By Dennis Dumapias
Under Two Minutes
Riding Coach Rob is persuasive. You’d think he’d be glad to read that I’ve quelled one of my fundamental fears out on track.
In any case, I couldn’t not listen to him, or why else did I ask him to coach me? So on the second day of our final event for the 2018 season I set aside my thrifting principles and handed my AMEX over to CT Racing (http://www.ctracetires.com/) for a new set of track tires.
Up until that point I was still riding on Pirelli’s race DOT tires, which is their very sticky but still street-legal tire. Unfortunately, they were out and all they had remaining were slicks. I thought what the heck, may as well give slicks a try. Except that they were also out of SC1s, which is what I had been running as a front tire to provide me with more grip than I need for braking and cornering. All they had left were SC2 slicks. I have experience with the SC2s, but not since I switched over to SC1s. Old me would’ve probably said forget about it and just wait for the 2019 season to put on new tires after all. But I knew if I did I would feel the sonic boom from SoCal-based Riding Coach Rob’s epic facepalm if I told him. So I gave our tire guy my card and both of my wheels to shod them with the SC2 slicks.
Some of my friends were unsure about a return to the SC2s, especially with my goal of trying to do Thunderhill Raceway’s 3-mile course in under two minutes. And sure, I kind of concurred. I’m going to try to go quicker on harder compound tires than what I’ve been using?
I second-guessed my decision as I mounted my freshly-shod wheels back on my bike.
Sooner Than Expected
The 4PM A-group session rolled around, and so did I out on track. As is my tendency once out on track, I forgot about the type of tires beneath me and I just rode, as fast as I could.
And finally, on my second flying lap of the session it flashed before me:
It’s not unusual to have some regression after a crash. The same can be said when you switch to a totally new bike, having to learn how it likes to be ridden. So after suffering a lowside crash at Sonoma that totaled my ’02 R1, forcing me to move on to my ’09 R1, I honestly didn’t expect to be going as fast on the new-to-me-bike as quickly as I did. I thought that I would need at least a season’s worth of riding on the newer bike for me to figure it out, to get comfortable on top of it. That’s what happened the last time I moved to another bike. So I certainly didn’t think I was going to accomplish my goal of going sub-2:00 around Thunderhill Raceway by last year’s end.
Maybe I underestimated just how much quicker the newer bike was going to be. Maybe I underestimated the value of having a riding coach. Maybe I underestimated the fresh tires and slicks.
Maybe I underestimated my own abilities.
I had to make sure to remind myself of all of these as I pushed my goal post for the following season.
Photo by GotBlueMilk.com
(If you’d like to see my lap, you can watch it in this vlog I made.)