Savvas Kosmidis #508 - Race of Champions Daytona 2015

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by Olympus Racing, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Savvas Kosmidis #508
    32nd Annual Race of Champions @ Daytona International Speedway - 2015 Season Finale

    This was one of the most stressful and unexpected adventures I have ever been part of.
    It all started when a group of great friends and Amateur riders from my home track approached me about revisiting Daytona and this year’s race of champions. Being friends with most of them, and wanting to share the incredible experience with those talented racers I decided to give it a go and return to Daytona, as an Expert this time.
    Plans do not always work out though.
    With only 4 weeks to our departure I was involved in a crash during the Loudon Road Race Series’ Round 6, which sent me to the emergency room and my Suzuki SV650 SuperSport in a questionable state. The parts for the Kawasaki ER6 were not showing up as expected and now the whole trip was at risk.

    I know I say it often, but I can’t stress enough how having great people in your corner is the most important thing in everything! People who will drive hours to come give you a hand, people who will stay late up at night to work on your motorcycle with you, people who have the ability to cheer you up and keep you positive. You only see the rider on a motorcycle during a race, but it is not by any means an individual sport. Getting ready for Daytona this year was an incredible example of team work and collaboration, and I know for a fact that if it was not for my team, I would not be able to go to the Race of Champions.

    Late week nights, and full weekends dedicated by all involved to get the SV650 ready for the races. Plans changed several times, and parts did not work as expected, we had to fabricate our on mounts and fairing stays. From Gino, Pano and Keith showing up to my house to make sure the bike is safe and straight, to Mike Kurtz donating a set of GSXR fairings to mount for Daytona, to Todd, Isaac, Collin, Doug and few others loaning me master cylinders to fix my brakes, to the Plaistow Guys spending Friday and Saturday nights at the track fixing issues with my bike, to Central Mass PowerSports getting me parts within HOURS and swapping a motor at the very last minute,to Gregg Spears providing the motor with extremely short notice and still getting me additional parts overnighted, to Scott Mullin fixing my carbs and jetting the bike, to Peter Kates staying at the shop all night during his birthday to put my suspension together,to my family driving around to get me parts and everything put together with parts still shipping to meet us in Florida in order to get the bike 100% for the weekend, this adventure felt endless and even up to the last second I was not sure if I would be able to race or not.
    My doctor appointment prior to the trip did not provide me with the greatest news, I was told my injuries are not 100% healed and was strongly advised to not race. It wasnt the physical effort that was the issue, it would be the WHAT IF of another crash. I decided to take my chances and stay positive, that another crash was not going to happen.

    Eventually I dropped the bike off to my good friend Cole Hall on Saturday night and went home to pack for a very long trip.
    This time my family was coming down to Daytona with me. This was a great experience for me and a very unique point in my life, I had for the first time ever the ability to offer my mother a real vacation and that was something I have been dreaming of for years. I booked us a nice vacation property in Palm Coast, only 40 minutes from Daytona, which would keep close enough to the track but would also allow my family to enjoy their vacation time.
    The Berrios once again decided to go way out of their way and drive all the way up and stay with us for the week in order to be incredible support and part of another Race of Champions.
    Shortly after we arrived and got some sleep I woke up, only to find out that on top of everything I had caught a pretty bad cold as well. Immediate trip to the pharmacy store to stock up on vitamin C, dayquil and nyquil, hoping that I would be 100% within 3 days.
     
  2. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Wednesday our plan was to arrive at the track, meet with Cole and Stephanie, unload the bikes, get our paperwork done and finish some work we all had left on the bikes. Remember how I mentioned plans usually do not work out? Well the Speedway this year decided that Wednesday will be DROP OFF ONLY. Which means you go in, unhook your trailer and leave. No unloading, no working on bikes. These were not the news we were hoping for.
    With that new “speed bump” we put together the plan of being the first at the gate Thursday morning in order to get the bike 100% ready. First Practice for us was at 8am and the gate would open at 6:30.
    We all went out for a great dinner (I think it was 15 of us), as people were still arriving. It was an early night since we had a serious mission for the next day, and lots of testing to do.


