Well, I managed to stay shiny side up for both days of track riding with MCRA at Putnam Park this past weekend. Out of the five that went in my group, two crashed, one bad enough that he may need some surgery on his shoulder. Even though he crashed, he is still chomping at the bit to go to Mid-Ohio at the end of June and ride with us again. A video of his crash is below. You can listen to the sound in the clip and hear how fast he is going into Turn 1 off the front straight. Simply went into the turn too hot and wasn’t able to keep it on the track.
The main downfall to the weekend was my personal performance on my race bike. I didn’t go near as fast as I had hoped and my lack of preparation definitely showed as I wasn’t able to stay out for a full session of riding because fatigue would set in. Because of this, I wasn’t able to ride as fast as I would have liked and got passed by more people than I should have.
My lack of preparation for the track day hindered my end result of the weekend, much like not preparing for the heat of summer can hinder your company’s performance and production. Now is the time to be preparing to keep those electrical enclosures cool, not when they are overheating and causing shut downs.
That’s right folks, the first track day of the year is getting close. The first for this year will be held at Putnam Park Road Course, with Midwest Cafe Racers Association. We will be heading out on Friday, April 19th, for the weekend. The preparations already began a few weeks ago, actually over a month ago. This year I am not only prepping my track bike, but also my friends track bike. The best part is, I am learning more and more about his bike, and the bells and whistles that it has.
One of the many parts to prepping the bike for the track was changing out the coolant to a non-glycol based coolant, changing the tires, removing all glass / plastic from the bike. Not to mention drilling and safety wiring the oil filler cap, oil drain plug, and oil filter. Those are simply the necessities, we have taken it a step further and changed out some other stock parts for nicer track ready parts. The main obstacle has been that he elected to go with a non-branded rear set foot control. These were copies of a very large name brand rear set foot control. Everything seemed to fit together until I went to install the shift linkage. The linkage length should be 9″ long, the one they sent with the new set was actually 9-5/8″ long. Because of this it actually placed the shift lever about 3″ too low and will not work. Luckily, I have the knowledge and ability to modify things like this. After cutting the extra length off and re-tapping the hole, the linkage is now to the correct length on the bike, and ready to go racing.
The point to the story is this: my friend went with the company who said they were just as good if not better than the big name brand, yet considerably cheaper and not made locally. In the end the quality of the product was not what they made claims of over the internet and they don’t have near the level of support that the brand name does. After some fixing, the units will work but it could have been a costly replacement as the manufacturer of these doesn’t stand directly behind their product.
Here at EXAIR we have instilled quality into our product and customer service. If you were to receive a part that doesn’t work, we will be here to help figure out why, and then make the correct actions to remedy your problem as fast as possible. So don’t always believe what you read on the internet about how great some products are when they are so much cheaper than a well established, market leading brand.
Even though we didn’t get much snow this past Winter the road courses are just now starting to open up here in the Ohio area. As soon as I get home from work I will be kissing my daughter and wife goodbye for the weekend and heading towards a small town in Indiana called Greencastle. There’s not much there and the only two things close are Depauw University and Putnam Park Road Course. I know I have blogged about track days many times but with this much anticipation for the first track day of the year, I can’t help but bring it back again.
Two good friends of mine and myself have spent the last week prepping out bikes for the track day. The main difference this time is I will have a different bike at the track. It’s not mine unless I wreck it and it’s quite a bit different from my SV. So of course I have went through it as best I can and think I’m ready.
All I know is I am ready to get some footage similar to what is shown below.
This track day is of course going to be interesting and a learning experience. Much like I went through when I first started here at EXAIR and began to learn about our full selection of products. You see as an Application Engineer here at EXAIR I not only need to know if we sell something but I need to know how it works, why it works, and what kind of applications it can work in. So this weekend I will be learning something new much like I still am here at EXAIR.
We’re constantly coming up with or hearing about new applications for our products. If you have one and would like to share or need help with an application just let us know.
I know everyone has that list (that hangs somewhere in your house or in your head) of things that need to get done. Something that has jumped to the top of my list to get done this weekend is installing an electronic brake controller on my brother’s 2009 Chevy Silverado. Along with race prepping the bike for the final track day of the year. (It’s ok if you cry. It’s a sad time of year when we don’t get to ride anymore.)
While I am no stranger to electronics in vehicles through my experience as a MECP Installer, I am always a little hesitant to deal with the electronics which handle the brakes for the vehicle. So I checked out all the installation instructions and wiring diagrams and found an easy “How To” video that will help me to install the unit.
Then once the unit is installed I will have to test drive with the race trailer empty just to ensure the trailer brakes are in fact working and something like below doesn’t happen.
As long as everything is good then next weekend my friends and I will be on our last trip to Putnam for the year and we will hopefully all be coming back with our MCRA Race License.