Home News Cassidy Store

Media

Journals

BlarneyQuick Racing - Journals

Journal 33, May 12th.

Well after winning the WERA Mid-Atlantic “A” Superbike 1000cc and “B” Superbike 750cc Championships in 2013 it’s going to be hard to repeat.  But BlarneyQuick Racing will attempt to win two more championships in 2014.   Cassidy Heiser, one of the greatest young talents in the USA will once again ride for BlarneyQuick Racing.  He has the potent Suzuki GSX-R 750 and 1000 at his disposal.  Both engines received top end rebuilds improving the BHP to 180 on the 1000 and 153 BHP on the 750.  We are still trying to find our way to the AMA.  Cassidy is worthy of the opportunity.  At our first race this season at Summit Point in West Virginia, he was within 1 second of the outright lap record ever recorded.  If he had a 200 horsepower bike he could be the all-time fastest Motorcycle rider at Summit Point.  The crew has stayed together, headed by Steve Heiser (Cassidy’s dad) and Mark Heiser (Cassidy uncle).  His mom Cathy and the rest of the crew are all back.  This small team has accomplished more than anyone ever thought.   All I can say, is we love racing.  ollow us on the 2014 season on Facebook.  First round of WERA Superbike got us a win in Formula One and “A” Superbike.

 

 

Journal 32, June 6th.

2013 Race Season

BlarneyQuick Racing became a bonified team in 2013.  Just by chance while at a motorcycle dealership in York, Pennsylvania I meet Steve Heiser. John Yurejefcic who owns ActionMotorSports reintroduced me to Steve. We had all meet before through the Motorcycle Industry. John had come out of his office that day to talk to me about the Arai “Blarney” Helmet. He was very interested to hear how the helmet and the Arai connection happened and what lead Arai to put the ‘Blarney’ design into production. While that conversation was going on he asked me did I know Steve Heiser who happened to be in his office. I said yes, Steve came out and the three of us started talking about racing. Long story short, Steve’s son Cassidy, who is a well-established racer and was without an organized ride for the 2013 season. Well before I left John’s place I had agreed to let Cassidy ride my Suzuki GSX-R 750 race bike.

     I decided to give my team mate and fellow BlarneyQuick Rider-Paris Tato a call. I asked him to be the team manager. Paris would be in charge of designing and getting his European contacts at Spidi to make Cassidy some MotoGP leathers and gloves. He used all his contacts and hooked BlarneyQuick Racing up with the only MotoGP Kangaroo leathers in the USA. They are fully custom, sporting the BlarneyQuick colors. Motonation put us in the rider support program and Cassidy was given two pairs of their best racer boots. Finally, I called Brian Weston at Arai and when I told him of our plans he made Cassidy one of their Arai support riders. Thanks Brian for recognizing that our efforts were real and look forward to many more years. Paris was also given the task of getting team pit shirts and fan T-shirts. He and our British friend and web master and designer of the “Blarney” Arai helmet; Sean Defraine made sure all the info was readily available on our web site and Facebook page.

     I had raced the750 bike myself the previous two seasons, but had decided that my racing days were numbered and decided to just keep it as a trackday bike. But, after finding out Cassidy was without a ride, I decided he needed the bike more than me. This 750 is heavily modified and has all the expensive race parts. It did not take long before Cassidy, his dad and mother were over to my storage garage to see the bike. They had seen it in the past, but now they could see it up close. They were pleasantly surprised at how high end the bike was. That day we decided that Cassidy would ride the 750 in a WERA Championship. I gave the family some BlarneyQuick T-shirts and it was official. So, Cassidy Heiser signed a one year deal to ride for BlarneyQuick Racing.

    Of course the 750 needed some tweaking to fit Cassidy. The suspension and gearing was changed and all the old sponsor Decals were taken off and the new ones put on. Most importantly the number plate went from yellow to white and Cassidy’s #67 was put on. The first round of the WERA Mid Atlantic 750cc expert Superbike and 1000cc expert Superstock/Superbike  Championship was at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. Summit Point is our local track and we will race here three times in this championship. It was a double header weekend, so, Cassidy would race twice in each championship.  He had four hard races against some much bigger teams. It should be noted that Steve Heiser had already dropped the word that in order to be competitive the 750 would need motor work. Cassidy went out under good track conditions on Saturday and got two 2nd places, one in the 750cc class and the other in the 1000cc. Great results, but Cassidy was better than the bike. The bikes 145 hp was just not strong enough to stay with the top bike. Needless to say Steve Heiser was right, the 750 needed a top end rebuild.  But that would have to wait, because we had two more races on Sunday. Steve Heiser and his brother Mark gave the bike a good going over – both excellent mechanics. Cassidy suited up in his new Spidi Leathers and gloves, slipped on his new Sidi Boots and most importantly put the Arai “Blarney” helmet on. He went out and made a crazy pass with 3 turns to go for the lead in the 7500cc race. People said the pass was incredible and was stuff of legend. He managed to hang on and win. In the second race he took the Suzuki 750 into the Lyons den of 1000cc bikes. He rode brilliantly and finished second.

  The next day I called John at ActionMotorSports and he gave me a great deal on a new 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 1000. AMS became a sponsor and agreed to give us the best price possible for all parts ordered. John has been sponsoring Cassidy for many years and it was just a perfect fit. So, John, Steve and I drew up a list of what was needed to turn this 1000 into a competitive race bike. The engine was treated to some top end modifications with Mark up in New Jersey; Lenny Albin from Ohlins set new 30 mm fork cartridges and the latest TTX rear shock. Cassidy and I drove the forks down to Duc Pond in Winchester, Virginia and had Donnie do the install – great work. Roger Lyle from MotorcycleXcitement also became a sponsor and provided all our trackdays and track sessions at Summit Point at no charge – thanks Roger and Joan. Roger also got us special pricing on our race plastics from Shark skins. Everything we got was provided at steep discounts from AMS. We decided to use Dunlop Tires and race for the contingency money they offer. Our Exhaust came from Leo Vince SBK; a full Titanium system, our ECU came from Bazzaz, rear sets from Vortex, brake pads and steering damper from Vesrah, the list goes on and on.

  Unfortunately, the Bazzaz ECU burnt up when we were dialing the motor in on the dyno. That caused us to get another Bazzaz unit, but that delay forced us not to race the 1000 at Summit Point for round two of the championship. As much of a disappointment it was for the team, we got a brake because the weather was rainy and it gave us an advantage with an underpowered bike. Although the first race was the 750cc, the race only lasted one lap when the heavens opened up and made rivers on the race track. The race was red flagged and everyone came in and put wet tires on. Steve Heiser had reserved some Dunlop race tires beforehand. Tires on and 45 minutes after the red flag the race started again. Cassidy is good in the rain and wet conditions. He took the lead and never looked back. He took the win and pretty much was handed the same conditions in the 1000cc race. With little opposition he took a comfortable win. Great weekend, two wins and the points lead in both divisions.

 The last three days has been busy for the team, everyone pitching in and trying hard to get the 1000 Suzuki ready for Road Atlanta in Georgia. The 750 and the 1000 will race this weekend. The new Suzuki GSX-R 1000 now pumps out 210 horsepower at the crank and 180 hp at the rear wheel. We should be able to match the best 1000’s on the grid. The Heiser crew leaves Thursday evening from York PA to head south. I wish them well and look forward to the races.

 

Journal 29, June 1st.

Where do I start, let’s just say, that lots has gone on, so sit back and enjoy. Over the winter BlarneyQuick Racing picked up a major sponsor from Ireland. Saint Music is a famous label owned and operated by Pete St John. He is Ireland’s leading songwriter. He recently put out a song called “Never Drink and Drive” and that message has a clear meaning and we saw a need to involve the motorcycle world. We are happy to have Pete St John and Saint Music in our ever-expanding corner.. 

Over the winter the now pretty famous BlarneyQuick Arai helmet went on tour with The Service Pavilion and Arai throughout the USA at the International Motorcycle Shows. We were trying to gauge if there was any interest in this Irish flag colored design. Sean de Fraine from Milton Keynes in the UK did the artwork. You can see the helmet at the “media page”. The helmet was a big hit at every market it was shown in. We are trying to bring that to Arai’s attention so we can get it into production. That process in very involved, but we are hoping this will happen. 

We also have a “You Tube TV Show” that is still in conceptual mode. We hope to have fresh material very soon for your viewing pleasure. I am one of the speakers and hosts on the show. My partner Paris Tato will also so be back to bring you all his expertise. We are having a lot of fun talking about sports bikes and of course our passion: racing. 

I just recently passed the racing school at Roger Lyle’s MotorcycleXcitment at Summit Point in West Virginia. Sounds far away, but it was only one hour from where I live in Gaithersburg Maryland. From the school I signed up for two races at a CCS event at Summit Point. So this past Memorial Weekend I raced in two races and finished. Had a great time and enjoyed the experience. The Championship Cup Series is a national USA organization. They cater for experts and amateurs alike. Of course I ran in two amateur races. Everyone seemed to be fast and everything is real. Track day niceties go right out the door and you have to be aware of some one not as fast as you. You catch them up in he braking areas and hold you up, you have to take chances to get by otherwise you will never get by. Then there are riders that go past in areas you did not think was wide enough for them to make a safe pass. That’s all part of racing. I have always wanted to go racing so it only took me 30 years, but I got it done.

 I was in Ireland to watch the Tandragee 100 Road Race. Before the race day I slipped up to Crossan’s in Newry. I met Colm, Adrian all the lads and ladies that work at this famous motorcycle business in Northern Ireland. I have bought some Arai collectable helmets, like the Joe Dunlop and TT Special edition helmets from them. I have two TT second edition helmets on order, but I actually picked up one of Michael Dunlop’s Norton Factory race team helmets, which I took to the Tandragee and had him sign personally. Thanks to both William and Michael Dunlop for making our meeting so special. One of my race buddies in the State’s had a massive desire to race in the Isle of Man. His name is Dylan Scott. I have written about him in an earlier journal. He was at the Tandragee racing a R6 Yamaha. He was getting help from Darrin Gilpin and his boys. He realized his dream and raced in the Cookstown 100 and the Tandragee 100. The bike had some mechanical difficulties and held him back from the start. He did get to go to the North West 200 and actually raced with William Dunlop in Superstock Practice. He is now securing his Manx Mountain license to go racing in the Isle of Man in August 2011. 

Lastly, the Suzuki GSX-R 750 has had some major new parts added and big thanks as always to all the good people at Ram Cycles, Can’t say enough about how great a relationship I have with this shop. The bike ran flawlessly which meant it was set up correctly and hauled my ass down the front straight at Summit Point at 175 mph !!!!! 

All in all I have had a great time and love the whole process I have been going through – would not change anything.

 

Until next time
Kieron Mooney # 591
BlarneyQuick Racing

 

Journal 28, April 17th.

BlarneyQuick Racing is happy to announce that they will be sponsoring Dylan Scott at three Irish Road Races. Dylan who makes his home in Silver Spring, Maryland will participate in the Cookstown 100, Tandragee 100 and the famous North West 200. Dylan's ambition is to race at the Isle of Man, but before he makes that leap, he will take on the Irish Road Racing venues. 

BlarneyQuick Racing is based in Maryland, but has close ties to Irish Road Racing. BQ Racing also secured sponsorship from Dublin based Saint Music. Saint Music is owned by Irish writer Pete St John, who has always had a good association with the motorcycle racing. Pete St John wrote a song called " Never Drink and Drive" and is spreading this very important message to all motorcycle riders. This song cross's international boarders with it's simple message and BQ racing fully endorses this safety statement. 

BlarneyQuick Racing will be supplying Dylan with a Spidi Leather Suit with the help of Ram Cycles in Rockville Maryland.  Thanks to Spidi and Sidi for all there support. 

I meet Dylan at Roger Lyle's MotorCycleXcitement Racing School and Track Day association. He is the lead instructor and a great racer. Dylan took my tickets to last years Indy MotoGP , because I was unable to travel. It turned out to be beneficial when Dylan meet some Irish mechanics that were working for Rizzla Suzuki. One thing lead to another and Dylan will leave for Ireland in late April. I will be there for the second race to support him. Stay tuned as we follow his adventure in the emerald island.

 

Journal 27, February 27th.

The world of motorcycling racing is about to start. MotoGP, Mot2, World Superbike, World Supersport along with Irish Road racing and of course the famous Isle of Man TT are all of great interest to us here at BlarneyQuick.

Starting with MotoGP and hoping it won’t be boring like last year. Lets face it, last year it was predictable. One of four guys seemed capable of winning – they call them the “four aliens”. There have been some major changes in who is riding what bike – will that make any difference – no. Rossi switch’s to Ducati and Stoner switches to Honda. Spies joins Lorenzo on a Factory Yamaha.

I think Rossi will win at least one race, but I thing Stoner and Lorenzo are the two favorites. I would love to see Spies rise to the occasion and win and I still think Hayden and Simoncelli are capable, but the rest have no chance of winning.

Moto2 turned out to be fantastic. 42 riders on the grid as opposed to 17 for MotoGP. Tony Elias was brilliant last year, but he has moved up to MotoGP. I look for Iannone to win this year, after that it’s any bodies pick – good luck.

World Superbike was also great last year, but my money is on the two Irish lads – Johnny Rea and Eugene Laverty to give Biaggi all he can handle.

World Supersport will see Gino Rea take top honors away from Chaz Davies and Broc Parkes.

Irish Road racing will be dominated all year by Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop.

Guy Martin will win the North West 200 and I hope he wins at least one Isle of Man TT Race. If Ian Hutchinson is recovered from his injuries he could still be a factor, but my money is on Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop to share the trophies.

 

Sean - BQ Arai.

There's a chance that my design for the BlarneyQuick Arai helmet may get a limited edition production run in the USA. The final decision on whether it happens or not depends on interest shown. A helmet is currently being painted for display at the Washington Motorcycle Show next weekend at the Race Tech booth. Do you like the design?  email Kieron or myself.  Thanks

 

Guest Journal - Steve Squires - Memorabilia Collector

Lorenzo's biggest fans Steve & Laura @ Malaysian GP. 

Steve & Laura from the UK got to experience Lorenzo win the MotoGP title in style.  Here is Steve's account.... 

"Where do I start….. Arrived at our hotel after a long flight to Malaysia. As soon as we walked in we saw the riders and teams everywhere, which had a great feel about it. Whether it was breakfast or dinner, the majority of the riders where eating close by and was nice to see them in a relaxed environment away from the paddock. 

On the Friday morning we saw Jorge walking out of breakfast and he remembered us so came over and said hi which was nice of him. He seemed very relaxed seeing as he had a lot of pressure on him that weekend. 

We headed to the track on the Friday for practice, which was about a 10 min drive from the hotel. When we got out of the taxi we were hit by the intense humidity. I have never felt anything like it and it took a while to get used to it. 

The paddock wasn’t very busy on the Friday and most of the riders still seemed to be relaxed. We walked around the track to watch the practise from various spots. We were keeping an eye open for the Cobra snakes, but didn’t see any!
 


Saturday was slightly busier in the paddock and I think even hotter! I was hot in my shorts so I don’t know how the riders felt in their race leathers and helmets. Qualifying was great. We watched this from the pit straight on top of the hospitality units.  These looked directly down onto pit lane. This was a great view. Jorge was consistently fast and ended up on pole position. 

We arrived back at the circuit on Sunday morning. We got there early to avoid to traffic. The paddock was a lot busier, but had a great atmosphere to it. We saw Jorge before the race and wished him good luck. We went back up onto the roof to watch the race, which also had a large screen so we could watch the race. Jorge got a good start, but Dovizioso was also riding very well. Valentino had a bad start and ended up further down the field, but amazingly came through to win the race, but third place for Jorge was enough to win the championship. We joined the team and were given our championship t shirts and we all stood underneath the podium. You could see he felt on top of the world. It was a great moment to be there and share this championship win. 
 



We were invited to the party in the evening in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate Jorge’s world title and what a party it was! It was on the top floor of a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, which had stunning views of the city and also the Petronas towers. There was a swimming pool on the top floor in the middle of the room. I said to Laura that I wished I took my swimming shorts, but it wasn’t long until everyone ended up being thrown into the pool…… Fully clothed!!! Before the end of the night Toni Elias turned up to the party and leapt into the pool. Toni and Jorge were congratulating each other, as they were both champions that day. We left the party about 4:00am soaking wet and got into the taxi for our ride back to the hotel. The next morning we were very tired, but could not stop talking about the party. It was a great night. Big thanks to Jorge and the team!!! 

We are already planning, which races to go to next year and still hoping to add more of Jorge’s items to my collection so I end up with the best collection of his stuff in the world!

 

 

 

Guest Journal - Steve Squires - Memorabilia Collector

I have always been into bikes, as I used to go to the races from the age of about 7 on the back of my Dads bike, which I had to be strapped to him, as often fell asleep. I used to watch Rainey, Schwantz and Doohan battling it out and always tried to go to the GP when I could. 

I was a fan of Schwantz so got in touch with Sean, who I bought a signed ltd rep off, which then got me onto genuine helmets when I saw Sean's collection, so picked up an original Abe helmet first and went from there.  Now I have 2 x Abe helmets, Sete, Nobby Ueda, 2 x Lorenzo, Stoner, Melandri, Rainey, Capirossi, Brad Smith, Biaggi.  All the real deal.

I then got my first set of leathers (Bayliss).   Sean pointed them out to me :-)  I thought the leathers were cool so now have a genuine Kocinski, Rainey, Mamola, McWilliams, Edwards Castrol, Biaggi Marlboro. I had always been a fan of Rainey so to have a set of his leathers from his championship winning year 1990 is pretty cool.  I hope to get them signed in person next year.

Lorenzo is my favorite rider and have his 2009 Donington helmet, 2009 Valencia helmet and his 2008 gold boots worn in his rookie year. Would be great to see him win the title this year

I am after Lorenzo leathers, Schwantz leathers, Rossi helmet or leathers, but always interested in other stuff to. Got to meet Jorge @ Silverstone, who signed the helmet and was a great guy.

Steve.

If you want to drop Steve an email send it to sean@blarneyquick.com and I will forward it on.

 

 

Sean - Silverstone 2010

Well sorry it's been a while, but been busy of sorts.  I was made redundant from work so have been catching up on all those things that need sorting along with a little holiday in between.  The weather in the UK has been great too of late, plenty of opportunity to get out riding the bike.

So last weekend was MotoGP at Silverstone.  Silverstone is only 15 minutes from where I live so an easy choice on whether to attend or not.  I always visit Day of Champions, the day where the riders and teams allow the public an up close and personal view in to the MotoGP world, this year was the same.

I travelled up Thursday and met with Jim and Shirley Schwantz and pretty much spent the day with them catching up with all their old friends from when they were on the circuit with Kevin.  It was cool to see people recognising them as Kevin's Mum & Dad and they signed autographs a plenty.  I got to say hi and meet some people I usually only get to see on the TV.  The sun was shining, it was a great day for it.

Silverstone was hosting MotoGP for the first time.  It is a massive place and seems to take forever to get from A to B.  The pits and paddock were just off the main straight and that's where we spent most of our time.  The Day of Champions www.riders.org stage was in the in-field.  A fair trek but we went over for the evening auction as Kevin had given some Lucky Strike jackets to auction.  I accompanied Jim and Shirley on stage and hid at the side!  There were easy 3000 people staring up at them.  Shirley auctioned the first jacket £280!  Jim the second £400.  An awesome amount of money and all to a good cause.  I hung around at the auction to do a bit of telephone bidding on a few items for a friend.  We got the Lorenzo helmet for £1050 and went to £4900 for a Rossi original helmet but lost it to £5000.  All in all a great day.

Friday was 1st day of practice.  The general public no longer allowed in the pit and paddock meant it was quieter.  I was lucky enough to have passes that would let me see the action up close.  I met with some friends Friday, huge Lorenzo fans and they got to meet the great man himself.  He even allowed us lunch in Fiat Yamaha hospitality, Lorenzo and his team are real nice guys.  The rest of the day I spent hanging around the paddock checking out who and what was about.  I met up with Tom a 9 year old Schwantz fan as he had some stuff he wanted Kevin to sign.  I also met Fonsi Nieto and he was kind enough to sign one of his original race helmets for me.  I watched afternoon qualifying from inside Rizla Suzuki.  The professionalism is unreal.  Dead quiet, they all have a job and know how/when to do it.  No panic, just military precision.  It was real cool to watch a qualifying session from the garage, you need ear plugs though that's for sure.

Saturday, pretty much the same.  Went with my Dad, met up with a few people again.  Jim and Shirley were back in the paddock too.  Today was the first day I would actually see some action on the track.  We walked the track as morning practice was on, those bikes are so fast and then final qualifying we watched from Woodcote stand whilst snacking down on some sandwiches.  Lorenzo made poll, his Yamaha sounding so different to the others he looked slow. 

Sunday race day I went up with Jo.  We left late to hopefully miss all the traffic as I had sorted somewhere easy to park.  It was still busy even at 10:30.  We met a few friends and listened to Moto2.  It was happening out of track while we were in the pits.  The celebs were out in force today so a bit of people watching was in order.  The MotoGP race we watched from the grandstand between Copse and Maggotts.  It was cool to watch them come flying by.  Ear plugs were required again.  I was routing for Spies and Hayden and obviously the Rizla boys.  Was great to see Ben get his first podium and a shame the Suzuki lads didn't finish better up the order.  We said our goodbyes, met up with Nick and his wife to be from last years Schwantz school on the way out and we were gone.  We were home and watching the 125 race on TV in no time.  I later heard the traffic out was horrendous, so glad we left when we did.  Jo enjoyed her day, I wonder why?

