Well what a mixed bag it was. Saturday I was almost despondent at how bad I was feeling with the bike and racing after the 600 qualifier. Now if you know my results, you will know that I am not likely to be challenging the front guys and I am all about small increases and bit by bit. I can deal with being last (I don’t like it much, but I can deal with it 🙂 ) and I am happy enough if I have someone to race against. The 600 qualifier was hands down my worst race in years… I was last, and last by a long way. I could find no good points, except my start was good. Not having done the test day may have been the cause but I was a long way of the pace 4+ seconds a lap. I was at sea as to what to do. The Street Stock race was better as I was racing with people but still I was a long way off where I want to be.
A look at the timing sheets showed the mountain in front of me. I was doing 1:23s and the next slowest in the 600s was doing mid 1:18s. That’s a lot to find, and then there is another gap to the next bike. The thing is… I couldn’t tell you how and why I was loosing so much. It’s a new bike, yes, and I haven’t had much time on it and it was a long gap between races for me but still that is a bit soul destroying to be so far off the pace. All the hard found time of last years seeming to have gone and I am at a lost to explain it. Normally I can say it’s at this point or that point but not this time.
The huge grid of the the Street Stock race, as it’s combined with the Pre Injection for Anglesey, is better as I have people to race against, but not in my class, but it makes it fun and not so spirit crushing. I am also quicker by over a second, the age old I can follow and not lead problem rearing it’s head again. Qualifiers over, the championship races follow the same pattern, I am left for dead in the 600s and don’t see which way they all go. I make a half attempt at staying with them but I simply can’t. About the only good thing to say is that I get a good start and people actually have to overtake me, I get 15th and score only my second ever point in the Open 600s but it feels hollow and almost like a medal for taking part. In the Street Stocks I have a good fight with lots of Pre Injection bikes and an R1 in the 1300s but no one in my class and another good start finishing 7th beating only #71, who is also in my garage.
I leave the track to go and see my Nain (grand mother) who lives near by with a smile from the racing but lots of questions about my riding and how I can make things better.
The Sunday morning is nice and clear, the wind has dropped and I am ready to get at it. Alex Jones (#888), who has already been a hero in holding me a garage space and saving me having to put up an awning and take it down each night, suggest lengthening the bike and changing the gearing. I am game for this as it should make it more stable, though I can’t say it’s unstable but I am no where on the brakes and more get out of the corners can’t hurt, and I am not revving out own the back straight, I had decided to “run what I’d brung” to keep things the same to do laps and get more comfortable, but as I am so far off I am willing to try it. So I set about dropping a tooth at the front…. well when I say I do, Alex does most of it. Cheers fella. Out for practice and it feels better. I am staying with people in the practice, I think it’s CBR600RR so a good chance I’ll be racing them later on, and I feel better… I think I am faster, but don’t go and get practice sheets to show the truth (I was actually doing 1:24 so that might have been bad to know) and it feels much better.
The Open 600s has a couple of different entries for Sunday and I actually get a race with Ducati 749, #77, a new member to the club who had previously been with Hottrax I find out later. It was good to race with someone in the class, by the time I push passed everyone else has gone. Still I am much happier in the fact there is someone to race… and by it’s nature winning that race at the back makes it better still. It was rather an unusual start, as it was delayed by a vole wondering across the start line.
The Street Stocks is again me mixing with the Pre Injections, but not with people in my class… It always helps having a 20+ bhp to pull you back up to the 600s but the thousands do get a bit of a jump on me. I am smiling though as it’s all good fun with lots of action.
So before this post gets too long I’ll summarise.
I come away with a 15th (and last) and 13th (and not last) in the Open 600 and 10th and a 8th Street Stocks. I also come away with my fastest time ever from Anglesey, I am still a long way off being competitive but it’s the first time I have been faster on the Yamaha than on the Suzuki and on decidedly second hand tyres, so I am taking that as a positive.
This is likely to be my last race of 2015 unless I enter Donington with No Limits, but I want to sneak a couple of track days in before winter comes. I’ll do a fuller write up when I have some time.