ducatitech.com racing...............

WSMC March

The weatherman was right, yay weatherman.

The computer told us that it was supposed to be rainy on Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday in Rosamond. I ended up borrowing a tire grooving tool from a mini sprint car racer. I had a supersoft DOT front laying around that was lightly used, but unusable until next winter, so I extended the tread out to the edge of the tire. I also had a lightly used soft rear tire, but I didn't cut it as it would be usable in the dry if it wasn't cut.

Saturday was super wet. Actual right and proper rain was falling in the morning. We anticipated this and in desire to save some motel money, drove up Saturday morning, with the plan to ride in the afternoon if the weather cleared up. There were so few racers practicing that the Club ended practice at noon. I took this chance to do some dyno R&D. We kinda farted around the track to kill time, too. Ended up leaving at 4. Checked in to the Desert Inn and then headed to Mandarin Gate to try them out. Great Chinese food! Good prices, too, for how nice the place is. Their "Dinner Combination A" is marked "For light eaters" or some crap, but don't let that fool you, as they didn't skimp on the portions. Be sure to ask for the hot mustard when they bring out your fried wontons. That'll light you up! Their beef with broccoli had amazingly tender beef.

Up Sunday and we got in to the track early enough that I was able to hit both warm up sessions. Ugh, I was slooooooow. It kinda sucked, but I thought I was just rusty. The track was kinda sketchy, with the entrance to turn 3 completely soaked. Turn 5's curbing had a foot of dampness on either side of the track. Turn 9 wasn't perfectly dry, but it was fine. In the second session, Curtis Adams and I hooked up and did some 1:35s and 6s. It was almost totally dry in the 2nd warmup, but 3 was still kinda scary with all this gnarly rubber on the outside. Then off to the riders' meeting, where a bunch of people won free track days and other stuff from the Club's monthly drawings. The Club also announced that they approved our rule change petition to allow racing tires in the Aprilia Challenge. I'm pretty stoked about this, as my Large White Man™ ass combined with some pretty good lap times quickly reduces tires to their fundamental elements.

(note the picture ... what's wrong here? wheel chair, dirt bike instead of #666, and wet ground) My races were 1, 3, and 9. First up was the Roadracing World 250GP. This is always kinda fun, as it's a chance to warm up for the Aprilia race and I get to dice with "real" 250s and occasional 125s. Unfortunately the 125s, running in their own race, often get caught up with our race. There was a pretty huge group of us going through turn 9 and there was a multi-bike crash and one of the too-few lady racers got hurt pretty bad. =( Last I heard, her leg was broken. I kind of wonder if the 125s in the Formula 3 race should start in a 3rd wave. When the leaders of that race catch me, there's often a tight pack of 3 or 4. Normally when that happens in practice, I'll just let them go, but when it's a race, there are often fellow 250GP competitors mixed up in there, too. This means that I kind of mess with the 125 ladies and guys fighting for the lead. Anyhow, it turns out that I was the 3rd 250! So thanks to John Ulrich and Roadracing World ( www.roadracingworld.com ) for the $40 for 3rd.

I pulled in, got on the warmers in preparation for race 3, the Aprilia Challenge, and race 2 got red flagged for a crash, so I got an extra couple minutes to think about things, etc. I got out on the warm-up lap and felt the rear wheel drift some turn 8. Hmmmm, I attributed this to the "breeze" or maybe not quite getting enough heat into the tire while on the warmers. Anyhow, Craig Hubert did his starting dance and I got another great start and under way with the race. The first lap was OK, but I felt slow, so I looked back at the start finish line and there was the 130 of John Melich. On the second lap, I stepped up a bit and going into turn 9, the rear tire eased out a good bit and just hung there, delaying my throttle up for the drive through. I was like "aw crap" and sure enough, John went by on the straight. I stuck with him and passed back in turn 2. Next time on the front straight, it was the same thing, because I wasn't able to really push through 9, so my speed on the front straight sucked. So I figured I'd hang out and try to skunk him on the last turn of the race, but he must have known that play, as he stayed low enough that I couldn't really do anything about him. I still tried to get through 9 the best I could, but finished the race one or two bikes behind him. I normally am about 3 seconds per lap faster, so I can only attribute falling into John's clutches to my lack of practice, the "breeze", and the tire removing some of my confidence.

Once into the pits, I got that spare wheel with the Soft tire and put it on for the 550 Superbike race. In all my machinations, I neglected to safety wire the axle nut. So just before the 550 SBK race, there's a crash and the start gets delayed. The announcers call the race, I turn off the generator, pull the front warmer off, remove the stand, get the rear warmer off, and I glance at the axle nut as I drop the bike off the rear stand and see that it's not wired. Dang! Back up on the rear stand, gloves off, and I grab the wire and pliers and do a quickie hack job to avoid getting busted on the starting grid. The Staff members are checking and you'll not start with the race AND get fined if you go out unwired. I rolled out as the hounds were released on the warm up lap. Perfect timing. The Soft rear felt great on the warm up lap, so I was pretty happy about that. I got another great start and in this race, was following a couple SV650s and a MuZ (that dyno-ed at 75 hp). My pace was marginally better than the Aprilia race, but not as good as when I'm in top form, so I just kept following that pack rather than messing with them. It was kinda fun watching an SV screw up others without actually feeling the pain myself. =)

After the race, I brought Zina part of my TriTip sandwich to the start finish area. Then I went around BS-ing with a bunch of other racers. I met John Melich and we BS-ed for forever. I also got some tires (SLICKS!!! Hooray slicks) for next month and my trophies and finished loading up. Rain, rain thank you for going away! We didn't get any while racing, but it sure is coming down on our trip back home! SoCal will be happy to get this moisture, even if the people hate it and don't know how to drive in it. =)


ducatitech.com / racing

3 18 2003
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