So that's about it for now.  I've been busy help redesign www.kevinschwantz.com and Kevin has a new clothing line available too at www.brand34.com  for sale alongside a certain #46

I took a nice long ride out yesterday, the weather is just perfect for riding in the UK at the moment.  Ride safe all.

Sean
sean@blarneyquick.com

 

Journal 25, June 13 2010 

One of the greatest accomplishments in motorcycle racing ever has just taken place at the 2010 Isle of Man TT. Road racer, Ian Hutchinson won all five of the premium championships to take the Joey Dunlop Trophy. The chances of one rider winning both Supersport races, both Superbike and the Superstock, had to be a 1000 to 1. The man raced just over 900 miles in five races in just five days. His average speed for 37 miles was just over 131 mph in the Superbike. More impressive was his average speed for the 600 cc Supersport race, which was 128 mph. 

Not matter what the risks these road racers take they do really know the ultimate penalty. The Isle took two more lives this year, which always saddens me. This is the fastest form of motorcycle racing in the world. To clarify that, remember that MotoGP and Superbike racing competes on purpose built tracks that may allow the riders to get to 200 mph for maybe 3 seconds at the end of the straight before they need to brake for a corner. At the TT, a rider of Ian Hutchinson’s caliber, may have his bike in top gear for more than a mile at a time. That means they get to 200 mph and stay there for 15 to 20 seconds at a time. All this on closed public roads. These guys take more chances in one race then I would in 100 track days. Did I mention that they do more 150 mph wheelies because of the waves in the surface and jump over small hump backed bridges. I mean the bike can get completely airborne for 25 feet and two feet off the ground. I love all of it. Ian is a new God in Isle of Man TT history. 

Last week, Valentino Rossi suffered his worst ever injury in 230 starts. He has never missed a start in over 14 years and that alone is bordering on the supernatural. I watched the replays of the crash, a very nasty high side, and blamed on cold tires. He has crashed many times but was always able to get up and walk away. This time his luck ran out and a broken leg that required major surgery to repair. That type of high side happens almost never at the road races because the riders don’t spend as much time on the sides of the tires. I hope Vale gets back soon. There were only 17 riders on the grid in MotoGp before he left. It’s down to Dani Pedrosa or Jorge Lorenzo to take the World championship. 

I really am enjoying the World Superbike Championship this year. The old guys of racing are showing the young guys a thing or two. Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa have been fantastic. I am hoping Max wins for Aprilia.  

Doing a local track Day at Summit Point Main on Thursday, June 17. The BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 is in great form and we will again reach speeds close to 165 on the long front straight. I will be with a gang of riders from Ram Cycles out of Rockville Md. They have hooked up with the Roger Lyle’s MotorcycleXcitment track day association. Should be in the 90’s, so it’s going to be hot !!! I will again be testing Michelin Tires courtesy of WesternPowerSports. Thanks to all our sponsors. Only 70 days until we go to the Kevin Schwantz Superbike School at Indy. We will then watch MotoGP.

Until next time

Kieron Mooney

 

Journal, part 24, May 20, 2010

The 2010 season is in full swing and yours truly has already done his first track day. The Internet has provided me with a way to update BlarneyQuick easier and keep news more up-to-date. We have a Facebook and Twitter page and I have been using that form of media on a daily basis. I will continue to write my journals – I heard from many of you, I get the sense that you missed me. Fair enough, God knows I have plenty to say.

First of all, we are committed to about 10 track days this season. The highlight will be going the Kevin Schwantz Superbike School at Indy in August. Our next day at the track is Thursday, May 27 at Summit Point RaceTrack. I will be going with Ram Cycles and the “Take it to the Track” TV crew. We will be testing Michelin Tires and testing VP Racing Fuels. I will be riding the BQ Suzuki GSX-R 750. The bike is running great and the VP Racing fuel has helped make it even quicker. The front straight at Summit Point is quite long, so we will be getting up to the 160-mph on the 750. I have found a track day organization what fits us perfectly. Roger Lyle’s MotorcycleXcitement. Roger has a good professional crew and great control riders. I am in the advanced group, which means we pretty much race around on our own. The guys in this group are all very experienced and respect each other’s ability. We will post photos after the event.

Those of you asking about the TV show, well we are now working with the Discovery Channel, which is great, but everything is in the conceptual phase. Good product takes time to produce and get right, there is no hurry. We are trying to narrow down what makes sense for use to focus on. That takes some market research and that’s where we are right now, Hang in there..

Until next time.

Kieron Mooney
Host of “Take it to the Track”
BlarneyQuick Racing

 

Journal, part 23, December 11, 2009 

BlarneyQuick.com took a major step in the last couple of weeks and started a motorcycle track day and racing news TV show. The first two episodes were filmed and are being edited. The first show will be aired on YouTube Christmas week. Follow all updates on our Facebook page or on Twitter.           

The show talks about sport bikes, track days, racing news, performance upgrades and all the latest riding gear. Our sponsors have signed a deal for 12 shows. So, if there is something you want us to cover, send us and email.           

BlarneyQuick Founder
Kieron Mooney

 

Journal, part 22, 7th Nov 2009

Racing News.

Well the racing season is almost over. Just one round of MotoGP to go. Round 17 is in Spain at Valencia. It happens to be the biggest party of the year. The Title has been decided in the premier class and “King Rossi” retains his throne. The so called silly season is in full swing, and as usual there is some talented new blood moving into the top category. Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli should really spark new life into the racing action. Why, because they are both very aggressive riders. They both push to the limits and I love both of their styles.

But there are others, Alvaro Bautista is moving up from the 250’s along with Hirosh Aoyama. Aoyama will more than likely win the 250 World Championship baring any foolishness. I think the guy has done wonders on a bike that Honda has done little with. Rightly so, when Dorna and the FIM announced at the beginning of the season that they would be killing off the two stroke class. Bautista gets a ride with Rizzla Suzuki. They may need to find him some training wheels because the boy has been crashing a lot. He has to get the idiot award for his victory wheelie crash a month ago. Will the new Moto2 class pass muster, I think so.

Gone are a few notables, Alex De Angelis, James Toseland, Chris Vermeulen, Tony Elias, Nicolo Canepa and Gabor Talasci. No real surprises and they should find rides elsewhere. I think the Moto2 class would be good for these, the bikes are closer to the MotoGP class than the 250’s ever were. Toseland lands on Ben Spies world championship winning Superbike and remains in the Yamaha camp. Vermeulen signs with Kawasaki World Superbike team. I think Carl Crutchlow will be Toselands biggest threat. He is hungry and I think the two Brits are going to push old man Haga to the limit.

MotoGP in 2010 will only field 18 riders at the most. Still easy to get a point if you survive a race. I’m ready to line up the BlarneyQuick Suzuki GSXR 750 at the back of the grid and let the crazy’s crash out like they always do. I would get lapped for sure, maybe even twice but I would secure a point for 15th place and go into the record books. That’s so wrong, but completely plausible. If they need me give me a call !!!

 

Journal, part 21, Oct 2009 

Just finished my last track day in the Middle Atlantic area. My good friends at Ram Cycles asked me to join them October 12 at Roger Lyle’s Motorcycle Xcitement’s track day. The event was held at Summit Point Main in West Virginia, my local track which I know well. This was my first time with Roger Lyle and his lads. I was shocked when I went into the riders meeting and saw well over 100 riders. That did not warm me up in the rather cool conditions. Too many guys means less track time. I was grateful I was in the “A” advanced group.  

Roger  had to run so many groups that every session was going to be incident free. First group out was the “ Racers” group. They had about 12 riders and they all did there 20 minutes with no problems. Next up was the “A” group. Once things start everybody is given three calls to the starting area. There was just enough time to get the leathers on, strap on the boots and helmet. The main man from Ram Cycles of Rockville ( Alex Swetlow ) checked my tire pressure, topped off the gas tank and took off the tire warmers. It was barely 50 degrees, so everyone was using tire warmers. I put my gloves on and heard my crew wish me well. The BlarneyQuick Gixer 750 fired up and I will always love the way this bike sounds. I shifted the bike up into first gear (  I run the GP style shifter ) and joined the other 12 guys at the starters position. As soon as the track was clear we were waved out. The first session we were lead around by a control rider, so the pace was very tame. That let us all see what the conditions of the track were. The track was cold and the forecast for cloudy conditions all day wasn’t going to help to warm the track up. Turn one, five and six have always been problem areas at Summit Point. The surface is rough and bumpy in all of those corners, so smooth and steady was the best you could do.

Pictures available here

We were on the main course which has some high speed straits. I try not to look down at the speedo, but I saw 160 mph come up towards the end of the front strait before I pulled on the completely new Brembo calipers and disc’s.  They were a dream, braking was so much more controllable. I’m a big guy so I try to stay as smooth as possible and not put any extra movement on top of the bike as necessary. But I like the bike moving around under braking and try to hit the apex’s with the throttle coming on hard. Yeah, doesn’t sound smooth and it isn’t. I am hard on my bike push the thing harder every time I get on it. The guys in this group were all fast and I felt right at home. The “A” group ran clean and no crashes all day. But, the Intermediate group and the Novice group had lots of problems. Lots of crashes,  and some badly mangled bikes. The delays and the clean ups meant we only got 4 sessions in. Sorry Roger that’s not enough !!! 

I would like to thank the lads at Ram Cycles. Randy Jones, Paris Tato and Dwight Wood were all great to ride with. All of our bikes were prepared by Ram and if we had any issues Alex and Pat made things right. I wish I could have had at least one  more session, but I enjoyed Rodger ’s Track day organization and I will be back, with less riders I hope. 

Kieron Mooney
Owner/Founder
BlarneyQuick Racing 

 

Kieron - September 25th, 2009.

Kieron Mooney’s Barber/Indy GP experience August 2009

This was my third year in a row. What can I say, I am totally hooked. But this past combination of first participating in the 2-day Kevin Schwantz School and then being hosted by the school for three days at Indy for MotoGP was a life long dream fulfilled. Barber Motor Sports Park is the best racing facility I have ever seen. Just driving into it made me feel like I was at a golf course - everything is so manicured. The track was very technical with lots of sweeping corners, not as fast as years past in Road Atlanta. The school was excellent as usual, Lee Acree was lead instructor in the classroom with the man himself chiming in and answering any questions. I knew all of the track instructors except for one, so it was like seeing family again. Marnie Lincoln: the boss; had everything well organized and she always had time for everyone. I returned to the school with another 3-peater - Sean de Fraine. We drove 2200 miles overall. Went through 10 states - read Sean’s piece on the trip. He describes every detail real well, so I don’t want to be repetitive. There were 9 guys in the A group and everyone rode well. We were all better at the end of our 2-days with Kevin and his crew. Sean in my opinion improved the best - he’s the guy in the fancy Rizla leathers.
                                   
I brought my Suzuki GSXR 750 down with me and it preformed brilliantly. There was a Suzuki film crew at Barber taking segments for the 25 the Anniversary of the GSXR Superbike. They filmed everybody, so hopefully some of us will make history. The A group guys all became friends and all meet back up at Indy for the experience of a life time. Kevin was going to ride his 1993 World Championship RGV 500 just before the start of MotoGP. Kevin is a huge fan favorite and he was showered with attention. Marnie pulled off a great location in the paddock. We were at Garage 4, right beside Yamaha and Honda catering. So we really never had to move to meet all the past and present stars - they basically came to us. We all took hundreds of photo’s of just about everything - I even managed to take a few of the famous brolly girls. We meet all the riders and were brought into LCR Honda’s garage and also Rizla Suzuki. This kind of access is unheard of. I meet Valentino, Jorge, Nicky and all the riders, but for me it was the old school boys like Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey and Kevin that impressed me most. They were very cool to talk to. We even went and watched Kenny Roberts Ride his TZ 750 dirt tracker at the Indy Fairgrounds. We were afforded so much in such a little time. Corner 9 seating was great and the VIP club house was first rate. The Racing was exciting and I don’t think it could have been better. Thanks to Kevin and Marnie for this GP Experience Package - one I will never forget.

#59 Kieron Mooney
BlarneyQuick Racing

 

Kieron - September 17th, 2009.

Kieron's pictures from his trip to Kevin Schwantz School at Barber Motorsports Park, August 2009.
 

Sean - August 22nd, 2009.  Kevin Schwantz School GP Experience

Day 1 – Leaving on a Jet Plane – Saturday 22nd August 2009

It’s that time of the year again and I’m off to ‘Kevin Schwantz School’.  The third year in a row.  This year being slightly different though as I am going to the “Indy GP Experience School”.  2 days riding with Kevin and the team at the track in Birmingham Alabama, then we all move on to Indianapolis for the Indy MotoGP round. 


I am flying from Heathrow in to Washington Dulles to meet up with Kieron for our mega road trip.  A nice flight time means that I don’t have to get up too early.  Jo & I head for the airport at around 7.30am.  We arrive at Heathrow in good time, get all checked in, have a coffee and the first of my massive cakes, I don’t diet when on holiday!  I say my goodbyes to Jo and head for departures.

There’s the usual Heathrow madness, but once I get to the gate I get bumped to Upper Class for the flight to Washington.  Virgin Atlantic VS021 here I come.  Aboard I have a few glasses of Champagne, some amazing freshly cooked food before going horizontal for a few hours kips before arrival, it really is the only way to travel and a fantastic start to the trip.

I arrive at Dulles late.  Hurricane Bill was off the east coast creating some serious head winds slowing us down.  I experience the usual fun and games I usually have with arrivals.  It just seems to take forever and arriving with five or six other international flights never helps. 

Eventually I am through and I meet up with my road trip buddy and two time KSS riding partner Kieron and head off for his home in Gaithersburg to prep for the trip.  It’s raining but still real warm.  First night tradition means a feast somewhere.  Kieron doesn’t let us down, we dine at Fingers & Claws.  Seafood like I have never seen. 

Back at Kieron’s I stick visor stickers on all Kieron’s crash helmet collection, which along with a few beers finishes me off, it’s been a long day, time for bed.

Click on pictures to enlarge


 

Day 2 – Prep Day - Sunday 23rd August 2009 

I awake totally refreshed after a good nights sleep.  The weather today is blue skies and sunshine.  It’s the day before we leave, time to get everything ready for the road trip.  New stickers a plenty for the BlarneyQuick GSXR750, once all cleaned and prepped we load Kieron’s new trailer with the BQ750 and his road going Yamaha.  Once the bikes are on board we load all the kit and supplies and we are locked and ready to go in record time.  The new purpose built trailer making it far easier than the U-Haul from the previous year.   

With the gear all sorted we take a walk down to the lake front for some lunch.  A mega sandwich at Potbelly’s sandwich shop (you spotting the pattern) gets the energy levels back up.  An afternoon of chores and final prep, camera’s, documents, trip to Best Buy etc follow before we head out for dinner at Houston’s for some baby back ribs.  We drop by the classic car shop on the way home to check out some old school cars.  An early night is in order as we leave at 4am tomorrow, night night all.


 

Day 3 – It’s a long way to Alabama - Monday 24th August 2009 

4am alarm goes off, quick shower, load the suitcases and we are off.  First leg Gaithersburg Maryland to Birmingham Alabama, 741 miles – 11 hours 34 mins.  We hit the freeway and it’s still quite busy but we need to be out of DC before the rush hour kicks in.  We soon make the outskirts with Kieron at the wheel for the first stint.  It’s dark, I know that sounds weird, but it really is pitch black.  No freeway lights, road works and thin lanes make it an interesting first few hours.   

We’re making good time as the sun comes up and plough through the miles before our first of many fuel stops.  Kieron’s Jeep being a diesel makes stopping not as easy as in the UK where every garage has diesel, here in the US it’s not as common.  We find a stop that has a McDonalds for breakfast, that’s pretty much the pattern for the day, swapping the driving each time.  We leave Maryland (state #1) and enter Virginia (state #2) before hitting Tennessee (state #3).  A few hours later and a time zone change and we’re in Georgia (state #4) before hitting Alabama (state #5).  The time zone change, which we didn’t know about, meant we got to the hotel in plenty of time for check-in before we had to head out to the evening reception at Kevin Schwantz School (KSS). 

KSS has moved since my last visit.  The new school now resides out of Barber Motorsports Park facility in Birmingham Alabama.  As we drive in to the entrance you can tell this place is going to be a treat.  The grass perfectly cut (by a remote control lawn mower in places!) the signs, the whole facility is just picture perfect.  Barber is the home of arguably the best motorcycle museum in the world.  We are to have our reception here before we ride tomorrow.  We have some fun and games with security trying to get Kieron’s bikes down to the pit area, but eventually get in.  We unload the BQ750 and go meet Marnie and the guys.  Kevin and the instructors are bringing the bikes down from the shop.  A quick ‘how you doing?’ and hand shakes, it was nice to see everyone again.  A little help to Mom & Dad Schwantz with banners and it’s time to leave for the reception in the museum. 

Now if you like bikes Barber Motorsports Park Museum is out of this world.  100’s of bikes, a few cars and other bits n bobs too.  The owner buys, restores and displays every kind of bike you can imagine.  They have some rare, some classics and some new, but the place is awesome.  This is the venue for the reception for the following day’s school.  We meet up with Kevin & the team and some other familiar faces from last year.  It was good to see Dave again, the official photographer who is responsible for many photos in this and the previous books.   

Once name badges are stuck on, introductions and hello’s out of the way, we all jump in a trailer for a lap of track with Kevin explaining the way around.  I had only previously seen the track on the internet, to ride round it albeit in a trailer you got to see what a great couple of days riding we were in for.   

Once back at the museum students and instructors were given a tour of the museum.   We see all the bikes and repair areas.  We also get to see some places not usually open to the public.  It was great to listen to how the museum amasses such a great collection. A fantastic start to the school.    

One by one students begin to leave, I am sure I took 100+ photos in the museum and probably missed 100’s more bikes.  It’s now dark outside and we say our goodbyes until tomorrow and head back to the hotel.  A meal in the local Mexican restaurant is in order where the waiter makes some weird bird noises every time he passes the female staff, maybe this is a courting ritual in Alabama?  Food done, off to sleep as the fun starts tomorrow.


 

Day 4 – First Day of School - Tuesday 25th August 2009 

So today is Day 1 of Kevin Schwantz Motorcycle Riding School.  Due for an 8am start, but we roll out of the hotel at 7am.  Get there early, get registered, get in your leathers etc.  Check out the awesome surroundings.  The air conditioned class room is on the third floor on the pit complex.  Two rows of desks, with all your class information and goodie bags.  Loads of refreshments, Red Bull, fruit and snacks to get you through the day at the back.  It is a great environment to take class in.  Down stairs (or in the lift) are numerous immaculately prepared Suzuki GSXR600s and Honda CBR600s all line up.  Schwantz School is now partnered by Suzuki & Honda so you can chose which bike you wish to ride on or indeed both.  The instructor bikes and the camera bikes are also on show.  The instructors all riding GSXR750s and CBR1000s along with the camera bikes too.  There are two camera bikes, one ridden by John Jacobi (nose camera) and the second by Reuben Frankenfield (over helmet camera).  These guys were to follow us around for two days so we can see how we ride back in the classroom on the massive screen.  There are also a few what I would call ‘play bikes’ hanging around for the instructors and Kevin along with three student bikes, Kieron’s BQ750 being one of them. 

Back up in the classroom, registration out of the way, official introductions commence.  Due a recent mishap with Taylor Knapp at VIR Lee Acree is to be classroom instructor for the two days.  All the instructors raced, most are currently still racing.  Our track guides for the two days were to be Tray Batey, Ted Cobb, Brad Coleman and Harry Vanderlinden.  John & Reuben on camera bikes, Marnie running the show and then there is Mom & Dad Schwantz on hand along with the reason we were all there Kevin Schwantz. 

There were about 15 students and we split in to 2 groups, A and B.  Group A being those that had raced, been on track days etc Group B being those whom just did street.  This is not a race school in anyway and is just the initial easy way of splitting the class in two.  If you feel or are deemed to be in the wrong group you can skip between until you find your comfort zone. 

After the basic instructions of be careful and keep smiling are put over group A hit the track.  It follows a basic 20 minute rotation cycle where group A are on track whilst group B have classroom tuition.  Someone has to go out first and it was lucky us.   

Now the weather was great, sunny and warm with a dry track.  3 lanes are available on exit of the pit garages, 1, 2 & 3.  Lane 1 being the fastest, 3 the slowest.  You are encouraged to try and find a rider of similar standard in the first few sessions by choosing a lane and maybe switching until you find someone you can ride with.  Lucky for me I have ridden the last two schools with Kieron so I know we are nearly identical in terms of speed and riding.  We must have ridden a fair few hundred miles together now so also have that trust and understanding.  We pair up in lane 1 on GSXR600s.  Now lane 1 is advertised as the fastest, however each lane only ever goes as fast as the instructor will let you go.  The instructors lead you out and gradually build up speed by watching your every move in their mirrors.  How they ride as fast as they do looking backwards most of the time is unbelievable.  We follow Ted out on that first session, he led us round at a great pace just so we got used to which way the track went.  No point going fast, learn slowly and build your speed, you get to learn the track much better at slower speed, once you know it increase the speed.  Twenty minutes later and not sure how many laps we head back for our first debrief.  After every session the instructor will talk you through what you did right and anything you could improve on.  Nothing much to report, we were riding well.  It was all about learning the track for now.  The track was awesome, up and downs, left and rights, fast corners along with my not so favourite slow ones.  There was plenty of grip out there too and the ever so helpful cones on entry, exit and apex.  All in all it was great to get out there and get the nervousness and cobwebs out of the way.