    Thursday:
    We arrived at the track very early (6am), it wast still completely dark out. We were told we are not allowed to enter the garages until 630, something we already knew, but hoped we would be able to receive some special treatment. As soon as the gate open, the race against time started. Immediately calipers came off the bike, were cleaned, new seals and pistons went in,new pads, oil changed, and the entire bike safety wired again. We finished everything at 7:55 and my first practice session was at 8am. I threw my gear on, started the bike, and went to tech and straight off to the track. I went around very slow for a couple of laps, bedding in the new pads and make sure nothing is gonna come off from my brakes.. As I got comfortable I started pushing a bit more and pushing the motor to its limits on the banking. I wasnt very happy with the brakes but the rest of the bike was on point. Unfortunately the brakes are were I was planning on making a difference on my races so that was something that had to be fixed.
    Came off my session, we looked at the data from qstarz and we were not happy at all with the top speed. We had a fresh motor and fairings on the bike this year, yet same or less speed than the very tired, naked SV we ran last year. The solution: try different gearing, we threw on another rear sprocket and waiting for my next session.
    Went back out and still remained very unhappy with the brakes. I was getting up to full pace and was turning some 2:10-09s but I was not riding the way I wanted to due to brakes.
    Came in from that session and the brake lever was coming all the way back. I call Bill Tansey and explain the situation, he gives me a couple of different scenarios and we get to work. At some point Panos suggested we change the way the brake lines get to the calipers. I am not sure if that was the key or that moved any trapped air in the lines but my brakes immediately got to 100% where they should be.
    Went out for my 3rd session and I was able to run consistent 2:09s and a couple of 2:08s and was finally happy with the brakes. But now with full braking power I had a couple of spots were I was bottoming out the front forks.
    Back in from the 3rd session of the day, explain to Gino the issue and we add a bit more compression to the forks.
    Out for the last session of the day and now I am riding a bike I am happy with :) end the day on a good note, hung out with everyone and went home for a great dinner and some rest. Unfortunately my cold was getting pretty bad at that point, coughing and sneezing all the time and a bit of headache.

    Friday was networking day as I visited the AIMExpo in Orlando and met some great people and made new friends. Another productive day that should help me a lot in the future.
     
  3. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Saturday - Race day

    This was the day I came down for on a personal level… Light Weight SuperSport was the class I was able to win as an Amateur the year before and I was there to bring it back my first year as an Expert! We arrived once again at the track early, very happy and excited but that wasnt going to last long…
    Went out for first practice and the brakes are once again terrible! COME ON, why is this happening. I had to cut my practice very short (i think 1 full lap) since I was a danger to myself and others out there with no brakes. At this point we are running around in every direction, I request they announce if anyone has a spare master cylinder, I post on Facebook, we go and talk to Miles from S&C, talk to other racers and exploring options… Unfortunately that cost me to miss my practice for the day. Isaac happened to have his spare stock SV 2nd gen master cylinder with him and very kindly let me borrow it. We change master, bleed the brakes 100 more times and I decide it is a good idea to go sign up for GTL, since I have no idea how well those brakes will work, and use it as long practice. My good friend Phil Sberna was able to let me register for GTL although the races were just about to start. I happily took my last place at the end of the grid and was very excited to finally ride.

    Race #2 - GTL
    I was planning on using this race just to check my brakes, I was going to let everyone go at the start and cruise around. Well…. at least that was the plan. Once the helmet is on and the 3 board shows up I forget all about that. I don’t have a very good “OFF Switch”. I think we were somewhere around 25 riders and as soon as that green flag went up, I took off like maniac. Within a lap I was already in the top 10 hunting down for more. In the second lap I completely blew the 2nd horseshoe, causing me to go off roading in the grass and heading towards the air fence very fast, much faster than I wanted to. I decided to take my chances, use the rear brake to slow the bike down, kinda drift it again towards the track and I was able to save it. Unfortunately I had dropped to the 16th place. I put my head down and since I knew i had brakes I start picking the field one rider at the time. On the 4th lap and while I was in 11th place a red flag came up! I assumed we will be regridded and I would get a shot to a better finish. I was really mistaken unfortunately as CCS decided to end the race with only 4 completed laps. It’s all good though because I got what I wanted out of it, a very good practice session.

