2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

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DonnyV
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by DonnyV »

It's always great reading your race recaps with a few pics, makes me feel like I'm there, great writing. Good job having fun and also knowing when the body needs a break, a lot of people just push on and it makes it worse in the long run. Thanks for sharing and you can make it to the banquet we're rooting for you
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

VCHSS Race #10 (my 7th) - Little River Run, Floyd, Virginia

We have raced at this venue twice before including a 6 hour VCORR event last winter. A huge farm with rocky, technical single track, some river bottom, steep and rooty climbs. It’s a hard course to go fast on.

The start sends you down through a pasture, hard left around a round bale, then back up the hill fifty yards, with a 90 degree right hander around another round bale at the hole shot flag and into the woods narrowing quickly into single track.

Lining up at the start I counted 8 total riders in my class. When the flag dropped I got a good get off from the outside middle of the line and rushed down the hill. Three bikes were to my inside and I tried to maintain a smooth turn left at the bottom and accelerated hard coming back up the hill. Now lined up on the inside of the right hander I was behind the leaders but able to hold my line around 4th position.
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As I turned hard right at the flag and around the bale I spun out the rear and ended up stuck with my front tire up against a flagging post. Another embarrassing starting line moment!
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Finally pulling my bike backwards off the stick and getting started again, I rolled off in last place. I quickly caught up with a guy on a Honda CRF150 and settled in.

CONTINUED….
Last edited by MoonStomper on 02:34 pm Oct 02 2022, edited 1 time in total.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

Little River Run - CONTINUED…

The track was narrow and I had no trouble keeping up. I patiently waited for a mistake I could take advantage of. Eventually this 4-stroke rider took a shorter, high line at a split in the trail that had some 4” logs laying across. He high-sided at low speed and dumped the bike as I chose the lower line, and he tumbled off down the hill coming to a stop on his back directly in my path! I asked him if he was alright and rode around him as he struggled to get up.

From that point I picked up my pace hoping to press an advantage. I was caught and passed by some faster riders from the next wave but never saw him again. The course was very technical, but the dirt was good and my KDX was running great. The worn VE-33 rear tire handled the rough terrain generally pretty well and made the steep climbs with ease.
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Part of the course included a GP section in a field that routed racers through a small chicken barn with a concrete floor and then through the breezeway of another barn. Another GP section near the end of the lap had a small gap jump that I hit that was pretty fun.

Rolling through scoring after the first lap I was in 7th place about 25 seconds behind 6th. Fairly early in the lap I caught 6th taking a break and even passed the 5th place guy. He filed in behind me and I focused on riding smooth and limiting my mistakes. Then it got really dark as I entered some rhododendron tunnels. My new Tusk bulb was really working nicely lighting up the trail and as I came out of there it stayed dark. That’s when the rain started…

From that point on the trail conditions quickly deteriorated and it became very difficult to find traction on the now greasy roots and slippery hard clay. Approaching one climb my VE-33 immediately gave up and spinning the tire or trying to slowly creep did nothing for me. My radiator began to steam after several minutes of this exhausting effort and I ended up sliding backwards, unable to even stand and having to retreat completely off course just to get to where I could actually ride again and search for another route. I lost a lot of time here and was eventually passed by the previous two riders.

I knew I was done. The edges on my tire were rounded to the point they just couldn’t dig into that hard , slick clay - especially with that softer rubber compound. Eventually I found a way around the climb and stopped against a tree to drop some psi (started with 6psi) on my rear Tubliss setup (measured later to be 2psi). This helped some but at another choke power where others were stuck, I was in the same bind and decided to just abandon the course. No need to get hurt unnecessarily falling awkwardly over some log or other bike.

Covered in mud I I reluctantly retreated and found my way with disappointment to the scoring trailer. They waved the white flag, but I told them I had already thrown mine and in 7th place dejectedly limped back to the truck. Another mud race and more disappointment.

