JUNE 11, 2012 - KELSEY BATTLES @ MSR CRESSON
Danny Kelsey entered the 5th round of the CMRA sprint championship series focused on continuing the development of the team’s GSXR-750 and gain more speed. Kelsey felt confident as team manager Marcus McBain installed GP Suspension mid-valve technology on the forks to battle excessive fork dive while maintaining traction over ripple bumps. In addition, the Penske shock was also reworked with more aggressive damping rates to help the Suzuki drive out of the turns.
As practice concluded, the team and
Kelsey were confident as Danny was able to comfortably practice in the 1:16
range. Although he would have to battle against Ty Howard and Derek Wagnon on
their “home turf”, it was apparent that Kelsey would have a chance for race
wins based on the confirmed development during practice.
The first race up for Kelsey was B
Superstock where he would have to battle against AMA competitors Derek Wagnon
and Dustin Dominguez. At the drop of the green flag, Kelsey lead the field
through T1 and posted a blistering 1:17.839 on the opening lap.
As the race developed, it was apparent that the RPSRaceTeam.com GSXR-750
was not coming out of the corners clean. Both Wagnon and Dominguez took
advantage of the situation and relegated Kelsey to third place. With the race
winding down, Kelsey moved past Dominquez to take 2nd place at the
As Kelsey entered the pit, he informed
McBain that the clutch failed on the first lap and that he wasn’t sure it
would hold for the next race up in just 45 minutes. McBain and Kelsey worked to
find a clutch and after some very fast work, a new clutch was installed in less
than 30 minutes by McBain.
With no time to test the clutch, Kelsey
gridded up for A Superstock where he would have to face Ty Howard. Again on the
drop of the green flag, Kelsey put his Michelin Cup equipped GSXR-750 into the
lead as he posted a 1:18.4 on the opening lap. As the first two laps completed,
Kelsey was in the lead and determined to not relinquish the point. As the two
riders separated from the field, Kelsey began lapping riders on lap 3. It was
apparent on lap 4 that Howard’s endurance and track experience were going to
be his advantage as he was cutting through traffic cleaner than Kelsey. On Lap
4, Howard took the point as lappers came up faster and quicker. In all, Kelsey
and Howard would lap riders over 15 times before the checkered flag. Despite the
efforts of Kelsey to retake the point, Howard took the win by 0.235 seconds.
Both riders commented on the amount of lap riders and were grateful that the
CMRA novice riders followed their training and mostly stayed focused and on
their line during the racing.
With two races completed before lunch,
the team reviewed the morning to see if any advantages could be gained from the
race data. The Michelin Cup tires, GP Suspension Cartridges, and Penske shock
were mostly working flawlessly. A small adjustment to the forks was made to
compensate for an expected faster pace in the afternoon.
Kelsey and Howard squared off again in
the A Superbike race with Kelsey grabbing the lead by passing Howard and Craig
Montgomery in the wagon wheel turn on the opening lap. As the first lap
completed, Kelsey was in lead with Howard following closely. On lap 2, Kelsey
turned the fastest lap of the race with a 1:15.211 to try and create any kind of
gap to give himself some breathing room over Howard. Again, by lap 3 both Kelsey
and Howard encountered heavy traffic as they lapped many in the field. Despite
this hurdle, Howard was sticking close though and was never more than .4 seconds
behind Kelsey. Kelsey lead lap 5, but finally the lapped traffic got the best of
Danny and Howard took the point to complete lap 6. Kelsey did not relent and was
positioned to re-take the lead on several turns, but Howard fended off Danny and
took the win by 0.205 seconds. Despite lapped traffic being more intense than
the previous match-up, the riders were able to complete the race with no
The last race of the day for Kelsey was
B Superbike and was basically a rematch against Wagnon and Dominguez. Kelsey
elected to go out on a used tire as the Michelin Cup tires appeared to be able
to handle multiple races at the hot pace being ridden. At the drop of the green
flag, Kelsey dropped a 1:17.774 to lead the field after the first lap.
Kelsey held the point on lap 2 as Wagnon appeared to be shadowing Kelsey.
On lap 3, Wagnon took the point with Kelsey following. Wagnon posted a 1:14.8 on
lap 5 with Kelsey not able to match the pace on his used tire. At the checkers,
Wagnon took win by 4.1 seconds over Kelsey.
Both Kelsey and team manager Marcus
McBain had mixed thoughts on the day. “Danny absolutely did a fantastic job
today. Although he didn’t win, we got the bike working better at this track
that it has ever run. Danny forgets that he only rides during race weekends.
With the limited amount of seat time he is getting right now, to be able to
battle Ty and Derek at their home track in this fashion is absolutely
amazing”, noted McBain. Kelsey also reflected, “I have been racing against
Derek and Ty now for over 5 years. Today, they did a great job and I have to tip
my cap to them. I especially want to congratulate Derek. I know he was
struggling earlier in the year on his Ducati, but I consider Derek and Don (Wagnon)
friends as much as competitors and I am glad to see him have a good weekend.
Rest assured though, I will be working hard to get back on top of the podium.”
On a side note, CMRA Officials may or
may not have been alerted when it was found out later that wagering between Don
Wagnon (Derek’s father) and Marcus McBain was taking place. With over 5 ice
cream cones owed by McBain to Don (and Derek’s team) resulting from the
weekend’s racing, it is a sure bet the CMRA may have to intervene. “I think
I got snookered on this bet. I actually won the bet with Don at Hallet last race
and didn’t actually get any ice cream, but when Don “Mr. Vegas” Wagnon
sets the betting line, you have to watch out. So long as the CMRA doesn’t shut
down our high-stakes betting, we will continue to wager for the rest of
season”, mentioned McBain.
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.