FIWOP Racing 2023 Races 1-2 + track day. A frustrating series of stupid mistakes

Weather forecasts suck.

I have never been so damned tired of looking at a weather forecast in my entire life. But we’ll get to that!

FIWOP Racing 2023 Races 1-2: My first set of mistakes for the season

On the way to Tally Thursday afternoon, the skies had been a bit threatening, but nothing came of it. The forecast for Friday (at that moment) was 40% chance of rain, so I thought we had a shot at getting some dry track time, which I needed since this bike is new to me.

I pulled into my pit spot, and the sky fell. A downpour just started hammering the roof of the Kia. I sat there and waited for it to pass before I got out and started setting up my paddock.

Friday morning dawned dry. I had Stickboy throw some fresh rubber on the new bike, which meant I had to miss the first session.

Wow, was that a mistake. We had two more dry sessions before lunch, and then it started coming down. I didn’t really want to waste a set of rain tires on practice, so I called it a day.

Also a mistake.

FIWOP Racing 2023 Races 1-2: Too bummed for a real race recap

I spent the rest of the weekend checking the weather forecast every three hours, because it changed that frequently. None of the weather apps seemed to agree, either.

That made tire choice a raging pain in the ass. There are two decent sets of conditions for tires. One of them is completely dry, and the other one is actively raining. Anything in between is just difficult. I’ve seen everything from street tires, one slick and one rain tire, and full rains used in mixed conditions, but no matter what you choose, it’s probably wrong. I went for slicks both races, and they seemed okay, but it was never perfect.

Tally also resurfaced turn 2, and got it completely wrong. It’s slick in the dry, and treacherous in the wet. I managed to break the rear loose on the 300, which is generally impossible on the wee bike unless I do something dumb.

Add to all that the fact that I just don’t seem to be getting on with this new bike. I need more track time with it, I think. I’m running 3 seconds slower in the dry than I was on the 250. While some of that can be chalked up to the sketchy surface in turn 2, there’s more to it. In the dry race on Sunday I realized that I was just slow everywhere. I was braking for the entry to turn 1, which I never used to do on the 250. I was taking too tight of a line in turn 5. I was braking too early for the farmhouse corner. Nothing seemed to be going right.

It shouldn’t be this way – the 300 is almost identical to the 250. It’s the same frame with the same engine configuration and the same suspension, just a bit more power, yet there’s something that’s not gelling with me on this bike.

I ended the weekend with two third-place finishes. I was pretty down on myself when I got home last night, but I woke up this morning determined. I booked another track day for the day before next race, just so I can turn some laps on this bike. I ordered some parts that I’d been holding off on to reduce the un-sprung weight on the bike.

I will be faster. Watch me. I didn’t spend money to buy this bike and time to prepare it to be slower.

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