We had to wait for Josh to finish work so left for Grand Bend early on Thursday evening and had asked our pit buddy to save us a spot since last year was mayhem. When we got there, we found that our buddy had fobbed us off to pit with the guys behind him – man I was pissed! It turned out fine though since we were between Russ and Heather who are both super nice people and eager to help when they can.
We didn’t ride on Friday, they run the endurance on Fridays now so it’s an expensive practice session and we had been out practicing on the weekend before anyway. So we just tinkered with the new trailer and helped Heather who was doing the practice. I also went to Bickle Racing to buy some of his gloves but he wasn’t there which turned out to be a good thing since when I got back to the pits, Grant had a pair of Bickle gloves that were like new and fitted nice so I got a good deal on them instead!
I had installed a rear tire that I bought off Danny that had ‘Frozen’ written on it in chalk that was a bit concerning because apparently you’re not supposed to let slicks freeze but Danny assured me that you can see if a tire has been damaged by cold as it looks like shattered glass. The first practice session on Saturday was not very warm and I had a few ‘moments’ where the rear tire felt a bit loose but by the end of the second session I was back up to race speed, more or less. I had found out that I was running on the high side of the tire pressure ranges recommended by Dunlop and had decided to try lowering them – it might have been psychological but I felt more confident with the front and felt happier braking into some of the corners. I qualified 6th in Amateur Old Folks and 8th in Lost Era Lightweight – pretty happy with making the top ten again.
I felt pretty nervous going in to the Old Folks race and was on the outside of row 2 on the grid. I didn’t really think too much about the start but when the lights went out, I launched and found myself in the lead going into turn 1!! That was a new experience for me, I had never led a race before and I was going into every corner expecting a few guys to come nailing past! At the start of lap 4 I ran wide going into turn 1 and Rian easily slid through on the inside, I stayed with him for a little while but not close enough to try and take back the lead. Then I was battling with another guy for a few laps but he and Victor both got by me and I finished in 4th – super happy!
I started Lost Era Lightweight in the middle of the 3rd row and made up a couple of places off the start but conceded them again during the race to finish 7th. There were quite a few Pros ahead of me in that race including James Royce who ended up crashing out and I think a Pro called Araujo passed me on the last lap to put me in 8th but for whatever reason, the results on MyLaps say I finished ahead of him in 7th?
Josh finally got his bike sorted out and passed tech inspection although the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for long so he had to keep charging it through the day. He hadn’t ridden his bike yet this season so had to get back up to speed in the morning practice sessions. He struggled against some faster bikes in the qualifying races and felt that the gearing he was running wasn’t optimized for Grand Bend but he hadn’t brought his spare sprockets so had to bear with it.
When he was getting ready for the BOTT Lightweight race on Sunday he started the bike but it was in gear with the tire warmers on and it broke the lead on the warmer. That incident caused him to be late getting to the grid so he had to start from pit row putting him at the back. He had some good battles and made up a couple of places but was a bit frustrated with how slow his bike felt compared to some of the others. Then he had a concert to go to in Toronto so skipped the BOTT Heavyweight race that was late in the day and he had only really entered for seat time/experience anyway.