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When Chris of CTRacing saw my front tire and learned that I had 8 track days on it, he recommended that I drop to the sticker SC1 front tire while keeping the harder SC2 rear. Considering I went through two rear tires and my front tire still looked very good it was a good choice and I was looking forward to playing with the super sticky tire.
The turnout for the track day was surprising low. Maybe because it was the day after a 3 day weekend, maybe because everyone woke up to a cloudy and wet morning, maybe both. I believe there were around 50 riders the entire day and very few people in my group.
The beginning of the day started different than any other track day I have been at before. Because the track was wet, Z2 asked if any of the A riders were planning on going out in the first session. Since all of the A riders (three of us?) were interested in going out they made a change. First session of the day we took our tow vehicles (in my case my Jeep) out onto the track for the first 20 minutes with the express goal of helping to dry everything out as well as get a look at the conditions. Afterwards, the A riders would ride the first session with the B riders so that we would still get our first session which is historically the warm-up session.
Taking the Jeep out onto the track was an interesting experience. I got to see the track from another perspective and got to experience how much energy it takes to get around the track. Energy in terms of horsepower and torque. For example, I could really feel the effort it took for my Jeep to go up from T1 to T2 and how T6 felt. Plus it was fun playing in the puddles :)
Once I was done with the Jeep I went out on my track bike and started warming up. I had the tires nice and warm from the warmers but I knew from experience that Sonoma was going to suck that heat right back out again.
I took it easy on the first session, warming up the body and the suspension, gradually going faster each lap as we warmed up. In addition to warming up I was sharing the track with the B group which means that their passing rules were in effect (6 foot bubble around each bike) and B group has the largest delta in skill sets. Plenty of reasons to be taking it easy. Even still the track was damp enough that my rear was getting moody as I went around the track. Nevertheless, a good first session and no one went down.
As the morning progressed I focused on the skills that Dave and I discussed the week before. Consistent, short and aggressive braking. Unlike Thunderhill which is a very flowing track, Sonoma is far more "point to point" so there is a lot more aggressive braking zones and less "flowing" corners.
By the end of the morning sessions I was pleased to see that my lap times started to drop. Even though I was not focusing on going faster the improvements to my braking were causing them to drop. By lunch I had reached my goal, I broke 2:00 at Sonoma!
Breaking my 2:00 barrier