WMRRA 2005 round 2
May 8, Pacific Raceways, Kent (Seattle) Washington

More rain, more good results, not much fun...
It really looked like we were going to get a dry race this time around. After a brief shower in the morning before practice the rains held off all day and almost every race was dry. That is until late afternoon when my race was getting ready to start and the skies opened up. I ran the entire race in a lonely 4th place position, nobody to chase and nobody on my tail. Upon returning to the pits I found that one of the three riders in front of me had pulled off early due to water-induced electrical problems, so I ended up getting 3rd. So, good points and another medal but I'm tired of this rain racing and look forward to having some fun in the dry.
After two rounds I am leading the class championship with 58 points to Ken's 41 (defending champ -- crashed out of the lead in round 1 and took the round 2 win this weekend). Warren with 40, Rene with 32, and Mike with 27 round out the top 5.

Because this report was so short (nothing interesting to report). I'll now spend some time looking forward to the next round:  As I mentioned before, Ken is the defending class champion and would have won both races so far this year if not for crashing out of the lead in the first race. Last year, besides winning the Heavyweight Early GP class where I race the dieci he also won the Lightweight Early GP class (similar concept, smaller displacement) and came 3rd in another class. His combined results from these three classes gave him the club's #5 overall plate. So he is obviously a formidable competitor.

This year the weather has conspired to leave me with only a handful of dry laps out of two weekends, and so I haven't really gotten up to full speed yet. I still feel like I'm knocking out the cobwebs from not racing all winter and in my few dry laps I have not approached the lap times I achieved last year. Ken, on the other hand, is racing 3 classes again and has been lucky enough to have a few dry races. He also went down to Oregon a couple weeks ago to compete in a 4 hour endurance which he and his teammates won. So unlike me, Ken is up to speed and in full race mode.

What I really need to get up to speed is a track day or two to just reacquaint myself with going fast. But the engine in my dieci is pretty worn out, blows smoke on closed throttle, and I have to top up the oil after every race. I'm afraid that going out for a full day of lapping will be the end of it so I have resisted the temptation while I continue to work on the new fresh engine (which you may recall will also give me a 6 speed gearbox instead of the poorly spaced 5 speed in the current engine).
The new engine is right around the corner. The crankcase had been damaged in a crash, but that is now repaired. New bearings and assorted internal bits have been ordered and are expected to show up any day now. I sent the head out to a specialist a couple weeks ago and he predicts I should have it back around the middle of this month. If all goes according to plan I'll get the new bits in the next day or two and reassemble the bottom end and then the refreshed head will arrive and I can finish the reassembly and swap the new engine into the bike. This engine swap will be more work than normal because the engines are of different years and require different radiator/oil-cooler setups, but if I don't hit too many unexpected snags I should be able to have it up and running some time around the 23rd-25th of May which would be good timing.

Our next race is May 29th at Spokane Raceway Park (my home track, finally -- rounds 1 and 2 were at Ken's home track). There are track days scheduled at Spokane for Thursday the 26th and Friday the 27th. So the schedule is tight and depends on the timely arrival of parts, but it looks reasonably possible to break in the new engine on Thursday and then start working on getting up to speed. With full practice days on Thursday and Friday and a half day of practice on Saturday morning I should have enough time to figure out the new gearing, knock the rust off my brain, and be ready to give Ken a real challenge on Sunday. I just hope it's dry. Of course weather is never guaranteed, but Spokane is in a much drier climate than Seattle and the odds of a dry race are much better.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

Thanks again for reading,
-tim, WMRRA #420