Zoran Vujasinovic #16
US Team Manager
Dan Sewell #19
Europe Team Manager
Jon Forman #65
We have another new team member who will join TWF for the 2017 Season.
After working through a very tough contract negotiation ...
Mike Souza agreed to ride for TWF in 2017 !!!!
We are expecting great things from this fabulous addition.
3 new Team Members will join TWF for the 2016 Season.
Look for Details and Bio's to be posted soon.
2016 is already shapping up to be an exciting season!
TWF Completed the 2016 AFM Season with
3 Class Championships and
Top 10 plate - #6
Check out the results page for details
Aaron Wins the AFM 650 Twins Championship !!!
TWF (and a Monkey) Endurance Team
Riders: Dave Sapsis, Zoran Vujasinovic, Dan Sewell, Xavier (X-Man) Zayat
Barber Motorsports Park
Oct 24, 2013
Round #5 Not in Attendence
Summit Point Raceway
Sept 20, 2013
Round #4 CANCELLED
WERA Cancelled round #4 six days before the event due to low pre-registration. (Which was further due to another East coast series scheduled the same weekend at VIR.) There were several ideas presented to make-up the round, but the decision was made to reschedule the round at Road Atlanta on Oct. 4th, which conflicts with our AFM series on the West coast and Xavier's race at Loudon. The short notice cancelation and reschedule forced us to miss Round #4, results in our inability to complete in the top 3 not to mention putting the championship far out of reach. So, long story made short... our Endurance Season is over. Our next trip is to travel to New York to pick up our Transport vehicle and bikes and bring them back home to the West coast.
Virginia International Raceway
Aug 2, 2013
Round #3 was held at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Located on the southern boarder just outside of Alton, VIR is nestled in lush green hillsides and dense forest. It is a beautiful facility and a fun road course. We ran the Northern Loop configuration which is about XX miles long. We stayed on site in one of the track side suites along with a garage for Thursday/Friday. We had a lot of work to do to the bikes after Road Atlanta. The usual Southern hospitality was also joined with the standard humidity while the temperatures were in the low 90's
Friday AM Practice:
We had several practice sessions in the morning, but we had to divide them up between all 4 riders. Dave, Zoran and Xavier have been here before, but it had been several years and I (Dan) have never been to VIR. As usual, the first sessions went a little slower as we learned/re-learned the track. by lunch we all had two sessions on course and were ready for the race.
I ran the first stint in hopes of having a few other SV's around for the initial laps to further learn the track, but that turned out to both not happen and not be necessary. From the start, the big bikes quickly walked away with the lightweight leader amongst them. 2nd and 3rd stayed in sight for the first couple of laps, but not close enough to learn anything. Before the start, I had a strong knowledge of the track and the opening laps settled that knowledge into action and figured out the last few nuances of the technical sections. I was able to settle into lap times around 1;39 for the hour and twenty minutes and come into the pits in 3rd. Now it was Xman's turn.
We had a good pit stop and Xavier went out on a mission. He was running consistent 1;39'S and 1:38's setting the fastest lap of the day for our team. With all other teams also making a rider change, Xman was able to move us into 2nd by the middle of his stint. He was riding great and very consistent. The leaders of the Lightweight class had a full lap on us and continued to stretch their lead, so it would take a mistake or mechanical issue for us to move up any further. Xavier built up a comfortable lead over 3rd, the goal now was to run a smooth consistent race and hold onto 2nd. At about the 60 minute mark , Xman was giving hand signals and we were not sure if there was an issue with the bike or tires, but his times dropped off several seconds a lap.
We only have two signals... 1: The rider says he's coming in and 2: We tell the rider to come in. That's all we've ever really needed. We called him in for a rider change and send Zoran out. It turned out to be just tire wear. Xavier's not old and fat like the rest of us so the suspension set up ends up being a little stiff and harder to get the tires to hook up. The bike's performance varies based on wear and he was simply trying to ask us "How am I doing?" As it started to spin the rear and push the front, he backed off and made the right decision. This is what endurance racing is all about.
