Standings And Finishes
Moto GT1: 3rd in Championship points with 129 points
one point behind second place
* DNF Daytona 8-Hour; Mechanical failure in lap 82
* Crash and DNF at NJ Motorsports Park
* 2nd at VIR
* 4th at Heartland Park
* 4th at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course
* 3rd at Road America
* DQ Barber Motorsports Park
* 2nd at Road Atlanta
* 3rd in Daytona Season Opener
Daytona 8-Hour Finale Recap
Mechanical issues forced the team out of the race before the halfway mark. Season consistency enable team to capture 3rd place in championship.
Determined to finish the season on a positive note, Chief Jamie Spinks championed the task of re-building the Kowgo bike totaled in lap 22 of the New Jersey race. Kudos goes to Antelope Valley Harley Davidson, Buell, GPR, RaceTech, HMF Exhaust and fellow Buell competitors for providing replacement parts for the cause. With re-furbished Kowgo bike and their eyes towards a podium finish, the crew was excited to race and experience the challenges of the 8-hour finale. They rolled into Daytona International Speedway and learned the news of the H-D discontinuation of the Buell line. Despite a veil of gloom over Buell teams, Liberty Waves rose above the news to tackle the challenge of breaking in a brand new motor to go the distance....not an easy thing on one of the world's most motor-taxing tracks. The crew addressed set up issues and riders eased the bike through qualifying to start 6th on the grid. Taking an equipment preservation strategy, riders ran 3-4 seconds off-pace from race leaders. Pinson started the race at a conservative pace yet remained in the top 6 group. Took over an hour later and climbed up to the fourth position before a mechanical braking issue brought him into the pits. Sipp took over and after only a few laps, the motor blew up 82 laps into the race; 46 seconds after main competition in the points race. The race winner went 247 laps. In order to earn points for the race, bikes had to go 173 laps. No bikes in contention for the second and third spots in the points chase were able to reach that mark Ė thus preserving the pre-race point standings. Liberty Waves finished third in overall points for the season; one point behind second place.
New Jersey Motorsports Recap
Low-side crash in lap 22 ended team hopes to claim championship title.
A new track for our riders, the team had a single practice session to nail down a set up to aid the ride along this highly technical track. Pinson opened Friday afternoon's qualifying session and within 5 laps had built momentum to break 90 second lap times. A bump in turn 3 caused him to tuck the front and lowside which cut the qualifying session short. Pinson walked away from the incident relatively unharmed. The bike was race-ready within hours and riders were able to test set up adjustments during the MotoGT 8:00 am warm up session. Three hours later, Haugo started the race in 6th position and within a dozen laps, worked his way up to 4th position. In lap 22, he entered turn 9 aggressively, lost the front and low-sided. Fans were treated to the spectacle of the bike tumbling off the race track. Haugo escaped injury and raced in the Superbike race that afternoon. The team, however, met the end of its chase for the championship. The point leader's 2nd place finish earned the margin of victory for the title. The final season standings will be determined at the Moto GT season finale, an 8-hour race at Daytona International Speedway the weekend of Oct. 16-18 during Biketoberfest. Liberty Waves presently sits in third place with 129 points; one point behind second position and fourteen points ahead of the fourth place team.
Summer heat and humidity took a toll on riders and equipment for survival of the fittest; three championship contenting teams make the podium.
Sizzling temps made for slippery track conditions and a battle of attrition. Maintaining a consistent conservative pace a few seconds off race leaders kept Liberty Waves riders rolling in the top 5 throughout the course of the race. While competitors fell victim to mechanical failures and crashes, the Team's 1125R performed beautifully. Pit stops went smoothly and earned the riders and crew the second spot on the podium. Team Liberty Waves earned an additional 25 points and remains in the chase for the championship title 11 points behind the points leader.
Heartland Topeka Recap
Due to braking issues, riders were off pace yet persevered and were able to capture fourth place.
