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Klutch Industries Satellite Team Sends the only American Rider to 2015 Mettet Superbiker

My Trip as a Non-Starbiker - Aaron Phinney

I had planned on relaxing this year after heading back to Europe and just watch the Superbiker of Mettet race. My bike in Germany had not been put back together from the previous year and I thought I'd spend the winter getting it ready for spring. With news that the Superbiker course changed back to its original form and that no other American was going, I was easily convinced to reconsider. I was way past the deadline for registration with the race being a week out so I emailed Freddy asking to waive the deadline for me. I don't think I'm a great representation of the US but I like being one of the people who support supermoto regardless of getting paid.

Now that Freddy OK'd my reg, I still needed a bike, transportation, and sleeping arrangements. Hotels are sold out long before the month of the race so I didn't even bother. I spent a few days getting things sorted on the bike and put back together, rented a Sprinter, and converted it to a make shift race hauler for 4 days. 

Reg Confirmed:

I drove my 550 kilometers and got registered before close but still had to tech and still needed to finish a few things on the bike. Finding parking was hard enough let alone trying find my old sponsor Marcel for a few race parts. Marco and Paddy quickly greeted me after not seeing them for so long and instantly started helping me to get everything done so I could tech early in the morning.

I'm the red dot:

Went through tech and was ready for my Group's practice. I decided to run last year’s tires for practice even though they were pretty shagged because they were cut well for the dirt section. The bike ran well but I noticed that during take off the clutch was on/off and didn't modulate well. I figured I'd ride it before making judgement. The tires in fact were great in the dirt but were not even moderately good on the pavement. I could spool the rear almost anywhere I wanted so practice was fun but not half fast. :)

Paddy heading to tech:

I went in and didn't have time to do both a clutch and tires. So opted for the tires and decided with cold asphalt and dirt section to run a rain front and cut slick on the rear.  Marco offered up one of his backup wheels with a rotor and nice rain on it to save time. And I went and got a new rear from Rockanje Racing and had him change my front to a new slick in case I needed it. After 2 more sessions and many little tweaks to the bike I dropped about 8 seconds for the day but was way off the pace for what I wanted.

Figuring out the dirt:

The next time out on the track was my actual qualifier. I really hate reading about peoples reasons why they didn't win so I'm going to give my reason that I didn't hit my goal and was only a little over 2 seconds off the last guy who qualified. I seem to run better when I don't have a plan and just enjoy myself but my clutch decided to not be friendly on the start and I didn't want to be the guy who wheelied in to the crowd so I just had to deal with it and slowly get up to speed. Once the bike is moving it stayed in engaged but by this point I was almost dead last going in to the first corner but always seem to play it right in pack decisions and came out of the 2nd corner a little further forward. I put my head down and managed to lower my lap times despite having to go slower in the dirt because I could not modulate the clutch. I had a few good battles and really enjoyed the layout. The bike felt and handled really well but between the bad lap times and bad start I finished close to the back. 

I had a great time and decided to opt out of the last chance qualifier with the clutch the way it was. Then after speaking with Marco, who I trust as a mechanic, he said he had plates and knows the clutch so that night we went through the clutch and it felt much better.  But I still wasn't entirely sure because the test was in the paddock.

Heading out on to the straight:

I did decide to do my consolation race but after not doing the LCQ I got bumped down and then put on the front row of Group1. Not the place I wanted to be with a suspect clutch. Long story short, the clutch was better but still terrible on the take off. I bobbled and I was really waiting to get creamed by the 30 guys behind me. I managed to not get run over and put my head down and go. I did pick off a good amount a riders and had a couple decent battles. I ended up 8th in that race despite the start.

All done:

Even though the weekend didn't go as planned it was probably my favorite Mettet yet. I got my bike setup exactly how I wanted and will get the clutch right. I got to catch up with a lot of old friends and make new ones. I'd like to thank Klutch Industries, Klutch Satellite, Enzo Motorsports, Mariener, Forma Boots, Freizenkamp APK, Javaan's Cafe, Clever Dog Racing, NEMM, Tom Desmet, Henk Thys, Sean Butterman, John Branson, Marco van der Sommen, Paddy van Lieshout, Max Fischer, Marcus Alden, Rob van der Klooster, Devon Vermuleun my barista, and even Marcel Van Drunen for everyone’s help.

