Sunday, December 31, 2006


I want to wish a New Year of health, love, peace and personal success to the Pure Motorbike Passion crew, my fellow riders and anybody else reading our blog.

Let's just keep that throttle wide-opened.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Absolute Cycle Performance and Lombardi Road Racing School-NYC

The Lombardi School in 2007 will offer its services at the events organized by a new local club, Absolute Cycle, part of Absolute Cycle Performance LLC, long time supporter of trackday riders and racers. Last fall, Roy Cadoo, CEO of Absolute, and Marc O’Connor saw the opportunity and the need for a boutique style road racing club where weekday events, professional coaching offered by long time racers, ex racers and expert riders, along with a very reasonable number of people attending the events, should guarantee a flawless, safe and exciting day for everybody.

In such a contest after the positive feedback by everyone who attended our Basic Level in 2006, the Lombardi Road Racing School has decided to add another course, the Intermediate Level. The new class will be run by me, Alessandro Matteucci, with a format of 2 max 3 students per instructor. With this course the Rob Lombardi School’s goal is to take an intermediate rider and provide him/her with all the techniques necessary to build a solid foundation to become a smooth, consistent, elegant and yes, fast advanced rider. By focusing on such a small number of students we will be able to personalize the teaching & riding experience with different drills according to the needs of each and every students. Also, we are planning to use videos to pin point areas of improvement and accomplishments to our students.
As I have recently explained in the Absolute Forum:
Originally posted by tsd345

OK, I'll start......

So Alex, I plan on attending your advanced school this year, however I haven't attended the basic. Are you going to recommend that I attend the basic?

It really depends on your acquired technical skills. The course is for an intermediate rider: someone who comfortably rides at that level. The Basic school is specifically for someone new at the race track even though it can correct bad habits for some experienced street rider. In the Second Level I go back to certain concepts already introduced in the first course and from there I explain, practice and review in details, with each and every student, different techniques that should have a terrific impact on his/her riding skills. Now the question is: can you find a line and can you keep it through the turn? Do you accelerate enough at the exit of a turn to the point that you are really using brake-markers to deal with the next one? Ideally a rider should start with the Basic school, ride a few club events to mature and absorb what has already learned and once he/she can ride at the intermediate level take my class. At that point he/she will be able to enjoy a boost in his/her learning curve due to the fact that I tailor my teaching to his or her expertise, leveraging on the skills while working on the inabilities.

Absolute Cycle “boutique style” road racing club, along with the Lombardi School and Absolute Cycle Perfomance store, offering the lowest prices in the market, are definetely going to be one the most interesting new addition in the Tri-State&Pensylvania road racing club arena in 2007.
Absolute Cycle is in Linden, NJ, conveniently located right off the NJ Turnpike and the Goethel Bridge, ph. # 1-877-382-9800

See you at the Motorcycle Show in the Javits Center, NYC

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where to dynotune your Power Commander in Brooklyn

Healthy food habits and daily phisical activity can help us in gaining a couple of HP and maybe lower our bad cholesterol but they can not do too much in improving throttle response. How many times we have seen a similar bike gaining immediately a few feet at the exit of a turn for not apparent reason if not a crispier throttle? With big engines, even at the race track, we have the tendency to use the mid range RPM more than we want and with mixed results. In effect the whole execution of a turn can be affected by how the power is delivered once we start feeding again the throttle. In similar situations the solution can be found in purchasing a Power Commander and optimizing the air/fuel ratio in order to obtain a linear erogation of power that could correspond to the maximum possible horsepower for any given combination of air/fuel at any level of RPM.
For such a critical engine set up, the Pure Motorbike Passion crew in Brooklyn relies on Mike Lavista, manager of Brooklyn Bike Works. The shop has a dyno-dedicated room where the magic happens: just close your eyes, listen to the engine revving and shifting and smile because with a few clicks of mouse Mike, aka The Power Commander Whiz, will unveil the full potential of your beloved bike.

As Artur Clarke once was quoted: “Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced”.