A new track for the series set several riders ill at ease over perceived safety issues with wall placement. Unfamiliarity with the track played a certain degree to Pinson and Haugo being off pace from race leaders. Despite crashing early in the qualifying session, Pinson and Haugo were able to qualify 6th on the starting grid. Haugo started the race and maintained his position during the first stint. As he turned the bike over to Pinson, he warned of front braking issues. Pinson worked through the issue and gained a couple of positions. During the final third of the race, Haugo worked his way up to 4th place overall and third in the GT1 class but in the last few laps fell back a position to finish 5th overall and 4th in the GT1 class. While the team hoped for a position on the box, this finish enabled them to earn points and maintain a competitive standing in the championship chase. Less than 10 points presently separate the top three teams which will make for exciting racing for the last three rounds.
Mid Ohio Recap
Despite crashing in lap 15 and losing a lap for tech inspection, were able to continue on and capture fourth place.
Perfect weather and a technical track made for an interesting race weekend. We posted the 5th fastest qualifying time Friday afternoon. Across all classes, Buell riders had their work cut out for them on the demanding course which played well to R6 riders. Early in the Race, Haugo took a commanding position in the lead pack. He led a few laps and held on to race leaders. When going for a pass in his 15th pass in the carousel, he low sided. Fortunately, he was able to continue and brought the bike in for an early pit stop for tech inspection and a splash and go. Putting the team down a lap, both Haugo and Pinson fought back and gradually gained positions. The 1125R handled great and in the end captured a fourth place finish only 4 seconds behind the third place finishers. This finish allowed Liberty Waves to capture the lead in point standings for the championship.
Road America Recap
A last minute gearing change prior to race start held the team in hot pit lane for the warm-up lap. A glitch in the timing and scoring system showed our riders one lap behind while in reality it was not. Race officials realized the discrepancy and acknowledged our third place finish.
Fluctuating rain and drizzle made tire and gearing selection a challenge for the GT race. As conditions worsened, the team made a last minute gearing change and complications held the bike in hot pit lane during the warm-up lap leading to the green flag. Rider Eric Haugo blasted out hot pit lane exit and tagged onto the end of the lead pack going into the first turn of the race. Due to a glitch in the timing and scoring system, our #41 bike was shown running a lap behind the field when in actuality it wasn't. As conditions became wetter, several bikes crashed which resulted in lengthy pace car-led caution laps. During green flag conditions, riders Eric Pinson and Eric Haugo continued the chase and gradually gained positions through the checkered flag. 30 minutes later, race officials realized the scoring discrepancy and acknowledged Liberty Waves as the third place finisher.
From a fan perspective, Liberty Waves drew a lot of traffic in the race paddock. Dairyland Cycle Insurance, a main sponsor for the race event, pitted with Liberty Waves in the race paddock and distributed more than 2,000 free T-shirts to fans; most of which were autographed by rider Eric Pinson.
Fluctuating weather conditions made tire selection a challenge. Started race on tires anticipating dryer conditions. A rain squall prompted an early pit stop and tire change to rain tires. Crashed an hour into the race.
This was one of those That is Racing type of weekends. The team was plagued with problems throughout the weekend. The second practice was cut short with the disintegration of rear wheelís bearings. In qualifying, the Buell 1125R crashed. Other Buell teams faced similar challenges. While the crew was able to get the bike race-ready, bad weather rolled in and created havoc on the race track. Weather and track cleaning delays cut the GT race short. Eric Haugo started the race on tires anticipating dryer conditions and battled drizzle and wet patches. A rain squall prompted an early pit stop and change to rain tires.
Pinson took over and started closing the gap. With 15 minutes left in the race, he crashed in turn 12 but was able to remount and continue. When he tried to exit almost a full lap later into hot pit lane for technical inspection, he was overtaken on the outside by several GT2 riders. The exit window closed and he continued with the intent to exit the next time around. Less than half a lap later, he noticed oil on the track and realized it was from his bike. He promptly pulled over and out of the race. Meanwhile, the damage was done. Other riders crashed and the race was stopped.
