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 checkered flag.

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 incidents.

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.  



  • JUNE 10,  2012 Photos - Provided by Brandon Bones/Studio 819

  • CMRA Press Release & RPS "Official Press Release" on RRW