In the pics and the video Mike working on Naim Behdzet‘s 2005 GSX-R 600.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Boost your brain power ... boost your riding skills

Riding well, riding fast means to be able to optimize a myriad of variables internal and external to the rider given certain circumstances. Prepping our bikes, physical training, even track training are not going to pay their dividends in terms of a better lap time unless our brain is able to recognize the extra potential and actually use it. If AT or any other meditation exercise can help to create a focused, alerted and efficient “mind set”, a healthy brain can actually make it happen. Without going into complicated matters of cognitive science, I want to bring to your attention an interesting article that I read today with the appealing title “22 Ways to Overclock Your Brain”, a list of simple suggestions on how to boost you brain power and … your track performance.

Picture source

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

News: MotoGp Armchair Awards

The MotoGp Armchair Awards have been assigned: a lot of winners from Hayden to Gibernau. With humor and elegance our friend Jimmy has recapped the 2006 MotoGp riders’ season.

Don’t miss reading his Armchair Bike Fan blog for exclusive perspectives and comments about MotoGp, WSB and BSB racing.

Mental triggers ...Do you have any?

Racing motorcycle calls for total concentration, because the aftermath of a minimal distraction can cause one to crash. Especially at club events I have seen so many times riders that suddenly miss their brake mark, for apparently no reason. My finding are that normally it’s extremely difficult to maintain the same focus from lap to lap, from session to session. Also the same rider that as beginner was so tense to the point that he could not see more than 30 feet ahead of his bike, later on he could experience the risk of zoning out while riding. It’s like the majority of us experience every day with the car, when a series of thoughts, a phone call or conversation with someone takes away our focus from driving. On the bike is the “meditative effect” that can cause the problem: the repetition of the same actions, over and over, becomes like a mantra, a special form of meditation that if clears totally our minds from other thoughts, at the same time it can leave our minds “empty” and so proned to be filled with other distractions.
If at the race track, during a club event, the best way to keep focus and remain alert is to rest at frequent intervals, what can we do to improve our concentration when at home?
In the same way we train our muscles we should train our brain. Personally I use Autogenous Training (AT), a technique aimed to reach an inner harmony through different exercises of relaxation. I know only the foundation of it, something learned as teenager in Italy when road-racing professionally with bicycles: my team hired a psychologist to teach us how to reduce the anxiety and tension normally experienced before a competition.
After all these years I still find myself to close my eyes and doing my meditation every time I feel stressed or under heavy pressure. At the race track I have created a series of mental and physical actions that help me to recall the proper mental status needed to stay focused and on the alert through the day, especially while teaching in the Rob Lombardi’s School or Coaching for different clubs. In effect the risk of loosing the concentration is higher when we go “slower”, at a pace that is “too” comfortable, a pace where the adrenaline leaves more space to the endorphins developed by the throttle-brake-throttle mantra.
Everybody is different, so I don’t think that AT is better than any other type of meditation training as long as the person finds what it does works to properly tune his or her mind to the challenge. As you can notice in TV, at the start of a MotoGp race, each rider has his own set of actions to get mentally ready for the challenge. Rossi has a very particular one that starts with some sort of leg stretching, followed by a sort of pray (I am just guessing) holding the left rear set, followed by the adjustment of the underwear while riding and standing up on the pegs and finally checking over and over the alignment of the front tire on the grid.
It has probably started as a superstitious act but I am positive that now Valentino uses these “mental triggers” to recall the required mind set to race in MotoGp. I specify MotoGp because there is no way he could adjust his underwear when strapped on a seat of a rally or F1 car ...

Picture source

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Are you in the market for a new leather suit? Part II

