Archive for the ‘Ride Reports’ Category
I was privileged to attend the 2 day Jason Pridmore’s STAR school at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, Ca a week or so ago. I rented a Suzuki GSXR 600 and camped out in the pits on Sunday and Monday night. I had a few friends with me there; Wally, Scott, “Cowboy” and Kevin, who came with me with his CBR 1 million.
I also met a few people that I will never forget, as they made this event unforgettable. First, I want to say Jason Pridmore is the NICEST person you will ever meet in the world! He has so much knowledge and experiences to share with absolutely no ego. Always smiling and just beams positive energy at all times. The fastest I will ever go around Chuckwalla was as a passenger with Jason on his GSXR 1000. A ride I will never forget. He takes anyone, who wishes, 2 laps around the track. I could only manage 1 lap and I was ready to stop. The adrenaline rush and sheer excitement of trying to hold on and this old man was wore out and did not think I could of held on another lap, which I heard he does faster than the 1st. BTW, the last time I was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle was in 1977, and it did not end well.
Wally, my arch rival, was there on his GSXR 1 million, and although we are near equals in Supermoto, he is light years ahead of me on the road race course. My respect continues to grow for my friend and his riding abilities.
Kevin; thanks for 2 days of fun! It was great to watch you progress and I am sure many will learn from your experience on how not to panic when running off the track at over 80mph. You just kept on going, scaring the track photographer in the process, and got back on the track at another point. If you were racing, I think this is called taking a short cut, and you would have been penalized. Great fun!
“Cowboy”; Although I have known (or thought I knew) you for almost 3 years, I did not know you were “Cowboy”. What a revelation. Smooth rider too, But we all knew that.
It was a pleasure to meet Mike, Wally’s friend, who came down from up north to ride for the 1st time in many years. It was nice to see someone “get back in the saddle” again and enjoy themselves so much.
Scott; You are riding so well and I am happy you are enjoying your FZ1 so much! Thanks for following me a short while and filming my antics!
I also met Tony, who came in with Scott. A very studious gentleman interested in riding his BMW 1000 to the fullest. He was fun to be around and I hope to run into him again out on the road (when he is not “working”).
Greg White; what can I say? This man is a blast to be around. I cannot ride my motorcycle very long without his voice saying “little chicks”! Those who were at the school will know what this is about and I will be forever grateful for his demonstration and explanations of this concept. Thank you Greg!
I also met Joni Avery, who was with her sons at the school. She was recently awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in Hollywood for her work over the years as a stunt woman. She has been in over 300 movies and looks too young to have accomplished all these things. It was a genuine pleasure to hang out with her a short while and see her positive glowing personality.
I also met Suzette, a very nice lady who, not knowing me from Adam, allowed me to clean my spectacles with the tail of her flannel shirt in the pits the 1st day. She was there riding with her daughter, and I think both of them passed me up on a few occasions! I also want to add that Suzette and I were both born in the same year! It’s nice to know that there are a few ladies from my generation still into performance riding.
As for the school, I learned that there is always something you can still learn no matter how long or how much you have ridden. I picked up a few things that I would of never thought of. I am not going to explain, you need to take the school to experience it for yourself. It is well worth the money! Plus you get to meet all kinds of neat riders!
The last person I want to mention that I observed and did not really get to speak with, is Benny Solis. He a current AMA racer and only 16 or 17 years old. Very soft spoken and nice, and a couple days after the school, set a new track record, on a 600 at that. May you have a great career in racing young man!
So here is a parting shot. Ride safe!
Wally, Rob and I ventured out to Anza, CA today to check out some trials riding at Gary LaPlante’s MotoAdventures Riding School. What a great day of fun and learning there is always more to learn on motorcycles. These little (150 lbs) motorcycles require a lot of slow riding perfection. These were Gas Gas motorcycles ranging from 200 to 300cc’s, two stroke, with 6 speeds. the 1st 4 gears are really (I mean really, really) low.
Speaking for myself, I found that I am really out of shape. I could try a few sections and would have to rest. Gary is an excellent instructor with a true passion (and patience) to guide us through the day. He also provided plenty of refreshments and a very nice lunch.
Here he is doing a demo:
Here’s a pic of Wally making it over a rock with style! (Missed his head)
And lands smoothly like a pro!
This past year has flown by so fast. I bought my Tiger June last year and was going to use it for my primary transportation. I travel around to various military installations as part of my work as an MSF RiderCoach. There was a snafu early on with getting my plates, which turned out to be a problem between the DMV and the Postal Service. Without a plate and a base sticker, it usually is a time consuming experience to get a temporary pass at each installation I would be going to so I opted to ride my DR650 to and from the various bases. I ended up getting my plates mid August, and started using the Tiger exclusively. As of today I have over 16,000 miles on the odometer.
I performed my own oil/filter changes at 500, then 3000 and every 3000 miles after. Of course I use Amsoil products (MCF 10W40). The chain is cleaned and lubed about once per week with Amsoil Metal Protector. Other than that, the Tiger was taken to Rocket Motors in San Diego for the 6000 and 12000 mile checkups. There was a water pump seal that was weeping ever so slightly on cold mornings, so that was replaced under warrantee at the 6000 mile checkup. I also had Michelin Pilot Power Road 3′s installed front and rear. At the 12000 mile checkup, I had maybe 1000-1500 miles left on the rear, but opted to replace it again. I enjoy having the radial tires more than the bias ply tires that came with, plus I like Michelin tires.