Pinson was unable to exit which constituted a rule infraction and resulted in the team disqualification from the race and a penalty fine.
While this race is one we would rather forget, there were some notable aspects to the race weekend.
* For only their second race, our crew of DeKalb Tech interns handled the stressful aspects of the weekend like professionals. They rose to the challenge and performed.
* We had the privilege of signing autographs and displaying a cow bike in Chick-fil-A area fan zone.
* 33 people joined the Liberty Waves Group to get a 10% discount on their motorcycle insurance with Dairyland Cycle Insurance
* We enjoyed meeting dozens of fans and making new friends, of note Red Underhill, Thomas Campbell and Paula Lampert
* Camp Boggy Creek in Florida is receiving a donation from our team to go towards a wonderful and welcome summer retreat for a seriously ill child and their family.
* We were able to go a service at Barber Motorsports Parkís famed inflatable chapel
Road Atlanta Recap
Carried lead for several laps; Caution flag threw off the race strategy. Lost lead for fueling stop and tire change and caught back up to pack to capture 2nd place.
Determined to continue the momentum generated at Daytona, Liberty Waves fortified its crew with recruits from DeKalb Technical College, Department of Motorcycle Service Technology. Three students signed on to serve their internships as full-time mechanics for the remainder of the AMA season.
Rider Haugo started off the race on the Antelope Valley H-D Buell 1125R and led a few laps, fell back to fourth but held on to the race leaders. Pinson took over and ran the teamís strategy that played well until the caution flag that lasted 30 minutes. Despite being first during the caution, the timing of anticipated pit stops was thrown off and put the team at a disadvantage. When the flag turned green, Pinson had to come in for fuel. The crew fueled, slapped on a new rear tire and sent Pinson into the chase about a minute behind the lead pack. With 28 minutes left in the race, Pinson gained ground. For this horse-power intense track, our HMF exhaust worked great and helped us go the distance.
Pinson caught up to the field to finish second -- less than 15 seconds behind the lead bike. The only MotoGT1 team to capture podium finishes for two consecutive races, Liberty Waves took the lead in points for the class championship.
Carried lead for almost half the race until tire change problems in pit stop; Managed to come back from behind and capture teamís first podium finish
Liberty Waves entered Moto GT race with moderate expectations but was happy to have their new Antelope Valley H-D Buell 1125R with Dairyland Cycle Insurance partnership-inspired paint scheme of white with black spots like a Holstein dairy cow on the grid. The team found themselves taking the lead within the first few laps of the race with an impressive dog fight by Eric Haugo who attributes his great ride to his braking ability and reliability of EBC brake pads. Eric Pinson took over, continued the lead and built a minute forty-five second gap ahead of second place.
All was great until the mid-race pit stop when the team wrestled technical issues with a rear tire change. Eric Haugo played catch up and fought his way back to the top five. The bike handled great, stated Haugo, between the RaceTech suspension and GPR steering dampeners, we didn't have to worry about the bike doing anything crazy -- it was smooth sailing. As the race lapsed into the final 20 minutes, competitors started running out of fuel and surrendering to mechanical failures all around the race track. Using Royal Purple motor oil worked to our advantage for the race -- even after two hours of aggressive riding commented Pinson.
Liberty Waves was able to advance to third position in the GT 1 class but it too fell victim to fuel running short Ė fortunately sputtering dry along hot pit lane 200 yards shy of the teamís pit stall. Haugo vaulted off the bike as it slowed to running pace and ran it toward the team. Crew Chief Jamie Spinks hurtled over the wall and sprinted to assist with the final 75 yard push to bring the Buell 1125R in for its final splash and go. Pinson took over for the final few laps and brought it home for a third place finish Ė the teamís first podium finish in its 3-year history and the first Buell 1125R to podium in a pro AMA event at Daytona.
Photo by Eric Barrows