Harold “Harry” Barnes
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This definitely wasn't one of the better weekends for racing!!!! Knew
the brakes on the racebike were failing but figured that a complete
caliper rebuild would fix them right up. Took all day Friday to
rebuild the calipers and from just static testing, they were no better
than before. Let them set overnight and would attempt to bleed them
some more in the morning before practice.
Saturday - First practice was an eye opener. Brakes felt just as bad
as before and by the second lap seemed to be getting worse. On the
third lap of practice, going into turn one (at around 110mph) the
lever came back all the way to the bar and the bike wasn't slowing at
all. Grabbed three downshifts, rode out the hopping and slewing around
and made it through turn one. Took my time riding back around tot he
pits where my crew chief (Dan Sherbourne) found brake fluid spraying
all over the windscreen and the master cylinder. Ed Sorbo came over
and didn't even touch the brakes. Just told me the master cylinder had
dies and to get another one. Luckily, one of the Big Headz Racers
(thanks John Reynolds) had a spare SV 650 master cylinder and loaned
it to me. We hurried up and put it on before the next practice
rotation. Voila!!!!! We had brakes again!!!! They weren't perfect and
weren't where I wanted them but they worked. In fact, they worked well
enough that I knocked a second off the final practice time in
qualifying for the races.
Saturday race - By the time we got to race Formula 40 ( a rider in the
Amateur Middleweight class crashed and had to be airlifted out) the
outside temp was up to 110. Got a good start but bogged a little off
the line. Still wasn't real comfortable with the brakes and wasn't
able to gain any positions during the race. Did have a good dice with
the rider that qualified close to me for a couple laps but by then the
bike felt better and he faded back. Ended up crossing the line in 14th
(out of 20).
Sunday race - By the time we got to race the Formula 40 race it was
116. I measured the track temp and saw 179.4 degrees. Almost as hot as
the tire warmers. Wasn't feeling well and was getting severely
lightheaded at times. Didn't find out till later that I was having a
drug interaction between two of the prescriptions I had been taking.
Changed out the master cylinder again (this time for a GSXR 600 radial
master cylinder) and the brakes felt great. Plenty of lever and the
feel was spot on. Got a really good holeshot and passed a couple of
riders going into turn one. Was just pacing myself and waiting for the
right moment to wick it up and start really passing people when the
lightheadedness started again. Slowed down a little thinking that it
was just the heat and from trying too hard but it persisted. One rider
passed me however, never let off that far and managed to salvage a
10th place (out of 15) finish.
Since the brakes are back where I feel they need to be and I have
visited my doc and he has changed some of my prescriptions, next race
weekend will only get better.
Thanks to my sponsors - Torco Lubricants (Bike ran cool even in that
extreme heat. What a great oil), MoPowerSports (Jimmiy), Hyper
Response Suspension (Terry is amazing!!), CycleMall/Bridgestone(great
tires), Nexx Helmets, Trackskinz leathers, SBKPaint.com (David is the
MAN when it comes to paint and bodywork) and Sidi.
Last Race of 2011:
Finally made it back in the country long enough to actually race!!!
Turns out the weather wasn't perfect (28 degrees and raining) but still a
Saturday - Had the bike all set to go (slicks, gas and warmers on) when the
first practice sessions were called. As usual, with the Torco oil in the
bike it was running cooler than everyone else out there.
Missed the first
practice on purpose because the track was still a little damp and cold. Ran
the last three practices about 3 seconds slower than my normal times. Sounds
pretty bad until we found out that everyone else was running slower due to
the cold conditions.
Sunday started out cold but dry.
Didn't run the practices as we were keeping
the warmers on the tires to get some heat in them. About an hour before the
first race it started misting a little so decided to put the DOTs on the
bike in place of the slicks. Put the warmers on the DOTs and waited for
Immediate call for the first race (Open Modified Production).
Just as we were lining up for the warmup lap, the heavens opened up and it
poured. Half the field were on rain tires (increadable traction in the rain)
and the rest of us were on DOT's (better than slicks but not even as good as
street tires in the rain). Needless to say, no personal Best was going to be
set today!!! Straight line wasn't bad however, every turn the bike was
slipping and sliding and the best I could do was 4th in the race.
The second race (Open Superbike) was pretty was pretty much a replay of race
1 with the bike slipping around every corner and just hoping it would stay
up on two wheels. The rain was getting worse so we were running in a total
Ended up 5th in the second race.
Race 3 (Formula 40 Heavyweight) was an entirely different story. Still
pouring rain and this time my teammate was my biggest competition.
