Friday, January 16, 2015

Frugal Tears Fall Like Acid Rain

The rain comes in heavy with the V5 race coming up. I know what this means. Rain tires. I scramble to get the wheels changed, but I am struggling. For some reason the front axle won't go in properly. Luckily someone from BlarneyQuick Racing comes to my aid. He and I both struggle, but finally get the wheels changed right before second call. Close.

I make my way to the grid, never having run on rain tires before. The bike is now shod with a Bridgestone Full Wet front tire and an Avon Azaro Extreme Rain tire rear. I cheaped out on the rear tire, having found it on closeout. I will regret that decision every corner, every lap for the entirety of of the race.

The start is fine, not raining terribly hard, just enough to create vision problems with spray. Turn 1 is a fucking nightmare, as the front tire sticks and goes exactly where I want, but the rear is skating all over the place. Every turn on the track is like that. The front is planted and feels almost as good as a slick in the dry, but there is absolutely no grip whatsoever from that lousy Avon. Just when I think I have got the hang of it, smooth and slow, the rear steps out. I very nearly crash at least ten times, at one point coming into Turn 4, I have both feet down on the pavement trying to make the bike get around the corner. I still don't know how I didn't crash. It rains harder and the track gets even worse. I am trying to decide whether to pull in and keep everything in one piece, because it seems I cannot go slow enough that the crappy rear tire will hook up at all. Any time I open the gas, the rear spins up. I make the decision to get off the racetrack as soon as possible, slowing down even more.

Racers behind start catching up, some of them pass/try to race me, I let them by. I am literally just trying to stay alive and make it to pit-in. I want to exit this damn track before I am sliding on my ass over it. I don't give a shit about points, championships or anything in those terrifying moments except getting off the motorcycle and yanking that Avon Azaro and tossing it in the nearest river. I curse my thriftiness for allowing me to put my safety at risk. Never again.

Suddenly the two bikes that passed me crash, bodies and machines lying in the track. I come to an almost dead stop, weave my way through the debris very slowly, knowing that the red flag is coming. I am only two corners from pit-in and my salvation from this horrible experience. Finally the red flag comes, race ended for safety reasons. I am able to collect 4th place points, instead of the DNF had I pulled off the track prior to the red flag. It was a close one, and only the bad luck of the other riders allowed me to get some points. I would find out later no one was seriously hurt.

On a more positive note, I have a very, very lightly used Avon Azaro rain tire for me if interested.

(If you watch the video you can see me pussyfooting around trying to stay upright. I am the bike in front of the camera after the start for most of the race, until the 8:55 mark when he passes me.)

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