So, the first race of the season was finally here at the "Scandinavian Raceway Anderstorp"
My first race in the Superbike class since the move up last year, and I can tell you, I was nervous for sure...
The goal for the weekend was to set a new personal best at the track, and try to avoid last place... If possible... Maaan these guys can fly on the track..
The weekend started off with free practice on thursday and friday, and right out of the box on thursday morning I improved my personal best from 1.46.4 to a 1.45.4 on the first session. I continued to improve every session, continuing to shed time off my PB all the time, and it felt pretty good.
I started too feel comfortable on the new bike, and could focus on a good setup and improving my raceline and brakepoints.
We continued to have the same problems with the front end as we had in the preseason testing in Poland. But we were making good progress.
Time for the first QP on saturday morning and I felt really nervous. I heard some of the guys in front ran 1.37.xx times, so I was really far behind the frontrunners. Just had to focus on my own work, and try to learn as much as I could when I ran with the faster riders.
Got a pretty good session in, and made a 1.43.1 as the best time. (3.3 secs better than my previous PB). Felt pretty good, but it would have been nice to get in the 1.42's. Was in 36th place after QP1.
QP2 was a very bad session. Struggled with the front as I tried to push harder into the turns, and the session was interrupted with yellow flags all the time, and eventually red flagged after a pretty bad accident. Then restarted with only 5 minutes to go. Tried to go out and push, but didn't get up to pace before the session was over... First session of the weekend that I didn't improve my PB. Was dissapointed... Got bumped down to 37 out of 41.
On saturday night we talked a lot about the front end, and descided to take a bit of a gamble and change the springs in the forks to 10kg stiffer ones. And we also added 10ml of oil in each fork to make the fork work a bit higher. We had a 15 min warmup on sunday morning to test the new setup before the race.
Warmup sunday morning.
Went out to to a couple of laps, then pit to check the forks, and keep doing this until it felt good, or the session was over... Right away the bike felt alot better, and after 3 flying laps I pitted to check the indicators on the forks. 10mm left of travel. Perfect!
Went out and just had a bit of fun the last couple of minutes...
The tactics for the race was simple. Make a hell of a start, and ride like I stole it...
As the lights went off, I got a pretty good start, and was really confident going into turn one. Not sure howI did in all the mess, but I sure wasn't dead last. Gained a couple of places down the long back straight (the ZX-10R i hauling ass I tell you). Lost one in braking, and gained one in turn 6. Back on the start/finnish the pitboard said "P-25 +0.0".
Huh? 25th? Naaah, that can't be right, I started from 37th...
Next lap, the same... 25th again... Strange... Lost a few places when some of the faster riders the made a terrible start came back. But the there were a few crashes so, I was still in 25th.
Started to hear a roar behind me in the twisty part that dissapeared on the straight. Gotta be one of the Aprilias I thought to myself, expecting it to be one of the sower ones. But when a saw a frontwheel during braking, I noticed that it was one of the faster Factory Aprilias with a friend of mine onboard.
Sweeeet, this is gonna be fun. We started to battle it out for 5 or 6 laps, overtaking each other 5 or 6 times every lap. I rode around with a big smile on my face all the time. Eventually I lost him, but it was ok. Usually he's a lot faster than me. But the Aprilia really lacks some power down the straights.
Finally ran over the finnish line in 25th place, after starting fron 37th in my first ever Superbike race. And made a 1.42.421 as the best laptime. That's over 4 seconds off my personal best from last year. So I was pretty satisfied.
Felt that I could have done a bit better, and maybe get a few more places, but was really tired in the end and didn't want to end up in the gravel, so I settled for 25th.
Now there's a long wait for the nest race (4 weeks) so there will be some time for more testing and practicing. Gonna work a bit on my stamina with the dirtbike aswell...