Irnie's first USA Podium and second Crash of 2010
Marcel crashes out of the lead in 750 superbike.
Marcel slides out of the race in style.
OMRRA Round 5, Portland International Raceway, Portland OR, September 25-26, 2010
After Kelowna BC’s Marcel Irnie equaled his best-ever US finish with a 4th place at Seattle in mid-September, he was anxious to get back to the Pacific Northwest for more spirited competition. This time Irnie traveled to Portland International Raceway, to race with the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association (OMRRA). Irnie had not raced at PIR in three years, so he would have to reacquaint himself with the flat, high-speed course. Irnie scrutinized the course through the Friday practice session. On a well-worn set of slick tires, he managed to set a respectable lap time of 1:11.55.
Saturday morning brought sunshine and beautiful racing conditions. As the morning practice session unfolded, the knee pain that plagued Marcel in Seattle, began to recur. To relieve the pain, Irnie made a significant modification to his riding style. While cornering, rather than leaning in with his knees and elbows down, Irnie would rest his chest on the fuel tank; thereby relieving knee joint pressure. While creating a weight bias toward the front, he seemed to be able to carry good speed and possibly extend rear tire life. It was unorthodox, but it was working as it allowed Irnie to shadow one of the region's most decorated racers, Oliver Jervis. Hanging around this fast company lead to a quick lap time of 1:10.16.
Marcel rests his chest on the gastank to reduce knee pain.
The first race for Irnie was the 600 Supersport class. Starting from row 7, Irnie got off to a decent start, but was contending with very heavy traffic. He was able to make up four positions in the first two laps. While Irnie felt that he had his gearing dialed-in during practice, he was finding that the bike would not achieve top RPM’s in the race. The four GoPro HD cameras that he had installed for the race were creating enough drag to inhibit 6th gear. Irnie battled with Bryan Rothenburger for much of the race finishing 9th by just meters. Irnie best lap of the race was a modest 1:11.498.
Bryan Rothenburger passes Marcel one second too late...
Next up was the 750 Supersport race. Starting from row G, Irnie left the line in first gear; only to have his transmission jump into neutral. Irnie desperately searched for a working gear, thinking that the transmission in his AMSOIL / Falco / Seattle Tool 2005 zx-6rr had finally expired. Second gear engaged and he was able to slowly accelerate into battle. He passed four riders in corner three. He then battled with several riders and recalls the action. “I passed Jason Gasparinatos before the lap ends and then Tony Porter on the brakes into corner one. Then I caught Drat Diestler and now I’m behind Kevin Klemmer from the WMRRA. I quickly pass Klemmer entering corner three, followed by Geoff Klassen exiting corner 3. Now I am alone and attempt to reel in the front runners. I work at it, but can only make out a rider way ahead on the straights. A few laps go by and out of nowhere Tony Porter drafts me on the straight and drags his foot peg into corner one. On the next lap I passed Porter on the brakes into corner one. I finish in 7th.” For working his way from 19th position to a 7th place finish, the OMRRA presented Irnie with the “Hard Charger Award.”
Marcel earns the OMRRA "Hard Charger award" battling from 19th too 7th in 750 supersport.
On Sunday morning, Irnie woke up to the sound of steady rain. Knowing that a system was likely settling in for the day, Irnie forewent more sleep and opted to rush out for some rain practice. He was soaked, but he got a good feel for the PIR surface in the wet.
Marcel's vision is blurred, and foggy. Irnie follows Ancien, Degross, and Jervis in 600 superbike.
Irnie finished 3rd for his first USA Podium.
First up was the 600 Superbike race. Irnie opted to use his underpowered Bluestreakracing.ca / Kreater 2008 zx-6r which seems to offer superior handling in wet conditions. Irnie got off to a great start; passing 6 riders before corner two and another by corner three. Now he was in 4th spot and had only Mark DeGross, Christopher Ancien and Oliver Jervis in front. Visibility was very poor as he rode in the wake of the front three riders. On lap two, Irnie passed Ancien in corner three and then DeGross in corner five. Irnie then set his sites on Jervis.
Irnie passes Jervis on outside of corner 9 for the lead.
