Here's another edition of my race experience:
April 2005: I stored my bike over the winter season at my friend’s house. I broke it out early march and began to get it ready for the first race of the season. I met some good people at the yahoo NEAR group. Which stands for Northeast Area Racers. I secured a garage space from a few guys and agreed to share some costs, about $40 for the weekend in the garage. Garages are hard to come by and they are generally reserved for the whole season. Usually a group of guys chip in and split the costs.
I had minimal preparation for the race weekend. I was still using my Bridgestone street tires, BT012’s. The forecast for the weekend was Rain. I arrived at Loudon and the rain was coming down. There were puddles on the track at various parts and it was difficult to ride. I signed up for 3 races that weekend. I set up my tent in the camping area and dropped off my bike at my Garage. I met a few of the guys that I would be with for the weekend. They were nice, but not too friendly at first.
On Saturday, there was morning practice. The street tires were awful in the rain and I was really not doing well at all. Guys were dropping left and right because of the rain. So I stopped practicing and just waited for the races to start that afternoon.
While I was waiting, I met another first year racer, Mike McDermott. He arrived in a 40-foot trailer, 5th wheel style, and his used R6. Mike just bought the R6 from another racer, Jeff Greenwood, who was one of the fastest guys at the track. Mike had stuffed the bike in the rear of the trailer and needed help to get it out and getting his bike back together so, I stayed to help him. He had minimal tools and I had the few he needed.
This was my first introduction to the great atmosphere that surrounds the garage area at Loudon. We got a few other racers to help get Mikes bike together and he was ready for the Saturday afternoon races. We need to replace the chain on his bike. I just bought a chain breaker from eBay and I promptly broke it changing the chain. Note to self…..read the instructions before use.
By the start of the races, it was really coming down hard. I got suited up in my street rain gear, which was over my race suit. I lined up for the out lap. We started out and as I did my lap, I saw that the puddles had gone larger. My Bridgestone street tires were working ok in the rain but I was sliding and did not feel good. I pulled in and decided not to race. I parked my bike in the garage and got undressed. I was soaked. I ended up watching the race from the top of Mike’s trailer. I took some great photos from the trailer of the puddles at the bottom of turn 10.
So I was up again for another race, I got dressed again and headed out for the next race. Again, I lined up and headed out for the race. The rain was still really heavy and I pulled in after I decided not to race. I was really pissed, I did not have rain tires and I just lost $100 for my entry fees. I talked to one of the guys in my Garage, Ted Temple. He is a fast guy that has been racing for over 5 years at Loudon. He had an old set of rain tires that would fit my GSXR, and for me a deal at only $50. Well I jumped at them and had them on my bike for the Sunday practice. Meanwhile I slept in my tent for the overnight hours, it rained all night but I stayed very dry in my dads $600 Swedish tent.
Sunday morning came and I did my 3 practice sessions on the rain tires. They were Pirelli tires and they felt great. It makes such a difference with the rain tires compared to street tires. I lined up for the afternoon races and went out. There was one guy on street tires. We made our out lap and lined up for the race. It started and I did my 8 laps around, I wasn't trying to go too fast but just to finish the race and get some experience in the rain. The guy on street tires, I ended up lapping......The race ended and that was that,. Was it a waisted weekend? It sure felt like it.....