Georgetown, Texas rider Danny Kelsey posted 2 big wins at Hallett, Oklahoma during the CMRA sprint championship series event. Kelsey faced tough competition as fellow racers Dustin Dominguez and Derek Wagnon rolled in with valuable momentum earned during the DMG Supersport and Sportbike events held the previous weekend at Mid-Ohio. Added in against Kelsey was perennial CMRA champion Ty Howard. RPSRaceTeam.com felt that despite some of the challenges the team was facing & the tough competition, Kelsey would have every opportunity to shine against these nationally respected competitors.  

RPSRaceTeam.com and Kelsey entered Friday practice working to fine tune some new suspension settings. Despite good data from the previous round this year, the team and Danny struggled. “I felt like the whole Friday session was almost a waste of time. We got a really heavy rain storm Thursday night and we never could get the bike dialed in on some of the turns that are critical for a fast time.”, noted team manager Marcus McBain. Kelsey still managed to overcome the issues and run a 1:17.8 lap time on Friday.  

With little improvement on Friday, the team focused on solving some of the issues with a stiffer rear spring and lighter damping rates to get the teams Michelin shod GSXR-750 to perform well against Kelsey’s competitors. Although Sunday practice seemed to show some improvement, the 1st race would be the actual opportunity to prove the setup.

 With the B Superstock race first up, Kelsey would be facing Mid-Ohio winner Dustin Dominguez while trying to confirm the new setup. With the drop of the green flag, Kelsey moved to take the lead in Turn 1, but ran wide when his brakes did not perform. Dominquez took advantage of the miscue, and took the point. Kelsey had to quickly gather himself up and adjust for his brake issues while trying to chase down Dominquez who had a 1.3 second lead after the first lap. Danny posted the fastest lap of the race (1:16.6) on lap 4 while moving right behind Dominquez who was now only 0.43 seconds in front of Kelsey. By lap 5, it was apparent that Kelsey was fighting the Suzuki and was not able to move to the front. Danny would settle for 2nd while still working to fine-tune the team’s red Suzuki.

Team Manager Marcus McBain inspected the brakes and realized that their last set of “good rotors” had finally exceeded their life after 6 years of use. Additionally, the stiffer spring was just not able to track over the many bumps of Hallett. With the team’s budget heavily constrained, the only choice was for McBain to deglaze the rotors after each race, and hope the brakes would last more than a few laps.

Kelsey faced Ty Howard in A Superstock, while finalizing the setup with a softer rear spring. Howard lead by 0.7 seconds after one lap. Kelsey quickly felt out the setup and started cutting into Howard’s accumulated 1.8 second lead on lap 4. Kelsey however was getting bad breaks in traffic and that negated his efforts at the checkers, it was another 2nd place finish with Howard 2.5 seconds ahead at the end.

The team discussed the setup and issues they were facing. A decision was made to go to a medium compound rear tire. With track temperatures nearly 150 degrees and the air temperature at nearly 110, the team felt that this would be the final ingredient for success in the afternoon. A few more suspension adjustments were made to additionally help.  

“The discussion at lunch was tough. I had to ask Danny to ride at 100% despite the fact he knew the brakes were going to glaze each race. I spent 10 minutes sanding with 100 grit sandpaper after each race, but the rotors are so thin now…they just don’t work anymore. Additionally, I never really got the bike working really well for the track conditions. Everything that Danny achieved today was all him. He is just an outstanding rider”, confessed team manager McBain.

With a fresh reset and some confidence in the Suzuki, Kelsey dropped the clutch on his GSXR-750 and entered turn one elbow to elbow with Ty Howard. Both riders riding hard, but Kelsey moved to the point and ran a 1:18.4 from a standing start with Howard in Tow. On lap 2, Howard looked ready to take the point and posted a 1:16.96, but Kelsey posted the fastest lap of the race with a 1:16.92 in the hot Oklahoma heat. The two Texas riders continued to battle, but ultimately Kelsey took the win and the checkers with a lot of admiration from his team.  

The final race of the day was a rematch of Kelsey vs. Dominguez…and the race did not disappoint. Kelsey lead off the line, but Dominquez was in hot pursuit. By lap three, Kelsey appeared to be ready to stretch his lead when he posted the fastest lap of the race (1:16.56), but lappers ensured the race stayed close when Kelsey spooked a novice rider who immediately “stood it up” and nearly ran Kelsey off the track. Dominquez pounced on the situation and took the lead, but Kelsey was not going to give the race away so easily. Kelsey retook the point a few point a few turns later and then put in a 1:16.57 on lap 7 to seal the win by 4.6 seconds. It was a great ending to the day for Danny and the team..

Marcus McBain made a final observation, “I really have to admire what Danny (Kelsey) achieved today. Our budget is really tight right now, and I have to constantly ask Danny to ride around problems and win while racing against some of the best riders in the country. He never fails though, and it is a testament to his attitude and his skill.” Through all the hard work and effort, the team was rewarded when others in attendance saw the issues with the brakes first hand, and have consequently stepped up and offered support for Kelsey. The team enters the next round with some rejuvenated enthusiasm as a consequence.

RPSRaceTeam.com would like to thank its sponsors KMC Controls, Komodo, Lone Star Track Days, GP Suspension, Dynojet, DP Brakes, LP Racing, Hotbodies, Arata, Penske, Vortex, WRW Racing, Sam’s Cycle Salvage, Michelin, and Island Racing Services for their continued support. For more information about Danny Kelsey and RPSRaceTeam.com, please visit www.RPSRaceTeam.com.

Associated Links:

  • Brandon Bones Photos from Hallett (HIGH QUALITY)

  • RPS and CMRA "Official Press Release" on RRW