Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain CO – Oct. 12, 2008
The last round of 2008 Motorcycle Roadracing Association season was held at the popular newly reopened Pikes Peak Raceway. A mixed bag of weather from forty degree temperatures with rain to sunny skies and seventy degrees had racers guessing on their setup all weekend long.
During testing on Friday, Ricky suffered a rare mechanical issue forcing him to try to beg, borrow, or steal a bike. Sunday morning Kurt Dimick agreed to loan him their team bike. With practice already over the plan was to enter open superbike just for some seat time. Starting from the back row, Ricky got a great start moving to the front of the pack. Working his way through traffic, Ricky was into third place by the end of the first lap. As he was getting more comfortable on the bike, Ricky started to apply pressure on second place. The 600cc bike could not run with the fully built 1000’s and would lose all advantage on the front straight that Ricky would make up through the infield. At the checkered flag, a third place was not a bad result for never having been on the bike.
After some set up change and a fresh set of Dunlops, Ricky was hoping to be able to drop his lap times for the Race of the Rockies. Starting from the front row, Ricky was second entering turn one. Hounding the leader he was looking for the opportunity to make a pass. A big slide coming out of turn four had Ricky hanging on to fight a potential highside. After gathering it back he closed up on the leader and continued to try to make the pass. As the checkered flag was shown, Ricky crossed the finish line in second place. Ricky felt that if he was on the Rocky Mountain Kawasaki ZX-6 he might have had a better shot of winning the race, but second on an unknown bike was reasonable. Being within a few tenths of the track record was also rewarding.
His second place finish in the Race of the Rockies secured second in the championship. Not being able to race in the 600 superbike race dropped him from second to third in that championship. Ricky did lock up the 600 supersport championship at the last round.
Another successful championship winning season would not have been possible without the help and support of Marvin Rosencrans, Rocky Mountain Kawasaki, Dunlop tires, Hindle exhaust, Bel Ray oil, EBC brakes, Woodcraft, Fitz Graphics, Arai helmets, Dainese leathers, Western Stone, Penski shocks, Team Green, Hotbodies, 1 Tail.com, Dr. Hannagan, Lockhart Phillips, Factory Pro.
Pueblo Motorsports Park, Pueblo CO – Sept. 20, 21 2008
The penultimate round of the Motorcycle Roadracing Association season was held on a beautiful fall weekend in Pueblo. With the points situation being stable and no Kawasaki contingency, Ricky was anticipating a causal, consistent race weekend.
For Saturday’s 600 supersport race, Ricky had mounted a set of Dunlop soft compound N-tec’s. The Rocky Mountain Kawasaki ZX-6 really seemed to be happy on that set up. With a front row grid, he nailed the start. By the time the pack had reached turn one, Ricky was in fifth place. It seems like the ZX-6 is getting very tired! Out-braking most of the riders in front, he emerged out of turn one in third. Stalking second place, he could see the leader was not pulling away. Trying a brave pass going into turn one did not work, the first time. Next lap same move but with success this time. Ricky immediately closed in on the leader. With three laps to go, Ricky took the lead in his favorite spot, exiting turn one. Winning the race, clinching the championship and setting a new lap record for the class made it a perfect day.
The 600 superbike race was first on Sunday’s schedule. Another front row grid, another good start. Into third place on the first lap Ricky was immediately trying to make a pass on second place. Making Ricky’s life easy the rider ran wide allowing a quick pass. Now trying to get into the lead, Ricky put his head down. Closing up the gap through the infield only to see the leader take it back on the front straight was very frustrating. As this cat and mouse game was taking place, third place was making the most of it and closed the gap and made a pass on Ricky up the front straight. With two laps left he could not get back into second, finishing third.
Race of the Rockies was called to the grid and Ricky was on the front row again. With a strong start he was running close on the leader in second. Not running a new tire proved to be a bad decision as he could not get his Kawasaki to hook up. As the leader was pulling away Ricky was trying to fend off the third place rider. A red flag was displayed less then half way through the race bringing the riders into the pits. Ricky only had time to mount a used Dunlop dot he had won on yesterday. On the restart Ricky was trying to get a feel for the tire and was running in third. He was putting a wheel on the second place rider repeatedly but could not make it stick. Noticing that the bike was running extremely hot and no one was close, Ricky backed off the pace to finish a comfortable third, for another podium position.
Pueblo Motorsports Park September 8, 9 2008 Pueblo CO
Round 7 of the MRA series was back to Pueblo. On a picture perfect day, the racer turnout was low, typical for this time of the year.
Leading points in the 600 supersport class, Ricky was grided on the front row. His plan was to break away from the pack on the first lap. With a good start, he entered turn one in second place. He quickly moved into the lead and put his head down trying to gap the field. By lap five he had a commanding lead on second place while running within a tenth of the lap record… He would stretch the gap to the length of the front straight for a runaway victory. You have to love it when a plan comes together.
