I came across an old blog entry from my motorcycle roadracing days, circa 2005. I was running a blog and doing a podcast about my racing. The blog and podcast have since died out, but I thought it would be nice to post up some old posts.
My Roadracing Adventure:
(posted on December 20, 2005)
So up to this point I was borrowing a friends truck and motorcycle ramp to bring my bike and equipment back and forth to the track. It gets cold in October in New Hampshire, So I was staying at the local motel. On Friday I completed the advanced racing school, http://www.penguinracing.com where Eric Wood, son of Jerry Wood the school founder gave a track walk. I took notes on a big yellow legal pad and we walked the 1.6 mile course with about 30 other racers.
Eric is an AMA rider with team Hooters Suzuki. He pointed out the correct line and other braking points of the track. After the walk we did our sessions on the track and we were critiqued by Eric and the other instructors. During the sessions, I was all over the place, braking point, lines, I was really stiff. We pulled off and Eric walked the line speaking to each of us. When he came up to me, he looked at me with a blank stare shook his head as he read from his notes……”you’ve got to relax” and “get your toes on the foot pegs not the balls of your feet, get off the seat, never sit”….
And out we go again for another session, I really tried this time to get in a rhythm, same shift points and brake points. My suspension was stock and I am a 200 pound rider, so I firmed it up and turned some knobs. One of the instructors bounced up and down on my forks and made some turns and out I went again. I never really felt comfortable on the bike but it was much better than from the morning.
On Saturday, I arrived at the track at about 6:30 am and got in line with the other racers. Note to self, pre-register for the future. I got my spot by the near the fence and unloaded. The PA system is hit and miss at the track so I really had to listen up for my practice session. I am “Amateur” slow sticker, which is above 1:30 on the track, the Experts are in the mid to lower teens.
I did not purchase any race tires and am using Bridgestone BT012’s with no tire-warmers. I’ve got my bike ready to go for tech inspection and I give it a once over. Prior to going racing I race prepped my bike with safety wire, race fairings and removed the anti-freeze. I wrote everything down and completed the list. I must have gone through 8 drill bits drilling out the bolts for the safety wire. I brought a drill and one bit to the track “just in case” and by god the just in case arrived. I looked down and saw that my rear brake caliper was not safety wired……OH CRAP…..I had no vise to put the bolt in to drill it and only one drill bit……
I ended up drilling oh so carefully with the one bit and prayed that I didn’t brake the bit. I used a little WD40 as I worked and made it to tech before my practice session started. Whew……I did my three practice sessions and was ready for the Rookie Race at noon.
At 11 am there was a riders meeting. I attended and they talked about the days events and various other things. The announcement was made, rookie riders meet up for a pre race meeting. Oh crap, we get a special talking to…..The jist of the meeting was complete the race and do not crash and don’t leave in the wrong wave, or you won’t get a race license. Simple enough…..
We line up on the upper pit road and are waved out for our warm-up lap. There are only about 10 of us. We are split in three waves for the race. Some guy on a R1 is all by himself for the first wave. Then a bunch of us on 600, maybe 5 I remember, and a few smaller bikes. We line up and I watch the first wave leave, one guy…gone like a shot….I click the bike in gear and rev the engine watching the starter…..green flag……go……down the straight and into turn one, we are two or three abreast and I think better of it and let the two guys go…..my goal is to finish and not to crash….we do our 4 laps and as I turn onto the front straight from turn 12, I give it full throttle and tuck behind the fairing……my head is down and I look through the windshield as a cross the finish line getting the checker flag…….whew…..
I check the stats and see I finished 4th overall, that’s me, Mr. middle of the pack….
Best fun I ever had….