Yesterday Frank and I headed North to Massachusetts to visit Vanson Leathers. They are located in Fall River, a small industrial city located on the Rhode Island border. Supposedly it was once the foremost cotton textile center in the United States and it was not surprise to discover that the Vanson’s factory is located in a former mill built almost two centuries ago. Sadly the gorgeous building, with gray thick walls made of stone, it seems totally abandoned from outside to the point that initially I was wondering if I had wrote down correctly the address of the factory. And even when we saw the sign and the main entrance we could not imagine we were in front of the famous Vanson’s factory, the largest manufacturer of leather motorcycle apparel in USA.
Well, once we open the small, aged yellow door, our original expectations were finally matched by the large amount of leather suits, jackets, pants, leather accessories displayed all around this big warehouse. Dozen of custom made leather suits were hanging from the ceiling: they belonged to famous road and drag racers. The most famous name was definitely Freddie Spencer: it seems that Vanson has created a blue-red-white Honda leather suit that the former World Champion uses when riding for his well known school.
Frank and I spent more than two hours in the store, with Mike, Jessica and her mother (I've forgot her name) offering a unique, warm and professional service to both of us. Frank ended up ordering a custom made suit similar to that one used by Colin Edward when he won the WSB with the Castro-Honda. Instead I had them to re-size my beloved blue-yellow-white leather suit: after loosing more than 35 pounds it became so big on me that when I fell in Summit main, my right sleeve flipped around my elbow exposing the Kevlar fabric to the ground, for which, after almost three months, I still carry the “pink memory” of the deep abrasion suffered by my forearm.
The trip was a bit long but definitely worth the effort. The surrounding area is beautiful, only an hour away from CapeCod with its remarkable coastal towns and villages. Vanson store is conveniently opened 7 days a week, so I would definitely suggest to buy or repair your leather motorbike suit in the contest of a memorable weekend in Massachuset

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Normally he would make a long wheelie but ...

And after a very respectable 11th place at the World Rally Championship event in New Zealand, Valentino has just won the Monza Rally Show in Italy (a non WRC race) in a very competitive field with some former world champions. During the interviews after the race Rossi made clear that most likely he would try a full time career in rally once he quits MotoGp racing. Is it going to be in 2008 or right after winning his 8th title? I believe once he has accomplished his mission ...

Video source (1) and (2)

Monday, November 20, 2006

It would not belong to PMP if it wasn't for ....

Rally videos are finding space in the Pure Motorbike Passion blog only because it's Valentino Rossi behind the steering wheel. In his last rally experience Vale had crashed right at the beginning but this time in New Zealand he had a more cautious approach that paid off its dividends with a very respectable 11th place overall.
I have read that Rossi claims that rally has improved his motorbike skills and we can guess how, but what about changing tires? I have never seen changing a bolt on the bike because the only time he works on it, it's to apply the stickers, a ritual that has been going on since the beginning of his career.
By looking at the car, a Subaru Impreza sponsored by Imatra, I have noticed, once again, how good Rossi is at marketing himself. The Imatra brand was created by him some time ago and recently has been used to promote at least a line of sunglasses produced by the Italian company Safilo. This kid is a marketing genius: in the past 5-10 years his victories and after-race shows have attracted millions of people in front their TVs to watch the MotoGp events, no wonder that Ferrari before,and Mercedes recently, have been dreaming to import him to F1 or DTM.

Video source (1),(2), and (3)

Friday, November 17, 2006

2006 ... a difficult year for the Tavullia Champion

Video Source

The kings of wheels

Ayrton used to be an avid collector of Ducati and MV Augusta, and after his death both companies have dedicated several models to the late World Champion F1 driver. Senna and Rossi are definetely the kings of wheels of our recent past.

Video source

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Practice, practice ....mental practice

Last Monday I went to see Dr. Hausman to confirm that my collarbone is healing correctly. My good impressions were supported by his X-Ray reading. Even though he wants me to use freely my right arm,I am not allowed to lift or to practice any sport that could jeopardize the curing process. To stay in shape he suggested me to do some running starting from next Sunday, so 4 weeks after fracturing the bone in that low side in Summit, VA.
About the trip to Florida on Jan 13th, he will give the ok only after evaluating my healing process at the end of December, after another 4-5 weeks ...It’s ok because it could have been worse or it could have happened at the beginning of the season, so I consider myself lucky.
I am not the guy that can idle for 2 months so I am looking forward to running again. I am going to start with a 3 mile run and add more distance a little bit at the time. Running can be boring, but I have always used that time to “meditate” on things and one of them it’s going to be the memorization of the Jennings circuit, the sequence of those 14 unknown turns!

