Wow - just wow.
I've been a roadracer for almost 10 years now. I've raced FZR400s, TZ and RS 125's, R6's and most recently a 1997 Ducati 748. I've raced the Duc for 5 years now. I decided that this was going to be the last season for the mighty Duc.
JJB on here had a 2004 factory that he'd raced for many years, and I asked if he ever considered selling it - a few discussions and a 4 hour endurance race later we agreed that I would buy it from him at the end of the MRA season.
I picked it up and promptly made plans to visit Miller Motorsports Park for their final round of the year on the full course. What an adventure. On top of all of this I decided to try a different tire than I'm used to for the weekend, I mean if you're going to try something new, go all the way, right?
Left from Colorado after work on Friday evening - arrived in SLC about 2 AM saturday morning and was at the track by 8:00 AM. Unloaded, got set up and rested until Endurance Practice. I'd put together an endurance relay team with another Aprilia RSV and a Ducati. We agreed that I would take the first shift, with the others rounding out the event. I went out for the warm up lap, gridded up and as the light went out proceeded to make a very nice wheelie. Got that back under control and went charging down the long front straight into the first left hand turn. Being a non-regular competitor in the series we were gridded on the back row, so I had a lot of work to do and managed a lot of passes around the outside of T1. From there I lined up and picked off several riders each lap until we were 5th overall and 2nd in the relay category. Then I got my head down and put in a series of good laps. The bike was impressive, pulling off of the corners like a demon. It remided me a lot of my Ducati mid corner, very stable and willing to lean further, change line or allow me to add or subtract speed without drama. All too soon, my shift was up and my crew signaled that it was time for me to pit in. Our exchanges went smoothly and the next rider went out followed by our clean - up guy who brought home the 5th overall with the 2nd in class position that we had hoped for. I turned the 4th fastest lap of any competitor in the race, all in my first real outing on the bike.
I felt VERY good about my prospects in the sprint races the next day.
Looking at the rear tire, however, we knew we had some problems. It was tearing in the drive zone on both sides. We made some changes, and went out for practice on Sunday morning to see if the tire would clean up - it didn't. The tire problems then compounded with a clutch that wore out part way through the first sprint race of the day. This all added up to either a wheel that would spin out of every corner or a clutch that would slip out of every corner - needless to say, it was a little disappointing.
In the Formula 5 (bikes 5 years old) race I got a terrible start, and spent the race making up for it. The races were short, because the course was long, so I never was able to find the rhythm that I did in the endurance race. By the time the AM-O race took place the tire and clutch were so far gone that I simply couldn't make the pace.
I'm impressed with the bike and have some work to do before next season, but I'm really excited about racing the RSV in 2012.
Thanks to JJB for selling me an awesome bike, to AF1 for getting me some new sprockets in time for the Miller event and STM Suspension for all the help getting the bike set up this weekend.
More reports to follow! - here are some links to pictures from this weekend (bike #90)