Yeah that guy took me by surprise. He was an expert, and it made no sense to me how I caught up to him so quick (on the 2nd lap, and he had a 15 second lead start). I thought he maybe had a problem or something so I hesitated a bit.
As far as tracks...you're in Arkansas. Can't be too far away from some of the CMRA and WERA tracks. You're basically right in between. Sure you have to drive a bit but so what? This track in the video was an 8-hour drive for me.
Yes, I drove 8 hours each way to crash a bike in the first race, and get lapped by a bunch of people in my next 3 on the other bike! .....I never said I was a winner, but better than sitting home
As you've found out, not all experts are created equal. I've seen a few that were pretty damn slow and the winning novices would pass them, even with a 2 wave start.
That being said, there could be a host of reasons they are slow. Bike problems, first time back after a year or two, or they've just always been slow and just did enough racing to get the points to get bumped. Everyone has a different ceiling in their riding ability before they really plateau hard.
I'm a believer in that being an Expert is more of a whole rider concept. Over the years, I've learned a lot, some painful mistakes I made myself, most I learned from watching others. To me, being an expert is knowing yourself, your limits, and what you can and cannot do on your motorcycle. It's about being able to make sound, smart decisions on the fly with no time to think, just act. It's holding your line through T1 on lap 1 when you have guys bumping your inside and outside while you're all dragging knee. It's about not getting spooked when someone puts a close pass (less than a foot between you) on you and it doesn't phase you - OR, you can be the one passing someone that close and still not interfere with their riding line. It's just not all about flat out speed.
I've known a lot of fast novices that going off pace alone, were faster than a lot of experts. They also crashed their brains out, at least once every weekend. Most of them never made it to Expert as they went broke, either financially from fixing the bike all the time, or broke enough bones in their body they gave up or got forced out of the sport. But with only 2 classes, there will always be the misfits in each class. The sand bagger in Novice that should be an expert, but doesn't get enough points (either done on purpose by skipping rounds or denying the bump) to go expert.