My friends are the coolest, nicest people I’ll ever know.
For those that haven’t been keeping up, Madison (my CBR) has been in the shop all winter, waiting for an engine refresh. It spent a little longer there than it should have – having my contract end, and not having a day job for a few months tends to do that. The 2012 track season started during this hiatus, and I went to the track bikeless for a while. When I finally landed a job, sending money Madison’s way was one of my priorities – I needed to get my track fix or I was going to go crazy.
The shop finished the refresh, and I took it out the very next track day with 2Fast at Pacific. I did my half day shooting session, then went over to let the bike warm up so I can ride the rest of the day. Turn the key, and blue smoke, immediately. I thought nothing of it – new engine, it’ll smoke, right? I got suited up, went to track entrance and started doing the break in laps as recommended. The bike felt fine, even maybe a little more responsive at the throttle than before. Awesome.
So I’m out there taking it easy, just wanting to finish my break in laps, when I see Jay black flagging me at turn 9 after my fourth lap. WTF? What did I do? I was in the 100 level session with all the new folks experiencing the track for the first time – was I riding sketchy and scaring them? Then Wendy comes around on her 250 and signals me to follow her… Ooohh… I must’ve really done something wrong… I wonder if I inadvertently made someone crash and I just didn’t notice.
I finally pull in to track exit with Wendy, and we stop. “You’re blowing blue smoke everywhere! Real bad! You better get that looked at.”
It turned out that I’d been spewing blue smoke around the track throughout all the few laps that I’d gotten in, which got worse with every turn. Dave and Zach (thanks a ton to those guys) said that my bike had been eating oil on both compression and decompression – which basically means really bad things are going on in the engine. So I ran four laps that day on the CBR. Fortunately, awesome friend Tim let me jump on his GSXR 600 to ride the rest of the day.
Which was a really bad idea. Because I was comfortable on that thing half a lap in.
Anyway, fast forward to the next WMRRA race weekend, which was preceded by a 2Fast day at the Ridge Motorsports Park. Woohoo! First race event at the Ridge! Lacy was kind enough to let me borrow her GSXR 600 for the day, and encouraged me to race it for the weekend. She rocks like that. Blake even set it up and wired it before I came by the night before to pick it up. He rocks like that, too. And that was only the start of how much they rock.
In a statement, that weekend was full of racing, dinosaurs, and cupcakes. All made possible by my friends, who, after lending me their bike and time, helped me get out of there each evening so I can bolt back to Seattle for some personal events. The first evening involving a suit, a girl, and a ball. The second night involving dinosaurs and cupcakes. That Saturday, I basically finished my Novice race – which was really the first time I’d ridden the Ridge on a bike I didn’t know – pulled into my pits, jumped out of my suit, grabbed my clothes and peeled out of there to get to Seattle an hour and fifteen minutes later…
All so I could dress up like a dinosaur and surprise Emily with cupcakes (it was all totally worth it to see her surprised face).
The races themselves? I spent them in the back of the pack just learning and adjusting lines, and trying to figure out what Lacy’s bike was capable of. I didn’t even run any video that weekend, because I was preoccupied with learning the track. Nothing too exciting, except for Sunday’s race, which I spent the first half chasing down Raymond on his 848. Didn’t do as badly as I thought I would have, but I can’t wait to get more seat time out there so I can actually be doing something instead of being a human lap marker.
Lots of thanks for the support from KFG Racing, for helping me find some takeoffs for the weekend. 2Fast for letting me dink around all day Friday so I can get out there and not look like a complete idiot for the race. Jason Tanaka for covering for me for Friday pictures so folks weren’t stranded without a photographer and for taking great shots of everyone, including me on a girl’s bike (top). And last, but not least, thanks to Lacy, Blake, Ana, Mike, Lisa, Tim, Carly, and John for who I wouldn’t have had a bike to ride, a place to stay, the opportunity to make it back to Seattle (twice!), a surprise birthday coordinated, or an absolutely awesome weekend; if it weren’t for their help and support. I owe all of them big for this. I’d give them each a leg if I could.
See you guys out there. You might see me out there on a GSXR next time… Goddamnit.
Oh, and here’s Mike tearing it up on his new Panigale. Envy. You should have it.