Jo Rhett (jorhett) wrote,
Jo Rhett

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Speed, interrupted.

I just spent three days up at Thunderhill Raceway. It really should have been a nice 3 days of focus and improving skills, but it got interrupted before I got halfway through.

Saturday the A (fast) group was overfull, so Lance requested that I play in the B+ group (because I'm on a low-HP ex500). Well, that was absolutely crazy. Lots of riders who belonged in the slow group, mixed with a bunch of us A-group riders who had bounced down. I was passing everywhere ... places where passes were unusual and even unlikely. Passing into the Cyclone, out of the Cyclone, into 11 (slowest corner). I even picked off two riders in 12 and 13 respectively -- a fast, aggressive S-turn onto the back straight. It was crazy. After Gary Jaehne and I passed 5 other riders in turn 14 mayhem, I was just shaking my head and laughing.

Unfortunately, the ex500 started to overheat later in the day Saturday. I refreshed the water, checked that it was flowing.. didn't help much. After practice stopped for the day, I completely flushed the radiator and replenished the water and Water Wetter. I checked for leaks. Everything looked good.

First two sessions on Sunday were good. An offhanded comment on Saturday night about improving entry markers had paid off, and I was really flying. I believe I was doing 2:11s and 2:12s (no lap timer). But definitely the fastest laps I had ever done at T-hill. But it all fell apart when the bike overheated again in the third session. Cleaned, refilled and checked everything again. In the fourth session the bike overheated while I was on the track, the overflow dropped hot water onto my rear wheel and gave me a wild ride through turn 9. Obviously I couldn't continue, so I started packing up.

Zoran suggested removing the thermostat, thinking it might not be opening all the way. It took me a while to find it, but it was an easy fix. Water was definitely flowing faster. Unfortunately, I only got two laps in before the day was over so I didn't know if it was really fixed.

The next morning I went out for warmup laps. The first three laps looked beautiful -- cooler than at any point yesterday. But the fourth lap had a sharp rise in temperature, and it hit red-line during the sixth lap.

There's no obvious water leaks, so it appears likely to be the engine head gasket again. So the bike is up at Zoran's place in Reno again, and I have no idea what I'll be riding next Monday.
Tags: motorcycle, racing

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