Second Creek Raceway Denver, Colorado- October 3, 2004
The last race on the MRA 2004 schedule saw absolutely perfect weather and a very large spectator turnout. With this possibly being the last event held at this facility, everyone wanted to be there. As the team continues tweaking the Sun Racing Kawasaki ZX-10, they hope to get to the top of the podium. The Open Superbike race was first on the schedule today. With a front row start and lighting response, Ricky was side by side heading into turn one. Not having the inside line, he was forced to concede the lead, dropping into second place. Ricky hounded the leader, while the third place rider was doing the same. Lap after lap, the parade continued and on the last lap, Ricky got into a big slid exiting turn nine and could not hold onto the position, finishing in third place.
Breaking the golden rule, not changing anything without testing it first, Ricky decided to try another spring on the rear shock for the Race of the Rockies. Another good start had him in second place, but he was passed by the halfway point. As the race wore down, Ricky built a large lead over fourth place but could not makeup any ground, finishing on the podium one last time for the season. The bike did seem to work better leaving the team wanting one more race to confirm the results.
With the final race in the books, Ricky finished third in the Race of the Rockies and third in the Open Superbike series.
Pueblo Colorado September 19, 2004
The second to last race of the year brought the riders south one last time… Temperatures were agreeable, but the winds were annoying. As Ricky continues to develop the ‘Sun Racing’ Kawasaki, the team comes closer to perfection. Enlisting the help of a suspension expert, Marcus Mcbain, the team was making radical changes throughout practice. Going softer on the rear spring was definitely the right direction in getting the bike to work the way Ricky felt comfortable with it. Open superbike was called to the grid and Ricky’s start was perfect. As the top three diced it up among themselves, Ricky was holding onto second place. As one rider passed, the duel continued. A miscue from the lead rider put Ricky back into second where he would finish. The Kawasaki was working better, but more adjustmentss were made prior to the start of ROR. Ricky misjudged the start horribly and was into turn one in twelfth place. He put his head down and went to work. Lap after lap Ricky was gaining ground, passing rider after rider. As the race was on the penultimate lap he made one more pass for third place, a podium finish!
Second Creek Raceway August 29, 2004
A beautiful day in the Rockies greeted the racers as the season winds down in Colorado. With temperatures in the eighties, the ingredients were there for a great race day.
The team was experimenting throughout the morning practice, trying different combinations looking for the ultimate set-up for the Sun Racing Kawasaki ZX-10. After settling for the best combination, Ricky was ready for the first race of the day.
As the starting light went green for Open Superbike, Ricky got a great launch, putting him into second place. As he ran with the leader, Ricky was trying to mount an attack while he had his hands full fending off the rider from behind. As the laps wore down, it was apparent that everyone would maintain their positions, with Ricky finishing second.
Race of the Rockies was next and with a new set of Dunlop’s and some small adjustments, Ricky was eager to get to it. Another great start had him into second place again. A few laps later, an aggressive move by the third place rider moved Ricky back a spot. Try as he might Ricky could not retaliate, finishing on the podium again in third place.
With two rounds left in the MRA series Ricky is sitting in third place in both Open Superbike and the Race of the Rockies.
Pueblo Motorsports Park, Pueblo Colorado August 15, 2004
With new fork parts for the Sun Kawasaki Zx-10, Ricky was very optimistic about this weekend. After waiting all season to get the necessary parts to develop the bike properly, the team has been very eager to get to this point.
Practice times were encouraging with lap times very competive. The start of Open Superbike race saw a great launch by Ricky, as he finally got the technique down. Heading into turn one, he was side by side with one other rider. The bike was feeling much better, but not perfect. A small mistake by Ricky allowed the other rider to stretch the lead slightly and Ricky finished in second place.
With some small adjustments on the front end, they were hopeful for better results in the Race of the Rockies. Another great start saw Ricky in third place, then move into second. As the laps accumulated, the adjustments that were made did not help and seemed to get worse lap by lap. Ricky was passed by another rider, relegating him to third place, where he would finish. Not the placing he was looking for, but still on the podium.
As the team struggles to find the perfect set up the race season winds down with three races left.
