First Club Race Season
My first race ever was on Saturday after 5 practice sessions. I was running 2:01 laptimes in practice. I grid-ed in last as I don't have any points yet. Off the start, I dropped the clutch and had a massive 12 o'clock wheelie, yet managed to pass half the grid going through turn 2 and got into 5th place. Lap 2, I dropped my laptime to 1:58 and made a pass into 4th place. Lap 4 I dropped to a 1:57 and made a pass into 3rd. I was catching 2nd place but ran out of laps. It felt really good finishing my first race in 3rd!! My goal was to get laptimes low enough to qualify for the Sunday races, which I found out were 2:12, so I was ready to go for Sunday.
My first race on Sunday was Novice Open Production which had a small 5 person grid. I started from the second row but got the holeshot into turn 1 and led the first 4 laps. On lap 5 I got passed by the experts of another class that was on track at the same time, and as I tried to follow their speed I missed a couple corners causing me to fall back to P2. I stalked him for almost a full lap and couldn't find a way through. I decided I was going to make my move down the straight to the finish line. I concentrated on hitting my marks and got a great drive out of the last corner and made the pass just before the line to take the win!!
2nd race of the day was Novice Open Superbike, which had a 11 person grid and I again started from the last spot. I did fairly well off the start and worked my way up to 6th in the first lap. I made a move for 5th in lap 3, and stalked P3 and P4 for a couple laps. One lap 4, P4 made an outside pass going into turn 3, and I took the opportunity for the inside pass on both, securing P3. I held onto P3 and finished 0.4 ahead of P4, but 8 sec back of P2. I need to work on my starts to hang with the front 2 guys, and they are running 0.8sec faster lap times than me also, so I need to work on dropping more time. I'm super excited to finish in 3rd though.
3rd race of the day was Novice Open GP, which was the same 11 rider field. I got into the front group of five in the first couple corners, and then was gifted 4th when P3 tucked the front in Turn 6. I made the pass to take 3rd, into 9, but he out-broke me into 10 to take it back. I passed going into T1 and then pushed hard to open a gap. My drive into T3 was too good and I missed my braking mark and ended running off track, i kept it upright and rejoined in 9th, passing into 8th in lap 4 and finishing in a lonely 8th.
The bike: There are a couple points of improvement I need to take care of. 1) brake fade. My stock master cylinder, racing pads, SS lines, and racing fluid feel pretty strong when cold, but after 3-4 hot laps i have to pull the lever way too much to get slowed enough. Talking with some other gen 4 owners, the stock master can be tricky to bleed and that's my target over the next couple weeks. I have to keep the stock master to run Open Production class.
2) gearing. I'm 16-39 (-1f,0r) which is way too tall for this track and every other track I'll race. I'm planning to go 16-42, which should help me get down the straights quicker.
The rider: I have a million things to work on, but I'm gonna focus on 2 points to start with:
1) fitness. I need to strengthen my core so I can finish a 6 lap sprint race without being winded at the end.
2) body positioning. I get a little lazy with my head and shoulder position and don't drop it as far over as I need to.