He managed to pass him briefly for the lead exiting corner nine, only to lose the top spot on the subsequent straight. DeGross soon passed him to claim second spot. This battle would ensue for the remainder of the race. Irnie describes the wild proceedings. “The next lap, I re-passed DeGross inside entering corner three again and one corner later I passed Oliver entering corner four as I held a tight line from a difficult inside entry. I pulled a gap on Oliver, but not big enough as he drafted by near the end of the straight. Then things got interesting! I went for the same pass again on the inside of four, but didn't brake hard enough and ran wide; so wide that the edge of the track appeared through the fog. I stood the bike up and went over the curbing into the grassy mud. Things were about to get much worse. I wanted to re-enter the track immediately, but the painted curbing was three inches above the muddy grass.
Mud bog anyone?
Any dirt biker knows you don't go over a wet log sideways or you’ll be down before you know it. My only option was to power through the very large mud hole directly before the curbing ended and I could rejoin the race. I dirt biked through and almost got stuck. I really didn't want to fall in that water hole as it was a foot deep! I finally made it through the obstacle and rejoined the race just as Ancien passed me. I really wanted to catch DeGross and Oliver again. I finally got around Ancien a few laps later and then put down some fast laps in the 1:20's, which seems pretty fast in the wet. After four more laps, I could see DeGross in the distance, but it was too late as the race was over and I finished 3rd.” This podium finish was Irnie’s best-ever US result. He was hoping for more rain in the 750 Superbike race later that afternoon.
Dirty Podium finish in 600 Superbike
After three hours the rain had subsided, but the track was still too wet for slick tires. Again Irnie opted to use his 2008 race bike. Starting from row D, Irnie didn’t get a great launch, but managed to pass four riders going into corner one and then another two in corner three. He was now in second spot with Kevin Pinkstaff in the lead. Irnie passed Pinkstaff in corner five and attempted to pull a gap. Irnie was then given a large dose of reality as Pinkstaff unleashed his gsxr 750 in the main straight passing Marcel and opened up a large gap. It was obvious that Irnie’s notoriously under-powered 600 was not going to hold a candle to Pinkstaff's 750 in the long straight. As underpowered equipment was a constant narrative for Irnie in 2010, this was not a new experience and he knew that he would have brake late and carry greater speed into the corners to make up time. Irnie was able to catch and pass Pinkstaff. He even created a gap at one point, but it was not enough to hold him off on the long front straight. The track was starting to dry and Irnie was becoming concerned that his rain tires would not withstand a hard effort under dry conditions. The tires began to chatter and vibrate under hard braking. Irnie passed Pinkstaff once again on lap 6. He describes what then unfolded. “Right as I hit the apex and slowly applied throttle, I lost the rear end. I let go of the bike as I headed for the curbing and grass. The bike hit and then flipped. The crash actually ripped the throttle grip right off, so I could not continue the race.”The crash ended the race and what could possibly be the final race of the season for Irnie Racing.
Finally got my elbow down ehh!
Check out my new Falco "white" gloves. First time wearing them too.
The money shot. Good thing I have aviation quality tools from Seattle Tool! Repair will be in order.
Irnie summed up the weekend, “Such an amazing weekend. Tough, tough competition in the dry as my results showed, but an amazing difference in the rain. It puts everyone on a more level playing field, where horsepower and new dry tires don’t matter as much. What a great way to end the year, or maybe not. I’m still thinking about going to Portland in October. I really want to race in the rain again and finish 1st this time. With more power next year, things could be very interesting. Expect to see me on the box more often.. Cheers.”
A Special thanks to Matthew Eaton from roadshowphotography.smugmug.com for the steller external photos.
Irnieracing.com (Marcel Irnie) is sponsored by: AMSOIL Synthetics, Blue Streak Racing, British Columbia Trailer, EBC Brakes, FALCO, Fluid Suspension Science, GoPro, Kreater, Magna-Tech Services, Muller Motorsports, Munro Cylinder Heads, Oneononedesign, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, Seattle Tool, World Gym, and Valley Moto Sport.
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Last edited by irnieracing; 11-16-2010 at 10:54 PM.
