WERA West Round 2 - LVMS Classic
...Whew, it was a day to rememeber as I was chocking on humble pies. This is my first year racing as WERA West Expert, I decided it would be a prudent thing to race in the A (Open-class) Superbike and Superstock rather than the Formula 1 class. Boy, I was pretty slick or so I thought. It turned out that on this race weekend, humble pies were given out free and generously.
Saturday, I showed up for practice and shocked by a number of high profile national and regional Pro racers out there. There were more club champions running around than I have fingers and toes. And when these big boys showed up, they just don't run the mini races, take a whooping and go home, they play for keep. There were several Willow Spring Motorcycle Club past overall champions, an OMMRA past champion, Dale Keiffer, Jack Pfeifer, Michael Beck, Correy Sarros, Premek Glintz, Jay Tanner, Rocky Aiello, Brad Henrdy...the list goes on. Everyone seems to have a faster bike than my BST-equipped ZX-10R. With the throttle to the stop, and they still pull away.
My first race was A Superbike. Gridded on the inside of row 4, I had a horrendous start, trying not to wheelie off the starting line. Well, I didn't wheelie off the line but ended up second to last into T1. As we were 6-wide funneled into T1's apex, I was happy not being caught up in the middle of the pack. The group thinned out within the next 3 turn, as I lined up the guy infront of me for a pass into 140mph T5. I didn't have the necessary speed to pass him into the turn so I parked my bike on his left rear with the intention of turning later, square off the corner and outdrive him out of the run. As I leaned into the apex and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow. Instinctively, I picked up my knee and the next thing I knew my helmet was resting on another rider side fairing, with my knee on the ground at over 130mph at that point. Faack!!! (In Rossi's voice) This dude on my inside got a rider infront him and me on the outside of him. For a moment, I thought to myself how much it would hurt if this guy looses it. The moment of contact lasted only a few second but it seems like an eternity. Neither me or him wanted to give up our position so in unison we accelerated hard and drifted to the outside of the track. But as we gotten closer to the edge of the track, I realized the sucker not going to let up and at that rate I will run out of room and be in the dirt. Grudgingly, I rolled off the throttle to give him the position. For the next 2 laps, I studied him and his lines realizing there are several areas of weakness that I can exploit. Cool!!! The proceeding lap saw me outbraked him into T1. I went in so deep that I must have parked it at the apex because I scrubbed off so much entry speed. Still managed to accelerate hard enough out of T1 to keep my new position. The dude proceeded to show me a wheel into the next corner but I pretend I didn't see it. Screw the intimidation tactic, if you're good enough come and frickin get it, sucka. For the next 2 laps, it was clear sailing to close the gap to the next racer. Accelerated onto the back straight, the bike started to miss-fire repeatedly, killing my drive. And sure enough, the dude came flying by. Latched onto his tail section, I planned to pull the same pass into T1 as previously. Well, unbeknownst to me the checker flag was waiting for us at the finish line. I was so focus on cutting lap that I didn't even see the white flag. Back in the pit, we discovered that my left footpeg has vibrated loose allowing the quickshifter to trigger accidentally and repeatedly.
The humble pies were a bit hard to swallow but they are a good source of motivation.
On another note, I always thought my OEM suspension was pretty good. Rushing out to replace this and that just after you bought the bike was a major waste of money. I stand corrected as I found out this weekend. Hardcore track riding or racing will lay waste to your stock suspension doesn't matter how good they came from the factory. More often than not, they're also non-rebuildable. This assessment also include the OEM Ohlins shock and forks on Ducati. I have trackdayed and raced my ZX-10R straight out of the showroom for the past 2.5 years. I finally broke down and put a fully adjustable Ohlins shock on in an attempt to cure a squatting problem. In the process found out, what a dream of an improvement it was. Unbelieveable!!!
In the first pix is my normal and proper body position into LVMS Classic's T8, aptly named the Fishhook. The second pix is also in the same turn with me running a bit wide, trying to coax the beast into the late apex. At the apex, the pavement pushes my knee against the fairing as the slider grinds away in a shower of titanium sparks.
Last edited by Archille; 04-12-2006 at 12:15 PM.