Monday, June 15, 2009

JimmyV is home

Just wanted everyone to know that a jet-lagged yet extremely happy Jimmy V returned home safely yesterday as of 3:10pm EST. I'm sure we'll take a moment and reflect on what has been accomplished here in the future but for now we'll just be happy to have Jimmy back in one piece.

The usual suspects from Ashburn gathered yesterday for a welcome home dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse yet no one thought to take a picture of the affair. You'd think it would have been a no brainer, especially with 5 iPhones and one Blackberry present.

At some point I will put together a long post thanking people who helped me make the trip possible for Jimmy along with a total of all the donations we received a long the way. I'm sure Jimmy will put something up here as well for friends, family, and fans. I also think a proper welcome home BBQ is in order but that will have to wait for now. Virginia International Raceway is calling and we're accepting the charges. :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Superstock TT Is In The Books

I competed in the 4 lap Superstock race yesterday, and it went a bit better than the 6 lap Superbike race on monday. It started out well, with my opening lap being my fastest lap yet at 114.2 mph. From there I just wanted to take things easy and bring it home in one piece, and we did just that. My average race speed including pit stops was 110 mph, which is not too bad for a newcomer. I came across a few crashes while I was out there. There was a newcomer from Japan competing this year, and he had been doing pretty well up until this race. I came across his bike laying in the road right after the "black hut" turn. The bike was pretty beat up, but fortunately the rider was ok. I think he ended up with a few broken bones, but no major injuries. 

I do want to make sure that I'm very clear when I say "These people are flippin CRAZY!!!!". That goes for the majority of the people competing in this event, as well as spectating. Here's an example... My teammate, Craig Atkinson, ran into a slight problem 4 laps into the 6 lap Superbike race... His front tire went flat. Not completely flat, but less than 10 psi flat. He finished the last 2 laps (75.5 miles) on a FLAT TIRE!!!!!!! He said he knew there was a problem when he had to keep the bike from crashing in the slow corners by putting his foot down, but it seemed ok through the fast corners. Now what I really want to know is, if the bike barely makes it through the slow corners, what makes you think it's going to be ok to take through the fast corners? Hence the saying, "these people are flippin CRAZY!!!". 

So I have one race left, and it's 6 laps long (226 miles). I have been thinking about it for a few days now,  and I don't feel that I have enough in me to safely do 6 laps at a competitive pace. There's a pretty good chance that I'm going to sit out this last race, just simply for the fact that I don't want to make a half ass effort, and I've reached my goals for this year. I've accomplished what I came here to do, which is to proper qualify, and get some finishing medals. I'm pretty happy with things at the moment, and am looking forward to achieving more next year.

So, it looks like my racing is about done for the week, but I still have a few days on the island. I'll continue to update this blog till I get back to the US. 


TT Superstock and some Discovery Channel stuff

Jimmy completed the 4 lap TT Superstock event yesterday and finished 51st. Unfortunately I have no other details as I haven't talked to him or anyone else who is visiting the Isle. I just happened to catch the event on the TT Live Timing site and know that both he and Critter finished the race.

Now some TV stuff for the US visitors. According to Critter's post on the WERA forum, Discovery HD will be airing segments on the 2009 TT starting in July. Much of the footage was shot in HD and should be spectacular. There will be special on-board stuff along with segments dedicated to the American riders.

Here's a schedule but be sure to check your local listings.
7/6/2009 TT Preview
7/13/200 Superbike race
7/20/2009 Sidecar race 1
7/27/2009 Superstock race 1
8/3/2009 600 race 1
8/10/2009 600 race 2
8/17/2009 Side car 28/24/2009 senior TT
8/31/2009 2009 Highlights

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wow That Was A Long Race...

So I finished my first official TT today. 6 laps of madness is what that was. I started out running a very relaxed  pace so that I would be able to make it all 6 laps. Well, that pace got even more relaxed on the last 2 laps.  My goal for today was just to finish, and that's what we did. When I set out today, I could honestly care less if I got dead last, so long as I was able to ride the bike across the line. I was mentally drained after the first 4 laps, and I started making some silly mistakes. This is not a place that you can afford to make any mistakes, no matter how small. I was fortunate enough to keep thing together till the end, and after seeing the amount of people that retired during the race, I was pretty happy about bringing it home. 

 I hope to try for a decent result in tomorrow's Superstock race, but the bottom line is I just want to make it home in one piece. I honestly think that I can safely up the pace a bit for tomorrow's race, but we'll just have to see how things go. They will be starting the race tomorrow evening at 6:30, so the sun will definitely be a factor. The first couple of laps should be fine, but when the sun starts to come down during the last 2 laps things will get a bit more difficult. There are a few turns that will be almost impossible to see due to the sun, so we'll just have to take things pretty easy through them. 

Well... In the words of my new Protégé... That's all I got to say about that.


TT Superbike is in the books

Jimmy has finished the rain-delayed TT Superbike race in one piece. Unfortunately I was slacking and not watching the live timing so I don't have lap times or the final results. But I do know he finished the race and is concentrating on the Superstock race tomorrow.

