RPS is now RPS Manufacturing
May 5, 2016
RPSRaceTeam.com sponsored rider Danny S. Kelsey completed his fourth road race in five weeks at the historic and picturesque Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Kelsey and the team would continue to work to improve their competiveness in the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike class.
Friday practice provided mixed results. With Kelsey shown in 18th place after a very tricky setup session, the team scrambled to make the improvements required by the Georgetown, Texas rider. With qualifying session one set to go, Kelsey appeared ready to make a move up the board. As qualifying began Kelsey took advantage of the changes made to the DP Brakes equipped Suzuki GSXR-1000, and as the session ended the team was now in 17th position. Not necessarily what the team was hoping for, but still an improvement. Kelsey would ultimately improve his qualifying time in qualifying session 2 with a 1:29.592, but still start from 17th position.
The team and Kelsey still continued to struggle to find “the next step” in the setup. As race one prepared to get underway, last minute changes were hoped to give Kelsey the competitive edge he needed to move up the leader board. As the starting lights got the field underway, Kelsey put his head down and quickly put his Suzuki in the top 15 of the starting grid. Unfortunately the front end push at the beginning of the race prevented Kelsey from keeping up with the group battling for 12th position in front of him and he found himself in a solitary race. Kelsey was passed for 15th on lap 13, but the Texan quickly responded as the fuel load lightened and the Suzuki began to fall into an optimal handling state. As the checkered flag fell, Kelsey found himself in 15th position after charging late and running strong in the last third of the race.
Kelsey and crew chief Marcus McBain continued to discuss the setup and realized that with the stock Suzuki triple clamps and linkage, it was going to be difficult to get the bike to work properly. McBain made a big change before the start of race two which would mask the problematic trail numbers that the team had to work through. The drawback would be that Suzuki would likely begin to handle poorly the last few laps of the race.
As the starting lights set the field into turn one for race two, it was quickly apparent the changes to the JRi Shock and GP Suspension equipped Suzuki GSXR-1000 were the right move. Kelsey was shown in P14 after 6 laps. Additionally, Kelsey posted his fastest lap of the weekend (1:28.964) in the opening laps. On lap 14, Kelsey made the move to 13th place. Kelsey maintained a very quick pace even as the fuel load lightened and the Suzuki began to steer slower and slower.
Like the rest of the field, Kelsey battled tricky track conditions resultant from oil being put down during a promoter lapping event at the lunch break. On lap 19, the conditions got the best of Kelsey and he found himself back in 15th spot. Kelsey played it smart on the last lap and finished with another solid top 15 position, but most importantly he proved he was capable of running the pace needed to earn solid championship points despite a motorcycle that wasn’t working perfectly.
DANNY KELSEY – LEAD RIDER
“It has been a few years (2007) since I have been to Mid-Ohio, but I love the track and it was great to see all the fans that turned out for this event. I was a bit frustrated in Race one as I felt we just weren’t getting the setup that I know we are capable of. I was really pleased with race two. The guys I was racing with were definitely solid performers and to be running as high as 13th with our bike is really rewarding.”
MARCUS MCBAIN – CREW CHIEF
“This was the second of our two AMA Nationals that we were budgeted for. We realized that we had a tall task when we put the schedule together, but Danny (Kelsey) definitely showed he has the talent to perform at this level. I know what Danny accomplished on our Suzuki was really special and this race has really helped us tremendously with knowing what we are all capable of. We faced all of the issues all the other teams faced, but that didn’t stop the team from working to perform its best.”
The team thanks their sponsors and supporters as they would not be able to compete at this level without the special efforts of KMC Controls, RS Taichi, Dynojet, Vortex, Motoliberty, South Central Race Center, Motopia, M4 Exhausts, DP Brakes, K’s Motorsports, GP Suspension, JRi Shocks, Lone Star Track Days, Shoei Helmets, Hotbodies Racing, Silkolene, WRW Racing, Barnett, Chicken Hawk Racing, Raceworx, and Racing Engine Services. Kelsey will resume CMRA competition in two weeks at Texas World Speedway.