    Finished 11th with a best lap of 2:09.4
     
  4. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Race #5 - Light Weight SuperSport
    This is it, this is what I came here to do! This race was the full motivation to not let myself or my bike fail in Daytona. Since i did not race at all this year, I was gridded in 3row to the right. I look up and I see Ducatis 1100, 1000 and 800… How are those bikes considered LightWeight is beyond me but hey its not time to make excuses. I look to my left and I see my good friend Mark Evry #9. Mark is a great racer so I already know i have one SV to worry about on top of the Ducatis…
    2 Board comes up, Firsr gear in, rev the bike slowly up and start disengaging the clutch the point where the bike wants to jump underneath me, focus on the flagger, wait for it, BREATH, flag goes up and I fly. I go into turn 1 in solid first, and I know that I need to gap those ducatis as much as I can before the banking. I put my head down and ride as hard as I can, but trying to not make any mistakes. I make it to turn 6 still in first place and it is time to get on the banking… Half way through, 3 bikes get by me, I can’t tell who they are or what bike they are riding but I have to get them back. I recognize the #14 Charlie Mavros Ducati 1100, God that thing is fast! It’s ok I can get them in the turns. We reach turn one and i pass one of the riders on the brakes. Gotta keep going. I pass one more on the first horseshoe, I see Mavros, I gotta get to him. Approaching the second horseshoe I grab the brake lever with two fingers ( as that is my braking style ) and it moves all the way back, crashing my fingers on it and forcing to completely lose focus and run wide, allowing 2 or 3 more riders to go by me. No this can’t be happening! I have to ride harder… I put myself done and try to adjust on grabbing the clip completely different and use 3 fingers for braking, but I can’t let it take too much of my attention, i still have to ride fast! As we are entering T1 for the last time in the race I get by Mark #9 and I notice the 2nd and 3rd place rider way too far ahead of me. The distance is long, but the race is not over until the checkered! I know that I have to push all my brake marks to make it happen. As we are going into the banking the distance has cut down significantly, I know that my only chance is to make up all the ground in the chicane so I can draft the to the finish line. I brake past the one board, the rear of the bike is become unstable under all that braking, as I am about to flip the bike to the right the front starts to slide a little too, stay light on the bars and give it throttle, it hooks like an arrow, grab the upshift as I am exiting the chicane. they are still fairly away, I won’t be able to get them both. As i am approaching the 3rd place he brakes off the draft early, PERFECT! thats exactly what I needed, he slows down enough for me to draft him, then move on to the 2nd place and make my move, NOW! I get them both right on the line and take home 2nd place by 0.007 seconds!!! what an incredible race!
    Follow up interview and winners circle and of course tech! Congratulations with the other two fantastic competitors, laughs, hugs, good times.

    Finished 2nd - Best Lap 2:05.9 my personal best in Daytona and the FASTEST LAP by a SuperSport SV650 during the entire weekend!

    The night ended with a great family-celebration dinner back at the house. We talked some more strategy for the following day.
     
  5. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Sunday:
    None of us was ready to go home. We all got up early, loaded up the car for the way home and headed to the track. Upon arrival I just took a few minutes to really take in that feeling of racing in Daytona. Florida in general gives me a great vibe and I can totally see myself living there one day, but who knows…

    Sunday was extra exciting for all involved due to live coverage from Fans Choice TV. This was the first time ever a CCS day was live webcasted and it was a huge talk in the racing circles.
    Unfortunately the day was filled with incidents and races took longer than expected therefore not all the races got coverage. My races were not until very late in the day so I spent my morning helping out our Amateurs in any way that I could.

    Race #9 - UltraLight Superbike
    I was gridded in the last row for this race, because the LRRS series excludes SV’s from this class, therefor I had zero points. This race had more battling for the entire field than any other LW race did all weekend. I got a bad start, wheeling and being unstable in T1 but a incident with two amateurs red flagged the race and we got a restart. This time I got a much better start and went into T1 in second place. For those who got to see the race live, you must have enjoyed it. I switched places over 20 times in the course of 5 laps. After very close battling, I was able to bring in 4th place and a very satisfying feeling to that result.

    Finished 4th - Best Lap: 2:07.2


    Race #15 - LightWeight SuperBike
    I took a good look around me and I allowed myself to believe I won’t be placing in the top on this race. The grid was filled with Ducati 1000 & 1100, Bimotas 1000 and some other beast looking bike that I did not even know what it. I quickly snapped out of it and told myself that I can’t give up before the race even starts and I have to stay focused. I got a very solid start and went into T1 in first place. I kept that for a whole and then all the 1000+cc bikes blew by me. Red flag came out shortly after and we were sent to the pits. We regridded and the same scenario took place. I got a solid start again held it and got passed on the straight by the bigger bikes. I gave it all I had and stuck with them, making all the ground and some passes in the infield and trying to keep them as close as possible on the straights. With one lap to go there was another incident that forced many off the line but I stuck to what I believe was the best line and managed to get the final spot on the podium.

    FInished 3rd - Best lap: 2:07.6
     
  6. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    And that wrapped up my first experience as an expert race in the Race of Champions and Daytona International Speedway. I went and got my awards, and started packing and saying the required goodbyes. Congratulated several people I raced with and some others that were just very friendly and nice during the whole weekend. Cole decided to do a spectacular burnout after the last race of the day which caught the officials attention and we almost got a hefty fine about it. The “damage” ended up getting cleaned up and we were able to just get a don’t do it again warning.

    After several hours of packing and letting the emotions sink in it was time to drive back home. The part of the racer that most people never see.
    What happens when the lights turn off and engines cool down? In my case it was a very long drive home. a 22 hours - 1400 miles drive home, with fast food and quick stretch and bathroom stops. Because I had to be at work the following day, in my “regular clothes” nowhere near a motorcycle. In 40 degree weather with no pine trees and loud exhausts. But that is the life I chose and I am very grateful I have and the opportunity to do all I get to do. I believe in my racing, I will keep fighting towards my goals and I don’t think I will ever be able to settle for good enough.

