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DGR 2019, when you ain't invited!

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    DGR 2019, when you ain't invited!

    DGR was different this year. In many ways, this was a new beginning for me. It was the first time that I have ever been on the track. It was the first time that I tried to put three distinct riding styles together in one rally (although it didn't really happen). And it was the first time in a while that we saw 20+ bikes at DGR. I feel very blessed to have such a great event, with so many cool people show up to make it happen.

    In the beginning, there was the track. I am happy that Matt talked me into going and let me say that the Tuono was the right tool for the job. I got to VIR Sunday afternoon after some initial issues including a grumpy teenager and an overheating car. But I made it there and started the anxiety build up. I wanted to know everything about everything that would happen at the track and the answers weren't coming fast enough. Matt didn't seem to be worried at all and carried on lackadaisically, but I was amped. Thankfully Sultan was there to explain things.

    We went through tech inspection Sunday night so I wouldn't worry about it all night. The process was easy actually and I was ok'd to get on the track pretty quickly.
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    Monday morning came and one of the themes of this track day event was that I was up early and ready to go. Matt, my roommate, wasn't his chipper self in the morning. On Monday I was out of the room by 5 am where I went to buy some things at Walmart and ate breakfast. The riders meeting was scheduled at 8 am so I found myself with time to kill.

    Sunrise
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    Wild Geese and I are the only ones moving at 6:30 am
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    The organizer called all the riders to the mandatory riders meeting where some basic rules were discussed. Jake Zemke was introduced as the guest instructor for the classes that were held for everyone doing the two-day event but mandatory for the beginner's group. I found a lot of what Jake said to be informative. As a matter of fact, the entire instruction portion of the day was pretty informative. The first bit of instruction talked about the layout of the track, how the instructors would work with individuals and small groups, hand signals, flags and so on. Then it was out of the paddock and onto the track.

    The Viking at the riders meeting
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    Jake Zemke
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    Line up
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    Following an instructor learning the line
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    Running the track
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    The remaining classes discussed controls, especially throttle and brakes and how to roll off/on both. That was pretty good information for me. Body position was another big one and as you can see in the pictures, I do not get my ass off the seat. I'm trying. And then MattB and Sultan came back into the picture with great tips on one of my hangups, getting more speed out of the straight. Those guys were in the 170 mph range and I couldn't seem to get to 150. Then Matt explained the line he took and Steve gave me his visual clues and with the two of them I started feeling much better about getting there. Next track day at VIR I'll have a good basis to work on increasing my speeds and lowering my time. I also got a chance to run with Matt in the last session of the day. Following him around the track I gained more insight into where to go fast. There was a section called the S's where Matt just went straight where I was leaning the bike left and right. I increased my speeds dramatically through this section with his guidance.

    Trying to hang off!
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    The Kink


    Track day salute
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    The Happy Viking
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    #2
    We left the track and headed towards my house. While I drove straight through, Matt decided to stop in Maggie Valley for the night. The Wednesday around noon, Bill Morgan, MattB and Bill's buddy John made it to my house. Since I am fairly close to the Dragon we decided to unload the bikes and do a little afternoon loop. Soon I found that my rear tire was shot and I was sliding quite a bit without even pushing the bike. So across the Cherohala we go and I stopped at Wheelers for a new rear. $158 mounted. Not too shabby.

    By the time we got to the hotel, it was time to tear it up a different way!

    Bill
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    Thursday morning we were a bit slow out of the hotel. The group consisted of Bill and John plus me in the lead across the BRP to 215 then south to US64. I love these roads and I am having a great day. We then took NC 281 to 107 into Franklin where it was time to get fuel. As we were leaving Franklin I spotted some sportbikes headed to the Dragon and told Bill over the comms that I was going to catch those guys. And as we were leaving the city limits, I spot them up ahead! The game was afoot!

