Saturday, June 9, 2012

Round 2: An Up and Down Weekend

The forecast for Round 2 was a bit uncertain, moreso than it usually is at Gimli.  I was sure to load the rain tires, as well as a new front just in case it began to really wear.  Like the big bikes, I was wearing out rears at a far greater rate than the fronts.
Practice Session #1:  no time.  My track instructor responsibilities saw me miss the first practice session.  An extended trackday meeting, plus time to set up another rider's suspension, saw it scrubbed.

Practice Session #2:  best time:  1:05:549.  Success!  One of my goals for this year was to get into the 1:05 range.  I was determined to focus on two corners, turn 2 and turn 6, to try to find some time.  I felt really good about this, but I had to immediately come off the track to prep for my instructor sessions.

Race #1: Canadian Thunder GP (15 laps): when I gridded up for this race, I had already been on the track for nearly 45 minutes. I wasn't feeling tired, but perhaps the front tire was near the end of its life? Anyway, to make a long story shorter, here is the video:

The "woulda shoulda coulda" file also contains the fact that Doug also DNF, due to electrical problems.  Was a 1st place a possibility?  This is a long race, but I was running over a second a lap ahead of 3rd at the time...

The bike wasn't too terribly damaged -- footpeg, clip on, windscreen, fairing, and the tail was broken up as well.  Some duct tape and spares had me back out on the track for the afternoon trackday sessions -- my tattered bike a reminder for the trackday guys to take it easy.

Sunday Practice #1:  with no trackday responsibilities today, I could focus on getting back up to speed.  However the weather did not cooperate, with it cool and windy in the morning and the threat of rain for later.  Session #1 saw me turn a best of 1:07:3 -- ugh, 2 seconds slower!  On top of it all, my fairing stay failed and broke in 2 places, and I rode into the pits a bit floppy.  Off it went, with duct tape a-flying!

Sunday Practice #2:  I scavenged a waterbottle in order for the radiator to drain from the overflow, and went out "naked and fairing-less".  I went progressively faster, turning a 1:06:9.  Better, but far off the pace of yesterday. 

Race 2:  Cdn Thunder (10 laps):  I put on the rain wheels as a drizzle started about 20 mins before the start of this race.  I successfully swapped them over, sweat running off the tip of my nose -- I did the work in full leathers!  I got a great start, solidly in second, before I started to go backwards.  My best lap time was on lap four, a 1:10, but then the rain stopped and a dry line formed.  Uh Oh...  I ended up in 6th, my worst finish of the year.  By the time I crossed the line, the sun was out.  A novice rider on a TZ250 and slicks ended up winning the overall, pipping Doug (on rains) on the last lap.  Tire choice!  I went back to the pits, sulked a bit, and hoped for more rain.

Race 3: Cdn Thunder (10 laps):  and the rain came.  Again, not a deluge, but enough to justify rain tires.  I had even started to over-wear the rains during the last race, with no water to cool them the edges were starting to tear... argh!  However, another good start saw me in 2nd after a couple of laps, shuffled down to 3rd for the remainder.  Not fast times by any means -- 1:15s!  However, a podium on a naked bike in the rain is a good way to end the weekend.  I'll take it.

Back home assessing the damage.  The tail has more duct tape than fibreglass, and to repair would make it weigh a ton.  It's done.  I've re-made footpeg hangers as one of the 2 I had was bent.  More spares, I guess.  I'll get a spare handlebar to replace my "replacement", and I think I may have a pinhole leak in the tank.  I never run it anywhere close to full, but it did take a hit towards the top, and so it may not be safe as is.  The upper and lower fairing are in really rough shape -- they may need to go into the skip as well.  For such a simple lowside, the cosmetics took a beating.  I might revert back to my KTM mini-fairing for the next round or two until I decide what I am going to do long-term.  I think I realized the speed I found at the last round had more to do with my right wrist than some fibreglass.  We'll see.  I've got some hop-up ideas planned, mainly in the area of cooling, that I will keep you posted on.  Off to the garage!