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Middletown Cycle Racing #612 #612 Rob Hancock

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Old 05-28-2010   #1
RJH_5150
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Grattan May 15th-16th

What a great weekend. The weather was good, racing was great and no serious issues for us (which is very unlike Grattan). We got off to a very late start Thursday because Jeff wasnít able to leave work early. So Bill and I did the final touches with the trailer and hit Wally World for our weekendís worth of groceries. Everything timed itself pretty good and we were able pick Jeff up from work just as he was getting off and keep motoring. With all of our fuel and dinner stops we still didnít pull into the hotel until 1am. That didnít make the morningís 6am alarm very welcoming.

Friday was a little chilly in the morning and very windy. I bet we picked up 5mph down the front straight. Everyone was smart and left their E-Z ups down. That was good for me because my trailer seems to be a target for loose canopies. I didnít feel like bothering with all of that and grabbed a garage with J.B. (Mattison) and Aaron (Hardiman). I rode the first 3 sessions trying to get a feel for the new suspension settings and realized right away that the front was way too soft. I came in early on the third session so Bill and I could put a heavier spring in one of the forks during lunch. That was pretty crazy. I have never done anything like that at the track before. I am glad I did because the front end felt so much better and I knocked a couple of seconds off my lap times. That evening Bill and I took a track walk with most of the Witchkraft crew so we could check out the new pavement and to show Bill how crazy the track is.

Saturday morning was business as usual. I had to register, take the bike through tech and get ready for practice. It was really nice having a garage because everything was already where it needed to be from yesterday and I was ready to go by 8am. So I basically did nothing until the track went green at 9am. I decided to skipped first practice and spent the rest of the morning getting me and the bike ready for the solo. Bill and I changed tires before lunch and put the warmers on. The race was uneventful for me other than my horrible launch. I am going to blame in on the heavier clutch springs I installed a couple of days prior because I stood her straight up. You got to blame something, right? I guess I should have done a test launch. I rode just about the entire race in 5th place. Jeff (Wroble) on the other hand had little bit more exciting one. He cut 10a a little too sharp around lap nine and ran through the grass. It wouldnít have been so bad if there wasnít a hole. Well that hole bent both of his rims (destroyed the back one) and blew out his shock. I canít imagine what that felt like. That crazy S.O.B. rode through all the vibrations and won the race.



Before diner Bill and I do another track walk with Greg (Kappen), Tim (Banish) and Brian (Mullins). We had a lot of discussions about all the different lines you can take around the track. I am hoping I helped them out a little with their races the next day. After dinner Brian brought his bike up to our garage and we turned a few (all) knobs on the suspension. I think we got the bike balanced out pretty good even thought we had to keep it fairly soft because of the limitations of the stock parts. Hopefully the bike worked better for him.

Race day. It was another morning of standing around until 9am because everything was ready. I did put my old tires back on for practice and turned a few adjusters on the forks. Itís so hard to tune to old tires but sometimes thereís not much you can do about that. The two practices I out went well and the changes I made seemed to help. I skipped my last practice so I could get the bike ready for the races. Having the first race of the day kind of puts things in a rush. So Bill and I yank the wheels off for Quentin to put fresh rubber on. While we were waiting for the tires I drained the pump gas out and dumped some race gas in. We also had to take the lower off to install the O2 sensor and set the Bazzaz to learn. We get the bike back together and the warmers on in enough time for me to eat a sandwich before the riders meeting. After the meeting I go to get my grid positions and try to figure out a strategy for the after noon. WERA combined a few races which caused two of mine to be back to back. We got everything figured out and I went to change into my leathers.

