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answer racing

Harold “Harry” Barnes

April 2012

This definitely wasn't one of the better weekends for racing!!!! Knew the brakes on the racebike were failing but figured that a complete caliper rebuild would fix them right up. Took all day Friday to rebuild the calipers and from just static testing, they were no better than before. Let them set overnight and would attempt to bleed them some more in the morning before practice.

Saturday - First practice was an eye opener. Brakes felt just as bad as before and by the second lap seemed to be getting worse. On the third lap of practice, going into turn one (at around 110mph) the lever came back all the way to the bar and the bike wasn't slowing at all. Grabbed three downshifts, rode out the hopping and slewing around and made it through turn one. Took my time riding back around tot he pits where my crew chief (Dan Sherbourne) found brake fluid spraying all over the windscreen and the master cylinder. Ed Sorbo came over and didn't even touch the brakes. Just told me the master cylinder had dies and to get another one. Luckily, one of the Big Headz Racers (thanks John Reynolds) had a spare SV 650 master cylinder and loaned it to me. We hurried up and put it on before the next practice rotation. Voila!!!!! We had brakes again!!!! They weren't perfect and weren't where I wanted them but they worked. In fact, they worked well enough that I knocked a second off the final practice time in qualifying for the races.

Saturday race - By the time we got to race Formula 40 ( a rider in the Amateur Middleweight class crashed and had to be airlifted out) the outside temp was up to 110. Got a good start but bogged a little off the line. Still wasn't real comfortable with the brakes and wasn't able to gain any positions during the race. Did have a good dice with the rider that qualified close to me for a couple laps but by then the bike felt better and he faded back. Ended up crossing the line in 14th (out of 20).

Sunday race - By the time we got to race the Formula 40 race it was 116. I measured the track temp and saw 179.4 degrees. Almost as hot as the tire warmers. Wasn't feeling well and was getting severely lightheaded at times. Didn't find out till later that I was having a drug interaction between two of the prescriptions I had been taking. Changed out the master cylinder again (this time for a GSXR 600 radial master cylinder) and the brakes felt great. Plenty of lever and the feel was spot on. Got a really good holeshot and passed a couple of riders going into turn one. Was just pacing myself and waiting for the right moment to wick it up and start really passing people when the lightheadedness started again. Slowed down a little thinking that it was just the heat and from trying too hard but it persisted. One rider passed me however, never let off that far and managed to salvage a 10th place (out of 15) finish. Since the brakes are back where I feel they need to be and I have visited my doc and he has changed some of my prescriptions, next race weekend will only get better.

Thanks to my sponsors - Torco Lubricants (Bike ran cool even in that extreme heat. What a great oil), MoPowerSports (Jimmiy), Hyper Response Suspension (Terry is amazing!!), CycleMall/Bridgestone(great tires), Nexx Helmets, Trackskinz leathers, SBKPaint.com (David is the MAN when it comes to paint and bodywork) and Sidi.

Last Race of 2011:

Finally made it back in the country long enough to actually race!!! Turns out the weather wasn't perfect (28 degrees and raining) but still a good outting.

Saturday - Had the bike all set to go (slicks, gas and warmers on) when the first practice sessions were called. As usual, with the Torco oil in the bike it was running cooler than everyone else out there.
Missed the first practice on purpose because the track was still a little damp and cold. Ran the last three practices about 3 seconds slower than my normal times. Sounds pretty bad until we found out that everyone else was running slower due to the cold conditions.

Sunday started out cold but dry.
Didn't run the practices as we were keeping the warmers on the tires to get some heat in them. About an hour before the first race it started misting a little so decided to put the DOTs on the bike in place of the slicks. Put the warmers on the DOTs and waited for Immediate call for the first race (Open Modified Production).

Just as we were lining up for the warmup lap, the heavens opened up and it poured. Half the field were on rain tires (increadable traction in the rain) and the rest of us were on DOT's (better than slicks but not even as good as street tires in the rain). Needless to say, no personal Best was going to be set today!!! Straight line wasn't bad however, every turn the bike was slipping and sliding and the best I could do was 4th in the race.

The second race (Open Superbike) was pretty was pretty much a replay of race 1 with the bike slipping around every corner and just hoping it would stay up on two wheels. The rain was getting worse so we were running in a total downpour.
Ended up 5th in the second race.

Race 3 (Formula 40 Heavyweight) was an entirely different story. Still pouring rain and this time my teammate was my biggest competition.

