Rode my first race on Saturday. I haven't raced until now due to my wife's objections, so this was just a club event. I've enjoyed reading other's first race reports, so here's mine. BTW - this is not my first post, just an alias so wifey doesn't do a "see all users posts."
I recently moved to California and haven't hooked up with riding buddies yet, so I drove to the track by myself and located a decent spot in the pits, relatively close to the action. I asked the guy next to me, also by himself, if he knew where to sign up and he pointed me in the right direction. I went to the sign up booth and just did what everyone else was doing - filling out sign up sheets and standing in line. I filled out a sheet for two classes - 250 Beginner and Vet 30+ Beginner, then stood in line and paid my money.
Now, I know what people must think - don't sign up for two classes your first race! Well, I haven't ridden on good tracks much lately so I just wanted to ride! I figured I would just line up at the gate for the second class then have fun on the track.
Anyway, I unloaded my bike after signup and suited up to wait for practice. My practice was #7 of about 13 total. I had no real idea of what practice would entail, but it turned out that we all got 3 laps on the prepped track. Since I signed up for two classes, I was able to ride in two practices. This was good and bad. During the first practice I noticed that my front end was tweaked and my clutch/brake levers were in weird positions - oops. Even though I prepped the bike I guess I forgot about that little getoff I had just before I loaded up a few weeks back! So after practice I had to loosen the triple clamps to straighten the front wheel and adjust all the lever perches, etc. That was the good part of having two practice sessions. When I went out during the second practice to test out the adjustments, I managed to get out of shape in the short whoop section and go off the track! Great, now I'm apprehensive about this section! That was the (mildly) bad part about two practices.
After practice, the race order was announced and I was race #13 for 30+ Beginner and #16 for 250 Beginner. Here's the really fun part of my day - waiting!!!! I was a little worried about not hydrating enough (I get headaches otherwise) so I was drinking a lot of water. This, combined with the pre-race jitters, caused me to have to empty my bladder about 30 times before my first moto! Fun!
There's no pit riding except to/from your pit to staging, so when my moto got close, I suited up and headed out. Of course I had to stop along the way to empty my bladder again, so I end up the last person to line up in my class! Fortunately there were only about 10 riders at the gate so I chose a spot near the outside, well away from other riders. Evidently the choice gate picks were those right by the doghouse.
START (30+ Beginner) MOTO 1
As soon as I got to the gate, the 1 minute board went up and we all started our engines. The starter pointed at each of us, the 30 second board went sideways (and so did my stomach), then the gate dropped. I was a little surprised at how quickly the gate went down after the board went sideways, but I didn't want to try for a holeshot anyway. I dropped the clutch and motored away and could see that everyone else was out in front of me save for one guy on my left - I grabbed a big handful of throttle and shifted smooth into third (2nd gear start) and pulled at least one more guy into the first turn. BTW - the start was VERY long with a wide RH sweeper leading into a wide LH sweeper. All in all a forgiving and safe start. By the time we made it through the sweepers I had passed one rider - so I was only 3rd from last after turn 2! LOL!
FIRST - FOURTH LAPS
OK, so now that I had made it out there safely I only wanted to keep from crashing and finish the 5 lap moto. I stayed close to the group of 4 in front of me and in the first two laps 2 of them went down, so riding safe allowed me to move up 2 spots. On laps 3 and 4 I was bird dogging the two riders in front of me but never had real good chances to pass.
Just as we went into lap 5 I finally passed one of the two in front of me on the inside on one of the long sweepers - Yay!! About two turns later I was passed by one of the riders who had gone down early. Arrgh! At this point I was just telling myself to finish and breathe! At the checkered flag I had come in 5th, and 4th in my class. All right!!!! Of course there was less than 10 riders at the gate - but I figured we must be the dedicated ones - LOL!
250 BEGINNER - there was no way in hell I was going to be able to ride this, they were staging already when I came in from my first moto. So I was DNS/DNS for this class. I was pumped to be more aggressive for my second Vet moto!
START (30+ Beginner) MOTO 2
Prior to this moto I only had to empty my bladder about 10 times, so I must not have been nearly as nervous - LOL! I lined up in the same spot as the last moto - it was a pretty safe albeit slow outside line into the sweepers. I paid more attention to the 30 second board and got off the line a little better, maybe 6th after the first sweeper. I poured on the throttle going into the second sweeper and passed two more people, so I was in 4th position after turn 2! Whoowhee!
FIRST - FOURTH LAPS
Once again I had made it out there safely and really only wanted to keep from crashing and finish the 5 lap moto. For the first two laps I stayed close to the group of 3 in front of me but nobody was going down this time! About lap 3 I finally had a chance for a pass when one of the riders went a little deep into an off-camber. Oh, yeah - I went to the inside, came out a little wide and ended up with a block pass. I felt a little tap on my rear wheel but that was it! I was past him! I was now in third! On the 4th lap I was able to stick to the inside on a sweeper and cleanly pass one more rider for 2nd place! Yeah! One lap to go!
Once I made it into second I pulled away from the rider I passed. The person in the lead was two corners ahead but I was so tired and arms so pumped up that I knew if tried too hard I would crash. I was starting to get out of shape in ruts and almost went down about halfway through the lap so I backed off and tried to just ride smooth. Fortunately there was no pressure from the third place rider. I kept it on two wheels and made it to the checkered in 2nd!
So a 4-2 put me in 3rd overall. I was very excited and had a great time. I'm looking forward now to the next race in the series and for riding with a larger gate. Oh yeah - and starting a fitness routine so I'm not so pumped up at the end of a stinking 12 minute moto!
I guess my 'ol fat 426 will last a little while longer...