Practice Session #1: no time. My track instructor responsibilities saw me miss the first practice session. An extended trackday meeting, plus time to set up another rider's suspension, saw it scrubbed.
Practice Session #2: best time: 1:05:549. Success! One of my goals for this year was to get into the 1:05 range. I was determined to focus on two corners, turn 2 and turn 6, to try to find some time. I felt really good about this, but I had to immediately come off the track to prep for my instructor sessions.
Race #1: Canadian Thunder GP (15 laps): when I gridded up for this race, I had already been on the track for nearly 45 minutes. I wasn't feeling tired, but perhaps the front tire was near the end of its life? Anyway, to make a long story shorter, here is the video:
The "woulda shoulda coulda" file also contains the fact that Doug also DNF, due to electrical problems. Was a 1st place a possibility? This is a long race, but I was running over a second a lap ahead of 3rd at the time...
The bike wasn't too terribly damaged -- footpeg, clip on, windscreen, fairing, and the tail was broken up as well. Some duct tape and spares had me back out on the track for the afternoon trackday sessions -- my tattered bike a reminder for the trackday guys to take it easy.
Sunday Practice #1: with no trackday responsibilities today, I could focus on getting back up to speed. However the weather did not cooperate, with it cool and windy in the morning and the threat of rain for later. Session #1 saw me turn a best of 1:07:3 -- ugh, 2 seconds slower! On top of it all, my fairing stay failed and broke in 2 places, and I rode into the pits a bit floppy. Off it went, with duct tape a-flying!
Sunday Practice #2: I scavenged a waterbottle in order for the radiator to drain from the overflow, and went out "naked and fairing-less". I went progressively faster, turning a 1:06:9. Better, but far off the pace of yesterday.
Race 2: Cdn Thunder (10 laps): I put on the rain wheels as a drizzle started about 20 mins before the start of this race. I successfully swapped them over, sweat running off the tip of my nose -- I did the work in full leathers! I got a great start, solidly in second, before I started to go backwards. My best lap time was on lap four, a 1:10, but then the rain stopped and a dry line formed. Uh Oh... I ended up in 6th, my worst finish of the year. By the time I crossed the line, the sun was out. A novice rider on a TZ250 and slicks ended up winning the overall, pipping Doug (on rains) on the last lap. Tire choice! I went back to the pits, sulked a bit, and hoped for more rain.
Race 3: Cdn Thunder (10 laps): and the rain came. Again, not a deluge, but enough to justify rain tires. I had even started to over-wear the rains during the last race, with no water to cool them the edges were starting to tear... argh! However, another good start saw me in 2nd after a couple of laps, shuffled down to 3rd for the remainder. Not fast times by any means -- 1:15s! However, a podium on a naked bike in the rain is a good way to end the weekend. I'll take it.
Back home assessing the damage. The tail has more duct tape than fibreglass, and to repair would make it weigh a ton. It's done. I've re-made footpeg hangers as one of the 2 I had was bent. More spares, I guess. I'll get a spare handlebar to replace my "replacement", and I think I may have a pinhole leak in the tank. I never run it anywhere close to full, but it did take a hit towards the top, and so it may not be safe as is. The upper and lower fairing are in really rough shape -- they may need to go into the skip as well. For such a simple lowside, the cosmetics took a beating. I might revert back to my KTM mini-fairing for the next round or two until I decide what I am going to do long-term. I think I realized the speed I found at the last round had more to do with my right wrist than some fibreglass. We'll see. I've got some hop-up ideas planned, mainly in the area of cooling, that I will keep you posted on. Off to the garage!