Zoran jumped on the bike and ran strong. As we watched the other teams pit and change riders, we were still in a comfortable 2nd place and now down 2 laps from the Lightweight leader. Zoran's times settled in around 1:41 so we figured the tires are wearing a little but not having as much affect on the 'heavier' riders. During this time, the 3rd place team pitted and re-mounted their fastest rider. We were watching the time differential and it was dropping a few seconds a lap. We gave Zoran the 60 minute board and prepared the pit for the next stop in case he signaled to come in earlier. Several laps later, Zoran signaled for a pit stop. It turned out, he noticed the quick fill fuel can on the wall with all the activity and thought he misread the pit board. We didn't ignore him out on track like last season, but maybe we do need a few more pit signals. :D
This left us with 40 minutes and 3rd place closing back in. We had to get a rider on who could run faster times to protect our 2nd place position. Based on continued tire wear and experience, we decided that it would be me. I suited up and we had an incredible pit stop. Dave put in only enough fuel that I'd need for 40 minutes and the rider swap was quick. Fired up and back on the throttle we did not loose much time. I felt like I was riding the same as the opening hour, and later the lap times would confirm. Dave began signaling me with the time differential back to 3rd and I didn't like what I saw. The time started at 40 seconds and dropped 2-4 seconds a lap. at the 23 second mark I was given the 'Hurry up!' wave and tried to find a smooth faster line. I managed to drop a second or two but the bike was difficult to handle at that pace after 3.5 hours on the tires. It moved around on me but I pushed several more laps. When I looked over at the wall and saw Zoran standing by the wall with a smile and a thumbs-up, I figured we were going be OK. I knew I could not slow down, but I could relax and not risk a crash. about 5 laps later I saw the checkered and the race was over.
It wasn't the win we had hoped for, but it broke our string of 4th place finishes. There are still two more rounds in the series and a lot can happen.
June 7, 2013
Practice day June 6
Zoran, David and Xavier (X-Man) arrived at the track Thursday morning to set up. Thursday was a practice day but it was met with rain. Most of the riders opted out of practice, but Xavier was excited to ride, regardless of the conditions. It was mostly an uneventful day; Xavier receiving a refresher on the track layout and lines while the others enjoyed a day of rest and conversation. One of the nice things about a good endurance team is even during 'downtime' it's tough to have a bad day.
After dinner in town at a local restaurant, it was back to the hotel. I arrived late that night after flying in from a work conference in Las Vegas for the week.
Race Day. Friday June 7
9:00 - 9:30 Morning Practice
Friday started off clear but still with the threat of rain. It was supposed to hold off until the afternoon and we would end up very lucky (as far as weather was concerned). The bikes had already been prepped and passed the day prior so there was not much to do other than morning practice. Xavier was starting the race so we sent him out for 15 minutes on the A bike while David and I split the 30 minutes on the B bike. I had not ridden this track since 1994. The layout was mostly faded in memory and there had been changes made sometime around 2001(?).
Xavier and David had good practice sessions and the bikes felt good. I also had a good session overall, but it started out a little rough. Not remembering the overall layout and flow, i was riding around for 2 laps like a lost puppy on a freeway. I began to figure out enough too keep a moderate pace, then was able to latch onto one of the TCYB rides of a very helpful 2 laps. After an addition 2 laps I had all the basics and felt ready. Any additional fine tuning of lines would come during the race.
10:30 - 4:30 6 Hour National Endurance
Results: 4th Place in Lightweight
As in all of our endurance races, we run the Pirelli Pro Slick which allows us to run the full 6 hours with no tire changes, but does not provide the same level of traction as the full sprint compounds the other teams run. It's close at Road Atlanta, but the slight difference is off-set by eliminating multiple tire changes during the race. Endurance racing is as much about planning and execution in the pits as it is riding. Changes and events during a race result in tactical planning carried out by crew and rider.
