Continuing with the new stiffer suspension settings, as usual I felt slow in the first session of the day and was happy to follow Josh around for the first few laps as he seemed to be pretty confident. It started picking up as the sessions went on but I only managed to get down into the high 1:13’s.
Decided to try a bit more stiffening on the suspension and was feeling better in the morning practice sessions. I kept up with Steve Kostuk for a few laps and even managed a pass but I know that he often doesn’t go all out in the practice sessions.
First race was Lost Era Lightweight, I was 2nd place on the grid, middle of front row next to the now Pro Seb Hothaza! Got a great start into 2nd behind Seb and did my fastest lap of the weekend but it wasn’t enough to keep Melanie Newman from passing me with ease and I finished in 6th place – happy with that. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had a good battle with Andrew Alcampado – a cool guy I met through James Royce, he told me afterwards he was chasing me for a few laps and trying to put a move on but couldn’t pull it off safely. I could hear someone there but only saw anything when he tried to get me at the finish line. I also noticed that I was passed a lot going in to the Carousel, the brakes still felt a little spongy compared to the stock brakes on the B bike, I think I might put my spare stock master cylinder on.
Second race was Amateur Old Folks and once again I was starting in the middle of the front row – this time the pressure was on because my sister and her family were visiting from the UK and watching from the stands! A great start again and led until Steve Kostuk passed me going into the Carousel – again with the brakes!! I never totally lost touch with Steve but some quicker guys came and passed us both, including Chris Fidom who I’m hoping I can catch up to soon – finished a solid 5th in that race.
The rear tire was pretty worn so I had it flipped at end of play yesterday and since things were going well with the suspension settings, I thought I’d try going a bit further and noticed that I was starting to work the front tire in the first practice session. I figured it would be ok and decided I’d save my tires and skip the second session.
First up today was Amateur Old Folks starting from the middle of the second row with my sister and the crew in attendance again – that was most appreciated. Got a flying start and led for the first 3 laps until the faster guys caught up. I couldn’t seem to cling on to any of them and then I sometimes tend to take less risks when I’ve lost someone to chase. Then we got into back markers and I was able to hold my 5th position despite someone’s desperate bid for a pass in Turn 3 that I closed down as he was nowhere near close enough for it.
Lastly was Lost Era Lightweight with Josh, I was on the 2nd row on the outside and the guy I was battling with yesterday, Andrew was on the inside of the 3rd row. I got a good start again but by about the half way mark I was in about 6th place when my old pal Simon Blue put a nice move on me. I knew that I could just about keep up with Simon last year but he had done some suspension work over winter so I pushed and stayed with him for a couple of laps. Then as we were going into the first 90 – Turn 4? I swung out wide a bit to try and cut up the inside of Simon and line up a pass out of the second 90 and some plonker had overcooked it and was going straight on but hit my left bar as he went by! Then when I went to change down into the corner before the straight, I noticed that the clutch lever was broken and was sticking straight out! Luckily it still worked when I pulled it back in but I had to keep a finger on it for the rest of the race. Not long after that I was able to pass Simon and didn’t see him anymore, he told me later that he lost feeling in his fingers and couldn’t maintain the pace – that was a shame, he really helped me pick up my pace. I also messed up the flick from Turn 2 to Turn 3 and caught the peg on the curb on the way in – that was a bit of a sphincter clencher! I rode defensive lines into the corners and tried to hold my position but the dude that knocked my clutch lever got by on the last lap and I ended up 8th. For some reason the GoPro didn’t record anything for the last race, maybe it didn’t get started or something?
Overall a pretty good start to the season, I need to pick up the pace a bit starting with sorting out the front brakes. The front Pirelli got torn up a bit, I think I’ll put the suspension back to Saturday’s settings and try that.