We all pile back in the lift up to the classroom and swap with group B for their track session.  Everyone is buzzing now, already swapping stories about what the track was like, what they liked, what they didn’t.  Lee calls us to order and the classroom instruction begins.  The class is all about improving your riding skills.  Now everyone has different levels of experience, but get the basics right and you will end up a safer and better rider.  The basics apply to all whether you ride fast or slow.  We were to learn numerous things
including visual awareness and concentration, body position and steering technique, cornering lines and reference points, gear selection and shifting technique, braking technique and staying smooth and controlling panic.  In addition to on-bike video instruction and classroom review to enhance our learning experience.  I can’t think of anything that is not covered.  Lee started the sessions with the help of the presentation material and Kevin was also on hand to answer any questions we may have had.  Before you knew it grinning group B were back and it was time for the track again.  

Out we went again on GSXR600s.  Lane 2 this time but faster than the previous session as the track was coming to us, we now knew if the next corner was a left or right.  Brad led us out.  Brad had ridden with us previously at Road Atlanta so knew us fairly well from the off.  We had increased our speed a lot since that first session, the smiles were getting bigger.  Debrief done, back to class.  Chance to get your fluids and energy back up with the provided drinks and snacks whilst Lee covers move class material. 

Time for our third session out on track, the last before lunch.  Keiron and I both decide to give the Honda a go and we split up too.  I go out with a fellow brit Nick and Jay whilst Kieron goes out with Sean C whom we have ridden with at the previous two schools.  Nothing major to report, I didn’t get on with the Honda, hit a few false neutrals’ and the throttle was too touchy for me too, back to the Suzuki for the next session.  A few other students made the switch back also, Kieron being one of them.  It’s just what you are used to I guess.  Nice to have experienced the Honda though.  

Along with Dave out of track taking numerous photographs of us at various corners there was a film crew in tow.  They were over from Suzuki Japan making a video for the 25th Anniversary of the GSXR next year so we would be filmed entering and leaving the pits as well as out on track.  They even threw a microphone under you nose every now and then – I am so camera shy, err, no, yes, errr.  

Time for lunch, great local cooked food whilst swapping stories before we get wind of something very special.  Kevin is to perform some demo laps on his 1993 Championship Winning RGV500 at Indy MotoGP next weekend.  Old Suzuki spanner man Hamish all the way from The Gambia via Scotland (as there was no connection to the US from Gambia!) has been over getting it ready and Kevin is just about to ride it around Barber to check all is okay.  Everyone and I mean everyone is out on the balcony watching the Lucky Strike Suzuki fly around the track with Jacobi in tow on the camera bike. It was just like the good old days, 2 stroke noise and smell, can’t beat it.  I think the only person not to enjoy it was the flag man waiting with the chequered flag, but Kevin took an emergency exit slip road back to the garage rather than take the flag.  Waving the chequered to Kevin on his RGV, that would have been a story. 

Lunch done, classroom and track sessions recommence.  Kevin makes it back from his test laps to a 100 questions.  We go back out on track; I am back on the GSXR600s and Kieron now riding his BQ750.  Two track and classroom sessions follow in the afternoon.  We ride with Ted and Tray that afternoon.  Improving our riding gradually over the afternoon with advice from them both.  The last session with Tray had us going the fastest we had been all day.  The track now fully learnt meant we could concentrate on hitting our marks, being smooth and always in control.  We were waved in front by Ted to lead the group in the afternoon, which only happens once the instructor is confident you are in control and safe.  What a thrill riding a great track like Barber with no one out front.  Free to ride but knowing they were behind you and would shoot back in front if you started getting out of control.  It had been day two at Atlanta before I was put out front, so was a great early surprise. 

To end the day we have a track walk with Kevin.  Unlike the tour we had on arrival we now had experience of the track.  We all jump in the back of the trailer and get driven to various corners where Kevin explains the best way to get through it, where to break, reference points, apex etc.  At each corner we get out of the truck and get a real close up look, this will help tomorrow for sure.  Then after a quick call on the radio three instructors come through the corner at different speeds so we can see the lines etc.  Ted first (rapid), Brad second (fast) and Harry third (steady).  All three often using different lines gives the students a great idea on how best they should take the bend.  We cover just about all the major corners in the next few hours.  It’s incredible to see the instructors come through the corners so close at speed.  It is also amazing how undulating the track is with some serious hills and cambered corners.  The track walk is a fantastic learning aid. 

The day was over, way to soon as ever.  Tonight we were to eat in the shop where the bikes are housed when school is out.  We also had a very special guest, an RGV500 parked up in the corner.  Stories swapped and pictures taken whilst eating Rusty’s BBQ food, spot on.  Tired limbs and minds meant everyone soon left for a good nights sleep to make the most of Day 2.



 

Day 5 – Second Day of School - Wednesday 26th August 2009 

Another 8am start after breakfast at the hotel with Sean C, Nick, Kieron, Jay and Jason.  Everyone still buzzing from the day before.  Group and individual pictures taken with Kevin and the we do the clutchless up-shift and throttle blip exercise.  With that out of the way we are straight back in to track and class split.  Group A straight out on track.  Slowly up to speed which was a nice way to start the day, remembering everything we had learnt from the day before.  We rode with Harry too today, so I have now been out with all the instructors.  Each instructor has their own style and ideas, so it is good to hear them all and see what suits you best.  Kevin also ventured out on track on a GSXR1000 today.  Burger’s for lunch before the afternoon sessions. 

Kevin takes the RGV out again over lunch and this time flag man gets to wave the chequered flag, he was a happy man today! 

Camera bike got me a lot on day two, so was cool to watch yourself back on the big screen throughout those classroom sessions.  Lee pointing out what we did right and what we could improve on.  Looked a bit slow, but hey I can always X2 on the DVD player when I get my copy, you get a DVD on your lap along with a CD of all your pictures from Dave a few weeks after school finishes. 

Was out front in nearly all of the sessions today for at least a few laps.  The speed was increasing too.

I beat the flag at one point to get a complete lap on my own, not that I knew that until I got back to the pit to find Ted & Kieron already there.  Then the last session Tray just let Sean C and I go.  Had a great final session enjoying everything that we had learnt and put it all together.  Awesome time, just awesome. 

So a final review while group B were out playing, final questions and answers and it was time for graduation.  Everyone that successfully completes the course graduates, anyone that falls has there track time stopped immediately and doesn’t.  100% success, group A & B all came home safe and sound.  One by one, Kevin presents us all with a certificate to acknowledge our success.  Everyone applauds waiting for their turn.  Special prizes for Most Improved rider and Safest rider and then some lucky dip prizes too, everyone goes home happy. 

Well not exactly, happy yes, home no, we are all to meet up again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for part two of this fantastic trip.  As I mentioned earlier this KSS includes hospitality with Kevin at the Indy MotoGP.  We say our Au Revoir’s and head back to the hotel.  Sean C, Nick, Keiron, Jason and I go out for a celebrating meal at a local restaurant.   Now that was an experience too.  14 meals for less than $15  in one place and a menu containing World Famous Meatloaf, which had herbs and a warning “cell phones interfere with the preparation of meatloaf”, enough said.


 

Day 6 – Indianapolis here we come -Thursday 27th August 2009 

Today is travel to Indy day.  A few of us had decided to drive in convoy up to Indianapolis.  Chris & Jay had left early as they were local(ish) and would see us there.  Keiron, I & the truck would go up with Nick & Sean C who were staying in Nashville over night.  We all left about 10am for the 500 mile, 8 hour drive.  Jason overtook us on the way to pick up Gary driving like a grandma albeit at warp speed.  The rest of us stayed together until we hit Nashville where we all took a break for lunch.  Tom Tom had guided us in to the main part of Nashville.  We did the tourist bit, photos with all the landmarks and Elvis’s before finding a local joint to eat where we had the best pork sarnies.  A few more tourist pictures and we left Sean C & Nick to continue our drive to Indy passing back into Tennessee before hitting Indiana (state #6). 

We got to Indy around 8pm; the traffic had been bad, a bit of rain and a few accidents.  On the way up we were planning what to put on our special Thank You banner for Kevin to be unveiled at the GP.  We eventually decided on the wording and Jason had found somewhere downtown that stayed open late and could make it up.  We checked in and then headed downtown to meet Jason.  Jason had picked up Gary who was unable to make school but would be attending the GP with us.  We all headed to the banner shop and spent 2+ hours doing final designs on a 12’ x 3’ monster banner.  We got there in the end and were happy with how it was to turn out.  We found what turned out to be our local “Scotty’s Brewhouse” and had some late night food and some beers before hitting home as tomorrow was first day on the Indianapolis MotoGP round.

 

Day 7 – Indy MotoGP Practice - Friday 28th August 2009 

Another early start, not sure if I had a lay-in once?  We were off to the track about 8am.  Part of the trip was full hospitality with Kevin at Indy.  The package included all the benefits of the Corner 9 Club, including climate control and closed circuit television along with fully catered breakfast and lunch with snacks and hors d’oeuvres and a fully catered bar with booze. Paddock pass access and a reserved seat in the Corner 9 Stand also provided.  Kevin was to lead a Friday evening Track Walk, followed by a barbecue prepared by his parents, Jim and Shirley.  Sounded good.   

Kieron had got chatting to some lads in the hotel car park and purchased some tickets that allowed you to ride the track on your bike, so by the time I had got to the car he had already unloaded the road-going Yamaha from the trailer only to find it had a flat (nail) so had switched the number plate to the BQ750 and was ready for the track.  I had my passes too, so the plan was for Kieron to do a lap, swap with me to do mine.  Today turned out to be just one of those days.  A screw came lose on the way so we had to go back to fix that, then we got separated on the way to the track, so I parked up and started walking to meet Kieron.  That was the complete opposite end to where I was at.  Now if you have never been to Indy it is massive, seriously massive.  It has a golf course in the middle of the oval it’s that big.  Kieron then called to say he had left his tickets in his shorts in the car, I was already half way there so was pointless to go back.  Kieron then called again as he was nearing the front, I ended up running down to where he was and giving him mine so at least he got to ride the track.  It was hot n humid even though it was 8.30.  I had done enough walking already and had not even got in.  Tickets given I started walking back up to my entrance, Kieron got to do his lap and parked up in the infield.  We met up, signed out our paddock passes and started to explore.  There were rider interviews on the main stage, loads of vendors selling gear and then there was the paddock.  After meeting up with a few old friends, Tim, Garrett , Robert, Miguel & Liam we hit the paddock.  We met Marnie, Kevin & the guys down at garage A4.  That was to be home for the next three days.  Jims BBQ’s were down there, along with the RGV surrounded by eager onlookers.  Kevin had a new set off leathers from Dainese, a new pair of boots from Aplinestars and a new lid from Arai.  All exact replica’s of what he wore in 1993 on the same bike.  It was spooky but so cool.  We spent the day watching qualifying, handing out stickers (well Kieron did) and nosing around.  It was great to be in the paddock, riders and celebs all over the place and a lot of them coming to check out Kevin’s bike.  All the other students turned up too during the day, plus those that couldn’t make the school. 

That afternoon the heavens opened and the rain fell like crazy.  That put an end to our scheduled track walk with Kevin and the Schwantz Family BBQ.  They would be the following night now.  Kevin did a Q&A session in the hospitality before everyone headed home for the night. 

Kieron went to collect his bike, it was the only one left, he had his shorts on, and had left the rest of his gear on his bike so that was soaked too.  He left the track already soaked only to nearly run out of fuel on the way back to the hotel, then get followed by the cops so had to ride slow.  The track ride had sure taken its toll. 

Keiron & I went back in to town to meet Jason & Gary to collect the banner.  It was simply superb!  Miles better than I thought it would be.  So banner in hand we went back to our local for some more grub and beer.  Every bike in Indianapolis must have been in town and they were all parked up as some streets had been closed.  We had a good old nose at some ‘cool’ and some ‘what were they thinking’ bikes.  Jason had a good old chat with the local police before we left, I learnt so much about USA police it was unreal, Kieron and Gary didn’t feel the same J 

We headed for home, must have been 1am before we got back, early start again tomorrow for qualifying.





 

Day 8 – Indy MotoGP Qualifying - Saturday 29th August 2009 

Back at the track for about 8am.  Today was swag day for me; buy any stuff I needed so I didn’t have to worry about getting it race day.  Breakfast in hospitality, some seriously nice food, before we checked in with The Team down in the paddock.  Hung about during 125 & 250 qualifying before hitting the tracks at various places to watch the MotoGP boys.  My god they are fast and so loud.  Lunch again back in hospitality and met up with email friend David from MotoGPmatters.com 

Kevin took a Hondo Moto2 bike out Saturday afternoon for a few demo laps, Marnie managed to get a few of us on to pitlane to watch him go off and come back in.  Swarms of people interested in his every move.  It was cool to be pit side too at Indy.   

The cancelled track walk was not to take place but Kevin took us on a tour of the Honda LCR pit garage and also the Rizla Suzuki garage.  Was great to be up close and in the garage which I only usually get to see on TV.  We spent a good few hours in the garages talking to the staff and checking out the bikes, I had a good chat with Rizla mechanic George about the bikes too.  We then got lucky and got to go out on the start/finish straight to touch the famous bricks that are so associated with Indy.  Photo’s out of the way we head back to the garage for the Schwantz Family BBQ.  We set out a load of tables and chairs whilst Jim & Shirley prepared their famous BBQ.  All the students were there along with people Kevin had invited down.  We ate dinner that night with a varied bunch, Honda, Yamaha & Suzuki mechanics, Chris Vermeulen and numerous friends of Kevin’s. 

We presented our Thank You banner to Kevin at dinner.  It went down really well and we would try and display it tomorrow.  Stuffed to the brim, no need to go to town tonight but we decide to go watch the dirt trackers down at the Indy Mile.  Jason, Gary, Kieron and I plug the address in to Tom Tom and we are off.  We arrive at the track and the racing is already taking place.  We take our seats and I was shocked at what was to follow.   

It’s an oval track (ala speedway) but a mile in length; same kind of lose surface means serious hanging the back end out through the turns.  No front breaks on the bikes and unlike speedway there must be 18+ riders, 3 rows of 6 per race.  It’s manic, very fast, just as loud as MotoGP and awesome to watch.  These guys must be mad racing at these speeds on this track.  Everyone is down at the track.  All the teams from the MotoGP paddock, Wayne Rainey, Kevin, and Rossi to name a few.  Kenny Roberts Sr took his 1975 Yamaha TZ750 out for a few demo laps and gave it the full works.  Now that was a noise and a sight.  The racing continued and after a huge crash in the main event the night was done.





 

Day 9 – Indy MotoGP Race Day - Sunday 30th August 2009 

Race Day.  There signed in and having breakfast at 8am as usual.  Tried to go hang our banner over at turn 9, but a ‘Zero Banner’ policy from the powers that be in the tower meant it wasn’t to be.  Met up with the usual suspects and decided to hang the banner in the paddock before watching the morning warm-up.  People coming and going as everyone was now used to what was where.  We watch Bradley Smith get 2nd place in the 125 race from the main stand.  250’s I just hung around the garage/paddock as Marnie had told us to be back before the end of the race as Kevin was to do his demo laps before the MotoGP race and she would get us on the track with Kevin and the bike.   

True to her word next thing we know is the students and I are all strolling down pitlane on our way to the famous bricks on the track.  I have a paddock stand in hand following Hamish pushing the RGV.  The bike is wheeled out on to the bricks to huge applause.  The 250 trophy presentation out of the way Kevin is presented to the crowd.  At the same side Keiron, Jay, Jason, Gary, Nick, Sean C and I are stood along side unveiling the thanks banner.  What an amazing experience with us the other side of the tape with Kevin and the RGV, the press and all the fans looking on.  Kevin has a chat with Wayne Rainey on the grid, not sure what was said, but a special moment for sure.  It’s not long before the bike is fired up and Kevin gives it the full beans during his 3 demo laps.  We watch them from the pit wall.  It goes by all too quickly as we are ushered off back to the paddock.  Rossi and the boys are about to get ready to rumble. 

We go back to the garage with the bike and the gear before heading to the main stand to watch the start of the MotoGP race.  I got goose-bumps watching the flyover during the national anthem.  The atmosphere is amazing as the field races down in to turn 1, the noise is unbelievable.  We watch the first few laps from there before legging it over to our seats at turn 9 where we can see a lot of the track.  The race flies by before you know it and we all head back to the paddock.  Riders eventually leaving the garages off back to their motor homes are grabbed for a final picture or autograph.  We too are done.   

Heading back to the garage for one last time to help clear up and say my goodbyes and thanks to Kevin, Marnie, Jim, Shirley and the team.  Also swapping details with all the fellow students, it’s been one hell of a week. 

Sad to leave, but we all do go our separate ways, Keiron & I hit our local for one last night of burgers and beer and crazy waiting staff Jesse & Erica.  Tomorrow we drive back to DC.





 

Day 10 – We’re heading back to DC - Monday 1st September 2009 

So with the trailer packed and secure and cases packed it’s time to leave Indianapolis and head back to Maryland.  We leave at about 9am after a quick McDonald’s breakfast.  We hit the highway for the 573 mile, 9 hour journey.  We seem to be the only car amongst a thousand trucks.  The journey sure is picturesque though, fields of corn, massive woodland, hills and rock faces and some very weird advertising boards “Hell is Real!”   We stop at Debbie’s Delite for lunch, okay I should have turned right.  We enter Ohio (state #7) after about 300 miles quickly followed by West Virginia (state #8) and then Pennsylvania (state #9).  We make a slight detour to pick-up Shadow (Kieron’s dog) from the farm on the way back in to Maryland and an hour later we pull up in the dark back at Kieron’s.  It had been a long day but we were home safe and sound.  We unpack, have a few beers and upload some pictures before it’s time for bed.  Total miles covered 2065.8

 

Day 11 – It’s time to leave - Tuesday 2nd September 2009 

Home day.  I awoke to an empty house; Kieron & Shadow had popped in to work for the morning.  I packed up all my gear ready for the flight home later that afternoon.  I transferred all my photographs to Kieron’s laptop and his to mine.  We had 1000’s of pictures; I don’t think we missed a thing.  After a few hours sitting in the gorgeous sunshine Kieron arrived home to take me back to Dulles for my flight home.  Virgin Atlantic VS022 departing 18:40 was awaiting.   The drive to the airport was hassle free and we made it in good time, I say my goodbyes to my road trip buddy and head for check-in.  Next step departures.  Washington Dulles is quiet a nice terminal and I head for something to eat.  A club sandwich, cookie & ice cream desert washed down with a few beers and I am ready to fly.  On arrival at the gate my name is called, talk about lucky, I was upgraded to Upper Class again.  Night flight and a flat bed on the plane, happy days.

 

Day 12 – Back in the UK - Wednesday 3rd September 2009 

We make cracking time on the flight across the Atlantic.  In fact the pilot says one of the fastest crossings he has ever known due to strong tailwinds.  We are back over London before you know it, but the usual holding at Heathrow mean we land pretty much on time.  Waiting for me at arrivals is my lovely Jo, a kiss and a hug and I am home.  

Thanks to everyone that made my trip the trip of a lifetime, sure is a family experience going to Schwantz School and the Indy GP Experience made it even more special.  Ride with Kevin and learn so much at school, then go get so close to the riders at MotoGP, that’s what dreams are made of.  Now time to bore everyone with my stories and pictures.

 

 

 

Kieron - Journal 18, July 28, 2009. 

I happened to be in Ireland a couple of weeks ago and decided to go see my first Motorcycle road race in 32 years. Not much has changed; the fans sit on stonewalls right on top of the action.  You are no further than 6 feet from the riders in some places. Oh yeah, they could be going 160 mph or faster as you whip your head around to follow them. One thing is for sure the speeds these racers challenge these public roads at; are unbelievable. They go faster on average than most circuits I have been to.             

The race in question was the Kells 100 International Road Race. A mate of mine got me some sponsor/pit pass. Thanks Tony Byrne for helping me out. Getting to one of these Irish road races is fairly easy, although a lot of walking is required after you park. The weather was a typical summers day in Ireland; sunshine, wind and rain. I was told to wear my golf shoes, things can get muddy and you do a bit of climbing up walls and stumbling through hedges. I managed to watch all the action from at least seven different vantage points. I also wondered around the pits and concession area. They are one in the same. I happened to spend time watching William and Michael Dunlop (sons of the late Robert Dunlop) setting up there bikes for the multiple races they would ride in. They had a transported that also acted as living area. Maybe 50 feet away you could buy food and then there were all kinds of concession stands. The place attracted over 30,000 fans and was alive with happy faces. These people really love their road racing. I, of course spent some euros on t-shirts and jackets.               

The actual racing was fantastic. The course was about 2.1 miles long so the action came by every minute and a half. Ryan Farqhaur was man of the day; winning four races (every thing he entered). I enjoyed the entire day and now hope some day to make it to the Isle of Mann for the TT races.

My next journal will come from Kevin Schwantz’s School at Barber Motor Sports Park in Alabama. We will also take in The MotoGP at Indy that same week – should be great!

Until then
Kieron Mooney
Founder/BlarneyQuick

 

Kieron - Journal 17, June 30, 2009

Getting back to the concept of why I started BlarneyQuick Racing; sharing information on setting up your sportbike to go racing or at the very least track days. Those of you, who actually know me, know one thing – I love motorcycle racing. I want to understand everything there is to know about setting up a bike to perform better on the track. That has been a huge learning curve. I have a lot of respect for those who are professionals and work on bikes for a living. But, I have a news flash for everyone, the specialists who you put your trust in are not always properly trained or educated. That is why this site can help everyone.              