While loading up I overheard a few guys talking about their day who had actually improved with the wet conditions and managed respectable finishes. Tire choice was key. Next time I hope to prepare better.

Rattlesnake at Wythe Speedway is the next event, then Lake Sugar Tree for the finale. The weather report looks pretty good so far since Hurricane Ian will have cleared the slate for the next eight or nine days I guess. I’m planning to swap tires this afternoon and put the Pirelli Scorpions on for my last two races. They are the soft-mid tires and should work well no matter what the weather does.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by billie_morini »

Moon, huge thank you for sharing tremendous detail! Simply fantastic!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by SS109 »

MoonStomper wrote: 02:32 pm Oct 02 2022 Approaching one climb my VE-33 immediately gave up and spinning the tire or trying to slowly creep did nothing for me.
Great write up as always! :supz:

Curious, are you running the standard VE-33 or the VE-33S Gekkota?
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

I was running the standard ve-33. … when fresh it’s a tremendous tire in most of the loamy, rooty, rocky and muddy conditions I run in. Once the knob’s edges rounded it completely lost it’s authority on that slick/hard wet red clay in this most recent race. Though I think that softer compound doesn’t have enough bite for that anyway.

My buddy loaned me his Knobby Knife this weekend and I sharpened up those knobs more or less back to stock. I tested it at Kairos Thursday and it was back to ideal performance again. Then I performed this operation on another used favorite tire (Pirelli MT16 Garacross) to use again later this winter. Hopefully this will allow me to get more time out of what would’ve been ‘retired’ tires.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange - UPDATED

Post by MoonStomper »

Rattlesnake
VCHSS Race #11 (my 8th) - Wythe Raceway, Wytheville, Virginia
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This race was highly anticipated for a bunch of reasons…

- First time I raced here (two years ago) was during the tail end of a hurricane and the course was a quagmire. It was fairly disastrous although I did manage to survive. I skipped it last year.
Read about here… viewtopic.php?f=136&t=24661&p=212362&hi ... ke#p212362
- The weather this year was setting up to be perfect autumn race conditions
- The course had a bunch of new flowing/ripping fast single track
- The racetrack infield start is a badass GP course including one turn and straight away of the big racetrack.
- A special guest was scheduled to make an appearance! 😀🔥😀🔥

Saturday afternoon the promoter had the infield opened up for a two hour practice. It was set up like a flat Grand Prix course and let you really get on the pipe and practice flat turns. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up with the nice weather and the close proximity of the event to my home.

During the practice I progressively improved my braking, turning and acceleration skills. Watching ISDE videos of the guys doing this on YouTube helped me visualize what I needed to do and how it should feel. By the end of the session I was holding my own with some pretty experienced riders and had developed some confidence. I did notice that my clutch had begun slipping in the higher gears when on the pipe.

When I got home that evening I swapped in a fresh air cleaner, checked tire pressures and refueled. Didn’t even take her off the truck. When swapping out the filters I did catch that both my seat bolts had jumped ship! These were replaced.

The following morning after breakfast I checked all my gear and we headed down the road. I was excited about the race, and even more excited to meet KDXRIDER.NET’s very own, ‘doakley’ (Doug Oakley)!…

He was coming all the way up from the Carolina coast to see my race and check things out. Doug’s advice has been a huge help in bringing my bike up from a fully stock trail bike 🐐🚜 to a lean mean racing machine 🔥🔥🏆🏁.
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Doug is one of those guys that when you finally meet you feel like you’ve been old friends for a lifetime. We immediately hit it off and I introduced him to my family and our racing buddies.

