Zemke’s Weekend on Stiggy Racing Honda

Henny Ray Abrams | May 31, 2009

Jake Zemke traded in his Erion Honda CBR600RR for the Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR in his return to Superbike racing on the track where he won his last Superbike race.Eighteenth in race one, Zemke rebounded slightly to finish 15th in place of the injured John Hopkins at the Miller Motorsports Park round of the World Superbike championship. Zemke’s last Superbike win came in the second race of the first running of the AMA Superbike Championship at MMP in 2006.Unlike fellow AMA rider Jamie Hacking, who had no experience on the factory Kawasaki or Pirelli tires, Zemke had raced the Stiggy Honda at Monza last month. Still, there was plenty of work to do.”It started out Friday not so bad,” Zemke began and “by the end of Friday it was positive and we thought we had found a direction to go with the chassis but on Saturday we seemed to lose a second and kinda lost our way. Even this morning we lost another second, and we kept going backwards with the settings.”The biggest problem I had in qualifying was with turning in the middle of the corners, but we improved it in race one and then again in race two and we got a point because of it.Zemke said in the second race they were better and more competitive. “The bummer of it was that I think that we could’ve been even farther up.”Off the start I actually got a good launch and got down in the first turn and passed, I don’t know, six or eight guys in the first corner around the outside,” Zemke said, “but there was a bit of a chain reaction.” He finished the first lap in 20th.Once he got rolling he ran up against the problem he’d been having all weekend, an inability to turn mid-corner.”We definitely got it a lot better,” he said. “It was just getting to the point where it was starting to work. If we could’ve started the weekend there, I think we would’ve been able to get a top ten no problem. But we didn’t start there, we ended there. So it was a bit frustrating, but at least we finally made some progress on the bike and got it to the point that we could ride it around the race track, so for two weekends of hard work, it finally started to pay off there right at the end.”Zemke said there were a lot of things he wished they could have tried in the limited time they had and that the weekend had been frustrating.”I know that I’m a lot better than our results were and the bike’s better than our results were,” he said.Now he has a few days off before flying to Wisconsin for the Road America round of the AMA Pro Road Race series.”It’ll be nice,” he said of getting back on the Erion Honda CBR600RR. “I know that thing works and whenever you come off a big bike back to a little bike, they’re so easy to ride because everything happens so much slower. It’s just not nearly the handful that a Superbike is to ride. It makes riding 600’s usually a lot easier.As for the possibility of the big V-twin Buells and Aprilias putting their top speed edge to use on Road America’s three sixth-gear straights, Zemke said, “That’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out, but I think we should be alright.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.