Race report for CMP June 7-9 AHRMA
Ahhh yes, this is more like it! Weekends like these are why I will always find a way to continue racing motorcycles (despite weekends like Talladega in April). Things started a bit iffy on the way down- it rained pretty hard on us for 7 hours of the 8 hour trip. Friday morning was dry but very cloudy; by noon it was clear and just a bit humid. I know that applying pretty, fresh paint on a race bike is just begging for a crash, but I couldn't resist. The thing looks great, even though most passers-by gawked more at Kelly's fully-faired SV done up in a nice solid yellow (my second color choice). Practice went well, although I was only able to equal my best lap times from last season's race. The new Penske shock was working great, most importantly giving me tons of much needed ground clearance. Kelly (my trash-talking nemesis) was a couple seconds off my pace until the last session friday when he either stopped sandbagging or flipped the little switch in his brain to "GO". I was partly glad to see him give me some competition, and partly worried that all my trash-talking was coming back to bite me!
Saturday morning started with the only real bonehead move of the weekend- the wakeup call didn't work, and we didn't set a backup alarm. Still managed to get to the track by 9:00, only missing the first practice session. The weather settles in for the rest of the weekend at 80-85 with low humidity and clear skies. The 2 sessions I did make were just used to scrub in the new slicks and warm up the bike and myself. The first race is Twins F3. There's 8 of us- 4 SV's, a GS, a couple Hawks and ???. I get a good start from row 2, second or third into turn 1. By turn 4 I see that it's me and 2 other silver SV's running away. For the next 5 or 6 laps, it's a truly exciting battle between the 3 of us- I had to pass and repass at least half a dozen times to get in front. I make lots of little mistakes in the excitement, the worst was running off the track at the exit of turn 7 about 3 laps from the end. I only let one guy by, and get back on the track pretty quickly. I decide after all that effort I'm not giving him the win, so I lock my wrist into the "GO" position long enough to get by going into turn 1. With about 1.5 laps left, my pursuers give up and fade back a bit. The guidance counselor was wrong- I'm a winner!!! Saturdays second race was Twins F2. Taking full advantage of the class rules, Josef Brenner shows up with his monster 1030 cc Guzzi. Factor in his considerable talent, and it's obviously a race for second place as far as I'm concerned. Also present was Jan Svensson, who I had been previously thrashed upon last season on his 750 Ducati. Over the winter Jan upgraded to serious overkill wheels and tires (6.25 inch rear with a 190 tire!) and God only knows what he's done to that motor... Second row start again. Josef launches his Guzzi missle and is simply gone. I see to my right as I take off that Jan bogs badly. By turn 2 I'm in front (of the "B" pack) and by turn 3 I look over my shoulder to see Jan join the party. We fly in tight formation, leaving everyone else behind. I keep expecting him to blow by, but it seems we're dead even on power. I take 2-3 peeks behind me each lap and Jan is one to three bike lengths behind every time! I make no real mistakes (a race first for me!) and chalk up my best lap times of the weekend (or ever). The last lap Jan drops back about 50 feet and I take a very satisfying 2nd place.
Sunday morning, Jan's motor breaks in practice and he heads home, vowing to exact his revenge at Grattan in 2 weeks. Derek Keyes (on one of the silver SV's) really steps up his program and we engage in an epic battle in both races. In F3 he leads the way, and I just ride his rear wheel for a couple laps trying to go to school on him (and not let him do the same to me!). I finally decide I can go faster, and pass in turn 1. He gets back by pretty quick. I pass again in turn 1. He gets by going into 7 with some serious speed. He looks over his shoulder on the exit, and shakes his head when he sees I'm right there (heh heh). I get by again (guess where), he gets me back in the last couple laps in T1 (the student becomes the master!). I'm thinking he's gonna take this one, but a couple lapped riders throw his concentration just enough for me to zap him at the end of the back straight and take the win. In F2 we're at it again. I'm tired toward the end and need to close the door on him, so I show him all I've got through the back straight kink, wide open in 5th gear and hanging way off at about 120. That does the trick, he's either spooked or demoralized and fades back after that. I learn later than Josef had ended up near the front of Sound of Thunder from his F2 grid position! Again, I'm happy to take 2nd place.
I'm looking forward to getting my first ever contingency dollars in the mail from Bridgestone! Thanks to them, and to LP for their support. Also, thanks to all my Ohio friends for all the help, advice, and support!