Genuine Broaster Chicken / American Honda Team Race Report
This is a press release from RoadRace Factory…
Photos by GeoCrash Photography
Braselton, GA (April 18, 2018) – The opening round of the 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship kicked off this past weekend from Road Atlanta. Coming into the season, the Genuine Broaster Chicken / American Honda team was eager to demonstrate the new-found power of their CBR1000RR SP2. During the off season, the crew worked tirelessly to sort out the issues that plagued the team last season. Working with superbike rookie, Cam Petersen, the crew had made important strides in the engine performance, chassis setup and most notably, the electronics. The entire team arrived on-scene with that “New Team” smell.
Road Atlanta is a favorite stop for the MotoAmerica series. The flowing natural-terrain circuit offers a mix of technical esses with fast straights climbing and descending the hills. The weather can always be a factor at the Georgia facility, and this weekend the weather was projected to have a critical role in the races. With the impending storm looming over the horizon, the entire superbike paddock was in a rush to get those first practice sessions nailed and vie for the best possible qualifying positions going into Saturday’s Superpole. The mantra is “Best to get the hard done in the dry.”
The first practice session of the season was slated for late morning Friday. Testing is one thing, but now, everything matters. Times from FP1 and FP2 are taken into account for determining Superpole eligibility, so there’s very little time to mess around. As the sun brought up the track temp, the crew prepped the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda for Cam’s first laps of 2018. A full 50-minute session was scheduled and Cam was circulating at a pretty decent clip. As Cam was learning the bike and track, he and the crew tried various setting to ensure a quick lap time. As the session was coming to a close, a red flag brought the whole progress to a screeching halt. The last few minutes of the session were lost and along with it some of Cam’s best sector times. Cam would dismount the motorcycle and return to debrief after finishing in tenth place.
Fast forward to later that afternoon and FP2. The sun was still shining and temps were just about ideal for riding on fresh Dunlop rubber. Cam came out of the gate quick and was looking strong. The changes made during the break were clearly working in his favor. Again, Cam was up and down the timing screen consistently inside the top ten. Just as in FP1, Cam was making his best progress when a red flag was shown and the session was called early. Without a full compliment of laps, Cam was again in P10. Scoring an average of 10th, Cam was immediately put through to Superpole set for late Saturday morning. As the sun set, the crew was left with a clear path forward in giving Cam the best possible bike for Saturday.
The storms that were forecasted for Saturday had not arrived when the team came and opened up the pit for FP3 in the morning. This is a short session, typically 25 minutes that is more of a warm up than a full practice. Cameron set out to give the bike a proper shake down. However, there would be problems. Coming down into T-10A on the second lap, he hit a false neutral and had to regain his line. On lap three in the same location, he experienced a low side when he lost the front end at the apex of the corner. Apart from adding to his personal rock collection, Cam and the bike were okay and headed back to the pits for some quick repairs. Within minutes he was able to get back out and finish the session in P11.
Time to shake off the FP3 incident, Superpole is here! In case you’ve forgotten, Superpole is a fast 15-minute session wherein the riders get one flying lap on a super sticky Dunlop Qualifying tire. This would be Cam’s first-ever experience on the special tires and fortunately the crew had two of them. They sent Cameron out for the first part of the session on a sticky “Q” tire so he could get used to the feeling before they brought him in for a change and then the final push. Despite feeling confident on the new tires and again hitting personal best sector times, Cam was only able to manage P11 by the time the checkers flew. Not a bad place to start his maiden race, but certainly a position that would require some hard work to make up ground during the 21-lap event.
There isn’t a great deal of time between Superpole and Race One. Typically it’s just enough time to have lunch, sign autographs and debrief. Having fulfilled those obligations, Cam soon found himself sitting atop his Honda on the starting grid. Still under perfect conditions the entire 15 rider grid was anticipating a cracking opening salvo. The starting grid is always a spectacle of colors and sounds. There are not a lot of places quite like it. The energy is amazing. As electric as it is the real excitement is when the grid is cleared to go and the motors scream to life. When the lights go out and the field roars towards turn one, nobody exhales until every rider is through cleanly. Cam made an okay start, not getting off the line as clean as he would like, he had to fight his way through the back of the pack through the first several corners. After making up some ground, Cam would be coming up to the infamous T-10. Coming into the corner, Cam wasn’t in the ideal line and tried to recover as he braked for the entrance of 10A. Unable to make that recovery, Cameron would end up going straight through the corner and crash into the gravel, ending his first superbike race as a full-time rookie.
Unfortunately, the crash was a bit more severe than originally thought. Once Cameron was back at the team’s transporter, he began to show signs of a possible concussion. Upon medical evaluation, it was deemed necessary to transport him to the local hospital for further evaluation. Cam was soon released from the hospital but not cleared to race on Sunday. Sadly, the start of the 2018 Superbike Season ended before it fully began. The team now looks forward to Round 2 from the Circuit of the America’s beginning this Friday. No rest for those who choose this lifestyle!
“We’ve probably come off the busiest off-season in our history. With the issues that we faced last year, our guys were determined to not allow the same problems to surface. Scotty and the crew found us some extra horsepower and focuses their remaining energy on getting the new electronics up and ready. We even had some help from our WSBK partners and I’m pretty sure we fried Scott’s brain with the amount of information that was dropped on him.
We also had prepared Cam as much as possible. He moved out to Colorado so that he could train in MX and Roadracing by utilizing our school’s equipment. We completed a bunch of testing and knew we had work to do but were completely confident that we could hit the ground running.
I was pretty pleased with how the progression was going during the practice sessions. Cam was showing that he could adjust quickly to the changes that were being thrown at him. In Superpole, Cam was sitting pretty good until the end when that last flurry of activity knocked him down to P11.
Starting from P11 would mean he would have a lot of work to do during the races, but we felt confident that he could do it. Sadly, a mistake into T10 on the opening lap ended that. Cam took a decent knock to the head and was later ruled out of the second race on Sunday. Not the way you want to start a season, but this is a learning process. We take our lessons and we move on. We’re heading to COTA next where that extra horsepower that Scotty and the guys found ought to make for a great show!”
Scott Jensen – Crew Chief
“As a crew chief, Road Atlanta was my first race with a new rider since the start of 2014. Which is always a fun, exciting new adventure. In addition is was our first event with a new electronics package, which meant it would be busy to say the least. The event started off well with a constant steady progression in both Cameron’s feel for the bike and our lap times through all the practice and qualifying sessions. This had us all excited to get the racing underway!
Unfortunately we had an opening lap crash in race one, which kept Cameron off the bike for the remainder of the event, so now we head toward COTA!!”