Second Creek Raceway Denver, Colorado October 5, 2003
The last race of the Motorcycle Roadracing Association season was finally here. A great day weather-wise and a large crowd greeted the racers. With many championships on the line, it was to be a day of strategy.
Open Superbike would give Ricky a chance to determine if the chassis adjustments made in the morning practice would give him the winning edge. The bike had not felt confidence inspiring and the limited practice time had not provided the ultimate set up. A decent start from the second row, put Ricky into third place from the beginning. Running at a comfortable pace the leaders started to gap him, but Ricky was holding off the charge of the rider from behind. At the checkered flag, a third place finish gave Ricky fourth place in the Open Superbike class.
As the grid filled for the last round of the Race of the Rockies, Ricky took the pole position. A cautious start had Ricky in third place on the first lap. Electing not to try to run with the leaders, he settled into third and keeping what felt like a slow pace. He knew what he had to do and finishing was his main concern. As the laps wore down and the checkered flag flew, Ricky had brought the number one plate back to the Colorado Powersports Race Team. The Suzuki GSXR1000, tuned by Marvin Rosencrans, ran a flawless season finishing on the podium at every round. Marvin also clinched the amateur GTO championship riding the big Suzuki.
With out the support of Colorado Powersports, Dunlop, Hindle, EBC, Aria, Fox Shox, Sharkskin, Dainese, Bel Ray, Factory Pro, Lockhart, Mike Paulson and AST Sports this winning season would not have been possible.
Pueblo Motorsports Park Pueblo, Colorado September 29, 2003
The last round at Pueblo this year brought perfect temperatures, clear skies and no wind for a great race day. The rumors around the pits were that one of the top riders had been beating his bike with a money stick. Ricky’s first race of the day was Open Superbike. With a second row grid, his start was not the best and by the first lap he was holding on to fourth place. The third place rider was slowing Ricky as the leaders pulled away. The opportunity to make a pass presented itself toward the end of the race, not leaving Ricky any time to make a run at the leaders, leaving him in third place.
Race of the Rockies was up and a front row start enabled Ricky to jump into the lead. Holding on to it was not as easy when one rider’s new horsepower showed up on the long front straight passing Ricky, putting him down one spot. Trying to stay with the leader proved costly as he used up his rear tire. Ricky lost another spot, leaving him in third. As the race was winding down, it looked like the positions were set, but a miscue by the leader moved Ricky back into second where he would finish. With one round left, Ricky holds a thirteen point advantage over second place. A top eight finish would lock up the championship for Ricky.
Second Creek Raceway Denver, Colorado September 14, 2003
As the season winds down, so does the temperature. Close to freezing conditions greeted racers that morning. As the day warmed up, so did the racing action. With today being the last Suzuki money race of the year, Ricky was determined to win the maximum amount of cash. The start of the Open Supersport race saw him on the fifth row. With an excellent start, he was in second place halfway through the first lap. A red flag one lap later negated that start. Next try the results were even better, as he led the pack into turn one. Two laps later, there was another red flag. On the third restart, he was gridded on the front row. Ricky took full advantage and led again into turn one and every lap to the checkered flag for the win. Mission accomplished.
The Open Superbike was up and a unusual slow start saw Ricky slotted into third place. As he was trying to run down the front runners, he also had his hands full fending off the challenges of the fourth place rider. As the checkered flag fell, he was awarded with third place. Race of the Rockies was next. Another great start had Ricky leading the group for the first six laps. With pressure being applied, he must have had the points championship on his mind as he did not retaliate and cruised to a comfortable second place finish while extending his points lead.
La Junta Raceway, La Junta, Colorado August 24, 2003
With another trip to the south end of the state in August, one can only hope that the a/c is working well in the transporter. The action on the track was just as hot as the ambient air temperature. Ricky was much more confident on the trip to La Junta this time, due to the shorter time span from the last race here. First race was Open Superbike. The lap times during practice had the top five riders running almost identical times. Close racing would be the order of the day. As the green flag dropped, Ricky moved in to second place from the sixth row start. Sizing up the competition was his main concern of this race. As the leader started to stretch out his lead, Ricky ran slightly wide out of turn two, allowing another rider to sneak past, putting him into third. With only a few laps left, Ricky could not mount a charge and finished in third place.
