AFM Round 2 - Sears Point
Wow, didn't realize I hadn't posted this
yet. I'll make this brief to catch things back up.
AFM Round 2 was, in a word, a SUCCESS!
This may have been the first weekend I've started in on Saturday Practice without worrying that some huge thing wrong with the bike to try and fix. Brakes were awesome (thanks David), tires were correct and suspension was dialed in (thanks Phil).
I spent most of Saturday practice bringing my speed up through the new turn 1. Eventually I got the hang of it with good corner speed for the drive up the hill. Could be better, but good enough for now.
The new turn 1 made for some interesting turn 2 activities. While it opened new passing lines it also made for rear end looseness while getting on the throttle more. No major issues for me but it was obvious that my next goal is body positioning to get my weight where it should be.
Sunday morning practice came and went with a whimper. The weather was overcast and I swear I saw some fog on the course. What was kind of lame was that my first race wasn't until after lunch. So right after practicing at the crack of dawn, I had a nearly 4 hour break.
I used my tire warmers this weekend (thanks you-know-who), whereas I hadn't in Buttonwillow. What an extra shot of confidence they are. Went out for the warm-up lap to 650-Twins and the bike felt good. I come around and get on my grid spot and felt oddly relaxed. Odd.
Siiiiiiiideways, GREEN FLAG!!
I'd had a little time to practice starts with the new gearing, with which I had a new challenge of keeping the front wheel down, or mostly down. No problems on this start whatsoever. Clutch out, throttle up and go! I got stuck on the inside of turn 1 which sucked, but that means I'm on the outside of turn 2 - cool! I lost a few places on the first turn, but made them back on the second.
I see a couple of people I know but am not usually hanging with for speed on the inside of turn 2 as I go around them. I couldn't believe it. I make it through that lap gaining a couple of places and trying my damnedest not to let the faster people behind me by.
I'm in a heated battle with Dean all through 1, 2 and 3on the second lap. I passed him and I do NOT want to let him back by. Going into 4 he comes up on the inside on the brakes. I'm brakingbrakingbraking and thinking I'm already barely going to make the corner, and he comes by me like I'm standing still. I'm thinking there's no way he's going to make it, so I overbrake a little more and turn in right behind his rear wheel. He doesn't make it. He has to abort his turn in and way wide losing me and a couple more positions (I think). Going into the Carousel I know Dean's not going to be a problem so I've got my eyes on the rider in front of me for another position hard on the throttle coming out and pinning it up through the gears...to see a red flag. There was a serious crash in turn 2 and they're rolling the ambulance.
Fack! I'm pissed! I worked damn hard for my position and a little luck got me a jump further. With the restart I may not be so lucky. We sit out there a while while they clean up. Take another sighting lap and grid up for the restart.
Sidewaaaaaaaay, GREEN FLAG!!!
Go, go, go! (Again.) Somehow, I nearly duplicated my last start and went around the same people in turn 2. But this time, I was on a mission. I was driven to prove to myself that my performance before the red flag was *not* a fluke of luck.
And it wasn't.
The entire race was simultaneously chasing down the guy in front and working a pass while not letting the people behind me by. Every time I got around someone I thought to myself, "Good, that'll keep them off my back for a few seconds." I've never ridden so well in my life. Smooth, aggressive, calculating, and all the while in control.
Now don't let me mislead anyone into thinking I won the race. I didn't. Not even close. I still finished mid-pack, but it was still a hard battle won.
Two races later was Formula IV. I like this race because there's a mix of different bikes which makes the interactions fun. Some bikes have more point-and-shoot power, while others carry more corner speed. Always fun.
Having gained some confidence from the first race, I did even better on the start. I did so well that I got in front of some folks that I stood no chance in not letting by. All I could do was let as few by as possible. And I was getting tired. And I was starting to think like, "Dude, you haven't crashed yet and if you can just not crash in this race..." And blah blah blah.
This whole time I thought I was slowing down, but I really wasn't. In spite of all that above, I set a *new* best personal lap time and finish.
AND THE BIKE CAME HOME IN ONE PIECE!!! hahaha
It was an awesome weekend. I consider it a complete success.
Lookin' like a Rock Stah!