Didn't think I would be able to do too much with him since he was on rains
and I was still on DOTs. Even taking off from the hot pit was an adventure
as I spun the rear really bad just taking off. Once the green flag dropped
though, I got the holeshot into turn one. Kept the lead by myself to the
halfway point (6 lap race) when my teammate passed me on the exit of turn
two ( a high speed right hand sweeper).
I immediately repassed him into turn
3 on the brakes. Actually remember thinking "no way he is getting around me
with 3 laps to go. It's win it or bin it!!!!". He kept passing me out of
turn 2 but I would immediately repass him on the brakes going into turn 3.
Ended up crossing the finish line 2 seconds ahead of him for the win!!!
Actually ran 9 seconds a lap faster in that race then I had all day. Just
needed the motivation to run it in and hope it would stick.
Pretty much amazed everyone we talked to because when it was all said and
done, we were only 2 seconds a lap slower than the fast guys on rains.
Running a 1:57 on a 2.5 mile track in pouring rain with DOTs is almost
Never missed a shift and never got over 160F the whole day.
Thats what the Torco oil does for you!!! Bridgestones kept me upright and my
Scorpion Helmet never fogged up and the shield cleared itself!!
Thanks to all my sponsors for making this a great (if short) race season for
me. Terry at HRS for giving me a Suspension that just plain works, Tigue at
CycleMall for Dialing in the geometry, Jimmy at MoPowerSports for almost
everything on the bike, SBKPaint.com for a paint job you can't miss and huge
thanks to -Torco Lubricants for oils and lubes that have never let me down
and keep my bike running freaking awesome, Bridgestone for making tires I
can run in pouring rain and still win, TrackSkinz for my perfect fitting
leathers that even when soaking wet were as comfortable as wearing shorts
and a t-shirt. Major props to both BigHeadzRacing and Short Bus Racing just
for letting me be part of great organizations.
1st Race of 2012:
To start off, it was brutally cold all weekend. Friday night it was 18
degrees (and I was sleeping in a tent) so didn't get much sleep.
Only did a half day of practice on Saturday as it was still cold all morning
and I was running DOTs for practice. Respectable times and everyone seemed
to be going just a little slower than usual.
Sunday morning was just as bad as Saturday except worse. A good wind was
blowing across the track which isn't fun at 140 in turn 8 as it tries to
pick you up and toss you off the track. Still ran one practice (this time
with the slicks on) and got some pretty good starting positions.
(6th for the first race and 4th on the second).
1st race was Open Superbike and I was gridded 6th for it. Didn't bother me
as we were trying a new shifting scheme for turns 5, 6 and 7 so I didn't
expect to beat the class champions. The shift scheme worked alot better over
turn 6 and thats when the fun started. Through turn 8 I could feel the rear
hopping around. It was so bad I had to let off to get the bike to settle
down. I wouldn't of noticed it except we were going through turn 8 alot
faster and the wind was gusting pretty hard.
Could only manage a 5th place in the race.
Once I got back in the pits I told my crew chief (yes I have one) about the
hopping and he slowed the rebound down by 4 clicks. My race was only
3 away from my first one so we didnt try anything else as that may have been
Went out in Formula 40 gridded 4th and got a pretty good start. Wasn't first
but wasn't last by any means. On the first flying lap going through turn 8
the hopping was gone and the bike was behaving nicely.
Only problem was now the front was getting light over the bumps in the
straights but that was ok, I can handle that. Alsop, on the first lap we
managed to knock 3 seconds off our fastest lap so far. What was even better
was that we knocked another second off on the next lap and the bike was
feeling better and better. The next lap was slower however, I was dicing
with a ZX10 and passed him for good on the exit of turn 9 on the outside.
The drive out of 9 was fantastic. I actually thought he had let off until I
saw the laptimes. Unfortunately there was a rider down in turn 3 so we only
did 5 laps but it was a fun five laps at that.
Thanks to my sponsors - Torco lubricants (great oils!!!), HRS suspensions,
MoPowerSports, Bridgestone, Tige at CM, Scorpion, TrackSkinz, Pitbull ,
SoCalTraackDays, SBKPaint and EBC
About the Rider
|Harold “Harry” Barnes
|Born in 1957
|2003 - Suzuki – GSX R1000
|Riding Number - 71
||Class – A Superstock (Novice), A Superbike (Novice), Formula 1 (Novice)
|Year Began Riding - 1967
||Riding Years - 43
|Year Began Racing - 2008
|Number of practice(s) per week - 1
||Number of Race(s) per month - 3
Length of Racing Season - The riding season for me generally lasts from January to late November