ithaca00 (Addict) View all posts in this topic  
Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:11 pm
Ithaca's (Almost) Race Report - AFM Round 6        

AFM Round 6 July 31-August 1

Ever since the last lap of Round 5 at Thunderhill I was really looking forward to this weekend. I was back at Infineon where I had better luck racing before and I was getting around at a better pace.

Saturday morning rolls around and it's not looking great. Fog has rolled over the hills and settled just above the track, making everything cold and damp. These conditions make Infineon even more slick than it already is and brought me right back to my NRS class there when I was sliding around in nearly every turn. Conditions that are not conducive to confidence or fast times.

As expected, the first session out I was sliding all over the place and was just circulating around the track, getting used to being on the bike again. I dropped my tire pressure for the next session and wasn't sliding around but I still was not quite "there" and neither were my times. The rest of the day proceeded just like that, my times got a little better but the confidence wasn't there for some reason.

Another confidence hindering point was the condition in my drive chain. There was a kink or two in it and I had hoped to get another weekend out of it. After the first session I noticed that it had developed a massive tight spot and needed to be replaced ASAP. I could buy a new chain from the vendors on site but not the chain that I wanted. I'm using a 520, non-oring chain for reduced rolling resistance and because they're cheap (only $30-$60)! The only chain that the vendor had was a top of the line DID o-ring one that cost $150. I had a friend bring me one that I finally replaced at the end of the day.

The schedule for Sunday was pretty miserable from a time standpoint. Wake up, get on the track for the practice at 8am, ride for 15 minutes. Sit around all day. First race is at 3pm. Second race is at 4pm. Making that morning practice almost a pointless in that it got me warmed up for racing then I had to go sit for seven hours. To top it off the morning session was even foggier, to the point droplets collected on my visor making it hard to see from Turn 2 to Turn 7. Oddly enough though the traction was better but still not what I wanted to push it in.

In my free time on Sunday I wandered the pits, put in a new set of brake pads and relaxed as much as I could. I was still feeling down about the times that I had from the practices. As my races got closer I was feeling a little better with the new chain and brake pads and was getting amped up to go out. I went out on the warm up lap for Race 8 (Formula Pacific) to test the new pads and they felt AWESOME! I was officially ready to kick some ass Very Happy

My race, Race 9 - 250 Superbike/Formula 4, was called and it was on. I warmed up in the hot pit, getting used to the new brakes and was ready to go when they called the warm up lap. Out I went and I felt great from the minute I tipped into Turn 2. Turn 3/3a felt better and Turn 4 better still. This race was going to kick butt! Mr. Green

Up to this point I'm easing in to my "race pace" since I'm on cold tires but by Turn 5 they're warm enough to start ramping it up. So I come out of Turn 4 on my normal line and, giving full throttle, tip in to the turn ready to fly through there. Right as I get to the apex I'm beyond committed to the turn and that's precisely when I see the wheel of an SV650 trying to squeeze through. Before I could react I've was broadsided and lost the front end. There I am, sliding across the pavement then dirt at 70mph, on the WARMUP lap! When I stop sliding I'm 50ft or so into the dirt and whoever hit me is long gone. Another annoyance is that the crash happened between the corner station at T4 and T6 so, as far as I know, no one saw it happen, they only saw me on the ground.

A corner worker got to me and the bike after the last bike came around and we got it to the outside wall and had to sit there for the entire race. For some reason the crash truck didn't come out at the end of the race and I was unable to get my bike back until after the last race of the day. I was really upset about this but after I got back to the pit I realized that my gear probably wouldn't pass a tech inspection anyways.

One of the worst parts of this whole ordeal was the effect that it had on my family and friends that were there watching me. As soon as I realized that I was OK and out of the race I started thinking about them. What were they thinking when I didn't show up to the grid? I was sure that with my Grandma and girlfriend, having spent the season at the track, they'd realize that I was alright when no ambulances were sent out and the race went on. My mom on the other hand was going to freak out since she hates me doing this in the first place. Since I got stuck on the inside of the track I couldn't get back before the end of the race and even then, with no crash truck coming, I had to walk back from Turn 6. As I crossed the foot bridge from Turn 6 into the pit area I saw my mom coming up the hill crying. I rushed down to her and gave her a big hug and let her know that I was fine. With the adrenaline fading and explaining what happened to my crying mother, tears came to me as well. Oh the joys of my first crash.

I tried to keep a good spirit about all of this the rest of the day, especially since I was mainly unscathed. I really wanted to know who the other rider was and have a friendly talk with them but I doubt that I would have been able to maintain that good spirit.

I was able to watch a couple races, including a great 250 production race, but it was bittersweet as I was trying to figure out where I'd be in the mix but I cheered everyone on from the stands and they all did great because of it Wink

About 5pm I finally got my bike back and was able to go over the damages. The right handlebar and front brake lever were bent down at a 45* angle, the right rearset was severely bent out, and the muffler is half the size that it was at the start of the day. The bodywork held up fantastically well and put a lot of rumors about Hotbodies to rest. My gear suffered some decent damage with a couple large holes opening up on the right thigh and shoulder and a small hole in the Keprotec at the hip. My right boot suffered a large hole over the arch. Thankfully my helmet came out unscathed as did my gloves. The only damage to me was a bruised hip, quarter sized abrasion on my elbow from rubbing against my shirt, and a swollen right elbow.

Overall the weekend sucked Very Happy It was great being at the track, even though I wasn't happy with my performance up to that point. I just wish that it ended on a better note.

Now for the pictures...

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