I have ridden up and down the coast (Point Mugu & Port Hueneme) , across the deserts (Yuma, Barstow and 29 Palms), and commuted almost daily a 100 miles (round trip) in heavy traffic when working semi-locally at nearby Camp Pendleton. Got to ride over the Sonora Pass (9600+ ft) and ride in the beautiful area of Bridgeport, Ca. The Tiger has performed flawlessly. I never had the “stalling” issue that some of the early users experienced.
I did experience a left fork seal leak, which Triumph covered under warantee because of a faulty bushing in the fork leg. Rocket Motors again proved why they are one of the best Triumph dealers in the US. They took my Tiger in on Tuesday, and had it ready to go the next day, and I was able to make my trip to Yuma that afternoon.
The Tiger has taken the place of the many bikes I owned at the time. I have since sold my Bonneville, both DR650′s, and my Speed Triple. I only have my Tiger and my race bike (DRZ400 Supermoto). The Tiger does all I need with smoothness and comfort. I can ride over 200 miles on a tank of fuel. I have, on many occasions rode almost 200 miles non-stop and really could have gone farther except for the need to go to the restroom and eventually refuel.
I originally had wanted to get a Kawasaki Versys, and at the time, there were some good deals to be had on some ’09′s across the country. The only ’09′s in San Diego County at the time were at South Bay Motorsports in Chula Vista. It was almost impossible to get a good cash deal and they did not follow up during negotiations, it was almost as if they did not really care to make a sale or even work with someone offering to pay cash. And, I was supposedly working with the owner! It was during this time that I took my Bonneville in for it’s 12k checkup at Rocket Motors, and that is when I saw the Tiger 800. Even though I spent more than twice of what I was willing to pay for a Versys, Rocket Motors got me a couple discounts ($900 worth) and they made me feel really happy about the whole process. I think of my Tiger as a Versys on Steroids! I never thought anymore about the Kawasaki and what could have been, but was really turned off by the experience at South Bay Motorsports.
In conclusion, the Tiger 800 has taken me all over California and parts of Nevada and Arizona, with comfort, smoothness and complete reliability. I use the Tiger to perform demonstrations while coaching the Military Sportbike Rider Course, the Advanced Rider Course, and the Basic Rider Course. Many students comment on how smooth the Tiger performs. Easy to maintain and 50 miles per gallon make this a most versatile motorcycle especially for someone who rides everyday and goes almost anywhere.
Be safe out there (and watch out for the IDIOTS texting and talking on their cell phones).
Am up doing some training in Bridgeport, CA. and was able to take a nice ride on the 108 (off the 395) up and over the Sonora Pass along with 2 riding buddies. Nice time of the year for this beautiful area. I understand this road is not always passable in the winter. My Tiger is still performing flawlessly, even at this altitude. Plenty of curves, hardly any traffic, and stunning scenery. It took a lot to stop and take obligatory pics, just wanted to keep riding!
Made my annual Saturday after Thanksgiving track day at Auto Club Speedway yesterday. It was formally known as California Speedway. The AMA circuit was modified slightly to slow down riders at turns #10 and #11. It used to be a fairly straight shot if you hit it right, but now it is a distinct chicane. It makes lap times about 4 seconds slower than before.
I took my “new” ’08 Triumph Speed Triple and one of the 1st things I did was get my suspension set by Randy at InHouse Suspension. The first couple of sessions was plagued with fairly gusty winds and lots of dust on the track. By the 3rd session, the winds started to die down and the track was getting warm. It got up to around 80 degrees (which is above normal for an October day in SOCAL), but I ain’t complaining!
The Speed Triple performed flawlessly! Only had the bike about 10 days, so I took it very easy in the beginning, especially with the wind and dusty conditions. As time went on, I was able to wick it up a bit and have some fun. The brakes are superb! Even with the short wheelbase, I could brake with so much confidence. Braking late is what I like to do, and is often hampered by riders who brake earlier. I was riding in Fastrackriders.com Level 1, which is the slowest group of the 3 levels, so there were quite a few riders who were 10-20 seconds slower than the rest. I’d rather work through slow traffic than to be one of the slower ones in a faster group.
Riding with no wind protection, other than my helmet, is a total rush. (Remember, about a year ago, I rode my Triumph Bonneville 3126 miles in 4 days with no wind shield). I guess it is the old school biker in me. I will post a video (camera mounted on my helmet) soon of some laps at this track on the Speedy.
More pictures can be viewed at
It was a great day of riding and getting a better feel for the Speed Triple. It is an awesome bike that handles so well. The acceleration, braking, the wind pressure against my body at speed, and the beautiful sound of that 3 cylinder engine made my day!
Last Supermoto race of the year for SMX Racing fans in San Diego. Here’s some pics:
Yesterday, I went on an early morning ride up Palomar Mountain with my buddy Wally. He rode his KTM 990 Dakar and I rode my trusty Suzuki DR650. The road we took up is the Nate Harrison Grade. It was so much fun and after reaching the top, had such a great view all around. Afterwards we rode down to Lake Henshaw and then on to Santa Ysabel for breakfast. Only took a couple shots: One with the 2 bikes, and one of Wally by his KTM.