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Old 02-05-2013, 10:17 AM   #46
Future ten
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The Okee round kicked my ass big time. I was so tapped out after that race. Larry caught me and I just couldn't reel him in. He goes good on the 250x man. the 2 stroke is getting good starts these days, I was able to hold on to it Sunday. Myself Larry and Brian will be gone next year for sure. We have some good racing going on in our class right now, lot of fun.
I put a couple lappers between us and snuck away, the course was super fast in the fields. I'll track you guys down next race.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:37 AM   #47
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Cool, we are usually camping with the Suncoast people.

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Old 02-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #48
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Great stuff to read, really enjoyed it. Kind of makes it attractive to fly over the pond and have a race with you guys
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:44 AM   #49
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Great reading, giving me thoughts of trying a few HS myself this year.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:27 AM   #50
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A pic from the Brighton race a few weeks ago.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #51
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Last weekend, Feb. 16-17th was the Sarasota Area race, number 10 of the 2013 FTR season. This would be my 5th race of the season.

They got some rain during the week and then a nice cold front came through so conditions were perfect on Sunday. Not much dust on the course and temps in the high 40s-low 50s at the start of our race, 10:30 am.

My bike fired on the first kick but I still didn't get the best start. Mid-pack approaching the first turn.






I got past one or two guys pretty quickly and was right behind someone in a short field and we blew a left turn in to some palmettos and had to loop back. It was clearly marked, I was just focusing on the guy in front so when he missed it I did as well.

So now I pretty much had to make my way up from the back of the pack as we entered the woods. This course had a lot of exposed roots and it quickly took it's toll as several riders stumbled in front of me and I made my way towards the leaders. (the eventual winner, David 49c was well ahead and probably uncatchable already, unbeknownst to me).

My buddy and fellow Key Wester Steve, 90c and I catching and passing some Senior C (green) riders who start one minute ahead of us.



Steve and I raced eachother for most of the first lap, I would make a mistake and he would pass me, then I'd get by him, and back and forth until he went down near the end of lap 1 and I never saw him again.

I got in to a nice flow for a while with not too many mistakes. I am still a C rider, I still fall, but as I improve I'm starting to ride better and faster in between disasters.

I once again found myself in a nice battle with Larry, 60c. He has won 3 races this year and, like David 49c, has pointed out of C class and will be promoted to B next season. Larry is a smart rider who sets a nice pace and tries to minimize mistakes. I stalked him for a while until I managed to get past him, only to give it back a mile or so later by stumbling or falling.

It went on like this for most of the race. At the end of lap two I managed to look at the electronic scoring board as I went by and saw that I was in 4th. That gave me a little boost, knowing that if I could catch Larry again and get by him I could get a "podium".

Here I am testing the suspension landing a small jump or maybe some whoops at the start of lap 3.
Pretty sure this is what Dungey looks like.



Midway in to lap 3 I caught up to Larry and rode on his wheel for a while. I managed to get by him by taking a better line through a water crossing with a steep, muddy bank on the far side. I set my mind to trying to put a little space between us. I was telling myself to keep it upright, no big mistakes, and I would have it. I thought at this point that I was running in third place when I was actually in second. I passed the sign for mile 9 (of 11) and knew I was close.




I came upon a rider from another class in front of me and had no room to pass for a little while. I knew this was giving Larry a chance to get on my wheel again so I had to be a little more aggressive and I managed a nice pass on the outside line of a sandy right-hand berm.

I was on my way now if I could keep from.......... CRASH!! Down I went. I don't remember how or why but I was down in the sand in a blind corner. As I was standing up Larry came flying by and clipped the back of my bike. He went down and now my bike was facing the wrong way. Larry was up quick and gone and then I made the big mistake.
In my panic to get going and catch him, I stood the bike up, running, in gear with Rekluse, and touched the throttle without pulling in the clutch. The bike lurched forward in to the palmettos with me hanging on behind. I went over the bike, ripped the crotch out of my pants and burned my leg on the pipe. The bike stalled, I picked it up, wrestled it out of the bush, and got it kicked and running.

I was absolutely gassed, gasping for air and so deflated knowing that I had no chance to catch Larry.

I finished the last mile or so and assumed that I had finished fourth. It was my best finish yet but I was a little upset knowing I gave away that third place.

At the finish area, there is always lots of hand shaking and talking about the race, finding friends and asking about their race and stuff.

I found Larry and congratulated him and we talked a bit about the crash and passing each other, etc.

I went back to the camping area with my friends and changed out of my riding gear. We then rode over to the start area to check the final scores and get something to eat. When I walked up to the board and looked at my score I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had come in third!! Woohoo!!




I feel this may be a bit of a turning point for me. I got my best finish yet and also feel like I can run with the leaders of my class. Well, maybe not David. He's fast. I'm excited about the rest of the season even though I will probably only be able to make a couple of races due to how far they are. I'm also excited about next season when David and Larry will be gone. I have a long way to go, but it sure is fun getting better and competing.

Thanks for reading!!

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Old 02-25-2013, 10:11 AM   #52
Tbone
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Congrats John! So glad you had a race where it finally "clicked"
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:00 AM   #53
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I haven't posted in here for a while so I wanted to give a quick update.

After the last post I raced one more event last season. My bike didn't start right away so I had to start from dead last. To make it worse, there was a long section of tight single track that got really bottle necked so I fell even farther behind the leaders.
I managed to work my way through most of the pack eventually for a seventh place finish. Not so good, but after I finished I realized I hadn't crashed at all. This marked my first race ever where I stayed upright for the whole race. Something positive to take in to next season I guess.

Fast forward to the current season....

The first few races were pretty uneventful, aside from a bout of food poisoning overnight that had me running from my tent to the port-o-let all night.