Picture sourceVideo source

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pure Motorbike Passion gathering in Brooklyn

Last night we had so much fun! The Pure Motorbike Passion crew got together at a great steakhouse, called Living Room, in the heart of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. The event was organized just at the beginning of the week, but still we were able to group twenty-two bike enthusiasts for a night of great food, drinking, music and, most important, a lot of fun. It’s amazing how a bit of alcohol in the blood stream helps people to recall races, situations, epic battles and stunts that time seemed to have buried in the past. The table was quite long and even though the music sometimes made difficult to listen our conversations, fists imitating pinned throttles, open hands gently flicking left and right and elbows bent to recall our upper bodies curled over the tanks and behind the windshields were louder than the surrounding noise.
We had a few toasts and one of them was ... to the next event in Jennings!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A little help for your Christmas wish list…

By Almos Gyorffy for Pure Motorbike Passion

We can spend a nice amount of money to gain some horsepower or loose some weight.
I want to share my personal experience with some nice gadgets and aftermarket high performance parts. I must admit that I love gadgets and also that I am a do-it-yourself kind of guy. I am constantly working on my own bike even if I have nothing to add or repair on it: sometimes I would just take it apart to check if everything is OK. I know …it’s insane, but I love it.
Last spring I bought a brand new 2006 Suzuki GSX-R 750 K6 , my dream bike since I saw it the first time in 1990 in a motorcycle magazine back in Hungary. I have always wanted to get a brand new bike, still in the crate, something “virgin” that nobody has ever touched besides the Suzuki factory mechanics. This year my dream finally became true!
While still waiting for it I had already planned some modifications, improvements on this otherwise awesome machine. First, I wanted to add a nice exhaust system, though the factory system is one of the best looking exhausts I’ve ever seen. This became a problem later on, since no aftermarket companies have made a nice looking one for this bike. After extensive research I have finally found a small company called TaylorMade Racing with a beatiful exhaust slip-on that saves about 12 Lbs!! The OEM system is 16 Lbs because of the strict emission and noise regulations. The TaylorMade is about 4 Lbs: you can easily figur out that it’s made of titanium. Originally I wanted to put the Yoshimura R-55 but unfortunately Yoshimura has had problems at their R&D department and they don’t have still an exhaust system for the GSX-R 750 K6 available for sale after almost 12 months.
Through out the year I have been adding parts to my baby a little bit at the time. I installed a beautiful piece of engineering, called Gilles Chain adjuster. It makes the chain adjustment easier, also a wheel change will need less effort since there are no chain adjuster blocks to fall off. Since I was already looking at the Gilles parts in my parts book, I added a titanium axle nut, it looks cool and expensive.
I put a nice looking and most importantly great performing billet front brake master cylinder from Brembo. This piece improved so much the braking performance of my bike that I had to use totally different brake markings on the track. It feels like you hit the wall when you squeeze it!! Now even WERA banned on its events because they give too much advantage to those who use them!! I also added a set of beautifully manufactured Spiegler stainless steel braided brake lines. These brake lines comes in a color you choose, so you can match them to your bike color !! I think it’s a nice feature and also their quality is excellent. OK, at this point it was time to make my bike faster so I added a Dynojet Power Commander III USB to reach the perfection in the fuel injection system, critical goal every time engine parts of a bike are substituted. Even on a stock bike you will feel a clear improvement in the acceleration and the throttle response with the appropriate mapping since stock bikes are tuned for low emissions and not for 100% performance.
After installing the PCIIIUSB, I realized that I had to take my bike to a shop to tune it with a dynamometer. As usual, I decided to do it by myself with the help of a Dynojet Wide Band Commander, that I nick-named “pocket-dyno”. This unit can record 10 minutes of air-fuel ratio (AFR), throttle position (TP) & RPM data. After downloading the data to a laptop computer you can see the AFR compared to the TP and RPM and the PCIIIUSB can be modified to achieve the perfect AFR for the best performance. It might sounds like rocket-science, and it is!!! Don’t try this at home, let the professionals do it at a certified Power Commander dealers like 666 Cycles.
My next step was to install a set of Factory Pro velocity stacks. They give a nice, noticeable punch in the mid RPM range, smooth out the entire power band & improve the acceleration. In the same time I replaced the OEM air filter with a BMC Race air filter.
Also I let my friend Diana at Js Typography, give a custom look for the bike. She added a few blue accent stripes to help the plastic of the bike to stand out: she did an excellent job.
Since I like to travel with my bike, discover new places or just go for a weekend ride to the nearby Bear Mountain State Park, I bought a Garmin GPS receiver. It’s a great help if you just go without real destinations or you don’t want to loose time in searching for directions on a map: you want just yo hop on your bike and ride wherever you find nice twisties, without worrying to get lost. With the optional XM Traffic subscription you can avoid traffic jams or bad weather.
I also recoment another nice little gadget to whoever intends to go for gearing changes, but it’s good even on a completely stock bike: it’s called Speedohealer.
As we know, even with stock gearing the factory speedometer error can be as high as 10%, so even a modest sprocket gearing change can have the speedometer off by 15%. This little black box can calibrate the speed to almost 100% accuracy!! I have used my GPS to get my real speed and calculate the necessary adjustment on the Speedohealer.

