It was a great weekend for me, as I scored another two podiums (both 2nd place finishes) after a Saturday spent working with another 9 new novice trackday riders. Two weekends in a row with healthy numbers of new riders is a good sign for any club. Hopefully the trend continues. I was able to get some good video of the riders, dole out a few pointers, and answer some questions as well. Later on in the day I was able to get out with the advanced trackday riders, which allowed me to circulate the track at speed, in preparation for the next day's racing. After a morning rain shower, lap times were slower than usual, and with a fierce wind, nobody was breaking any records. In preparation for this round, I went down one tooth on the rear, hoping that combined with my fairing, I would be able to pull a higher terminal speed on the front straight. Using a z1000 gauge, the speedo is miles off -- it was reading 145mph last round, without a fairing! However everything is relative and it gave me a figure to compare to. With the wind and the gearing change, I went no faster... I still hit an indicated 145 on the front straight. However for the first time all year I passed a fellow sv650 rider on the straight... something I could never do with the naked bodywork. At the end of the day I fitted a new rear tire, reverted back to the 45t rear sprocket and got ready for Sunday.
I was pleased to see during practice on Sunday morning a "152" appear on the speedo. As well, the bike seemed to accelerate faster with the fairing (as well as the rear sprocket change, but I rode that gearing all year without a fairing)... this should bode well for the races! 7 mph increase in top speed on a 71hp bike is nothing to sneeze at.
Sunday saw me start from the 5th position on the grid, again due to missing out on points in round 1 and 2, and also skipping the Saturday races for instructing duties. In race 1 I got a decent start, slotted into 4th, and began to work my way forward. I was able to get by Mert by lap two, and Jason by lap 3 or 4... but aside from keeping Glen in sight for a couple of laps, I never really challenged him at all. I crossed the line in 2nd, 7 seconds adrift, and 15 or so seconds ahead of the 3rd place finisher. Aside from a 1:06 on lap 3, my times were consistently 1:07s... again, a bit slower than I'd like, but all lap times were down on what they usually were.
Race 2 was a far more dramatic affair, with me entering turn 1 in 4th again off the start. This race it took me awhile to get by Mert, and by this time Jason had extended his lead on me from his pole position start. By lap 7 I was able to draw even with him entering turn 1, but backed off as he had the better line; I did get by on lap 8, and then spent the next few circuits riding defensively, as I could always hear his booming SV right behind me through all the turns. On the white flag lap, I was still leading out of turn 5, with only the fast 6-7-8 combination and turn 9 left in order to maintain my position. It should be secure, although a lapped rider appeared not too far ahead. Depending when I caught up, it could be perfect timing, or terrible timing. As luck would have it, I came up on the rider entering turn 9; he went wide while I hugged the inside (another blocking move on Jason), and I held on for a photo finish, 0.7 seconds ahead. An entertaining race, and satisfying in that luck turned in my favor on this occasion. Still 7 seconds adrift of the winner (Glen again), but not miles away.
Aside from replacing a fork seal, the bike will remain as is for the final round of the season. I'm shooting for another 2 podiums again as a goal to round out the year. Hopefully that can boost me up to 5th in the standings (for the 3rd straight year!). However, with club racing, you never know who is going to show up, and with what bike.
Geoff Ives managed to set the cams in my engine at the racetrack over the weekend (top fella!), so the superbike engine is basically ready for the final pieces for assembly. If things go according to plan, I'll swap it in after the last race, get it broken in and dynoed before fall ends, and mothball it for the brutal 5 months of winter.