The best track in the Pacific North West
I drove down to Shelton, Washington for a track day at Ridge Motorsports Park with the Motofit Group. I headed down mid afternoon on Saturday and made a few stops along the way. First stop was Baja Fresh for some good mexican food. Next up was Stumptown for some coffee. I am coffee geek so I never pass up an opportunity to get some hair bender espresso. Before arriving at the racetrack I picked up some salad at Trader Joes for the potluck. Motofit sets it up and the riders bring the food. Great way to meet everyone and laugh it up. After dinner I went for a walk along the track with a few beers and headed to the Shelton inn where I spent the night.
In the morning I grabbed breakfast and was ready to go by the time the riders meeting started. I had my gopro ready and I was pretty eager to get out there. There would be no sun immediately as the marine clouds would not burn off quick enough. The first session was just for warming and getting a feel for the track again. The second session I gave it a little more gas and I was quickly reminded that the track is not hot enough and I am on street tires. Just before turn 3, I leaned right and gave it some gas. The back end broke loose and it skipped four to six times before righting itself. It stepped out enough that I felt the front straighten up. I eased off the gas momentarily and got right back on it and kept going. The session was done soon after which was good since I needed to refocus.
The third session was a treat, courtesy of Seattle Ducati. They were offering up free test rides on the new Paningale S. I had my test set for the third session of the day. After signing the paperwork (liability and a “you break it you bought it” statement) I was out on the track. The first thing I had to get used to the was position. The Ninja 1000 is full upright and the Paningale is fully forward. Everything changes. Halfway through the session I did get used to it and I was enjoying myself immensely. The V-Twin engine is a snarly beast and the slightest amount of generosity in the throttle the front end will come up. On the straight, every shift the front end popped up a bit. It was the best kind of test ride one could have, I literally had to hold on the entire time.
After lunch I was ready to go and set the gopro up for video. The clouds had not cleared yet but it was warmer. I was feeling pretty good for every lap and I even got a little too ambitious as I was following an instructor I decided to chase him into turn one. There was a rider to my right and I thought I had enough time but I didn’t. We were going to collide so I eased up and kept the gas steady and we had light contact. I felt his left handlebar and clutch lever touch my leg. I looked back immediately and he was still up! How lucky for both of us. This was completely my fault as I should have been more aware as the corner was his before it was mine. After the session I waited at the gate and when he came in I apologized. He was fine and happy nothing had happened.
Then the sun came out! For the last three sessions of the day the sun was hot and the track was hot. I gave it my all and enjoyed every corner. Even managing to drag the knee around several corners. I still cannot get the right knee down. I am going to have work on that OR just rub up against the wall on the straight! ha! Just as the last session was ending my fuel tank was empty. It hesitated at the end, how perfect is that. When I parked the bike I checked the odometer I rode almost 200 QUALITY kilometers over seven sessions. What a day!