Now, I am confident that I have contributed somehow to make your Christmas wish list a little bit longer and the need for that second mortage even more urgent ….


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Winter is coming: do not forget that coffee maker!

Today is a beautiful day in NYC: sunny and warm! But it’s November, and I have been living long enough in this city to know that the temperatures can change dramatically at a snap of a finger. You leave the house in the morning with a light jacket and you have to jog back to it because it has suddenly got too cold.
From a road racer point of view the issue is critical because you do not realize that winter is coming until is too late ….Why? Because you have forgotten to drain the “plain” water from your race bike engine and when you realize it, it’s already cracked.
Even better than just removing the water is to change it with any kind of antifreeze engine fluid. The Pure Motorbike Passion crew has been using for years Engine Ice hi-performance antifreeze & coolant during the cold season and at club events where they do not call specifically for plain water or plain water + Water Wet fluid.
We like Engine Ice because protects our radiators from freezing and, at the same time, makes the cleaning job in spring very easy with not “perpetual” residual coolants in the system.
As matter of the fact, on their page the company is recommending a cleaning procedure that until this morning I had been using only for my Italian Espresso Moka machine: a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar for a sparkling cooling system!

Picture source: Another gorgeous picture taken by Dennis Cuevas, from Racedayphoto

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The best performance kit in the market

How much money do we spend to improve our bike performance? Power commanders, exaust systems, velocity stacks, ….and then? Well, we start making the bike lighter according to the common assumption that we gain 1hp per every seven pounds of eliminated weight. It’s even better if we shave unsprung weight (weight not supported by the suspension) because the common ratio is that 2 pounds of unsprung weight equals around 13 pounds of sprung weight. But at what cost? Titanium parts, magnesium wheels, ultra-light components are very expensive.
The cheapest performance kit, the only solution able to make you faster and your wallet thicker at the same time, it is body weight management. It seems that Danny Pedrosa is 40 pounds lighter than the average competitor, a tremendous advantage in terms of accelleration, corner speed, braking, gasoline consumption and tyre wear. The rider weight is so important that in the 125cc class the total weight (rider-machine) has to be above a certain minimum.
We are weekend club riders but still we would not hesitate to spend the extra dollar if we could get lower lap times at the track. My suggestion is lose those extra 20-30lbs! Two years ago I lost 35lbs accumulated since I moved to the United States in the 90s. Every year, or better every winter I had added more weight on my body even though I have always been very active. I thought that it was normal given the fact that the majority of my friends were on the same boat. I started suffering little issues like plantar fasciitis or aching knees when running, a little of acid reflex here and there, difficult digestion, high cholesterol and so forth. With the time I became frustrated so one day I decided to search on internet every type of food on my table. I easily focused a few ingredients, present in almost every packaged food, presumably responsible for my extra weight: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, palm, kernel and hydrogenated oils, trans-fat, saturated fats and all the other foreign “things” that you can certainly not buy on the shelf of a supermarket. The elimination of these ingredients was then followed by eating only organic meat to avoid the ingestion of all the antibiotics, hormones and who knows what else these poor animals are fed with. But it is impossible to eat organic meat at the restaurant so I found myself eating less and less meat to the point I totally stopped. Conscious of the protein intake issue I start eating more fish, nuts, legumes and low fat cheese. Also, I discovered the pleasure of eating all different kind of vegetables and fruit, and in a matter of a few months I started feeling lighter, stronger and healthier.
Diets work, but only for a while because too stressful from a mental point of view. If you really want to give a couple of horse power to your old bike, improve your riding and your stamina for a more enjoyable day at the track, you need a change in your life style. In the same way we want to use the best synthetic oil and gasoline for our bike, let’s feed our bodies with the healthiest food on earth.

