 and the others will be pitted in the back woods of Summit next weekend. Stop by for some beer, burgers, or if you want to just recap the weekend in person.
  8. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member


    I have never been to summit before. I will be there very late Friday night to do the practice on Saturday. I will definitely stop by.

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