Got the bike put completely back together after the Vegas excursion and the bodywork repainted. Looks a little bland without graphics, but that should be taken care of soon.
The SMRI series round came down to my home track at Arroyo-Seco. This was an ideal situation for me still messing with the aftermath of the broken collarbone.
So, on June 5-6 I show up and see that there is an extremely light turnout. It has been a very tough season so far compared to 03. Bruce Krummel, the SMRI twin champ took a serious spill in the Unlimited race of the previous SMRI round and broadsided a tire wall and broke 6 ribs, punctured a lung and spleen, broke the collarbone, etc. So, he was out. Out of the 5 Aprilia Milles that run this circuit I was the only one to show. A Duc996 withdrew from the race. Lee Chapman on his TL-R did not show. It was going to be a blowout. It was 102 degrees in the shade and 140 surface temp.
Had some clutch issues, but took 1st and gained the lead in points. I could have used an easy race, and that is exactly what I got. But after the collarbone and an electrical problem causing me to lose first last time, I needed it. The next 2 months will be Albuquerque and Colorado for that series.
So, the following weekend the ASMA event kicks off at Arroyo-Seco (June12-13) and as I show up, I see a new RV and large race trailer on pit row with fancy overhang and outside air conditioner. What is this? An RC-51 with full Ohlins GP forks and a Ducati 999s with BST carbon wheels, full termi exhaust and god knows what kind of engine work.. Aftermarket stuff everywhere. Somebody came to take my lunch money.
I unload and go say hi. I shake hands and start talking to the guys. They immediately look at me and ask- where you out at Vegas a few weeks ago and broke your collarbone? Yes, that was me. They look at each other. Small world- I get to reclaim a little of the pride lost out there. I remembered the RC being on the grid with me on the Vegas race where I lost it. I was ahead then in the Ex GTO class. One of them is wearing a hat with the aprilia logo sewed on upside down… Damn Ducati guys.
I had some clutch issues in practice. I think I botched it putting it back together this week, the lever would travel too far and engage within the last ½ inch of lever travel. Bled the line several times to no avail. I don’t know if the final bolt and allen key on the shaft make a difference in the clutch engagement point, but I was having some issues. I will be bugging AF1 once again. I think Ed/Micah roll their eyes every time I call.
I drop the 750 race. Would have been front row. I take Clarkies/Les/JetCity’s advice and concentrate on the twins. Damn good thing- gigantic pileup into T1 red flags the race. One racer goes home with a broken collarbone. Another with a hole in his case cover. Another with a sliced eyeball from hitting the gravel and the visor opening up and getting smacked with more gravel in the eye.
I grid up for the Twins race and form a plan- cool engine/warm tires- clutch should be OK for the first few laps- build a lead.
The flag drops and I pull the holeshot. Try to put the hammer down, but I admit that recent crashing puts a little doubt in your system. A little more difficult to relax. I pull a lead and turn to see the 999s behind me, but steadily losing ground. The RC-51 and another Ducati are immediately behind him. My clutch is slipping, but manageable. I just cant ham fist it launching onto the higher gear straight. And I cannot downshift into one of the turns because the clutch would not catch until mid corner and want to tuck the bike.
#2,3,4,5 in the race get caught up battling with each other, and I look back again and again to see them switching positions and steadily losing ground. The RC overtakes the 999s and a 749s slips past also. The announcer later stated that it was a very fun race to watch for #2-6. I am sure it sounded good, too, with the twins roaring by. I maintain a comfortable lead and cross in first. The RC takes 2nd, Ducati 749s in third with the 999s in fourth. My closest points competitor took a 5th, so the lunch money bandits just helped me increase my points lead by quite a bit (I think about 20). I was very happy.
My collarbone felt pretty good this weekend. Lefts are the only spot I notice it. Almost healed. Next race is in another 3 weeks.
I was really glad to run with the guys from Vegas. It was like kind of being able to right a wrong and help me mentally progress instead of wondering how the twins turnout might have been.