Everything I write about, is not gospel, but rather my experience. I will go the extra step to provide as accurate a posting as possible. Why am I even bringing this up – well there is just no one central place to go to for information, to get all the questions you need answered. One place tells you something different from the next and everyone tends to believe this because they want to trust what they are hearing. But, more than not, a year down the road you bring your bike in for serving and the new guy tells you something depressing about a previous fix or upgrade you made to your bike. It happens way more than people are willing to admit.              

Case in point. I just took a class from Racetech.com at my local bike shop. They are a suspension specialty company. According to the instructor the front end and rear end suspension on the BlarneyQuick Suzuki GSXR 750 was not right for me. That was very disappointing because I had dropped a lot of money in Ohlins equipment to upgrade my suspension. At the time, I relied on the bike shop to put the right cartridges/ springs and oil and then dial it in for my specific weight. Now, I know not to react to this news with disbelief, because Ohlins is the number one suspension company in the world and there equipment on my bike is top of the line. What Racetech informed and taught me is that the springs were way to soft and no amount of adjustments would correct the situation. The more I listened, the more I realized how wrong the bike was set up. I learned about rake, trail, sage, preload, damping, compression, rebound and spring rates. Then I learned what was happening to the bike when braking in a straight line and trail braking. What forces are applied to the forks and what needs to happen to keep as much traction on the tires. I also learned how critical tire pressure is when racing. There is a lot to figure out and nothing out of a tech book is magically going to get the settings just right for you because each rider/racer has different needs because of riding styles.             

Check out www.racetech.com and click on search and then click on Product search. There is a very useful calculation chart to figure what your settings should be for your weight. More than likely your bike has come with very soft springs and if you’re over 190 lbs. you’re in trouble. My situation is being corrected and my Ohlins will be sold to some one else. I am having RaceTech build me custom Front fork internals and a new rear shock. I will let you know how it goes.

 

Kieron - Journal 16, April 6, 2009

I would encourage anyone who has ever had aspirations to race a sport bike, to take the first step and go to the Kevin Schwantz School. I have been twice and I am signed up for a third go at the new venue at Barbara sports park in Alabama. After the first experience I was completely hooked. Your on specially prepared Suzuki GSXR 600’s. This year Honda is involved with there CBR 600. The whole thrill of getting into your leathers and pulling on your helmet is fantastic, but when you walk up and get on the race bikes, the experience is everything you dreamed.

Listen, I clearly remember starting the bike and heading out to the starting grid a big smile on my face. I always wanted to do this and here it was. Road Atlanta is a very daunting track. When the marshal waived me on to the track, I strangely felt very comfortable. I followed the instructor for 10 laps and pulled back into the pits. I was on such a high I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground. In the next three days I repeated that same routine, but it got easier and faster every time. I made some friends that I still stay in touch with now and even see as repeaters of the school. Sean de Fraine is going back for his third time and we now are veteran’s. Sean showed a lot of heart last year by joining the “knee draggers “ club. He spurred the rest of us on and that’s what great for guys like us - the whole experience is so infectious.

Want to learn how to race, this is the place. Whatever your pace the guys will bring you up to speed. Then you actually get coached by Kevin himself. He is a god on the track, but he and his entire staff invest so much one-on-one time, it is worth very penny. Trust me this is the real deal.

 

Sean - Journal Entry 25th Feb 2009

Just a few pictures of my Arai collection, please get in touch if you are a collector too.

 

Kieron - Journal 15, Feb 8, 2009

It seems the world recession is effecting everything I hold near and dear; motorcycle racing. I have been reading with great interest how the major Japanese motorcycle companys are finding it hard to even support one rider for the 2009 MotoGP season. As I write this sobering piece, there will only be 17 riders on the grid. Kawasaki pulls out completely and Dorna cant rescue the situation with even a satellite sponsored team. So two very talented riders, Melandri and Hopkins find themselves on the sidelines. Have things got so expensive that these major manufactures are pulling the plugs? The future of Grand Prixs are in trouble and that saddens me for selfish reasons. I, myself have fallen victim to this recession, but I was hoping to follow my racing heros to keep my spirits up.

Now, I must rely on Rossi and Stoner to battle it out for the title. But one slip, crash or injury from any of the riders in any race would almost certainly give one point to whoever can stay upright. Does anyone remember when scoring a single point was a big deal. Now it will put a premium on just finishing, which will see riders getting lapped at every race. Trust me when I say these are the only two who will win baring injury. The rest are good, but not good enough, so they will race for third place every time. I am a huge GP race fan and I will continue to be. I love the rivalries that have popped up from time to time; Ago viruss Hailwood, Roberts viruss Sheene, Spencer viruss Lawson, Rainey viruss Schwantz and now Rossi virus Stoner. Boys please carry the torch and remember carry it with the spirit your past champions carried it - free of all the moaning playboy bullshit.

Stay tuned - BlarneyQuick season predictions are coming.

Kieron Mooney

Founder/BlarneyQuick

Sean - Journal Entry 18th Nov 2008

Okay, update time.  Got myself a new bike (check the media/pictures page).  A 2008 GSXR600k8.  These are the track weapon of choice used at Schwantz School and I just love them.  More than enough speed for me and so light compared to my 750SRAD that got traded (I’ll miss her!).  Unfortunately the weather in the UK has hit home, winter is here, so she has only done a handful of miles.  I’ve done my riding in the winter for too many years and she’ll be wrapped up until the sun comes out. 

If you didn’t notice Mr Mooney failed to mention that he lost the 2008 Prediction Competition where we predicted the top 5 positions come the end of the season for MotoGP, WSB, AMA, BSB and the TT.  Better luck next year mate!  LOSER!

In saying that, if you have read Kieron’s latest journal he has a great piece on his top 20 riders of all time.  Now that seriously must have taken a lot of time and brain power.  I know a lot of forums and websites where people struggle to get a top 5 let alone top 20.  Now I started watching top flight bike sport in the late 80’s.  Lawson/Gardner era, followed by Schwantz/Rainey, then Doohan.  Now I have to say that is the racing I love – 500cc 2 stokes, I still get the old video tapes out.  Mad bikes, crazy riders and awesome racing.  MotoGP has been boring (in my opinion) since they calmed the beasts down.  Now there have been the odd exception I’ll grant you that like Laguna last year, but on the whole I prefer to watch WSB these days.  So my top 20 will be of riders I saw ride, my top 20, I never saw Ago or Dunlop for example.   Great riders and probably in the top 3 ever, but I never saw them really.  My reasons may also be slightly weird, but each to there own, why not send yours in?  Email address on the Contacts tab.   

So…

1.  Schwantz – why I love the sport, end of.

2.  Rainey – Mr smooth and consistent.

3.  Kocinski – raw and aggressive and just plain crazy!  

4.  Doohan – had it easier than most, but to do what he did on 500’s with his injuries – talent!

5.  Abe – awesome to watch, never gave in.

6.  McCoy – sideways yeehaa, how many times have I watched clips of Garry.

7.  Rossi – say no more, would love to have seen him up against the 500cc boys in the heyday.

8.  Hayden – ultimate professional.

9.  Harada – great style and always smiling.

10. Lorenzo – no fear.  A joy to watch, as close to on the edge as Schwantz was.

11. Stoner – respect to anyone that can ride as close to the limit as he does race on race.

12. Edwards – consistency through the years whatever championship he was in.

13. Slight – loved to watch Slighty, cool but super fast.

14. Biaggi – now I hate the dude, off the bike he’s an **** (I know first hand).  On a bike he can ride the wheels of them!

15. Baylis – Mr Ducati.  Would loved to have seen him do a few years on each manufacturer’s bike.

16. Haga – yes, yes, yes – last of the samurai.   Love his style and attitude.  Family man with a screw loose.

17. Russell – made the Kawasaki look good.  Always rode fast, great interviews.

18. Gardner – never say die.  Again riding the 500’s with plaster casts a plenty.  So many great Philip Island memories.

19. Kato – ended too soon, RIP, he would have been something special.  Just got on with his work, but great style and speed.

20. Criville – never really got the shout he deserved, but made Doohan work ever step of the way. 

What do you think???

 

Kieron - Journal Part 14, November 18, 2008

Now that the world racing season has ended, its time to reflect on the season in general. Rossi wins his 8th world title and stamps the “ greatest of all time “ clearly in the history books. My knowledge of motorcycling racing is pretty decent. I have had certain favourites and I’m going to stick my neck out and try to line up the best ever. I will take into account the strength of field, the class they rode in, bikes they rode and natural talent. Here’s the real twist, it can be from any discipline as long it is road racing on GP styled motorcycles, these include production bikes. I will only select from the 1950’s to present.

    1. Valentino Rossi, Italian, nickname “the Doctor” 8 World GP titles from the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 990cc and 800cc classes.

    2. Joey Dunlop, Northern Irish, The “ King of the Mountain”. 5 World Formula 1 (750cc)Championships, 26 time winner at the Isle of Man TT on 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, 600cc, 750cc and 1000cc bikes and 24 Ulster Grand Prix wins.

    3. Giacomo Agostini, Italian, nickname “Ago”. 15 World GP Championships. 350cc, and 500cc

    4. Kenny Roberts, American, nickname” King Kenny”. 3 World GP Titles all on 500cc bikes and numerous AMA Titles on various size machinery.

    5.Mike Hailwood, English, 9 World GP titles and 14 time TT winner on 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc bikes.

    6. Phil Read, English, known as “ The Prince of Speed or Readie” Two 500cc GP World Titles, four 250cc GP World titles, one 125cc GP World title and 8 TT wins.

    7. John Surtees, English, 7 Time GP World Championships.

    8. Angel Nieto, Spanish, 13 World GP titles on 50cc and 125cc bikes.

    9. Mick Doohan, Australian, 5 World GP 500cc titles

    10. Eddie Lawson, American, 4 World GP 500cc titles

    11. Carl Fogarty, English, 4 World Superbike Titles, 2 World Formula 1(750cc), 1 World Cup Championship and one World Endurance Title.

    12. Wayne Rainey, American, 3 World GP 500cc titles and 2 AMA Superbike title.

    13. Freddie Spencer, American, 2 World GP 500cc titles, one 250cc World GP title and 2 AMA Championships.

    14. Barry Sheene, English, 2 World GP 500cc Titles.

    15. Kevin Schwantz, American, one World GP 500cc Title.

    16. Max Biaggi, Italian, 4 time winner of the 250cc GP Championship and multi time winner in the 500cc class.

    17. Randy Mamola, American, 4 time runner up in the 500cc World Championship.

    18. Troy Bayliss, Australian, 3 time World Superbike Champion.

    19. Matt Mladin, Australian, Six time AMA Superbike Champion.

20. Marco Lucchinelli, Italian, one 500cc GP World Championship.

 

Remember, this is my list based on my interpretations of what I consider a great racer. I was always drawn to the guys who would take the risks and win at any cost attitude. Each one of my top 20, has or had these qualities. All great racers that rode against the best in the world. Your top 20 may be different, I would love to see your lists and start the great debate. Sean will chip in with his top 20 and we will start to compile a consensus from the fans point of view.

Founder/ BlarneyQuick Racing

Kieron Mooney

Kieron - Journal Part 13, November 13, 2008

While I was down at the Kevin Schwantz School, I meet Robert Miller the owner of the Service Pavilion. He is the expert for Arai helmets at all the US road races. He is an independent distributor, but specializes in Arai Helmets. Sean de Fraine introduced me to him, as they knew one another from e-mail correspondence. Robert has an extensive collection of helmets and has one of the original Arai helmets made by Mr. Arai himself. Check him out at www.theservicepavilion.com.

He was at the school getting ready for the AMA races that were being held at Road Atlanta next weekend. I was egger to see what he had in his truck. You could tell the guy had been doing this for a while he actually travels to as many AMA racing events as possible and sells anything you could possibly want for your Arai helmet. We had just finished riding and so were still in all our gear. Robert notices that I was wearing a Phil Read replica. It was a rare helmet he told me, because it was a XR-7 and not the present model, which I think is a Vector. He asked me if I ever wanted to get rid of it he wanted first dibs at it. Just as I was feeling good about myself, he said that the helmet did not fit me. I was a little shocked at how quick he made that statement without asking me any questions or taking any measurements. He saw the XL size on the Read helmet and said when he saw me with the helmet on it sat too low. He made me try it on for him and he explained his findings. I thought the helmet fit perfect and actually had someone sell it to me out of a bike shop that stocked lots of Arai helmets. They apparently did not do a good job. He was able to move the helmet around way too much. Dangerous he said he told me that he could change all seven of the inner liners and fit me with liners that fit my head shape. He explained that there were four different variations to all seven liners. Through a little trail and error method he managed to refit this helmet to fit my head. Robert said it would not be perfect because the shell was to big to start with but that it now fit better with all new pieces. This helmet is at least five years old and he made the inside seem brand new. I loved what he had just done and decided to buy a helmet that was the right size. He sold me the latest Corsair X7 Noriyuki Haga replica in size medium. Yes, I said medium. Two sizes smaller and then fitted liners to fit me perfectly. I believe he changed six of the liners from this brand new helmet to fit my head shape.

Needless to say, I was very impressed with the custom fitting I was treated to. I did learn that every one has a different shape and that Arai can costume fit to your size in most cases. The helmet should fit tight. You should not be able to move the helmet around your face or have too much vertical roll. I always judged the helmet on how it pinched my ears and checks. The Haga at first was too tight and close in those areas, but Robert just replaced those liners with ones that had a little less padding. It was remarkable how well this new Medium size felt, when he was done. The helmet was very snug, but did not pinch hard in any area. Listen, if you ride and especially at the track your helmet should fit right. At speed the helmet can catch some serious wind and buffet the riders head, the visor made need adjustment so it does not cause lift when your doing 130mph. If you have an Arai and wonder if it fits properly call Robert or his staff. They have all the hard to find parts for any helmet from Arai for the last 10 years.

So make sure your lid fits and buy from Robert, because he has the latest, greatest and largest stock available anywhere. He will also store all your information and can send your next Arai direct at the best price available. Tell him Kieron and Sean from BlarneyQuick racing sent you!!!

BlarneyQuick Founder

Kieron Mooney

 

Kieron - Journal Part 12, November 12, 2008

This past August, I went back to the Kevin Schwantz SuperBike School. I signed up for the 3-day Champions Package to maximize my experience. I had the time of my life in 2007 and was really excited to get back and improve my skills. Now, I do still do half a dozen Track Days a year, but the track experience at KSSS is first rate. The one on one with the instructors and the amount of track time is worth very penny.

So, before I decided to go, I called my partner on this website Sean de Fraine to see if he was also returning. He said yes and also told me another mate from Canada Darcy was also coming back. Sean, who is from England decided to come in early, visit with me in Maryland and then drive down to KSSS in Braselton, Georgia. If you want all the details read his journal entry about our trip Its very detailed.

When I got back from August 2007 I bought a Suzuki GSXR750. My local shop turned it into a race/track day bike and I was off and running. If you want to bring a bike to Kevin Schwantzs school it must be a Suzuki. So, Sean and myself packed up the 750 in the trailer and headed down the high way. I really wanted to ride my bike on a quality track like Road Atlanta, but also to mix it up a little with Mr. Schwantz himself and the lads who are all, accomplished racers.

The bike passed inspection no problem, but I had race tires on it, which require tire warmers. Again no problem we had everything we needed, but the weather was always threatening rain and could not be used in rainy or damp conditions. Myself, Sean and Darcy hooked up as riding partners and headed to the bikes after our first classroom session. We were in the first group for the more experienced riders. We were the bottom three of this group of about 15. We had AMA professional racers Blake Young and Martin Cardenas in our group. Blake had joined the instructors in 2008 and I personally rode one on one with this guy he is very fast!! Our plan was to slowly bring ourselves up to this elevated speed of this group. No one wanted to be a hero and crash you do that, then your KSSS track time is over automatically.

I had no choice but to use one of the school bikes because the track was damp. The BlarneyQuick bike would just have to wait. It was nice to be out and gain some confidence on the damp track. When you follow one of the instructors and see that he is having no issues you suddenly feel more secure. I lead out first followed by Sean and Darcy. We changed positions every lap and thats pretty much what we did every time we went out. It just got faster and faster each time.

Three days of this is a lot. You do at least five sessions a day at about 20 minutes a session. Maybe 6 to 8 laps at a time. In the end its about 180 to 200 miles. I got to ride my bike in five sessions. It was much faster than the 600s and had much better brakes. On the back straight I got past 155mph on the 750 and on one of our trips we came up on Mr. Schwantz. I was out on my own when this happened Opie Caylor was right behind me watching me. He was then followed by Sean and Darcy. I suddenly realized who it was and I banked in hard to turn #7 right on his back wheel. Turn seven is one of the slowest and trickiest corners on the track. Kevin looked behind to see who it was and hit the gas hard I did the same and in the next 200 meters I pulled even and then passed him. He looked right at me and for that spilt second I realized how important a moment this was. Yes, I just got by Kevin Schwantz now I know you all must be thinking this cant really have happened. It did, but I must admit he was on the Suzuki V Strom 1000. He took this bike out for whatever reason and was bloody fast on it. Not a GSXR race bike, but some play bike Suzuki lets the school have. Think about it if I did not get by him I would have been laughed at and he did not make it easy. Anyway that is a fun highlight, but Sean having taken a few choice tips from Opie Caylor actually got both his knees on the deck for the first time was the best. After that there was no talking to him a new racer was suddenly born. We made a lot of friend on this trip and I know a lot of us are looking to return for 2009. I know I will be there.

Next time, I will talk about Arai helmets and all I learned from Robert Miller who owns the Service Pavilion. He showed me how the helmet I was wearing did not actually fit me.

BlarneyQuick founder

Kieron Mooney
 

Kieron - Journal part 11, November 5, 2008

Well, I just finished watching the last World SuperBike and SuperSport races from Portugal. I am always perplexed over which series; MotoGP or World SuperBikes gives more entertainment value for the motorcycle race fan. I would have to give my vote to the prody bikes. Troy Bayliss on the Ducati 1098 defies logic. We know the bike is good, but the rider is even better. He won the World Championship by almost 100 points. The racing was closer, more competitive and gave non-factory teams a chance to be on the podium.

I still love the MotoGP series, but three teams dominate the top class and the grid at times only started 18 riders. The 250s and the 125s are the best to watch and Simoncelli is the new lion in the pen. I find it hard to believe that the 250s are being done away with and replaced with 600s. I will have to wait to see how that pans out. On A sadder note the AMA series just fell apart and the lads may not have a place to race next year. I watched Josh Hayes finish 4th yesterday in World S
SuperSport. He is a refugee from the AMA looking for a ride
he deserves one!

Next time I will talk about my Atlanta trip with Sean. Check out his new Suzuki 600k8

Founder Kieron Mooney

BlarneyQuick Racing


Sean - Motorcycle News 22nd October 2008

Yep, I made it in to the written motorcycle press.  Click on the icon below for the story.


 

Sean's Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School diary August 2008

Day 1 – Monday 18th August 2008.

The alarm sounds at 5am. It’s cold and wet outside as is usual for the UK in August(!) but it doesn’t really matter as I’m off to the USA for a bit of a road trip, which includes a trip to Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School.

I had a slightly different plan of attack this year. The plan was to leave London Heathrow and fly to Washington to stay with Kieron for a few days. I met Kieron at last year’s school where we paired up and rode together. We have kept in touch since. After last years school Kieron created the BlarneyQuick.com trackday concept and I had helped with the website set-up so when Kieron offered me a place to stay for a few days I jumped at the chance. We would stay in Washington for 3 days before driving to Atlanta. I would leave Atlanta after school and head to Vegas and LA to continue my holiday and make the most of the trip.

So suitcase packed, leathers, boots, gloves and helmet this time too. I was now a seasoned professional so knew the deal this year and fancied wearing all my own gear at school.

We left home just before 6am UK time for the airport. Beating most of the traffic that builds up on the UK motorways we were at Heathrow just before 7am. I said my goodbyes to Jo whom I would meet in Vegas a week later and headed for check-in.

All going to plan, seat confirmed, no problems, I’m sat in departures waiting to leave. The gate is called, off I go, on to the plane, next step Washington USA.


Flight was good, grabbed a few hours sleep and checked out a few films. I don’t mind flying, it’s all part of the holiday. Seven hours later we are starting our decent. Washington Dulles Airport is now my least favourite airport in the USA. We landed, had to wait for these bus type vehicles to take us to the terminal, it took forever. Once they arrived we started our slow drive to the main terminal. On arrival there we joined the huge and I mean huge queue for immigration. I am not sure if it was just busy or we landed at the wrong time of day, but it took hours to get through. You would have thought 90 minutes would have been time enough to get all our bags to arrivals, but no. There was a shortage of staff which meant more delays. Eventually some 2 hours after landing I am off on my way. I walked through and met Kieron. Kieron stated he had never seen so many people coming through arrivals – must just have been one of those days.

We loaded his car with my gear and started the 20 mile or so drive to Kieron’s house. The freeway was moving smoothly and we made good time. I had never been to Washington before so all the sights were new sights, all sights when you are on holiday are good sights.


I never really unpacked anywhere, just grabbed new clothes from my case before we were off to a local restaurant (Redrock Canyon Grill) for some nosh and a catch-up. Umm, ribs or meatloaf, decisions, decisions. The choice was made easier when Kieron said he knew somewhere that did great ribs we could visit another night. Meatloaf for me please.

