Tul-aris Shatters Track Record

Calvin Kim
by Calvin Kim
June 1st, Blackhawk Farms Raceway, Illinois. Steve Johnson piloted theTul-aris GP bike to its maiden win, shattering the old lap record by a fullsecond during the 21 lap unlimited GTO race.Starting on the 3rd row, in the 11th grid position, Steve moved quicklythough the field, gaining the lead on lap 6. He immediately opened up a hugelead in one lap, setting a new lap record of 1:11.91, as timed by CCSofficials. After 3 or 4 laps out front on his own, Steve had a 7 secondlead, even while slowing the pace to 1:13s and 1:14s due to waving yellowflags and an ambulance on course. He finished the race about 10 secondsahead of the second-place GSXR 750.

Our weekend started out with the identical setup we used 2 weeks ago atBlackhawk, when Steve set the fastest time of the weekend during his runfrom 25th to 2nd in 8 laps. However, this weekend the weather conditionswere much better, with temperatures around 90 deg F (32 deg C), providing uswith optimum grip from our medium-soft Michelin Pilot slicks. A slight tirepressure adjustment, recommended to us by Tom Mason of MRT, allowed us touse a marginally harder medium-soft rear tire compound compared to what weused 2 weeks ago at Blackhawk, when the temperatures were almost 40 degreesF cooler. Even better, just as the race started, a big dark cloud moved inoverhead, lowering air temperatures (which gave us more power), yet thetrack surface temperature remained high for optimum traction. Conditionscould not have been better!

During the race, Tul-aris team member Dave Heiserer and I used ourHeadHunter Racing scooter to watch Steve at several points around the track.It was amazing to see how smooth and fast Steve moved through the twisty andbumpy turns. In fact, the Tul-aris's Ohlins suspension was set up perfectlyand there was a noticeable visual difference in how steady the bike handledthe bumps and transitions compared to other machines. We now have thehandling and traction of the bike spot-on, allowing Steve to carry hugecornering speed into and through the turns. This improvement is in largepart also due to Steve's exceptional skills as a development rider, as wellas his smooth and fast riding style. At other parts of the track, such asthe 3rd gear turn 6, the bike would power wheelie at the exit at well over100mph (while still leaned over!), displaying the brute power of the HotSeat Performance Polaris 780cc twin motor. Altogether, we had the perfectpackage for our first win!

Our tally so far for our first full racing season is:

We'd like to thank our sponsors and supporters: Walt Schaeffer Michelin, HotSeat Performance, Nutec Racing Fuel, Mason Racing Tires, Ohlins USA, MTSSystems, Lofgren Racing/Manley Cycle, Yoyodyne Titanium, GP Tech andHeadhunter Racing. Steve Johnson is sponsored by Delano Sport Center, Hi-PerSports, Mason Racing Tires, EBC Brakes and Lockhart Phillips.Many thanks to the Tul-aris crew for all their hard work and long hoursspent, for nothing more than warm beer, cold pizza, sleeping in the van ortents, just to be part of this fun and exciting project. Extra specialthanks to my fiancée Kate, who let me get away for one day to go racing 2weeks before our wedding!

Our next event won't be until July 20-21 at Blackhawk Farms, which we willuse to get ready for the big Formula USA National at Road America nearElkhart Lake, WI on Aug. 1st-4th. Come see us then!

Thanks to Rob Tuluie and HeadHunter Racing for the above release.

Blackhawk farms is a tight and technical course with changing surface conditions located bySouth Beloit IL. It has been a staple for Midwest CCS events for a long time, running six events there thisyear alone. Many say if you can run great here, it will help with setup at other tarcks.The former lap record for motorcycles was set on an R1 a 1:12.91. The owner of Blackhawk Farmsstopped by the Headhunter trailer on Sunday with some car lap times We were amazed to seea Lola chassised car turning 1:10.70 lap times making the Tul-aris only a second behind. -- J.R., Mid-West Desk

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