NEHA-KSCC HillClimb Burke Mt. #508 Savvas Kosmidis Race Report

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by Olympus Racing, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Savvas Kosmidis NEHA-KSCC Burke Mountain HillClimb 06/07/2015 Race Report

    In the order to get ready for the TT and Manx GP at the Isle of Man I have been looking for several similar events in the USA that I can attend. Visiting other race tracks the last 2 years has helped me a lot with adapting quickly to new conditions but the race track is nothing even close to the Isle of Man.
    I had to get some experience with taking a race bike on real roads, which by the way is nothing like riding a street bike fast.

    I found out about MAX BMW and their Ascutney event which happens once a year but I needed more practice than that. after a lot of research i was able to get in contact with some great people from New England HillClimb Association and Killington Sports Car Club. They were nice enough to listen to my story and allow me to enter their events.

    The first event that I could attend was this past weekend at Burke mountain, VT. I had never been in that are before but I was very excited to get there.

    I arrived at the campground Friday afternoon. There were a few cars, no motorcycles but people started showing up shortly. I met a very nice lady at registration who explained a lot to me about HillClimb, the issues they are having, and why some car guys may not want motorcycles in their events. Shortly I met Sherman Baumann, President of the Killington Sports Car Club, one of the “old school” HillClimbers and an awesome man. Sherman is brutally honest and has a great sense of humor.
    He took all the rookie, including me, on a back of a pick up truck for our rookie orientation where he explained in his own unique way the challenges of the course and the safety rules we have to follow. I have to admit at this point that every single person I interacted with there was very friendly and welcoming. Some guys even offered me to take their car up for a run.

    Friday night came quick and my good friend Gino and his wife had taken a trip up to their cabin in NH in order to support me for this event and give me a nice place to stay. I left the mountain around 730pm to head to the cabin and for the first time ever the legendary ambulance had a surprise for me. 2 miles away from the mountain (and about 40 minutes from the cabin) it just shut off. It wouldn’t start and it sounded like fuel as not getting to the engine. I tried a few things and about an hour later I got it running again. Seems like the issue was old fuel and/or water in it. Nothing a little water remover and fresh diesel couldn’t fix. Arriving at the cabin i was welcomed from my amazing friends, a beautiful view and a very warm fire. Couldn’t ask for much more. I caught up with Gino an Kate, had a great dinner and went to bed.

    Satuday:
    In the hillclimb events if you miss the riders meeting you are not allowed to run for the day! I though that was a great rule so I made sure I was up early in order to be there in time. Riders meeting took place at 730am. They informed us that they will be splitting us in two groups A and B and the motorcycles will be the end of A group. The first format would have been Group A would do a fam run to check conditions and all, come back down and do timed runs. Saturday is practice only so your times mean nothing other than setting a good point for yourself to see how fast you can go. Sunday is the actual racing with points and everything.

    I was pitted with the MAX BMW crew and my two new friends Joe Warner and Andrew Phillips. Also another great young man I met there who is the faster guy on a motorcycle at Burke, Fletcher Rood and his KTM 625! Awesome people all of them. Very friendly, very knowledgable and welcoming, passionate about the sport and happy to have a new guy join them.
    It rained heavily Saturday night so the course was wet and cold, with leaves and dirt in several spots. I decided to do the first few runs on my loyal Suzuki SV650 Supersport on Rain tires. At this point i didn’t even know if I would have the option to run warmers, so I was thinking of not riding the Kawasaki EX650 at all since it was on race tires.
    First run on the SV was a blast, the rain tires got warm quick, and provided enough flexibility when met with rocks/sand/leaves that kept the bike stable enough. The course is very tight and very aggressive. I had never ridden in similar conditions. They were turns with 15% incline and 180 increasing radius with leaves and bumps right on the apex! talk about challenging. Yet the first thing everyone told me when I got back was that I have a huge smile on my face! God that was fun! I want more of that.
    I was so pumped to be there and have completed my first run, i could not hide my happiness. Group B went out and thats where it all went south. Crashes are hard to clean up at a hillclimb since there aren’t many spots for the ambulance or the tow truck to be at, so they usually wait at the bottom of the hill. So if someone crashes at Turn 21 (not random selection of turn) the the tow truck has to drive almost at the top of the hill to pick up the wreck. And thats exactly what Group B did. So we didn’t get to run for another 1.5 hour. I went out on my second run and had even more fun, started to drag my knee in certain turns and getting more used to the bumps and riding in first gear. The SV was predictable, solid and very forgiving!
    Lunch time arrived and the KSSC guys got pizza for everybody. I had decided to take the Kawasaki out after that for what it seemed to be the 3rd and final run of the day for us. We got permission to go a few feet behind the start line in order to use warmers and not have the bike go through mud and gravel to start finish line (the pit area is an actual camping area). Gino hooked up the generator and threw my warmers on. We only got 15 minutes on the warmers but I was confident to ride easy and smooth enough. I pulled up to the start line and I was told to shut my bike off, because the rider in front of me crashed. 20’ went buy and nothing. 25 minutes later they tell me I can go. At that point I didn’t want to take any risks and gave up my run and called it a day. Gino and I jumped on his truck and went up the Hill to pick up the crashed motorcycle. Brought it back down, packed for the fallen rider and Gino and his wife took him to the hospital.
    I packed the rest of my stuff, and headed over to the cabin to meet with them again for the night. My brother Panos, came from Worcester too on Saturday night to join the fun and support my efforts. Saturday night was nothing less than great friends, great food & drinks and a nice warm fire.
     