With the food out of the way it was back to the house to be introduced to my trusty steed for the following day’s tour off Washington DC. A Harley!! Yep, I have always said you would never get me on a Harley.

Now you still wouldn’t get me on one of those mammoth big things, but this one looked ok. We fired her up – did you hear her in the UK? The thing burbled and rattled and shook – amazing. Kieron jumped on the Yamaha FZ1, was it running? I couldn’t hear it! We did a few laps of the block in the dark just to get me acquainted with the bikes and driving on the right. No worries and more worryingly was that I was enjoying riding the sit-up-and-beg Harley. It was different for sure, but the nice warm evening, visor up riding was fun.

So time for bed, I figured I had been up for 23 hours, give or take a few hours kip on the plane. I was ready for some shut eye before hitting Washington DC the following day.

Day 2 – Tuesday 19th August 2008.

Slept well, woke up about 8am. Straight on to US time. Luckily for me I have never really struggled with jet-lag, today was sightseeing day. Breakfast out of the way and Shadow (Kieron’s dog) packed up for her stay at the farm whilst we were at school, it was time to wake the neighbourhood.

The sun was out and it was already quite warm, gear was on, we were ready to roll. We headed off for DC. We deliberately left after 9am to miss the freeway traffic but they must have known I was in town as they all came out to stay hello! We sat in slow to stopping traffic for the first 30 minutes. A thumping hot Harley in rapidly rising temperatures wasn’t what we had planned. Eventually the traffic decided to move on and we were away.

Following the lock system from Gaithersburg in to DC it was real picturesque. I guess I wasn’t expecting to see so much greenery. We cruised on down the road with Kieron pointing things out on route. My eyesight now used to the Harley vibrations I could see what he was pointing at. Kieron had said Washington in a car can be a bit slow and busy, hence we were on the bikes. First stop Georgetown. We stopped at the University and the steps from the Exorcist film. Georgetown was real old school, nice houses and old cobbled streets. We toured Georgetown for a while before heading for the capital.

We did the lot, The Pentagon (don’t stop to take photographs by the way!!), the Reflection pool,

The Capitol Building, drove past all the museums, The Whitehouse, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery to name a few. Kieron’s idea to use the bikes was spot on. We rode, parked up, snapped pictures and were away in minutes.

A whistle stop tour that still took hours would sure to have taken days in a car. We stopped for some lunch down by the river before visiting the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial. Washington DC sure was a cool city which until now I had never really thought of visiting. The great weather helped!

So with the DC tour complete we headed over to Ram Cycles to meet up with Randy (3 time alumni of Schwantz School) and the guys. By completely spooky coincidence Kieron and I knew Randy independently. I have been in contact with Randy via email and the internet as we both shared to the same addiction to collecting Motorcycle Racer memorabilia. We had met on eBay a year or so back. I mentioned to Kieron one day that Randy had an involvement in a motorcycle shop in Washington somewhere and it was Kieron’s local shop where he had his bike work done. It really is a small world sometimes.

We rode over to Ram Cycles via Redgate Golf Course. Kieron works at the golf course so obviously a required stop-off on the tour. We met the guys their topped up on some fluids (water!) then ruined a few tee-shots firing up the bikes and headed to Ram’s.

Ram Cycles www.ramcycles.net had just moved to bigger premises. It looked good, the guys still sorting things.

We met up with Randy and the staff and toured the shop. Randy invited Keiron and I up to his house to see his collection of memorabilia.


I collect crash helmets and the like as does Randy, so it was cool to see what he had. There aren’t many of us in the world that have the crazy passion, so is always nice to talk to someone on the same wavelength.

Randy has some real cool stuff in his collection and his collection extends far past mine with some mind blowing bikes too.

We said our farewells and headed for home, we had packed loads in to a few hours. That night we headed for Houston’s restaurant for those Ribs that Kieron had recommended. They were worth the wait!


Day 3 – Wednesday 20th August 2008.

Days 3 was prep day. Get everything ready for the following day’s road trip from DC to Atlanta. Kieron was taking the BlarneyQuick Suzuki GSXR750 down to school.

We hit the shops for some containers to keep all Kieron’s gear together for this and future trips. On the way home we saw a car showroom with all sorts of old school muscle cars – we stopped for a nose, they had some real cool cars which were worth a fortune!


We stopped by Ram again to meet Alex who I hadn’t met the previous day.

We then collected the video camera Kieron had rented and stopped of to purchase a SatNav (Tom-Tom) for the trip. Then it was off to U-Haul to collect the 8x6 trailer to house the bike for the trip.

A quick stop for a great beef sandwich then home to load all the gear up.

U-Haul loaded with all the gear and the BlarneyQuick Suzuki I went for a quick walk around the neighbourhood. It sure is a nice place to live.

Dinner that night was at Joe’s Crab Shack, I was eating well. Off to bed for the early start.

Day 4 – Thursday 21st August 2008.

Today was the day we headed for school. A 6am alarm made sure we were on the road for 6.45. It was 600+ miles from DC to school. 9 hours driving. Road trip! We rolled out with the U-Haul clanking behind us, we were off.

Traffic was good, no problems getting out of DC, we hit the 85 Freeway which was to be home for the next 6 or 7 hours.


The intellectual chat soon turned in to rubbish as I am sure it does on these long trips. Stopping for a couple of McDonalds and driver breaks the scenery flew by. Before you knew it a few states later we were there. Rolling in to the hotel car park to check-in before driving to the track to register for the following days Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School.


The drive had been a long one, but as we entered Road Atlanta that was all forgotten. We parked up and headed for the garages to register.

There were lots of familiar faces, Marnie, Kevin, Joyce and the instructors. Jim and Shirley Schwantz and a lot of returning students from last year. I met up with Darcey and Lesley from the previous school, Pat and Sean too.

There were 3 Sean’s in total – photo time! The Red Bull girls had delivered supplies for the next few days.

I then met up with Dave again. Dave is the photographer that follows us for all 3 days and takes some incredible shots. Dave took some great shots last year which my brother made in to a book, I plan to do the same with this years for volume 2.

Students have attended from far and wide. From all over the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Greece too.


We chatted, the banter and the excitement was the same as the previous years. Everyone excited at what was to follow. We snacked on some nibbles and caught-up with what people had been up to. Everyone remembered each other which was nice and made it much easier. I met Geoff whom told me the sole reason he was attending was because of my write-up from last year so I hope this inspires more people to attend. It is such a great experience.

Camera’s out, everyone snapping all the lovely new Suzuki’s parked up in the garage.


We were given goodie bags too full of cool gear. Kieron had the video camera out getting footage to look back on and put up on www.blarneyquick.com

We unloaded the BlarneyQuick Suzuki so the instructors could check it and pass it safe to use. Kieron would be using school bikes and his own throughout the 3 days. It got a lot of attention.


Most stayed for quite a while that evening, just catching up. We decided that Kieron, Darcey and myself would try and stay together for the following three days. We rode together on the previous school and were all of equal pace. We also had the same requirements from the course, so it made sense. With that sorted eventually one by one we all left.

Tomorrow was fast approaching and I guess everyone wanted to be ready.

Day 5 – Friday 22nd August 2008. (Day 1 of Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School)

We were at the track for just after 7am. Everyone chomping at the bit to get going. A few more students arrived to register. John, Garrett and Steve a few more friendly faces from the previous year.

There were 27 students in total this year. We all congregated in the class room ready for the off.


Ted was to be the classroom instructor this year (he had fell form a ladder and broken his heel) along with Lee (also recovering but from a racing accident). The duo were on crutches and unable to ride.

Ted introduced all the staff and instructors.

Straight from the off the atmosphere was calm and relaxed and humorous to say the least. That’s one thing I love about the course, there is never any real preaching. Everything is done in a relaxing, unpressured way. Okay that may not be ideal for all, but this is a School not just a Race School. It does cater for all standards and suits mine just fine. Ted finally introduces Kevin who finishes up with ‘make sure there are big smiles under those helmets’. It’s all about fun and safety. I am still nervous even though I had been before, a good thing I guess.

So although there are plenty of bikes available from GSXR600’s, GSX650’s, SV650’s etc

the class is split in to 2 groups. One group will be on track, whilst one is in class. The sessions just alternate and last somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. An ideal balance so you don’t get too tired, get time to relax and rehydrate in the classroom before going back out. So Ted asks who has raced before for the Advanced Group. 11 hands go up including Kieron’s! Mine and Darcey’s stay down. The group is split and our plan to stay together is mo more. Panic not, we have a chat with Lee and Darcey and I jump ship to make 13 in the A group with 14 in the B group. We will be riding with some familiar faces from the previous year too. Blake Young is new to the instructor pool. Fresh from his 1st AMA race win a few weeks earlier. In our group we also have current AMA racer Martin Cardenas. Martin would be racing at Road Atlanta the following weekend for M4 EMGO, but was here as he had never done a riding course. He would turn out to be an absolute gentleman throughout the 3 days.


So Group A is first out on track. Even though this year I know what to expect and which way the corners go it is still a quiet nervous walk to collect one of the immaculately turned out bikes. No messing this year, most if not all of A Group get on one the new 2008 GSXR600’s. One by one they purr in to life as we head off down to pit lane.

The weather was far nicer this year, it was 100 degrees last and too hot. This year 80’ish with a nice breeze and some cloud too – perfect!

We roll in to pit lane. There are 3 lanes marked out. 1 being fast, 2 medium and 3 slow. Kieron, Darcey and I roll in to lane 2. The rapid boy’s use lane 1. I still don’t think it really matters which lane you chose as you are never pushed to ride beyond your limits. They ask you to try and find a good riding partner the 1st day. If you go out with someone too fast or slow for you then try someone different the next session till you get the ideal riding partner. That is where we got lucky. The 3 of us were good from the off.

So lane 1 leads the way. An instructor leads usually 2 riders away, sometimes 1, in our case 3. The instructors all rotate so over the course of the 3 days you get to ride behind and sometimes in front of all of them. All the instructors race or have done. They all have different ideas, but all share a passion for riding bikes and getting the best out of you. I can’t remember who led us out that 1st session, but it was so cool to be back out on the fantastic Road Atlanta track.

Visor down we left pit lane, slowly through the first turns. New tires being worn in. Under the Suzuki Bridge for the 1st time down to the new turn 12 put in to slow the AMA boys down after Miguel Duhamel’s nasty crash from the previous year. I quite liked the old turn 12. At my kind of speeds it was ok, but needs must and all that. The new turn 12 was a sharp right hander and too be honest looks worse than it is. It mucks up what was a great corner on to the start straight, but I got to like it. We were advised to watch it though should it get wet!

So 20 minutes of ever increasing pace soon flew by. We were going at a fair rate before the left arm was raised. Session 1 done, no worries, big smile on my face.

The walk back to the class room was quick and noisy, I think everyone was happy to get it out of the way. We swapped places with the B group. They went for their track session as we started our theory.

The classroom sessions are set out very well. They cover all aspects of riding. Positioning, throttle control, braking, cornering, panic etc. Everything is covered, something’s maybe common sense to you, but not someone else, so everything is included. Questions are encouraged all the time and the sessions are just the right length so your interest is retained. Ted led the 1st session on visual skills, concentration, relaxation etc.

Before you knew it the bikes roared in to view. Group B were back and it was time to go back out and practice what you had just learnt in class.

This was to be the format for the next 3 days. Learn something in class then go put that to use out on the track.

We got 3 sessions in that morning before lunch. Everyone more enjoyable than the last, new things learnt, smile getting bigger. After ever session you get a debrief with your instructor on what he thinks of your riding.

What they can see from a set of mirrors is amazing. The instructors suggest things to try when you are next out on track. Some may suit your style, some not, but that is what is great from having such a great range of experience from them all and you are never talked down to, only encouraged.

So a light or heavy lunch out of the way, a Red Bull or two to get you pepped up and the afternoon continued the same way as the morning, Class, track, debrief, ad-lib to fade…

2 more sessions for each group that afternoon and we were done. What a first day. We had upped our pace throughout. Nothing crazy just fast enough to be fun. They say ride to 80% of your capacity, after all if you fall you ride no more.


Everyone is buzzing, chatting about the day that has just whizzed by. This continues over dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We sit chatting with Martin and Kevin about all things bikes and racing, I’m tucking in to my fajitas at the same time. Dinner complete, people start to leave, we finish up talking to Tray about his collection of old bikes. A top day from start to finish. There was supposed to be school bus racing at the track opposite Road Atlanta so we went back to watch, it had been cancelled due to rain, lucky really as I was shattered, so off to bed I go ready for day 2.

Day 6 – Saturday 23rd August 2008. (Day 2 of Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School)

RAIN – no!!! I awake to a wet outside. Not what I wanted to see.

Tropical storm Fay has worked her way up from Florida and is starting to have an impact on weather around the Atlanta area. The talk on the way to the track and when we get there amongst students was they were not looking forward to it. Now I don’t mind riding in the UK rain on a rat bike that means nothing and has no performance, but riding a new ‘gixer’ around a race track which is not mine is a different proposition.

We get to the track hoping the track walk or something will take place to allow the track to dry before we have to go out. The rain has stopped and the wind is blowing but it is still wet/damp. No such luck, leathers on! We did the clutchless gear change and throttle blip exercise which gave it a bit of time,

but then the A group were sent out to dry the track up a bit – and not with hair dryers either! We agreed to take it real easy, not worth crashing and having to sit it out the next 2 days. We are again warned about turn 12 – tip toe through it is the advice! To be fair the track had dried a fair bit from the wind and was only damp in places. It still mucks with your head though. But a steady pace and taking it easy was all it required. If you actually think of how fast your instructor is going, you know he is not going to take you through wet sections at a pace that will cause you to fall.

Have some confidence and faith in your tires and you actually have nothing to worry about. It does teach you to be smoother in everything you do and you do concentrate more, so that one dampish session ultimately did us all some good. We had pretty much dried the track by the time group B went out. They finished the job nicely. Next session out and it was bone dry.

The sun was trying to get through too and the wind was a nice warm relief. One more session followed before lunch. The pace again increased, we were back on it. Everyone had found there riding partners by now. The instructors were rotating their students and offering advice at every opportunity.

We then got out of our leathers and had the track walk. Kevin loaded us up in to 3 trucks and took us out on the track.

Advising us on what lines he takes, reference points and much much more.

We stop at numerous sections and corners on the track to listen before Opie, Harry and Brad come through the same section at speed to demonstrate how it’s done.

It’s awesome to see them so close at such speed. True to form Opie does not disappoint coming under the Suzuki Bridge heading down to turn 12 – wheelie or should that be a woooolie? Lunch time followed.

We got 3 sessions in on that afternoon. Classroom theory put in to practice each time. Kieron got the BlarneyQuick Suzuki out on track that afternoon too.

Tire warmers on to heat up his race tires he hit the track. The BlarneyQuick Suzuki sure sounds nice.

That afternoon we were waved by to lead the groups. Yep, when the instructors think you are ready they wave you by so you are out front, no one to follow, just hit your markers and apex on each corner, back your speed back a notch, an amazing feeling sweeping through the turns of Road Atlanta with no one in front of you.

A certain Mr Schwantz was out riding with us to that afternoon. Scared the hell out of me. There I am heading through 2 and I see this thing to my left out the corner of my visor, I thought I was as far left as I could be and Kevin was there too! He dropped back in and I made turn 3 as normal before he zapped by on the back straight.

God knows what it must be like for these boys that race having that happen at ever corner? That’s why the school is so good, I don’t ever want to race, so the school and my riding cater for my needs.

Now we had been led by Brad (always watching you!), Mark (knuckles), Michael (last year’s classroom instructor and airport lift), Britt (fast), Ned (hairless) and Harry (smooth). Tray and John were doing the camera bikes. They follow you around filming so you can see yourself riding back in class. Ted looks at where you are doing well, but can also improve. It’s a great addition to the classroom theory to see yourself riding. Blake Young was out there too, tagging on to people and just being a hooligan in general but we had yet to be led by Opie.

Now last year Opie scared the living daylights out of me. He was mind blowing fast and trying to keep up with him was a step too far for me. So when I see him pick the 3 of us **** came to mind. He was spot on though, had we sped up or had he slowed down? Must be the second!

We had done a couple of laps before he leads us down pit lane, the session is still in progress though, what’s up? I remembered then from the previous year Opie likes to pit to speak rather than try and highlight issues at speed. He noticed I wasn’t hanging off much and my feet looked wrong on the pegs, he encouraged more hanging off, more upper body movement and to hook my heal on the peg kind of duck foot. Different style to the ball of your foot instructors. We all tried it to be fair. With the new ideas in place we rolled back out. I went through the sweeping turn 6 and thought I had lost it, there was this noise, it was my knee on the deck!! Now that never happens. It scared me enough to think about doing it again, but next time through 6, scraaappppppppeeeee, turn 7 too. By the end of the session I was scratching through 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10b! Awesome, I had found my way to ride fast but safe and still with in my limits, but now knew my cornering limits. We got back in, Opie explained his thoughts on why it worked for me and not others. I just ride Opie-style I guess. From the next session on the fun factor improved even more and I started boring Darcey and Kieron to tears with my new found talent – sorry chaps!!

The 2nd day came to a close and we had the big BBQ at the track for dinner. Opie joined us for dinner and talked about, go on guess? Yep bikes and more bikes. Some great stories about his racing and some entertaining stories about his fellow instructors.

He gave us a guided tour of the funny side of the school

and took us to where Tray and Kevin had jumped a SV1000 some 80 feet – I kid you not!


I had met Robert from the Service Pavilion earlier in the day. Robert deals in Arai crash helmets, we had spoken numerous times over email, but I didn’t know he was going to be there. He spotted my crash helmet, put 2 and 2 together and Marnie introduced us. Robert (top bloke by the way) took me down to the truck to show me all the Arai goodies.

He knows what a complete Arai anorak I am. I was like a kid in a toy shop. Robert gave me a few goodies – thanks – and after a long chat I headed back up to meet the others.

I caught up with Dave and he gave me a sneak peak at some of the photographs he had taken so far – incredible! My Rizla leathers meant I was easier to spot this year for sure.

Geoff had unfortunately had a tumble on day 2 in turn 7 and had a suspected broken collarbone – get well soon mate.

The cancelled bus racing from the previous night was on again, so a few of us hung out watching the stunt show, drifting etc that preceded it before the rain came down. Never did get to see big yellow school buses hit the track.


Keiron and I headed for some iced tea, diet coke and nachos on the way back to the hotel, Greg joined us to watch the Stealers on TV. We chatted about the day and just relaxed. Bloated on coke and nachos we headed for home not long after.

Day 7 – Sunday 24th August 2008. (Day 3 of Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School)

So the final day comes round too fast, but I can’t wait. We head off for the track for the last time. It has rained again over night, but dried by the time we had finished breakfast.

Everyone was chatting about the previous day on arrival as ever, eager to get back out on track. The classroom sessions were now mainly made up of video bike footage of our previous session on the track. You think you are riding fast till you see some of the others in your group. Silence in class as everyone leans left and right whilst watching the footage.

Group photo and individual shots with Kevin follow before we hit the track for our last days riding.


Out on the track we go, still in our group of 3, still in lane 2. We have come on so much though since day 1. Much safer, faster and smoother. We made it to day 3 safe and sound, so are just going to take the day easy. There are a few sprinkles of water on the visor during a couple of the sessions. Just enough to keep you on your toes but not enough to dampen the track. We take it in turns to follow the instructor, being waved by to lead the group the same as the previous afternoon. The whole experience is incredible. The instructors are happy with us, just wish there was a day 4. Kevin was out with us on a V-Storm, the bloke is fast whatever he is riding.

We had 3 sessions in the morning and broke for lunch. 2 further sessions in the afternoon and we were finished. Hand shakes all round from the whole group and well done's a plenty. Group B were off out on their last session. They were joined by Schwantz Snr on the V-Storm and Kevin this time on a moped, well Burgman!!

Their fun got ended early as the heavens opened and the session got red flagged. Exactly the same as last year, to be honest how we managed to get as many dry laps in as we did with Fay hanging over us was amazing.


So everyone out of leathers it’s time for graduation. Everyone that completes the 3 days graduates. It’s a big deal as if you wish you can use it to join WERA road racing and get your provisional novice licence. One by one the students collect their certificate and cap, a photo taken too.

Special awards are presented for most improved student, safest student and some spot prizes too. Everyone congratulates everyone, the atmosphere as friendly as if we have known each other forever.

So the course is over but no one in a hurry to leave. Everyone shares there experiences and memories, swapping contact details and taking pictures. We load up the BlarneyQuick Suzuki whilst Robert does some good business from the back of the Arai truck. I say my goodbyes before leaving, hopefully just Au Revior.

Kieron, Sean and I stop of for a farewell bite to eat and a beer on the way home.


If you’re reading this and thinking of going to the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School is the best fun you will ever have. If you’re a racer they will cater for you (Martin Cardenas went on to podium at the AMA race the following weekend) if you’re a street novice they will cater for you. Everyone had massive smiles the whole time. It can be a nervy experience but you will learn something I guarantee and the fun involved is indescribable. You ride at your own pace and are never pushed to do anymore than you feel comfortable doing. I don’t race or do track days, but the freedom to be on a track safe from most dangers of road riding improves your riding no end. It really is just the best experience.

