Fighting Demons at Roebling Road Raceway
Every time the FAST Motosports team has gone to Roebling Road Raceway in 2020 there has been a very terrible outcome. Venturing out to RRR in March ended abruptly when Chris Betti's R1 ran through some oil on the track and high sided to the moon. After rebuilding the bike and preparing to come back and fight hard at RRR in May a good friend and former teammate Eric Connell crashed in turn 8 and lost his life.
Bettis and the FAST team showed up at Roebling on July 16th to prepare for a Friday practice session with partner N2 Trackdays. Waking up early to get the bikes ready there seemed to just be a figurative cloud over the track. When bad things happen on and off track it can derail a riders confidence but Bettis was determined not to let that happen. Going out on the smaller FAST bike he seemed to get a decent rhythm going early on. Retiring the 600cc machine at lunch Bettis brought out the big bike to get things really started. Roebling has not had a repave in quite sometime so the challenge as always been bike and chassis set up. Luckily FAST has a 20 year vet in Steven Brekenridge on staff to make tweaks and changes to both bikes. Steven went with a softer front fork set up but he also speed up the rebound to make sure the bike didn't get too out of shape when rolling over bumps at high speed.
After 4 stints on the R1 Bettis felt more comfortable but the times were not showing that. Shutting things down at about 5pm Friday the team searched for more changes and outfitted the bike with a different compound Dunlop tire. Switching from the Medium Plus rear and going to a soft seemed to make all the difference in Sunday's race practice. Turning some decent times early Sunday morning the team felt they had finally made some good progress. FAST crew chief Michael Bettis said "the Dunlop tires have been amazing all year. With so many compound choices you can always find the right tire for the job. The Dunlops have not only given us serious traction and feedback but they really hold the pace lap after lap."
Bettis sat quietly by himself most of the morning just thinking about each turn and what needed to be done in order to get around the track faster. The first race of the day was the A Superstock race and it was loaded with talent with the likes of Stefano Mesa and Taylor Knapp. Starting on row 3 middle Bettis knew he had his work cut out for him. Long time friend and mentor Chuck Ivey gave some positive words of encouragement right before the race. When asked what Ivey said Bettis replied "he told me to believe in myself, to be confident and to be aggressive early on and that's what I did." Going out quick Bettis had a great start and settled into turn 1 in 3rd place. Making an early mistake in turn 9 quickly dropped him to 7th place. Bettis battled back lap after lap and ended up finishing 5th.
The S Superbike race was next and Bettis hoped to build on race 1's finish. This time starting out on row 1 things would be a little different. Getting off the starting grid quick has been Bettis's MO as of late and this race would be no different. Sitting in 2nd place after the 1st lap would be a foreshadowing of the race finish because that is where Bettis stayed and finished as he didn't quite have the pace to battle for 1st place. Finishing the weekend with a top 5 finish and a podium has the FAST team feeling confident once again. Bettis said "with me it's all about building up my confidence in myself and the bike. With so many talented riders I need to be on my A game every lap. I look forward to finishing the season strong."
FAST would like to thank Motovation USA, Arrow USA, SBS Brakes, Arai Helmets, GB Racing, Motographix, Jennings GP, Vortex, N2 Trackdays, Proven Leathers and Cycle Gear for their full commitment to the FAST Motosports racing program.