Summit Point Constitutional Test
Written by Cowboy6 Saturday, 04 July 2009 00:00
PDF Print E-mail

Summit Point Constitutional Test

JUL 2-5 2009 Summit Point Raceway, WV

It seems that I am destined to constantly demonstrate my character by James 1:2-4. This most recent weekend was probably the worst so far.

It all started on Tuesday when my wife, Denise, had problems with our lawnmower. It seems that it doesn’t want to run any more. Then Wednesday, I received a call from Denise about the passenger rear window on her car that would not go back up and, it was raining. After getting home and taping the window up for repair, we headed to my Armory in the RV with the race trailer in tow. While I normally would have left mid afternoon, we had an important meeting that required my attendance starting 6:30 that night. At around 8:00 PM, the meeting was over and we headed for West Virginia. About 45 minutes from Summit Point, there was a loud explosion. I pulled over to find an 8” hole in one of inside rear tires on the RV. So we pulled into a lit bank parking lot a few exits later and at 1:00 Thursday AM, I finished the wheel change and we continued on. Once at Summit, the saga continued with broken valves in my engine on Thursday and another cylinder head related failure with the replacement head on Friday. But, with good friends around, all is never lost!

Me at 1230 AM

The cause of the trouble

So, there we are, at Summit Point. It’s Thursday AM and I am exhausted already from lack of sleep. But, no worries, this is just a practice day. We made a few new friends that day including a really nice guy who only does track days on his GSXR 750. Cecilia helped him put up his canopy and I was able to help him with a few other issues throughout the day. At the same time, we were stretching out our proverbial arms in an attempt to reserve enough pit space for the large contingent that would start arriving that night.

About mid afternoon, teammate Art Lohman arrived with two other riders. We managed to get them where they needed to be. Bob Brown arrived with his wife and set up his canopy next to ours as well. Kathy Lomaskin (photographer extraordinaire) arrived and put her trailer in our compound area. Then, late that night, my other teammate, John Dodson, arrived with his entire family as well. It was shaping up to be a great weekend of fellowship and outreach.

So, Friday came and brought the final destruction of my superbike engine. I must say, I was a bit distraught. After conferring with Bob, I decided to talk to Rick Beggs of R&R Cycles about giving him my bike so he could fix the engine and bring it to the New Jersey. On the way, my stormy weekend encountered a ray of sunshine. An old buddy, Daniel Riter, was pitted between R&R and me. I hadn’t noticed that he was there earlier so I decided to say hello on my way to see Rick. In our quick catch-up conversation, he had asked me how my weekend was going so far. I told him what had happened and where I was headed. At that point, he asked if I had good tires. After scratching my head in wonder as to why that mattered, I said sure. He then said, “Well, you can use my second bike if you want, you would just need to put your own tires on it. Are you kidding? I could use this bike to make all of my scheduled races for both Saturday and Sunday? Yep, that was the story! He wanted to ride it for a few sessions yet that day to get some video but it would be mine afterward. Awesome! I told him to just let me know when to grab it. The Lord has provided yet again. He is so awesome! Well, Mr. Riter went out on his bike for one session and came back with news of fuel starvation (we knew about that) and funky handling that was not there before. He was not going to do any more sessions with it so it was mine. I took it out for one session just to see what was up. Boy, he wasn’t kidding! The suspension on the bike was a mess. It was simply scary to ride.

Since I was already switching his bike to my FCR racing carburetors, and now I was looking at the rear shock and forks, I decided that maybe an engine swap into my chassis would be the best bet in the end. With Mr. Riter’s permission, Bob and I started on that right away. I would go out to do my instructor duties with the MARRC racing school on Bob’s R6, then work on the engine swap in between. Then due to an over-abundance of instructors vs the number of students, Rick Beggs said I could skip the rest of the school sessions. This gave me the time I needed. Bob Brown proved yet again what an awesome and dedicated friend he is. He stayed at my side helping with the engine swap instead of running the practice day that he had paid for. I didn’t ask him to do that. In fact, I suggested that he not waste his day on my dilemma. Bob said, “No, my buddy needs help and that’s where I belong.” Wow, you don’t find that every day. By Friday evening the deed was done and the bike was fired. Now we wait for Saturday. Denise, Heather Dodson, and Linda Brown were all very busy preparing some awesome meals for all to enjoy. The team was able to provide food for many outside our “compound” this weekend. Kudos to these wonderful ladies for all they have been doing! Just a note regarding John Dodson’s commitment to the team. John broke his hand at VIR and was under Doctor’s orders not to race this weekend. Still, he loaded up his entire family including Mattie the dog and came to support the team. This was at significant expense to him due to fuel and gate fees for everyone. Thanks for your support John. You and your family are awesome!

