So i just thought i would give you the final recap on the 2015 Suzuki Series now that its all done and dusted!
Cemetery Circuit was every bit as challenging as i thought it would be but none the less it was a really interesting track and a very unique and memorable experience. With no practice time until race day and it being my first time out before i felt a little on the back foot with many of my competitors having raced there before. After cutting Christmas short and travelling up to whanganui it was a case of setting up my pit area and signing in that afternoon. After a 5 star dinner (Chinese takeaway) I was ready for a good nights sleep in some suitably matched 5 star accommodation (1991 Toyota Hiace).
I Started boxing day with 2 practice sessions before the qualifying, these were really to get a bit of a feel for the track and try and find a line around the bumps, I soon found that was impossible so the best course of action was simply to get used to them! I tried a few small suspension changes but without any experience here forward progress was hard.
Race 1 start and i was buzzing, I had never had such a crowd watching and being on the streets only added to the intensity. My start unfortunately was terrible, 2 big wheelies off the line and poor drive saw me loose a few spots on the grid. The second wheelie saw me slide forward into the tank and contact with an area you can probably guess, a bit of a distraction to say the least... The rest of the race ran its course with a couple of overtakes putting me back into 14th.
For race 2 i had made some pretty big changes to the bike, with both suspension and a gearing change, this transformed the way it handled and I immediately felt a lot more comfortable, the lap times reflected this as the best lap of the second race was close to 1.5 seconds faster than the first. I had also a bit of coaching on my starts and this advice was gold, this start was the best of my series. I was running in a good spot and at a good pace but 2 laps in my brakes started giving me problems, they were loosing strength and fading causing me to run deep a couple of times before completely giving out on me on lap 5. Coming over the train tracks passed my brake point, pulled the lever and. Nothing. I was quite disappointed as this was the end of my day and even more so that it was my first DNF of the series.
Overall i finished the series 14th, a shame as if I finished the last race i may have been a spot or two higher but that is racing as the old adage goes. I learnt a lot this series and bettered my personal best at all the tracks I went to. The most satisfying aspect of this series was that I was able to build in pace from qualifying to race one to race two, bettering my personal best every time, this happened at all 3 tracks. I am now looking forward to another season of more practice and looking at building on this to mount a more competitive campaign for the Suzuki Series next year.
Thanks again for all the support over the season, it has truly been outstanding. I look forward to keeping you all posted with results and updates for the 2016 racing series where I hope to come back faster than ever!
Jake Keller #12