First time back on a track in 22 years!

Last time I was on a track, that’s me number 78

Last weekend I got out to Grand Bend Raceway for a track day with KSR. The last time I rode on a track was on my Suzuki RGV250 round Mallory Park UK in about 1998!! That was about the last time I rode a road bike hard apart from when I had a quick blast on my neighbour’s SV650 to test it out for him. I wasn’t sure how my far off my pace would be having not ridden for so long and never having ridden a powerful 600cc 4 stroke bike on a track before, so I went in green group where you can only pass on the straights. I had hoped that by the end of the day I would have got my knee down but even though I was running up behind people in the corners, that didn’t happen. It took a few laps to get to grips with the layout of the track (we ran the reverse modified configuration) and then I had to build confidence in the 2013 Pirelli Supercorsa tires I was running. A couple of people had expressed concern over the age of the tires and got in my head but they didn’t give me any cause for concern at the speeds and lean angles I was hitting.

When I got back to the pits after the first two sessions I found coolant pissing out of the overflow and noticed that the temperature gauge was flashing HI. I topped up the coolant thinking perhaps there was an air pocket from when I put the Water Wetter in but it still went up to over 100°C within 3 or 4 laps, so I had to cut my sessions short.

The track was fairly short and tight and after a couple of attempts at getting past slower riders, I found it was a bit sketchy on any straight apart from the back straight out of the carousel. I may have passed someone coming out of the carousel onto the back straight but I definitely did not pass anyone in a corner. Sadly that didn’t stop some girl coming over with her angry boyfriend and another girl and telling me that I ‘blew her friend off’??!? I was thrown off by the overheating and figured that I must be in the wrong because it was my first time so I tried to apologize and assure them that it wouldn’t happen again but the dude was not happy and carried on with his rant. Thinking about it afterwards I think they were just not happy that someone had passed them, as I said, I never passed in any corners – speed up or shut up!!

Overall it was a long but great day, hardly any anxiety in the morning, a little disappointed with my pace and not getting my knee down but I managed to get out and stay on. Now I’m keen to get out again and have booked in for next weekend … but not in green group.

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