With Sunday’s superbike and ROR classes on tap, Ricky would work with the same plan that worked so well on Saturday. First race of the day was superbike. Another good start saw Ricky get to turn one in second. Exiting turn one, he make the pass on the leader entering turn two. Trying to put a gap on second place, he was riding the wheels off his Rocky Mountain Kawasaki ZX-6. The Dunlops were working great and Ricky was holding off the high horsepower bike of the class point’s leader. At the halfway point horsepower would win out as he was passed down the front straight. Hounding the leader, Ricky could not make up enough through the infield to try a pass. A second place podium finish at the flag was not a win but made for the most exciting race of the day.
Race of the Rockies was next. Ricky made a few changes to the bike, hoping to drop his lap times. Another good start had him in second. The changes proved to be detrimental and Ricky was losing ground to the leader. Struggling with the bike, he did maintain second place to the flag for another podium finish.
MPH Hastings Nebraska – July 12, 13 2008
Round five of the MRA season was scheduled at the flowing 2.3-mile Motorsport Park Hastings track.
Unfortunately Marvin could not make the trip and Ricky was manning the wrenches again. Friday practice was hot and muggy, but thankfully Saturday and Sunday the weather was pleasant.
For the 600 supersport race on Saturday, Ricky started on the front row. Getting a great start he took the lead. Two laps into it he was passed down the back straight. Try as he might, he could not retaliate and a second place at the checkered flag was in the books.
Sunday’s program had the 600 superbike race before lunch. With a great start, Ricky jumped into the lead. With pressure from behind, he kept his head down. Controlling the pace Ricky felt like he had the local competition handled. Little did he know one of the national contingency chasers was reeling him in. Two laps from the finish Ricky got passed, not having time left to mount a charge, resulting in another second place.
Race of the Rockies, last race of the day, Ricky had another great start, leading the pack into turn one and for the next few laps. However it would not last, as he would get powered passed on the long back straight. The race would run this scenario to the checkered flag with Ricky on the podium again in second place.
Pueblo Motorsports Park Pueblo Colorado June 28, 29 2008
The fourth round of the MRA series took the racers to Pueblo and the weather was picture perfect, a rare occurrence.
With Marvin not in attendance, Ricky was seen spinning the wrenches, another rare occurrence. The first race Saturday was the 600 supersport. With a front row start, Ricky did not get the hole shot and entered turn one in third. Working his way past two riders put him in the lead, which he would hold to the checkered flag. The first win of the season certainly started the weekend off right.
Sunday morning 600 superbike was called to the grid. Another front row start had Ricky getting to turn one in second place. Early in the race Ricky saw an opportunity and took it. Now leading, he put his head down; could this be his next win? Just past halfway, Ricky got passed, relegating him to second. Another podium finish, just not another win. Last race of the day was Race of the Rockies. Starting on the front row always helps getting down the long straight into turn one first. And that is just what Ricky did. Leading the field through the first few laps, he was trying to put some distance between himself and the group behind. Unfortunately Ricky once again got passed, leaving him in second at the flag.
At the halfway point into the MRA season Ricky leads the 600 supersport class, is second in points in 600 superbike and third in Race of the Rockies.
AMA/ SBK World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park, Toole Utah June 1, 2008
Just getting back from an MRA race in Hastings, Nebraska the weekend before and heading to Utah a day later proved to be a tight schedule for the Rocky Mountain Kawasaki Team. With the AMA running the full circuit, over four miles and twenty three turns, Ricky was lacking track time. Each session he would drop seconds from his lap times. With qualifying up and rain on the horizon it would be tricky. Waiting for a dry track as the minutes were ticking down had everyone guessing on which tires to run. Ricky elected to mount a set of new Dunlop slicks and head out. As a dry line started to develop he started to turn it up. Lap after lap his times continued to decrease. As qualifying ended he was on the fifth row in twenty-third position.
With a good start, Ricky was running in twenty-second spot. Moving past a couple of riders he was on the move. Getting up to one of the series regulars, he could not make a pass stick. Eventually getting by, Ricky dropped his lap times trying to gain more spots. Being only a nine-lap race, Ricky had run out of time, coming across the checkered flag in nineteenth position.
With limited track time, Ricky was happy as his lap times had dropped anther two seconds from qualifying. More laps on the long world class track and Ricky felt his goal of a top fifteenth place would have been possible.
MPH – Hastings, NE – May 24, 25, 26 2008
The second and third round of the MRA season had the racers heading east through tornado alley. Heavy thunderstorms and high winds had everyone keeping their eyes on the sky and looking at a wet weekend of racing.
