The first practice session at Chuckwalla was on a race weekend. Which meant we were running with the fast guys who had come to practice before competing. The early warning light should have gone off when we saw the fairings around the paddock. At some track days, a lot of riders have their mirrors removed and their lights taped up. This prevents broken glass on the track and generally signals that someone is taking their street bike to the track to go a bit faster than Johnny Law approves.
When everyone’s machine is on pit stands and wearing race plastics and tire warmers, you know Johnny Law would never be able to catch them. They’ve put the effort into creating a bike that is meant only for the track. And so they probably know a thing or two about riding there.
Such was the case at Chuck last weekend. Very few tape jobs. Almost entirely race plastics.
The “no sessions” format of last weekend means you go out whenever you want to go out, no matter who else is out there. You end up riding with people who are about the same speed as you a lot of the time. And the rest of the time, you don’t even hear people behind you until they’re already in front. Especially if you’re slow. And we were very very slow. Any time we tried to keep up with those shrieking blurs of color, we gulped up big doses of The Fear and backed off the throttle until we felt stable again.
Still, “no sessions” was the perfect way to get back on the track. We had two days to get in some work, and work we did. On day one, the crash was still heavy in our mind. We were afraid at the entry to every corner that the front would leave us and send us tumbling into the dirt. But little by little, we gained speed, picked better lines, charged harder out of the corners. And most importantly, we gained confidence.