Already a week ago but I am still totally exhausted from last week ends racing.
As all great athletes I prepared my self by not sleeping enough as in between work, family duties and getting my bike fixed, painted, new footpegs done I had to cut down on sleep.
A grown man can get thears in his eyes at 3 o´clock at night for more reasons than poor ventilation - I messed up the clear coat on the fairings the day before departure...
After I dropped the kids off at school and kindergarten I packed all the gear in the van and headed to my fathers garage to get the new set of foot pegs sorted and the new fairing fitted. I had to manufacture the gear and brake lever pegs in his lathe and needed and did it by trial and error. Anyway I got the bike ready in time, started her up and she sounded great so I packed up and left to pick up my friend Teddy and his Aprilia RS250.
The bike with new newly painted fairing.
Teddy has an Honda RS250R but had to take his Apirilia as he didn´t have enough spares for his HRC stallion. We bad mouthed the Aprilia, with good reason, and agreed it was fat, ugly and slow.
Anyway we packed up and got going just to get caught in the traffic jams in Stocckholm. We eventually made it to the Sviestad track in Linköping at about nine thirty at night. We set up the crappy tent, unloaded the bikes and I crashed in the back of the van - exhausted.
Free practise during friday. Three sessions for each class. The race was only for riders with B-licenses - ie. Rookies or old slow people like me.
I got up and had a nice breakfast before I warmed the bike up, unfortunately I was about thirty minutes late as teh two strokes are supposed the start warming up the same second as pit silence is done at 8 in the morning.
Got the butterflies and was a bit nervous even though it was just practise for a race I do for fun.
As soon as we got going I just had a lot of fun but soon I started suffering from arm pump / stiffness. Probably due to fatigue due to loss of sleep. I did around ten laps and a bucnh of 1.05 times. Last year my PB was a low 1.05 so compared to that this was fine but my aim for the week end was to dip below the 1.04s.
Did some checks and waited for the second session. Unfortunately I managed to drain the battery so the biek didn´t want to start and I was forced to miss the second session. I tried to rest, sleep and eat as much as possible in between the sessions as I thouhgt the fatigue might be down to dehydration. The final session of the day was just like the first. Started nice but my arms got really bad quickly. I went in to the pits to get some rest but when I went out again my arms had no feeling and it felt like someone else was riding the bike so I had to pit and park up for the day.
We went in to Linköping to get some stuff and food. Unfortunately the tent we had was crap and a rain storm hit the paddock and our tent that decided to surrender and let all the water through. Everything was soaked, bikes, toll boxes, leathers, boots helmets etc. Great way to end the day...
I set everything up in my van and had the heater on and dried all the stuff. Oohhh the smell fo two complete sets fo crash stuff, underwear being heated to dry...
Even though I have to sleep in a van full of hot, sweaty male leatherwear I feel rested and ready for todays fun. The only problem is that my arms feel strangely weak but I hope they will get better with time, sleep and nutrition.
Today we all start ouor two strokes at eight o´clock and you could hear the collective sigh of relief from all the toher riders as they now knew tehy were at at race track.
We roll out for todays frist qualifying session. I start slow and try to realx and not hold on too tight in order to progressively get up to speed. As my arms are starting to feel stiffer and stiffer my downshifts get more and more dodgy and when I approach the only first gear corner, if I had been fast enough it should be a second gear corner, my left arm is so stiff and lost for feel that I manage to mess upp the down shift and decide to go straight instead. As the track side is approaching faster than I like I try to brake on the grass but it is liek trying to cathc a soap and I hit the deck in milliseconds. Fortunately no harm done to neither bike or me, a small crack in the clear coat and a bent foot peg is all.
I am sixth with a 1.04.789 wich is a tad over my PB.
I get the bike done for the second session, get some lunch and try to rest. In an attept to ease the stress on my arms I adjust the handlebars, clucth and brake levers.
Teddy is trying everything he can to make his bike look less like a pig.
As my arms still bug me I decide to approach the second session a bit differently and go out as fast as I can.
I do around ten laps before I call it a day and with a new PB of 1.04.476 I am pleased.
Still sixth on the grid after two RS250Rs, two RS125Rs and one SV650. My goal for the race is to get a good start and get on the back of teh SV650. Magnus who rides that bike, nr 90, is really fast and runs clean, fast, flowing lines. Pole is a 1.02.4.