A double header had Ricky signed up for six races. The 600 Supersport class was first up on Saturday. A great start had Ricky leading into turn one. He would hold the lead for the next few laps keeping second place at bay. Unfortunately an untimely red flag put a halt to the race. On the restart the Rocky Mountain Kawasaki ZX-6 did not get off the line as well and Ricky had to fight his way towards the front. Once clear of the pack, he still had to try and reel in the leader. Try as he might, he could not make any significant progress. At the flag Ricky would end up in second place.
Sunday brought three more races. Another 600 Supersport start did not turn out as pretty as possible. Ricky had locked into battle with another rider as the leader was pulling away. It took an aggressive pass to get by and with laps winding down, Ricky found himself in second place. Next up was Race of the Rockies. As the light went green, Ricky was trailing his teammate, Pedro, into the first turn. Two laps later, Ricky inherited the lead, as he watched Bravo low side in turn eight. Lap five he was passed down the straight dropping him to second. Lap six another rider powered by, putting Ricky into third, where he would finish.
600 Superbike, last race of the day saw lots of drama. With lots of bumping in the first few turns, Ricky slotted into second place. A rider had gone down leaving debris on the track, causing another rider to go down. A lap later he was relegated to third. The race would be anticlimactic from there with Ricky finishing third.
Monday’s schedule had only the 600 Superbike class on the agenda. Another great start saw Ricky leading the pack for the first few laps. But as expected, horsepower played the spoiler, displacing him to third place again by the end of the race. Ironically all the races were run under dry conditions.
With results improving from last race, Ricky made the podium in every race this weekend, but the win has still eluded him.
Pueblo, CO – April 26, 27 2008
The first round of the Motorcycle Roadracing Association brought the racers to a blustery weekend at Pueblo Motorsports Park.
A long lay off after Daytona had Ricky longing for some track time. The weather was less than ideal, with the riders battling high winds. Ricky’s first race was 600 Supersport and with winning the class in 2007, he had pole position on the grid. A great start saw Ricky lead the pack into turn one. Lap three of the race Ricky was feeling the pressure of second place, hitting the long straight he was brutally horse powered by. Once by, Ricky could not even stay in the draft. A second place at the flag had Ricky on the box, but not in the top spot were he would like to be.
Sunday’s program contained the 600 Superbike race. With no points, he did not run this class last year; back of the grid would be his starting position. A strong start had Ricky quickly moving toward the front. Slicing through the pack, he was up to fifth by lap three. He would gain one more spot by the checkered for a fourth place.
The last race of the day for Ricky was Race of the Rockies. Pole position was his again for the reigning class champion. A good start had Ricky following his teammate Pedro Bravo into turn one. Three laps into it, he was dropped to third after being passed down the long straightaway. Two laps later he would suffer the same fate, relegating Ricky to fourth place which would be his finishing position.
With new competition in his classes, it looks like Ricky will have to step up his game for this season.
Daytona 200, Daytona Beach, FL – March 8, 2008
The trek to Daytona this year was made much easier by the fact that the Rocky Mountain Kawasaki ZX6R was in the hands of Marvin Rosencrans by the beginning of the year.
With help from team sponsors like Hindle Exhaust, EBC Brakes, Dunlop Tires, Penski Shocks, Hot Bodies, GPR, 1 Tail.com and Woodcraft, it was a matter of Marvin putting the package together. A short test session before leaving proved that everything was working correctly.
First time on the Daytona banking showed Rosencrans’ hard work had paid off. The bike was working great. As Ricky got up to speed, the week was progressing nicely.
Qualifying day saw Ricky best his 2007 lap times by over two seconds. At the end of the session, Ricky ended up on the thirteenth row.
The team’s strategy was to forego the warm up lap for the sake of fuel economy, trying to make only two fuel stops.
Race day was cool and very windy, postponing the start by hours. When the light finally went green, Ricky’s first lap on cold tires had him losing positions in every turn. Two laps into the race, he was running dead last.
As the laps wore on, Ricky continued to gain back spots. By the first fuel stop, he was into the top twenty. At the second fuel stop, Ricky was in seventeenth and in desperate need of a new rear Dunlop. With new rules in place, the rider has to dismount the bike with a dead engine which did slow the pit stops. Back on track Ricky was running in twenty-third. With a new rear tire his lap times improved and his charge continued.
Almost two hours after the light went green, the checkered flag was shown.
Ricky had climbed all the way into twenty-first position! With this finish Ricky moved into third on the all time mileage leaders list, only three hundred and ninety-eight miles from taking over the lead. Competing in the Daytona 200 is a huge undertaking and would not be possible without the help of the outstanding crew, Marvin Rosencrans, Pete Hokenstad, Mark Hoyt, Pete and Lucy Brandauer, Robin White, Pedro Bravo, Pat Lansu and a special thanks to Paul Frysig.