Its difficult to put into words the sense of calm I felt as Javelin crossed the finish line for the last time this season.
So many thoughts flooded through my mind but the first one was "my boy is safe and sound".
This year has been an experience like no other. We had no idea what to expect when we first joined the ranks of the AMA Pro Racing series and nothing would have prepared us regardless. The level of competition was fierce, the teams were very technical and capable, the pace every day was very quick and unrelenting and the sweat that we poured into this was unprecedented. The people on our email list are diverse being comprised of friends, family, technicians, sponsors and everyday humans. It's hard to get a sense of what everyone knows about this sport or the personal sacrifice that goes into it. Javelin wanted this and still does and as a father, it is my duty to see that he gets a chance at life no matter what direction he takes. I will always stand behind him to see that he gets the opportunities that help him to become the man I know he can be. Roadracing has defined him, has molded him and taught him the spirit of fairplay and competitiveness in a world that shows little mercy to the weak or unprepared. That is Javelin and I but there is also an adoring, worrysome mother and a younger brother who knowingly takes a back seat to the workload of dealing with the older brother and the time consuming sport he is involved with. I need them both to know that they are champions to me just as Javelin is a budding champion himself. They have sacrificed this year and in years prior while father and son have taken on the journey to victory in what most people refer to as a rich mans sport. Something I am certainly not.
How is it possible then that a family without the banking to take on a sport like this was even capable of completing a full season of professional racing? The gorgeous and fast machines, the tools, the transportation, the hotels, rental cars, food? Nevermind the enormous amount of support equipment and spare parts to repair the damage when things go wrong. Most would call them sponsors but I call them saints. These people who work in the background on our behalf and provide us with the things we need to chase a dream are truly saints to us. It would take pages to thank each and every one of them but you must undertstand that each logo you see to the left of this email represents a human being that had faith in us this year - some more than one human being! They adore Javelin and what he represents and a lot of these people have been with us for years continually increasing their support to us as our needs have changed. Since we have returned from NOLA in New Orleans, I have made a point of looking at each logo and remembering those people who made this all possible. Even more so when racers would come to us at events looking to borrow parts to fix their motorcycles. This made it very clear to me why we have made it where we are. We certainly didn't do this alone.
I have to mention a few people as it simply would not have been possible to do this without them. The top of the list has to go to Dynojet Research with Dusty Schaller and Chris Geiter. Two people who single-handedly got us out into the pros. They provided our transportation with the awesome Dynojet rig, tore down and prepared our pair of Yamaha R6 machines and covered a large amount of our expenses to be out and racing this season. Diablo Racing Technology, a name that most of you, even in the industry, have never heard of before last year stepped in to pay for a large portion of the tire expenses we would endure. Imagine going through 4-5 sets of tires each and every weekend at 375.00 a set? Pretty mind-boggling over 11 rounds and on top of that providing all of our rearsets for the season. Alan, your support and friendship is something we will never forget or take for granted. Vic Anselmo at Applied Powdercoat who is not only a sponsor but a dear old friend. We have sat in his office over the years with smiles as Javelin went from one success to another. Always there and always ready to assist in any way he could. A man helping another man to achieve his sons dream. Galfer brakes with Robert Devillia and Allesandro Milessi who also have stood behind us for many years and the amazing team of people at Track Tactics who still call Javelin "Little Rossi". They love and admire him and even though they are a small but growing company, they did what they could this year to support us. Finally I would like to thank Korey O'Conner. A young man in Vegas who, out of his own pocket, travelled with us to many rounds this year to support our effort providing the extra muscle we needed.
A special mention needs to go to Andrew Trevitt from Sport Rider magazine who has taken on Javelin like a personal challenge. Andrew gave so much of his time and wisdom to us this season and constantly amazed me with his tenacity, understanding and outright knowledge of this sport and what it takes. His patience has been tried on occasion but a true friend sticks with you even when you don't take the advice that is given. It came into focus as the year progressed just how valuable this man truly is and what a contributor he is to our sport. He admires Javelin and that makes a person go above and beyond what he would normally do. In return, we admire Andrew as he has endured so much in his life and fights a battle that few of us will ever have to fight. A true champion of a man and I am proud and fortunate to be able to call him a friend. Thank you Andrew!!