Main event time was upon us. Starting on the front row due to his points lead, Ricky did not get the hole shot, but moved into third place. He tried repeatedly to get past, but could not make it happen. The battle raged on and another rider passed, putting Ricky into fourth place. When the fifth place rider was showing a wheel, Ricky knew he had to make something happen. Putting on a charge, he moved into third but the leaders had pulled out a large gap. With the race winding down, time was running out. Ricky continued to charge and moved in on the leaders. With a perfect drive out of the last turn on to the long front straight and excellent draft pass, he moved into second. With the white flag coming out, there was only one lap left to get the job done. A repeat performance on the front straight had Ricky leading the race for the first time and on the most important lap-the last one. With this win, Ricky padded his points lead, but with three rounds left, the fat lady has not sung yet.
Pueblo Colorado August 10, 2003
Heading to the southern end of the state in August has everybody thinking about triple digit temperatures. And while it was not that hot, shade was a hot commodity. With Suzuki money on the line, Ricky’s first race was Open Supersport. Starting on the sixth row, nailing the start would certainly help with the end result. With one lap down, Ricky was in third and charging hard on the leaders. Next lap, he was in second. One lap later, he was leading. Unfortunately, Ricky was shown the penalty flag and was forced in for a stop and go for jumping the start. After rejoining the race, he moved up to fourth place where he would finish. Next race was Open Superbike. Running the same set of Dunlop’s from the last race, he knew it would not be the ultimate set up. Ricky did nail the hole shot and was leading for most of the race, when he was pressured by the leader. Knowing this was a warm up for the Race of the Rockies, he was happy with a second place finish.
Last up was the main event, Race of the Rockies. Another great start had Ricky leading again. With heavy pressure being applied, this was shaping up to be another crowd pleaser. Ricky was caught off guard and was passed at the midway point. Not willing to settle for second, he was riding at 100%. The power of the Marvin Rosencrans tuned Colorado Powersports Suzuki 1000 helped Ricky pull off a draft pass to put him back into the lead. But it would not last as he was passed back. As the race was winding down, Ricky was determined to win this one, but they encountered back markers and he lost any chance of retaking the lead and had to settle for second place.
Second Creek Raceway, Denver Colorado, July 27, 2003
Returning from Laguna Seca, Ricky was anxious to put in a good ride at home. From the start of the day, the mood was very upbeat. With a late start to the practice schedule, it was cut back to just two sessions. It was time to get with the program. Although Ricky was running a very quick practice pace, it was still a second off the leaders. The bike set up did not seem to be spot on. The first race, Open Superbike did not start as expected. Ricky was caught out and did not grab the hole shot! Battling the bike, he could not improve on his start and finished in fifth place. After some discussion with Marv Rosencrans, a new set of Dunlops and some serious suspension adjustments, the Colorado Powersports Suzuki 1000 was hopefully ready for the Race of the Rockies.
This time Ricky was back in the groove with another hole shot into the lead. Riding hard enough to try to stretch out the lead, Ricky was surprised when he was passed. However, he was not ready to concede just yet. Shadowing the leader, Ricky was consistently showing him a wheel. A miscue by the leader would have helped, but it was not happening. Ricky would have to do it the hard way if he wanted to win this one. The crowd would definitely get their moneys worth today. With three laps left, Ricky went for it, going into the famous Rats Nest turn. Such a brave move in full view of the crowd had the fans on there feet. The pass was successful and he held on to win the race. At the halfway point of the season, this race win helped him extend his points lead.
AMA/World Superbike round at Laguna Seca, CA July 12, 2003
The beautiful setting of the northern California coast hosts the largest motorcycle race in the United States. The place to see and be seen was a flurry of activity with AMA and World Superbikes and the new AMA Supermoto series.
One of Ricky’s favorite tracks, he is always eager to do well there. With limited practice time, a proper setup out of the trailer is critical. Marv Rosencrans seemed to have it just right. The first practice had lap times as quick as last year’s best, putting him in the top sixteen. Qualifying saw Ricky running a second a lap faster the last year. 22nd position had
Ricky starting on the sixth row. When the green flag dropped, Ricky moved up to 17th. Trying to get by a Ducati was slowing him and allowing riders behind to catch up. As the passing game began, Ricky was involved in a battle that would last all race long. In the last few laps, Ricky was turning some of his fastest laps of the race, trying to move up in the field. At the checkered flag Ricky finished in 19th position.
