I guess it's time to write up a little missive about the first session with the Westwood club's track school.
As most of you know by now I fixed up a very used F2 so I wouldn't have to worry so much about crashing. That part has been a huge success. But the problem is that I'm coming to develop an attachment for the darn little red thing.
Last Sunday started off under cloudy and threatening skies. A promise that would be kept at least twice later in the day. Farhad and I got to the Tradex early and had time to set up and do some little things. Farhad wanted to pitch in and help but I guess I'd gotten so used to doing my own work I just couldn't think of things for him to do very much. Thanks anyway for the offers and what I did let you do though
We got the bike fairings off and went through tech no problem. Then we were off to the rider's meeting for more instructions and a walk around of the track. This didn't take long as it was only a parking lot but I was surprised at how much "character" a simple paking lot can have when you're looking at racing on it. There were the disabled painted on signs that needed to be avoided because they were slippery and the long fast sweeper at the end was actually an off camber with an unloading hump at the second apex that promised to toss the bikes around a bit.
The first sessions in the morning were pretty cool with us all playing follow the leader behind the instuctor and getting a decent line. This suited me just fine as the brake pads and tires were brand new and I hadn't ever ridden the bike other than up and down the back alley. Talk about stacking the deck!!!! These first few slower parade laps were in the dry and the tires scrubbed in really fast. By the end of the first session they looked fine and felt even better. The later morning sessions took place on a wet but not flooded track. I was surprised at just now far I could lean and how hard I could brake with the street tires in the wet. But this was part of why I'm doing this. I just get too spooked riding the 9R in the rain for my own good. Not any more though.
And now a short review of the F2. What a great little toy!!! This bike is SO flickable that it's just amazing. It really caught me off guard in the first couple of turns but I soon got that under control and started getting the feel for it. In about the 4th session out we were to pass the instructor and run in front so he could see our performance. When it was my turn I grabbed a handfull of second gear and was surprised to feel the front end come up about 6 or 8 inches before I could lean forward to put it back down. That older technology wasn't any slouch at all!!! The mods I had done really seemed to pay off too. I put in an F3 shock unit so I had independent compression and rebound controls. These were set at the mid points and so far seem to be working well. The front end got a set of Racetech springs and 15W oil and I'm running with just one line of preload and the nose diving is just fine. In fact I can honestly say the bike is handling great so far with me pushing it to the 85 to 90 % mark. And even with me draped over the tank and pulling my upper body forward the front end was STILL just barely in contact with the pavement. That's one hot little engine when it's boiling....
CBR600F2, savior that bike. It's a great little machine for it's age and gives up very little in only a few departments to the new stuff. I'm not sure the R6's are any more flickable than these..
Later in the afternoon they let us take off the ankle shackles and then it got very interesting. About the 6th lap I really poured it on and totally screwed up my braking coming into the hairpin. As I was lasering into the turn-in area I knew I wasn't making this one and started looking for an escape route. Fourtunetley the instructor that was about to be T boned by my braindead move saw me and straightened up for a moment. That was all the invite I needed as I cut in front of him and pulled off to give myself a stern talking too. After about a minute I got back on and started looking for the braking markers that I should have in the first place. Then things got fairly comfy for me as I got into a fairly consistent groove. I wasn't the slowest but not the fastest either. For this setup I was staying in second gear even though that limited my drive coming out of the hairpin. That let a few people pass me on a regular basis. Oh well. Also it was pretty crowded and what with my sense of self preservation if I saw any wheels sneaking up the inside I'd just go wide and let them have the inside. No hero tactics for ME.
The final session was the BEST. A lot of the others had either gotten tired or lowsided so this session only had about 6 or 8 bikes on the track. With the lower traffic congestion I started cutting some better laps and got the lean down a couple of more degrees. Given that I was limiting my lines to the "safer" path that the instructors had asked us to observe and others were not I can say that I could have been faster but I wouldn't have learned any more than I did.
Next Monday is the track session at Mission. Finally going to get into the higher gears