The race… (prepare for novella length run-on sentence)
The main event start was set up inside an oval dirt track with a dead engine start from the right side of the infield that dashed 50 yards towards the banked turn, but before entering the main track you checked up for a 90 degree left around a blue barrel into another full speed sprint 40 yards into another 90 degree left, over a small table and into a 180 left, 25 yard sprint into a 180 right, 75 yards into a 180 left, 25 into a right and so on with various turns on ever changing consistencies of dirt and recently watered muddy sections until finally turning right and swinging up onto the front stretch on the left side of the track and running full tilt counterclockwise around the banking and down the back stretch before getting hard on the brakes and ducking out into the woods for 8 miles per lap of woods, flow trail, steep climbs and descents, 30” tight, sidehill pine tree trails, a semi dry limestone creek bed run with a rutted muddy climb out up a steep hill, and even featuring an old pine wooded hillside motocross course that had some pretty big jumps requiring nerves of steel and appropriate speed. 😮‍💨

Probably the highest percentage of ‘on-the-pipe’ time I’ve ever done in a hare scramble.

Best thing of all was that this year it was a dry course and not a mudrutfest like the past two years!

When the flag dropped I got a good kick and quick fire off the line from the far inside hoping to drift it to the outside to cut off anybody on the outside wanting to carry speed with a more open corner approach. Problem was in-spite of the proper noises roaring from my bike, actual speed just wasn’t being manufactured at the rear tire. The fresh Pirelli Scorpion 120/100 was biting and hooked up but the clutches weren’t getting enough pressure from the springs to convert the raw dragon power into tire spinning torques. I had to lift the throttle to get drive and that was a letdown.
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I did manage to position myself in 6th and then 4th (leader slid out in the mud) then got passed. Getting through the GP section smoothly giving her all she could take without completely smoking the clutch, I just couldn’t close on the front guys, eventually was passed by a stronger bike and lost more ground on the big track. After getting her whoaed down and diving out of the track and down into the woods on the backstretch, I slipped her into third gear and started trying to get into my groove.

The woods were super fun and I felt good on the bike. My goal was to make at least 4 laps and break into the top 5. My confidence was strong until the first gnarly hill climb where I looked up and saw bodies and bikes strewn across the two established lines. Not wanting to wait for my pursuers to catch me I aimed left and let her eat. Ascending the hill through leaves and light brush I found myself boxed out by fallen limbs and larger deadfall and was forced off my line before getting knocked over by a huge stick that pivoted as I passed it. Wrestling the machine upright was nearly impossible with this huge stick pushing me back and I lost minutes and positions before solving my problem. Once back in the saddle I set sail with a belly full of frustration. 4th or 5th to 7th just like that.

Carefully looking ahead, standing on the pegs and choosing good lines, I tried to gain back my lost time and focused on being smooth and steady.

The tight pine section was as advertised and my bark busters blew the bark off with violence as I blasted and banged my way through. Once into the creek bed I pulled back on the bars and kept the front end light trying to hit the high points and gain more ground. Finally at the next bottle neck I arrived as a rider was just clearing a rutted line on a steep bank, the marshals were pointing at it and seeing three riders in front of me hesitating I dove into the rut without slowing - clicking 1st and roared up the steep bank and on up the hill above. The Pirellis dug in and I rocketed up with no problem. Not sure of my gains from this aggressive move I just focused on continuing my charge. In 1st slippage was not an issue.



Sweeping into the wide motocross section I hit all the jumps and stayed on the gas. Small groups of folks on the side were accurate indicators of where big air would be found. This was really fun and I decided I’d hit the biggest jump and hope for the best. Slipping the clutch I grabbed 4th and cranked back on the throttle on hoped for some friction. Since I was already at a pretty high speed the bike responded just enough and I sailed through the air for a good forty feet before using all my suspension on the landing just avoiding casing it.
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I made a mental note to bypass that one next time - my slipping clutch was going to get me hurt if I didn’t.

Sweeping through a few more turns I finally jumped out of the woods up a hill and into the field near the scoring trailer. Rolling through I saw I was 6th and ripped on out ultimately completing two more laps.

During one of my trips through the tight pine sections I tightened up while trying to deal with a fast approaching AA rider and washed the front and smacked my fairing violently into a small tree. This popped the fairing loose (the left side fin had snapped off) and dropped me on my left knee to the uphill side. I struggled out from under the still running motorcycle and tried to pull my rear wheel clear of the trail as the rider blasted by.