Laguna Seca, California July 11, 2004
The California round for the AMA Chevy Superbike/World Superbike weekend is definitely the biggest motorcycle race in the USA. With close to one hundred thousand spectators, everyone who is anyone is there. Besides the crowds, you can also count on the weather being great, eighty degrees and sunny. You can also expect the competition to be most intense. As Ricky is still developing the Sun Racing Kawasaki ZX-10, his qualifying times were not up to par. He was gridded on the eight row further back then he was accustom to. Ricky knew he would have to be very aggressive at the start. As he was working through traffic, a rider in front bumped into Ricky forcing him off the track. Luckily, Ricky did not go down, but did lose ten spots. Two laps later, a red flag was shown, giving Ricky a good break. A few small changes on the forks would hopefully help. With another chance at a good start, maybe he could get back some of the spots he had lost. The light went green and Ricky went to work. Lap after lap, he continued to move forward, passing riders and swapping paint. When the checkered flag was shown, Ricky had passed ten riders and moved up into twenty-third position. Ricky was also part of the Hotbodies Race Team for the weekend. With ten of the top privateers under the biggest tent in the paddock, press releases, a hospitality area and umbrella girls the teams present was known.
La Junta Colorado June 13, 2004
Another trip south had everyone concerned about a sweltering day. As far as La Junta was concerned, the low nineties are a comfortable temperature. The track is a simple design, but with turn one being a one hundred and thirty mile an hour bend, it separates the pack quickly. A new set of lightweight wheels increased the hope for better results from the big Sun Kawasaki ZX-10. Unfortunately, this was not the case as the team searched for improvements. A smoking start might have looked impressive but did little for position. Again, Ricky was trying to make up for a bad start. Dealing with traffic, he moved up one spot at a time, only getting into the fifth spot by the end of the Open Superbike race. For the Race of the Rockies, Ricky was determined to get the start he would need for a strong finish. It is nice when a plan comes together and that launch he was looking for materialized. Leading into turn one was the result and Ricky held onto the lead for half the race before the set up gremlins were back forcing him to put it on cruise. He was displaced to second, then third, but fought back on the last lap for a second place podium position. The Sun Racing Kawasaki Zx-10 continues to be work in progress. Results have been good, considering the bike’s state of tune, which are not up to Ricky’s standards. The team will continue to seek perfection, hopefully resulting in a top podium position.
Second Creek Raceway Denver Colorado May 30, 2004
The third round of the MRA series brought everyone to the Denver area Second Creek Raceway. An unseasonably cool day greeted the riders on this Memorial Day weekend. Wind was also a factor on this day. Open superbike was Ricky’s first race and a poor start had him working his way through the pack. Between the poor start and high winds, Ricky was pushing hard to make up time, but a big front end slid proved that the Sun Kawasaki ZX-10 was not spot on as far as set up was concerned. With a new set of Dunlops and some small adjustments, there was hope that the bike would be right for the Race of the Rockies. A better start had Ricky in second place for the first few laps, but the bike was not cooperating. As he struggled with the Kawasaki, he was losing positions. As the checkered flag flew, Ricky was disappointed with a fourth place finish As more parts become available and development continues, the team is confident that Ricky will be back to his winning ways.
Pikes Peaks International Raceway May 16, 2004
The second round of the MRA season was held at PPIR. A favorite of the local racers and site of the upcoming AMA Superbike National guaranteed a large turnout. Ricky was determined to put in a strong finish for two reasons. One, Kawasaki contingency. Two, the pending AMA race. With only minor changes from last race, the Sun Racing Kawasaki seemed to be working well. The first race was Open Superbike. A poor start had Ricky in eighth place on lap one. He made his way through the pack up to fourth place, but could not gain any more ground. The premier Race of the Rockies was ready to take the grid. Ricky finally got the start he was looking for. Running in the lead, he was setting a pace that was holding off his pursuers. Once traffic came into play, Ricky’s lead diminished and it became a two-rider duel. As the second place rider went for a pass, he was in too hot, making contact with Ricky, forcing him off the track. Luckily, Ricky did not go down and rejoined the race in third place. Ricky put his head down; trying to make up the positions had he lost and moved into second place. With time and laps running out, he could not make any more headway, ending up in second place. Another podium finish for the Sun Racing Kawasaki ZX-10. With a Hindle exhaust system coming in time for the AMA round and more development time, Ricky is looking for another top ten national finish.
