Glen Cove – 4:00am June 9th 2012. It’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing. Some gusts feel like they might push the van to the edge of the mountain. It’s not very scientific, but I think it’s a safe guess that some of the gusts are over 50mph in this rather protected location. Gravel is flying in the stronger gusts, stinging any exposed skin.
The thing is, the crew has it easy here. Greg and Carlin are riding to the summit and when they come into the pit between runs they let us know that what we think is cold and windy is nothing at all compared to the conditions they’re experiencing at the top. When they finish a run, each rider waits for the very last one to arrive and then they come down as a group. The Pikes Peak race course is hot only one direction at a time. This means the fastest guys have to wait at the top the longest. So after getting off #555 in the pits, Greg begins using his Akrapovic exhaust as a very technical hand warmer.
Despite the wind, it is clear and the course is good. The Pikes Peak race committee has been working with the Park Directors to ensure good pavement, and they have done some work to the top section since our practice last week. It is just a tiny bit faster today, which makes the team happy.
Not all the competitors are able to make these private test sessions. The motorcycle side is limited to 30 riders for the weekend – and there will be over 100 motorcycle competitors at the race. Naturally it is harder for the International riders to come to Colorado for testing. Looking at the list of riders who will be at the race I see some big names. There will be several Italians including Marco Belli 4 time Italian Flat Track champion who will be in the 750 class, battling Gary Trachy, Greg’s brother on a Zaeta DT.
In our 1202cc class there will be Jiri Heninik, former Czech Republic Supermoto Champion who will be on a KTM 990, Bruno Langlois, a former French pro Honda rider who will be on a Ducati Streetfighter, as will US rider and good friend of Greg’s, Eddie Tafoya. Looking at the entire field, I see another rider out of NY, Marco Pedde who will be on a Multistrada, and two top Triumph riders; Joe Kopp who will be on a Speed Triple and Dustin Dominguez on a Street Triple and who both are quite formidable riders.
The field is going to be very competitive. I think it’s safe to predict that there will be new speed records set this year. But what we are here to do right now is to get our team in top shape. Our focus is to do our best, to be fast and fair and to run a clean race. 29 days and counting!