    BRP
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    The Beast
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    The tree of shame
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    The last bike didn't have mirrors so he didn't know I was there. We were cooking along pretty well and I took my opportunity to pass! Once I did that, the lead bike new that this was going to get interesting so he turned on his rear-facing camera! We gave it hell for a bit until I just couldn't keep pace. The GSA was intervening (and probably saving my ass!) with the traction control kicking on after a few rear-end slides. I waved the sportbike rider past me and continued the chase, as best I could. Eventually, we stopped at the store right there near the beginning of the dragon. Bill and John had stopped long before this point. I had a great conversation with those guys, even apologizing to the young man who I passed saying that his friend would never let him live it down being passed by a tractor! I was really happy getting to meet them and chat for a bit.

    Catch and release!


    Bill, John, and I then stopped at Tapoco for a beer and I had to eat. That was the end of the day on Thursday.
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    Last edited by justjoe; 09-10-2019, 11:27 AM.

    Comment


      #3
      On Friday I got to ride with BillG, Eric, Bill Morgan and MattB on my Tuono. We set out early to hit the Dragon to avoid traffic and then run up the Foothills Parkway to the missing link. The route took us on the BRP from Maggie Valley to Cherokee, 19/74 to NC 28 and across the Dragon to Foothills. This little fella was at the exit of the BRP to greet us.

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      I didn't take many pictures but here we are at an overlook on the Foothills
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      And another thing that I forget to do is run ReLive. It is a cool app and easy to use, but I always forget to turn it on. At the overlook I remembered and here is what the run home looked like.

      https://www.relive.cc/view/rt10008153824

      One of the things that I like most about the location of the DGR in Maggie Valley is the proximity to great restaurants. On Thursday evening we ate at J. Arthurs, Friday saw us eating at an Italian restaurant that was a short distance away called Frankie's and was wonderful. Then back to J. Arthurs on Saturday evening. The food was spectacular and so was the ummmm, water.
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      The last day of riding at the rally comes along. It is the biggest group yet.
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      We headed to the BRP, to NC215, north to NC63, west to NC 209 and on into Hot Springs for lunch.
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      After lunch at the Iron Horse in Hot Springs, my wife said she wanted to get back to take a nap and so we split with the pack. Some of the group went on a Bill Morgan adventure, some came straight back, and nut cases like MattB went looking for trouble. But those are their stories to tell.

      Relive for Saturday (once again forgot to start it at the beginning of the ride)
      https://www.relive.cc/view/rt10008189273

      Saturday evening was back at J. Arthurs for dinner. It was fantastic as always. When it came time for the checks to be paid we all found out that an anonymous donor (Mani) had paid the entire tab. Folks were stunned, confused, and I was intoxicated. It was a grand gesture by Mani, and well appreciated by everyone. Thank you Sir, and well done.

      That was that. Partying on Saturday evening continued and then it was time to leave. I got home exhausted yet happy. It was a great week of riding. Maybe next year we can get dual sport riding into the mix. The weather was perfect, the company was fantastic, and the roads exquisite. Looking forward to the next rally already!
      Last edited by justjoe; 09-10-2019, 12:01 PM.

      Comment


      • 955i
        955i commented
        Editing a comment
        Great write up, Joe. I would have come, but I was invited.

      #4
      Cool! Sitting here watching the vid, my head would be leaning through the curves and I don't even ride my own bike. Waiting breathlessly for the next chapter!
      ain't skeered

      Comment


        #5
        I was beyond excited that Joe joined me for his first trackday. Joe summed up the VIR event much better than I could already, which I really expected since it was his first experience, and easy to tell that he loved it. Great tale Joe, and I look forward to doing it again... eventually in the same group.

        While I didn't intend to be so nonchalant about your newbie questions, apologies Joe. Trackdays are old hat for me, and you are correct in that I really don't get worked up... just ask BruceV . This reminds me of a funny story too, Joe was there to capture sunrise.... me, well, let's just say that Joe texted me asking if I was going to make the MANDATORY 8am rider's meeting.

