Have been following this thread for a while and was looking forward to adding my contribution to it. Had my first race weekend at my "home" track at Pittsburgh International Raceway. After three years of trackdays, I felt like I was as ready as I'd ever be to dip my toes into the waters.
WERA and N2 did a combined weekend together with a trackday Friday, four hour endurance race Saturday, and sprint races on Sunday.
I ran Friday and felt really good. This was my second weekend on the SBK Pros, and I was getting more comfortable with how they feel. Previous PR was 2:05, and I brought it down to a 2:03. Nothing really notable on the day other than taking the race school through N2. They cover the bases pretty well to get you prepared, and then you have a mock race at lunch time. Although it doesn't techinically matter, I came in second out of four riders taking the school.
Saturday I joined up with a team through the WERA forums to help out in the pits for the endurance race. Helped out team DLNQNT doing everything from holding a fire extinguisher, timing, fueling, etc. Very excited to get 2nd in class and 5th overall out of 28 or so teams. Incredible event, and I'm hoping to have my own team together for it next year.
Sunday was finally time to put everything together and start racing! First practice session of the day I felt relaxed and wasn't pushing too hard. Ended up increasing my PR to a 2:02. I felt I had my head in the right place to stay within myself and not get carried away with the red mist (usually being too cautious is a trademark for me on the track).
I talked to the Pirelli rep (Colin from Shagmoto) there and he recommended that at the least I switch to an actual race front, but both would be better. I thought I was taking the "tires are cheaper than hospital bills approach" by swapping out the front, since you can usually manage the rear end. Everything was mounted and set and I went out for my first race. My goal was to finish all the races and hopefully not be in last. Unfortunately, the next thing I can remember was waking up in the hospital a couple hours later...
Second crash I've ever had, and really the first that was due to a riding error. Crashed on the second lap of my first ever race...I'm pretty embarrassed and very frustrated at the result. Fortunately, I had a GoPro running so I could at least see what I did. Crashed in a corner I've taken literally hundreds of times without a single incident. Problem was I was a bit sloppy that whole lap missing apexes and I added some throttle while adding lean angle in the corner of the crash. Obviously a big no-no. Some other people who have seen the video think that an SC1 or SC2 on the rear would have "covered" that mistake at my pace, but obviously I still just messed up.
I'm itching to get back out there as soon as I can to have a mulligan on my first race experience. Bike is in pretty good shape with mostly just consumables needing to be replaced. I had a bit more damage than the bike - mild concussion, whiplash, swollen knee, and left wrist broken in two places.
Video of the crash: