I just got back from spending two days at Buttonwillow Raceway which is located about 125 miles north of LA off highway 5. The plan was to take my new-to-me SV650 racebike out on the track and get the suspension dialed and gremlins worked out in so I can do STAR School later in the month without having to worry about it during the school.
This turned out to be an excellent plan as my front fairing stay’s welds snapped in the wind during the 2nd session on Saturday. :( Normally I would just run the bike naked without fairings, but the stay also supports my tach which is important on the track. Unfortunately, nobody in the paddock had an extra stay for me to borrow and the track machine shop was closed. Jeff at Viets Performance was nice enough to do some searching on the internet for me and gave me 10 phone numbers of local welding shops in the area.
It turned out that most places were closed for the weekend or don’t do aluminum. One guy wanted about $400 to fix it which didn’t make any sense. But one of the numbers worked out and I was put into contact with Matt of AWI Construction who was gracious enough to weld it back together for me for FREE on Sunday morning- thus completely saving my weekend. Thanks Matt!
Also big props to Dave Moss with Catalyst Reaction. I was pretty worried after my first two sessions on Saturday with my front suspension. I had done a lot of research on setup and I knew from reading on the internet that the SV’s stock forks aren’t very good and people have to learn to ride around the bump; but things were a lot worse then I hoped for. But after taking Dave’s advice I was amazed how much better things were and dropped over 6 seconds a lap in only 5 sessions!
During the last session of the day I found myself dicing it up with another SV650 rider (hi Conan!) who is also planning to start racing in the AFM this year. It was a lot of fun and good to know that there will be other riders in 650 Production at about the same skill level as me.
Even after loosing a full day of track time I’m really happy with how the weekend went. Adjusting to the SV was very natural coming from my 748 with a similar power delivery, but being lighter and easier in the transitions like Cotton Corners. Downsides are about 20% less horsepower (hence corner speed is really important), less powerful brakes and a far less refined front suspension which is quite noticeable in the bumps. While I still need to drop some more time to be competitive, I’m happy with the progress I was able to make and I’m really looking forward to STAR school later in the month!