I get a good start in the V6 race, second into turn one. A racer on an FZR400/600 hybrid passes me going into turn 2. His bike pulls away from the anemic EX so quickly I wonder if I've missed a gear. I don't even try to keep up with him. The Kawasaki H2 750 two-stroke triple in front of me is another matter. I am determined not to let him get away so easily. The pilot is a seasoned, aggressive rider who has been racing this well developed machine for many years. The facts are that I do not have the motor for him on the straights, but I can keep him in sight through the tighter sections, namely turns 5-9. We are both running slicks and have similar suspension, but he also weighs at least 30 pounds more than me, I do some rudimentary math and figure that his weight penalty negates any acceleration advantage, which leaves me no excuse not to keep up with him. I push it. Hard.
As the eight lap race progresses I seem to be catching up. I make a very bold inside move on him at Turn 6, dragging my knee the whole way around the corner. I damn near shit myself, because I don't normally drag a knee here. The pass puts me in the wrong spot for Turn 7, but the right spot for Turn 8, thus giving me the drive up the hill out of Turn 9. I make the pass stick until the front straight, where he motors by me. The wail of that triple sends shivers down my spine. I would be intimidated if I wasn't so busy trying to keep up.
I catch him on the brakes in Turn 1, but he walks all over me up the hill into 2,3 and down the hill into 4, the fastest turn on the track. I brake way late into Turn 5, as in the front tire is howling its disapproval and I think for a second this is the end. I careen through the corner with the frame tied in knots, right on the back of the Kawasaki H2. I make another pass on him in the same exact spot as last time and we are at full lean side by side and somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice says, 'What the hell are you doing?'. I ignore it, knowing that since I am on the inside, the other rider will have to back down or crash us both. I am willing to bet he won't do that. He doesn't, and I am in front of him again. I hit a hole on the outside of the track I did not know was there and I wonder if it was his front wheel hitting me.
I wait for him to come by on the front straight, but nothing. I can't resist a look back and I can see him about 15 bike lengths behind. He has obviously slowed down for some reason. As I bring my gaze back to the front, I see what has him backing off. Rain droplets on my visor. He noticed it before I did. I just never slowed down off my dry pace, being so intent on beating him.
I am elated at my second place finish, even more so because I defeated what I felt was a closely matched opponent. This elation becomes deflation when someone asks me why I was fighting so hard against a guy who wasn't even in my race. What? Formula 2-stroke is run concurrently with V6LW, he wasn't even in my class. I am a dumbass.