25 September 20006
Summit Point ‘Shenandoah’
Weather: Morning 62° partly cloudy / Afternoon 73° Sunny
Tires: F-P/SC (soft) 120/[email protected] R-P/SC (medium) 190/[email protected]
FI Calibration: +5, +10 +5 (unchanged)
Gearing: F-17 R-42
Changes to set up: Swing Arm pivot has been raised 2mm and rear ride height has been lowered to compensate for the additional ride height added by raising the pivot. Gearing (42t) is one tooth more than what I have used last time at this track. A Timing Retard Eliminator (TRE) is active as part of the Gear Position Indicator (GPI) that I’m using.
Session I: I was 4th out of pit-out (including the Control Rider (CR)) and found myself behind two riders that had obviously never been on the circuit before. The rider in front of them and the CR started pulling away after only the first lap (they weren’t going that fast). A standing white (no passing) was showing at one of the corners so I kept my cool and worked my lines until it was gone. Once the flag was gone I made my way around the two riders and had an open and clear track to work with. It was early July since I was last on the TLR and I found myself battling some of the issues I have with the bike but things started to come around. As it was the first session I kept things cool and didn’t push too hard.
Session II: I started somewhere mid-pack and found myself coming up on riders that were dangerously off pace. The bunch up’s they were causing were scary at best and a number of riders found themselves having to deal with them. Once past though I found myself behind 3 riders that were keeping a decent pace but the clear track ahead of them was more inviting so I spent a lap looking at where they were on the track and used that to get by them on the next lap. The open track was great but again I found myself coming up on a solo rider completely off pace. Fortunately getting by him wasn’t an issue as I passed him the outside of the double apex near pit-out. The rear stepped out on me at one point while enjoying the open track and I fear my tires are starting to go.
Session III: Blueness!!! When I went to pit-out I was first in line for a row that normally goes out second. To my surprise I was let out first after the CR (Kurt). I ended up having a hell of a run with Kurt with a mix of open track running and traffic passing. I found myself running with Kurt for the entire session. Though it was a lot of fun I was fighting a case of dry-mouth from lack of hydration (damn myself) and the feedback from the rear tire was not getting any better as I felt it sliding a bit more. At the end of the session Kurt motioned over to have a talk and made the suggestion to move up to the Blue (Advanced) group if I wanted… er… YES!!!
Session IV: I was 6th out of the grid for my first run with the Blue group. My Biggest fear was that it was going to be on the gas from the get-go. To my surprise things were fairly mellow. The pace was up over Red but I was in no way in over my head. As things settled in I found myself pushing the 2 riders directly in front of me so I set up some clean moves around them. I also managed to get by 2 riders ahead of them leaving me pacing a solo rider with clear track ahead of us. His pace was real nice and I knew passing him wasn’t going to happen so I set in to enjoy the ride. To my surprise though he waved me by and all that open track was mine to enjoy. The thing that surprised me the most is that it stayed open until the end of the session. The surprise being that I wasn’t being passed!
Session V: I set in behind a Ducati 748 for the first 4 or 5 laps. He was running a slower pace but still not that bad. I knew if I stayed behind him we would be passed by the faster riders and I wanted to know what to expect what that happens. Sure enough after only a few laps a couple of riders had gone by on inside lines but it was all done very smoothly and it didn’t faze me at all. Half way through the session I passed the Ducati and kept pace with the last rider to pass us. It was a very intense buy manageable pace. This time though fatigue was starting to get in the way and the lungs were feeling a bit heavy (still fighting some bronchitis issues). The rear tire is no longer inspiring the confidence I once had in it. It is showing obvious sings of cold-tearing as well.
Session VI: I found myself behind the Ducati again so I did the same thing as last time keeping behind him waiting for faster riders to pass so I could get use to it. As a faster rider went by I also passed to keep pace with them. Again it was faster pace that I had ridden but now fatigue was playing a major part. My legs were burning and keeping the movement on the bike was becoming impossible. My breathing was now also turning into wheezing so up goes the hand and to the pits I go (only a few laps early) and called it a day.
I know a lot of people hate the walls at Shenandoah and it is a bit of a physiological battle to run a good pace knowing that if you go off it’s going to hurt but I love the layout of the track and the challenge of the different turns and transitions.
On a different note I took a little rider over to ‘Main’ to see what was running during lunch… Money! The last time I saw so many Ferrari’s on a track it was on TV. A number of Porsche’s were in the mix as well as few Lotuses’. A Corvette or two was also on the track and the one that made my jaw drop… A Saleen S7.
Curves and Walls!