I had not ridden Road America for over a year and I needed practice badly. We left around noon on Thursday because practice was on Friday. I think I had 5 total sessions or about 15 -20 laps total on the track. The wife and little one came along, so I could show them what it was all about. This was going to be a mini vacation for us. The drive was a little over 5 and a half hours. We dropped the van off and had a good conversation with my friend who we were pitting next to “NU” before leaving to get some food and check into the hotel.
That night I was questioning my gearing. Should have I dropped 2 teeth in the rear? Should have I gotten a 1 tooth larger front? I was a little concerned, but it was to late now, I could only do my best with what I had.
Friday practice went well. My lap times dropped as the track warmed up and new rubber was laid down. My quickest lap time for Friday practice was a 3:05. Turns out my gearing was fine. My bike was still pulling (RPMs still rising) when I let off at 9.5k rpm (I up shift at 10k rpm) at my braking point on the front straight. (Perfect in my book)
Saturday I crashed out of my first race in GTL. I had something like 2 laps to go. I went into turn 8 to hot, my knee started dragging which I thought was fine, then it was my boot dragging. , I was fully off the gas and off the brakes at this point, I felt the rear end start to slide. I started to correct the situation (which I momentarily did) I started back on my turn in and then things went wrong, the rear end started sliding again and I was down for good this time. The bike slid away from me like a hockey puck and I slid on my ASS over the rumble strips and into the grass. I got up ran to the bike to clear it away from the crash area.
Later at the pits we surveyed the damage. It was not as bad as I thought and for the most part had the parts to fix it.
- Broken shift rod
- Broken left foot peg (I did not have a spare) I raced on the stubby broken peg. I had plenty to grip and shift and put weight on.
- Holes ripped out in the lower faring for the Dzus fasteners, The tail section crunched hard (Motoforza tail section). Upper and lower fairing held up well, considering the damage (Catalyst Composites).
- Bent lower left bracket for the upper fairing
- Broken fairing stay on one side (Left)(no spare but one side was still holding)
- Broken mounting bracket for the tail piece on the rear sub-frame
I managed to get the bike back together and through tech (with duct tape, crazy glue, and sweat) in time for my second race. I took 2nd place with a bad start in formula 40 Lightweight. I am not good at starts to begin with, but I hit a false neutral from 1st to 2nd.
Everything went well for the rest of the day (other than hitting false neutral between 1st and 2nd gear 1 more time). 4 races total for Saturday. On my last race of the day Ultralight Super Bike / Moto3, one of the Moto3 guys buzzed by me on the brakes a little to close for my comfort. It felt like if we were 2 more inches closer he would have hit my bars, but that’s racing.
Sunday things went well for me on my 1st race of the day. I did some fiddling with the milliseconds in the Bazzaz quick shifter. I went from 80ms to 90ms in the setting for 1st to 2nd gear. This eliminated the false neutral I was getting in my starts. I managed to get 2nd in the Rookies Cup Challenge Lightweight GP class. During that race I was trying to get first place away from a first gen SV650. We were really close and it was almost like he knew my braking and turn in points. We battled with a couple position changes, things were close, but my last corner of the last lap I delayed a bit on my brakes and carried to much corner speed and swung wide onto the front straight. I swung way wide knee dragging boot dragging, stood it up and in the grass wide. He ended up finishing First, and I managed to keep my bike upright get back on track ASAP and finished. My fastest lap time for that race and for the weekend was 2:54. That isn’t a huge improvement from a 3:05, but enough to make me happy.
Spare parts were ordered Sunday and should be here within 4 days.
We returned home around 11PM Sunday night. Both my Wife and little one had fun for the most part. All of us wore out from the long drive home and long weekend. Besides a couple of unpleasantries I loved every minute of it. My wife was very calm and collected during my crash incident and gave full support and help to get me back on the track.
I still have a ton to learn and improve on, but things are coming together, settings are getting closer, and confidence is building. I know some of the spots where I am loosing time and that is half the battle to knowing how to make the faster laps happen.
Repairs are going well and I should be ready for the Motovid track day at Road America on Monday.