Brammo Blog : Saturday: Laguna Seca, Day 2.

20 08 2012

Blog 34: I play salesman again. I play “Solar Reflector” again. And I get into the Pit for some qualifying racing.

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Ok, Saturday was hella fun. Hella busy. Hella tiring. Just a Lotta Hella Everything.

Before I get into the day I have to “right a wrong.” I met a number of people on Friday and didn’t mention them. I met the race crew and they were all very nice to me (when not running around like crazy). Greg is great, and designed a beautiful bike with the TTX.  Brian’s dad is a wonderful man. And I liked how I would be introduced and a few seconds later you see the light go on and they say, “Oh, you’re that Gavin.” I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing…and didn’t ask as I was afraid of the answer.

And I met Charles Hennekam of FIM. A nice, very outgoing gentleman. And, not surprisingly, very busy and much in demand at Laguna Seca.

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And Rupal Patel, director of TTXGP. She just might be the sweetest person I had ever met. We had a nice long conversation in the Paddock on Friday. On Saturday I saw her again and walked up and gave her a hug. I’m not sure I was supposed to do that, but she is just so nice you have to greet her with more enthusiasm than normal.

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I think both were so pleased that everything was done (all the HARD work of setting up the race was finished) and that they could spend time talking and meeting people and being “fans” just like everybody else at Laguna Seca.

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But Saturday was mostly about Qualifying. And trying to get a Pit Pass was the first task I hoped to accomplish. That is after helping out in the Marketing tent all morning of course. I gotta dance for my supper after all.

Nobody from Brammo had an extra Pit Pass, and both myself and Peter Anton (Director Digital Media & Marketing at Brammo) were on the lookout for a way to get into the Pit.

Since this was an FIM race, with the TTXGP racers invited to make it a combined race, I was told to ask Charles Hennekam, the director of FIM. I had met him a couple of times over the last 2 days, but only fleetingly as he was very busy. I lucked out when I saw him come into the Brammo Marketing tent. Instead of having to look through the thousands of people to find him, he instead came right to me. My My My Said the Spider to the Fly ** :) Well he didn’t come to see me, but to check out the Brammo TTX. Still it was my chance and I got in line to talk to him. He spent about 15 minutes talking to 3 gentlemen and when they finally left I walked up and said, “Hello. Do you remember me? I was the one helping your photographer take photos of the Empulse RR yesterday. I was told you are the man to see about getting a Pit Pass for the Electric Motorcycle qualifying race today.” Charles, “I very sorry but I just gave the last three pit passes to those men from BRD motorcycles, and we have to keep the number of people in the pits down for safety reasons.”

Dang it. I really can’t begrudge giving passes to the BRD people…they make electric motorcycles after all. Still….grrrrrrr. So close.

But this is where Adrian came into play. “Gavin, just tag along. We will be taking photos of the bikes and the girls after the qualifying run, so grab the reflector and just keep walking when we get to the pits.” So I grabbed one reflector and Peter Anton grabbed the other and we just followed the Umbrella Girls and the Photographer straight into the Pit and nobody questioned us in the least. Sweet.

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One of the two Lightning bikes being pushed into the Pit.

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The two Schott Solar bikes.

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A third Brammo bike? Nope, but it is running a Brammo battery, hence the Brammo logo.

Ely Schless’ bike for ProtoMoto

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Pre-Race.

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SteveO chilling pre-race. He seemed in good spirits and ready to go.

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Aaron, SteveO and Peter Anton.

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I ended up with 3 jobs on Pit Row.

1) Lightning was having an issue with a part on one of their bikes. Brammo was nice enough to loan them a few tools and give them a couple of plastic tie-downs. Aaron (Manager, Mechanical Engineering)  gave me the job of making sure ALL of the tools made it back to Brammo’s tool bag. I like the fact that the every expensive Lightning bike was able to race because of a couple of 10 cent plastic tie-downs and a number 4 Allen wrench. Crazy.

All the tools were returned. And I was given job number….

2) I was asked to keep track of SteveO’s lap times. Actually the conversation went something like this: “Gavin, do you have a way to keep close track of time?” Me, “I have my iPhone with a stopwatch on it.” “Great. You’re in charge of keeping track of Steve’s times. Just keep hitting LAP with each time he goes by the same spot in front of you.”

It was a shorter job than I expected. After the first lap I was asked, “What was Steve’s time?” Me, “1:41, plus or minus a half second.” Slight laughing, “1:41 is fine, we’re not worried about half a second here in qualifying on the first lap.”

But SteveO’s bike developed a glitch and he didn’t finish any more laps. I was probably the first to realize there was a problem as I was the one watching the timer and noticing it going longer and longer without SteveO coming by. Luckily his time on that one lap was enough to get him into the final race on Sunday.

My last job in the Pits:

3) Sun reflector dude, again. More on that later….

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Warming the tires with a Brammo battery module.

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Brian watching over Eric’s bike.

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Eric getting mentally set.

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Steve Atlas and Eric Bostrom taking off from the Pit for the start of Qualifying.

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Eric “chatting” while getting a quick suspension adjustment.

It is the nature of the beast in racing, but it is interesting that a glitch kept Eric from getting practice in on Friday, and then a separate glitch kept SteveO from getting more than one lap in on Saturday. What will be in store for Sunday?

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Spinning the tires after an adjustment to Eric’s Empulse RR

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Eric explaining the proper way to fillet a fresh piece of Salmon. Or maybe something about the ride of the bike…but I’m leaning toward fillet.