Looking down to see my fairing flopping by it’s harness I unplugged the bulb socket from the lens and laid the fairing on a bed of pine needles out of the way. This would require going back out onto the course later for retrieval. Kind of bummed to lose more time I set off once again, I think that was my third lap?
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Receiving the checkers after my third lap was disappointing. I easily had another lap in me and was really getting into a groove out there. Seeing I’d finished 6th only a minute or so back was additional salt in the wound. The 5th place guy had earned the extra lap - uggghhh!!!

After checking in with my wife and son (he’d finished 10th in 250 after a bad start), I rolled back out into the woods to find my fairing, it was waiting right where I’d left it. I even found my bulb undamaged where it had fallen out when I’d hurriedly disconnected it. Once back home I fabricated a new fin for it from another broken piece, tack welded it in place and used JB Weld Plastic to give it a stronger bond. Then I added Gorilla tape to both sides of both fins in case I blast it off again in the future so I at least have a chance of keeping all the pieces together.

I had managed to break the ground wire and the positive wires off the bulb socket which caused me to shop for a new harness… $55 !!! Ughh nope! I decided to buy a decent 100 watt solder iron instead from Amazon for $25 and attempt to repair it myself. This all worked out and I added bullet connectors to the wires to make future fairing removal easier because lining up the bulb connectors on the socket is such a pain in the butt. Now I don’t have to worry about dropping the bulb either.

The bigger repair was addressing my clutch slippage. After attempting to get the KG (build Kawi OEMs) clutch kit through my shop (one set was available but over a week and a half away), I decide to take a chance with the EBC kit that I could get in three days. After ordering, I remembered that the reported issue with EBC clutch kits was overly stiff springs that made lever pull very difficult and fatiguing.

Later in the week I called Jeff Fredette and he said that he would change out clutch springs more frequently than friction plates and that he bet that if my steels weren’t blued my frictions were good, but he bet my springs were the problem. Sure enough, upon examination my friction plates looked fine and my steels were not discolored. Comparing the springs side by side the differences were obvious: taller and heavier.

Since doing a clutch is such a hassle I decided to save my old plates and swap in the complete EBC kit. It took awhile fiddling to finally get all the slots and teeth to align perfectly with the basket teeth so the pressure plate could settle fully into place. Eventually everything went together and I was able to torque her down and button it up. The lever squeeze seemed really good, so I strapped on my gear and fired her up. Wow!!! I had no idea this bike had so much power! How long have my weak clutch springs been letting me down?

Yesterday I joined some buddies for a trip to Doe Mountain Recreation Area and we spent the whole day ripping on some world class East Tennessee mountain single track. I just couldn’t get over how much easier my bike would climb hills. Even with my race setup 13/46 gearing it just ate.

Our last race of the season for the VCHSS is at Lake Sugar Tree next weekend and I’m really looking forward to riding the course and especially the motocross section. Hopefully we get another beautiful weekend.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

A couple more action shots courtesy of Doakley!…
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
'03 KDX 200 - @%@ '18 Trek Slash 8 @%@ ‘22 Rieju MR300 Racing

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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by SS109 »

Awesome pics, and even better write up, per usual! :supz:
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by doakley »

This was a really fun day for me. Sitting in the stands my blood pressure jumped and my heart beat ran up at the announcer's call of "Tennnnnnnnn Seconds". It was almost like being on the line myself and I have to admit I really miss that rush. I wandered through the woods alongside the trail and over to the MX course, all the while imagining how I would attack this course and what lines I would take. I could almost hear my own KDX ripping the trails again. (Damn fool old man!) Took a lot of photos and video. All in all a totally fun day for me.
Thank you, Moonstomper. I had a blast!
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Re: 2022 - Racing KDX Green in a sea of orange

Post by MoonStomper »

Lake Sugar Tree
VCHSS Race #12 (my 9th) - Axton, Virginia


Travelled 2+ hours to the world famous motocross track in Axton, Virginia for the final round of the Series with my buddy Tracy (50A) and my son Henry (250B). The weather was ideal and the dirt a little on the dry side overall but perfect in the woods. They had the track open for practice the day before but I couldn’t attend, really would love to get some coaching there.