Dedicated friend....

Familiar sight in my pit by now....

Saturday morning brought my first opportunity to ride the new combination. Being a stock engine, the bike was noticeably down on power. But, I was thankful for a running machine and just pressed on anyway. But, we then discovered a severe brake drag issue. With little time for diagnostics, I simply swapped in the front brake system from Riter’s donor bike over the lunch break. Then, Art presented the invocation and Cecilia treated the track with her vocal prowess by singing the National Anthem. With the subsequent races after lunch, I found that I was being beaten on the brakes as well as power so something would have to be done. That night, Bob and I took my brake system and tried cleaning the pistons. I found that when I compressed one set, another would extend! Bob noticed that no matter what I did, no fluid would return to the reservoir. There was something wrong with my master cylinder from my crash at VIR a few weeks ago. It would not let any fluid return. This explained why my front wheel had so much drag! So, we swapped out the master with my spare and re-installed my GSXR brakes.

Finally, Bob and me on the track at the same time!

Now, in the mean time, the ministry work was in full swing! Art had taken a photo of everyone at the riders meeting to take to Zolt who was still at the rehab center. Zolt was so appreciative of everyone’s support. He told Art that he was a changed man after seeing the love and concern that has been extended to him through his ordeal. We also made some new friends in the pits that were encouraged and moved by our team’s commitment to serving our Lord in this way. This was so encouraging to us. Sometimes it can be pretty easy to fall into a slump when you are constantly facing adversity at every turn. We serve God in this mission but it is sure nice to have a stranger express support of your efforts. These very kind folks also produced a check that was used to plus up our CSBA Fuel fund! That evening, Art performed a wedding ceremony for one of the MARRC corner-workers, Sarah, and her groom Adam. It was done at the on-site chapel with a pair of race bikes posed in a V as the backdrop. This was quite awesome as the majority of the attendees were not “chapel” attendees. When Art molded the Gospel into the ceremony, an entirely new group of ears heard it. For some, it may have been the first time. It doesn’t get any better than that. Of course, that evening we were treated to a fireworks show from T10 as it was July 4th after all.

Sunday morning and time to test the new brakes in T1! Yep, much better, now I could brake at the 2 marker instead of the 3 and had much better feedback as well. Another meaningful invocation from Art and Cecilia repeating her performance of our anthem was followed by a repeated race schedule from Saturday as this was a “Twin Sprints” weekend. The races on Sunday mimicked my efforts from Saturday concerning my futile efforts to overcome the horsepower deficit I was under. Still, we finished in some points and were able to get some good dicing video via Mark Evry and his camera mounted Ducati 1000DS!

Gettin' some!

This was also another Race for Recovery weekend featuring a crew of wounded vets from Walter Reed. These soldiers have been blessed with their family’s presence while they recover thanks Fisher House. At lunch time, they all got a lap around the track in the bus! Several of the soldiers came by our pit and we had a little soldier to soldier conversation. They seemed thrilled to be there. We were thrilled to be able to spend some time with them. Thanks to Summit Point Raceway, Fisher House and Patriot Racing for making it all possible.

I think the red flag was because the bus caught Art in T1 and ran him over!

The end result of the weekend was a best finish of 3rd but an awesome demonstration of what friendship, hard work and perseverance can accomplish.
A special thanks to our Lord for keeping us all safe this weekend and teaching us so many lessons. He has provided us with so much that we need to remember to be thankful for always.
Also, thanks to all who have donated to our fuel fund. The help we have in getting around is turning into the difference between success and failure.

We are scheduled for the new Lightning circuit at New Jersey Motorsports Park at the end of July. Hopefully my engine will be ready and I will have some help swapping it in again. Keep us in your prayers, we are looking forward to meeting some new people and letting the light of our savior Jesus Christ shine through us for all to see. ……………..Joe ”Cowboy 6” Cotterino

Other gratuitous photos...

Bob and Joe

Bob and Denise discussing solutions....

Chased by a Buell passing a backmarker...T6

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:23