A massive thanks to everyone, Kieron for putting me up, the road trip and 3 days great riding, all the staff and corner workers at Road Atlanta, Marnie for giving me the chance to come back, Joyce and everyone that helps run the school, the instructors who are all superb, Opie for getting my knee down and saying I reminded him of Capirossi whilst riding, Jim and Shirley for just being around to talk to, Darcey and Lesley for 3 days of fun riding, taking the photos and the lift to the airport, all the students – pleasure meeting you (again) and talking to you and finally Kevin, whom without I would not be writing this!

Au Revoir..

Day 8 – Monday 25th August 2008.

I ‘m up at 4am to grab a lift to Atlanta airport with Darcey and Lesley. They are flying back to Canada whilst I fly on to Vegas to continue my holiday. We leave the hotel at 4.30am still talking about the previous days on the way. We drop the hire car and head for the terminal. We say our goodbyes and off I go again to check-in.

Vegas baby! Here I come…..


** I will upload Dave's professional photographs once they arrive. I have loads more, email if you would like to see anything specific.  sean@blarneyquick.info

See all my pictures from KSSS 2008 by clicking here

 

Kieron - Journal part 10, July 22, 2008

The racing world was treated to one of the best MotoGP races in a very long time. Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner were glued together for more than 20 laps at the USA round in Laguna Seca. The race was like a heavy weight championship boxing match, every possible effort, to outdo one another was performed. They ran each other off the track in the famous Cork Screw corner and swapped the lead at least 20 times. This is what the fans needed. Nothing against Casey’s winning performances of late, but the racing has been lope sided and kind of boring. It would have been great if Casey could have lasted until the finish, he just went too deep on the brakes and ran off the track and actually dropped the Ducati in the gravel trap. He got lucky that the bike somehow managed to stay running and he remounted and rejoined the race without losing his position. If this had not happened and he stuck in to the end it may have

A classic for all time. The American boys were complaining about their Michelin tires and the field was pretty much divided by who had what tire. This is really were all the problems lie. Whoever has the right tire seems to win. The grid has really only five guys who can win – that needs to change or MotoGP is going to die. World Superbikes racing is great to watch. Troy Bayliss is fantastic, the racing is generally close and there are two races per round. So let’s hope Vally and Casey can save MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi in action in Laguna Seca (MotoGP)


 

Kieron - Track day July 7, 2008 

We had a great day at Summit Point Motorsport Park in West Virginia this past Monday. The weather was great, but hovering around 90 degrees. I took it easy in the first session, because I was racing on Race tires for the first time. Once they were up to temperature, they performed very well – super sticky. My friend Bobby Longauer was my pit crew, he looked after me well and after a few minor adjustments, we dialed the bike in.

Put In about 80 laps, with only one mess up. The BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 is very fast and on the front straight we got her up to 153 mph. She had more but that was good enough for me. Only one guy passed me all day, but I got him later in the day. Meet loads of new riders, some trying the track for the first time. It’s great to see new riders entering this sport – the event was sold out. After a long day of going fast – I was exhausted. The heat and the sweating take its toll – but no crashes is a good day.

Till next time
Kieron Mooney #59

Sean - 3rd July 2008

So, it’s been a while.  Summer always brings along extra things to do.  Can’t think of anything spectacular that has happened though, just the same old work and play.  I have been out riding far more than the last few years though.  The GSXR750WT (SRAD) is still a dream to ride.  I love the new 600’s and often think of swapping her in, but just can’t do it.  As usual I made the Day of Champions the day before the British GP.  Met up with a few friends whom I only ever get to see at Donnington.  It’s nice to be able to get paddock side and see how everything happens behind the scenes.   All for a good cause too. 

Other than that I play a lot of football (soccer).  Check out our teams’ website if you are really bored www.bunkychollox.com

So the racing season is in full swing.  I’m finding MotoGP a tad boring this year to be honest.  I like the qualifying but the racing just isn’t up to much.  Ban traction control; let’s get it back to 100% skill and talent like the old days.  If you want to watch real racing, just get hold of a 500cc GP video.  I enjoy the 250 and 125 GP’s far more as there is always action start to finish.  The ironic thing is that Eurosport have lost the rights to show GP’s on TV in the UK form 2009.  They show everything, qualifying and all races.  BBC will now be alone in the coverage and they only show the MotoGP race, hope they show more.

World Soupers has been good, BSB also and I also try and catch the AMA races on our Motors TV (Speed) channel.  Suzuka 8 hour is this month; I always wished that got more coverage than it does.

So as my illustrious founder waffled on in his #9 journal, we are off to KSSS in Atlanta at the end of August.  Going on a road trip and can’t wait.  Making a holiday out of it.  I fly in Monday, few days with the tan-less Kieron in Washington, drive down for school and then I fly to meet my fiancée in Vegas when school is over.  She is flying direct from the UK.  Should be a great 2 weeks. 

If you didn’t know, I moderate for Kevin on his Website.   www.kevinschwantz.com  Come on over and say hello.  We run monthly competitions and have an “Ask Kevin a Question” on his message board.  He still has a lot of fans all over the world.

So reading Kieron’s #9 journal I feel the need to answer a few of his comments (my lawyers are currently looking them over so I can’t say too much)…

- I wasn’t sure of him at first because he was a Brit, I love to slag him - me being an Irishman.”   Interesting that Father Ted!

- “he has a good sense of humor.” Very good I think you’ll find and I haven’t even started on the Paddy jokes yet!

- “he introduced me to Skpye”  I introduced him to Skype, not sure what he is using.

- “We both turned on the video cameras so we could see each other” Scary!!  Should come with a warning before the session starts.  Last time I saw Kieron, very professional clean shaven, then BAMM – he must have been staring in a hairy yeti horror film.

- “He taught me how to bid on EBay.”  That I did, its fun bidding with someone else’s $$$

- “I had my prized helmets sent to my parent’s home in Dublin, Ireland. Now, when we Skype,”  so he talks to his parents on the proper version!

- “I now have 7 in my collection to his 40 something.”  Not bad mate, 31 actually, unless you were referring to my age!!??

- “I am bringing the BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 with me and plan on spanking the Brit every lap we take.” – concentrate on riding mate and keep your spanking for somewhere private who enjoys it and that ain’t me pale rider!

- “can hear him now saying “the schools bikes are only 600’s“  do you want me to thrash you on something smaller?

- “I have a track day coming up on Monday July 7 to get the bike ready for Atlanta”  practicing are we eh, eh, practice, worried are you?

Well ladies and gents, boys and girls, that’s me for now.  I am off to Arai Europe in Holland at the end of the month so I’ll post up some pictures of my trip when I get back.

Till then ride safe and watch out for pale, hairy dude in the Washington area!!

Sean


Kieron - Journal Part 9, July 2, 2008

Myself and my partner at BlarneyQuick -  Sean de Fraine, who incidentally is the webmaster for the Kevin Schwantz web site. Very lucky to have him on board, I am very well connected in the bike world. The both of us love to follow anything to do with GP style racing. Sean is a top collector of race memorabilia, like helmets, visors, knee sliders and that sort of thing. His collection of helmets includes the most complete set of Kevin Schwartz’s helmets in the world. I mean if Kevin wore a one off for a certain race, my man Sean has it in his collection. When myself and Sean met, it was at the Schwantz superbike school in Atlanta last August. I wasn’t sure of him at first because he was a Brit, I love to slag him - me being an Irishman. He gives it right back though and he has a good sense of humor. So, after Atlanta we kept in touch and he introduced me to Skpye (greatest free telephone/video system). One day after I got set up, I called him. We both turned on the video cameras so we could see each other while we were talking. The first thing I noticed was Sean was sitting at a desk and behind him were his collection of helmets. To tease me he would pick up a helmet and flash it by the screen. He did this a lot, it drove me crazy, because he had two helmets in particular that I always wanted – one was a Joey Dunlop and the other was a Barry Sheene. Well, Sean helped me get those two helmets. He taught me how to bid on EBay. These helmets are bloody expensive to actual win the bids and will quickly put me in the poor house. They only surface for sale on European EBay. Instead of having them sent to the States, I had my prized helmets sent to my parent’s home in Dublin, Ireland. Now, when we Skype, they pass the helmets in front of the camera and further torture me. Next trip back to Ireland those babies are coming back with me and put in their new display case. I now have 7 in my collection to his 40 something. By the way these are all Arai helmets – the best helmet made in the world.

I am looking for a Centennial TT Arai to buy, if any knows someone with one, let me know. Size large is a must. Myself and Sean are going back again to the Schwantz school. He flies in from London on Monday August 18 to my neck of the woods (Rockville Maryland). We’ll hang out for a couple of days then drive the 9 hours and 600 miles down to Road Atlanta Race track. We will record everything this trip. I am bringing the BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 with me and plan on spanking the Brit every lap we take. I can hear him now saying “the schools bikes are only 600’s“. On a final note, I have a track day coming up on Monday July 7 to get the bike ready for Atlanta. I will have a report and pictures early next week.

Founder/ BlarneyQuick

#59 Kieron Mooney

Kieron - Journal Part 8 June 29, 2008

I consider myself a motor cycle race junkie, fanatic and historian of GP, Superbike and pure Road racing. I crave any information that I can find on any racer no matter what discipline they race in.  Most recently, my beloved sport tested my faith as two great Irish road racers lost their lives doing what they loved to do. Losing Martin Finnegan seemed to touch me more than any of my other lost hero’s. I personally knew Martin and was trying to organize sponsorship from BlarneyQuick when he was taken away. Then just as the Road Racing world was paying tribute to Martin, Robert Dunlop looses’ his life practicing at the North West 200. Now, that news shook me to the core. Road racing fell under the microscope for its high risk factor and many voices asked was it worth the risk of life, to sanction pure road racing.

My opinion is each one of these great racers knew the dangers and put that danger to the test very time they challenged the open roads. I have witnessed the open/ public road type races which are really only held in Ireland and The Isle of Mann. These racers are the true gladiators of the sport. Let the truth be known, if these racers have a fall, the results are usually tragic. Motorcycle racing got its start on the open roads and at one time the FIM held rounds at the Northwest 200 in the Formula 750 world championship – which Joey Dunlop won several times. The Isle of Mann held GP world championship rounds right up until the mid 1970’s. Some of the greats like Agostini, Hailwood and Read quit the Isle of Mann and open road races, because they knew the bikes were becoming too fast. The risk became too high and when they said it was too dangerous the world listened. Circuit tracks or purpose built tracks started to take over. They were safer, but still very dangerous. Some of the old pictures of these guys leaned over inches from a brick wall or Armco barrier at high speed are beyond belief. Road racing only started because there were not really any purpose built tracks to race on. These guys did what came natural; they raced what was already available. Ireland holds more of these races than any country in the world. These road racers don’t have a death wish – this is just another form of racing. I will admit that they are very skilled and most have nerves of steel. If any of you are like me, you have pushed the speed limits in your neighbor hoods and certain corners became so familiar that you enjoyed the thrill of going through them at speed. The sense of danger never came into your thoughts. Now that is sort of what a road racer does – he gets so familiar with the roads the sense of danger never enters the equation. They have travelled these roads many times, maybe in a car or a bicycle. The fastest guy I ever saw in person was Joey Dunlop. The sure speed he went by me has left a very real memory that earned a whole new level of respect. Too many have died, the ultimate price to pay to be the fastest.

I am a fan, a fan with my fingers crossed. The roads have many a ghost, could you imagine how many ghosts still race.

Kieron - April 5 2008, Journal 7

Since I last talked to you, the weather has held up all plans to get to the track. My first date, I had hoped to race was canceled due to really bad weather. This time of the year on the east coast of the USA is always a roll of the dice. Anyway my next attempt will be May 3, so I will cross my fingers for better weather.

The BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 just had some more goodies added and when they were all tested we ran it on the Dyno to see what she was putting out at the rear wheel. I was real happy with the results, she pushed out  139 BHP. That is about 13 net horsepower gain over stock.  I am so glad that I picked the 750 Gixer as my track bike. The Suzuki 750 was the first mass produce sport bike and has become a cult bike, ever since it was introduced back in 1986. To me it’s the perfect combination of speed, handling and weight. The Gixer 750 I race for BlarneyQuick will just get to 160 mph. That’s all you’re ever going to need. The bike is easy to ride and is very forgiving. If the bike you’re riding doesn’t inspire any confidence, it will be the wrong bike to bring to the track. It’s great to go fast and most riders can experience the thrill of speed on the public roads. But that is where the common divider ends.

I use to hear racers talk about taking their abilities and their bikes abilities to the ragged edge and wondered what they were actually talking about. From the first time you push past 100 mph, then brake and lean your bike over to get ready for the first corner, you suddenly realize how quickly that all happens. That pretty much just keeps repeating itself. A continuous motion of accelerating, changing through the gears and reacting to the next braking point. Each time you go around the track you naturally want to go faster, brake later and lean over further. That is what they were talking about, your ability to challenge yourself to go faster, almost to your limits. Every time you push to the limits, you are experiencing a new threshold. At first, you are testing your comfort level, because you’re not sure the tires will grip. Once you start to trust the bike and tires – a new world opens up. The BlarneyQuick Suzuki 750 was set up at be a very serious track bike and our experience has had good results. Kevin Schwantz told me to be as smooth as possible with body movement. That helped me focus and slowing down the weight transfer made me much smoother. I personally got up to speed quickly and started doing race type things on the track, like dragging both knees, spinning the back tire, lifting the front wheel when accelerating hard and not backing off and braking so hard the back end gets light. Those things just start to become warning signals that you may be reaching your limits. The bike may have more to give, but you have reached your comfort level. Real racers also learn to control the bike when the tires are getting worn. I have had mixed results with tires. Race tires are great if you have tire warmers – they don’t work when the rubber is cold. Slicks are very sticky but not necessary for track days. I run Pirelli Super Corsa’s, they require tire warmers, but they are very good track day tires.

Remember it is OK to be scared; it’s not OK to be out of control and crash. You will always have other guys racing with you on the track – that is another lesson for another day. Check out my Mom on our bike – she is a fan and support’s my racing adventures like all mom’s, with her fingers crossed.  Click here

Until next time, be safe

Kieron Mooney/ Founder of BlarneyQuick Racing

Sean - 13th August 2008

I just got back from my yearly trip to see my friends from Arai Europe in Holland.  They are the nicest guys in the world and always make me feel like a part of their family.  Lucky for me Arai helmets fit my head spot on so it's an easy choice when it comes to buying a helmet.  The quality is second to none and the research and money that they put in is beyond belief.  You would not believe how many helmets they have to trash to meet the regulations and guidelines.  So I caught up with all the news, visited the paint-shop and testing facility and check what I got..
 

..one of the tested helmets, or sorry 3/4 of one.  I will not be taking this one to KSSS in a week or so!

 

Kieron - March 18 2008.

Check out this picture of my fathers father Tom and his newly wed wife - my grandmother Lottie.  Just shows you the Mooney boys have a long history of motorcycles in the family.  The year is 1931 and I have no idea what kind of bike this may be. I know its euro though, because the picture was taken in Ireland.


Now webmaster Sean asked a few friends on the UK's Performance Bikes forum what they thought the bike may be and here's what they come up with.  Apologies for the bad humour and risky pictures, but very informative all the same.  Click here.
 

Kieron - March 13 2008, Journal 6

My trip to Ireland was great. I stayed with my parents in Dublin for two weeks. It’s always nice to spend time with the folks and visit all my old school mates. While I was there, I had a chance to interview Martin Finnegan. Martin is one of Ireland’s top motorcycle racers and learned his trade on the public roads of Irish road racing. He actually has a motorcycle shop just outside the road course where the Skerries 100 is run. I went and visited his shop with my dad – nice shop with all the accessories.

When I talked to Martin, he was in Spain testing his bikes with his new team – JMF Millsport Racing. When he answered the phone the first time, I could hear the bikes going down the track. He is a very well respected racer and has a huge fan base in Ireland. We decided to follow and support Martin this season.
Here is what he told me:
• He will be riding Yamaha’s in three different classes – Superbike, Superstock and Supersport.
• His new team is well funded and they are handling everything for him. This leaves him free to train and get fit and be mentally prepared to race.
• His number one goal is to win at the Isle of Mann TT.
• His Yamaha runs on Dunlop tires, Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and the exhaust system is Micron.
• He owns and operates, a full service bike shop, which prepares other racers bikes. The name of the shop is Extreme 45. Martin’s race # is 45.
• He said his racing hero was Joey Dunlop. He had a fond memory of racing a 250cc against Joey in the Skerries 100 and beating him on that day.

BlarneyQuick is happy to report that Martin will give us updates on his season as it unfolds. We also think he is the man to watch this year as he attacks the Irish Road race season and the Isle of Mann.

The world racing scene has just got started and we keep track of all the results right here on this sight.
First of all Bayliss is already waving goodbye to his fellow competitors in World Superbikes. I predicted Haga would be the man this year- but he’s crashed and has had several close calls, which has rattled his cage. How about Neito winning a race – make’s things interesting. Look for more of the same from Bayliss, but Rueben Xaus and Max Biaggi look very quick on their new Ducati 1098’s.

In MotoGP, Stoner wins under the lights and makes it look easy. All I want to say at this point is this 21 year old can ride the wheels off this bike, when his team mate Marco Melandri can’t finish in the top ten on the same bike and tires. Marco is a former winner, but like Stoner’s old team mate Caporossi, he can’t get the bike dialed in. Lorenzo had a great start to the season – first taking pole and then finishing second in the race. Dani Pedrossa came in third and did well to place the Honda up that high. He is hard to like because he is such a whiner and loves to talk grap about Nicky Hayden. Rossi’s switch to Bridgestone tires did not help too much, he got beat by two rookies and almost fell to James Toseland in the last lap. We like JT and hope he is England’s long awaited replacement for Barry Sheene.

Any way my racing season is just around the corner and my leathers just came back from Lizzyleather.com. She put all the sponsor patches on and put our logo and my name on the suit. She did a great job and we fully recommend her (see Racing News for pictures).

Until next time, ride safe

Kieron Mooney/ BlarneyQuick Founder

Sean - 17 February 2008.  Webmasters KSSS story revisited....

Day 1 – Thursday 23rd August 2007.

The alarm went off at 3am (UK time). Hadn’t had much sleep due to the excitement factor and also worry that I would sleep through the alarm and miss my flight! I was out of the house by 03:15 for the 2-hour drive to Gatwick airport. It was cold and raining, nothing new there then. I made good time to Gatwick, parked up, transferred to the terminal and was about 10th in line at check-in for my 9-hour flight to Atlanta, Georgia. After grabbing some breakfast at Starbucks the flight left on time and I was away.

We landed a little ahead of schedule and as soon as I walked off the plane I could feel how hot the next few days were going to be.

From cold and raining to hot and humid I was already starting to heat up. After collecting my bags (the 1st time) I hit immigration, I must have looked dodgy or something as “CPX” was written on top of my customs form and I was stopped, searched and questioned. Anyway, nothing to hide, so I was soon on my way again, giving up my bag another time to be delivered to the terminal. I had never experienced anything like the south terminal at Atlanta before, thinking I would be ok walking, but was soon on the train as the walk seemed to go on forever. I collected my case (the 2nd time) and headed for the concourse to meet up with my lift to the track.

I was met by Michael Martin and Brian Floores, two of the Schwantz School instructors. Introductions out of the way, we collected the hire car and raced to the track only as x-racers would. Hire cars get some abuse I can tell you. It was a little hazy so I didn’t get time to see much of the city as we left it. We were soon out into the rolling green countryside and after a brief stop of at Wendy’s for a burger we arrived at Road Atlanta where I was to spend the next 3 days at the ‘Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School’. The first thing that hit me on entering the circuit was what turned out to be the hill down from turn 11 to turn 12, wow! I was already nervous, now bordering on terrified. We drove to the classroom, there was a certain Mr Schwantz. I had arrived.

I met Kevin, Marnie, Joyce and a few of the other instructors before having a nose around the classroom. Old helmets, leathers and memorabilia everywhere.

It was still quite early, the arrival meeting still a few hours away so I helped put up a few flags and ready everything for the registration meeting to follow. Must have been about 5:30pm (US time now!) and I was getting tired when I headed down to a little picnic area for registration and to meet the other students. There was some food to nibble on as everyone got introduced, registered and acquainted with each other. I wasn’t that hungry, the Wendy’s burger had sorted that, but I was sure was putting the fluids away, water only! It was still real hot n humid, even at 6:30pm. Kevin welcomed everyone and then invited everyone up to see the bikes, surprise time, not for the students but the instructors. He had got them all an early Xmas present, personalised mountain bikes, they were all gob smacked and soon wheeling and mucking about as racers do.

One by one people started to leave, it was to be an early start the next day. I had a gift to give Kevin before I left for the hotel, a signed (by me!) old crew shirt from his Lucky Strike racing days. Presentation out of the way I grabbed a lift to the hotel from my new friend and taxi driver (thanks mate) Vito.

We checked in at the Country Inn & Suites back in Oakwood and I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, it had been a full 24 hours since leaving.
 


Day 2 – Friday 24th August 2007.

I was up bright and early and feeling okay after the previous long day and headed off to breakfast. After a light breakfast, honestly, Vito and I headed for the track. After the final few students registered we were ready to go. Michael was to be the classroom instructor for the next few days. Michael introduced the instructors and Kevin. We were spilt in to 2 groups, A and B, depending on previous track/race experience, not having any I was in Group B. We were informed of the basics, this course ultimately was to improve your riding capabilities to whatever standard YOU wanted, there was no pressure and safety was their #1 concern. No one would be pushed, just take it step by step increasing speed as you became more comfortable with the track, your bike and your limits! We had already got leathered up (rentals if required)

and the first thing was to get acquainted with the track (daunting) and the bikes, brand new 2007 Suzuki SV650’s and GSXR600’s all lined up looking awesome! 