I'll update this post as more info becomes available.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rain, rain...Go away....

I haven't heard from Jimmy this morning so I'll assume that the internet is still down. Jimmy was scheduled to run the TT Superbike race today at noon but inclement weather has postponed all racing on the Isle until next week. There was hope that they would be able to kick things off tomorrow but unfortunately high winds and heavy rains are on the forecast for Sunday as well.

Here's a link to the story straight from the IOM site.

Click for story

I'll try to keep everyone posted about the racing action as it unfolds since I have a TTLive account. You will most likely be able to get updates from the TT Forum if that silly thing called "work" interferes with my racing updates.


Friday, June 5, 2009

My name is Forrest....Forrest Gump..

Hello all,

I'm posting for Jimmy because they are once again without internet. So I'm picking up the slack to let everyone know how the final practice session went.

Jimmy got 2 laps in today and both were in the 113mph range. Instead of pushing all out to qualify, he spent the time trying to get more bearings and picking up additional markers along the way. He was even held up a couple of times on each lap and still managed qualifying speeds. Gary said that it was the first time Jimmy looked relaxed getting off the bike afterwards and Jimmy felt really good about the additional information he picked up.

He's in good shape for tomorrow and feels like he will be ready to race even if the weather doesn't cooperate. The scheduled start time is 12pm IOM time, so 6am for those of us on the East Coast. They are expecting bad weather on the Isle so that could be pushed back as the day wears on.

There's a story behind the title of this blog. One of Jimmy's teammates has only seen a few American movies, one being Forrest Gump. I guess Jimmy's luck with gasoline, laps aboard the vomit comet, and smooth Kentucky accent have reminded him of it. :)

Good luck tomorrow Jimmy! We're all pulling for ya!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Time To Catch Up A Bit...

On a positive note... My first 2 laps today were over the minimum qualifying speed of 113 mph. That means that I've made the show. My best lap was 113.9 mph, so we were just shy of the 114 mark. My qualifying is now officially over, and I have one more day of practice left. Hopefully I can pick up a few more mph tomorrow, and we'll be all set for the 6 lap Superbike race on Saturday.  The team reversed the changes that had been made yesterday, and the bike felt reasonably good. Once again, I went out for practice side by side with my teammate Craig, but this time he was on his 600. That was definitely a huge help. With every lap around this place I get a bit more comfortable with it. I'm slowly starting to learn the proper lines through the kinks and bumps, and things are just now slowly starting to gel.

On a funny note... After my first 2 laps, I was out of fuel and had to come in for a pit stop. I came in, relaxed for a few minutes, drank some water and swapped helmet visors. The crew refueled the bike, got it turned around and sent me on my way. I rolled up to the start line ready to go put in 2 more solid laps. The starting official tapped me on the shoulder to signify that it's my turn to take off, and off I went. It took maybe one and a half seconds before I felt something wet in my lap. I looked down to see fuel spilling out from the gas cap and splashing all over my abdomen and crotch area. I briefly let off the throttle, reached down with my hand and slammed the fuel cap shut. It looked shut at the time, but sometimes they need a good hit to actually lock in and seal. After slamming down on the fuel cap, I once again got on the throttle and started to accelerate, only to find that fuel was still pouring out. At that point I had to make the decision to either pull in to the pits, or continue on my with my 2 laps. I chose the prior. As I was making my way into the pits, I started to feel a slight burning sensation... on my privates. Nothing was actually on fire, however when you spill fuel on sensitive areas of your body, it starts to burn... alot.  I pulled up to my crew shouting for someone to take the bike, and to get that damn newcomer safety vest off of me so I could get out of my leathers. We eventually got the vest off and I started immediately pouring water down my leathers. Rob was actually able to get pictures of the whole ordeal. I then ran off to the trailer so I could get out of my leathers, and then I rushed to the shower. I took a quick shower, and was once again left standing there all wet with no towel handy. Go figure. I was able to use the backside of the t-shirt I had been wearing underneath my leathers to dry off, and I then ran back to the trailer to get suited up in my other set of leathers that had not just been covered in fuel. The thing about the other set of leathers is that I had thrown up while riding in them just 3 days before. Sometimes you feel like you just can't win. Anyway, I was able to get back on the bike just in time to do one more lap. And that lap is what leads us to the next subject...

And now, on a serious note... I went out for my last lap and came across a waving yellow flag at Union Mills. A waving yellow flag means, slow way down because there has been some sort of an incident ahead. As I rolled through, I saw debris everywhere. It looked like a huge bomb had just went off. In the midst of the debris I saw a rider laying there surrounded by marshalls. He was laying on his back, with his hands folded across his lap. After riding through that, I thought to myself "wow, that person is dead, and I'm happy that it's not Scott or Critter". I tried to push that to the back of my mind and I continued on to finish my lap. I pulled in to the pit area and everyone just looked at me. Craig asked if I had seen any yellow flags, and I said "yes... Someone crashed in Union Mills and it didn't look like they were gonna make it." He then told me that it actually WAS Scott Jensen. I didn't believe him at first, so I ran to the race office. All they could tell me was that Scott had retired from the practice session. They couldn't tell me where it was or anything. I started running around looking for his crew, when I came across a few of the "right" officials. They asked me if I was ok, and told me that it was in fact Scott that had gone down in Union Mills. After running around a bit more, I was able to find out that Scott is the luckiest man on earth, and was able to get through that horrific crash with only a broken arm. I was absolutely relieved when I heard that.

