Freedom Cycle - Mosport Race Report
July 19, 2007
Terry Steeves (#38)
The Mosport Doubleheader (Round 4 and 5) of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship was a highly anticipated round for our Freedom Cycle Racing team. I was looking forward to getting on the track, and hopeful of a reasonable weather forecast for the weekend.
With our Kawasaki ZX-10R ready to go based on our notes from last year, we were ready to get right down to work. We had hoped to use this first session to get back to our race pace from last year. We were able to accomplish that goal and even better it slightly but as the session wound down we were at the end of our selected gearing. Instead of losing valuable track time to change a front sprocket, we elected to work on the sections of the track where gearing wasn't an issue and be ready with a new combination of gearing for the next session. This meant I would have to hold back on the Andretti Straight to keep off the rev limiter and our lap times wouldn't show any more progress for this session as a result. Following the opening session a closer examination of our rear tire made it clear that if we hoped to complete the 22 lap final we would have to better our set up. Our difficulties with traction, was chewing up rear tires at a "budget busting" rate. This was setting up to be our challenge for the weekend. We were not the only team suffering from a lack of rear grip, but despite our best efforts and input from Pirelli Tires, and Elka Suspension, we struggled.
Friday afternoon's qualifying session was a bit frantic because we were still making changes to try to better our times. Although we were making progress with every session it wasn't coming fast enough. When the session ended we qualified 28th out of 30 starters, not good, but we were able to get 22 laps out of the rear tire and lap 20 was our quickest, that was progress.
Bad weather rolled in Saturday afternoon and wreaked havoc on the schedule. By the end of the day it was clear that our race would suffer and the round 4 Superbike feature would have to be moved to Sunday morning.
Still facing some issues with rear tire grip, we made some dramatic changes just prior to the race. From 28th spot I needed a great start. I didn't get it. The race was fun as I was able to catch and battle by a few other riders in the early laps. My board showed my lap times were a second quicker and I was feeling the rear tire traction was more manageable. I was able to close the gap on the next group of 3 riders but was unable to challenge them. The changes discussed between Andrew Murray and tuning ace Anthony Turner at ProTech Suspension were clearly in right direction. We finished in 20th. I was confident that going a little further in that direction would pay off for the Round 5 feature at 3pm and expected to move forward. As our luck has been going all year, the skies opened up and we had a rain race to deal with for the Round 5 Superbike feature. With no laps on the allegedly treacherous wet track and no wet set-up for the Superbike we decided to run our ZX-6R machine. I had yet to turn a wheel in the wet around Mosport. My start was better in the now reduced Superbike field and I began to feel out the track in wet conditions. Our lap times were dropping significantly lap after lap as I began to find where the traction was and more importantly were it wasn't around the 3.9 km track. With 3 laps to go I was making forward progress only to slide wide and off the line as I ran through some oil that was being spilled on the track from another bike. We would end the day 17th and claim a few more points. We felt a little disappointed heading east that the weather didn't cooperate long enough for us to try what we were sure was to be our best dry set-up of the weekend. We can't wait to get back to Mosport and try it.
We look forward to the "Shubie" round at AMP next, a track we know in the wet and the dry, and a place where we hope to use some of what we've learned so far this season to go a little faster. Our expectations are to move up in the point standings a little more at home.