3 hours of working on the bike later, stripping clutch cable (frayed) and mounts from my new street bike, I have a working clutch again. but still hard to shift...
then I found the problem. when I crashed in June the replacement foot rest was the wrong part. it was lower and closer, causing the shift rod to bind up. it was also different from the right side, meaning my feet were at different heights and positions.
I put the old mount back on, went out and ... *loved it*. 5 seconds faster right away. bing!
note to self: I need to be a good mechanic to be able to race well.
(especially in the "paying attention" department)