        Cold track, cold tires, cold brain... I started the day by getting loose on the "adult owned" (abused) Suzuki 750 GSXR

        Traffic headed into the kink... hmm... how to get around this bunch...


        Running alone and focused into the 160+ mph kink...


        I know that it's a Ducati sponsored event, but that doesn't mean that I want to follow one. This guy was difficult to pass as the power differential between the two of us was apparent when the bikes became vertical... but where there's a will, one finds a way.



        Warmed up and swapping lines with Sultan (Steve)







        Out front running free...


        Last edited by MattB; 09-10-2019, 02:13 PM.
        Matt
        Street: 2011 Ducati Multistrada S :: 2000 Honda VFR @ 39k :: 2002 BMW K1200RS @ 13k ... round 3
        Track: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 750 :: 2008 Honda CBR1000RR
        Dirt: Honda CRF450X
        IBA #25520 - Iron Butting the Blue Ridge Parkway

        If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to ride that thing could do.

        Comment


          #6
          Thanks for the excellent write-up guys! Maybe one day.
          Jim

          Comment


            #7
            Wow! Great stuff. Maybe one of these years I won't have a hurricane to deal with at work and can join in the fun.

            Comment


              #8
              Click image for larger version  Name:	2019DGR2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	264.0 KB ID:	109502019DGR2.jpg Click image for larger version  Name:	image_2116.jpg Views:	1 Size:	212.9 KB ID:	10939 A couple pics from 129 Photo
              It's as if the Stinko's have little fingers just grab"in at the road
              Last edited by BillGsa; 09-11-2019, 08:24 AM.

              Comment


                #9
                Great write up and pictures guys.

                Comment


                  #10
                  At last, the real story. Glad you guys had a blast. And were safe.
                  Chattanooga, TN
                  Certified Hooligan.
                  2018 S1000XR, 2014 R1200GSAw, 2015 Husqvarna FE501S

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Great write up fellas. Thanks for taking the time to share. Those relive videos really show what an awesome place that is to ride. It's still on the list.

                    Joe, any close up photos of the tyres after the track day?

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Thanks JJ, great write-up and pictures..... maybe next year I'll get down there.
                      So do you have a Viking name?
                      Your weapon, the GSA, can be Mjolnir.
                      Thor:
                      Thor is the god of lightning, thunder, storms, and strength. He wields a mighty
                      hammer, Mjolnir, that is perhaps the most famous weapon in Norse mythology.
                      Thor is usually described as having red hair.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by Doctor350 View Post
                        Great write up fellas. Thanks for taking the time to share. Those relive videos really show what an awesome place that is to ride. It's still on the list.

                        Joe, any close up photos of the tyres after the track day?
                        Nah, no pics of tyres. I did notice after the first couple of sessions that they looked shredded, but I kind of ignored them after that. I ran Dunlop Q3+'s and liked them quite a bit. After a few days on the street, all the shavings and remnants were gone.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by 802Mike View Post
                          Thanks JJ, great write-up and pictures..... maybe next year I'll get down there.
                          So do you have a Viking name?
                          Your weapon, the GSA, can be Mjolnir.
                          Thor:
                          Thor is the god of lightning, thunder, storms, and strength. He wields a mighty
                          hammer, Mjolnir, that is perhaps the most famous weapon in Norse mythology.
                          Thor is usually described as having red hair.
                          No, no. I am THE Viking. No need to go further. And I was given that name by a beautiful (and absolutely wonderful) lady. Her husband wasn't so kind with his nickname for me.

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	1 Size:	128.0 KB ID:	10952 I didn't take any pictures, was having to much fun riding...here is one from 129 Slayer
                            Last edited by EricM; 09-11-2019, 09:44 AM.

                            Comment


                            • EricM
                              EricM commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I really enjoy it but ...I just cleaned it , found a stone chip...I might have to trade it in :-)

                            • aviator
                              aviator commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Eric you need to trade it in if dirty. They will hook you up with a clean one.

                            • 802Mike
                              802Mike commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Maybe you need two?
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