Sunday, March 12, 2006

feeling a lot better today, although also a bit hungover too.

eastern creek was a blast. i really had a great day. our lead rider unfortunately dropped the bike on turn 4 when he found a false neutral and then it went back into 4th gear and locked up. a bit of pushing and unbending later and the guinea pig (me) was out for a few shakedown laps to see if anything fell off.

fortunately nothing did and while i wasn't having as much fun as at phillip island, i had a great time.

we paid out on him big time though. cause he's the first out of us to crash it. he won't be the last but seein as he was the first we took the opportunity to give him a hard time.

i ended up being in the wrong group, due to a paperwork screwup, i should have been in the next quicker group i think, i ended up in the newbie group and spent a lot of time dodging people who were going from edge, to apex, to edge. don't get me wrong though, they paid for their day and unless they are doing something stupid, how they ride and enjoy their day is up to them. i think i stuffed up one of the lads who was also in our pit shed though, coming out of turn 2, i passed him on the outside, and ended up riding over the concrete. very untidy. i should have apologised but i couldn't remember which yellow bike it was and felt a bit embarrassed as it was without apologising to the wrong person.

after that i picked my overtaking places a bit more carefully, if they hear you beside them (and if i hear someone beside me) they give you a bit of room and let you through. so if you give them a bit of space in front of you, catch them through a turn and turn up the wick on the straight bit you can blast past pretty quick and even if (as i managed a few times) you cock up the next corner and go through too slow, they'll give you room and you can get your rhythm back and go again.

i tried to do that to an instructor who was following a group of first timers. ended up doing my first high speed power wheelie coming out of turn 9. frikken awesome feeling. (and no, i didn't get round him, the bike has the grunt, but the rider didn't have the skill) this bike is so fast and so predictable. i don't have the balls to brake late for turn 1 though, and despite the others telling me i was doing around 200kph going into turn 1, i think it was probably slower than that. i managed to do whole session of under 2 minute laptimes though, a couple of 1 min 55 second laps. as our B rider handed me the bike after his session he said he was power sliding coming onto the straight so the slicks were starting to go off. but then, he accelerates a lot more aggressively through the turns while i get a lot more upright before i wind it up.

between turns 5 and 6 is good, i really like turn 5 (probably cause i'm not going quick enough) and coming out of there i can pick a hole and shoot through. i got a lot of people between 7 and 8, and frightened the shit out of myself going through turn 8 a lot quicker than i'd planned to. but then, i go through probably midrange in 3rd gear, while the other two either do it high revs in third, or midrange 4th.

the straight is the best place, the two turns onto the straight are like southern loop at phillip island, you have forever to settle into the turn and get your speed right, then blast past anything down the straight. there was only one bike there apparently that was quicker than ours in a straight line, a 999 ducati in the second racer group according to our B rider. i even managed to overtake someone going through turn 1. which is a big thing for me 'cause that turn frightens the shit out of me.

we have a new quick action throttle as well. no more double-take to get full throttle. the first half of the throttle action is as per standard, then the next is, um there's a word i can't remember, it means that it increases more and more as you turn. anyway, no power sliding for me thanks :-) that's why his best lap is 10 seconds faster than mine. although his "can cruise at this pace all day" lap is only 5 seconds faster than my "can cruise at this pace all day without scaring myself too much" 1min 55sec laps.

ok, i've bored you enough with this dribble.

B rider looked at me after one of our sessions and said "you're hooked aren't you". and he was right. phillip island was like a religious experience to us all. those beautiful turns that go forever and you lean and lean and lean. photos later when i get them. still no knee on the deck, although i went around the outside of a few guys who had their knees on the deck. i use my knees to grip the fairing :-) my knee sliders are in pristine condition!

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