come along for the ride
After around eleven hours of driving Tim and I arrived in Vegas with the 60 mph winds gusting at the track. As we started to unload we even questioned whether we should take the Ninja out of the trailer fearing that it might be blown over. Luckily the wind died down for the whole weekend, but it still left the track nice and dusty for the Friday trackday. The track felt slightly green during the first session, I could actually feel the back end slide out little when I got onto the gas out of one the corners. Funny, since I think this is only the second time this has happened on this bike and the other time was on a wet track.
AS I picked up my pace on the track I was happy to feel that all the effort we had put into changing the suspension on this bike appeared to be paying off. The last couple of months I had been struggling with the suspension. The front end would bottom out under braking and chatter around turns, sometimes I would also experience headshake. It is slightly disturbing to seeing your handlebars whack back and forth on the track. The front end would also bottom out under heavy braking, which led me to not brake in as hard as I would have liked. I also felt uncomfortable with trying to brake in later since I was unable to turn the bike in with it hopping up and down.
Throughout the day we made some minor adjustments to suspension so see if we could improve it further. I no longer felt the bike chattering out of the turns and the forks were no longer bottoming out underneath the pressure of braking. The only issue I had with the front end was when I would accidently put the front tire along one of the seams and then I would feel the front start to tuck slightly. Overall, I felt a greater confidence in my little bikes handling and ability to actually turn in quickly.
The races went well over the weekend and I was able to cut three seconds off of my time and consistently turn in laps that were two seconds faster. Funny thing is that I met my goal for my times, but by the end of the weekend wish I had set a higher goal for myself. At least I am able to say that every race weekend I have attend on my 250 I have been able to improve my lap times each time from the previous races. Hopefully this trend continues throughout the year. I was able to come home with five third place finishes including one in the women’s class where I raced against three experts on 600cc and over bikes. I almost placed second in the clubman race by tenths of a second and had a good battle with Tim Weig.
Thanks to Tim, the Kyee Family, and the Feel Like a Pro team for supporting me through the whole weekend. Rich and Karen Oliver for being great supporters and providing me with great training that allows me to constantly improve and grow as a rider. Eric Kondo for taking me under his wing and sharing his wisdom with me.