With everything ready to go, X-man takes the grid for the start. We had a little shuffling on the grid with some confusion amongst the team about the definition on 'inside' vs. 'outside' grid position, but we had it corrected quickly enough. The green flag dropped and we had a good start. As the pack crossed start finish for the first time, X-Man was in a close second (for the lightweight division) and looking for opportunities as the started lap 2. Looking for a pass into turn 1 he held second position as they rolled up the hill and out of sight. This was quickly followed by a Red Flag. Tis stops the event and all bikes return to hot-pit lane. No work is permitted during a Red Flag so the bikes must remain on the opposite side of the lane away from the crew. We were out on the wall with the stand but the yellow/blue #97 did not come in. A quick communication with WERA official confirmed the down bike was Xavier but he was up and mobile. He had lost the rear end in turn 1 just out of sight from the front straight and high-sided. Not a fun way to crash. Knowing that he was 'OK' (that term takes a different meaning to racers than to most others) the next challenge was the bike. Not knowing the condition, I (Dan) suited up quickly expecting to jump on the B. The WERA corner workers were quick to return the bike to the paddock. We were still not able to work on the bike (Red Flag ruling) but we could do a visual assessment... Not too bad considering.
There was still too much to fix, so we started preparing tools for a wheel swap. When you have to change bikes during an endurance, you are allowed but your laps begin over again at 0. This was so early in the race that they decided to do a full restart. We would only loose the laps it takes for the tire swap. With all the bikes re-gridded for the restart, we were poised with tools in hand. The Green Flag dropped and we started wrenching. We had to remove wheels from both bikes and re-mount the fresh tires/wheel on the B bike. This took a total of about 12 minutes so when I rolled out on track we were about 7 laps down from the leaders.
During this time, X-man was headed into town for confirmation on his foot to get cleared to race. It turns out he has a fracture in the ankle and was not able to jump back on the bike this day. Typically we monitor all teams and positions very closely, but with the distractions and concern for X-Man, we focused on just completing clean fast laps. We would jump pack into strategy mode again later as the race continued..... Another Red Flag.
Two bikes came together in turn 2, which is a very tight, fast technical section with one line in and out. Slowing for the Red Flag, I approached turn 2 to find two bikes down with one of them blocking most of my entry into the chicane. Easily maneuvered at lower speed, I was thankful for the the quick communication and response of the race crew. Back around again to park the bikes out of reach and wait. After a quick clean-up we were re-gridded once again, but this time laps were not reset since we were 35 minutes into the race. Another 25 minutes passed and I was given the PIT signal to hand the reigns over to Dave. A smooth pit stop with re-fueling and rider change, the bike charged back out with Dave at the helm.
Dave settled in quickly keeping a good consistent pace. We didn't visit him out on the wall, so apparently he felt lonely. We found this out when he came back in under a 3rd Red Flag! We rarely have 1, so to have 3 in the first 2 hours was a surprise. Once again the bike sits out like a quarantined soldier and we waited. We didn't see the cause of this event, so we assumed it was on the back side of the course. We were 10 minutes from calling Dave in for the next fuel/rider pit, so we opted to put Zoran on the bike during the red flag. After a quick lap Zoran came in for a planned fueling (since we could not do it under the Red Flag) and he was 'off to the races' as they say.
During an endurance race, you typically don't want to turn to your on-track rider sneaking up behind you in pit lane and say "Hi, What are you doing here?" Zoran had given us a surprise visit. Exiting the last section of the track, the throttle was stuck wide open. This is NOT an easy situation to handle, especially over a fast blind exit. He was able to work the clutch to control the speed then exit the track quickly, shutting off the motor and gliding it in. The demon-in-the-throttle must of been frightened by our giggles for asking such a question, because in one addition blip of the throttle the problem was solved. Zoran shrugged, mumbled something (I'm sure words of appreciation at our efficient solution) and was quickly off again. We listened for any issues on the front straight, but all sounded fine so we left him out to play for the hour. .... And play he did. Along with fast laps, he invented 'visor-air conditioning' at 140mph on the back straight. At a little past the 3.5 hour mark, he was pulled and and I jumped back on.
