Finally. Weather co-operated, bike co-operated, timing co-operated, and even work co-operated. (Thanks Boss — though I know he doesn’t read this). Got the bike all loaded up for a trip down to Arroyo Seco Raceway for their track day. This is the same one that was the shakedown for the RC51 last year that ended up with this:
The plan was to do a bit better than that this year — and to get a little more seat time in, since my last experience with a supersport of any description was in May 2013, and I could never figure how to get that out of a hole
The short version — went round in circles, didn’t crash, had fun! Long version after the jump. Photos are here, including the awkward ‘I do not know the track where the bloody hell am I going and how does this bike work’ ones. Just for added embarrassment!
I’ve had mixed times down as ASMA; my WR250X died there, I crashed the RC51 there (and only managed 15m of riding die to the crazy wind, then two races with a ‘crash’ on the second lap of race 2). This time I was heading down basically alone, with street tyres on the 675, and with a plan to do a shakedown on the bike after I got the calipers sorted from my little mechanical faux-pas! I had concerns with a dragging rotor, and basically with anything I had worked on. Plus I had no idea if the battery and race alternator would give me a whole day without a trickle charger or not, and as I said above; last time I was on a supersport was May 2013 and I never did figure out getting into and out of a corner on that R6.
Showed up, and the crew down there was great. Ran into a couple of SMRI guys early (and Josh was kind enough to let me pit with him). Everyone was — as I’ve seen before — super-friendly, and the day ran like clockwork. One of the big plusses of Arroyo Seco is that you run off, you can ride it out (I’m told the dirt is fine at 60mph, though I’m disinclined to verify that), so there were very few red and yellow flags.
Learning the bike was a challenge; coming off of big Vees (MTS1200, RC8R, and the RC51) I’ve gotten staggeringly lazy about gear selection and revs. They just work pretty well — especially on the street. The D675 demands a lot more respect, and learning that AND GP shift AND the track (which, helpfully, was reversed from the way I’ve run it for the 45m or so I’ve been on track there before) at once was a challenge. I decided to not try and push it — no markers, no trying to hammer it, no laptimes. Just a chance to bond with the bike and see if it ran well. (Check ego at the door, Winckless, and try not to compete too much. Yeah, RIGHT!). For the most part, I was even successful.
The good news — the bike ran well. Since the tank is a dry break conversion, filling it full is a double bad idea. I found the secondary element when I started it in the pits and it sprayed petrol out of the vent. Yay!!!! And the kickstand on a race bike is confusing, and I pulled out at least once to a chorus of ‘KICCCK STTTAAAND’. Once the pads bedded a bit, the braking was good and turning is SO much easier than on the 51. It does, however, really look like a minibike!
I ran every session, full length with the exception of 2 laps. There’s a lot of seat time coming for me to learn this. The tyres were good enough and more (Dunlop Q3s at 32F, 30R).
The bad news?
There’s some work for the rider. I need to improve when and where I am looking (not a new problem) and I definitely need to get a much better handle on keeping the revs up. Park it, turn it, squirt it is NOT as effective on a 675 as it was on a 1000 twin. GP shift is still a thinking exercise, not an automatic (I managed to pull off the track in 6th once as I laboriously shifted it).
Finally — the gear position sensor is a bit dodgy. Removing it and cleaning it is the ‘Internet Wisdom’, so I will try that one evening this week.
Overall, it was a good day. Thanks to Josh for putting me up in his bit, and the ASMA crew were great all around. Glad I got the bike shook down, and now it’s on to Inde in a week for some more learning, leaning, and especially seat time.