Very Late Round 4 Report...
The now graduated novice begins his trek to the front of the pack. Not without pitfalls and challenges though. All in all it was to be a great weekend, if only for me.
Thursday night saw the typical bedlam out in the shop. I had picked up my new plastics at the paint shop after work and set out to finish mounting into the wee hours of the night. Just after midnight she was looking clean and mean. The new paint really looked good, I was slightly concerned it might attract the ground again.
Friday saw me at the track just before 6:00 p.m. and the air fence was already done, sorry Dawnette, Olympia is a long way! I was able to convince Tyson to mount my new rubber and left my bike in Moís stable overnight. I was off to retrieve my Aprilia Motard I had detonated at the first round. And no, Iím not gonna race it any more.
Why does 6:00 a.m. always come so early? We were trackside just before 7:00 and the show up, sign up, tech up and get your techno on was like a blur. Practice number one was upon me. Bright blue and shiny I rolled her out to staging. With brand new tires I wanted to be careful. So I took it easy for a lap or two, then I realized I couldnít not take it easy. My bike felt like it was missing a ton of power, where had it gone. I was 10 mph slow in the straights and no real power off the corners. WTF!!! I came in and began the investigation.
It didnít take long to discover that the new cables I had installed stifled the throttle. They were preventing the butterflies from hitting WOT. (Insert expletives here.) Lift the tank, pull the air box, mess with the linkage, etcÖ A frantic rally between practices had barely gotten me fixed in time to go out. But now it was on. In my second practice I turned out a new personal record, 1:21.718. I was really starting to feel comfortable out there.
It was my first time on the regular grid in Middleweight Supersport . Even though I was in row four I was determined to make the best of it. The flag dropped and I launched well. I was in fifth heading into turn one and held sixth into three. (Thanks for the awesome holdup on the grid Mo!) I ran as hard as I dared for those first few laps and the leaders began to distance themselves. In lap six Mo had gathered up his faulty start and was moving through the pack. David Lane passed me with Mo just behind him. Thatís when it got interesting in three. Mo had closed in on top of Dave and clipped his front wheel; I was far enough away to steer clear of the dust cloud and debris. It happened dead ahead of me no more than 40 feet. I passed Mo as he looked to see his fallen comrade bounce across the infield.
I ran like the wind but Mo still came to find me. On the last lap David Moore pushed ahead of me into one, and it was completely unsettling. I had run so long by myself, I didnít even know he was there. I completely lost my line in the next two corners and watched him walk away to the checkers. I still finished ninth overall and had set a new personal best of 1:20.134, Iím knocking on the teens now. I even completed a full twelve laps, the Pinkstaffs and Dustin were coming, but I didnít get lapped!
450 Superbike did not yield such a great start but did offer the same favor by Mo. (Sorry buddy, I still love ya!) I was getting a little tired and my lap times showed it. I put a couple of guys away early and pushed to gain a lead on the traffic should there come a challenge on the last lap again.
I donít remember a lot of this race; I do remember getting passed and trying to hold onto the leaders as I slowly saw them vanish in the distance. I do remember dicing it out alongside Darrel Farmer Jr. We traded positions a couple of times and he nearly got me in the end but late braking into one with a lap to go would put me in tenth for the race.
It was an awesome weekend for improvement and learning for me. Unfortunately trouble was abounding all around our pit area. My condolences to all the riders who shed blood and bent metal last round. May your wounds heal and your bikes mend quickly.
Now, does anybody want to go to WMRRA on the 29th???