“I need to get comfortable, riding uncomfortably.” said Kyle Wyman yesterday to students of the Yamaha Champions Riding School when asked about his first ever Superbike podium. Kyle said his faith in the Champions Habits that are embedded in his muscle memory is what allowed him to ride at such a high level for the entire race.
Saturday was OK for Kyle with a 6th place finish but not where he wanted to be. Being his home track, he knew he could be running at the front and fighting for the win, especially after being at the top of the charts for most of the weekend. The wrong setup choice didn’t allow him to run at the front on Saturday but going back to what worked for Sunday helped to say the least. Our “KW” not only ran towards the front, but was literally fighting to pass Superbike veteran Roger Hayden for most of the race.
In the end, Superbike Champion Tony Elias snuck up, won the race, and capped off his Championship season but Kyle was a just a few lengths back of the factory rider in second place.
For anyone who does not realize what a large accomplishment this was, try to find the last time a kid and his dad with a pickup truck and a trailer, a true privateer, got on the podium of a professional Superbike race in America. It’s very far and few between and a huge accomplishment. “We picked a good weekend to be Kyle’s title sponsor” said Limore Shur, CMO of YCRS. Hats off to Kyle and the KWR team for a truly remarkable and emotional race.
Maybe having YCRS down the side of your bike was a lucky charm on Sunday as Kyle was not the only success story. Our prized pupil; Anthony Mazziotto also struggled on Saturday with a sixth place finish but finished the weekend on top of the box. The 6th place was mostly due to the steep learning curve associated with being a rookie in such a competitive class of professional racing.
Friday went OK but a slightly bent wheel put the rookie team behind one session in setting up the new bike for this track. Contrary to popular belief, Anthony had no time on this track with the new bike and very little overall on a 600 so the hometown advantage wasn’t as much as we would have liked, especially considering we had no setup for NJMP going in.
Because of this, we were making kind of dramatic changes right up until the race on Saturday afternoon and the last change for Saturdays race was a backwards one. Meaning he went 1.2 seconds slower in Saturdays race that in Friday afternoon’s qualifying. Anthony led the first few laps of the race but then the tire went off quickly causing him to drop back just as quick. Anthony fought for 6th by the end of the race.
Saturday evening the team worked tirelessly to figure out what was going wrong. Thanks to the genius of John Cornwell from Ohlins, it was found that the rear shock had a rain setup in it from Road America. Huge rookie mistake. The final setup was the same setup from Friday afternoon that had Anthony at the top of the charts but with a corrected rear shock setup.
Sunday morning came and Anthony was able to match his best times from Saturdays race on a cold morning with cold tires so the changes were in the right direction. Just before Sundays race, they made one more slightly dramatic change for the race. When Anthony went out for the sighting lap he came in and said it was not good. In five minutes, the boys were able to lower the front 2mm, raise the rear 1mm, and move the clickers back to the mornings settings, finishing just before the start of the race.
A half hour later we were standing on the podium as the winning t eam alongside our prized pupil after he handily won by over 3 seconds. “The first few laps I battled with Mike Selpe and Nick McFadden and both their bikes were quite faster than mine. Once I found where I was better than them, I got by and was able to put my head down and pull away.” said Ant. At first, Ant and Nick traded lap times with the gap staying quite close but thankfully, that hard to find setup must have been a little bit better because towards the end of the race, Anthony was not only able to keep his lap times steady, but even set his fastest lap of the race on lap 19.
Winning in Pittsburgh was cool, but to do it at the home of YCRS is pretty darn special. Our real concentration these days is on street riders. They are the ones losing lives due to improper training but considering the techniques taught at YCRS that save lives were deprived from racing, it is quite fitting to see those Champions Habits still getting it done on the racetrack.
Wish us luck as we finish ChampSchool classes here at NJMP this week and start the trek south to Barber Motorsports Park for the final round of the MotoAmerica series and then head west to India Motorsports Ranch to spend the winter making riders safer and faster.