    The 2015 season taught me a lot. I am not bulletproof, I can get hurt. My bikes can get hurt as well. The support to a racer in any form, emotional, financially, physical, means way more than people think. Giving up became an options several times in the season, but I never allowed myself to take that option. Not only because I am stubborn, but because I will not allow myself to let down the ones who decided to support me and believe in me.
    In the end I have physically and emotionally become stronger than ever, and this will only grow in 2016.
    The goals are there but that list may grow. Top of the list is my first ever visit to the Isle of Man and competing in the Manx GP in August. I will do whatever it takes to get there and bring home the desired results. I will not stop competing in CCS, ASRA or LRRS. I will try to bring the best possible results in classes and I may return to Daytona, both for the Daytona 200 and the Race of Champions.
    I also plan on racing the Pikes Peak Hill Climb this year. I have made some good friends over there and I believe it is a realistic goal as well.
    I expect nothing but success, on and off the track. The effort will be there and like I have said in the past i will not be the reason why WE (as a team) fail. I will try harder and more often on all aspects of my life.

    I expect this winter to be focused on physical training and building my mechanical skills as well as officially forming and announcing the Isle of Man Manx GP team. I may be found on some frozen lakes trying some ice-riding but that will be decided later.
     
  7. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    I want to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors and very happy to know that we will continue our partnership in 2016.
    Central Mass Powersports, Alexander Academy, Butler Performance Machining, Advanced Traction, TSS Graphics, 6ZerO SpeedWerks, Spears Racing, DNA High Performance Filters,Woodcraft and Penguin, Pirelli Tires, GoPro.

    Much appreciation and love towards Fans Choice TV for the coverage, we hope to see more and more of those in all levels of racing.

    All my great friends and family you know who you are. My love for you is endless :)

    Of course the CCS-ASRA staff and all involved, corner workers, medical staff. You all are incredible. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do what we do, thank you for being so personable and working so hard, and the great results you deliver in each and every event.

    Thank you to all the fans and friends who follow and support my racing. I hope you are enjoying these reports and my racing career. I am hoping to bring more and better material in the new year. You are a massive part of what I do and words can’t express my appreciation for you all.

    Have a not so cold and safe winter,
    Sav #508


    [​IMG]
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    acceptable forms of celebration :)
     
  8. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    friends are the family we choose!

    [​IMG]
    LRRS Represent!

    [​IMG]

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    few seconds of fame :)
     
  9. R6_zealot

    R6_zealot I just want to go fast!

    Not entirely true, My supersport SV650 did a 2:04.9 without a draft in the ULSB race, just wasn't able to make the grid for LWSS because I finished on the podium with my ZX10 the race before and couldn't get a clear answer from tech if I needed to open my airbox or if I was cleared to leave for the next race... but good on ya for a strong weekend.
     
  10. kanatuna

    kanatuna You can't polish a turd..

    Way to crush the dudes post lmao

    Great write up. Congrats. Now come race WERA so we can spank dat ass :)
     
  11. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    That was a SS???
    How much power does it pull? Because you smoked Mavros Ducati and Hofmans SB even on the straights.
     
  12. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Trust me if there were WERA events around me id love to
    Come play with yall.

    Next goal is Isle of Man.
     
  13. kanatuna

    kanatuna You can't polish a turd..

    Do it to it
     
  14. R6_zealot

    R6_zealot I just want to go fast!

    It made 74 HP tuned for MR12 with the snorkel in. Mavros definitely had motor on me though, I was able to get by Hofman with a good draft out of the chicane. I was making up most of the time in the infield.

    Again, nice write up and good riding, hopefully see you on the grid in the future.
     
  15. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Mad respect then man. and I retract my statement.
    Hopefully we meet again :)
     
  16. kanatuna

    kanatuna You can't polish a turd..

    Do you guys live in Alaska or something.... The "I live far away" thing doesnt float. I live in Cincinnati and drive 8/10/14 hrs to race at bad ass tracks...
     
  17. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    :stupid: :beer:

    The nearest WERA round to me is 16 hours away... the next-closest round is 24 hours away.

    Still worth it ;)
     
  18. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Massachusetts.
    One track that hosts racing in the entire New England is New Hampshire motor speedway. 2 hours from me.
    Then is jersey at about 6-7 hours.
    Summit point at about 11.
    Daytona is 20-24hours
     
  19. dsmitty37

    dsmitty37 Well-Known Member

    You could go to PIRC, Mid-Ohio, summit Point, or VIR to catch a WERA round
     
  20. Olympus Racing

    Olympus Racing Well-Known Member

    Summit point is the only realistic one.
    Daytona is a once a year (if that) thing.
     

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