My Barista is faster than yours:

 

 

Klutch Satellite Team Final Round Wrap Up

With Jake's previous round not going well and having to drive around a blown rear shock, he had to settle for second overall. This round we decided to back and go through any and all issues with the bike. So we took the Saturday before to make one change at a time and get the bike to where he was most happy. After many changes, some knowledge, and go fast parts from Gazza, the bike and Jake were melding well. Both heat and mains went as planned even though Tyler Sweeney is a tough competitor, Jake went on to win the final and clinch the season championship.  Jake also managed to win three LRRS championships this season. Not much to write when things go well...

My teammate has had some bad luck this season so I guess it was my turn. I finally got the new front suspenion working and the bike capable of turning decent laps. It was hot and I was good about reserving my energy all day. As far as points, all I had to do was stay up and I would finish on top. My heat went better than expected and I seemed to hold off a long time friend and a guy which seems like I've been chasing forever, Anthony Franco. I made one small mistake, he quickly made use of it and sealed the the deal winning the heat. With my new confidence and wanting to challenge Anthony I forgot about the combined race with SMX Open. I made a last minute front tire change because I cooked the other in the heat, but I didn't have time to get heat in the tire. On the start I lost the front end entering turn 1 but recovered. I lost a few positions and could see Anthony going away. I felt strong in the dirt all day so I entered the dirt aggresive passing someone and another on the table top, but entering the first switch back there was a jam up. With people setting up to hold postion, a rider had to make a choice to put himself in a "safer" position. I was coming in way too hot and had to avoid taking both of us down. I avoided the crash but stalled the bike. I started the bike and regained the race but the pace was too fast. My results were the poorest all season but I managed to hold on for the points lead for the season

The Klutch Satellite Team wrapped up both the local SMX Lites and SMX Open Championships and will be rooting for our teammate Kenny competing for a top 3 for the season with the AMA.

We'd like to thank ENZO, Mariener, GOFAST!, Ryno Power, Micros Northeast, EVS, NHF Racing, Dunlop Tire, and most of all Klutch Industries

 

NEMM Double Header at Boxshop Speedway - August 8-9, 2015

Jake Laforge photo: Bob Stengel 22photos.net

In SMX Open Jake Laforge had Tyler Sweeney and Anthony Franco to battle with and with no excuses Tyler rode on point all weekend. Jake is a class act though and even though he had a blown rear shock, he raced anyway. I personally wouldn't have ridden the bike. It was the best of 3 and Jake won the first race but as the dirt section fell apart Tyler seemed to go better and better while Jake settled in for second but remains the point leader for the class.

Top 3 Results

  1. Tyler Sweeney - 57 Points
  2. Jake Laforge - 54 points
  3. Sam Greenwood - 37 Points 

SMX 250 was tough with up and comers like Pete Olivier and also with veteran and fan favorite Anthony Franco. First race went kind of as expected... Rob Wiggins getting the whole shot with myself (Aaron Phinney) in tow and Anthony on the charge. With one mistake Anthony and I capitalized on this and I tried to keep Anthony honest hoping for a mistake but after several laps I couldn't maintain so I backed off while Pete slowly started making his way to make a charge at me but with too little time. I sat out the dash for cash to save myself for the main but lost my grid position in the process. 2nd race everyone had the same motives going in to turn one and now I had to start from the back. Pete and Jeremy had come together and started a chain reaction to the back. I recovered from rear ending Anthony but had stalled the bike in the process. I couldn't find neutral and once I got the bike running the tail end of the pack was already half way through the dirt section. As discouraging as that was I put my head down and tried to click off as many agro laps as I could. I quickly found myself at the tail and started picking off people. Pete got towed along with Anthony and I ran out of time, I had to settle for 3rd tying Pete and I for points but the tie goes to the final results. So congratulations to Pete.

Top 3 Results

  1. Anthony Franco - 40 Points
  2. Pete Olivier - 32 Points
  3. Aaron Phinney - 32 Points