A few races ago I got a real good start and was running third, right behind the first two guys for the first half lap when I stalled the bike trying to get around #2 at a big log crossing. The bike absolutely refused to start and I was passed by the whole field, including all the lines that start minutes behind us. I spent a good 5 minutes kicking and kicking.

The next race I was doing very well on a very technical course in Brooksville. I got in to a nice flow and when I came through after two laps I was in second!! My luck changed quickly though, and I screwed up on a steep, slick uphill section. I shot off course and fell with the bike completely upside down. With the help of a course worker I got the bike upright and rolled down the hill where I started kicking.
And kicking.
And kicking.
The bike would not start. My race was over, once again watching everyone pass by.

I made the decision that I really needed a bike that would restart if it stalled during a race.
Fortunately, one of our Miami racing friends had a 2009 KTM 300 XCW for sale so I went for it.

I really loved the 250 4t, had gotten really comfortable on it and it did really well in the woods.

So now I am getting used to a totally new bike. I got the suspension dialed in and after a mediocre first race on it I managed a fourth place finish last weekend in Brighton at the Seminole Showdown on the reservation.

Some pics of this season in no particular order.






















I will miss this bike. It has been really fun to ride and race.



The new bike


new bike in action









Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope to have more good results coming soon!!

-John

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Old 02-10-2014, 07:53 PM   #54
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This past Sunday I had my third race on the 300 two stroke.

I had a blast racing with my good friend Steve. The bike really felt great.

I got off to a good start and was third in to the woods. A couple miles in Steve passed me and was soon out of sight.
There was a little bit of a bottleneck in some deep mud so I got caught behind it and lost a little distance to Steve and the leaders.
Once I was able to get by the slower guys in the problem area I pushed hard to make up time.
By the end of lap one I had caught up to Steve and went through the scoring chicane 1 second behind him. I stayed on his wheel, waiting for an opportunity and then got past him. In a fast field section he passed me. Back and forth we went, and again at the chicane at the end of lap 2 I was one second behind him.

I knew we were near the front of the pack but not sure exactly what position. In the third lap I passed Steve when he took a bad line and had to stop for a tree. I went by yelling "come on, Steve!!!"

I got on the throttle trying to put some distance between us. In a field I looked back and saw no sign of him. I tried to keep my pace fast but I was all by myself.

I knew I was getting close to the finish and I tried to be smooth but fast. Out of nowhere Steve zipped by me right before entering some trees. "no freaking way!!" I said to myself. I was NOT going to let him finish ahead of me.

I stayed right on him for a while, not able to pass but not letting him get away.

I started recognizing the last mile or so of the course so I had to take my chance to get by. Unfortunately my bars whacked a tree and I went down. I popped up quickly and even though the bike stalled it fired right up with the e-start.

I tried to catch back up but there wasn't enough trail left. I ended up 14 seconds behind.

The good news is that we finished 2nd and 3rd. Steve's best finish ever and my second third place finish (which was also at this race last year).

My confidence is really high at this point. I now know I can run at the front of the pack. I also know that I have to run mistake free to beat Steve and the rest of my class.

It's never been more fun to race, especially being so evenly matched with my good friend who keeps his bike in my shop and carpools to most races with me. We work on our bikes together and share tips and ideas trying to get better.

We've done several adventure trips out west and I pretty much convinced him to start racing. Now that we're able to battle on the course it couldn't be better.

Another good friend of ours here in Key West is a few years younger and races in the Senior class. He took second in his class this race so we all went home with a trophy.

Here's a few pics from this race:



Stalking Steve











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Old 02-10-2014, 11:02 PM   #55
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Inspirational! Thanks for the story. Keep it coming.

Great action shots!


{edit} In my meager experience, be careful when the confidence is super high. That's when I crash, and crash badly. Now I try to be aware of the risk, and stay vigilant.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:52 AM   #56
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Awesome thread Bro.
It has inspired me to pull my finger out and get racing!!!
How have you found the transition from 250 4t to the 300 2t?
I can't make up my mind between the two

Cheers, Ad.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:22 AM   #57
DolphinJohn OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adalift View Post
Awesome thread Bro.
It has inspired me to pull my finger out and get racing!!!
How have you found the transition from 250 4t to the 300 2t?
I can't make up my mind between the two

Cheers, Ad.

Now that I've done a few races on the 300, I love the thing. I tweaked the power valve adjustment before this race and it made it much smoother. I didn't change the spring but just turned the screw in a bit.

Both of my buddies have 300's as well, and when riding their bikes I noticed they were smoother at low rpm's.

Anyway, the 250 was a great bike, it had plenty of power and handled really well in the tight stuff. Or so I thought.....

The 300 is better all around I think. Not glaringly so in any one way, just overall. It is slightly heavier than my 250 because my older 250 had no e-start and was a SX model. I felt the weight difference a little bit at first.

As I learn how to use the power of the 300 it really is showing its superiority and why everyone raves about it for hare scrambles. In this race there were some sections of grass with soft black mud underneath. As the race went on they got very soft and I found that if I up-shifted sooner in to 3rd gear I could use the torque to get up to speed very quickly without too much tire spin.

It also seems to absorb the choppy bumps better, now that I got the forks serviced and set up correctly. I can keep more speed where on the 250 I might have slowed down in the really rough stuff.

I find I am much less tired at the end of the race, probably due to the suspension being better, either better set up or just better components. I am less sore in the days after the race as well.

My 300 is an '09 XCW, FYI. My 250 was an '07 SXF

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Old 02-14-2014, 03:12 AM   #58
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Cheers for the informative response.
A 2 stroker seems like the ultimate enduro tool.
Keep up the awesome thread, as soon as I get racing I may do similar.
Many thanks, Ad.
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