Due to some delays we are a bunch of riders that miss the sighting lap and have to start the warm up from the pits and get right to the start.
I make a complete hash of the start and I am thirteenth of the grid and when I get out of turn one I loose one more place due to being in the wrong gear.
Getting off the line looks good at this stage...
Getting it in to the first turn is another story...
I get by some bikes on the straight and try to get in to a rythm. Unfortunately I am to kind going in to the turns and play it too safe. I pretty soon catch up with Håkan on the KTM, Jocke on the red SV and Marcus on the white SV.
Håkan brakes ridicilously late, he is a former SBK and Supermoto rider at national level, and we have a great tussle.
In this picture I am passin g both Håkan and Jcoke but you can see that Håkan is starting a comeback that forced me to back it off and he regained his place, Jocke had to take avoiding action and take the run off.
I get by Håkan on the next lap and catch Marcus quite soon. I am too friendly and pass him on the third to last lap.
One problem for me is that it is very easy to get caught in someonelses pace and I found that out in this race.
I finish sixth with abest lap of 1.04.918. I had a blast though with a lot of overtaking.
Teddy has a tight battle with three other RS250 riders who end up within in two second of each other.
Winner is Pär on his RS250R ahead of Dennis on a 125, Stellan on a 250, Nichlas on a 125 and Magnus on his SV650 and the me..
The evening is spent watching the GP qualifying, eating some nice food and getting to bed early.
I wake up early and have problems getting back to sleep so I get up and eat breakfast. I do some small checks on the bike but it is all in fine shape.
I ahd soem massage to my arms yesterday and the feel stronger but instead of being weak they ache..
I get out for the first session and try to relax and get in to a groove but I find it very hard to push and a soon have to use my whole arm to clutch down. I decide to call it a day and am a disappointed sixth with 1.05.356.
The second session is thirty minutes and I decide to break it in to three ten minute parts. Go out for the first part and do app ten laps, pit for some rest and then go out again.
In the first part I manage only a 1.05.209 and I try to calm down, relax and focus during ten minutes.
As soon as I hit the track again I know I won´t be faster. I try for some laps but the arms are just too stiff.
I have to start the race from eight this time.
Even if the arms will bug me I decide that I have to be much more aggresive when I catch someone in order not to be caught up in their pace.
One of my many bad habits are my crappy starts adn I try to be very focused, rev the tits off the bike and slip the clutch as hell. It works fine as I get off teh line great and catch up with Stellan who is in front of me but I get too eager and teh engine bogs down and I have to gas it up again. Its a better start than yesterday but any hopes of trying to be close to Magnus are gone before we hit the first turn.
Now I pass people as soon as I can, on the brakes, on the gas and in the corners. By the fifth lap I am up to fifth and I have Stellan in front of me. On the long straight I try a bit too hard and over cook it on the brakes. I miss the apex by a mile and loose a lot of time so I get repassed by Håkan and Marcus. I get my head down and start catching them when I see that the engine is running 10 degrees hotter than it should ad as my arms are starting to make themselves heard I decide to DNF. It was a bummer as I know that I would have caught and passed Håkana and Marcus and as Dennis bike broke down I would have been fourth but the prospect of possible engine failure and/or crashing I decide to quit.
Pär wins this one as well in commanding fashion in front of Stellan and Magnus.
Teddy had another blast in the Aprilia cup and managed to set the fastest lap of teh week end in that class within the class, but the best part with him riding his Aprilia is that he realized he wants to be on his racebike. The Aprilia is for sale and new jugs and pistons are ordered for his RS250R.
Slowest corner on the track. Really tricky decreasing radius corner where you have to brake and shift while leaned over.
After the usual paddock talk it is time to get packed up and head home.
When all this is in the van.
We still have all this left, and the front seats that where filled with clothes, leathers, pillows etc.
Even though I didn´t manage to achieve my goal of a sub 1.04 time I ahd a blast. The bike ran fine until the very end, I met a lot of good friends and had really good time in the paddock. I set a new PB and had two great races with lots of action - I´d take a race like that with a half assed result over a lonely run at the front any day.
Me and Teddy have already agreed to do this again next year!