To start with, the editor could easily give this twin pic an effortless "easy come, easy go" title without pausing to get out of first gear with the ole grey matter bouncing around inside the helmet...but then the sentence would be too riddled with puns...better to have an earful in Rusty's words of the Talladega racing weekend...!...

"My first real outing on a track since recovering from a nasty accident back in 1998. What a first day! Talladega GPR (http://www.tgprace.com) is a fantastic “short” track. The turns are mostly tight, one section is banked, while another is off camber. The pavement was great. The Dunlop 208s that I put on just for this track day stuck like glue.

We (Kevin, Wade, and I) started the day out in the “intermediate” class, running clockwise. By the end of the second session we were lapping everyone else several times in the 10-14 lap sprints we were running. By the end of the third session, the track officials saw it fit that we got “promoted” to the expert ranks. We pretty much cleaned house there as well. Running clockwise was good for me as most of the turns were to the right, which is my “good” side. Turning left was still a mental issue for me (my left side was all but crushed in the aforementioned accident, but that is a story for another day), so it took a very conscious effort to lean the bike over to the left very far. But turning right was a blast. The level of confidence that this Ducati inspires is unbelievable. The more I leaned, the better it felt. To the point of dragging foot pegs through several corners. I LOVE this bike. I am sure that most any current sport bike would do the same, but for me, and for the way that I ride, I cannot imagine anything better than my 748 (except maybe my 996, again, another story…). We turned around after lunch and rode the track counter-clockwise (turning left most of the time). I was the slowest on the track for our first outing after lunch, to much thinking, not enough riding. Came off the track early. Proceeded to beat myself up over the fact that I knew darn well the bike could turn left, but I was just too skittish to stick that left knee down on the pavement. In the half-hour that passed between sessions, something clicked inside me. I decided at that point that there was no alternative but to go fast and turn left. The second session after lunch was completely different. I dropped a full 14-16 seconds off of my lap times and was right back up there with the sandbaggers, er, the fast guys."
photographer: Pat Grone
in view

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