Pueblo May 2, 2004
The opening round of the Motorcycle Road Racing season in Colorado brought the racing contingent to the southern end of the state. The weather was perfect and the crowd was anxious to see what the big players would bring to the grid for the new season. It seemed that almost everyone had new equipment. Ricky was aboard the new Sun Racing Kawasaki ZX-10. Unfortunately, do to the late release of the bike; parts to properly race prep the bike were in short supply. Marvin Rosencrans miraclously had the bike track- ready, although far from 100%, but the first time on the racetrack, the ZX-10 showed promise. Ricky had last years bike as a back up, but jumping from one to the other prove to be distracting. First race of the day was Open Supersport, with a great start Ricky was trying to get used to the bike on the opening laps. He then reeled in the leader and was preparing for a pass, when some back markers caused him to abort the plan. Losing ten bike lengths to the leader had Ricky working hard to make it up again. As laps wore down and time ran out Ricky could not get the job done finishing second. Second race was Open Superbike and the first real test for the new Kawasaki. The tall first gear did not help with the start and Ricky was sixth into turn one. Working his way through traffic, he settled into fourth, but could not make any more progress. A fourth place finish on a stock bike showed great promise, but also that there was still work to be done. Last race of the day was Race of the Rockies. Riding last years bike Ricky pulled off another great start, but found the competitors horsepower overwhelming and was relegated to third place by turn one. Without making a dent into the leaders’ gap Ricky was fending off the fourth place rider’s advances allowing him to make it to the podium for the opening round.
Daytona Beach, Florida March 6, 2004
The saying goes that if you have good results at Daytona, a good race season will follow. If that saying holds, Ricky should have a great season ahead. A positive note was the weather, it was perfect. Even with the AMA scheduling the 200 on Saturday, the weather was not an issue as sunny Florida lived up to its name. Unfortunately, the Sun Racing GSXR1000 was not. The first superbike practice showed that the handling was far from perfect. The bike was wobbling so bad that it was threatening to throw Ricky off. Despite Marvin Rosencrans and Ricky putting their minds together, a solution was not reached on the first day. With the race on Saturday, there was one less day to dial the bike in. It was very frustrating as time was running short, but Marvin elected to change out the fork springs with a very positive result. The team was still a day behind, but the last qualifying session was up. Riding a bike that Ricky felt was not 100%, he ended up twenty-ninth on the grid. Riding the 1000 would require tire changes, so Friday was spent practicing pit stops. With a few changes to the rear axle and chain adjusters, Marvin orchestrated eighteen seconds pit stops with the help of Pete Hockenstad, Ken Hoogland, Curt Conquest, Mark Hoyt and Jimmy Clark. This would be key for a strong finish. Saturday was here and the team was as ready as they could be. Ricky was grided on the inside, not the optimum spot for a great start. As the green light glowed, the race was on. As Ricky put his head down, he started to cut through the pack. By lap nineteen he was in tenth place… then it happened. A big tail wind was pushing Ricky off NASCAR turn two into the chicane. He was in a little hot and the front end washed out, putting him down at ninety miles an hour. If there was ever a case of being better off lucky then good this was it. Ricky ran to the bike, picked it up, and with no damage, started it up and rejoined the race. Marvin was expecting Ricky to pit, but he continued until the next scheduled stop. As the crew fueled and replaced the rear tire with precision, Ricky was running some of his fastest lap times of the race. He once again was moving up the leader board. With Ricky’s crash caught live on Speed channel, there was probably a huge hush over the state of Colorado, then a sigh of relief, as he started moving up again. When the checkered flag was waved, Ricky was shown to have finished in an incredible six place, a career best! Ricky also competed in the BMW Boxer Cup again. Riding for Paul DiMarchi on the Northern Colorado BMW R1100S, he qualified in twelfth place and rode to an eleventh place finish. With new sponsors, Sun Racing and comCables, Ricky will be aboard a new Kawasaki ZX-10, defending his number one plate.