I would like to tell you – regardless of our rocky start this season we’ve got our KTM RC8R dialed, and we are up to speed. I would like to tell you that….

But I can’t.

What I can do though, is share the journey. Michael Earnest owns Pacific Track Time, one of the bigger trackday providers here in northern California. He is also a racer. In fact he is one of the fastest guys in the AFM. It was Michael who introduced me to our suspension guy – Barry Wressel (Mr. Wiggles). I wish I could tell you ever since Barry showed up everything has fallen into place for us. I wish I could tell you that…

But I can’t.

What I can tell you though, is Barry is about done listening to me bitch about our bike being so unstable, so wretched, and so mean. So last weekend at Buttonwillow, during a Pacific Track Time event, I let Michael ride our RC8R. He’s been working with Barry Wressel for years and years. Those two speak the same language. In fact, in somewhat of a gay way, those two actually pride themselves on just how well they get along. And when it comes to setting up a motorcycle, they are legends in their own minds.

Michael asked me about a month ago if I would help instruct for Pacific Track Time – which I have been doing regularly ever since. Maybe this was Michael’s way of thanking me for that. I don’t know. But 3pm Saturday afternoon, Michael headed out on our RC8R. Barry sat eagerly in the pits. Apparently these two had been theorizing about what might be wrong with our bike for weeks. I have to admit, even I was excited to hear what Michael had to say when he came back from a few laps. But as it turns out, maybe I shouldn’t have… “GoGo? I have to hand it to you man. You rode the hell out of this bike at the last race. I know, I watched you. And now I have to say I have a new-found respect for you, because this RC8R is the single worst handling motorcycle I have ever ridden…”

I took that as a compliment. Also as a glimmer of hope. This bike has beat up my confidence. It’s so bad I question my abilities, often. Too often. So maybe it was comforting to hear another rider say the same things I have been for months. And definitely it was comforting to watch how confident he and Barry were that they could get the bike going, “In three sessions..”

Three sessions, hu? I don’t know – maybe if Michael and Barry got that bike worked out in just three sessions, I need to throw away my leathers and get a job at McDonanlds mopping floors. So I paid close attention as they worked. Confidence oozed out of their mouths like drool from a St.Bernard’s jowls. One sessions settings led to two, the second session’s settings led to three, three led back one, four went back to three, five ended up somewhere between two and I don’t even know… After the sixth go-around for them I quietly said, “Welcome to my world…” and I walked away.

It wasn’t a total loss though. We left Buttonwillow with a new suspicion about our triple clamps. They seem to be showing signs of stress. It could be we have some play in some of the tolerances between the pieces that make them up. Then on top of that, we have finally discovered/realized that the rear link on our bike is VERY different from the rear link on the newer model RC8R. I have asked around and the general feeling is this different link makes a huge difference in how the bike acts. So we are after a new link now. AND we are looking into alternate triple clamps – different than the ones we use now.

— I will update this post during this break between races, as we chase down a proper setup for this RC8R.

Two goals before next round are: New rear link. New triple clamps.

any advice, don’t hesitate – PLEASE

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