Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, Desert Center, CA
March 25-26, 2023
New track, arriving by jet, and Japanese Barbecue…
My pitmate Colin and I got talking over the winter and wanted to make the pilgrimage down to Desert Center, CA for a weekend at Chuckwalla Valley Raceways. We picked Round 6 as it was close to our season, and aligned with a YCRS weekend Colin wanted to attend.
Because Colin headed down early he took all of my equipment in advance. This meant I got to do something that made me feel almost professional; I booked a flight, landed in Palm Springs, picked up my rental car, and just sort of showed up at the race track.
Friday was spent getting my bearings. Something you don’t quite realize about racing in the PNW is how you take reference points for granted. Chuck is flat, in the desert, and without much in the way of markers to work with. The second thing you come to realize is the track is very fast. The hardest braking corner at Chuckwalla may be on par with the lightest at The Ridge. This meant working on some skills I don’t use quite as much. This was difficult but also exciting.
Another Washington racer, Salman, happened to book a cabin and offered to let me crash there as well. This turnned out to be pretty great. The desert gets pretty cold at night. Also, his friend Yohei was also in the cabin and made Japanese barbecue each night.
I raced Saturday and Sunday in every 600 class I could. The competition was stiff and I was definitely working to catch up with the other racers who had 5 rounds on the winter season already. I improved in every race in some way. I would have liked to have placed better, but I know where to find more improvements on a return visit.
As if I didn’t have enough new things going on this weekend, I was also trying out a new helmet. As folks may know, I’ve been wearing bell helmets for 5+ years. I decided it was time for something new. I started looking around and was excited with what I was seeing from KYT. After reaching out they sent me a helmet and I have to say I’m a pretty big fan. It’s lightweight, looks sharp, the eyeport is well placed, and while I haven’t sent it down the asphalt yet a few others hand and it seems to crash well. Huge thanks to KYT Americas for the support.