Second Creek Raceway, Denver Co., June 29, 2003
Arriving at the track early Sunday morning, the light mist had everyone thinking about rain tires. As the day wore on, the sun made a appearance to the delight of the very large crowd on hand. Starting on the third row, for the Open Supersport race, Ricky immediately shot to the front. At the end of the first lap, he was running in second. The lead rider was protecting his line, making a pass very difficult. At the same time, the rider behind Ricky was applying pressure. A brief off track excursion dropped him back to third. The race was turning into a good old crowd pleasing dogfight. Ricky clawed past and into second place again and hounded the leader, but to no avail, finishing second.
Open Superbike saw Ricky in another battle, with every lap the fight over fourth place looked like a game of cat and mouse. With all the passing going on, the lead pact snuck away, but Ricky won the passing war for fourthplace. The big one, Race of the Rockies was up and as usual, Ricky leaped into the lead. However, the number one rider had other ideas. About halfway, Rickywas related to second place where he would finish.
La Junta Raceway La Junta, CO June 15, 2003
Heading to the southern end of the state, Ricky had concerns about a track that he had not ridden on in many years. After the morning practice however, he was a little more comfortable with the layout. First race of the day was Open Supersport. Starting on the fourth row, he could not get the start he was hoping for, but by the second lap Ricky was running in second place and charging on the lead rider. Running wide entering the 150 mph turn two, he was passed and relegated to third place where he would finish. Open superbike was next. A fair start saw Ricky running in third place on the first couple of laps when he was slammed by another rider, forcing Ricky into the dirt at over eighty mph. Luckily he kept it up, returning to the track in last place, picking up a few spots before the checkered flag. Last race of the day for Ricky was Race of the Rockies. A great start shot Ricky off the line first, but halfway to the first turn, he was out horse powered into the very fast corner. Running behind the leader, he was constantly showing a wheel, waiting for a miscue by the leader. Pushing each other, they gaped the field and started to encounter lapped traffic. The opportunity for a pass never presented itself and Ricky had to settle for second place. At this point in the season, Ricky leads the points battle for the Race of the Rockies. Next race is June 29 at Second Creek Raceway.
AMA Superbike round at Pikes Peaks International Raceway, Fountian, Co. June 1, 2003
Lots of track time at PPIR courtesy of the Colorado Powersports track day and the MRA club race had Ricky heading to the local AMA national with confidence. It would be hard to improve on last years eighth place finish, but Ricky was determined to try.
Early in the weekend, temperatures were record breaking high and tire issues were on everybody’s mind. Finding the right tire would be a tough job. Qualifying was very frustrating for Ricky because he could not repeat his lap times from the earlier weekend. As temperatures cooled late in the last qualifying session, he made a last attempt and was successful, ending up eighteenth on the superbike grid.
Race day brought drastic weather changes and hours before the main event, a heavy rainstorm had everybody thinking about Monday. As quick as the storm rolled in, it moved out leaving a beautiful afternoon for racing. Ricky knew that his grid position would not lend itself to a great start. Boxed in from the start, his first lap saw him in nineteenth place. Ricky put his head down and went to work passing the riders in front of him, one by one. Eight laps from the checkered flag, two crashes brought out the red flag ending Ricky’s charge and the race. Official results had Ricky eleventh, first privateer. Another outstanding AMA national finish.
Pikes Peaks International Raceway, Fountain Co., May 8, 2003
The second round of the MRA series brought us to PPIR, location of the upcoming AMA Superbike national. Ricky was looking forward to this event for two reasons, one to see if the new Colorado Powersports Suzuki 1000 would work as well around the tight circuit as it did at the wide open Pueblo course, two, extra track time for the AMA race.
Practice confirmed the big Suzuki was working very well even at the tight twisty track, first race up was open supersport, Ricky was a little apprehensive because he had not tested with the DOT tires required for the class. Starting on the six row would not help matters. With another great start, he was in third place at the end of the first lap. A battle would ensue with the second place rider the would last all race long. Passing and repassing him meant never being able to challenge for the lead, and at the checker flag Ricky held on to finish third. Open superbike was next up, a little warm up for ROR. After eight laps, another third place finish. With two third‘s Ricky was looking to improve in the premier event Race of the Rockies. As the green flag dropped another hole shot put him into the lead. Once again, Ricky led every lap to the checker flag taking the win. Along with the win, he also broke the track record.