Buon appetito!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Forget about the NYC St.Patrick's Parade

If I were mayor Bloomberg for 2007 I would organize a memorable parade of … bikes for St. Patrick day. No, I am not thinking to have a parade of Hogs but to import the Irish road race NW200 in the streets of New York City. The start and finish line would be in front the Rockefeller Plaza on 5th Ave, and from there I would imagine a beautiful, choreographic course that goes through Central Park, FDR North, Cross Bronx Expressway, West Highway South to the Wall Street area and from there again FDR North to Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Manhattan Bridge and back to 5th Ave. I would have thousand of city cops to corner work (after receiving proper instruction from our friends PA Posse), highway cops keeping track of the fastest speed on the straights while the rest of the radars, spread in and around the city, would give a very good reading of the split time at each section of the course. Also I would ask our friend Dennis at Racedayphoto to use the cameras (with flash lights) at our intersections to take memorable pictures of happy Irish riders scrapping their knees on the NYC asphalt. Also I would ask to all the young New Yorker graffiti artists to stop working on our walls and store gates for one day to paint our city curbs with wonderful red and white stripes to make apexes and exit points more visible and … I woke up to come to work!

Yes, last night our friend Al Marty sent me this video and I ended up with such a dream!

Video source

Monday, November 06, 2006

That kid's dream ...

A couple of friends of mine have young kids in love with motorcycles. Internet and TV have been fueling their desire to emulate their MotoGp champions but how can you start a kid in this sport if you live in NYC? In our region we do not have those championships so common in Europe where you can buy a brand name 125cc and with a kit an a few thousand $ you can enroll your son to a series of races in different circuits where all the participants (mostly very young teenagers) compete on the same bikes. A lot of champions have started in this way, or with mini-bikes in go-cart circuits. As far as I know around NYC with do not have anyone of these avenues available to start our kids in our sport. In alternative there is motocross with schools and races held in different race tracks in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Several American stars have started their careers with motocross to pass later on to road race directly in CCS, WERA, FUSA or similar championships on 4 stroke bikes. Yes, we do have races where to compete with 2 stroke bikes but they are not considered by the mainstream the natural path to road racing success for lack of sponsor and public interest. Too bad because I strongly believe that 125 and 250 classes are great foundation for riding and maybe the reason why Europeans have so many riders to the top level in Superbike and MotoGp.
If I am remembering correctly Valentino Rossi started pretty much at the same time go-cart, motocross and mini-bikes. Graziano, his father, convinced him that in motocross there are too many injuries down the road so it was a choice between go-carts and road racing motorbikes with the last one at the end chosen because of financial and other practical reasons.

In the video we see a young Valentino keeping that throttle of the mini-bike opened to the stop while cutting those twisty turns. Notice the famous Ninja Turtle attached to his helmet: nowadays it is still with him but on ... his belly.
Video source

Friday, November 03, 2006

No 10 pounds NYC winter coats for us

We are only two weeks into the winter break and we are already getting ready for the next event, Jan 13th and 14th, in Jennings, Florida. Robert and I have been invited to the event organized by Absolute Cycle Performance to promote our school. I have never been there but it seems to be one of the best tracks in the East Coast, a circuit designed and built only for motorcycles.

