James Rispoli iReport: NJMP - Six and Counting
NEWS September 19, 2012
The Hometown race track....
Hi everyone! We finally made it to New Jersey Motorsports Park, the closest race track to where I grew up in New York and New Hampshire and where my family and friends can come see me race and make a day trip or long weekend out of the event. I was excited to get back on the track after my win at Laguna Seca after two more weeks of training mode both on and off the track after the race. I have been doing a lot of the Star School programs in between races to supplement my bicycle training which has been great. Jason Pridmore and the crew continue to work with me and we continue to make progress on my riding style and track tactics. Life is Good!!!
Speaking of GOOD, check out the this latest update on the action at New Jersey.......
Friday Practice and First Qualifying session
I have had great results at NJMP a track where I got my first win in 2010 my first time on the track and another win in 2011 to sew up the Championship that year. I was coming into the race with a lot of confidence but also knew that there was at least three other riders who thought they could win as well.
Friday’s early morning practice had me sitting in the 5th position for most of the session. It was crazy. NJMP track is hard on tires and there was two choices from Dunlop. We chose to test on the hard tire first to see if that was going to work well enough in the beginning of the race and last long enough to be good at the end of the race. I tried my best on the tire and we made changes to the bike in order to try and make it work good enough but I was just slipping around like I was on ice. With about seven minutes to go I came in and we tried the other choice Dunlop brought with them and in two flying laps went from 5th to second and just off the leaders pace. I knew after that we had the right choice and in the next qualifying round I was going to be ready to make something on the track happen.
In the first qualifying session things were starting to look good. I was able to shave 1.1 seconds off my free practice time getting into the low 24’s and qualify in the second position just 0.057 off pole position. That’s some quick times right there and with the new set up it came fairly easily once I had a clear track.
In the morning practice it was clear things were not going to be good to make a faster run for the pole. The track was wet and a little slippery and I just went out and rode around for eight or nine laps to warm things up and make sure the bike was ready to go for race one in the afternoon. I maintained my second place on the front row starting position and was excited to get the day going and work hard for a win.
The race was scheduled for 1 P.M. and the weather and track was looking good. I was looking to get a great start and run up front and that’s exactly what happened. I got out there and dragged Dustin Dominguez along with me and the two of us charged to an 11 second gap on the rest of the field. Dustin and I traded paint a couple of times in some close passing and I made some big mistakes getting into turn one but was able to gather it up. I eventually made the pass stick and crossed the line ahead of Dustin for my sixth win.
Podium Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMsYMlhVWrc&feature=youtu.be
While it was great to get a win on Saturday I knew we had to do something with the bike to make it more competitive for Sunday’s race. In Saturday’s race I had little grip and was slipping and sliding before the tires actually wore out which meant we had to make an adjustment somewhere. I spent a lot of time after Saturday’s race talking with Chris from K-Tech and my crew chief William trying to figure out exactly what direction we were going to take and then what adjustments were needed to achieve a better result.
The top SportBike guys were in the high 23’s and from third place on they were in the low 24’s so I knew I had to make up some .600 of a second to get down to those numbers. We made the moves with suspension and even played with the clutch a bit and felt ready to rock and roll. In the warm up on Sunday I took it easy but still managed to pull off the fast time of the session and felt ready to go.
In the race I got an off start and went into turn one in third. I quickly made my way into second behind Dustin and the two of us gave chase and started to pull away from the field. Just when it looked like a replay of Saturday the first of two red flags came out. On the last restart I got away with Dustin and again we were charging to the front running lap times over .500 seconds faster than the third place rider. In the shortened race, Dustin and I pulled out an eight second gap on the rest of the field and with three laps to go I used some lappers to my advantage and started to pull a gap on my rival. Unfortunately, Dustin and a lapper got tangled and the lapper went down. They called the race but even though I was leading, they reverted back one lap and I ended up in second 0.013 off the win. It was a good race but I was a little pissed at myself because this is the second time this season that I was leading a race that ended with a red flag that reverted back one lap and put me back to second. This could have been my eight win of the season! By the time I got back to the podium area I was smiling and happy for my team and the results. I was able to get into the mid 24’s and that would have put me near the top five in the SportBike class, one of my goals of the race.
I have been home a couple of weeks in Florida putting in the peddle miles with my trainer Richie which has been great. I have also introduces some boxing as a way to cross train a little and I am having a blast. I believe it will help me with reaction time and that can only help especially with my starts and being a little more aggressive with my passing moves. The next round is another East Coast round and will provide me some good practice to be ready for the final showdown at Nola Motorsports Park in New Orleans October 5th – 7th.
To sum it all up I know I have one of the best teams in the paddock behind me. Together we are racing, over coming challenges and we’re all getting better at what we do. I want to thank my entire team, especially William, Dustin and Eric for doing everything it takes to give me the best race bikes on the planet. They are the best. To Barry, Skip and everyone else who came together to help this ride open up for me I say thank you! I will do whatever I have to do to be ready to race for every event. Next stop, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL.
Till next time do what I like to do, GO FASTER...
Make sure you check this video of “the Rocket” at Infineon Raceway. Just click below! Over 180,000 views in the last (14) weeks. Thanks for supporting me and my Celtic Orient Express Racing team.
AMA Pro Racing Photo
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Celtic-Orient Express Racing is proud to partner with: Michael Jordan Motorsports, American Suzuki, Armor Bodies, Chicken Hawk Racing, DesignStar3, Dynojet, FMF Racing Exhaust, Full Spectrum Power, Hudson Valley Racing, Galfer Brakes, GB Racing, K-Tech Suspension, Maxima Oils, Motion Pro, Pit Bull, Riviera Country Club, Saddlemen, Star Motorcycle School, Vortex Racing, and Zero Gravity.
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