CCS at Summit Point
September 18-19, 1999
Summit Point experienced its last motorcycle race of the millenium with the Championship Cup Series (CCS), and celebrated by paving the entire track. As is becoming the habit at Summit Point during CCS rounds, several races, including the MW GP event, filled to capacity and had to stop taking entries from racers. Over 200 riders showed up from around the region to try to wrap up Mid-Atlantic championships and experience the new asphalt first-hand. And thanks to Hurricane Floyd taking all bad weather northward, the weather was warm, sunny, and perfect for racing.
Also due to the hurricane, the paving at Summit Point had to be delayed. Scheduled to be completed on Thursday, the pavers had to wait out the storm on Wednesday and Thursday and complete all the paving on Friday. The pavers remained on the job until 10:00 PM Friday night, completing the last changes to the Turn 8 and 9 area. The entire track, with the exception Turns 3 and 4 which were repaved last year, were repaved with asphalt. Summit Point has been experimenting with different asphalt compounds to find one that would withstand the heat generated by cars, yet provide enough grip. Since Turns 3 and 4 have survived for the past year with no ripples and retained good traction, the remainder of the track got the same compound. Concrete was retained in Turns 1, 5, and 6 to prevent 4-wheelers from rippling the surface.
Racers on Saturday morning all looked out over the new asphalt expectedly, wondering whether the changes were for the better. Although the track had a thick layer of construction dust in the Carousel area, the pavement was remarkably smooth. Therefore, all previous reference points were erased, leaving riders without a clear line through Turns 7, 8, 9 and 10. The scarification once in there was replaced with black, featureless asphalt. Most rider reveled in the speed in Turns 9 and 10 and the variety of lines, but many found difficulty with Turn 7. An abnormal number of riders rode wide into the grass, tricked by a slight rise at the apex of the corner, and by the turns decreasing radius.
Overall, the track is now suprisingly smooth. Several areas have some small ripples, especially in Turn 8 (which some riders refered to as whoop-de-doos from motorcross) that gently rocked the bike. But speeds in Turn 9 and 10 were visibly faster, with bikes going 2 wide in the fast corners and running wide where previously was impossible. Also causing problems were the concrete sections. The transitions from concrete to asphalt has some small lips, and may have caused several crashes in Turn 5 and Turn 1. Also, a steamroller broke up some of the concrete in Turn 6 on the inside of the entrance, and Roger Lyle and track management had to patch the cement during Sunday's lunch break.
Track times did not vary much, and only until the Unlimited GP race, the last event on Sunday, did times drop into the 1:17s. Most riders spent the weekend re-learning lines and feeling out new bumps. As one rider put it, he never strung together one really good lap since he was experimenting with lines and never took the same corner the same way twice.
As for the racing, suffice to say that that the cornerworkers stayed busy. There were several red flags on Saturday, in part to the mud alongside the track. Since the ambulance couldn't go into the mud, it had to stay on the track surface, stopping the event. But with the higher speeds and faster exits most riders were enjoying, it also caused some riders to ride over the limits.
One unfortunate incident was not caused by the new track surface. During the start of the Amateur GTU, a rider in the 2nd wave lost his drive chain when shifting into 2nd gear. Brian Clark, gridded several rows back, was shielded by a rider who darted around the stalled bike, leaving Brian on a collision course. On impact, Brian was launched into the stalled rider and attempted hold onto the rider of the stalled bike. Unable to find a good grip, Brian fell into the path of oncoming traffic and was struck in the back by 3rd rider gridded behind him. The impact broke both collarbones, the C7 vertebrae, several ribs, and bruised his lungs and brain. The Summit Point ambulance crew arrived within 45 seconds of the incident, and Brian was airlifted to Fairfax INOVA hospital's trauma center immediately. The life-flight arrived 12 minutes after the crash, markedly improving Brian's chances.
The Clark family extends their thanks to the Summit Point EMTs, the CCS staff, and the MARRC cornerworkers for the hard work and conduct during the event. Cards, flowers, and donations can be sent his wife, Kelly, at their home at:
19903 RidgeCrest Square
Ashburn, VA 20147
Thanks to T. Wesley for the photos. Click on each photo to see an enlargement. Tune in later in the week as we post photos from Glen Ouye.
|Steve Shoul (#151) exits Turn 1 on his built Yamaha RZ350. Despite clutch problems on Saturday that dropped him to 8th place in the GT Lights event, Shoul ran at the head of the pack in the LW races on Sunday. Steve led the LW Superbike race early on until being passed by eventually winner Jonathon Broga (#500) on an SV650. Yamaha should be quite proud of its creation, since bikes as old as the RZ are seen more often in Vintage races than in modern sprints. With a good rider and a little work, an RZ can still be competetive. Photo by T. Wesley.|
|As a cornerworker runs in to assist, Rusty Gill (#818) throws up his hands after his lowside his Suzuki 600 exiting Turn 1. Although Gill was unhurt, his bike bent a few too many parts to continue and was given a ride back to the pits by the MARRC safety crew. Photo by T. Wesley.|
|Steve Sumner (#717) tries to go around Ray Fields (#133) on his SV650 and keep up with Konstantine Tsibberg's (#246) FZR400 at the start of the LW Superbike race. Sumner's Aprilia makes just a little less horsepower than the SV, but is much lighter, and no doubt turns quicker. You can clearly see the shiny new asphalt, the mid-corner concrete, and the run-off in Turn 1. Also note that the former no-man's land on the outside of Turn 1 is now competitive. Photo by T. Wesley.|
|Chuck Aulino (#431) fails to negotiate the fast downhill righthander known as the Chute. Aulino fell during the Amateur Heavyweight Supersport event (Race #8) on Sunday when he ran wide onto the grass. The rains during the week had produced a lot of mud and the result left his bike uncontrollable in the grass. Photo sequence by T. Wesley.|
|It's Honda versus Yamaha, but its not Tommy and Nicky Hayden. Shawn Stone (#15) and his Yamaha R6 try to find a way around Tim Cochran (#537) on his CBR600F4 entering Turn 5 during the Amateur Middleweight Supersport race on Sunday. The two fought at the front of the pack for most of the race. Photo by T. Wesley.|