But the down time gave chance to have a refresh of the bike in some key areas and it seems to have been worthwhile! The first things to go were the over-sized and rather heavy GSXR fairings. In their place a narrower and lighter Daytona 675 set, complete with extra tall screen to scoop the air over my larger frame!
I've even been on a diet.....which is a change for me! Losing around 3kg in the last month and a half.
Taking it seriously at last!
As a means of testing the bike, I entered the Saturday at Cadwell park with NGRRC, saving time and money versus doing an entire weekend elsewhere. Also with a view to re-joining the Bemsee paddock come August when the minitwins come to town!
Finding some clear space in the session, the bike was running really well, I could tell it had more pace on the straights and was really giving grip in the corners. But still I wasn't expecting to post a new PB of 1m45.56 seconds!
Obviously when I saw the time, I backed off and headed for the pits satisfied!
Unfortunately my start was poor yet again, and I dropped from 7th place to 10th in the first lap, the adrenaline pumping meant that I was making some mistakes pushing a bit too hard. Thankfully I kept calm and smoothed things out. After a few laps battling for 9th place, I pulled away and began chasing down 8th position. With only a 7 lap race, the chance to close down the bike ahead was quickly diminishing, but with what turned out to be my fastest ever laps around the circuit, the gap closed right up with the final few corners approaching.
Rounding the final corner I found myself right in the tire tracks of the bike ahead, I pulled into the slipstream and tucked in as hard as possible! I was gaining fast and as the finish line zoomed closer, I pulled out to make the pass. We crossed the line nose to nose and all I could do was hope my timing transponder was somehow further in front than his, we were literally crossing the line at the same time.
After refueling the bike, I ventured off to find the time sheet, only to discover I had missed out on 8th place by 0.005 of a second!!
Having no expectations of a top ten finish, 9th place was still very welcome and the new PB lap time of 1m44.495, the cherry on the cake.
The race came with the expected wet conditions. Usually something that helps me whilst others struggle. This time, after a great start and opening lap, I somehow lost faith in the tires and began to ride tense. When I finally stepped off the bike after the race, my neck and shoulder muscles were rigid! A lesson learned there, must remain calm!
With 9 starters in the race, I managed a 6th place, so it was OK I guess. I think the desire to just finish in one piece overruled any competitive nature.
All in all though, a really positive race day. Riding faster than ever and the bike performing well (Some improvements still to chase down with setup) I made the journey home in a positive frame of mind.
Next time out, hopefully we can be straight back on the same pace!
Thanks to all who make this possible. The wife, Mum and Dad, work mates, Callum at Tidal Syling, Paul and the team at Faith Fueled Racing, thank God for you all!