It’s a lot easier to write about this weekend three months later. Although it’s kinda cool to say we’re back into race season as the shortest and coldest month of the year is beginning, it’s not warm to say so.
A mixed precipitation the night before gave us reason to consider retreating to our warm fireplace heated homes. But we got up at 5 AM and headed to the Alabama border. Knowing we would gain an hour crossing the border, we calculated our arrival time as perfect for getting a decent pit site.
Wipers rolling across the windshield on and off for the duration of the trip, we made our way down I-20. Bursts of blue sky peaked out and disappeared just as fast, only to tease us. The temperature gauge on the mirror of Keith’s GMC 3/4 ton truck read 30 degrees when we left and reached 34 by the time we got off the interstate. This increased our chances to avoid frozen precipitation.
Turnout was light, as expected, due to the weather conditions. Registration line was not very long at all. So, tech inspection was no big delay either. The track was cold, wet, and slippery. This was less than the ideal racing environment.
By the time practice sessions were in motion, we were on our way to a new racing season.
We were not really impressed when it started. Not very surprised either. But the snow falling was actually becoming a visibility issue, we had to laugh. The full flakes were large and thick, but not sticking to the ground. It was basically the coldest rain that could hit the track and minimize our traction.
Before I made it out to the track, I had a major technical difficulty. Between the extra layers of clothing under my leathers and the extra weight generated from a semi dormant winter inactivity and almost a year since my cessation, my normally floppy leathers were stretched to the max. My main zipper gave way. The quick fix was a few strategic lock wire sutures, a full pass of duct tape, and placing my Armor chest protector outside my leathers.
The day was, like previous February Tally race days, cold and less than optimum. This was also the Maroon Monsoon’s first run after the season ending crash at turn 12 Road Atlanta. I also made the bad decision to sell the carbs that worked great last year under the premise I would simply rebuild another set. East to say. And, in hindsight doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Both races worked good for the first lap or so, but I found myself lagging as the bike warmed up in the cold air. I could compete for the first two laps, but after that, I could not predict the performance of the bike.
I took up the rear of both the GP350 and the GP500 race and came away with a list of things to work on. Nashville would be a whole new race set. Not looking back, I looked forward to a warm race day three months later…