I went to Thunderhill Raceway this weekend for Zoom Zoom trackdays' annual Ladies' VIP day. It was a damn fine time--Zoom Zoom is a great organization, very together and very safety conscious, and good folks to boot.
Here's a pic of the track--very fast, with some interesting blind uphills. Turn 2 is my favorite--it goes on and on, and you feel as if the rules of gravity have been suspended as you float through. I managed to pass some folks there, too.
I put some new Pilot Powers on the 919 (set at 29/30), swapped the coolant for distilled water and Water Wetter, removed the rear license bracket, pulled the headlight and taillight fuses, and taped my wheel weights, and was ready to go.
The new G&J stainless lines were a great addition. I was able to stay on the gas much deeper into corners, then get on the brakes with total confidence. Many of the folks in the women's group were new to the track, and twice novices drifted off their line as I was preparing to pass--but with the new lines, hauling it down in a blink was no problem. The Pilot Powers were great--very confidence-inducing, all the way out to their edges.
The centerstand never touched at all, which was a relief. I ended up having lots of pavement contact from the peg feelers, so I removed them after the second session, then ended up dragging the pegs anyway. Hmmm, never thought I'd consider rearsets...
I did end up getting the suspension set by Phil of Aftershocks, which also increased my cornering clearance a great deal. I'd been wrestling with the bike a bit in turns; but with less rebound, and stiffer compression front and rear, the bike felt much more compliant when dropping into turns and less busy in the front end. Steering was muuuch quicker after that--it was exhilarating, and much easier to apex later.
I'm also tremendously grateful to my girlfriend for lending her truck and being my one-woman pit crew/cheering section all day. I need to take her out to a steak dinner.
If you've never done a trackday, I'm here to tell you that the 919 is a fun and more than capable trackday mount. Try it!
6 a.m. Yes, I'm cranky, and it's already 80 degrees.
Setup in the paddock--mercifully shaded. It reached near-100 degree temps, so cooling and hydration became paramount. I got sloppy in my third session and got reminded to rehydrate by my instructor (Wendy, owner of a bike shop and a former racer). Wendy was great--she'd pat her tail section in a gesture that meant "follow close, padawan, we're going to pass some people," and go roaring around the next group. I alternated leading and following, and she gave excellent critique every time we ran together.
I also had some trouble with coolant boiling over and out the weep tube, and a near-overheat. Fortunately, there was spare distilled water on hand to top off the reserve tank (had to do so repeatedly), but I do need to figure out what's going on with that.
On the grid--can you pick out the green bike?
Launch time. There's nothing like the feeling of accelerating off the line for your first lap of the day--my heart is always in my throat.
Session one--too bad the photographer never got me when I was really leaned over, but nonetheless...
Trying to go a little further.
A little too much excitement for this guy--but he got stopped uninjured.
It was a rough day--4 ambulances and 1 helicopter ride. I was glad I stayed safe.
Boy was I glad these new leathers were perforated.
very pleased with myself, back at the paddock. My instructor suggested that i move up to B group. I passed a fair number of other riders out there, which was a good skill to hone unto itself.
Dragging...toe? Need to work on that foot position.
After a good hot trackday, your tires will be shagged and covered with rubber "boogers" from heating up so intensely.
Boy am I glad for those toe sliders. I did manage to tuck my feet in by the end of the day.
Cheers to Zoom Zoom for another great day out there. I felt as if my skill and nerve really cranked up a notch this time out, and it feels great.
Still basking in the afterglow,