My better side...

October 14, 2002

Gingerman is turning out to be the lucky track for me.  First I get a last minute invite last month to a private event, and this time, on a scheduled day-off from work (Columbus Day), SBTT holds a charity event there.  Adam (with his now track prepped VFR) and I headed up there for one last day of track riding for the year.

The day started out cold, and the VFR was registering 32 degrees at 7:15AM.   Luckily, it was about 42 degrees for the first session and by noontime, it was in the high 50s and the track was heating up.  Morning sessions were pretty slow, and I was riding with a couple of friends that I had met up at Grattan, Dan and Ed.  Dan led Ed and I around the track in the morning, making sure to keep the pace down for the first three laps (at least) to warm the tires, and then he'd start to pick it up.   The pace was just fine for the morning, right up until my brake lever adjustment caused my front brake to seize coming out of turn 2.  All of a sudden, the bike wasn't accelerating, and when I pulled in the clutch, she did a nose dive and came to a stop....on the track.  SHIT!  I threw my hand up as violently as I could to alert anyone behind me.  Thankfully, the corner worker got to me and we pulled the bike off the track.  Once the pads and rotor cooled down, I was able to ride her back to the pits....and unadust my brake lever.

By the afternoon, the track was hot...OK, warm.  Lap times started coming down, and at some point, Ed decided he'd had enough of smelling Dan's race-fuel sweetened exhaust, so he made a pass and picked up the pace.  I too passed Dan and reeled in Ed, following him for the session at a quicker pace.  In the pits, Dan proclaimed "I knew you guys wouldn't stay behind me forever."

It was getting late and we weren't sure another session would happen.  Just as we thought it was all over "Advanced are up...well, now.  Get out there for one more session."  About 30 seconds later, I was in pit lane, followind Ed for one more session.  Ed was slowing in the straights and looking for Dan, who we had lost.  I passed Ed, rather, the Berserker passed Ed (I love it when he shows up) and I had nothing but wide open track ahead of me for the entire session, and the bikes I did come up on were passed and forgotten about.  The last session was quick - not the quickest I had run there, but considering my still-healing shoulder and cool temps, it was a damned good pace for me.  I must have missed the checkered flag, because as I came out of 7, I saw the corner worker waving the checkered at me.  I gave them the "Yep - I see you" wave, and then it hit me.  These were the last 2 corners of the year.  With that, I put my head down, rolled the throttle on, and barreled through 8 with my knee skipping along the somewhat bumpy pavement.  I straightened her up, grabbed a downshift, and said to myself "This is for the cold December nights."  I then proceeded to plant my knee and hold it there for about 4 seconds as the final apex came and went. Onto the back straight, I let out a sigh, threw up my hand, and exited the track.  Ed pulled up next to me and was going crazy - giving me the thumbs up sign and pumping his fist.  I guess he liked that pace.   It was a great end to a great year (or three months) on the track.

Here's a few pictures from the day:

Tad on the exit of turn 1

Tad turning into turn 2, with Ed on the F3 behind

Tad, mid corner, turn 2

Tad, turn 2, just past the apex

Adam following the instructor through turn 1

Adam all over the instructor in turn 2

Adam's group following the instructor through turn 2

Adam with his knee just inches from the ground...he got it down later

Adam riding the "portly sport-tourer"