August 13th, 2006

racing, motorcycle

A race winning pace.

For the first time ever, my comments about the races this weekend won't have phrases like Bryan had checked out in them. I didn't win a race, but I crossed the finish line within a dozen feet of the winner. This is a huge accomplishment for me, and makes me feel very good.

Mod Thunder: 4th Place Bryan, Jordan, Mike and I had a 4-way running battle. Jordan beat Bryan, and Mike held me off. All of us were riding way over the limits, pushing the fronts, sliding the rear trying to get the gas opened sooner. It was amazing that all of us kept the rubber side down.

Super 50cc: 3rd Place!! My first podium in this class. In the heat race I was left behind, which isn't unusual. But I stepped up and adjusted. I made gearing, fluid and lever adjustments to the bike, finally making it work better for me. I got left behind at the start, but I reeled in 3rd place and passed him to get my first podium in this class. I really felt that I could have gotten second if I had gotten past 3rd sooner.

Expert Trophy Dash: 3rd Place Bryan, Jordan and I had a three way battle, checking out on Mike. Bryan won. I must have passed Jordan a dozen times, but his power-weight ratio let him take the positions back. Bryan did NOT check out while Jordan and I were battling. 1st -> 3rd crossed the line within the same second. 3rd isn't a win, but it feels like one.

Formula Extreme: Ugh. Okay, the days of podium finishes on a stock bike are over. We had 8 extreme bikes on the grid. In the heat race, Mike and I (the only two on stock-class bikes) got stuck behind a pack of the slower extreme riders that kept out-horsepowering us every time we passed them. I had to start the main race from the 3rd row! Ouch.

I knew that a podium finish was highly unlikely, but I went out to make the most of it. Last race, let's kick the kettle and burn the pot. I made a good start, and then took 2 more positions in 2 laps. 4 laps in, and I was halfway through the pack of extreme bikes. Finally I ran into one guy on a 190cc bike (more than double my horsepower) that I just couldn't get around. I owned him in the corners, but he was braking at all the wrong points. Tight points where I really needed to be opening the throttle to pass him. So we both bog, and then he uses his extreme horsepower difference to run away. Repeat in EVERY corner.

Last lap of the race (and my last race of the day) I decide to toss it in to the last corner really fast and try to run around him. It would have worked too, but I stayed on the brakes too long, and hit some torn up pavement with the front suspension fully loaded. Down I go.

Not fun to crash, but it felt good to go halfway through a pack of bikes with significantly greater horsepower, suspension, wheels ... you name it. No more free podiums, but a blast none the less.