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All I remember seeing are the sparks, and thinking "am I still sliding?"
This wasn't in the script. Tremblant is one of Canada's best tracks and I wanted to get as much time in here as possible. For me, that meant getting here a day earlier and doing a track day but unfortunately the weather doesnt want to cooperate and the biggest rain front in quite a while is hovering over the region. Yesterday when I looked Saturday was forecast to have 40mm of rain and i have no wet weather gear with me, or wet track experience.
At the track, it's worse. It's rained heavily all morning and now there's some drizzle. Unlike the bigger bikes, the 250s are only allowed their Pirelli supercorsa Diablo road tires. They should be fine, but I'm not sure I will. I remember the same rubber on my Daytona 675 a few years ago. I almost lost that in the rain, too. I'm starting to have second thoughts about a track day but I really need the practice having never tracked in the rain before.
The first session is good, or at least I don't feel so bad. I mostly follow jody Christie around and while I'm sliding the rear a little I'm getting a reasonable sense of the lines around here. It truly does look like an awesome place and I really want to ride it in the dry, especially as my visor is fogging when I tuck in
Afterwards, I'm feeling ok about things. The rain's a pain but the bike feels reasonably fine bar the sliding, but I'm also going reasonably slowly and I shouldn't be in any danger
Second session: Rain has been intermittent all afternoon and it's kind of raining now, kind of not and I take the first few laps slowly again until I am comfortable. I then start to push it a bit more. The sliding is back but it's not so bad as I'm starting to get used to it and so I push even harder. I figure i have to be able to do this as everyone else is way faster than me and the lines start to make more sense as i do. The bike also seems to be happier. The back section is great: up the hill to the tight left under the bridge, float the right and line up for the namereau hairpin on the hill, accelerate down the hill into the final turn and there I am sliding along tarmac while the bike sparks next to me.
It seemed like I was sliding for ages, and it was a long way on Tarmac before I eventually made the grass. My first reaction is anger at myself. The second is despair as I take a look a the bike. The left clip on has broken off, hanging only by the clutch cable. The fairings on the left side are all torn and full of dirt and grass. Hitting that hard i wonder if the forks and chassis are ok?
There's also no marhsall here. Andre eventually runs over, clearly concerned as i am just staring at the bike laying there oblivious to the fact I am now a clear safety risk. He helps me push the bike behind the Armco and I wait for the session to end.
Back at pits, it's off to medical and apologise profusely to Eric, who assures me the the bike should be fine. For my part, I've now got the fear. The wet is now my enemy and I am seriously contemplating not riding if its raining tomorrow, but not for too long. Nothing is broken and only my knee and ego are bruised and my elbow is scraped. I'll ride again tomorrow but probably even more slowly than today.
A couple of days later as I write this, my elbow has turned a lovely shade of bruising, but my knee is fine and I've no pain at all. The bike was fine after a little TLC, too. Eric even let me have the fairing as a trophy...