My First Race - Report -
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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My First Race - Report

This year I decided to try my hand at club racing. The club I decided to go with was No Limits Racing. They are fairly new to Club Racing but I have done lots of trackdays with them and they are a great bunch, as are the guys that ride their track days.

I purchased a 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R. it’s a fantastic bike, very well balanced and a machine that I have confidence in to ride. It didn’t really need any work, just the usual race prep. Lockwiring things and putting on the chain guards etc etc.

My first race was Snetterton. This is an old track that recently had a lot of money spent on it and an infield section added. I was familiar with the track, and liked it. Ironically, it was the first track that my Dad ever raced on, ‘back in the day’.

We arrived at the track early on Friday morning. Not early enough apparently! The place was packed. I had reserved a pit and got very lucky with a parking space not far from there. But seriously, we got there at 6am and it was packed! First race experience learnt right there, arrive the night before to be sure of a space next to your pit!
Friday was a test day. I had never run this bike at this track before, in fact I had never run it on any track in the UK. The last time I been on this track was a year previous on a 99 ZX6R. I was doing 2.24 laps, but the bike was old, fat and tired. I looked at the winning times from the last year and the quickest lap was a 2.08. A fair way off I know, but I thought with the new bike I might be able to knock 10secs off my time and not be last.

The practice days aren’t timed, so you need someone on the pitwall doing it for you. Fortunately I had my dad there. I was running a set of tired Dunlop 211’s but my fastest lap was a 2.14! I was super happy, I had already knocked ten seconds off my previous best, and I knew that tomorrow I would not be last, that was the main aim!! I had learnt a lot about the track, the bike and my own skill levels, I was really looking forward to Saturday & Sunday and getting some races under my belt.

The forecast for Saturday was overcast but no rain, so before we left the track on Friday night I changed by tyres over for a new set of Metzler Slicks so the bike was ready to go first thing.
We retired for the night, had a couple of beers and an early night, which was pretty pointless as I couldn’t sleep through the anticipation of the following days!
Saturday morning came and we woke to a very miserable day, it had rained in the night and it was still going. Not hard, but it was wet. Full Wets wet. Gutted.
We got to the track at 7.30. My qualifying was at 9.20 and I needed to swap my tires over. Another racing lesson learned, have a spare set of wheels with wets on. Saves so much aggro.
Anyway, I took the wets and the wheels to the tyre dude, who was swamped with people doing the same thing. Cut a long story short, my wets weren’t fitted in time for my qualifying session but fortunately the organisers let me go out with another session to get my 3 laps in to ensure I could race.

Because I didn’t qualify with my racers, I had to start from the back of the grid  I was really disappointed, but at the same time, quite looking forward to cutting my way through the pack. I just wish it was dry.

The Race
Race one was at about 11.30, it was still wet so fortunately I didn’t have to change my tyres over again!
I have never felt so nervous before. I had proper sicky feeling in my stomach! It’s a horrible feeling and all you want to do it get out on track and for them lets to go out.
We all head out on to the track, there was lots of spray from the bikes, I was constantly wiping the visor clean. Now I was starting to dread the start. I was at the rear of 37 bikes. That’s was gonna be a lot of spray, a lot of nervous riders, and possibly a lot of accidents. Being at the back of the grid, on the formation lap I was able to do some practice starts, and hard braking. It was reassuring to get some heat into the tyres, and also to know how much grip there was under full acceleration. I didn’t see anyone else do this.

We line up on the grid, and I hung back so I didn’t have to wait long. There were lots of confused riders not knowing where their start position was, it was easy for me – I was last!!

The green flag was walked across the front of the track – the revs rise, the heart rate was off the scale, the lights go red, then GO!!!!!!!!

I nail the start – somehow, through all the nervous shaking and sweating, I get a fucking blinder. I must have done ten bikes by the time we start tipping into the first corner. What a buzz. The first corner was a right hander, in the dry its fast. There are a lot of nervous riders in front of me, all very wary of grip, and taking it easy on the first lap. Not me! I’m buzzing and can see a clean, unused line right around the outside of this lot. Fuck it, I take the line, hang off the bike, get on the power and do another 5-10 bikes. Im starting to wonder whats going on!! Have I missed a yellow flag? I check the marshalls and no flag. Head down, tuck in and power up to the next hairpin right. I do 3 more on the brakes and now the bikes are starting to thin out and are in some sort of orderly que. The next section I like, my pace is still quicker then the upcoming bikes and with my confidence through this section I can over take few more. I enter the back straight and suddenly remember to do something that I haven’t done yet……Breathe! Shit this is exciting. My visor is steaming up as im panting like a race horse, the back straight allows me to crack the visor open, catch a slip stream and do another guy. I approach the chicane where I can see the leaders are exiting. I count how many bikes are in front of me, 1,2,3,4,5…………shit, try that again. 1,2,3,4,5………….. Im bloody 6th! From 37th to 6th in my first ever race on the first lap in the wet. Im so chuffed! I catch up a little on 5th but not making lots of ground, I look over my shoulder and 7th is only just visible. I have a little think to my self and weigh up the situation. I MIGHT be able to catch 5th, BUT its wet and I might bin it. im over the moon with a 6th, my only aim was not to come last, and really, if I was being honest, I wanted Top15. Ive got that and more so I decide to take it easy and just finish. 7 laps fly by and the chequered flag is waved. I have finished my first race!! What a great feeling. So much prep and organising all for that. what a buzz! 3 more races to go over the next day and a half…. Bring it on!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 09:35 AM
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Great write up Richard, and congratulations on a solid top ten finish! Be sure to let us know how the next three races go.

What we've got here, is failure to communicate.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 11:23 AM
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That's a great story!
Thank for taking the time to share it with us and a big congratulations to a fabulous result.
You was a novice there and as a newbie the luck is often with You.
So I hope and wish You can replicate this result in the next event.
But now You are an expert as all the others out there.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 08:24 PM
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Great write up Rich, great to see some familiar emotions there. Have a great weekend mate.

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