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Virginia Tech ran their bike out onto the track with about 30 seconds of racing left. Not enough time to run the needed lap to qualify for Sunday’s final.  Since they did raced on Sunday, I gather once you are on track you get to finish your lap. It was great to see them make it…by the skin of their teeth. It was close.

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After the Qualifying, Michael Barnes of Lightning and Eric Bostrom of IconBrammo get together to talk. Michael had the fastest qualifying time. Eric had the second fastest. I really liked how they both just wanted to chat a bit after racing. No crazy competition. Just friendly talk.

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Eric helping move the Empulse RR for the post Qualifying photo shoot.

Not many photos of Steve Atlas. After his bike glitch he was either off with the bike or out of the Pit area. I may have to go to Daytona just to get to talk to SteveO a bit more.

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This photo is from my iPhone as I held the Sun Reflector. I was, not intentionally, driving Eric crazy with the sun in his eyes. I kept apologizing, “Sorry, just doing my job.” He is a really really nice guy…but still I thought he might come over and hit me after the photos. The women had shades, Eric didn’t and it was kinda torture for him. I think his exact quote was, “You couldn’t possibly get the sun more into my eyes if you tried.”

So….Sorry again, E-Boz.

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The Official Brammo photo.

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Shelina’s turn to be blinded by me.

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And Official Brammo photo.

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So Qualifying was over. Photo shoot was over. Time to close up the marketing tent and head to dinner. Dinner was planned for the Cannery Road Brewing Company in downtown Monterey…and I wasn’t going to miss that. There was a large group of Brammo employees (and me), so they put us downstairs in a large room. Slightly sad…the crazy fun was upstairs. Still: good food, good beer and good company. So that was nice.

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Paul, who works on battery tech for Brammo and is in the “famous” Enertia Dyno video, sat on one side of me, Adrian on the other. I have to apologize to Paul. I only talked to him a little bit. My brain was mostly fried from the long day. I really wanted to ask tons of questions about the batteries. Where is the tech right now, where will Brammo be going with the batteries in the near future. But of course I thought of all that the next morning. Next time Paul.

I did like that Brammo also invited the Brammo Girls. Adrian seems very protective of them and watches out for them. It is sweet. And they seemed to have fun. And a free meal is always nice. :)  Plus Samuel was hungry…inside joke.

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Instagram photo from Brammo Twitter.

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Let’s see…Steve Atlas was there and spent most of the time talking with Peter Anton. Brian’s Dad was there and I got to briefly meet Brian’s Mom. Eric Bostrom showed up with his fiance, Rebecca, who is as lovely as she is nice. Those two make such a wonderful couple.

I can’t for the life of me remember what I ate, but I had a red ale that was tasty.

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After dinner I had to head back to the Brammo house to get “my” loaner Enertia so I could ride the 24 miles back to Salinas. Most of the Brammo race crew did not go out to dinner. Lots of work and much to review after any racing. Brian, Greg, Aaron and a few others were at the house when I got there. I tend to watch and observe people a bit…maybe too much at times. But I do like to “study” people. It is the “failed” writer in me.

Greg is great. Very friendly. Smart, lots of information, willing to share.

Aaron is nice, but a bit reserved. At least around me. I don’t have any problem with that. I am a stranger….and we all know about Stranger Danger…

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Quite possibly the most disturbing video ever made.

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Brian is “interesting.” I think we talked twice…maybe three sentences from him to me. You can tell he is crazy smart, very focused. A bit intimidating. And he seems a bit wary around strangers. Sort of, “what do they want, what do they bring to the table, how long will they be around, can I trust and rely on them.” But maybe I read too much into it.

I was at the Brammo house late Saturday night and getting ready to leave, just talking a bit about the Enertia and the type of riding I was doing and how it was a loaner from Brammo. I didn’t even know Brian was listening, but then he said from across the room, not even looking up from his laptop, “I guess we need to get you a Plus.” Me, a bit startled, “That would be nice.” It was the first time Brian had joined in on a conversation with me.

Of the crew, Greg could be your friend in a day. Aaron would take a couple of weeks. Brian? It could take a year of more.*** But enough of all that….This isn’t Dear Abby. :)

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Till Next Time…The Final Day at Laguna Seca. Coming Wednesday.

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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Bonus

I met Eric’s lovely fiancé, Rebecca on Saturday. Super nice. Super sweet. I told Eric, “Rebecca’s gonna love those photos.” Eric, “I’m hoping my over the top expression will save me.” Or he might have said, “my goofy expression”…one of the two.

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And I have no idea what was happening here. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a “Stevie Wonder drives like this” comment.

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***I’m not dissing Brian at all here. I’m an old comic book guy, so I’ll explain it this way. Think of Brian as Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Now he’s in the lab concentrating on some quantum anomaly and I’m a delivery guy bringing Chinese food and girly magazines for Johnny Storm. I’m ringing the doorbell and Mr Fantastic may very well stretch his arm out 30 feet to open the door and give me a tip and grab the food and magazines and put them on the table across the room….all without looking away from his computer and all without really even noticing the delivery man/me at all. So an hour later the Human Torch comes in and says,”Hey, my Chinese food is cold. And the moo goo gai pan has leaked all over my magazines! Why didn’t you tell me the delivery guy was here?” Reed Richards/Brian, “The delivery guy was here? I didn’t notice.” Nuff Said.

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