"OMMRA: She's Wet" HD video Preview
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OMRRA Round 6, Portland International Raceway, Portland OR, October 23-24, 2010
Marcel Irnie of Kelowna BC traveled to Portland Oregon to finish up his 2010 season for the final round of the Oregon Road Racing Association (OMRRA) series. Irnie arrived a day early to bring his bikes to EDR Performance, a local dyno tuning shop. Despite the fact that Irnie spent a lot of time battling for podium spots in 2010, he knew that his bikes were underpowered compared to the competition. Dynamometer testing showed that both his 2005 and 2008 600cc Kawasaki’s were 20 to 22 horsepower down from Canadian National Pro 600cc legal limit. The shop was able to adjust the computer mapping on the 2005 unit to reach a respectable 115 horsepower. The proper wiring sub-harness was not available for the 2008 bike, so nothing could be done to improve it for now. As the 2008 unit was set up for wet-weather racing and there was plenty of that in the forecast. A mere 103 horsepower would have to do.
Saturday morning arrived and so did the rain. Irnie used the Kreater / Oneononedesign / World Gym 2008 zx-6r in the 750 Supersport practice and then prepared for the race. As Irnie headed out to the starting line, he stopped at the pit entrance to start his four onboard cameras. As he re-mounted and eased up to the starting grid, the volunteer starter stopped him and told him that he had missed the allotted time to take his starting spot and that he must start from pit lane. This penalty also meant that Irnie had to forego the warm up lap and wait for an official to signal when he could start. As the race started, Irnie sat on cold tires for an extra 10 seconds waiting for a signal, but none came. Irnie later learned he was allowed to leave when the last rider crossed the start/finish line.
By the time Irnie had reached corner one, the pack was already exiting corner four. By this time, Irnie is furious but he has to maintain his cool and carefully built heat into his rain tires before starting his comeback in earnest. By the end of lap one, Marcel was already catching riders. On lap two, he was passing them by the handful. By lap four, Irnie was threatening Sam Verderico in 3rd spot. Irnie battled with Verdierico for the remaining laps until Sage Wilkinson entered the fray. Irnie battled both riders on his underpowered 600 against the much-faster 750cc bikes. As was the case for most of the season, Irnie worked hard to gain time in corners while losing several bike lengths on the straights. As the foggy, wet race concluded, Irnie finished in 5th, just behind Wilkinson and Verderico.
Ninety minutes later was the 600 Supersport event. As the rain had stopped and the track was beginning to dry, the big question was whether to use dry or rain tires. It was a huge gamble as the wrong tire choice would guarantee a poor finish. Irnie gambled that the track would dry further and went with a full dry set-up on his newly tuned AMSOIL / Falco / Seattle Tool 2005 zx-6rr. Half the field came to the line on rain tires. On the warm-up lap, Irnie could tell that the engine was much crisper than prior to the dyno tuning session.
Irnie took the start in second gear and was passed by three riders. The track had many dry lines, but there were puddles everywhere. Irnie passed two riders on the first lap and got into 8th position, but near the end of the opening lap, Irnie grew concerned as rain drops began to run down the windshield. By lap three, Irnie worked his way to 6th spot. With open track ahead of him, Marcel hastened his pace and by lap five, he had closed in on a group of four riders. The track conditions had been getting progressively worse due to the constant drizzle, but by lap 8 disaster struck as the sky opened up. The final four laps were the slowest and scariest of Irnie’s career. While resisting the urge to pull off the track, Irnie slid and skated around the 1.919 mile circuit for what seemed like an eternity. Irnie finally crawled across the line in 8th after numerous close calls.
Sunday morning arrived and with it came more Oregon rain. Irnie decided to try the rain tire handling abilities of his AMSOIL / Falco / Seattle Tool 2005 zx-6rr for the first practice session. By about lap seven, the engine was hesitating and cutting out as though it were out of fuel. Irnie eased off and nursed the bike back to the pits. Upon inspection, Irnie found that a coolant hose had popped off and all of the coolant had been lost. Irnie cooled the bike down and hoped that there was no engine damage. After re-attaching the hose and replacing the coolant, the bike seemed to run well, so it would be put into service for the upcoming 600 Superbike race.