The format of the next few days was classroom and track time. 20 minutes in class, 20 minutes on the track until the end of the day. Group A went out to learn the track and the bikes whilst Group B stayed in class. 

Michael started to explain riding techniques, the track, the bikes, safety advice etc. Over the next few days we would cover everything, speed, gear changes, foot peg weighting, throttle control, clutch, positioning (both body and bike), lines around the track, crash techniques, breathing, there wasn’t a stone unturned. Sitting there listening I was as nervous as you like, knowing anytime soon we were to go out. Then it happened, the sound of bikes returning from the track meant it was our time. The first time out we were to take it easy and learn the flow of the track, nothing more.

The Arai went on and we left the classroom. It had been mentioned the SV650 was a good choice to learn the track on, not as racy and more forgiving than the GSXR, so I headed for one of the immaculately prepared SV’s, fired her up and headed for pit lane. There were three lanes to choose 1, 2 or 3. 1 being fast, 2 medium and 3 slow. The queue for 3 was the largest! I think people were unaware of what was to follow and wanted to start slowly, I know I did. The instructors led the way on their GSXR750’s.   2 or 3 students to 1 instructor. 

Single file, no overtaking unless instructed, nice and easy kept going through my mind. We were flagged away, bbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, as we rolled down the exit lane in to turn 1. The nerves had given way to excitement and immense concentration. Turn 1 an up hill right hander into 2, a blind left switch, 3 another right, 4 a left, down hill through the esses into 5 a left that goes up hill, 6 a fast cambered right into 7 a tight blind right, down the back straight with a slight left 8 and right 9 before downhill to 10A and 10B the left/right chicane. Out of 10B up hill and over the top of blind 11 into “OH MY GOD” the downhill drop to turn 12 and the front straight.

Awesome track, super smooth as it had been resurfaced recently too. Lap 2 underway meant the first time through turn 1 on the correct line, that was some corner too. We carried on around for a good few laps just getting used to which way the track went. Red cones had been placed at the side of the track of corner entry and exit points with a green cone on the apex to the corner. The instructor still out front constantly keeping an eye on us in his mirrors making sure the pace is okay and we aren’t getting in to any situations. I swear the toughest part of those first few laps was remembering to breath! Later Michael would explain breathing in one of the classes so obviously a common problem. Before you know it, the chequered flag was out. The first session completed we headed back to the classroom. The smiles on peoples faces as the lids came off was clear to be seen, everyone chatting getting out what they thought of the bikes and the tracks, incredible. So Group A back out, we went back to class for de-brief and more instruction. It was hot, and getting hotter. I was drinking water and re-hydration fluid a plenty whilst in the classroom trying to keep my fluids up so I didn’t collapse out on track! I was perspiring like never before and that wasn’t to stop, great way to loose weight! We had class and time to go out again. I was more nervous this time than the first as I had had some track time and thought we would be stepping it up again. Off to the pit lane and lane 3 (slow) had gained a few extra riders, which was reassuring. Out on to the track again on the SV, getting the laps under our belts, learning the way around, the pace nice and slow, it hadn’t been up’d at all, the instructors had it all under control. Again smiles aplenty when we returned, we got 1 more session in before lunch where everyone already had their own stories from the first hour of track time at Road Atlanta.

After lunch the same format followed. This continued the whole 3 days. The classroom sessions held by Michael were paced and informative with Kevin on hand to jump in when/where required. 

Michael complete with sound effects, as Kevin had too, would often jump up on the bike in class to demonstrate bike position and handling etc. The classroom sessions were structured in such away that it lead form basics to more advanced topics as the track sessions progressed and we would get smoother, faster and more comfortable out on track. Buck Schwantz was around to offer advice too.

We got 2 track sessions in on that first afternoon, the first I used the good olde SV and for the last session I got my hands on one of the stunning GSXR600’s. The SV was a great bike, just buzzed around the track nice and easy, kinda bouncy, but you knew what was what. It didn’t have that razor edge to worry about. We later learnt if the instructors go have a play, they take the SV’s out. The GSXR was a different beast. My kind of bike. It was racier, smoother and more planted. I was already going faster and on returning to the pit my smile was bigger than ever. I had found my weapon of choice for the next 2 days.

We finished up as ever with Michael asking how it went and what to think about over night before heading back to the hotel for a shower, boy I needed one, before heading out to dinner. Kevin took us all to a Mexican restaurant not far form the track that was enjoyed by all. The two sat-navs in Vito’s hire car couldn’t find the place, we were off the map most of the trip. A bit of good old sense of direction and hand written instructions got us back on track. We weren’t the only ones to get lost in the ‘Atlanta triangle’ sat-nav zone. Dinner over, stories told, back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.



Day 3 – Saturday 25th August 2007.

Breakfast out of the way, off to the track. First thing today whilst it was cool (!!!) was a track walk. A full days track time behind us Kevin loaded us all in to vans and took us out on to track to show us the lines and reference points around the track. 

I kid you not he was pointing out marks and lines on the track he uses for corner entry etc that I never saw the previous day, scary when you miss great big painted white lines!! 

At each corner Kevin would tell us his secrets on how he addresses them and then 3 instructors would come through the corners at speed so we could see what he was saying. 3 speeds, slow (but fast for me), medium and ‘Opie’ speed. 

Opie came through the corners at warp speed, awesome to watch, so fast, sparks flying everywhere. We stopped at various corners on the track, advise was given and demo corners provided by the instructors.

We finally got to turn 11, the blind crest leading downhill into 12. 

This was by far the scariest place on the track and I personally couldn’t wait to see Opie through here. He did disappoint, 1st lap, WOW, 2nd lap wheel pointing skyward, double WOW. 

We later found out he had mucked up through 10B and grabbed a handful of throttle to recover which got him kind of out of shape, kind of??!?!? glad it wasn’t me. 

Track walk over we headed back to class, Group A off out to use the newly gained knowledge, us back to the classroom to learn some more and obviously discuss ‘Opie time’. It was then our turn for track, GSXR again in hand off to the slow lane we headed. First lap of the day, it was amazing how different the track was now we knew what we had learnt form the track walk. It seemed so much easier, the GSXR stuck like glue. Lap after lap, smoother and faster, the smiles got bigger. I had kind of paired up with Kieron by this point. The instructors try and encourage you to find someone of equal standard so you don’t ride too slow or fast. We had also had a fair few instructors leading us now, each one riding around spending more time looking backwards in their mirrors at us than forwards. We were offered advise whilst on track via hand signals and the instructors would slowly up the pace whilst at all times making sure we looked in control. The 2nd session of day 2 was the first time out I actually didn’t feel nervous. I had learnt where the track went and what the bike could do. I know looked forward to implementing everything that Michael had taught us in class with everything the instructors were telling us on track, each time getting quicker and quicker but still smooth making sure I hit all the right markers. Kieron and I were developing a good pace; we joined or were joined by others too. Riding with most of Group B before the course was over – except those that lined up in lane 1!! We went out with Peter (great lines mate) and Aaron (knee-down achieved and cool celebrations) a fair few times amongst others. 

The camera bike was in play on day 2 too. Not that you knew it but instructor Lee was out on track stuck to you back wheel so your riding could be analysed back in the classroom after the session, this was very helpful. I only ever seemed to get videoed on the back section and not through my favourite part turn 1 through 6, shame as I swear I was well rapid through that sweeping section! Lunch in between another 5 class and track sessions saw out the day. It was a great day, better than day 1 by far. We ended up following Tray Batey out on one session, I had never been through turn 1 as quick trying to follow him, by turn 2 he was gone, we caught up with him having a nap at turn 6, my god you think you are going fast, these guys are in another league. I had developed cramp to in my leg right at the end of the day, reminder to keep those fluids up for day 3. We were sent on our way that evening with instructions of visualising a lap with your eyes closed that evening, something that Kevin had used during his GP career and if you could master helps no end. So with the final sessions out of the way it was time for the World Famous Schwantz family BBQ.

Jim (Kevin’s dad) and Stacey (Kevin’s sister) had driven the BBQ all the way in from Texas (19+ hours) to provide the evenings feast. 

I tell you what, ribs n chicken to die for. 

The food was just awesome. People sat around swapping stories of the days whilst chowing down on some top quality BBQ grub, stuffed by the end I tell you. The gods were with us as we had all finished when the heavens opened and the mother of all storms rolled in to town. The drive back to town was something, Vito should have hired a boat! The wipers couldn’t clear the water fast enough, you couldn’t see 10 feet, something smashed across our windscreen, branches were lying on the road – scary! We made it back and I just hoped it would be dry for the morning, I didn’t fancy a wet track on bit. As for doing a lap of the track with your eyes closed before bed, I think I made it to turn 3 before I was asleep.



Day 4 – Sunday 26th August 2007.
The previous nights rain had cleared off, it was a misty damp start but the track was dry. It did have water on the kerbs and some dirt on the track through 5, but advised to take it easy first out is what we did. It soon dried out completely, the sun was shinning once more. Same format as usual, class followed by track.

In the morning we had a practical, accelerate in 1st, clutchless to 2nd, blip throttle, change back to 1st and stop. All about matching revs to gear changes and not using the clutch on up shifts, with that accomplished it was track time. It really did feel fast and smooth on the last day, not having to worry about where the track went at all, entry and apex points mastered. Just concentrate on everything learnt and put it into practice. I had a couple of laps out front of the instructor on day 3. You follow them for so long when finally they think you are good to go they wave you by! Your heart goes up a beat and I think I held my breath the whole way round. Rather than tear off trying to emulate ‘Opiewon’ I backed off slightly, didn’t want to rubbish all the good stuff I had done up till now. It was amazing, for the first time no one out front you were leading the pack, still at a pace just make sure you hit all the markers and have some fun. When the instructor re-takes you, you wait for his assessment, thumbs up, yee-haa! Led a few laps on day 3, each time different instructor thumbs up, well chuffed (as we say in England). Kieron and I even dared lane 2 a couple of times, it was no faster than lane 3, all in the mind I think, just go as fast as you are comfortable with. Those last few sessions we even zooooomed by the lane 1 guys. By this time Kieron and Aaron were sliding knee’s on regular basis, me, not my style, more like my joints wouldn’t let me, but I had found my way of riding, fast, smooth and safe.
Kevin black Dainese leathers on ‘Darth Vader’ style was out on track, screaming around at crazy speeds, the noise that GSXR600 made when he came by, it was like something out of Star Wars for sure.

Dave who was out taking photos later reported he was going through corners looking backwards like it was the easiest thing in the world, probably at least 3 times faster than us too, the man still has it! Jim Schwantz was out on track too.

We had classroom sessions as usual, but that 3rd day was all about feeling real comfortable out on track. Unfortunately the storm rolled in a little early and we didn’t get our 5th session of the day out on track, but with tired limbs and mind maybe that was a good thing.

So with the rain lashing down outside we were done. A great three days. Kevin, the instructors and staff were superb, the track was amazing, the students brilliant, the environment spot on, what would I improve? Not having a 4th, 5th, 6th…..day!

It was graduation time where the students were presented with a certificate and cap to show they successfully accomplished all 3 days. 

In turn Kevin presented, a picture taken, the class clapped, top job and well done all. 

Awards were presented to Safest Rider – Vito, and most improved, Aaron getting running up with Harley James who had spend a fortune riding his Harley in from the moon getting Most Improved, well deserved mate. The class of August 24th was finished, Kevin signed all my memorabilia including my one of a kind Arai, email addresses and phone numbers were exchanged, thanks given to the instructors, those last stories told and photos taken. One by one everyone went on their way. Everyone smiling, it had been a great experience, thanks to you all.

That evening with Vito already hot pacing it back to Florida I grabbed a lift and went to dinner with Kieron, Dave and their friends and family. More ribs at the Braselton Grille with a few beers over at the sports bar finished off a great day 3.


 


Day 5 – Monday 27th August 2007.

Home day. With my flight not until 9pm I was kind of at a lose end. I was having breakfast and got talking to Jim who invited me back to the track to kill off a few hours. Back we went to pack up the monster BBQ on to the trailer for Jim and Stacey’s mammoth trip back to Texas. With the BBQ all secured and attached to the truck we were all ready to roll. 

I said a final farewell to Kevin and Marnie who were getting ready for the AMA Superbike showdown in a few days time and after a fuel stop Jim and Stacey dropped me back at the hotel. I checked out and went for a wonder around Oakwood. Not much to report there I’m afraid. The shuttle to the airport arrived as scheduled and driver ‘Whiz’ (I kid you not and I bet he could race his van round Road Atlanta pretty quick too) gave me the tour back to town. The haze that was present the day I arrived had lifted, so I got to see much more of the city, ok from the back of an airport shuttle van, but it looked cool all the same.

Kiosk check-in out of the way, through security no problem, I was set. The flight was slightly delayed, but I slept like a baby the whole way home, think I was tired.



Day 6 – Tuesday 27th August 2007.

Landed back in the UK, it seemed cold but not raining, I eventually made it home safe and sound.

Wow, what a few days, if you are thinking about it, don’t waste your time, do it. It is an amazing experience whatever level of rider you are. I cannot rate it highly enough. Now I just need to find some money to buy a GSXR600 and trip back!


Sean (aka defraine)

P.S. More pictures HERE

www.kevinschwantz.com  www.schwantzschool.com

 


Kieron - February 13 2008, Journal 5

BlarneyQuick Racing is starting to hear from some sport bikers from around the world. We got a big reaction from our prediction’s on the up and coming racing season. We loved some of your comment’s on who you thought would be top dog this year. There are some very passionate Valentino Rossi fans out there and not so much for Australian Casey Stoner. That did not surprise us, but I still don’t see Rossi winning the title back. I am a Rossi fan myself and believe he has been a true ambassador for Grand Prix racing - no one has done a better job since the “Barry Sheene “era. Some of you commented that Stoner is not as good a rider as Rossi and that he somehow got lucky in 2007. Luck had nothing to do with it, that is ludicrous . He simply had the right combination of bike and tire - and guess what - he crushed everyone. Yes, a lot of you mentioned the engine failures that the Yamaha’s suffered - people that’s racing ! I am sticking by my picks and can’t wait to see how things pan out. For me, I just want to beat a certain English guy on our staff.

Well I have booked my spot to attend the Kevin Schwantz Superbike School at Road Atlanta in Braselton , Georgia. I registered for the “ World Champion’s Package” on August 11, 12 and 13. This will be my second time, I met Sean de Fraine (our webmaster) there last year. We both had the experience of a life time. I fully recommend a school like this if you want to be taught the right way to get up to speed. I had done two track days in preparation for Kevin’s school just to get the feel of what it’s like to be on a race track. The instructor’s were easy going and very professional when they needed to be. The class room instruction comes from real racers and Kevin is present at all times. He is very approachable and answered all questions. It took me a while to stop looking at him as a god like figure - I mean it is Kevin “frigging” Schwantz after all. He was one of my racing hero’s and having him explain something to you one on one was just fantastic. We even got to ride with him on the third day at what I thought was real fast. I remember being tucked in going down the back straight-away  at about 130mph and trying  to stay with Opie Caylor ( Pro racer/instructor) and being really chuffed about it, when Kevin went by like I was standing still. He was turned around  giving me the  thumbs up and then in a split second he disappeared into the distance. He was so smooth and in control - I remember thinking, I just got passed by Kevin Schwantz. We put in four /twenty minute sessions each day. That added up to about 120 laps after three days. Of course the first few sessions are very controlled and it’s not till the third session you start to get up to some real speed. They have first rate SV 650’S and GSXR600’s, they are all current models and prepared like real race bikes. 

 

Road Atlanta is a world class track that had just been resurfaced. Very intimidating  in places, especially for motorcycles. I am happy to hear they are reworking turn 12 and turn 4. Turn 12 is one of the scariest turns in all of racing - it’s fast (third gear) and before you get to it you have to come under Suzuki Bridge and drop down a hill -  elevation change of 90 feet in about 150 yards. Your marks (reference points) are critical  and you can mess up very easily. The problem is there is a wall that runs along the track, only about 10 feet away in places. I managed to trust what they were telling us and I never really had a moment the entire time. Not to say that others did not fair as well. We had three students go down and no one was really hurt - maybe just a little pride. If you crash, you are finished - that’s the rule. So take it easy and work on being smooth the first two days and you will be better of and most importantly you will ride all three days. There is about 35 riders in the school which they spilt into two groups. Faster and more experienced riders in one group and slower and less experienced (beginners) in another. Myself and Sean were rightly put into group B. Although we really did not know one another very well, we seemed to have similar skills. There was a wide range of speed among the riders in group B and by the afternoon session of the first day, we were encouraged to find a buddy to group with. The instructors lead off from pit lane and three riders followed. So we were kind of let form our on group, hence Sean, Aaron and myself became track buddies for the next three days. I got to know those guys  and there riding ability fairly well. I was probably the fastest, followed by Sean and then Aaron. Sean was in no hurry to get brave and he found his comfort level as time went on. I on the other hand, I was ready to go and felt right at home. Aaron was game but cautious, although he had a very good  attitude. We helped each other learn the lines and what was really cool is that after every lap you had to fall back to the last rider and that meant we all got equal time up with the instructor.

After every session we came back into the class room and we were critiqued. They had a camera bike follow your group and show potential weak spots. They taught us every thing from braking, body position to accelerating. For most of the riders in group B, the talk was “did you drag your knee”. I had experienced the knee down on both sides on my very first track day a couple of months earlier. Once you get the hang of it, you realize how important a skill it is in the turns. Your knee can guide your lean angle and give you tremendous feed back especially with the front end  of the motorcycle. Aaron had a great celebration coming out of turn six. At first we did not know what he was signaling, but when we came back in he explained he had touched down and that was his greatest goal. It was a very light hearted moment that we all laughed and celebrated with him. The school had plenty of bottled water, energy drinks and snacks to keep the everyone fully powered up. It was so hot in Georgia, you lost major water weight every session. But at the end of the day, you were so anxious to get back for the next day, it was hard to sleep. I never came down from the high and truly enjoyed every minute.

So sign up for a school somewhere and finally honor your dream of getting on the track. If you want to come and join us there are  still plenty of spots  at Kevin’s School . Check out mine and Sean’s video from the school via the Media tab.  It shows us and Kevin circling the track.  For more info go to the KSSS website.

Until next time be safe
Kieran Mooney /founder 
 

Sean - 6 February 2008.

So Kieron who lives in the good old USA thinks he can out do me, the European webmaster Sean, when it comes to predicting the top 5 in MotoGP, WSB, AMA, BSB and the TT does he?  Lets see shall we Mr FarRemoved.  Bring it on!  How about 3 points for a correct place, 1 point if they are in the top 5?  That should give you a little bit of a chance!  You may have a few years on me, but I got racing on my doorstep on tap, even get AMA 2 days after the event. 

Click here to see my predictions.

Kieron - 6 February 2008, Journal 4....

I have been a racing fan since I was a wee lad. Back then, I would have to wait for a week for any kind of race results. Every Thursday I spent my pocket money on two motorcycle newspapers, up at the corner shop. I can remember the shopkeepers smile every time he pulled them from the stack of special orders. He knew how much I looked forward to reading them. He always said nice things and always gave me a few Bon Bons (candy) for free, because I never had money left over. I cherished those walks home chewing my sweets and catching up on my race hero’s news. Some kids read comic books, these were my adventure stories. I know, I read those newspapers four and five times and never got tired of looking at the pictures. I still read all the latest news with the same kind of passion, but now it comes to me everyday thru e-mail. I have a great knowledge of GP racing from 1970 and on, but I also follow any kind of track or road racing around the world. Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read were my first hero’s and it was because of them I fell in love with motorcycles and racing.

My first race that I got to see was in 1971 with my grandfather Mooney. It was an exhibition race at Phoenix Park in Dublin Ireland. The park was having car races and my grandfather had a car racing that day. I remember being excited to be there and so close to all the race action. The cars were great, but when I heard the roar of the Triumph and Norton motorcycles start up there was no turning back. My grandfather had a brother die from a motorcycle race crash and his own son (my dad) was badly hurt in another bike accident. He did not want me to be that enthused about the bikes, but it was already too late. The first proper race I was a spectator at was at Mondello Park, also in Ireland. Little did I know at the time, I helped hold up a bike that day for the legend Joey Dunlop. They had no stands for the bike and since I was standing there drooling, he asked me to hold it upright while he worked on the front brake. He never really said anything, but it didn’t matter. He of course is one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever. That seems like yesterday, but actually it was 30 years ago.

Then came Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi. Each one a great champion on the fierce and very unpredictable two stroke 500cc machines. The GP class was then changed in 2005 to 990cc four strokes and the era of the two stoke in the top class was gone. Valentino Rossi won in 2005 and Nicky Hayden in 2006. The big four strokes proved to be the right move from the governing body and provided some very close racing. The class saw another change in 2007 and lowered the engine capacity to 800cc, apparently to slow the bikes down for safety reasons. The present World MotoGP Champion is a young Australian named Casey Stoner. Casey rides for Ducati, and on the 800cc Desmoedici GP7 he won 9 races last year and blew everyone away in the points standings. It was a very boring season and the championship lost many television viewers because of the lack of excitement. Casey’s Ducati and Bridgestone tires seemed to be an unbeatable combination and was winning by huge margins. Rossi blamed his woes on his Michelin tires. In a true Rossi move, he broke his contract with Michelin and jumped aboard the "good ship” Bridgestone. Mind you Rossi won five world championships with Michelin. He also won four races this past season, as did Dani Pedrosa, all on Michelin’s. So, we will have to see if the tire change plays a major role for him and gets him back on top. For the 2008 season there have been a lot of rider changes amongst the teams and the old guard has been ushered out. A nice mix of youth now fills the grid and the season holds great promise for exciting racing. The only problem is the grid is shrinking because there are not enough teams or competitive race bikes to go around. Right now there are only 19 riders listed so far. Dorna, the governing body has to address this and attract more teams and sponsorships - it’s all about the money.