I spent the first 25 minutes pretty much alone. I would have faster 600's and 1000's visit for a few turns or 1/2 a lap, but they never stayed long. As well, there were other slower ones that you just pass and move on.... Some several times an hour. Them, as I was really dialing in my lines and feeling good, the Lightweight class leader came buy. Now it was time to play. We stayed together for about the next 30 minutes. Focusing on another bike makes is so much more fun and takes your mind off of fatigue. I was having fun, surely running faster laps than the morning session. I really had the track dialed in now. I was never able to hold a pass for more than 1/2 a lap, but I was continuing to improve my lines when I saw the PIT signal. My fun was over. With it I also had instant recognition at how tired I was. I completed my lap and came in for fuel/rider with Dave heading back out.
Zoran and Dave agreed to split the last 1.5 hours. Zoran always being the mischievous one, tried to hold Dave out 10 minutes longer, but apparently Dave wasn't having it. We missed his first 'tap' to signal he was coming in, but luckily X-Man noticed the next one (having returned to the track, now sitting in a chair with the ER cast up in another). When Dave cam in we were ready for him. A quick re-fuel and Zoran headed out for the final stint.
We crossed the finish line in 4th right as the rain began to fall. Mother nature held off as long as she could and gave us a dry finish. It's not the win we were hoping for, but it was far better than we expected after a crash.
We would like to give a special thanks to Zooni leathers, Pirelli tires, Galfer Brakes, and Driven sprockets.
To close the trip out we returned to Jack's where they had eaten the night before. For such a small place, it amazing how much outside seating they have and the food was incredible. Very pleasant surprise. We also made a few new friends who were out celebrating. Seated at the table next to us, It was Lori's birthday. It was one of the tricky-math birthdays celebrating the anniversary a 34th birthday. Less concerned about the math, they were a wonderful and friendly group. We ended up talking after playing 'rescue-ranger' saving one of them from a overly attached drunk local. It sounds like we may have some new TWF fans in Georgia :)
Talladega Grand Prix
May 6, 2013
Having finished out the 2012 season here we were all very comfortable with the track. But this season we have a new teammate. Xavier Zayat from New York. He is 14 and has been racing most of his life; flatrack in the US and in 125/250's in Europe. upon first meeting, we liked this man. he's 14, so 'man' might not be accurate but he rides as good as any old man in our pit, so it pretty much fits. Also, he goes by X-Man!
Our goal was to get warmed up and figure out any gearing changes we wanted to do. It was also X-Man's first time at the track, so we gave him a tow around. It's a small track and I think he matched our times by his 3rd lap. This confirming Zoran's good decision to add him to the team. We made geering changes to both bikes all day from 43 through 47. With the exception of the 43T, we ran identical times. This left the decision to shift-points for all of us. We settled on the best fit for all 4 riders and fished the day out with a few last sessions.
Saturday Race Day:
Results: 4th Place
As in all of our endurance races, we run the Pirelli Pro Slick which allows us to run the full 6 hours with no tire changes, but does not provide the same level of traction as the full sprint compounds the other teams run. Talladega is a very short track with a very abrasive surface. The sprint tires will run 1-2 seconds faster a lap but will require 3 tire changes during 4-hour race. The Pirelli Pro will easily last 6-8 hours at all other tracks with life left over... But the surface here is so aggressive, it's a tough call if it will make the full race. (Again, 1 tire that will out last 4 sprints and run just under the same pace, that's an amazing tire.)
We had a second Pirelli Pro mounted up and waiting in case we needed it. It was in great shape with 4 hours on it from Road Atlanta last season (Again, showing how abrasive This Tally track is).
