Round 6 was held 17th September. I had got back from Italy and the Misano MotoGP race on Tuesday, so work had been crazy — so much so that I had absolutely no idea on Saturday what races I was doing on Sunday. Talk about some excellent preparation and planning — I hadn’t even looked at the bike since the last race weekend.
The race day started off with rain — heavy rain overnight had washed the track, then rain during the riders meeting, Sandia Speedway is very abrasive, and as a desert racing group we don’t run wets nor in the rain, so that pushed the day back. The track dried faster than the pits, but there were a few nervous racers out there (me included). It turned out I’d signed up for 6 classes (5 races) in my effort to get more seat time and more experience — with the cooler weather, pushing on more seemed more achievable, at least until the actual day. In theory, I also didn’t have back to back races but the rain threw a spanner in that planning; as they combined classes, my plan ended up being a litttle less viable.
In practice, I was running way off my own pace. Fastest lap was a high 1:05, which is 3 seconds slow. Wasn’t boding well! Racing … ah, racing is different!
First up, as ever — Amateur Thunderbike. I was gridded front row, but I still need to learn to launch a motorcycle, and got slammed into Turn one — and then the usual suspects went charging off, but I managed to get my laptimes down and consistent on a less sticky track, hold off the faster riders on the slower bikes and avoid being lapped by either the open superbike experts or the experts on the Thunderbikes. Still ended up struggling with stress and messing my shifts up, leading to losing to trwo other novices also on 675s. Fastest lap was a 1:04, which is better (but not great) in my quest for the 60s mark.
Result: 4th place
Second race was the Superstreet Heat. Superstreet is great for experience, since I get two races for the price of one and it’s generally the riders at around my pace. Madden (Madd-1 racing) runs this on an HP4, so that’s an entertaining time as he drove past me into Turn one with a great launch; but myself and Paul Ness (also on a 675!) both took him on the way into Turn 2 on the brakes and then spent the race with me trying to catcch up to Paul. (To make this worse, he has second gear issues and was riding around them). He pushed me to be faster, but still beat me by 10s, running a 1:02:9784, speeding up the whole time through the race.
Here’s Madden’s video of the event:
Result: 2nd place in the heat.
Novice Middleweight Superbike — third race, and one of the more heavily contested. Love this race because there’s so many good guys in it, but hate it because my position in the championship due to my erratic entry and my inability to launch leads to me fighting at the back. This is — again — what happened, with me starting last on the grid and having a few smaller duels before ending up hunting down slower bikes with better starts to finish 9th out of 11 riders, with a best lap of a 1:03:8
Amateur Middleweight — bring on the experts! This is the first race of the afternoon, and another fast guy race — and another one where I was gridded back of the back Honestly, at this point it’s a bit of a blur, but again the happiness is that I wasn’t lapped for the first time in this class. Times were remaining in the high1:03s, which 2 months ago I’d have been ecstatic about — and now I am frustrated that I am not in the 1:01 and low 1:02. Funny how time changes the perception here!
5th race was the second superstreet heat. I was determined not to let Paul beat me on this one a second time, so I dived under him into 2 on the brakes, and then started to try and pull away. I wasn’t successful here, though I was able to get drive out of the corners enough to hold him off until he overrbraked to avoid crashing into me in the hairpin and crashed himself, causing the race to be redflagged. We restarted — and he got re-teched — but after a jumpstart from him I spent the rest of the race trying and failing to hunt him back down. I’ll take the win, but I’d rather have beaten him outright.
On the other hand, one of the Experts gave me some advice on a line and implementing it let me get my laptime down to 1:02:4 — I usually lose a couple of seconds or more in the afternoon, so definitely an improvement
Result: 1st (Paul Ness penalised one lap). Overall Superstreet — first
Final race was Formula 40 — a new class for the over 40s riders. Of course, all but a couple of our fastest riders are over 40 (with the fastest turning 40 in October) so it was going to be competitive. My lack of preparaption and tiredness showed, and I started blowing corners, brake markers, and shifts and shift markers, so after 4 laps I decided discretion was the better part of valour and pulled off.
Altogether a successful day, though I did destroy my race gloves (sweated through). Looking forward to the final round the third week of October — with new gloves, new GP-A Pro tyres, and the second day on my new boots. Isn’t this supposed to be a cheap hobby?