by Gary Charpentier
Absolute. Look it up in a dictionary and the second definition is: Free from restriction, limitation, or exception. This certainly applies to the race team comprised of Glen Christensen, Scott Bergquist, and Chris Spargo. These guys race CRA at Brainerd, of course, but they are also each leading their respective classes in the AHRMA series. This level of commitment sees them racing all over the country at such prestigious venues as Daytona and Sears Point. Absolute indeed!
I spent a race weekend with them in late June at BIR, and then I rode with them at their Team Absolute racetrack practice down at the Dakota County Technical College. Every moment I spent with these dedicated roadracers was a learning experience. Even during our lengthy interview, when I was supposed to be gleaning lots of personal and team history from them, the subject kept changing to riding technique and how to go faster both on the racetrack and the street. But I will let them tell it:
How did Team Absolute start?
Glen: The idea for Team Absolute came about last November. Christopher Spargo, Jason Lannigan and myself were doing an AHRMA race down in Savannah, Georgia, and on the way back we discussed forming a race team that could travel together to the various events and share expenses. Our first race as Team Absolute was at Daytona. Later on, Jason Lannigan had to drop out due to personal commitments, and he recommended Scott Bergquist as his replacement.
So, what about sponsorship? Who pays the bills for Team Absolute?
Glen: We share most of the expenses ourselves, however we do get help from Trackstar Motorsports, Power 110 racing fuel made by Koch Refining Co., and we get product from Breathe Right Nasal Strips, which we are handing out up at the track this weekend for racers to try. Then, each rider has their own sponsorship deals which amount to help with various aspects of the racing effort. I get dyno time and other help from Doug Lofgren’s Motorcycle Performance Services, and Scott gets some assistance from Roy’s Repair.
What about contingency programs? Does Team Absolute participate in any of these?
Scott: Not with our bikes, (RS-125, TZ-250, and vintage RD400). Most contingencies are for late model production and don’t apply to purpose-built racebikes. The only contingency award we qualify for is from Michelin, and that’s only at CRA events. In AHRMA, we don’t qualify for contingencies at all.
How much of the AHRMA schedule do you guys race?
Scott: All of it if necessary! (laughs) Really, all of it except Talledega and Steamboat. Steamboat is a one day event for us and it’s really a long drive for that. All the other race weekends are scored as two events. There are 19 events in all, and your best 14 are applied to your points total for the season. So, when we are leading the points like we are now, we can choose our races. A lot depends on track location and time off from work and other obligations.
Scott, aren’t you kind of a big guy to be racing an RS125?
Scott: A lot of people ask that. There are bigger guys out there that go faster than me. The key to speed on the RS is to keep it moving, keep up the momentum. Corner speed is our real advantage, and we can also make up a lot of time under braking.
Glen: That’s right. Scott was in the same trophy dash as I was today, and he was flagged into the pits, which allowed me to lap him. From that point on, we were really dicing in the corners. I would get ahead on top end, but coming into 3, there goes Scott under brakes, and he would just hold that advantage through the rest of the infield. Then I would get back by him on the straight.
So, I take it there are no team orders at Team Absolute?
(More laughter) Glen: Well, we all race in different classes now, but before Scott joined the team, Jason and Chris raced in the same class, and I told them before the race that, for the sake of the team having a good day they should talk it over and decide who gets the go-ahead if there is a conflict on the track. My biggest concern was having two of our riders fighting for position and knocking each other out of competition for the weekend.
What do you guys think of Brainerd, compared to some of the other tracks that you race on?
Glen: I think it’s the fastest track we race on, except Daytona. Brainerd has the fastest turn one in North America. I don’t know of any racebike that has to slow down for turn one at BIR. As fast as that bike can go, you can hold that speed through turn one IF you go through the right way. That in itself can be pretty scary.
Scott: I have mixed emotions about Brainerd. While I appreciate what it’s taught me about going fast, I started out on bigger bikes and I like the fact that you can just go-go-go here. But on the 125 I was having trouble on the tighter tracks. I am getting better at that now, but it took a lot of adjustment after Brainerd. Now, it seems to take an awful long time from the exit of ten to the entrance of turn one, I get kind of bored!
So, how exactly do you go fast on the 125?
Scott: I love to pass people under braking! Just get in there on the inside and stuff them, then steal their line on the exit. I’ll go in straight at the apex, watch everyone else drop back under brakes, then when I finally hit the brakes I’m going way too slow, but I’ve just screwed 20 people and taken away their line out of the corner, and I’m happy as can be!
Glen: We might add that this is an accepted racing technique and is not taking advantage of someone inappropriately.
I was able to ride with Team Absolute Riders at the training facility at Dakota County Technical College. If you consider yourself an advanced street rider or you are a racer who needs a place to do motor and chassis setup, this is the perfect opportunity. Flyers detailing the track dates are available at Bob’s Java Hut, Trackstar Motorsports, and several other places around town. Just ask around, but I can tell you that the next date is August 31st. Bring $50, a sound bike, your helmet and safety gear, and your need for speed. Team Absolute will hook you up…absolutely!