As race time approached, the rainfall was torrential. Irnie made some minor suspension adjustments and waited at the pit exit for the signal to head to the starting grid. The starter horn sounded and Irnie waited five seconds before being first to leave the hot pit. As Irnie cruised up to corner 3, he was black flagged. This time the same starter penalized him for leaving the pits too early! Irnie recalls the charge, “They made me start the race from pit row again, but this time for leaving five seconds too early. Even though the stop sign was not in the middle of the road as normal and he had green flag in his hand. In my opinion, the purpose for the rule has lost all meaning. This rule is meant to prevent a late comer from delaying the race start. But leaving too early? I would just arrive to grid early, not affecting a thing.” Again Irnie had to start the race from pit lane.
After the last rider crossed the start/finish line, an angry Marcel Irnie burned out of the pits and pursued the pack. He passed two riders by corner one and tried to find the proper pace for the wet conditions. The track surface had numerous puddles and some corners were covered with leaves so no chances could be taken. Irnie found himself in 8th position by the end of the first lap with the lead pack in sight. At this point Irnie had determined that his rain pace was off. His rear rain tire was becoming worn and the 2005 bike, while more powerful, had stiffer suspension that wasn’t as forgiving as the 2008 bike. Despite this handicap, Irnie used his wet-weather guile to out-brake riders and battle his way to a 4th place finish. Irnie recounted, “Fourth place from pit row is not bad, but I’m still very disappointed. I never got a chance to battle up front and being 15 seconds behind from the start cost me a podium.”
The 750 Superbike race took place later that afternoon. The sky was clearing, but the track was still very wet, necessitating the need for a rain set up. Irnie started from 10th place on the grid and despite starting in second gear, he managed to elbow his way into 6th spot by the first turn. Irnie took 5th spot from Jason Gasparinatos then set his sites on the front runners. Irnie attempted to pass Christopher Ancien on a couple of occasions before his transmission started cutting out in fifth gear. As transmission issues plagued his 2005 unit all year long, Irnie wasn’t going to chance a high speed failure and opted not to use the gear for the rest of the race. He cruised home in 5th place.
As the weekend and season ended, Irnie reflected on his 2010 campaign, “I’m happy with 2010, as I made new headway. I earned my first podium in USA with the fastest riders in North Western United States. This was the first time leading races too as I did in September in Portland. I managed three podiums in Canada, but regret not getting a victory. I’m pleased with my racing, but my equipment let me down to a degree. A lack of power output and transmission problems really handicapped our efforts. Next years plan is to rebuild entire 05 motor and transmission and get the 2008 unit’s ecu tuned to find more power.”
For 2011, Irnieracing introduces Aaron Holmberg as its first teammate. Marcel will mentor Aaron who is a front runner in the novice class. Aaron brings a 2006 Suzuki GSX-R 750 to the team. Marcel and Aaron will share bikes, so that each can enter more displacement classes.
In 2011, Irnie and Holmberg will compete for the OMRRA and WMRRA championships, and attend select races in Utah and California. AMA races are an option.
Irnieracing.com will market hats, t-shirts and DVD’s to support the racing effort.
Irnieracing.com (Marcel Irnie) is sponsored by: AMSOIL Synthetics, Blue Streak Racing, British Columbia Trailer, EBC Brakes, FALCO, Fluid Suspension Science, GoPro, Kreater, Muller Motorsports, Munro Cylinder Heads, Oneononedesign, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, Seattle Tool, World Gym, and Valley Moto Sport.
Click Here: Irnie Racing 2011 Sponsorship Proposal (PDF)
"Marcel Irnie offers a cutting-edge multi-media marketing opportunity for 2011 sponsors. Irnie’s unique approach to racing, and video production has made him a fan favorite, creating exciting action on and off the track.
Irnieracing.com reaches an international audience, targeting motorsports and video enthusiasts. The website traffic has doubled over the past six months, and continues to grow in the off-season. For example, October 2010 brought 13,106 unique visitors with 29,195 page views. A Feature Film is produced for each race, or event weekend, to complement the Press Releases / Newsletters..."
Irnie Racing offers three Sponsorship Packages: Title Sponsor, Partner Sponsors, and Associate Sponsors. Please contact Marcel to create a custom sponsorship package tailored to your companies exposure needs.
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