This was my first race with new Mobius knee braces and the fresh EBC clutch pack and springs, so I knew I’d have a few things to get used to. As it turned out, the knee braces were super comfy and caused no issues.

I was out-of-sorts moments before the start as I realized my new goggle lens was not seated properly just as the AA guys fired off. Guess I didn’t snap it in right? Struggling to fix this with gloves on (wrist braces prevent easy removal), someone saw my issue (benefit of being in next to last row!) and helped out. Not the best way to start off the day, also had this feeling of something not being quite right.

The fresh clutch kit proved to be a real handful since my old bad clutch thrashing habits were hard to overcome. This new one really grabs! Looking at video of my start: I got a real good reaction time/kick off the flag drop, firing off with two other fast guys, but wheelies don’t win hole shots unless you have mad skills and nerves of steel, my wheely went thirty feet before I got her down and so I settled for 4th of 6 around the corner. In spite of the downhill start and practicing leading up to the race I just didn’t get it right. In practice I’d had some insanely quick get offs that would have been money this day, but I couldn’t duplicate when it counted.

After making the corner I immediately passed for third into the cloud of dust and decided to try and hang on there as long as I could in front of the heavy dust.
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Soon we popped out onto the motocross course and I was holding my own, riding conservatively over the jumps. Got passed here, but it was the first lap. Once back into the trees I settled in a little more. Riding through some tight trees I overshot my line (too much power!) and clipped a small tree hard enough to knock myself down and got passed and dropped to sixth. Picking up my bike I felt disappointed and set off to catch back up.

Eventually I caught up with my son who had pulled over to wait for me. He wasn’t feeling racy because he was worried about getting hurt and missing his football season that was in progress. He waved me by and we rode on together which was kind of fun. About then Tracy caught us and passed me. He was riding in the trail rider class since this was his first race back from his broken leg at Hillbilly earlier this summer. I set my sights on him and picked up my pace a little more. Somewhere during my second lap I realized why I’d been experiencing that unsettled feeling - I’d forgotten to put on my elbow pads. Funny how a small detail can affect you, fortunately I didn’t bounce my elbows off and trees or rocks!

Only real hiccup I had after that drop was getting stuck in a mud rut coming out of a creek during my third lap. This was caught on video and was not very fun, probably lost three minutes here.
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During my four laps I eventually hit some of the bigger tables with the steep run ups pretty well, felt like a real motocrosser for about two seconds flying through the air.
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The smaller jumps that real motocrossers double I just rolled over trying not to hit too fast and nose dive into the backsides of the landing jump. Overall the motocross track was a very humbling experience.
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The bike ran great all day and I eventually got used to the much improved power redeemed by my properly sprung clutch plates. It definitely responds when asked now and feels like a much stronger machine, really makes the steep hill climbs a lot easier. Seeing the checkered flag I finished in 4th place and secured 6th overall for points in my 50+B class for the season. Looking back at the lap times I saw that 5th and 6th both dropped out before finishing the 4th lap, I also noticed they all had faster lap times than me. I know one of the guys is recovering from a mid-season shoulder injury and was riding to secure 5th place points for the season.

It was a good year. Planning to attend the Series banquet at the Hotel Roanoke and eat some prime beef and get my plaque. Will figure out what next year holds for us over the winter. There is another state series - VXCS - that looks interesting and we hope to race the NEPG National Enduros. If my son gets off to a good start there he will want to chase points. I just want to continue to improve.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
'03 KDX 200 - @%@ '18 Trek Slash 8 @%@ ‘22 Rieju MR300 Racing

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