#319 LRRS Weekend 3 Report (Long)

Going into this weekend, there was a lot of talk about the temporary setup for T1. Three chicanes, back to back, on the apron to the Nascar oval. Seems a lot of people were really put off by this, some even didn’t race as a result. Personally, I wanted to race, and I was racing whatever they gave us.

Arrived Friday night. Movie night in my garage, some of the guys had a projector hooked up to a laptop. Cool setup. I got there fairly late and still had to do a clutch, so movie’s were not on the top of my priority list. Wrapped the clutch up in the wee hours of the morning, thanks in a big part to the help of my garage mates, and Dana, the EX wrenching Guru.

Sat Practice #1: Felt slow and out of shape. Was trying to remember the track and get back in the flow of things. Lap 1 just felt off. Had to figure out the way through the new chicane, try to remember the layout of the rest of the track, etc. Lap 2 felt better, still not great. Red flag after Lap 2, and we’re back in the garages. Went to check my times, no times. Bring transponder to media center, turns out they lost about 40 riders. They got my info and assured me it’d be good to go for 2nd practice, and more importantly the race. A lot of people up there don’t even check practice times, this makes me wonder if they check that something is up just to be sure their transponder is working. It’d suck to find out after your race.

Sat Practice #2: Everything felt much better, right from my out lap. I’m remembering where the track goes, and I’m no longer worried about getting lost in T1a-T1j. Coming through the bowl in T6 my knee touched down, surprised the hell out of me! I didn’t think I was leaning that far, so when I felt it I pulled my knee up out of reaction. Once it processed I motored up the hill with a smile. Next lap through I expected it, and kept it down a bit more. This was a nice confidence boost. Went to check the times after, and surprise surprise, I’m running faster than everyone else that I know of that’s in my class. I’ve only got a half second or so on Harrison, but last weekend he wasn’t even on my radar, he was ten and a half seconds/lap faster than me.

Sat Race #8 Nov PTwins: Everything felt good right from the flag. Got sort of a shitty start, which is normal for me, but passed a few people back going into 1 before the chicanes. Running in 3rd place with Harrison and another bike, which turned out to be Steve Hunt, in front of me. Harrison crashed out in T3 on Lap 2, which sucked. I pulled in second place and stayed there. Steve Hunt checked out on me in a serious way, he wasn’t even in my sights for me to try to chase or use as a carrot. Turns out he was ~5 seconds/lap faster than me, and finished the race in about a minute 3 seconds more than me, with an entire extra lap throw in. My best lap, a 1:40.526, was faster than my fastest race lap last weekend on the old setup. And I get a trophy. Awesome.

Sun Practice #1: Felt pretty good. Actually got all 5 laps in on practice for the first time this weekend. Was carrying much more speed through T3. On my second or third lap I dragged my boot through there. Since my knee wasn’t dragging I figured my position must have been off, so I made an effort to make sure I was on the forward part of the ball of my foot on the peg, as well as making sure it was right up against the engine case. Touched knee and boot that time, but it felt a lot better than just having my boot on the ground. Continued to drag boot & knee, both lightly and sporadically, through T3 for the rest of practice. Still getting knee down in T6.

Sun Practice #2: Felt good. Was getting a much better drive from T6-T9 than I ever did before. Still overbraking a bit for T1 & T9. T1 is hard because I don’t have any reference points. T9 is hard because I’m getting different speed drives into it. Focused on both, might have made some progress but nothing to write home about.

Sunday Race #1 Nov GTL: Fun race. I went into this with my only goal being stay on my line, be predictable and get track time. On the track with guys like CEO, I know I’m getting lapped, and with a serious speed differential. I started in position 8A, the very last row, all by myself. Got some people passed into T1, but not many. Ended up behind a couple bikes that were parked through the chicanes. Decided right then that I was going to need to get around them. They could both pull me on motor on the straights, but were slowing up early for the turns. I tried getting around the inside, but couldn’t get quite far enough and ended up needing to roll off so I didn’t get pinched between them & the apex. Tried going around the outside, but they’d motor away once we got toward the end of the turn and they got back on the gas. I was frustrated, and thinking I really needed to learn how to pass. I was also thinking there was no way I wanted go through the chicanes behind both of these bikes again. So… I’ll late brake the one closer to me into 1. Coming up the straight he’s pulling away from me, and I’m thinking “shit, I’m going to have to make up more than I wanted to, but it won’t be more than I can”. They brake, I’m to the outside waiting for it. They stack up pretty tight to each other and now passing one is not an option, I have to pass both of them. Got in front of them both, but I’m a bit too hot into the first chicane. Brake harder, start my turn while still on the brake pretty hard, and roll through the first chicane, a touch slower than I’d have liked due to losing my line with the late braking and the passes, but it works. I’m back in my line by the 2nd chicane and I’m out from there. I was told from people watching that I was around start/finish on the next lap when they came out of 12, so I made the right choice going around them. Sweet. After that the only bikes left in front of me in my class were a couple dirt bikes and one fast SV, and I didn’t have a chance in hell with any of them. I chased faster bikes when they lapped me for as long as I could and just did my thing. (Speaking of trying to chase faster bikes, CEO is damn fast!). Clicked off a couple low 1:39’s in that race, which is 2 seconds faster than my fastest race time last weekend, and the fastest I’ve ever gone around the track, old layout or new, practice or racing. Talked with CEO after the race, and he had some really good input for me from what he saw of me in that race. Apparently I look pretty good through 3, am getting off the bike and looking WAY over my shoulder (something he and I had discussed in the past). I’m making more than 1 input through T6, which I knew, I was having trouble finding the right spot to tip in this weekend in there once in a while. Oh well, I’ll get it.

Overall, an awesome weekend. Second time up, second place trophy, made some real progress on my riding, form and speed, and can’t wait to do it all again.

Huge thanks to 6 for getting me up there, Kurlon for the help with the trailer and Oreo for hooking me up with the ride home and the bench racing coaching session that was part of the ride.

Here are the only pics I’ve got for now, more to come in the next couple/few days.

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