Race report for AHRMA Putnam Park 8/17-18 2002
2nd of 12
The long version:
I had never raced at Putnam, but having done lots of track days there over
the last couple years I had high expectations for this event. Since my last
outing there the SV has been upgraded with a lovely Penske shock, and the
front end received minor tweaks. This race was one of the few with no friday
practice available, so I was rather dismayed to find out saturday morning
that my front end had some hellacious chatter going through several of the
higher speed turns. Damn! I thought I had this thing dialed in, but the
learning process continues...
Not much I can do before today's races, so I line up for the F3 race. I'm
casually sitting atop my steed, when first I hear Matt Winnacker's motor rev
feverishly, then see Kelly frantically waving at me. Oh, I guess they've
decided to send F1 and F3 in one wave... God forbid they choose a starting
procedure and stick with it! Anyhoo, I pop it into first, and a couple
seconds later the flag flies. I get a much better that usual start (no time
to overthink it) and by the time I enter turn 1 I'm awash in F1 guys,
including my new-racer pal Tim on his RC51. I pass several guys on the
outside (including Timmay). A more aggressive inside line probably would
have been faster, but also a lot more risky. Shortly after, I see Jan
Svensson just ahead and make a nice pass. For the umpteenth time, I forget
that he runs F1/F2, not F2/F3 and I incorrectly think I've gained a
position- oh well, passing is fun regardless. Winnacker is too far ahead to
challenge, so I gladly cruise to 2nd place.
In the F2 race, I manage to get around Jan again, but Kelly is on his game
and relegates me to third place. Sorry, saturday night's "festivities" have
erased any more details of that race...
Sunday morning we hit the truck stop for a buffet breakfast. I eat at least
$6 worth of bacon alone (suckers!). Also picked up some 30 wt. motor oil to
add to my flaccid forks. We get to the track, and Mike and I change tires
and siphon out most of the (now degraded) 20 wt. oil, and replace with the
high-tech truck stop stuff. We also discover that my rear shock had way too
little sag (I never checked it-duh) and dialed that in. First practice
reveals a much better handling bike, but still not perfect. I decide I'm
goin for it in the first race!
I get a decent start, a bit more aggressive into turn 1, and find myself on
Winnacker's tail by turn 3-4. I'm so excited to finally have the #1 plate
holder in my sights, that I foolishly pass him at the first opportunity. He
then follows me around for a few laps, learning all my strong/weak points,
and passes me back at the start of the last lap- ARRGGGHH! 2nd place again.
In the final race, Kelly and Rod Mahr get by me early on and I'm unable to
catch them. 4th place- ARRGGGHH! again!
So, I had fun, and learned yet more valuable lessons. I have decided to
attend at least one more race; that #1 plate is too close within my grasp to
let Winnacker just have it!