James Rispoli: Double Trouble in Miami
NEWS October 4, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Hi everyone! What a race weekend we had in Homestead-Miami. This was the first time in many years that AMA Pro Racing has held a race at this speedway so we were all really excited to get out on the track and have some fun. We had an official test day early in the year so everyone would get a chance to experience the track and I did pretty good leading most of the sessions. I felt confident coming into the race coming off a win and second place at New Jersey Motorsports Park. And, while this was an east coast point round and I am fighting for the west coast championship, my goal was to do whatever I could to stay ahead of my opponents and take away some valuable points toward the national overall championship. We accomplished our goal and more, much more.
So put on your leathers, strap on your helmet and hop on for a ride at Homestead-Miami Speedway.......
Friday Practice and First Qualifying session
The weather was iffy all weekend long. In our first practice session on Friday I was able pull off a pretty reasonable time of 127 flat just over .107 ahead of second place. It wasn’t as fast as I did in the test earlier in the year but the track was really green with all the rain we had so this wasn’t a bad showing. We made a few changes for the first qualifying session and we knew we were going to have to go for it in order to get on the front row before some weather came in. Qualifying was at the end of the day and it took a while to ramp up and find some clean air but when I did toward the end of the session I let one rip and it was one second faster than my practice session and a 126 flat. I made a huge mistake on that lap and knew I could get in the 125 range so I was going for another. There was 3 minutes left on the session and I was on another flyer when I tucked the front going into turn two and it put me out of the session. My time held up to earn me pole position but left my team with some work to do in order to get the “A” bike ready for the mornings second qualifying session.
In the morning the skies lit up with thunder and it rained like crazy. The track was under water and so was the pit area so our session which was the first one was cancelled until further notice. When it did open up we got a chance to get on the track in rain tires. Most riders didn’t go out but I wanted to go and ride around a little to see the conditions and determine myself how safe it was. No one came close to the Friday Q1 session times so I was in no danger of losing my pole position. I was happy with that and actually couldn’t wait for our race later on in the day.
Our race one got off to a great start in dry conditions. My start was good but Puerta did a move from across the track zig zagging and I gave some room and went into turn one in third place. I quickly made my way in to second and fell in tow with Puerta and set him up with a draft pass going into one. I worked the front until Mesa came through and challenged for the lead when we came up on a lapper going into turn one several laps later. Mesa did a good job up front for a couple of laps but I knew I had to get by him and make a run at the front. The track was slippery and we both were backing it in on every turn. Mesa made one more charge, I answered it and won by .564. It was a good race and I had almost a 3 second lead on the third place finisher. I knew we had to make a change or two to the bike for Sunday’s race to be better but overall I was really happy with the win and all the work my crew put in overnight to make sure I had a bike that could run up front for this race.
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. We made a couple of adjustments to try and squeak out a little more rear grip and tried it in practice on Sunday morning. I didn’t push anything when I got on the track so I just rode around to make sure we were ready.
The weather was starting to look grim and we were hoping the rain held off long enough for the start and finish of our race. We got on the grid and this time I got a much better start and captured the lead right away. I was able to break away from the front group early on and opened up almost a three second gap by lap 10 before the race was stopped due to weather. We sat out for about a half hour while a nasty high wind storm came by and officials eventually called the race. This was the first time this year that the red flag helped me out even though I had a pretty good gap on the field. The track was fun and was a dirt trackers delight. I don’t think my handle bars were straight for a minute. I had a blast out there and this was my first double win of the season. I also won the BIG Kahuna surfboard and the team ended up with two first place team trophies as well. It was a great time and after that weekend I now have (8) wins on the season, a record for this SuperSport Class.
It was nice home wasn’t far from the track since I am living down here in Florida when not traveling on the road. I have also been training my butt off since Homestead and I am really ready to end the season on a high note at NOLA this weekend. With a little luck I should be able to wrap up the championship and add it to my record breaking collection. The next round is 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.
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.
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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