Didn't think I would be able to do too much with him since he was on rains and I was still on DOTs. Even taking off from the hot pit was an adventure as I spun the rear really bad just taking off. Once the green flag dropped though, I got the holeshot into turn one. Kept the lead by myself to the halfway point (6 lap race) when my teammate passed me on the exit of turn two ( a high speed right hand sweeper).
I immediately repassed him into turn 3 on the brakes. Actually remember thinking "no way he is getting around me with 3 laps to go. It's win it or bin it!!!!". He kept passing me out of turn 2 but I would immediately repass him on the brakes going into turn 3.

Ended up crossing the finish line 2 seconds ahead of him for the win!!!

Actually ran 9 seconds a lap faster in that race then I had all day. Just needed the motivation to run it in and hope it would stick.

Pretty much amazed everyone we talked to because when it was all said and done, we were only 2 seconds a lap slower than the fast guys on rains.

Running a 1:57 on a 2.5 mile track in pouring rain with DOTs is almost unbelievable.
Never missed a shift and never got over 160F the whole day. Thats what the Torco oil does for you!!! Bridgestones kept me upright and my Scorpion Helmet never fogged up and the shield cleared itself!!

Thanks to all my sponsors for making this a great (if short) race season for me. Terry at HRS for giving me a Suspension that just plain works, Tigue at CycleMall for Dialing in the geometry, Jimmy at MoPowerSports for almost everything on the bike, SBKPaint.com for a paint job you can't miss and huge thanks to -Torco Lubricants for oils and lubes that have never let me down and keep my bike running freaking awesome, Bridgestone for making tires I can run in pouring rain and still win, TrackSkinz for my perfect fitting leathers that even when soaking wet were as comfortable as wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Major props to both BigHeadzRacing and Short Bus Racing just for letting me be part of great organizations.

1st Race of 2012:

To start off, it was brutally cold all weekend. Friday night it was 18 degrees (and I was sleeping in a tent) so didn't get much sleep. Only did a half day of practice on Saturday as it was still cold all morning and I was running DOTs for practice. Respectable times and everyone seemed to be going just a little slower than usual. Sunday morning was just as bad as Saturday except worse. A good wind was blowing across the track which isn't fun at 140 in turn 8 as it tries to pick you up and toss you off the track. Still ran one practice (this time with the slicks on) and got some pretty good starting positions. (6th for the first race and 4th on the second). 1st race was Open Superbike and I was gridded 6th for it. Didn't bother me as we were trying a new shifting scheme for turns 5, 6 and 7 so I didn't expect to beat the class champions. The shift scheme worked alot better over turn 6 and thats when the fun started. Through turn 8 I could feel the rear hopping around. It was so bad I had to let off to get the bike to settle down. I wouldn't of noticed it except we were going through turn 8 alot faster and the wind was gusting pretty hard. Could only manage a 5th place in the race. Once I got back in the pits I told my crew chief (yes I have one) about the hopping and he slowed the rebound down by 4 clicks. My race was only 3 away from my first one so we didnt try anything else as that may have been worse.
Went out in Formula 40 gridded 4th and got a pretty good start. Wasn't first but wasn't last by any means. On the first flying lap going through turn 8 the hopping was gone and the bike was behaving nicely.
Only problem was now the front was getting light over the bumps in the straights but that was ok, I can handle that. Alsop, on the first lap we managed to knock 3 seconds off our fastest lap so far. What was even better was that we knocked another second off on the next lap and the bike was feeling better and better. The next lap was slower however, I was dicing with a ZX10 and passed him for good on the exit of turn 9 on the outside. The drive out of 9 was fantastic. I actually thought he had let off until I saw the laptimes. Unfortunately there was a rider down in turn 3 so we only did 5 laps but it was a fun five laps at that. Thanks to my sponsors - Torco lubricants (great oils!!!), HRS suspensions, MoPowerSports, Bridgestone, Tige at CM, Scorpion, TrackSkinz, Pitbull , SoCalTraackDays, SBKPaint and EBC





About the Rider
Harold “Harry” Barnes
Alpine, CA
Born in 1957
Bike Information
2003 - Suzuki – GSX R1000
Riding Information
Riding Number - 71 Class – A Superstock (Novice), A Superbike (Novice), Formula 1 (Novice)
Year Began Riding - 1967 Riding Years - 43
Year Began Racing - 2008  
Number of practice(s) per week - 1 Number of Race(s) per month - 3

Length of Racing Season - The riding season for me generally lasts from January to late November


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