My first racing experience

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My first racing experience

Post by freeridenick » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:17 pm

As requested by Al, my full race report - one fall, two submissions but no knockouts - is below:

Where, when and with whom: Three sisters, Sunday just gone, Preston and District Motorcyle Club. Qualifying for each class and two races per class meant two qualifying sessions and four races in a day.

5am start with a clear blue sky made a change from the day before when I got piss wet through loading the trailer in the rain. It was hard to believe the sun was going to come out when it hadn't stopped raining for over 24hours. Nice folks around me in the paddock, especially the guy who wouldn't take anything when I asked to hook up to his gennie when mine broke. He wouldn't even let me buy him a brew. The atmosphere felt different to a track day in that way. I've never felt track days are unfriendly but there was definitely some sort of sharing and caring feel about the race paddock.

Scrutineering was something I was nervous about having prepared the bike myself, but all he said was to move the shark's fin back a bit for the next meeting. He suggested the bike was quite soft at the front but I don't think he notice that I'm probably lighter than Fabio. Felt a Richard though when I went back with my kit only to be told I needed to be wearing it. The rider briefing was about ten minutes long and I then had nearly two hours to wait until my first qualifying/practice, both run in the same session with your fastest time giving your grid position. My races, open 401 to 1300 and Pre-injection, were split by one other race so it was a bit feast and famine in terms of activity.

The fall - first qualifying with the 401-1300 group and I didn't make it round two laps, dropping the bike when I missed an apex and fixated on the grass, which I then hit with the front folding. Nothing damaged really, just a couple of scratches and cracks, but I had to get off and have the bike go through scrutineering again as well as getting signed off by medical. That was a rush with one other ten minute practice before I was out again to qualify for the Pre-injecting race. Result: back of the grid for the 401-1300 race and, second last for Pre-Injection with a time of 1:07+

The submissions - I got lapped in my first race which I thought would give me a DNF but it didn't according to the results :thumbup:. Started 17 and finished 16th thanks to a DNF. Second submission was in my last race when I was catching a guy on the last lap. I knew I wouldn't get past him but I wanted to close the gap up because by then I was feeling more comfortable and knew I was faster in that section. Shame I forgot to brake in time and ran off the track. I assumed that would be a DNF but I crossed the line and they've given me last place. I was actually second last when I went off so maybe if I'd re-joined in that place it would have been different.

No knockouts - right way up for the rest of the day and four races completed :thumbup:.

I thought I'd be faster but I ended the day where I thought I'd start with times a whisker over 1:04. That was in the Pre-Injection but I managed not to get lapped again in the second 401-1300 race so I was happy with that. The field was slower in the Pre-injection race and picking off one place in the first race and nearly two in the second felt like a great improvement, and I enjoyed the last race having learnt the track a bit and got over the nerves a little. I'm aching this today though so I was way too tense on the bike. Three Sisters is as tough a track as I've ridden too, like Cadwell or Oulton compressed into a third of the space. There's nowhere for the bike to get into its stride and the only rest amounts to about 100m of straight next to the circuit entry. I remember my first track day being a bit stressful with not really knowing what' s going on so I'm hoping the next meeting will be more enjoyable.

The bike was great though. A bit too long and stable for the tight track but after the first right the track is one long fast open right-hander to the second proper turn by the pit. It was mega through there and that was a section I was 'fast' on compared with the guys in front. There's a similar section before the start/finish with a succession of right-handers where you're right over and driving hard. It never flinched and I could be much quicker there, it's the slower flick-flack sections where I struggled to keep up with the 600s and 650 twins.

Did I enjoy it? Yes and no. All in it was a good day but I was a bit naive and probably a bit arrogant thinking I'd be running better from the off. With less stress knowing what's going on and with a mate or two it would have been better. Or maybe just four races like the last one. Next meeting is in July and I'll be back for that - try everything twice in case you got it wrong the first time. :beer:

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by AMCQ46 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:09 pm

nice one Nick .... 3 sisters is not a track for a big bike!!! as you found out. Big single race bikes and supermotos are best.