Pueblo Motorsports Park, Pueblo Colorado, May 4, 2003
The opening round of the Motorcycle Racing association race season started on a blustery cool day. With gusting winds, it would be tricky keeping it on the track today.
When prepping a new bike for the season, it seems that it always comes down to last minute this year was no different. After Daytona, Ricky picked up his 2003 Suzuki GSXR1000 three weeks prior to the first MRA race. Marvin Rosencrans was burning the midnight oil in an effort to have the Colorado Powersports Suzuki ready for the first race.
After the first practice, Marvin’s effort was paying off. The bike was very close right out of the trailer. The first race of the day was open superbike. With one of Ricky’s patented holeshots from the sixth row, he lead into turn one. Using the first race for more testing he opted not to mount new Dunlop’s, and after a huge slide decided to put it on cruise for the remaining laps, slowly sliding back eventual finishing six. This year it seems many of the top competitors elected to go with 1000 cc bikes, making it a very competive year for The Race of The Rockies. Starting on the front row for the Race of The Rockies Ricky knew he would have to put his head down to hold off the aggressive pack of riders behind him. Another hole shot put him into the lead, but this time the new Dunlop’s helped Ricky increase his lead, in fact Ricky lead every lap to the checker flag for the win , running within a few ticks of the lap record.
Daytona Beach, Fla. March 10, 2003
It always seems that the winter weather in Colorado is great until you want to do some pre-Daytona testing. That was the case this year. At least, we were riding last years Colorado Powersports Suzuki 750, so with only a gearing change, we were southbound. Usually the challenges at Daytona are the same, but this year we were faced with a couple of new ones. The AMA changed the rules in the superbike class by allowing 1000cc four cylinders to enter. Since we were on a 750, the lack of horsepower would be quite evident. Second change was a new chicane, which was not of much concern.
With practice and qualifying times better than last year, things were looking good. We did see the effects of the 1000’s at the end of qualifying when we ended up thirty-seventh on the starting grid, back thirteen spots from last year.
Saturday was spent rehearsing pit stops and Marvin Rosencrans prepared the bike for Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather gods had other ideas about racing on Sunday, with heavy rains washing out any chance of starting the Daytona 200. Luckily, Monday brought sunshine and an early start. When the green flag dropped, Ricky got a great start and put his head down, by the halfway point, he was in the top twenty. With quick pit stops and smart aggressive riding, Ricky moved past twenty-two riders to finish in fifteenth place, first 750 in the field. The crew of Marvin Rosencrans, Jon Glaefke, Pete Hockenstad, Dave Tippie, Don Brewer, Ken Hoogland, and Mark Hoyt were instrumental in this year’s Daytona success.
Besides the superbike race, Ricky also competed in the first round of the BMW Boxer cup series. On a one time ride provided by Bob Wooldridge of BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, Ricky quickly adapted to the R1100S with his practice times putting him in the top fifteen. Qualifying showed that drafting was crucial. Without catching anybody’s draft in the first round, his times had him qualified at thirty-second. Unfortunately, the second qualifying session was rained out. With only thirteen laps in the race, Ricky knew he had his work cut out for him. When the race started, his experience paid off, moving around and passing his way to the twenty-first spot. When a red flag stopped the race, Ricky started further up on the grid on the restart. He continued moving up through the field. With only six laps left after the restart, Ricky had made his way into fourteenth by the checker flag. However, with aggregate timed scoring per FIM, his official finish was seventeenth. Not bad for the limited time on the bike. He was also the third American out of forty-three entrees. Big thanks to Bob Wooldridge, Bobby Wooldridge and Zach Southard for putting the effort together.
2003 Season Recap:
In 2003, the AMA changed rules to allow 1000cc superbikes and Ricky results at Daytona suffered with him riding a 750. A fifteenth place was the outcome. He also competed in the BMW Boxer Cup opening round and finished fourteenth. Back on a 1000 for the Pikes Peak AMA Superbike round, the results were much better with Ricky being the first privateer across the finish line in eleventh place. At Laguna Seca, during the World Superbike weekend, he finished nineteenth in the AMA Superbike race. In Colorado, the highlights of the year included a new track record at Pikes Peak Raceway, a podium finish at every race and recapturing the number one plate.