Arrived at the Nogaro circuit in the South West of France at around midday on Friday. The weather forecast was for hot on Friday, even hotter on Saturday, and then stormy rainy weather on Sunday. In principle this meant we should have sunny practise and qualification, and then 2 rainy races, as the races were programmed on Sunday morning (8:30) and then Sunday afternoon (16:30).
I was a bit pissed off because, I was expecting the weekend to be dry, and due to wheel problems, I hadn't brought my wet tyres. Although everyone tells you Suzuki GSXR wheels are mostly compatible it would seem that they are definately not!
I had up jetted considerabley on both bikes because I have the bad habit of siezing the engine as Nogaro has a long straight, and it's always hot! So this weekend I was determined not to damage my engines.
Olly (my son) had suggested we go halves on an onboard camera, so I had a play with that during practise - the results are excellent in HD, but are less so when you watch them on youtube. The thing manages to get everything in focus even through the screen of the bike! It doesn't really come across after scrunching by Youtube, but it's certainly impressive on the PC. The only problem was that I didn't have the lense around the right way so the initial images were 90 degress off! Won't make that mistake again! Thank goodness for editing software! I filmed during free practise, the first (warm up) couple of laps.
The bike ran well, although very hot, I started to slow on the straights when the temp hit 88 degrees centigrade, just to allow it to cool somewhat. Still had a great time getting used to the track again! My tyres were so sticky at the end of the session, and used to the very edge and back! Just for information I had also reprogrammed my valves to close at 7300 and open at 7200 instead of 7800 and 7500 respectively, but honestly didn't feel any difference at all :-( I had been hoping this would lessen the hole around 7500 rpm.
For Saturday's timed practise, I decided to go for higher gearing (replaced the 39 with a 41 tooth sprocket at the rear), and also I thought I would ease off on the advance of the ignition in an effort to bring the temperature down. The bike felt a lot better, and ran cooler, but I am still in the middle of 2 gears in a couple of places on the circuit, and still only getting into 6th about 200 metres from the end of the braking point for the straight, so I should try even higher gearing next time. My best time was worse than Friday's practise, but still good enough to get me on 19th spot on the grid (1:51.783).
Sunday morning, I awoke to rain falling on the roof of the van, which continued to piss down throughout the race, I got a crap start, and really with no appropriate tyres I was destined for a crap position. I managed a lowly 2:31 second best time, and 23rd spot! At least I was in front of the fallers! The best time of the session was someone with full wets and he managed a best lap of 2:03 (well done Georges!). The bike had run well, and cool given that the ambient temperature was a full 10 degrees lower.
Sunday at 16:35 for race 2, We had just had an enormous downpour at around 15:00, so everyone was on wet/road tyres (Michelin Pilot Road 3's seem to be the popular tyre) as we sat on the pre-grid, but out on the track everything had dried up nicely, and although wet in a couple of corners, I had full confidence in the my choice of tyres (my only ones!). My start was pretty bad - I really must invest in a different clutch! I managed to get past a good few guys in the first couple of bends and then gradually work my way forward, picking off 3 riders in the later stages of the race to finish 13th! My first 3 points in the championship yipee. My best ime in the race was 1:52.144.
The bike had run well all weekend, and no oil/petrol leaks, although at the end of the second race I noticed there was some petroil mix coming out of the left side, but this really confirms that when I seal the carb o'rings with gasket mastic, it really stops the leaking, at least for some time, so it does definately seems to leak from behind the o'rings, I must try to get some thicker ones so they don't get as squashed during tightening.
Next race from Croix-en-Ternois (again) at the end of the month.