Did my first intro to racing weekend back in November at Arroyo Seco, which is where I'll be racing this whole season. I crashed out of my first race (cold tires on a cold morning), and took 3rd out of 9 in my second race, although it was a Sportsman's Cup race that had some 250s/300s in it.
My first real race weekend was this weekend at Chuckwalla with CVMA. I've never ridden there before, so I did the Friday track day before the 3 races I was signed up for on Saturday: AM SS Open, AM Formula MW, and AM SS MW. On Friday during the track day, I learned that the curbing paint is NOT grippy like it is on some other tracks I've ridden, and I very nearly ate shit on a pretty fast corner from touching the paint on the inside. Saturday morning has a couple practice sessions then a qualifying session -- my 2:03.2 best qualifying lap, 2 full seconds faster than I was the day before (fresh tires) put me about middle of the starting grid for all the MW races. My first race of the day on Saturday though -- AM SS Open -- I was starting 7th out of 10, and luckily the expectations were low considering half the grid was litrebikes. I basically ran alone for the whole 6 laps, and chopped a second off with a 2:02.3 best lap. Multiple red flags throughout the day, some fairly bad crashes. I was signed up for AM Formula MW, the 4th race of the day -- I was gridded 8th of 18. On the second lap, I was running in 7th when an overzealous guy missed his brake marker or just thought he wanted to get inside of me right at the apex of a fast turn (Turn 15) -- I ran way wide on the exit, and given that even a good line uses the whole track thru there, I straightened the bike up and accepted my fate with a runoff into the dirt. I rejoined in last place, caught a few guys over the next lap and a half, and then the race was red flagged -- I had just hit the halfway mark of the race, and they called it complete. So I wound up 14th of the 17 finishers. Due to all the red flags, my last race of the day, race #13 AM SS MW, was going to be happening very close to sunset, and the last 5 races were all announced to only be 4 laps. With that, I scratched from the race, not wanting to only get 2/3rds of a race after only getting half a race earlier, and the track would be cold. So I decided to stay another night and signed up for AM SS Open and AM SS MW on Sunday.
On Sunday, I was gridded 7th of 17 for AM SS MW. Good start, made two passes on the 2nd to last lap, and then ran for my life on the last lap to hold down 5th with a best lap of 1:58.9! All of a sudden I was a legit amateur club racer, and it just took the competition and perfect track conditions to bring it out of me. If I'm able to carry that performance leap over to my "home track" this season, I'll be very competitive in the AM races, and should be able to grab some podiums. I finished my race weekend with another run at the AM SS Open, gridded 6th of 8. I ran the whole race alone, finished in 6th with a 1:59.9 best lap, and called it a race weekend.
Really happy with my D212s this weekend, and I surprisingly got comfortable with lateral movement of the tire for the first time, something I never thought would happen. But the D212s are predictable when they slip, and when they would slip a little bit because I was on the edge I was able to stay right on that fine line. For pressures, I was running 20 hot rear, 33 hot front -- that was a little higher than I started running in the rear but this is such a fast and grippy track, and you're always on the side of your tire, that I went up a little in the rear to actually help keep the tire a little cooler to control the sliding. Track temps were in the 60s according to my highly precise Harbor Freight digital pyrometer.
Here's a couple pics/links on the weekend: http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...at-chuckwalla/