Already, this event has been a life changing experience for me, and we're not even halfway through it. Scott and I had a long conversation yesterday after practice about this whole event, and if we were actually cut out to do this. It's just so intense. There really is nothing like this on earth. Another rider crashed yesterday during practice in a really fast, bumpy section of the course. It definitely messed with both Scott's head and my own to see someone laying on the sidewalk limp like that. It's hard to see, because we know that as long as we're out there on the course, either one of us could be a split second away from the exact same thing. It's really hard to not let things like that bother you. That was what Scott and I talked about the most. If we actually had what it takes to get around this place quickly. It's so easy to sit on the sidelines or behind a computer and judge the riders, what pace they're doing, and if they are any good on a motorcycle or not. I know because I've been doing just that for years. Things are just so much different when you actually get out there and start riding. Scott is a perfect example. He is one of, if not THE fastest american road racer to come over here, and he was struggling to get to qualifying times. It just goes to show you that this place is so very different from any other place on earth,  and that it can do an absolute number on your brain.

In the end, I'm actually starting to feel a bit better about things. Other than Scott's crash, and my unfortunate refueling incident, today went really well. The thoughts about not being cut out to do this are slowly drifting away. The fact that I've qualified shows that I am here, I am doing it, and if I weren't cut out for it I wouldn't have gotten this far. Sorry for all the rambling today, I've just had quite a bit on my mind. I definitely want to thank everyone again for supporting me in this whole adventure, and I can assure you, I wouldn't have made it this far without all your help.  

Tomorrow will be here shortly, and we will continue to just let the speed come to us instead of trying to force it. If we can continue at this rate, we should be just shy of the 120 mph mark by the end of the event! 


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baby Steps...

Coming into today I knew I had a few areas I needed to work on. I'm still struggling quite a bit over the mountain section of the course. I thought it would be the easiest to learn because you can see through most of the turns, but I guess I was wrong. The problem is that it's so fast that all the little kinks in the road that mean nothing while driving it in a car, become turns you have to set up for when you're flat out on a bike. I still lack the confidence to hold it flat out in lot's of places that I need to. I'm also not carrying near enough speed into any of the turns over the mountain section.

Scott and I did a lap with Milky early in the day so we could all check out the sections we're struggling in, and after that Critter jumped in the car and we 3 newcomers did a lap on our own. I think that all helped a bit, but it's hard to learn anything when you're not at speed on a bike. I went out side by side with my teammate Craig Atkinson (AKA) for practice thinking that would help... I wasn't really able to latch on like I had hoped. It must have helped some because my first lap out was my fastest.I was able to get a 111 mph average speed lap, and it was from a standing start. We are getting there, it's just taking a bit longer than I had hoped. Hopefully we will continue in the right direction for tomorrow and we can maybe get to the 115 mph mark. 

I guess we'll find out soon...  

Not The Best Start to The Week...

So I had a tiny tip over yesterday... It happens. 

After my not so great day on Monday, Shaun Harris ( A 2 time TT winner) came over and started looking at the bike. He asked me to sit on it, and at that point he started taking measurements on the amount of suspension travel. After about 30 seconds he looks at me and said the bike is all wrong. He said he would work with Garry to get the bike set up properly. Well They definitely made some changes. Shaun's settings were night and day better. The bike felt great compared to where we were Monday. It felt so good in fact, that I was able to stay on the gas all the way through the kink at the end of Sulby straight. I shut off just before my braking markers, but the bike was a bit too unstable to get right on the brakes. When the bike finally settled down enough for me to get on the brakes I was way past my braking marker. I thought I could still make the turn if I ran super wide, but history proves that I was wrong. I was about 1 foot from the bales on the outside of Sulby Bridge, and the front end just tucked out in the dust. I was only going about 5mph at the time, but at that point it was day over for me. The rule is, once the handlebar touches the ground it's an "official" crash and you are no longer allowed to continue riding that day. In the end, the bike is fine, I'm fine, and I feel like we've got a good shot at really getting up to speed in the next day or two. ...And hopefully we can get there without puking anymore, because that just sucks.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It May Be A Long Week

This is going to be a short one. I'm just trying to get some rest at the moment. I was able to better my time a bit today (107.4mph), but I ended up getting sick on the bike. I'm not sure why, but it almost seemed like motion sickness. I'll try taking some dramamine before practice tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. 

That's the short version of my day, I'll report back tomorrow with a bit more detail.