iReport: James Rispoli: Alabama Slammer
NEWS July 12, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
(July 11, 2012) - Hi everyone! I have been hard at work the last two and half weeks since Barber training my tail off in the Florida heat. I have been cranking out some quality miles on the peddle bike to the tune of 450 plus miles kicking things in to high gear now that we are just past mid season. I head to New York this week to train with my dirt track bud Ryan Wells who is a first year pro in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com Pro Singles Series. He is currently only 10 points out of first place with more than three fourths of the series left to go. I shipped my bicycle up so we can train the rest of this week and the next week before I fly out to Laguna Seca. I’m really excited to see everyone in my home town and have some FUN on some dirt track bikes.
Friday Practice and First Qualifying session
Hot, hot, hot... and not just the racing. Weather was steaming with high humidity and at times little wind. I’m glad I trained hard in the heat and kept hydrated to the max prior to coming to the track. On Friday we had a good first practice outing getting the feel for the track testing some shocks and setups we wanted to try. I managed to place third in the first practice. We made some additional setup changes and went out later in the day for our first qualifying session. My times got better but I still only managed to come up third in that session around .400 off the pole. I knew where I could make up time and I really never had a clear lap out in the session so I was hoping for a dry Saturday morning qualifying session to lay down another run and see if I could grab pole and the extra point. The team made some adjustments overnight and I got a good night sleep and was ready to rock-it in the morning.
In the morning we had our second qualifying session. It remained humid and I knew the track would be good to go after a few laps with everyone on it. I was just hoping I could get a clear lap and move a half a second down and grab the pole. Well I managed to go a little faster and actually qualified first, but it wasn’t enough to get me to the pole. I remained in position three on the front row which was as good as any place on the front row. I still wasn’t 100% pleased with the bike but I thought we had something that could run upfront and challenge for the win.
I was able to get a decent start and followed the top three into turn one. For the first few laps I was able to challenge for second spot however Dominguez was getting away at the front. Then my bike started really spinning up and sliding around. I have having a tough time hanging on with Jake and he started to pull away and chase after Dustin. I slowly lost touch with the two in front but was able to hang on for a lonely third place some (12) seconds behind the leaders and over (7) seconds in front of fourth place. I got a handful of point over my closest competitor in the west coast division, but I knew I had to make a change to the bike in order to run with the leaders on Sunday. So the team debriefed and prepared for the next days battle.
The morning warm up got off to a good start. Some of the changes we made to the bike seem to calm it down a little and on the track that turned into quick times with less effort. I finished up the warm up in first place roughly .200 ahead of second place. I felt good on the bike and was really pumped that I felt we made good changes that would result in a closer race at the front.
I got out front right away and felt immediately I had the pace to do whatever it took to win but I never anticipated three red flags. Each restart was a challenge and each time we took a risk of collision, burned clutch or worse. We managed to deal with each restart in a positive manner and still got to the front. Late in the race I was up there with Jake, Puerta and Gilliam. Jake and I had a little better pace on the rest and on the last lap I went for it and took the lead. I was an animal on the brakes and kept things tight where I needed to so Jake couldn’t make a move. It forced him to try and draft me for the win but Barber isn’t the kind of track where a lot of drafting is done. It is a riders track and you have to get it done in the corners. I held on to eek out the win by .038 but whose counting. I came away with more points bringing my lead to 59 points over second and 89 points over third. We still have a ways to go so we have to managed that lead carefully and I aim to do just that.
NOLA the Ragin’ Cajun Test
So, that’s all she wrote for the racing side of things. We left right after Barber to head on out to Nola Motorsports Park in New Orleans, LA for an official test AMA Pro Racing set up for the competitors. Most of the teams and riders showed up and our Celtic Orient Express Racing team was there as well. Cory and I worked 7 and 8 sessions over the two day period working on new shocks, and front suspension parts to see what would work best. Overall the test went well for us and I ended up with the number one position and the fastest time over the course of the two days in the Supersport class. I knew we had more in the tank but ended up with a good set up and starting point for when we come back at the end of the season for the last race.
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, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 13-15, Lexington, OH.
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 170,000 views in the last (5) weeks. Thanks for supporting me and my Celtic Orient Express Racing team.
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.
James’ personal sponsors are AGV-Dainese (head to toe), Monster Energy, Gafler Brakes, Techmounts, Star Motorcycle School, Saddlemen, and Maverick Moto Media.
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