A little racing?
Ok, well the weekend was a tough one I must say. Everything went pretty routinely in getting the bikes ready and getting some practice time in. The one curveball we dealt with were the tires. I personally feel there was a oversight of what was truly needed at this new track as it simply ate the medium compound tires for breakfast while the hard compounds looked practically new after a session. We don't want them to look new as that means we aren't getting maximum grip. The number of riders who fell during the weekend from losing the front was more than I had seen all season. Javelin said that there were over 30 Supersport crashes over the weekend with most attributed to loss of traction on the front tire. We were also bitten by this in race one.
Jav struggled to learn the track as we have done all season but was getting some decent laps in. We finally qualified in 23rd position for the races which was further back than we had hoped but it was not foreign territory to us. Jav would have to put his head down and make up positions during the race. He got a good start in race 1 which is something we have struggled with and need to improve next year. Seems as though we lose out routinely on the starts and burn off laps getting back to where we were to begin with. Javelin is going to try his hand at drag racing his bike in the off-season which will certainly help him improve his reaction time and getting the bike off the clutch sooner. He did get a decent launch and held his position this time so it was an improvement. Sadly, a few laps into the race, the front end got us and Jav went down in T6 at the new track. I thought it was all over and started packing up when from the corner of my eye, the 814 went screaming down the front straight. Turns out he picked up his bike and once refired, rejoined the race to finish what he started. No position for us to speak of on this one as he was 3 laps down by the end of the race. I was proud of him though that he picked that bike up and got right back to business. So many walk away when they fall. This kid does not know the meaning of the word quit.
To try and compensate for the lack of front end grip, we softened up the springs and allowed the bike to have more weight on the nose. We also dropped the front tire pressure by 2 pounds to see if we could generate more heat and hence grip in the front. Sunday warmup looked promising as his times were equal to saturdays but on used tires and not pushing nearly as hard. Race two kicked in and again another great launch. He was on a charge for the first couple of laps and then started to settle into a laptime that wasn't going anywhere. Lap after lap he challenged the two riders in front of him but that was about all he had. Finally on the last lap, he made a dash on one rider and picked up another position but would finish the race in 21st. I wasn't thrilled with the result but the season was now over. He came into the pit and he was very unhappy. Seems his footpeg had spun off and was hanging on by only a couple of threads. It was the right one too on a track that is almost exclusively right hand turns. He said he couldn't put any pressure at all on the peg and feared it was going to fall off altogether. He was putting his foot up on the body of the rearset on the straightaways to try and overcome the problem but there simply wasn't anything he could do. Ever try to race someone on a bike with only one foot? Think about it :) Being the trooper that he is, he never gave up and refused to lose position by coming into the pits to fix the problem. I told him he was a champ and that's what champs do. They keep going, they never quit and they do what they have to to make it to the end. All qualities that I hope we are all able to attain in our lives.
We are home now looking at everything being blank again. The season is over and the new one has already begun. At the time of this writing, we are in negotiations with a number of sponsors but nothing is guaranteed yet. Yes, there is always the possibility that we won't be back next year. It takes finances to run a team and I have done a pretty decent job of draining our finances this year. A lot of people on this email are people we are trying to do business with, people who have it within their power to help and become involved with our team in 2013. Of course it needs to be the right choice for you and the brands you represent but I hope you have gotten a sense thoughout the year that we try very hard and we only have everyones best interests at heart. The championship ended with Javelin coming in 11th out of 69 total entries in the West coast championship. Can we do better next year? I know we can. We will work very hard in the off-season to correct the mistakes we made in 2012 and learn from them. We will do more for the team and for our sponsors, we will never give up and will always push forward no matter what the challenge.
Thank you to everyone who followed us this year. It has been a pleasure writing for you all and receiving the compliments after each and every race report. Am I a writer? No, not really but I usually speak from the heart and most times from the hip too :)
We will keep everyone up to date as the new season approaches. Daytona is in March of 2013 and we hope to be back stronger than ever. We could use a little help so don't hesitate to contact me and see what we can do together.
ZAG Racing LLC