The excitement for the trip has been contagious, because in a few days the entire Pure Motorbike Passion crew has decided to travel to Florida for the weekend. Everybody is now rushing in fixing and prepping the bikes for the event. Normally we wait for the winter to upgrade our machines, repaint plastic, re-valve and refresh suspensions, fixing our leather suits and any other thing that for its nature requires more time and/or money.
Also now we have an extra reason to avoid that cake and to go for that ice-cold run during the holidays to escape from the famous 10-pound NYC winter coats that you see at the first club events in April.

See you in Jennings,

Picture source

Our Dr. Costa

Sunday is going to be two weeks from my low-side in West Virginia that caused the fracture of my right collarbone. When I got back to New York I went to see our Dr. Costa: his name is Michael R. Hausman, a genius, passionate, practical orthopedic surgeon discovered by Rob Lombardi 16 year ago. He had shuttered his left wrist in a motocross accident and after 12 months and 2 surgeries he could not see yet the light at the end of the tunnel. One day Rob met a friend of his, a body shop owner in Brooklyn that had fallen from a ladder and broke his elbow in so many pieces that he was told that he would have lost the use of his arm. Dr. Houseman somehow found out about this young guy and offered him the application of his super modern methods of reconstruction. He saved the young man arm and business. Rob immediately went to see Dr. Hausman and after 6 weeks he went back to motocross winning his first race.
Over the years Dr. Hausman has fixed at least two wrists, two elbows, my dislocated shoulder and assisted us with many other orthopedic issues.
About my collarbone, after verifying the x-rays he asked me to wear a sling for two weeks and then to see him again to make sure of the proper healing. I didn’t even try to ask him to sign the paperwork necessary to obtain medical leave at work, after the experience with my shoulder surgery performed two years ago. At that time he stitched me up on Friday and sent me back to work on Monday wearing a sort of “scaffold” of metal and fiberglass to keep my arm bent and forward. It was so big that as jacket I use to wear a blanket modified to a poncho. The funny part is that I drive stick shift cars, so I had to manage how to move around the “scaffold” to sneak my left arm in front my body and shift gears while holding the steering wheel with my left knee. After driving in those conditions for almost 2 months I became so proficient that last week I felt “at home” when I went back driving in similar conditions.
And the pain? Well, I do not take pain killers unless it’s unbearable because, as Dr. Hausman once said to me “… Pain is weakness abandoning your body”.

Picture source

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don't forget to walk our puppy before going out with your bike!

Video recommended by our friend Al Marty

Video source

Monday, October 30, 2006

MotoGp final round: was the World Championship lost or won?

Did anybody have fun in watching yesterday race? Personally I didn't! The MotoGp servers went down right after Valentino had crashed and so I was left with the hope to go back on line to watch one of his come back from the last position, when I learned from the news that Hayden had locked the World Championship with a third position.
Yes, I was happy for the American, for King Bayliss, for Capirossi but I felt that the final result wasn’t fair. As my friend Jimmy has mentioned, championship are assigned on total points and not pure talent, but it’s amazing how things went this past season: the Kentucky Kid’s final victory was meant to be. The blindness of the Fortuna goddess is a joke because Rossi and Capirossi went trough too many issues this past year. To point that yesterday Valentino was under pressure and that’s why he had a bad start and then low sided is not fair.

The Tavullia Champion has admitted those two mistakes because he is a great man, but everybody knows that the final result had been already assigned. Rossi’s championship was lost two races ago in Portugal with Elias winning for a few inches, the same rider that rammed the Italian out at the start of the first race of the season: and it was lost in spring with the questionable package received by Yamaha and Michelin; or lost when the poor Gibernau knocked down half field at the start of race injuring badly his teammate Capirossi, another good contender to the 2006 World Championship. Yes, it was terrible to see Hayden taken out by Pedrosa, but what to say about Colin Edwards crashing a few feet from the finish line giving the victory to Hayden on the silver plate?
I am happy for Hayden, for a young, passionate and hard working rider that has gained everybody’s respect and appreciation for his simple, fair and honest manners to relate himself to other people but I must renew my admiration for Valentino Rossi, more human and more martian than ever.

