I just got back from a weekend of racing Saratoga last night. Very lucky that the ferries were running a bit late so I made the last one. 5 of us showed up from Vancouver, all three that made it out for Sunday went home with trophies. I got my first racing trophy on the weekend, Serena from Mspeed did the same, twice. Congratulations! Marbod added to his one of many. I'm still working on that elusive WMRC crash trophy but it sure was nice to get that first one.
All of the rumours about the track....they're all true. It's literally a two turn course. There's a tricky and very tight uphill hairpin....a first gear corner even with mission gearing to stay in the power. There's a decent banked sweeper that doglegs out to a double apex on the other end of the course. Literally almost any somewhat modern bike could win there. It's about the same size or marginally bigger than Boundary Bay and less room for altering lines for passes. I did one race in second gear the whole way due to a broken shifter and lost drive out of the hairpin and ran the rev limiter for a few seconds each way.
Rider skill was overall pretty good. Their fast guy Ross was very quick and smooth....really in his own league out there. None of us could come close. I tried to chase him down but he was so consistant everywhere that it just wasn't happening. Very classy guy. Really I was impressed with everyone out there. Some were sketchy running side by side. Got T-boned in the hairpin pretty good. Knee and ankle are sore today. The new Vanson's have a nice tire mark up the shoulder and I need a new windscreen and shifter but as always the gixxer crashed great and I only missed one race. That's racing Thanks to the sprint car guys. Busy as they were, they were the ones that got my shifter going again.
Safety is definitely an issue.....more so than some other tracks. I was honestly expecting worse knowing that we'd be running a track shared with everything from hit-to-pass to sprint cars and go carts. traction was pretty predictable, only a few problem spots, bumps and rises were more fun than scarry. I hit all the ones I was warned about and it wasn't anything worse than places at Mission. Run off and more rider oriented crash measures were my concerns. The hairpin is extremely tight and narrow. Running wide puts you into a weed filled ditch. Going straight on the dogleg portion of the sweeper could be very dangerous at that high speed.
My favorite part was how accomidating the club was to give slower riders the best chance to come home with a trophy. This is something that I think the WMRC could benefit from. It's amazing how important a little trophy can be to new racers. To give an example, first there's qualifiers, a time trial, one bike on the track for two laps. Saturday, they divided up the riders into three tiers after qualifiers and had trophy dashes. For each tier. They even did a reversed grid with a staggared start for one of the Sunday races. Ross still kicked our asses but it was one of the most generous opportunities to spread the prizes short of letting the air out of his tires.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the weekend was talking with Paul the owner. Apparently he has just acquired a parcel of land that puts his total to 50 acres around the racing facility. He has plans construct a 1/8th mile drag strip with a small road course incorperated in the design. Sound familiar? I doubt this to be a pipe dream either. Because of the mixed events, they had a fan base at least on the first night that dwarfed anything I've seen at a Mission event.....all at $20 a head.
All considered, it was a positive experience......thanks for having us out Dean. Was shitty that you crashed out Saturday. Hope you get back to racing again soon.