First — the summary
|Amateur Middleweight Superbike||1:04.76||7th||1 lap|
|Amateur Thunderbike||1:03.796||5th||1 lap|
|Novice Middleweight Superbike||1:01.838||9th||1 lap|
|Novice Superstreet Heat 1||1:01.411||1st||N/A|
|Novice Superstreet Heat 2||1:01.394||1st||N/A|
Missing May and June basically really meant I wasn’t running for any Championships (even if I was a bit faster) but I came close in Thunderbike; 3 points behind OCD Cycles Marc Beyer, though with rather more races for me…
Race details after the jump
Sunday started cold; below 40 when we got to the track, though clear and sunny. Decent conditions, all told — especially for October. Practice went slowly as I felt out the track, and got used to new gear (Held Titan EVO gloves to replace my torn out Dainese’s and Alpinestar Supertech-R boots). I’m not sure why I wear black on the street, but feel an obligation to go to hi-viz out on the track.
Finally, I was running new tyres. I’d pushed past the workable life of my GP-As, and Steve at Moto-Authority got me a nice new set of the reversible GP-A Pros for the last race. Same size, same profile, just newer and stickier — at least that was my hope!
Without the rain from last month, my race schedule was better. One race on, one race off for the morning and most of the afternoon. The lack of back-t0-back in the afternoon was definitely a plus, since it did warm up nicely by then, both air and track temps.
First race was Thunderbike, and I was gridded on the front row. I’ve definitely a lot to learn about launching a bike, so I was swarmed off the start and pushed back into 5th, while the pack started to run away from me. It was a bit frustrating, and my lap pace was down a little on last race — though I was able to just about hold off Jaime Smith (a theme for the day, and indeed the season.)
Next up was Superstreet, the beginner class and the one in which I have been pretty competitive all year. Some of the usual suspects were here — Madd-1’s Cedric Madden on his BMW S1000RR, Jaime Smith from Hot Flash Racing on another Daytona 675 (now with much more actual power thanks to fixing a cam timing issue!), and Nicole Hakeem on a 450 Supermoto. We were joined by Eric Torres on a Z900 who had hauled all the way in from Midland TX to race.
Once again, the start went poorly. Instead of letting off too slowly, I started with a HUGE wheelie and was swamped for THAT. Apparently I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. However, the Daytona has some serious go in it, so I was able to get out of Turn 1 ahead of Nicole and Eric, and then was able to out-brake Cedric into Turn 1 and hit the front. My pace was a stark contrast to my less than excellent Thunderbike race, with a best lap (and best ever time) on lap 9 at 1:01.411 and a consistent run of 1:02s. My fitness still shows a little as I drop off in 7 and 8, but I could hear Jaime right behind me again and I knew I had to keep pushing on (I’ve been passed on the last lap and on the way to the finish line before because I got cocky. Lesson LEARNED). I’ve definitely ruled myself out of this beginner class next year, though!
Last in the morning was Novice Middleweight Superbike, a MUCH more competitive class. I was gridded 10th out of 12, with another 675 and Nicole behind me. The timing ended up being blown on this race, but it was won my my almost next door neighbour Josh Hill on a borrowed bike (*!*). Something to do with brake calipers on his Honda 600, so he rode a 636cc Ninja. I managed to work my way up to 7th, passing a few people but my lap times were much less consistent; the 3 races again showing on myu fitness as I slopped into the 1:04s (6s slower than the winner) on the later laps.
After lunch it was on to Amateur Middleweight Superbike. Everyone tells me ‘go race the Amateur races to get faster’, but in this one I was the only runner not under the 1m mark for their best lap (even the two other novices, Josh Hill and CJ Downing were into the 58s). Unsurprisingly, I placed 7 out of 7. These races are a test of my mental fortitude more than my physical, and I can definitely see myself going slower as I get demoralized by watching everyone bugger off into the distance. A lot to work on there.
Finally, it was SuperStreet Heat 2. Technically, I had Formula 40 to go — full of the over-40s. Most of them very, very fast. I was pretty sure I was scratching out of that, and this race clinched it. Jaime and Cedric both got better starts than me, and I had to work really hard to get past Cedric on Lap 2 — by which time Jaime had the length of the front straight between me and her. I got my head down and started chasing, and my lap 5 we were pretty close; and I was pretty beat. I was running consistent laps 1s faster than my best previous time to get there (though Jaime and I were both dying to get down into the 1.0s, and I was hoping this was the race. Not this season, alas!). Lap 7 I managed to get underneath Jaime on the brakes into the last corner, but that set me up wide and offline and I was just waiting to be passed back but it didn’t quite happen. Jaime ended up right on my tail and we ran into lap traffic — Torres on his Z900 on the last lap, running slower. Jaime and I almost split him into Turn 7, but not quite — not the ideal situation. Inside line, and I was able to drive past.
Very happy with the day, overall. I took first in superstreet, and ended up 4th overall in the Thunderbike Championship. A good season — thanks to the people who have coached me (Scott Cloninger and Jesse Beck in particular), to Jaime Smith for pushing me to be faster all year, and especially to the Tech crew at SMRI who are always there early and late to get things going.,
Hoping for some southern track days over the winter, and I’ll be back racing next year!