I got a better launch in race 1 (A Super Stock) but Eric (Spector) out brakes me into turn one. I kept him in sight the whole race but just couldnít gain any ground on him. I ultimately crossed the line in second place. After the race Bill met me down by post tech to get an accurate read on my hot tire pressures. When I got back to the garage we had a few things that needed to be done. While I was adjust the tire pressure and fueling the bike Bill was removing the lower fairing so he could remove the O2 sensor. After we got all that done I grabbed my laptop and applied the changes to the map. I thought to myself, ďCan I please race now and quit working on this damn thing?Ē



Race 2, C Super Stock, was a little frustrating because I kept making mistakes that cost me several positions. I finished in 7th place right behind Emerson Connor. After the race I ran into him in the pits and congratulated him on riding so well. From what I heard he just moved up from a 250 and was now riding a Ducati. He is young kid and a great rider. I couldnít help but to feel old after talking to him.

I not sure if I want to talk about the B Super Stock race. Everything was going good until the third lap. I think I was in forth or fifth position. I came out of turn four with a great drive and stayed in it a little too long. I kept the throttle pinned until I wheelied over the little hump before the jump and shot myself to the moon. It felt like I landed past my brake/turn in point and couldnít get the bike slowed down. So I rode off into the grass. I kept her up and managed to find a spot to get back on without jumping into the race line. Just incase my tires were muddy. Anyway I ended up finishing back in 11 place.



Things got a little better in C Superbike, my race 4 of the day. Unfortunately this one was right after the last one so I didnít have much time to do anything. Bill met in hot pit with some water and fuel. Luckily I had enough time for him to wipe the bugs off my visor. I get a great launch and by turn two I am already pushed back to forth position. Eric makes a mistake on the exit of four and loses the front and I take over third. It was hard trying to relearn a section of track (I didnít want to go to the moon again) and ride defensive. Eddie (Kraft) was chasing me the whole time. The funny thing was I saw Joe (Eddieís dad) giving him hand signals every lap so I knew exactly where he was. I couldnít tell if that helped or bothered me. It was nice to know what was going on back there but also created some anxiety that could have caused mistakes. I ultimately held him off and got the last podium spot.



The last race. By this point in the day my brain was about turned to mush. It was far too much concentrating for one day. Bill and I had to do a quick rear wheel swap before the race. I had a strange feeling I was going to need some better rubber back there towards the end of the day. I wanted to swap it after my third race but the back to back thing kind of put a damper on that. Anyway, it was a great race. I had a great battle with Kevin (Callaway) for forth. He past me earlier in the race and I stalked him until the last lap and out broke him into one. I was pretty jazzed until we hit some lappers out 4 and had to take a crazy line to get around them. Kevin got back around right before the esses and with my screwed up line pulled a gap. I had nothing for him for the rest of the lap.



Big thanks to Bill for all his help this weekend. It would have been a very difficult weekend without his help. I hope I didn't boss you around too much. We have a nice break until we head to Beaver Run on the 19th of June. I am really looking forward to it because itís one of my favorite tracks.

Big thanks to all of my sponsors! Middletown Cycle, Cinema Concepts, Worldwide Bearings, 35 Motorsports,
Spider Grips, NKY Signs, Cycle Options, Sharkskinz and of course Localriders.com.

Photos by Jeff Kovak
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Old 05-28-2010   #2
shakenbake
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Re: Grattan May 15th-16th

Good job Rob. That's nuts to think Jeff won the solo with bent rims and a blown shock. That boy is crazy. It nice to see you 2 doing so good this season. Keep it up!
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Old 05-28-2010   #3
Dave Bannister
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Re: Grattan May 15th-16th

Keep it up the great work Rob!

Quote:
Well that hole bent both of his rims (destroyed the back one) and blew out his shock. I canít imagine what that felt like. That crazy S.O.B. rode through all the vibrations and won the race.
How does he do this


Thanks for sharing
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Old 05-28-2010   #4
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Re: Grattan May 15th-16th

Great write up Rob!
Thanks for helping me last night on the track bike!
Bill too!
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Old 05-28-2010   #5
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Re: Grattan May 15th-16th

Always enjoy the great write ups - glad you are doing well and know that success breeds success!!
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