I (Dan) was starting the race with each of us taking 1 hour of the 4 hour race. I had a good start but quickly was consumed by the bigger bikes. Then I was also passed by several of the faster SV's in the Lightweight class. Then another. And another. This was quickly getting frustrating. Every other team was running sprint tires so we had a lap-time disadvantage. Knowing this, didn't help make it feel any better as I quickly fell to 7th or 8th place. I fought the urge to pull in, quit and fly home. I reminded myself "just give it 20 minutes, the tide will change". I waited it out and was able to work back into 3rd by the end of the first hour. Pitting at the 1 hour mark, X-man jumped on the bike and took off.
Xavier road a great pace and kept the pressure on. We was clicking off fast laps and even managed our fasted lap of the race ( making my sad-face, it was 0.02 seconds faster than mine). He rode great! The suspension was set up primarily for us old-fat guys so it was stiff for X-man causing the rear to spin up easier on exits. He managed it perfectly. At the end of hour 2, we put Zoran on and crossed our fingers the tire would last.
Zoran began his stint on pace, but by about the 1/2 way mark he was slowing down. We couldn't tell for sure, but we suspected tire wear. He was only off by 1-2. Seconds so we still hoped for the best. As other teams pitted for tire changes, the standings shuffled and we were back in 2nd. As we were ready to call Zoran in, he signaled for a PIT so we readied the fuel, rider and tire. As soon as the bike was on the stand it was obvious we needed a wheel swap ( and instantly impressive at the pace Zoran was able to keep with nothing left on the rear.... This track is ABUSIVE... And fun!).
Dave took care of fuel and I attacked the rear wheel. I had done this swap about 12 times on Friday with all the sprocket changes. The wheel goes in tight, but it can be done quickly. Never-the-less, we did not practice wheel changes at pace.... We've never needed to. I got the wheel out quick and threw the spare on lifting it into place. I hear noise from the pit wall but I'm focused on this odd shaped rear brake disk that I can't align. Finally the voices become clearer and I hear "Turn it Around!" I have the damn wheel in backwards. While the mistake only cost me about 10 seconds, it ripped me of my calm nerves and I started rushing the snug-fitting wheel. A second set of Zoran size hands entered the picture and we struggle in different directions as we address the issue from un-practiced angles. Lap-times are only in the 1:03-1:05 range at this track, so our (still fast but unnecessarily slow) wheel change cost us 6 laps. Dave took the saddle for the last hour in 4th.
Time for strategy. Dave was holding position and there was no real reason to push any harder. Then the 3rd place team came in for one last tire change putting us within 1 lap of taking over 3rd. Once back out on track, we were again holding position. Laptimes for both 3rd and us were bouncing around 1:06. We had 35 minutes left in the race. With those times, we decided to pull David in just before the 30min mark. The plan: if 8 can click off consistent 1:04's or better, we can get the lap back and steal 3rd. It was a gamble and rude to pull Dave off early, but we went for it.
After a very quick stop/go rider change, I was on track with my head down. I could see my target on the opposite end of the track and very slowly closed it. At 2 seconds a lap, it's a slow hunt. I could feel the clock ticking down and I hoped for enough time. With less than 15 minutes to go, I had him 2 turns away. Continuing on my march I made the pass out of turn one with 5 minutes to spare. Feeling excited and arrogant, fatigue quickly found it's home where focus had vacated. I managed to save a high-side on to the back straight but kept my head down until the flag.
As it turns out.... We were 2 laps down. The exciting ending was all a farce, it only put us on the same lap, not ahead for 3rd. The team in 3rd was as surprised as us. They also though it put them a spot down. WERA officials were accommodating and went through the results with us. They were correct. It was inefective, but it was still exciting and fun.
With our program, Talladega puts us at a disadvantage. We were hoping for a win but not really expecting it without some luck. The next several rounds at bigger track will play to our tires and strategy. We are looking for a win at Road Atlanta next month to set the tone for the remainder of the season.