Laguna Seca, California
This year for Laguna GPR had brought out the big truck (a 35 foot RV with garage in the back) that has a full canopy hanging off the side of it. The event always has very limited track time and no promoter practice. This year they brought Formula Extreme which meant that the schedule would be even worse. Total the Superbike class was to get 1 practice (30 min) 1 qualifier (30 min) and the race, that’s it. Because of this I decided not to use the Ohlins suspension set up, I was worried the set up would not be close right out of the gate and I would waste one of my sessions. So I ran the same suspension as 2005, I had to change some spring rates and make some adjustments because of the new asphalt.
The first practice session was absolutely ridiculous, the new pavement was very slippery and the places that had been ground and resealed (the day before) we almost unusable. There was a big spot right at the entry to the top of the corkscrew that was so bad every time I tried to lean over at all the bike would push the front tire. By the end of the session six people had crashed in the entry to the corkscrew, and numerous others on the rest of the track. There were several new bumps all over the track; we all jokingly started to refer to the exit of the corkscrew as the “whoops section”. The new asphalt was also tearing up front tires very similar to the way Miller Motorsports was. Qualifying came around and we tried a few more changes with the bike and found a bit more time. The track started to come in as we were getting more rubber in it, the patches were getting better. I still was not running where I wanted to be at this point but we were going the right way and we were in the show.
The race started and it was red flagged on the opening lap because of a crash in turn two that took out several riders. On the restart I managed a pretty good start and put my head down on the opening lap to start making up ground. Pretty soon I found myself moving forward. By the mid point I was kind of by myself there was a few second gap to the rider in front of me and several seconds to the rider behind me. This was pretty much exactly what I had hoped for with the new asphalt I really wasn’t looking to get in a wheel to wheel battle. By the end of the race I managed to finish 17th, with a best lap time of 1:29.8
Off to Ohio!!!