I know the track configuration is probably not the same these days but one of my claims to fame is that I still hold the MZ racing lap record at 3 sisters with a 1m.00s lap. sad proof
that was on a modified MZ250ETZ, on treaded tyres, back in 1992 .... watching people race in the proddy class on slabie GSXR1100s was all the proof you needed that it wasn't a big bike track, they might pull 2 seconds on my 250, but they were close to crashing at every corner.

the main reason I still have the lap record is that after 1995 they stopped racing there :lol:

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by popkat » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:39 pm

Well done Nick, nice right up :thumbup: the best thing is you can only get better from now on.
I've never been to 3 sisters, the shortest track I've raced on is Lydden, only 1 mile, my old Storm went really well there and similar to Al I still hold a race record in the twins and triples class (carbed) as from the next year they allowed Injection so the class never ran again :D

Not putting your leathers on for Scrutineering, I was at a meeting a few years ago and Guy Martin (who was parked near us) came over and asked us "do I have to put my leathers on for Scrutineering", you'd think he would have known, he was hardly a novice :lol:

2014 CRMC Post classic Superbike champion.
2014 CRMC Post classic senior production champion. On a Suzuki Katana 1100
My bikes, Firestorm, Yamaha MT10SP, 2 x Honda RC24 road and race, Popup Katana and a some XJ600's

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by freeridenick » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:51 pm

I doubt I'll be getting any lap records but the magic sub-60 second lap is a target. I've neer thought of the 'Storm as a big bike but it certainly felt it trying to chuck it around. That might have had something to to with being tense as wombles though.

Looking at my race times it makes a huge differnce having someone to chase, who'd have thought :roll: . In my second race (first Pre-Injection) I was two seconds faster than my two 401 - 1300 races, even though the second of those was my third race when I'd started to get an idea of where I was going. Looks like there are two or three guys in front of me in the Pre-Injection class who I can keep up with. That should make the next meeting more interesting.
Preston round 2.jpg

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by tony.mon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:18 pm

freeridenick wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:51 pm
I doubt I'll be getting any lap records but the magic sub-60 second lap is a target.
Find a shorter circuit, or a short cut.

Book yourself onto brands indy, you'll manage that alright, and boost your ego no end.
Let me know though, and I'll head over there with my stopped watch, that should help.

Good write-up, eagerly awaiting the next thrilling installment 👍
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Re: My first racing experience

Post by sirch345 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:11 pm

Nice write up Nick 8)
I think you did well, and learnt a reasonable amount in the process, well done :clap:

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by thelens » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:55 am

That was a very interesting read !
You deserve a pat on the back just for being there :D
Hope you keep us posted !
Its refreshing to hear such open thoughts process !
Thank you ! :D

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Re: My first racing experience

Post by bigr250 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:58 pm

freeridenick wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:51 pm
I doubt I'll be getting any lap records but the magic sub-60 second lap is a target. I've neer thought of the 'Storm as a big bike but it certainly felt it trying to chuck it around.

The search for a quicker lap time can be really counter productive, I've still never ridden a 'Stom on track yet but in order to go fast at 3 Sisters on such a long W/B bike you'll need the back end 'jacking up' a little. The same effect can be gained by pushing the forks through the yokes but ground clearance will be lost and at 3 Sisters ground clearance is super important as you spend so much time on the edge of the tyre.

Concentrate on smoothness, comfort on the bike & the lines taken. From memory there are no early apex corners there so patience on entry is important at circuits like 3 Sisters, it's a great little track to have your first race at.

Good luck in July, stick a reminder on here & I'll pop along as I'm only 25min's away in the car. (10mins on a bike)

Great write up, stick at it.
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Re: My first racing experience

Post by 8541Hawk » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:44 pm

Another thing to look into is finding a gearing\chain length combo that moves the rear axle all the way forward in the swingarm.
Shortening the wheel base will help on the tight tracks :thumbup:
They call me "Mr. Flat Earther"

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