I have challenged my fellow writer Sean de Fraine on the BlarneyQuick staff to predict who’s going to finish in the top 5 in the MotoGP, World SBK, British SBK, AMA SBK and the Isle of Man Senior TT championships. My English friend is going down like a bad cup of tea.  Click here to see my predictions.

On a final note, the BlarneyQuick Suzuki GSXR 750 is getting some more upgrades in preparation for the March 23 track day at Summit Point. The clutch lever is being replaced with a shorty from ‘CRG‘. This is a very cool lever that collapses up and out of the way if the bike goes down on that side. We are also putting ‘Attack’ rear sets on for better race setup. The weather was unseasonably warm this week, so I took the Gixer out for a bit of a jaunt. This bike is absolutely incredible and I can’t wait for the track day. Next week, I will be in Ireland and will be interviewing Martin Finnegan about his chances of winning the Isle of Man and the Irish Road racing championships.  I will have a full report in Part 4 about the other championships and give my views on the health of our beloved sport.

Until next time be safe
Kieron Mooney founder

Kieron - 29th January 2008 ....

Pictures of my Dad from the 50's


Kieron - 24th January 2008, Journal 3....

International Motorcycle Show Washington DC, January 2008 

BlarneyQuick Racing was introduced to the world at the International Motorcycle Show in Washington DC January 11, 2008. Our first project bike “Suzuki GSXR750” was on display over three packed days. Estimates said well over 200,000 people came to the show. Our bike was at the Ram Cycle’s booth and drew much more attention than we even hoped for. I worked all three days and almost lost my voice from answering all the questions about the Gixer.

 
Our mission is to get sport riders to share info about their rides and help steer them to the track to fully experience what there bikes can produce. BlarneyQuick wants everyone to realize that the streets are not the place to become a “ boy racer “. The Gixer  was set up for the track at the show, number #59 on the number plates. We showed how the bike could be converted back  for legal street use in less than 30 minutes. That was a big hit with most of the riders who came to the booth. We explained that the Gixer was ready for any “ trackday “ no matter what organization you belong to.  If we were actually going to race we would have to make further changes, but for  “ trackday “events we are good to go. The list of upgrades to the bike were on display and can be seen on the Members page of this site.
                         
The show itself was fantastic, the best in 20 years. The BlarneyQuick staff networked very aggressively and the more we talked to people the more our original concept took off. There is no one doing what we are trying to do in the sport bike world. Everyone was very interested about our vision and I know as a founder this site will have great importance in the motorcycle industry. So as we walked around and introduced ourselves it became very clear to us that our site will become important to the manufactures of bikes and after market performance products. If our forum grows and we have data that may influence manufacturers to change or improve a product, we have a chance to make a difference, because all the information is coming from real riders and real bikes. That kind of influence is priceless. We talked with Ducati ,Yamaha and Suzuki and they told us just on a local level there is no real data out there that they can use to reach the riders thoughts and see who is spending what to upgrade there bikes. This site could have an impact globally in just a few years. We want you to send us pictures of your bike and tell us what you have done to it. 


They had Stoner’s GP bike, Rossi’s GP bike, Ben Spies AMA Superbike and Roger Hayden’s AMA supersport bikes all decked out. We are huge race fans, so getting up close to these and many more real exotic race bikes had us drooling. The guys on our staff  are from all over the world, so we want to make this site as international as possible. Sean de Fraine in England is our web guy and he is a well known collector of Race Memorabilia. He has the most extensive “ Kevin Schwartz “Collection of helmets, knee pucks, etc in the world. Kevin Schwantz  contacted Sean just to try and get some of his stuff back for display at his Suzuki School, because he had let it all go through his racing career. Sean and I also follow the British SBK Championship and World SBK Championships. Check out his journal for his predictions on these championships. Then there’s the guys in Ireland who have the most extensive “ road race “events any where in the world. I am from Ireland and my contacts there keep me up to date on there road race championships and the Isle of Man TT. My contact Myles Lally, who is heavily involved in the TT tells BlarneyQuick to watch Martin Finnegan who rides for Yamaha as the next rising star. If any reader has some information about any racer, from any championship let us know - we love anything to do with racing.  The Forum is a great way to put your views across.


                                                                                                  
Finally, my very famous dad “ Pete StJohn”  one of Ireland’s greatest song writers has joined the BlarneyQuick team by writing “ The legend of BlarneyQuick “ . Pete has written many famous songs  like the ‘ Fields of Athenry’  - check him out at www.petestjohn.com . It is an honor to have such a great writer lend his pen to this site. I will be in Ireland Feb 15 to visit and get caught up on the racing scene there. With only two months to until my next trackday date, its time to starting training again. Like most of us, the winter has put on some unwelcome pounds on, which need to go if I am to fit back into my Alpinestars leathers. The leathers are having some patches and logo work done right now, so it’s a good thing I don’t have them to try on. I will let you know how they turned out when I get them back. Our  first NESBA track day is at Summit Point race way in West Virginia on March 23. We will have a full report and pictures of our race day. There will be six riders traveling with us to experience the track for the first time. 

Until next time be safe 

Kieron Mooney
BlarneyQuick founder

Sean - 23rd Jan 2008.

I'm famous, check out page 125 of this months UK Performance Bikes magazine or click here.


Sean - 22nd Jan 2008.

As I mentioned in my first update I am a massive memorabilia collector.  I started following bike GP (500's) back in 1985.  I was hooked immediately.  I was amazed how the riders wrestled the bikes around at amazing speeds.  Kevin Schwantz was my hero.  Always on the edge, always entertaining, the best!  One day I rang Suzuki GP HQ to ask if there was anywhere you could buy the Lucky Strike Suzuki pit crew shirt.  To my amazement Garry Taylor (then boss) of Lucky Strike Suzuki answered the phone.  We had a chat and I joked if Kevin ever wanted a home for his old crashed leathers then to send them my way.  A few days later a package arrived, I ripped it open to find a signed, used knee slider form Kevin Schwantz!  Amazing, a piece of history actually used by my hero.  There were a couple of awesome photo's included too.  That's what started me off.  

I was already in the Schwantz Fan Club so had a mountain of pictures etc.  I selected the best and quickly got the slider framed.  It still hangs with pride of place to this day.  It got me thinking how easily you could own rider memorabilia and I started collecting signed, used sliders.  It was slow in the early years.  A few turned up every now and then through friends or at race meets.  Then eBay arrived!  The best or worse (if you look at my bank balance) idea in the world.  All of a sudden a steady supply of sliders.  Pit crew selling to earn a few extra bucks, fans lucky enough to get pit side selling to make a profit, it didn't matter to me so long as they were the real deal.  I have over 150 in my collection now, WSB, AMA, BSB, MotoGP, 500cc, 250cc, 125cc, you name it.  Schwantz, Doohan, all the way through to Rossi and the new kids of the block, Dovi, Lorenzo.  There aren't many I don't have, but am still on the look out!

The pit crew shirt bug also set in.  I restricted myself to Suzuki GP shirts.  I collected one of each and soon amassed 20+ shirts.  I am just waiting on the near on impossible to find Pepsi shirt to complete my collection. 

Now I was out of space, out of money and thought that was it until one day I spot a mint original, un-used Pepsi style Schwantz Giga (signed) on eBay.  I had to have it.  I had the KS version which I wore and needed this one too!  It was in Australia and after winning the bid and paying the import duties (thanks Royal Mail) it was here.  A few days later a brand new version of the KS version of Schwantz's Arai appears.  Is someone watching me?  How come two in the space of the same amount of days when I hadn't seen any for years?  Well off I went again, purchase made.

Now the knee sliders were still popping up, but I had most.  Collecting moved to helmets.  I have always been disciplined enough to collect something specific, not just everything.  I thought Schwantz helmets would be cool.  I planned to collect one of each of Kevin's main designs throughout his career.  I collected the obvious ones quite easily over the years.  Now Kevin had a few designs that were never produced, for these I contacted an airbrush artist whom said he could reproduce.

I needed to find reference material for him to copy.  There wasn't much about so I got in touch with Arai Europe and Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School for some pictures.  I had been in touch with KSSS after outbidding them on a helmet on ebay at 02:00 UK time one morning.  Arai and KSSS were great and I got the pictures I required.  One by one the helmets were painted.  The collection complete (20 Schwantz helmets) when myself and a few friends from Germany imported the new style RX7 Corsair Schwantz from Japan.

I had made so many friends through collecting, KSSS, Arai, mechanics or just fellow collectors and friends on eBay.  I had struck up a firm friendship with the guys from Arai Europe throughout my quest.  They loved my passion for their brand and invited me to their HQ.  I jumped at the chance.  Those two days in The Netherlands were great and on leaving the MD offered me the chance to have my own helmet made up to my design!  I designed a helmet based on the colour designs of Kevin's helmets from throughout the years.  I sent the pictures off and a few months later I am back on the plane to collect the "Kevin Schwantz Special" as it's now known.  It was just amazing and the helmet is beyond believe.  The guys at Arai are just too good to be true.

I had been helping out on www.kevinschwantz.com too, mainly posting updates and moderating the forum.  As a thanks I was invited to KSSS in August 2007.  What an experience and where I met Kieron of BlarneyQuick Racing which is why I am typing this story.

Recently I have managed to obtain two racers helmets.  John Hopkins Red Bull Arai from 2006 British GP and Stevie Bonseys 125cc GP helmet from China 2007.

So it just goes to show how lucky you can be if you stick in there.  It all started out with a phone call on the off chance.  This call resulted in an amazing journey and a host of new friends.

I'm always on the lookout for anything Schwantz, Arai, Suzuki or knee sliders.  Drop me a mail if you want a chat.

Sean - 16th Jan 2008.

Happy New Year everyone.  Okay, I've been busy with website updates.  Got the registration page sorted so you can request access to the Members Only section where we will have high-spec details on the bikes.   Feedback form and Guest book also online.   Cheers,  Sean.

Sean - 27 December 2007.

Hello everyone.  My name is Sean and I reside in the UK.  I am the webmaster for BlarneyQuick Racing.  I met Kieron at Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School back in August 2007 and have kept in touch ever since.  I am a big bike fan, I ride a Suzuki GSXR750 on the road, follow bike racing and am also a collector of riders memorabilia. 

When Kieron came up with the idea for this site I said I would love to be involved in someway.  Being in the UK restricted my options though.   I work in IT for a bank and design websites in my spare time.  I offered my assistance to Kieron and said I would create this site. 

So here it is, please get in touch if you think it is missing something or you find a problem.  The site will continue to develop with the restricted Members Section coming next.  We will also, hopefully, have an online store for clothing etc at some point in the not too distant future.

Check back for updates on what is coming soon.

Cheers,
Sean de Fraine
/ BlarneyQuick Racing


Kieron - 12 January 2008, Part 2....

2006 Suzuki 750 GSXR.

In the last journal entry we talked about the transformation from street to track day bike. It is important to note that the BlarneyQuick Suzuki GSXR 750 can be converted back to a street legal motorcycle in less than 20 minutes. We like the versatility of changing from track to street to get as much seat time on the bike as possible. We simply put some mirrors back on and put all the fuses back so we would have full working lights and indicators. This Suzuki is truly a dream machine which segways me to my next point. You can go to your local dealership and shell out $10,599 plus taxes and registration for a 2008 GSX-R750. Now here’s the dilemma, will this stock bike meet all your needs. The answer is yes if your going to be a street rider only. Again, this is a very good bike right off the show room floor and is track worthy. But, we at BlarneyQuick know it still needs to be upgraded to make it a real track day bike. You just need to ask your self what avenue you want to take -  do you want to buy a used  bike and do what we did or do you want buy new and add what you think will make the bike better. If you want to take the bike racing and share in contingency money, your bike in most cases must be a late model like a 2008 and no older than a 2007. So our bike would be to old. There was no difference in model year 2006 and 2007 and this was always going to be a Track day bike, so we shopped for the best deal out there. I will say this, our bike will out perform a new 2008 GSX-R750 because we replaced all the weak spots on the 2006 with the best of the best aftermarket parts. Our Gixer will be on display at the Washington D.C. International Motorcycle Show January 11-13, 2008. It will be at the Ram Cycles booth. They are the guys who did all the work. Here is an opportunity to chat with us and see the bike close up.

Now that the bike is ready, we entered phase two of our journey. How do you transport the bike to the track and what will you need when you get there. We rented a motorcycle trailer for our first couple of trips. This was as basic as it gets. It was around $19 dollars a day. We towed it behind a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel 3.0. That had the towing package (towing rate of 7800lbs) and all we had to do was get the right level receiver hitch and electrical adapter. That cost us around $50. The trailer had receiver hooks for tie downs, which was nice. We also purchased four heavy duty ratchet tie downs. We also bought a “Canyon Dancer” handle bar tie down system. That cost about another $200. It is important to note this trailer exposed the bike and any of the gear your can not fit inside the truck to the weather. The trailer had an easy access ramp to drive the bike up into tie down position. When Ram Cycles was suggesting a certain frame slider, they told us about      E-Tech that converts from a full slider cap to a tie down hook by just unscrewing the cap. This type of duel specialty use, shows you are prepared to secure your bike properly. On our first trip we did not tie the front end down tight enough  and when we went over a speed bump the bike came lose and almost fell completely to one side. We recommend you fully compress the front suspension and then tie down the stapes. The bike should be as secure as possible and four tie downs should do the trick. BlarneyQuick is in the market for an enclosed trailer. We have seen many different manufactures and sizes and we are now looking for a two axle 10x15 with rear entry ramp. The benefits of security makes traveling so much easier. A 10x15 should easily hold two bikes and all the pit area essentials. Here is a list of what BlarneyQuick brings: 

  •     10x15 pop up tent. Protects from the sun or rain.

  •     Fold up table and collapse chairs.

  •     Two coolers for drinks and food and snacks. We recommend coolers with wheels and a towing handle.

  •     Portable Generator. Don’t depend on the track to have electrical outlets close to your pit area.

  •     Portable Air compressor. A must have to regulate tire pressures.

  •     Two 100ft extension cords and a multiple outlet power stripe.

  •     Two sets of racing leathers, helmets, gloves, boots and leathers and many changes of under shirts and shorts that wick moisture away.

  •     Clear and smoke helmet visors and in some cases - tear offs.

  •     Bring plenty of towels and a change of clothes.

  •     Spare tires ( rain tires just in case ) on rims ready to go.

  •     All necessary tools.

  •     A bunch of cleaners and paper towel or micro fiber towels. We carry grease cleaner for your hands, Windex and an al propose cleaner.

  •     Laptop computer to make adjustments to the power commander if necessary. 

Now that seems like a lot of stuff and your right. The cost of phase two can really start to escalate depending on  your choice’s . We learned that if you have the items we have listed your day will be so much more comfortable. Obviously  you will discover that our efforts could still be considered entry level and when you actually go to a track day and see what some riders travel in and bring, the levels of comfort are endless. What really matters are the essentials. Our cost for all these things has not ended and if there is anything you want further information on just e-mail me at BlarneyQuick.com. 

Until after the show in Washington D.C. Next time we will talk about the riding gear and why buying the right protective gear is so important. 

See Ya  Kieron Mooney



Kieron - 27 December 2007, Journal 1....

2006 Suzuki 750 GSXR.

BlarneyQuick purchased a stock 2006 Suzuki 750 GSXR with no aftermarket parts installed for $6500. Our objective was to transform this stock motorcycle into a race bike mainly to be used at track day events. The GSXR was already a great sport bike, so we decided that we did not need to mess with the engine too much. Most motorcycle race people will tell you, manufactures that mass produce bikes always cut costs in certain areas and one of those area’s is the suspension department. Since I was the rider, I wanted to have way more options to setting up my bike for my weight and size than the stock suspension provided.

I am a research junkie and to my amazement there was not one source out there to advise me on what suspension company to use. I found myself relying on my local motorcycle performance shop for technical information. I am extremely lucky in this category because I have a great shop very close to where I live. Ram Cycles in Gaithersburg, Maryland walked me thru my wish list. They suggested many alternatives and always explained their reasoning. This is a very good way to find out if this is the right shop to do the work. I quickly realized that you better have a budget, because more than likely you will over spend to get everything right.

Remember, to get to the track and do a track day you do not have to take the route I am about to take. Most modern sport bikes are good enough right out of the box. But, from my experience you will find something you want to upgrade and BlarneyQuick is recommending it will the suspension. That happened to be my case and what a difference it made. My first track bike was a FZ1 1000 Yamaha. I upgraded the front suspension with Penski springs and heavier oil. At the rear we installed a 981 Penske shock. We also put Pirelli Corse Diablo’s front and rear. We finally dialed the suspension in and suddenly the bike handled very well. Now that is a big bike and so we shaved off as much weight as possible. We went with an Akropovic slip on and rejetted the carbs. Then we replaced the rear sets with Sato’s which saved more weight, but also improved ground clearance. All the turn signals were removed and replaced with smaller units that sat flush with the fairing. The Yamaha is still street legal and that was one of our objectives. After several track days the bike preformed fantastic and has been retired to street use only. There are pictures of me racing it on the site.

Now back to the Suzuki. Here is a list of all the work that was done to make the Suzuki a formidable race bike:

·  Tires  1  front Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa 2  120/70ZR17

                1 Rear Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa 2   180/55ZR17

·  Install Ohlin’s SBK 25mm Internal Kit for front forks

·  Install Ohlin’s TTX  SBK rear shock

·  Install Versa SRJL Front brake pads

·  Install Front Speigler brake lines

·  Install Brembo 19x18 Master cylinder

·  Install Brembo front brake pump

·  Install GPR V4 Stabilizer

·  Install Woodcraft engine cases with built in sliders on both sides of the GSXR 750

·  Install two E-Tech frame sliders with tie down conversion

·  Install Full race Akropovic exhaust system

·  Install Power Commander

·  Install BMC Air Filter

·  Replace Engine oil with Motul and a Hiflo oil filter

·  Removed all indicators and safety wired everything that was required

·  Purchased Chicken Hawk tire warmers front and rear

·  Purchased front and rear jack stands from Pitt Bull

When all was said and done we spent just under $10,000 on upgrades and a total of $16,500. The final results were fantastic. The suspension was dialed in to handle my weight which is 210lbs. The front brakes had so much more stopping power thanks to the Brembo system. The Akropovic full race exhaust added horse power and sounded like a race bike without being obnoxious. When I tested it under race conditions it was very noticeable I was riding a different bike. The feel of control at high speed gave me all the confidence in the bike’s ability. We spent a lot of money, but it’s still priceless when it comes to “having a piece of mind”.

Next time we will talk about what you need to have to transport your bike and all the tools of the trade to get through a day at the track.

Until next time

Kieron Mooney / BlarneyQuick Racing

Kieron - Journal 33 - 2014 Racing
Kieron - Journal 32 - 2013 Racing
Kieron - Journal 29 - Catch up
Kieron - Journal 28 - Dylan Scott Sponsorship
Kieron - Journal 27 - New Racing Season
Sean - BQ Arai
Guest Journal - Steve - Malaysian MotoGP
Guest Journal - Steve - Memorabilia Collector
Sean - Silverstone 2010
Kieron - Journal 25 - TT 2010
Kieron - Journal 24 - Trackdays 2010
Kieron - Journal 23 - Take it to the Track
Kieron - Journal 22 - Racing News update
Kieron - Journal 21 - Summit Point Ram Cycles track day

Kieron - Journal 20 - Barber/Indy GP experience August 2009

Kieron - Journal 19 - Pictures from his trip to Kevin Schwantz School
Sean -  Kevin Schwantz School GP Experience 2009
Kieron - Journal 18 - Irish Road Racing
Kieron - Journal 17 - Setup
Kieron - Journal 16 - Schwantz
Sean - Arai collection
Kieron - Journal 15 - Hard Times
Sean - Journal - Top 20 riders
Kieron - Journal 14 - Top 20 riders
Kieron - Journal 13 - The Service Pavilion
Kieron - Journal 12 - Kevin Schwantz School 2008
Kieron - Journal 11 - Racing News
Sean - MCN
Sean - Kevin Schwantz School 2008
Kieron - Journal 10 - Racing News
Kieron - Trackday
Sean - Catch-up
Kieron - Journal 9 - Helmet collecting
Kieron - Journal 8 - Road Racing
Kieron - Journal 7 - Riding
Sean - Trip to Arai Europe
Kieron - Vintage Photograph
Kieron - Journal 7 - Trip home
Sean - Kevin Schwantz School 2007
Kieron - Journal 5 - Kevin Schwantz School 2007
Sean - Prediction time
Kieron - Journal 4 - Racing
Kieron - Photo time
Kieron - Journal 3 - International Motorcycle Show Washington DC
Sean - Perfomance Bike Magazine
Sean - Memorabilia
Sean - About me
Kieron - Journal 2 - BlarneyQuick GSXR part 2
Kieron - Journal 1 - BlarneyQuick GSXR part 1
Contact Trackdays Sponsors About Us

Facebook

Members
     

 

BlarneyQuick Racing
Established 2007