“It really wasn’t the way I wanted to finish the season. It’s not bad. The bike’s undamaged, I’m undamaged. It could have been worse.”
That’s Jon Kuo talking about crashing out in the final race of the season with his 250cc Ninja. We’ve been following Jon through the season, seeking to provide a glimpse of motorcycle roadracing through the eyes of a racer.
Jon suffered mechanical difficulties in the previous race weekend, which turned out to have been caused by a cam lobe that simply broke off the camshaft. The problem got fixed but it was a serious hit to his wallet.
“The guys at Faster (Motorsports) said they’d never seen anything like it before. All it took was a brand new camshaft.”
Despite Jon’s disappointing showing in Sunday’s race, his fourth place finish on Saturday was enough for him to hang onto enough of a points lead to finish the season in second place overall in this 250cc production class. Still, he said, that ranking is “kind of deceiving. There are faster guys out there but they weren’t particularly focused on racing, or were crashing.”
Of course, a big part of winning is not crashing, so Jon may be selling himself a bit short there.
As for this season-ending crash, Jon describes it like this:
“Second lap, it was Tracy, Hammer, Tony and me. We were in a pack, pretty close to each other–the closest we’ve been all year–and coming into turn 4 I wanted to go a little faster so I took a different line. That line has some bumps in that corner. So I’m in full lean and all of a sudden I hit those bumps and it caused my front wheel to wash out, so I low-sided. That was the race.”
How is the bike?
“Not damaged at all. When I first hit it, it took me a second to realize I was crashing because I was sliding. Once I realized I was sliding I tried to save it by pushing it up with my knee and elbow. Almost had it saved but it finally just washed out. The bike was just sliding with my leg underneath it and that’s what saved most of the damage.”
How’s his leg?
Jon summed up the season and his thoughts for next year.
“The season started out slow but progressed, got faster every weekend. If I had a couple more races I’d hopefully be caught up to where Tracy and Hammer were speed-wise. Me and Tony Baker and Matt Diehl are getting really close. We’re making big strides in catching them. Still like to go a little faster so next year I’ll try again, try to win a championship next year.”
So he feels like he’s making real strides in terms of his skill?
“Yep. It’s just mostly time on the bike and race practice. More actual competition racing. You get faster.”
And last remarks?
“The 250s are really fun to race. They may be slow but they’re still fun as hell to race. Hopefully there will be more people racing next year. The average was around 12 this year. Four rows. It would be better for the spectators.”
More people racing is definitely an issue. These races, sponsored by the Motorcycle Roadracing Association, were scheduled to wrap up in October, but as entries and attendance waned toward the end of the season the association was losing money on each event. Consequently, the October race weekend was scrubbed.
And with that we wrap up our coverage of this 2011 race season.