As I was walking through the pit row at Infineon Raceway May 15th, I stop by the bright green Geico tent to have a chat with #47 AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme racer OPIE CAYLOR and Team EMGO Taiwan.
I ask Opie if he has heard anything about VINCENT HASKOVEC, as we talk casually before our interview. Opie says that the big concern this race weekend was for Vincent and his well-being. OPIE hadn't heard anything about Vincent's condition, but hoped to hear about that soon. He hoped that Vincent was going to pull through with no problems, but if Vincent was injured, hopefully Vincent's injuries wouldn't keep him out for a long time, so he can get back out here and keep going.
Opie Caylor has a couple of minutes to talk before he goes to Chapel service at the track with fellow Suzuki rider LEE ACREE.
PRINCESSKIWI: What do you do the night before a race?
OPIE: Night before a race typically I try to get in bed a bit early - just to get an extra amount of sleep. I try to eat something that is decently high in carbs, so that I have energy stored overnight. So, that I will feel good the next day and be full of energy. I like to shave. I like to be clean cut on race day, that and I trim my nails. I don't know why.
PK: What do you eat for breakfast before a race?
OPIE: Something really light I don't like to eat heavy on race morning and at the same time I have found that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just give me the most energy before a race. Even before I go bicycling, I can eat a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich 30 minutes before I go and I feel strong. And lots of water, just try to stay hydrated.
PK: What did you expect from this race weekend?
OPIE: A better result than 9th. You know we qualified 8th, but our times were really close to the rest of the guys in the 2nd row. I don't know how soft the tires were that those guys went with for qualifying. Even then with our race set up we were really close to those guys. That's why I wasn't really concerned about qualifying. We were in a good position, we put down a good time. We were in the 140's and I didn't think it would be that much of an issue. I had moved up and got around CLINT McBAIN (#124, Suzuki GSX-600RR) and caught up to ALEX GOLDBERT (#23, Honda CBR 600RR). I started making some distance up on AL. I know ALEX goes really good here. Things just started falling apart on me and I got to where it was really hard to hold onto the bike with all the really fast switchbacks. I was getting some real tank slappers going and I thought, 'man, if I can't hold onto this thing - it isn't going to be good...' In some ways I think the red flag saved me. The gap back to the next guys behind me, which I think was KEVIN LACOMBE (#134, Suzuki GSX-R600), they weren't that far back. So, in some ways maybe the red flag saved my results from being even worse than 9th. But I am just trying to re-group and be really as prepared as possible - which we always are for every race, but then I try to add that extra little thing to be prepared for the next round.
PK: What do you like/dislike about this track?
OPIE: This track reminds me a lot of DEALS GAP, which is where I first started riding. A lot of elevation, a lot of switchbacks. I like this track because of the way it is, but there is no room to rest. We will just have to be prepared for next time.
PK: Do you have a lucky charm?
OPIE: As cheesy as it may sound, before every race I always kiss my wedding ring and I say a prayer to God before I go. I won't say my exact prayer, but basically I just say, 'something good is going to happen - it's all about YOU. And if something bad is going to happen, then I just pray that YOU take care of me the best YOU can and get me through it as safely as possible'. It gives me comfort and I don't worry about it. I put what ever happens in God's hands and let HIM take care of it.
PK: Do you have a favorite color?
OPIE: Wow - got to say blue. Dark blue. My eyes are blue, my wife likes blue, my bikes are blue predominately. I like blue.
PK: What is your favorite pizza?
OPIE: Pepperoni - no doubt!
PK: How do you expect to do at PIKES PEAK next weekend?
OPIE: PIKES PEAK, unfortunately is a bit of a bogey track for me, I don't know why. I have always struggled there. It is a 50 second lap around the place. It is not a hard track, but it seems as if there is one little thing that I seem to miss about that place. I don't know if it's more of a gearing thing or a motor thing. It's weird, but I always seem to struggle a little bit there. So, in all honesty if I can finish in the top 10 there, then as much as I hate to admit it, I would be pretty happy at PIKES PEAK. I think that my best finish there to date has been 11th in a 750 race in '03. My goal next weekend is to come away there with some good points.
PK: What advice would you give someone doing a track day at INFINEON for the first time?
OPIE: As an instructor for the KEVIN SCHWANTZ SUZUKI SCHOOL - that is something that I always look forward to. I think the key point to Sears Point (now INFINEON) is keeping your vision up high and at the same time recording all the reference points because there are so many different points on the track that are blind. You really, really have to remember where you're at, at all times. So that when you come over that blind crest, you have a pretty good idea where you are going to end up, on the other side.
PK: Thanks OPIE. That's great advice - I'll keep that in mind when I do my track day!
OPIE: You're welcome.
OPIE asks if I want to join him and LEE for Chapel. I say I would love to. So, off we go.
#47 AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme racer OPIE CAYLOR and Team EMGO Taiwan are sponsored by: EMGO, Pit Bull, Dunlop Tires, 1888FASTLAP, Vortex Racing Products, EBC Brakes, Silkolene Lubricants, Sharkskinz Racing Bodies, Thermosman Suspensions, Ohlins, VP Racing Fuels, Teknic Leathers, Arai Helmets, MPA, Rodney Vaughn Racing, EK Chains, BBC Racing and the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School.