Alright... its now time for race report. I'm going to take my time and do it in parts so I can be as thorough as possible.
I'd like to start off by thanking all my family, sponsors, mentors, and friends for helping me line up on the grid this year. A few names: Gregg
s Racing, Dave @DaveMossTuning, Eric Kondo, Rob @Hare motorsports, Alex
line cycles, the guru Ken Hill, and all my SpeedMachis.com friends
Loaded up the van with race bike and backup R3 (also pit/parts bike in case I went down). Took my time to load all the supplies, not forgetting anything this time around, even packed my second set of gear in case I went down and needed to pass tech again. Dieseled up the rig and headed on my way to Buttonwillow by 2pm. Hit a bit of traffic on 101, but not that bad. Stoppped over at Harbor Freight to get a spare set of tie downs and work gloves. Reached the track by 630pm, unloaded in the garage that I had rented. It was only me by myself in the garage for Friday practice. Went on back to the hotel in Lost hills to get a good nights rest
Open test and tune day by BRP (buttonwillow raceway park). Arrived at the track by 7am, registered and teched early enough. My Pirelli 110F / 150Rear were a bit worn, but I thought I could get one more day out of them, so the tire warmers went on. I took first session off as it was a bit chilly. Started getting back to the rythm in second session, but was a good 5s off my best time from couple weeks back (low 2:09's during YCRS champday). I decided to go back to the basics I had learned from YCRS. Sure enough, I was in the low 2:10's in another couple sessions. By now, the tires were pretty beat up, but I had no slides or any other warnings from them.
Bridgestone is offering contingency $$ even for novice class. After reading Jesse Norton's feedback on them and following Dave Moss' advice, I decided to switch to Bridgestone 120F / 165Rear slicks. Feedback from Sequoia (Bridgestone rep) was to lower front by 3-4mm as tires were ~7mm taller than the Pirelli fronts.
Dave Moss wanted me to feel just hte difference in the tires first, so no changes to suspension or geometry. Out I went. After 4 laps, I immediately knew I had to come in for some adjustment. It would not turn in fast enough or hold the line on constant throttle, wanted to run wide every time. Dave adjusted some preload, and softenend up the front/rear. Out I went again. This time, a lot of traffic, so couldn't get a good feel, but knew we had to do more work. By this time, it was close to the end of the day as well. Dave was helping others, so couldnt get around in time to adjust my geometry. We lowered the front (now shows 43mm) by ~3mm. I waited for Saturday AFM practice to start tuning it further
I started out again feeling the bike. AFM put me into group 1 which is the slowest group. I had a torrid time getting up to speed as I ended up into traffic at every other turn. I did get a feel for the geometry. The lower front was insufficient to my liking. It was still a bit hard on turn-in rate and pushed wide on exits. Dave raised hte rear some more, ~1 turn. Now it started getting more comfortable. Last session before lunc hwas the most horrendous time I've ever had on track. AFM NRS folks were also in track in Group 1. I could only muster 2:23's and higher in all that traffic. I was super mad. By this time, it was already lunch time. Decided to pull in and get some food to relax me.
At lunch, I ventured into the AFM tech area and somehow convinced them to get me into practice group 2 after lunch. Practice group 2 was full of the lil' 300's class bikes including a lot of the experts. Boy did I have fun in that session. I easily dropped down to 2:09's again, with less traffic and good fast guys to follow around. I got into my rythm. After ~4 laps, came into pits and based on my feedback, Dave stiffened up the front compression a bit. Now it was race time.
Saturday races: to be continued