November 2004 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor

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October Lunch Ride

A very modest turnout despite the good weather. Tony Crowell and prospective member Kevin Yeats came out on their ST1300s and Paul Lefort rode up from Thibodaux on his Yamaha FZ1. I met them on my VFR800 at Starbucks in Baton Rouge. Bill and Sherri Ellis and their kids came by to drink coffee with us and see us off. None of us were keen on watching the drag racing at No Problem Raceway and I had not planned an alternate route so we opted for one of our old favorites: River Road to Sunshine and HWY 22 to the Taste of Bavaria Restaurant near Ponchatoula. River Road offers some wide open sweepers and long straights where you can really open up a sport tourer while 22 together with a little side loop named 936 has a good number of 20 and 25 mph esses with smooth, and if your lucky, clean and traffic free pavement.Starbucks_thb.jpg 400x300 You can ride for miles on River Road without dropping below the ton (not that any of us good law abiding citizens would dream of such) and I imagine the fast guys might even scrape a peg or two on 936 and 22. But we were just puttin' along at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery and working up an appetite.

At Taste of Bavaria the four of us sat down to a sumptuous meal with Tony and I getting the Wiener Schnitzle, Keith a huge Ham Hock delicacy which I forget the name of and Paul a Chicken and Broccoli Quiche. Between prolonged silences there were heard mumblings of "ride to eat, eat to ride".... Great Food!

After lunch Paul invited us to ride over to his In-Laws home in nearby Holden to meet his wife and kids. We took him up on the offer and had a brief visit with his lovely family before heading our separate ways. While Keith and Tony took I-12 back to BR I headed North in search of more twisties

NPR TRACK DAY - November 8

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by Bob Chappuis

Paul Lefort and I attended a track day at NPR on Monday, November 8. Paul has done many track days at NPR but for me it was just my second. This was the first for Paul on his Yamaha FZ1, his previous experience had been on his Kawasaki ZX9R more of a sport oriented machine whereas the FZ1 might be considered a "standard" although it's sporting capabilities are certainly respectable, being derived at least in part from the top ranked R1.trackprep_thb.jpg 400x300 My track bike is an SV650S which although relatively down on power is a great track bike due to its light weight and good handling. My first track day in September 2004 was more or less an experiment for me to see if I would be comfortable getting the SV around No Problem Raceway at a respectable pace without crashing or scaring myself. That day went well, I was by no means turning good lap times but I did not crash and was not the slowest rider out there. I had a lot of fun and in a couple turns I was not that much off the[street group] pace.

This track day was limited to experienced track riders and track time was set up differently. Instead of three groups segregated by skill level riding 20 minute sessions there were no groups, just 10 riders on track at a time. When you were ready to ride you got in line at the track entrance and when a rider came off the next rider in line was flagged on. This worked out real well with everybody getting to ride pretty much as much as they wanted. At first I thought having to share the track with some racers would be daunting but actually the racers are generally better at passing safely than the street squids that were in my street group in September and I got the chance to follow some riders with some good technique and fast lines.

Paul and I decided to wait for the first group of 10 to start coming off track to let any corner slickness/debris issues out of the way. I started up where I had left off in September and started trying to get comfortable with my hanging off technique. I found that after about 4 laps my knees were shaking with the strain of the unusual position. Paul was able to stay out for more laps at a time. In later sessions I managed to relax a little.

Although I had one of the slower (if not slowest) bikes on the long front straight I was able to blast through turn one at the end of it as fast as just about anyone, the SV's having a weight advantage over many of the more powerful bikes. At one point I found myself behind a race bike that was holding me up in all the turns but I could not get around. He would pull away on every straight and I would catch back up at every turn but he would hold the fast line and no matter what I tried I could not pass. That went on for three laps and was a total blast!

During my second session I had a chance to follow some quick riders through fast turns 7 and 8 and picked up my entrance speed there, managing to scrape the right peg feeler. later in turn5 or 6 I thought I banged the peg down again however when I was inspecting the bike after the session I noticed the rear brake lever bent at a 30 degree angle. I had jammed it into the pavement on the dip at turn 5! To compensate for the over sensitive rear brake I had adjusted the lever as far down as it would go. That was too far!

Just before lunch break the red flag came out for a crash while Paul and I were resting in the pits and everyone came in save one. After several minutes we realized Haspel, a rider Paul knew from a previous track day had not come back in on his ZX12. Turns out he went straight at the exit of turn one and crashed big. We had a wait while the ambulance went out to pick him up for a ride to the hospital. A subsequent inquiry revealed he had three broken ribs but his spirit was intact. That episode reminded us all of the risks and everyone seemed to turn it down half a notch for the rest of the day. I got in three more good sessions and then called it a day

After track day number 2 I am looking forward to more. Having scraped a peg despite [trying] to "lean off" I have come to the point that I now must deal with the badly undersprung stock SV suspension. I am not ready to spring {pun intended) for a Penske yet but Race Tech or Traxxion Dynamics custom rate springs are reasonable at $110 a set and I am looking at GSXR 750 rear shocks on Ebay. And of course I need to work on my weight shifting technique! As for Paul he indicated that he was not totally confident in the Sport Touring tires presently mounted on the FZ1 compared to the track oriented tires he had used on his ZX9 for previous track days. He did not seem to have much trouble leaving me behind in the corners however!

I have really enjoyed these track days! There is always a little apprehension when I am on my way to the track but once there with a bunch of like minded riders I relax and it is great fun. And there is nothing more satisfying than turning a good fast lap around the track, especially when you passed someone on a faster bike along the way!


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We had a 250 mile backroad route
meandering through East and West Feliciana
and up into SW MS planned
but unfortunately this ride got rained out.
We will do this route at a later date.

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Aren't you folks tired of reading about Bob! I know you all are riding even if you have not made a club ride or event. Send a ride report, a picture or just an email telling me what you have been up to. Or better yet, organize a ride to your favorite lunch spot or over your favorite road. Just send me the info and I will spread the word via email, the website and the newsletter (if I have enough advance time). I realize that the monthly lunch rides I schedule are to far away or some of you to join in but I cannot solve the problem without your help! Although we may not have many Louisiana members in your neck of the woods I have access to the TX, AR and MS members and will spread the word. Give it a try.


Just a few days away! This years event looks to be our best yet with about 34 folks planning to attend (that I know about).Drew Newcomer has reserved a private room for us for Friday Night Dinner at the Warehouse #1 Restaurant in Monroe and has scouted an excellent lunch ride loop. As you read this Stacie and I are hard at work getting ready for Saturday Night Cookout and Christmas Party. Look for a full report in the December Issue.

STAR 2005


KEEP IN TOUCH! chappuis@demco.net
and Ride Safe and happy Thanksgiving to all!,
Bob & Stacie Chappuis