Back in the Groove at Barber
FAST Motosports ventured out to the legendary Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds Alabama for the WERA National Series. If you have not had the chance to check out Barber yet you need to make plans asap. Any fan of racing has to experience this amazing facility complete with a world class track and a one of the best motorcycle museums in the world.
Despite a very rocky start of the season for FAST racings Chris Bettis he has kept his head down and continued to pursue the chase for the podium. Bettis getting crashed out in 2 of the last 3 weekends has slowed down his momentum but Bettis battled back at Barber and picked it back up once again.
Saturday was a very hot and humid day seeing the temps rise to over 90 degrees. The weather called for on and off rain but things worked out as the rain spots seemed to go right around the track. Going out for practice on Saturday morning Bettis noticed a lot of chatter in turns 2 and 13 in the front end. This chatter would linger throughout the weekend as Steven Brekenridge from Fluidology tried every trick in the book to sort out the issues. Unfortunately there was not enough time to test a lot of new settings out so the team decided to just ride around it for Saturday's races. Bettis was set to compete in 3 races on Saturday and the grids were packed with plenty of talent, with the likes of riders like Taylor Knapp.
Race 1 saw Bettis start from Row 3 on the inside. After a good start Bettis worked his way up to 4th and then 3rd place after just 2 laps. Holding on to 3rd for 4 laps Bettis made a critical error coming onto the front straight and lost the rear followed by the front and nearly crashed off the side of the track. Somehow keeping the bike up he only lost 2 positions. Getting back on track Bettis fought hard to have a chance to pass for 4th but unfortunately the race ended and the final result was 5th. When asked about this mistake Bettis said "Unfortunately I made an error and I was a bit too aggressive on the throttle at full lean and we lost the rear and nearly the front. I made some quick adjustments to keep the bike up and going. I am upset at myself but every single thing that happens on the track is a learning experience."
Race 2 saw a similar scenario where Bettis started on the 3rd row and battled up to 3rd place quickly but this time he would hang on to 3rd place to secure the 4th podium of the season on the FAST R1.
Race 3 was the last race of the day and the field was packed for the A Superbike race. Qualifying 6th place Bettis once again was on row 3 on the far left inside position. 3 races in a row all left inside. Bettis had this say about Saturday's grid positions. "Starting on the far left inside position is a very tough spot to be in. We got great starts and went into to turn 1 in the lead but failed to hold on due to the hard left turn of turn 1. Bikes just seem to come down and cut you off in turn 1. I need to do better fighting to get over more to the right on the starts." Despite falling back to 8th position in turn 1 Bettis rode a great race and fought hard to finish in 7th place.
After many tweaks overnight the FAST team felt a bit more confident in the suspension set up for Sunday. After an early morning practice Bettis said the bike felt more comfortable and although the chatter did not go away completely it was a lot more manageable after putting a Dunlop soft on the front. Practice times seemed to drop each lap and the team felt good about their chances on Sunday. When asked about the Dunlop tires Bettis said "It is really unbelievable how good these tires are. Not only do they give you excellent feedback but they grip hard and they last lap after lap."
Race 1 Day 2 was the A Superstock race and this time Bettis was on Row 2. Getting an unbelievable start to the race Bettis took the hole shot and lead down into Charlottes Web. Coming into Charlottes the bikes seemed to bunch up and Bettis lost some spots coming out of turn 5. Turning his fastest laps of the weekend Bettis held onto the 6th position for almost the entire race and finally finished 6th. Bettis said "I was very proud of my start in this race and proud of the times we turned. The SBS pads were amazing in every corner. I am gaining confidence again and I feel good about how we finished in this race."
Race 2 Day 2 saw Bettis on Row 2 but this time on the right side giving him a little better advantage on the start. Getting a good launch Bettis quickly jumped into the 3rd spot and pursued the number 1 and 2 riders. Making a good surge for the top 2 riders Bettis made an error going into Charlottes Web and that blew his chances at a better finish. Bettis held on to the 3rd spot getting his second podium of the weekend.
Michael Bettis Crew Chief of the FAST team said "I am very pleased with how we performed this weekend and it feels like we got a bit of our mojo back. We have had some hard knocks this season and it means a lot to see us battle back and capture 2 podiums. Each weekend we learn more and more and build confidence. I feel Chris is doing a great job and you will see him get faster and faster each weekend."
FAST Motosports would like to thank Cori, Derek and the entire Dunlop Tire Team for making an amazing tire and giving top notch rider support. We would also like to thank, Fluidolgoy, Motovation USA, SBS Brakes, GB Racing, Arrow USA, Proven Leathers, Arai Helments, N2 Trackdays, Jennings GP and Motographix Decals for helping FAST compete weekend after weekend. Without our support system racing would not be possible.