  2. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Sunday:
    Race day is finally here! I was very pumped. I had managed to do a 2:47 on the SV on saturday and I knew that with better conditions and as I am getting more familiar with the course I would be able to get into the high 20s which was my goal for the weekend.
    I decided to take the SV out again for the Fam Run and Run #1 since the conditions were unknown. The course was 100% dry with some sketchy cold spots due to the trees but I was confident I would be able to take the Ninja out this time. Completed the first run and immediately we set up the Kawasaki on the warmers. Group B went out and i patiently waited my turn again. No incidents this time so we were able to go out there quick and I took the Kawasaki SuperBike for its first run up Burke mt. Got a great start and was able to hold it wide open for the first 6-7 turns and then I hit the first bump that almost threw me off the bike. the kawasaki is stiffer than the SV on the suspension and I seemed to have forgotten that. I kept my pace though and finish my run with no more incidents. Got one more run before lunch and thats where we noticed some oil on the motor. Oh no, why? I have been riding this bike all over the country for several races per weekend this year whats the issue? Gino and Pano took a look at where the oil is coming from. It wasnt the heads so we narrowed it down to either the start seal or the breather. We cleaned up the oil and decided to do one more run in order to see if more oil will come out. During lunch I contacted Scott Mullin from Souhegan Valley Motorsports and explained to him what I was experiencing. Scott said it is probably the breather, as it is very common on these bikes and the conditions I described to him. I only had 2 more runs left for the day so I decided to do both of them on the Kawasaki.
    During lunch they posted our times for the first 3 runs and i was so happy to see that I had gone down to 2:31!!! SO close to the 20s.
    Did my two other runs and we were done around 4:15. I was able to get 3rd in the Motorcycle class and couldnt have asked for more. I was able to go up on a mountain on a public road on a race bike 10 times in one weekend at full speed. That on its own was an amazing experience.

    Due to some issues with the GoPro from the vibrations and mounting points I will only share these two videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRUrO-iLjio

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tChmt5q4oR0

    Overall Experience:
    HillClimb-Racing is AMAZING! Tons of fun and awesome group of people. I cannot wait to visit more mountains.
    Burke Mt Course is tight and too bumpy, it is a much better fit for a dirtbike/motard.
    I learned a lot about myself. I built the ability to block off all the dangers, such as no run off, rocks, trees, sun or the lack of it, leaves, wet spots, cold shade spots, etc.
    I learned that I need to do something with the breather on the Kawasaki in order to not have oil issues from the breather again in similar conditions. Much better to learn about this here instead of the Isle of Man.
    I was able to race a road-race bike like a dirtbike, with all my weight on my feet and barely touching the seat.
    I met some incredible people and made new friends. Both the KSCC car guys and the MAX BMW crew are solid.
    I now know how race tire behaves on the street. I know have a better idea of what suspension changes the bike will require.
    I saw a very beautiful part of the state of Vermont.
    and I CANNOT WAIT TO GET BACK THERE!

    Huge thank you to Max, Joe, Sherman and all the officials that allowed me to run at their event. I cannot express how thankful I am and i am glad i provided some entertainment for you guys as well. I will definitely see you at Okemo soon.
    All the corner workers, who are volunteers and friends of the drivers there. Really appreciate you guys staying out there in the cold all day Saturday and in the Hot sun on Sunday. New England Hill Climb Association, East Burke Town, Killington Sports Car Club, MAX BMW for organizing such an awesome event.

    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.

    HillClimb has earned my respect! It was also a great reminder that riding aggressive on the street is really silly. TAKE IT TO THE TRACK or a similar event where an ambulance and people who know what to do in case of emergency are around. I learned this morning that a 27 year old friend of mine from Greece died yesterday on his motorcycle leaving a soccer game after he tried to avoid a car that got in front of him unexpectedly. Awful news, I really hope you all stay safe out there, nothing is more important than our lives and the lives of those who we love…

    Sav #508


    Photos:

    No need for big trophies or medals, these guys are in this for the love of the sport. RESPECT
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    Taking the Kawasaki Ninja EX650 SuperBike out
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    the always loyal and solid Suzuki SV650 SuperSport
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    #25 aka “King of the Hill”
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    Excited and Happy are not enough to describe the feeling
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    Start
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    Ready to GO
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    MAX BMW Pit Ground
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  3. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Official results are out:
    I got 2nd in motorcycle class
    17th overall
    And my best run was 2:26!!!!!!
    So happy can't wait to go back next year.
     
  4. IL8APEX

    IL8APEX Well-Known Member

    That is awesome. Congrats!

    I've always wanted to attend the hill climb at Mt. Washington. Closest I've ever come is spectating at the Mt. Brockway stage of the Lake Superior Pro Rally. Awesome course, on a motorcycle it would be rediculous! So much tighter than wide open Pike's Peak.

    -T
     
  5. G2G

    G2G I feel the need

    Is there a schedule for this??? Damn I wish I made this race. I did Pikes Peak last year and I am doing it again in a couple of weeks. I am looking for more "road races" to do.
     

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