Video source

Friday, October 27, 2006

O s..., I did it again

Last weekend we were in Summit Point, VA, for a two-day event in the main course with NESBA. It was our last event for the year, before storing our bikes in the garage for the traditional long and cold winter in NYC. Friday was raining but the forecast for the weekend was calling for clear sky and temperatures in the 50s. We were all excited because for the occasion we were able to put together a nice group of people. We had from Queens Jack and Sam; Pete and Kathleen from NYC; from NJ Alex and Mario; from Brooklyn: Steven, Antonio, Naim, Mike, Almos, Frank and the rest of our friends that we normally meet at the NESBA events. Personally, this trip was particularly special for the first time presence of my wife and my two daughters at a track event.

We left on Friday heading down in separate cars to Summit where we had booked several rooms at the Shoney’s Motel. We arrived at 11: 00 PM and after saying good night, every body went to sleep. After a couple of hours a huge bang on my room door made me jump on my feet and run to the window: two young men were running away but one of them was Jay, Mario’s friend, so I calmed down and went back to sleep. At 6:00 AM I left my family sleeping in the room to go for breakfast when my phone rings: it was Steve, or better Uncle Steve: “ Alex can you unlock my room door? The lady from the hotel must have locked it with some … some kind of tape. Am I the only one locked in? Please check it out. Raise your head: I am using my cellular as flashlight so you can see me!”. I looked at him and I noticed a web of duct tape crossing my friend’ doors and locking the handles with the handrails in front the rooms. At the beginning I did not understand but when I spotted Alex and Mario in a dark corner laughing their guts every thing became clear. Steven and Naim ended up forcing their way out to walk outside their rooms in underwear and duct tape crossing their bodies …
Saturday the day was gorgeous: blue sky with a nice refreshing breeze with the characteristic scent of the fields surrounding the track. My first session was frantic, at least to say. New helmet (tight), new boots (loose), new bike set up (I had raised the tail) and a new set of tires on asphalt that seemed sprayed with Pledge. The second session, with my old boots, and the Intermediate group to witch I was assigned as Control Rider, was much better and the beginning of a wonderful day. We playful raced in the track and entertain each other in the pit area. We had a lot of red flags due to crashes but nothing too serious. Saturday night, we went to a local restaurant were we had a long dinner entertained by Peter; we had tears on our eyes.
Sunday morning, I did not go out on the first session to let the temperature to warm up a bit. The sky was overcast, and only now I am recall that a few raindrops were falling but without making the ground wet. As matter of the fact, when I did went out I was surprised with the grip: no even the lightest sign of a slide, zero, zip, absolutely nothing. Twenty minutes after I went out again and on my second lap while still warming up the tires, my front tire lost suddenly grip right at the entrance of T3. O.S.:I am crashing again! I yelled in my helmet.
Initially I slid over the asphalt but then I went into gravel trap where I tumbled several times before stopping before the tire wall. I immediately stood up on my legs but with my right collarbone broken. I was pissed off: on top of the injury, I had ruined my new beloved 600 and most important I had crashed the first time that my wife Angela was at the track (even though she was still sleeping with the girls at the hotel). I went back to the pit area in a pick up transporting my bike on the back. The ambulance verified my conditions while my friend quickly took care of my stuff. An hour after, with 3 Advil pills in my body I went to pick up my wife and together we hang out the rest of the day at the track. My crash somehow had affected a bit the atmosphere among my friends but overall we still had good time. Curiously, after lunch another friend of mine instructing for NESBA had a similar crash but on T4 (even faster) and brought to 4 the number of NESBA Control Riders crashing in 2 days (a fifth one had crashed in T1 but with a broken-locked chain). All of us have unexpectedly washed the front end of our bikes so I this point I must blame our Dunlop 208 along with the famous slippery conditions of this track. This was my fourth time in Summit Main and mistakenly I never gave too much importance to the web of asphalt cracks that run trough the racetrack. At night they must funnel the steam from underneath the soil to condense afterward with the cooler temperatures of the air: the result is very slippery patches that eventually dry out later on in the morning with the sun and the motorbike tires forming a clean line.
Too bad I had to crash to learn it!

Photo album provided by Jack and Sam
For professional pictures covering the event visit Race Day Photo